2011 MLB Draft Preview: Part 2

In Part 1 we looked at the Cards draft history and trends. In Part 2 we will focus on players to target with are 1st Rd picks and what each brings to the table. I will create a Part 3 and maybe Part 4 that will focus on the 2nd and 3rd Rds so I can give plenty of justice to each pick and players involved. I will not be focusing on players that have no chance to get to us (AKA Lindor who would be a perfect scenario for us) with our 1st Rd pick but will include some guys that have extreme outside shots at reaching us (usually due to bonus demands). Lets jump right in…

Cards Picks:
1st Rd – #22 Overall
2nd Rd – #79 Overall
3rd Rd – #109 Overall

1st Rd – #22 Overall

Overview:

In the 1st Rd I always say you NEVER pick based on needs. You always go BPA that falls within the budget that you are comfortable with. All indications are the Cards are willing to spend fairly big on our 1st Rd pick since we have no extra picks and won’t pick again until #79 overall. That means we might be willing to go as high as $5M on a player.

Players (in no particular order):

1. Josh Bell, OF, Dallas Jesuit HS – Bell is a switch hitter with immense power. His defense will play at either corner OF position. Could go before we pick but he recently sent out a letter to all the MLB teams saying he didn’t want to be drafted as he was going to Texas to be a Longhorn. My take on this is more negotiating power but that scare tactic will be enough that some teams will remove him from their board all together. My guess is it takes $3.5-4.5M to get him.

2. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley HS (SC) – Guerrieri has one of the drafts best power arms (touching high 90′s often) to go with his prototypical frame at 6’3″ and 185-190 lbs. He also has a solid CB and rare used cutter and CH. At best he will be a power pitcher that has a common arsenal of a FB, CB and CH that will project to be a TOR pitcher. His draft stock fluctuates from Top 10 pick to late 1st Rdr. So who knows if he will be around. Count me on the Guerrieri bandwagon.

3. George Springer, OF, Connecticut – Spring was a surefire Top 5 pick coming into the year with the only glaring hole is too many swing and misses. Struggling out of the gate he fell on my draft boards but recent success has moved him back up a bit. Most likely going in the Top 15 there is still a chance that he gets to us. His skill set is rare with plus raw power, extremely fast bat speed, plus runner and plus arm.

4. Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill HS (TN) – He has a 4 pitch arsenal with 3 of them being potential plus pitches. His FB sits in the low 90s and reach 95-96, CH with very good arm action also projects as plus and then a CB that is still a work in progress but with good arm action and spin projects as plus. He also has a SL that he is working on but not sure if he will scrap it in pro ball.

5. Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky – Another power arm that is all over the draft boards. For teams believing in his control will consider him in the Top 10-12 but there are teams that just don’t want to take that risk. With a tall frame at 6’9″ and 225lbs he consistently sits in the mid-90s and hits triple digits fairly often. His SL is at least a plus pitch which give him 2 plus pitches with potential as 2 plus-plus pitches. He has a CH that needs work but if he can get it to at least avg he has a chance to be the best pitcher in the class. Control is another key component he needs to work on…though he has made strides this year.

6. Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso HS (FL) – His top 3 pitchers are a mid-90s FB, solid breaking SL and a traditional 12-6 CB. He also has worked on a CH but its quite raw. He dominated his competition this year.

7. Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS (NM) – Swihart is the best C prospect in the draft from an overall package. He is athletic enough to move from behind the plate if it doesn’t pan out. A recent switch-hitter (started his Soph year) he is working hard to be legit from both sides of the plate. He has avg-slightly above avg hit tool with avg power but both have potential to be better. On defense he has good footwork and receives the ball well. He also has shortened his throwing motion with his good arm strength that will only help his stock as a C. Another Longhorn recruit and rumor has it his asking price is outrageous.

8. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Alhambra HS (CA) – Stephenson possesses a low-mid 90s FB that touches 97-98 with good arm action and a smooth delivery. He also has a CB that sits in the low 80s with good action on it. He has tried to mix in a CH this year but its definitely a work in progress. Many see more growth in his frame which could give him another MPH or 2 on his FB as he matures.

9. Cory Spagenberg, 3B/OF, Indian River JC (FL) – The bad is there is no consensus on his future position as a pro…some say he is good enough to play 3B and some say he might not even be an avg corner OF. The good – he can flat out hit! He has good hand-eye coordination and seems to square the ball up often. His speed is probably a 70 on the 20-80 scale which is a plus. Many see him being a good power hitter as he matures which would give him a plus hit tool and power. The defensive question marks is the only thing holding him back.

10. Henry Owens, LHP, Edison HS (CA) – Owens has matured as a pitcher over the past year with a 5 pitch arsenal (FB, CB, Cutter, SL and CH). From his tall frame at 6’7″ and 200 lbs his FB sits in the low 90s and touches mid-90s. His CB has improved significantly with tighter spin this year and projects as plus. This year he has added a cutter and SL and has good feel for both and shows a promising CH. Some question his projection but I see a pitcher that is mature beyond his age that will have 2 plus pitches and 2-3 avg-slightly above avg pitches. Solid #2 starter for me.

11. Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina – He has been quite versatile at NC playing 2B, 3B and now SS. The consensus is he can stay at short and be a top of the order bat. He has a good eye and hits to all fields as a switch-hitter. His range is a little above avg at SS with a good arm and he has above avg speed. Not my favorite player that will most likely go in the 1st Rd but plenty to like about the kid.
12. Javier Baez, SS/3B, Arlington Country Day HS (FL) – Defensively most scouts don’t see him staying at SS as he will outgrow the position and his range is just good enough now to play it. But he should play good D at 3B as well if he has to slide but that hurts his value some. But why you draft this kid is he has an explosive bat. His bat speed is sick and he has plus raw power. His bat will play fine at 3B.

Prediction:

If we are willing to buck up the money and Bell is there I would love to see us snag him. If not in this order would be my preference (I don’t see Springer falling): Norris, Guerrieri, Fernandez, Meyers and Stephenson. The buzz is the Cards are looking at a number of prep arms so Norris or Guerrieri would be a big win for system to add to the power arms of Miller, Martinez and Rosenthal.

Up next Part 3 which will cover at least Round 2 and maybe Round 3.

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