2011 MLB Draft Preview: Part 3

On the eve of the 2011 MLB Draft (or like us draft nerds like to call is XMas Eve!) we will wrap up this 3 part series with a look at players of interest in the 2nd and 3rd Rds. After the 1st Rd it gets harder and harder to predict who will still be around and what bonus demands will do for some of these players. I will use my personal rankings to predict who “should” be around for each of these rounds. Also stay tuned for the Cards Draft Roundup (MLB Draft June 6-8) each day of the draft to analyze our picks and other random thoughts of the day.

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

Overview:

After going overslot in the 1st Rd (I predict a $2-4M sign in the 1st) I see the Cards taking a player that is signing for slot or somewhere in the ballpark of slot with their 2nd and 3rd Rd picks. I will stick with players that fit our typical draft strategy as well.

Players (in no particular order):

1. Tony Zych, RHP, Louisville – The closer for the Cardinals has an electric FB sitting in the mid-high 90s and doesn’t get read well by most hitters due to his unorthodox delivery. He also has a SL that has the potential to be plus if he can throw it consistency. Speaking of delivery it is a concern due to the strain it puts on his shoulder…something of a concern for long term injury. A future closer in the bigs.

2. Aaron Westlake, 1B, Vanderbilt – An adequate defender at 1B with extreme power. He is patient and generates good bat speed. He will move quickly but rarely do you see the Cards draft a 1B early in the draft. Doubt he is considered.

3. Dwight Smith Jr, OF, McIntosh HS (GA) – The son of former MLBer Dwight Smith the younger Smith projects as a corner OF with avg speed and a pretty good arm which bodes well for him to play RF. His bat is his best asset and has a smooth stroke with above avg power. Not sure on his price tag and its likely he could be gone by the time we pick in the 2nd.

4. Joe Panik, 2B, St. Johns – A Cardinal type player that is praised by scouts and coaches and playing the game the right way. He has a short compact swing and has a great knowledge of the strike zone. He is avg at 2B but has great instincts. Sounds like a guy the Cards could target.

5. Adam Conley, LHP, Washington St – One of my favorite non-1st Rd pitcher in the draft. He has a fairly aggressive delivery with a FB that sits in the low 90s with good sink to it. He also has a solid CH that has good fade to it. His breaking pitch is a SL that is a work in progress. If he can work on getting that to at least an avg pitch he will be a solid LH starter.

6. Derek Fisher, OF, Cedar Crest HS (PA) – A solid talent that has been hurt by playing in a cold weather climate that has had rough weather all spring. He has struggled a bit this year and many scouts say he is pressing. He has an solid bat and above avg power to go with his above avg speed. Mixed reviews on if he can stay in CF but his bat “should” play well enough to move to a corner OF spot. Needs to be more patient at the plate. Isn’t considered an easy sign as he is committed to Virginia.

7. B.A.Vollmuth, 3B, Southern Miss – He will swing and miss a lot but has above avg power with below avg speed. His arm is one of his better tools but some don’t see him sticking at 3B. Not my favorite prospect.

8. Hudson Boyd, RHP, Bishop Verot HS (FL) – With a thick body many scouts see him as a mid-rotation workhorse. I see his ceiling as a bit better than that as a solid #2 starter with a plus FB that sits in the low-mid 90s and a plus CB that has good bite. His CH still needs work but I see at least an avg pitch. Another asset is his ability to keep his velocity deep into games.

9. Brad Miller, SS, Clemson – An above avg runner that can hit. Some scouts doubt his ability to stick at SS (but they seem to say that about almost every SS!) but probably will move to 2B instead of 3B. He has a bit of an odd stance and swing with great hand-eye coordination. His power is limited but will be a high OBP with some gap power.

10. Larry Greene, OF, Berrien County HS (TN) – The one word that you can use with Greene is POWER and a lot of it! The best power bat maybe in the whole class. Should be able to play LF with avg or slightly below avg speed. As a sidenote he was at a workout at Busch this year as one of the premier players at that session.

11. Charles Tilson, OF, New Trier HS (IL)

12. Michael Kelly, RHP and Tyler Greene, SS, West Boca Rotan HS (FL) – Teammates at West Boca Rotan HS they will be drafted very closer to each other in the 2nd or 3rd Rd. Kelly has a standard FB, CB, CH arsenal with his FB leading in present value. He sits in the low 90s with his FB and his CB and CH both need a little work but his CB projects as a potential plus pitch. Some have compared him to A.J. Cole from last years draft but a tick below his talent…I was on the record as LOVING Cole last year. Greene is a bit of an enigma as we shows 1st Rd talent in workouts but in game action he hasn’t lived up to the tools. He should stay at SS with an above avg arm and has solid power at the plate. His problem seems to be consistency. Could be a steal in the 2nd/3rd Rd if he can put it all together. And why not draft another Tyler Greene!

13. Zach Cone, OF, Georgia – A great athlete that will stay in CF with solid speed and inconsistent reports on his arm from below avg to plus…so who knows! He has definitely hurt his draft stock this year with a very subpar season. One big concern is his inability to take a walk. If he can improve that he could be a solid leadoff man or #2 hitter. He has good raw power but probably won’t hit for power in the pros. Not a huge fan of his but if his tools can translate into success he could be a steal in the 2nd/3rd Rd.

14. Andrew Gagnon, RHP, Long Beach St – A 4 pitch arsenal that includes a low 90s FB, SL, CB and CH. He has a chance to make all of them avg or better pitches that should play well as a mid-rotation starter. He commands his FB extremely well but hasn’t learned how to mix in his offspeed stuff enough to put away hitters. Definitely a Cards type of pick.

15. Bryan Brickhouse, RHP, The Woodlands HS (TX) – Best known for pitching for the same school that produced Kyle Drabek and Jameson Taillon. Brickhouse is not in the same mold as either of them. He has 2 plus pitches with a low-mid 90s FB with a hammer CB. His CH still needs work like most HS pitchers but if it develops well he can be a solid #2/#3 type starter.

16. Nick Delmonico, 3B/C, Farragut HS (TN) – Scouts aren’t quite sold he can catch but some might give him a chance to do so to enhance his value. His value lies in his bat though. He has the chance to be be an above avg hitter with above avg power. He also have a plus arm so if he can catch the hitting ability will shoot him up prospect ranks.

17. Brandon Loy, SS, Texas – One of the best defensive players in the whole draft…he will stick at SS. He can do it all on D with quick feet, strong arm, good instincts and soft hands. Teams that believe in his bat will take him as high as the 2nd Rd…if not a 3-5th Rdr for some teams. I think he will hit for a decent avg and have gap power which will make a solid player at a premium position.

18. Logan Verrett, RHP, Baylor – He has a low 90s FB with a bit of sink and a sinking CH. His best pitch though is his SL but none of his pitches are dominate. He has a good and repeatable delivery and pounds the strike zone. Another very Cardinal like pick.

19. Johnny Eierman, OF, Warsaw HS (MO) – Projected to be a solid CF with plus speed and plus bat speed. He has solid raw power but needs to make adjustments to succeed as a hitter in pro ball. Won’t move fast and a LSU recruit means above slot deal is a must.

20. Phillip Evans, SS/2B, La Costa Canyon HS (CA) – I rank Evans higher than most and believe he can stick at SS. He has regressed this year but the tools are still there. He has good hands and slightly above avg arm. He plays the game the right way which always gets the scouts respect. He could be an above avg hitter with slightly above avg power with avg speed.

21. Jake Cave, LHP/OF, Kecoughtan HS (VA) – A legit 2 way player has struggled this spring which has hurt his stock. I see more value on the mound with a low 90s FB and a slightly above avg CH. His SL is a work in progress but should give him another avg or better pitch. On the offensive side he has the bat speed but lacks a mature approach. He will move to RF where his arm will play but doesn’t project to have enough power to be above avg there. Another LSU recruit will be a tough sign.

22. Christian Lopes, 2B, Edison HS (CA) – Doubt he can stay at SS so I project him as a 2B. Good hands and instincts but below avg speed. His bat will be his ticket with an above avg and advanced approach at the plate and avg power. He hits to all fields which is good to see for a youngster.

23. Peter O’Brien, C, Bethune-Cookman – Huge questions surround his ability to stick as a C which means he has to transition to move to 1B. His bat has big power but way too many swing and misses. Not my favorite prospect

24. Dillon Peters, LHP, Cathedral HS (IN) – A small frame hurts his value but his stuff is quite good. He has a max effort delivery that produces a low 90s FB and 2 solid offspeed pitches with a CB and CH. A TX recruit means many are hearing at least 1S money.

25. Dante Bichette Jr, OF, Orangewood Christian HS (FL) – Yep the son of power hitting Dante Bichette. Profiles as a LF with a solid arm but his bat could be quite special. He is a baseball rat and spends hours in the cage. He will hit for a good avg and very good to great power. To me a steal in the 2nd or 3rd. He’s a gamer.

26. Jake Hager, SS, Sierra Vista HS (NV) – A leader on the field at SS with above avg arm, hit tool and power (though its more gap power). Coaches love his passion and approach to the game and you get the feeling he won’t allow himself to fail. Count me in on the Hager Bandwagon!

27. James McCann, C, Arkansas – McCann has an above avg arm, avg receiving skills and intangibles off the chart. He is a leader on the field and will hit for a decent avg with avg power. His baseball skills aren’t anything that will make you say WOW but his leadership and intangibles can’t be taught. Just one of those guys you root for.

28. Nick Burdi, RHP, Downers Grove HS (IL) – His delivery have scouts worried that he will project as a reliever…but I see with a few tweaks he can stick as a starter. He has a low 90s FB that can reach mid 90s. He also has a SL that can be unhittable at times but needs more consistency. The biggest concern is his reported bit price tag that will most likely limit his suitors.

29. Matt Price, RHP, South Carolina – A closer that has 2 plus pitches. His FB is low-mid 90s and his SL as it needs to be a bit more consistent has a chance to be special. Projects as a closer in the bigs

30. Jason Coats, OF, TCU – He has regressed some this spring but projects as above avg hit tool and slightly above avg power. His speed, arm and defense in general is avg which means he profiles in LF.

31. Amir Garrett, LHP, Findlay Prep HS (NV) – A premium basketball talent that is committed to St. Johns…though he has interest in baseball as well. A VERY raw pitching talent you would have to make him a project and have patience. As you would expect he is extremely athletic and recently pitched for a group of scouts and pitched in the low-mid 90s with a usable CH and CB. Believers feel he has 3 plus pitches. The definition of a true high risk/high reward player. Being a 2 sport star he might have a big price tag though there are no reports on his asking price.

Predictions:

It is near impossible to predict players after the 1st Rd but I will say I see us going after a projectable pitcher (Verrrett, Conley, Gagnon, Brickhouse, etc) or a middle INF (Panik, B. Smith, Evans, Tilson, Loy, etc) with 1 or both picks. I would also hope that we consider a few upside players like T. Greene, Kelly, D. Smith, Bichette Jr, Delmonico, Cave, Fischer, etc. Let’s hope for another solid infusion in talent from this years crop.

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