By Frankie Piliere & Kiley McDaniel
We promised this mock draft a week ago and are finally delivering it now. So, we apologize for the delay and are trying to make it worth the wait by giving you a little more information than the average mock does. I know the one thing I hate when I’m reading projections of supposed experts is that they project this guy for this spot and only give you a sentence explanation—shouldn’t an expert have slightly more to say?
So, while we aren’t experts, we decided to give you a more (warning: SAT word coming) granular experience, in regards to amount of draft info and insight into each team’s decision process. We tackled thing thing PTI-style, with a back-and-forth and both of our projections and thoughts on each pick.
A disclaimer: the specific team/player buzz and late rising prospect info that really makes mock drafts run hasn’t really gotten out yet (we have some, not much) as teams are still evaluating players, so we limited ourselves to the first ten picks to stick with guys we have the most info on, to keep from a 40,000 word column, and to not waste too much of everyone’s time on the more fluid portions of the first round.
And if you just want to see our projections and not all of those pesky words in between, just skip to the bottom for the super-condensed version. Enough introduction, I’ll let Frankie start our irresponsible stabs in the dark after the jump…
(Pictured Above, Right: San Diego’s LHP Brian Matusz)
#1 - Tampa Bay Rays
Frankie: I’m going to be very undaring and say the Rays take Tim Beckham. They like their athletes and tools and he couldn’t be more ideal.
Kiley: Oh, come on you have to have more to say than that. Two sentences?! We promised analysis!
Frankie: It’s black & white. Beckham is easily the best prep guy in the draft and there’s no slam dunk collegian like Price
Kiley: I guess that’s better. I’ll direct people to my prior report on who the Rays are actually considering as candidates for the #1 pick for more information on this pick. I think it’s a safe assumption at this point based on what I’ve heard that Tim Beckham is atop the Rays board for #1. And while team needs shouldn’t have an impact on baseball draft picks in a perfect world, it does help when there’s a big logjam of youngsters at a few levels (including the bigs) and there’s a virtual coinflip at the pick. Anyone you ask would say Beckham or coinflip is how they rank it, and the Rays would take an up-the-middle guy with their gluts of talent at pitching depth and corner bats. And the Rays love these types of players anyway. So that’s what Frankie meant.
Frankie’s Projection for #1: Tim Beckham, SS, Georgia’s Griffin HS
Kiley’s Projection for #1: Tim Beckham, SS, Georgia’s Griffin HS
#2 - Pittsburgh Pirates
Kiley: The Pirates’ new President is the former MLB Draft slotting czar Frank Coonelly and they can’t go cheap again after the Dan Moskos fiasco last year, and have said they won’t. I think they have to pick Pedro Alvarez here, he’s the clear best player to me, but at the least, if it’s a coinflip with him, Crow, and Matusz, and Alvarez is the splashier pick and they’ll likely err to that side, and err towards an impact hitter.
Frankie: I think it completely comes down to if they are brave enough to pick another righty pitcher with potential cause for concern with Crow’s arm action. I don’t know what that right decision is but i have to think their past experiences with these pitchers has to somewhat impact how they evaluate the idea of picking Crow. I really don’t see any way of going the prep route. I’m going to say when push comes to shove they pick Crow.
Kiley: Wait, didn’t you say they should pause because of the funk in the arm action?
Frankie: Pause, yes. Considering their history they better be united on the pick but I think it’s a pick they have to make. They can’t live in fear of past disasters.
Kiley: I live in fear of all of my past disasters. I think it’s Crow v Alvarez here and while need and PR shouldn’t run a pick, you err towards hitters, you err towards track record, you err towards hitters and those with LH power given the org’s situation, and you need a splashy pick like some teams do in Latin America to signal you aren’t messing around anymore. I think Crow is very good, but ultimately another top 5 college pitcher (not that good of a track record, look it up), and Alvarez is a potential Teixeira bat. I just can’t see them passing on that since money isn’t an option here. So we’ll agree to disagree, and much like Tony Kornheiser in Toss Up on PTI, I win.
Kiley: One more thing on the Pirates. I don’t make a pick based on some of those criteria I just named, but I think they will in an effort to change the losing culture there. We’re trying to think like the teams are, and maybe later will have a story where we make picks if we were the teams, but for now we’re trying to get in their heads, and I think splashy pick is in Pittsburgh’s head.
Kiley’s Projection for #2: Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt
Frankie’s Projection for #2: Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri
#3 - Kansas City Royals
Frankie: I love the Royals track record evaluating bats the past few years. And, year after year, they aren’t as afraid of the price tags as people think. Eric Hosmer for the Royals I say. He’s just way too much of a masher to drop. People were thrown for a loop when they picked Moustakas last year but I refuse to be surprised this time. They see a bat they like, they take it. Plus, Hosmer is (depending on who you talk to) an even bigger bat than Moustakas. Unless the price tag is just too insane, I think KC will go Hosmer.
Kiley: We also reported on Hosmer’s reported price tag, along with Pedro Alvarez’s, in a prior article. It’s great being self-referential. Moving back to the pick at hand, I would agree that KC has been good with bats lately and won a standoff with a top prep bat and Boras last year for Moustakas, so you gotta give them some dap (second PTI reference, sorry). Hosmer, a Boras client, is a distinct possibility but I have a feeling they’ll shy from corner bats this year with that being their strength by a good margin at this point. I think Aaron Crow, another confirmed Boras client, might be a quicker moving, big league deal alternative as a hometown guy. There’s also rumblings Missouri prep RHP Tim Melville could be a discount pick here, but I don’t think KC skimps on this one. I’m going to say they take Crow here to try to prop up the pitching staff with a hometown power arm that will move fast, to join Meche, Greinke, Bannister, and Soria.
Frankie: I have to agree that I doubt that there’s much to the Melville rumblings. I just don’t see KC ever being cheap on the draft with good players on the board.
Kiley: That’s a losing culture than may be changing. KC is headed in the right direction with Dayton Moore, Deric Ladnier, and company; they’ve been making some good moves.
Frankie’s Projection for #3: Eric Hosmer, 1B, Florida’s American Heritage HS
Kiley’s Projection for #3: Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri
#4 - Baltimore Orioles
Kiley: They’re a bit of a mystery with the Angelos involvement never fully known and going from toeing the line to giving a record bonus to Matt Wieters last season. It appears Andy MacPhail is ready to spend some dough and rebuild this thing, and Joe Jordan is someone you want in charge of that kind of money. Everyone keeps saying this is a 4-player draft, and whether that’s true or not, I’ve got the top 4 players going in the top 4 picks, so I’ll send the safest pick of that bunch to Baltimore, San Diego’s LHP Brian Matusz.
Frankie: Two years, two high priced bats? That’s the question and I say yes. In my mock so far, they would have the chance to get Pedro Alvarez. Can you imagine a team having the chance to have Wieters and Alvarez in their organization? If he’s there as I project, they have to do it. Teaming Alvarez with Wieters in their system is just too ideal not to happen. It won’t be cheap obviously. Something tells me if they were willing last year though, they’ll be willing again.
Kiley: I like the choose your own adventure/alternate reality shapes our mocks are taking. Oh, wait, if we’re going to be on ESPN, I have to call you an idiot. So, yeah, you’re such a moron, whatever I say is right, whatever you say is wrong, and [generic slam about your physique]. See, people love contrived conflicts!
Kiley’s Projection for #4: Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego
Frankie’s Projection for #4: Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt
#5 - San Francisco Giants
Frankie: This is the beauty of mocks. The Giants are always a tricky one to project. Drafting on needs is evil, yes, but boy could the Giants use a bat. In my book, Justin Smoak is their man. I think he’s pretty safe that he won’t blow up in their faces and could contribute in a hurry. It’s a nice fit.
Kiley: I’ll go in yet another direction. The Giants need bats, there’s no elite arms for this spot, but the problem is with $2 million bonus baby Angel Villalona already only able to play 1B, they’ll have to really like a 1B to take one here. Hosmer or Smoak might fit, and there’s a possibility one of them could play LF, so either could work here. But, I’ll go with our first somewhat off-the-board pick and say the Giants take a quick-rising middle infielder with a serious bat and some serious helium, Georgia’s SS Gordon Beckham. He might have value a few picks lower, but he could be had at slot and reach the majors quickly at either SS or 2B, both spots SF needs help at. I’m operating on the assumption that they don’t have any of the 1B materially ahead of Beckham, and this is the type of discount need-based pick that comes out the night before the draft and mildly surprises everyone, so I’ll stick my neck out there now and project this early. The Giants could go in a lot of different directions, though.
Frankie’s Projection for #5: Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina
Kiley’s Projection for #5: Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia
#6 - Florida Marlins
Kiley: Hosmer certainly makes sense here as the best available player on most boards, and he’s a hometown guy, being a long-time south Florida prep standout. The Marlins don’t have much of a Boras history and might not want to pay the piper, but could easily take a lower-price hometown 1B in Miami’s Yonder Alonso, red-hot South Carolina 1B Justin Smoak, or white-hot FSU catcher Buster Posey. The Fish strike me as a risk taking organization that trusts their scouts, but with a budget in mind, so I’ll go with Posey, on the strength of his rampant top 10 buzz and the Marlins’ perpetually influx catcher position.
Frankie: Thanks for the brilliant bridge to my point. I’m going to be radical and have them take Kyle Skipworth. I know his demands might be high but if he’s picked that early I think they might be more reasonable than expected. A total package prep catcher, I just can’t see Florida passing on that. To me, that’s really a great fit assuming his demands aren’t crazy. Matusz (in my universe) is on the board but I just can’t envision that scenario at all.
Kiley: Skipworth might fit the Marlins’ tendencies better, it just seemed to me that Posey has more value at that spot, and with his quicker moving type bat will fill the need quicker—ROI is something the Marlins seem very aware of. Hosmer and his alleged demands are in freefall on my board and Matusz on yours. Is Matusz a Boras guy? He seems like a slot-deal, high probabilty lefty, why is he dropping for you?
Frankie: Matusz does not seem universally loved, at least not like he was. He has shown at least some small dents in his armor this year. This is basically just how the chips have fallen in my mock. Sometimes guys slip for no real reason besides just unexpectedly being in play when teams hadn’t expected them to be.
Kiley: Matusz just seemed to me like the scouting director’s favorite that might be the type to slip in at #2 before he slips to #8. But, like you said, this doesn’t always make sense, and teams generally do stick to profiles.
Kiley’s Projection for #6: Buster Posey, C, Florida State
Frankie’s Projection for #6: Kyle Skipworth, C, California’s Patriot HS
#7 - Cincinnati Reds
Frankie: Cincy has faith in their high schoolers. Melville should be right there for the taking. Am I the only one that sees a match there? He’s right up their alley and I really have seen no hint that they are changing their draft philosophy anytime soon. And, I really don’t think there’s another guy there for them to take that fits as well as Melville.
Kiley: So, I guess we’re only going to agree on #1. At #7, the Reds have all the first baseman still on the board; Hosmer, Smoak, and Alonso, and they arguably make up the top 3 players on the board. And Joey Votto isn’t the type of guy to force you not to take a 1B, especially with these 1Bs officially slipping. The Reds don’t have a history of paying for Boras guys (Hosmer) and Smoak is the consenus guy ahead of Alonso, so for me, this pick is Smoak or whoever the Reds have as the top arm, either Tulane’s Shooter Hunt, Fresno State’s Tanner Scheppers, or Missouri prepster Tim Melville. I think when it comes down to it, the Reds take the pitcher and go with Tulane’s version of Homer Bailey, Shooter Hunt.
Kiley: In a related note, no Matusz through seven picks?! His fanclub will be coming to your doorstep!
Frankie: It’s coming, shhhh. His spotlight time is coming.
Kiley: The creepiest line in Mock Draft history.
Frankie’s Projection for #7: Tim Melville, RHP, Missouri’s Holt HS
Kiley’s Projection for #7: Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane
#8 - Chicago White Sox
Kiley: At 8, we have the other Sox, who were mandated to take a high ceiling arm last year and got San Francisco’s Aaron Poreda, and with the 8th pick this year, you have to think they’re reaching for the stars again. They could go Hosmer here but I’m not sure they want to pay the premium and probably will err towards a quicker-moving bat. And, gift-wrapped on a silver platter for a starved system is a dynamic bat with Teixeira comps, South Carolina’s Justin Smoak. There’s always a pick or two in the first round where everything shakes out perfectly for one team and someone gets a steal. In my mock, the White Sox are that team.
Frankie: I think you know where I’m going with this. Brian Matusz, anyone? I think this is his rock bottom destination. No way he gets past the Chisox.
Kiley’s Projection for #8: Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina
Frankie’s Projection for #8: Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego
#9 - Washington Nationals
Frankie: I know a really obsessed Nationals fan (no I’m not kidding, those really do exist) that wants to know this badly. I have the Nats picking Yonder Alonso. They’ve really made a variety of early picks of late, why not a college bat? They had a nice contingent with a watchful eye on him in the Cape this summer so make of that what you want. They lack polished college bats in their system so in that regard it also makes sense.
Kiley: This is the home I see for Eric Hosmer. He’s a value up in the top 5, but I can see him dropping to this area more realistically than Matusz. The Nats are a team formerly very starved for dynamic bats, now just pretty starved, and Washington is a big market that has spent in the draft, and Hosmer is a high school toolshed, it just makes too much sense. In this scenario, both the White Sox and the Nats are the big winners.
Frankie’s Projection for #9: Yonder Alonso, 1B, Miami (FL)
Kiley’s Projection for #9: Eric Hosmer, 1B, Florida’s American Heritage HS
#10 - Houston Astros
Kiley: The Astros just took a high school catcher in thw first round in 2006 with Orlando prep backstop Max Sapp. Sapp’s been hot and cold, mostly cold since signing, but teams don’t like a redundancy in top picks at certain positions (like catcher) as it indirectly admits a bad pick previously. I say this because Kyle Skipworth could be a great fit here, but J.R. Towles just broke into the bigs as well, so Skipworth will have to wait a bit longer. Luckily, Lance Berkman is versatile defensively and Houston needs a bat, so I’ll give them 1B Yonder Alonso from Miami at this pick.
Frankie: To me, this seems like an ideal spot for the other Beckham, Gordon Beckham. The Astros never seem to be too daring and Beckham doesn’t figure to cost a ton. Seeming to be on the decline, it’d make sense for them to try and re-establish a shortstop they can build around for the future. A new center piece they could surely use. I think this is a nice landing spot for Shooter Hunt also. A lot of ways they can go for sure.
Kiley’s Projection for #10: Yonder Alonso, 1B, Miami (FL)
Frankie’s Projection for #10: Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia
In honor of Spinal Tap, we’re going to extend this thing one more pick. Because this Mock Draft goes to 11.
#11 - Texas Rangers
Frankie: Texas has consistently shown they will take the big arm, whether it is college or high school. It seems to me they are just set on taking the most electric arm they can find. Look at Beavan, Kiker, Main and then their college picks. That’s why I went with Shooter Hunt. They’ve taken guys that were considered to maybe be more throwers then pitchers. Hunt is more advanced being a college guy but he’s had bouts of control issues and the like. Nice spot for Hunt to fall into I think. I doubt he’d get much further.
Kiley: I think Kyle Skipworth is the best player here, but Texas is all loaded up on catchers and they love to take young arms, so while Skipworth is still a possibility here, I’ll go with the top arm available, which is a tossup between Tim Melville and Tanner Scheppers, but with all the 1st round HS arms lately for the Rangers, I think they’ll take a more mature option here with Scheppers.
Frankie’s Projection for #11: Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane
Kiley’s Projection for #11: Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Fresno State
Kiley: For a quick list of “just missed” prospects, I have a top tier of 13 players, so those 2 left over would be California prep C Kyle Skipworth and Missouri prep RHP Tim Melville. For those wondering, I’ll give two more bonus projections and give Skipworth to Oakland at 12 and give Melville to St. Louis at 13. They both turn out to be hometown picks of sorts, as well. So, there’s your bonus picks without the annoying commentary and canned banter.
Kiley’s Mock Draft
1. Tampa Bay -Tim Beckham, SS, Georgia HS
2. Pittsburgh - Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt
3. Kansas City - Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri
4. Baltimore -Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego
5. San Francisco - Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia
6. Florida - Buster Posey, C, Florida State
7. Cincinnati - Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane
8. Chicago White Sox - Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina
9. Washington - Eric Hosmer, 1B, Florida HS
10. Houston - Yonder Alonso, 1B, Miami (FL)
11. Texas - Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Fresno State
12. Oakland - Kyle Skipworth, C, California HS
13. St. Louis - Tim Melville, RHP, Missouri HS
Frankie’s Mock Draft
1. Tampa Bay -Tim Beckham, SS, Georgia HS
2. Pittsburgh - Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri
3. Kansas City - Eric Hosmer, 1B, Florida HS
4. Baltimore - Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt
5. San Francisco - Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina
6. Florida -Kyle Skipworth, C, California HS
7. Cincinnati - Tim Melville, RHP, Missouri HS
8. Chicago White Sox - Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego
9. Washington - Yonder Alonso, 1B, Miami (FL)
10. Houston - Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia
11. Texas - Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane