SaberScouting’s Mock Draft, Draft Eve Edition

June 4th, 2008 · 14 Comments

By Frankie Piliere & Kiley McDaniel

It is the eve of the most highly-awaited day for all of us weird people that follow the MLB Draft. Here at SaberScouting, we’ve decided to celebrate Draft Day Eve by breaking out our crystal ball and projecting the first 15 picks of Thursday’s draft. Why just 15, you ask?

Well, we were swamped with other work tonight, but wanted to get some projections out for the readers, so we’ll give you the top 15 picks now, and then later today will post the second 15 picks, and possibly the supplemental round if we’re feeling daring. Or if the readers show up at our doors with torches.

And while we’re in the festive mood, I’ll ask for two things for my second televised draft experience.

Here’s to hoping Chris Berman doesn’t gets on camera and spill the picks 10 seconds before they’re announced. And here’s to hoping Keith Law or Jim Callis step up and make a draft day trade to give us some vintage TV helmet hair that the draft so richly deserves.

For reference’s sake, here’s our first mock draft.

So, follow us down into the rabbit hole of projection, hitability and fringiness, all after the jump…

(Yonder Alonso Cape League picture: The College Baseball Blog)

#1 - Tampa Bay Rays

Frankie’s Projection: Buster Posey, C, Florida State

Kiley’s Projection: Tim Beckham, SS, Griffin HS (GA)

Frankie: Posey, from all indications, still seems to have the inside track. Beckham fits their profile of past drafts but I’m sticking with what I’ve consistently heard all spring. They love Posey and he’s done nothing to change their minds.

Kiley: Looks like I’m going to be the wordy one. Beckham seems to have been the favorite for some time now, and is atop the SaberScouting Top 100, but not without a late charge from Buster Posey, who is hitting out of his mind in the college postseason. The decision appears to come down to those two, and both are at positions of need for the Rays, but the choice comes down to one question: upside or probability? Tampa’s track record says best available, with a lean toward the toolsy athletic type, and everything I’ve heard indicates Beckham is the guy. That being said, it’s a narrow choice, it’s impossible not to like Buster Posey, and scouting director R.J. Harrison very well may prefer Posey straight-up. This performance may have helped Beckham, and here’s the indication that the Beckham family is getting.

An enterprising Rays fan over at great blog DRaysBay (Josh Downie, to be exact), gives us a sneak peak at the right, into the alternate universe where Frankie is correct.

#2 - Pittsburgh Pirates

Frankie’s Projection: Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt

Kiley’s Projection: Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt

Frankie: There doesn’t seem to be much reason to disagree on this one. Finally, it looks like the Pirates will do right by their fan base and take the best player on the board. Don’t think for a second it won’t cost them though. It may be a serious challenge to sign him. There’s been no buzz to say they’ll go any other direction with this pick.

Kiley: Pittsburgh needs to show it’s fans that it is serious about winning, and the former MLB slot-enforcing czar, Frank Coonelly, is now in the front office for the Pirates and says they’ll take the best available player. After last year’s passing on Matt Wieters fiasco, due to a large pricetag shopped by Scott Boras, they won’t make the same mistake twice.

#3 - Kansas City Royals

Frankie’s Projection: Eric Hosmer, 1B, American Heritage HS (FL)

Kiley’s Projection: Buster Posey, C, Florida State

Frankie: This is where the scenarios begin to really diverge and things get very sticky. I have to stick with my original thoughts on this, though. The Royals know how to scout hitters and know a good one when they see one. Hosmer is going to cost them and that could be the only thing to interfere with this perfect match. I just don’t see this not playing out. Hosmer could slide a long way if he doesn’t go here. We reported on Hosmer’s reported price tag in a prior article. It’s great being self-referential.

Kiley: There has been a lot of pro-Eric Hosmer talk and anti-Posey talk at this pick, and with last year’s surprising pick of a polished HS hitter represented by Scott Boras (Mike Moustakas), there’s no telling where KC goes this time around, but Hosmer’s certainly in play. For me, the Royals have stockpiled corner bats in recent years, and, at a pick like this, with a guy as special, high probability, and scorching hot at the most premium of positiosn, like Posey, you can’t let him past, even if insiders will tell you Posey isn’t the guy and he’s raising his bonus expectations.

#4 - Baltimore Orioles

Frankie’s Projection: Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego

Kiley’s Projection: Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego

Frankie: I’m not exactly being gutsy on this projection. It really makes too much sense though. The Orioles have been on Matusz all spring and really, a guy of this caliber should not last longer than this. He gets surprisingly overlooked at times. A polished lefty with strikeout stuff and reasonable bonus demands is very hard to pass. The Orioles won’t.

Kiley: It seems like this is the only pick in the draft that everyone has projected the same guy for a few months. Matusz still isn’t a cinch here, as there has been talk of Justin Smoak, Gordon Beckham, and Posey (if he falls), but it appears that talk out of O’s camp is they want a college arm. Some may make a case for Aaron Crow if that’s the criteria, but Matusz has a chance to be a special top of the rotation lefty, and Baltimore has been tied to Matusz for some time; for good reason, it’s the right pick here for them.

#5 - San Francisco Giants

Frankie’s Projection: Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina

Kiley’s Projection: Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina

Frankie: The buzz all spring is that the Giants would like to grab one of the elite hitters in this class. Posey could be gone as well as Alvarez, so this really makes sense. From all indications, they prefer Smoak over Alonso and Beckham. This could change only if someone like Tim Beckham drops into their laps.

Kiley: The Giants have actually come out and said, not even anonymously, in the local papers that they want a polished bat at this pick. Smoak, for me is the best pick for that criteria, and personally, I only have Kyle Skipworth a hair ahead of Smoak on the SaberScouting Top 100, and the Giants need an impact bat, and fast. Combine that with talk that the Giants aren’t on Skipworth, but are all over Smoak, and this looks like an easy one. Which, of course, means I’ll be wrong. There’s some talk of Posey here if he slips, and also Gordon Beckham.

#6 - Florida Marlins

Frankie’s Projection: Tim Beckham, SS, Griffin HS (GA)

Kiley’s Projection: Kyle Skipworth, C, Patriot HS (CA)

Frankie: This is my first really “out there” idea. Tim Beckham dropping to sixth overall hasn’t been considered much and I myself even mentioned him as a possibility with the fifth overall pick. For no real reason, it is possible that he could slip here, but no further. If he is, there is no chance the Marlins don’t take him.

Kiley: Florida is one of those teams that is hard to figure as they consistently go off the map with personnel moves, although usually make the right move. They’d love to get Posey to slip to them here, which I can’t see happening, and the Marlins may wet their pants if Beckham slips, as in Frankie’s scenario. Florida has long been tied to Kyle Skipworth, as he can help solve their ongoing catching woes, and for me, has the highest upside in the draft. The Marlins are also on a quicker moving bat, local slugger Yonder Alonso, but if Skipworth is there and no one crazy slips, his Brian McCann-like package of upside is the pick.

#7 - Cincinnati Reds

Frankie’s Projection: Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri

Kiley’s Projection: Brett Lawrie, C, Brookswood HS (Canada)

Frankie: There were a lot of ways to go on this one. The Reds usually do their best to take the best player on the board though. Crow is that guy. He had some problems in the middle of his spring season but has bounced back nicely. They could look at Brett Lawrie for this spot also, but that is a real long shot.

Kiley: As Frankie mentioned, there’s a late rumor going around that the spot Lawrie’s helium will park him is right here at #7. That idea seemed laughable about a month ago, but Lawrie wasn’t joking around when he took his impact bat and plus-plus power to spring training camps all over the south (and the Dominican) and hit homer after homer, many off of major league pitchers on rehab. One stretch had 8 jacks in 8 days, one had 5 bombs in a doubleheader, and all of it has been in front of a large group of a curious scouting community. There obviously a good chance Lawrie won’t go here (although he probably doesn’t get past the Twins at 14, and certainly not the Jays at 17) and in that case, the Reds have been on Gordon Beckham and Aaron Crow, who would both be fine choices.

#8 - Chicago White Sox

Frankie’s Projection: Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia

Kiley’s Projection: Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia

Frankie: The White Sox have loved what they’ve seen from Beckham since he was in the Cape Cod League last summer. He’d be a nice fit for their organization and could move up quickly. Typically they have drafted guys with big results even if there have been some doubts about his overall game. Beckham has questions about his defense and swing but has put up massive numbers.

Kiley: Brett Wallace has been rumored to the guy at this spot for as long as I can remember, which is probably a few months (not. enough.sleep.). However, lately the Sox appeared to have cooled and on him starting following Beckham as a premium position guy who could step into Orlando Cabrera’s place quickly after he leaves. I think the Sox lean to the shortstop here, but Wallace is a distinct possibility, and so are the remaining power arms, Aaron Crow and Shooter Hunt, along with an off-the-board rumor of college catcher Jason Castro.

#9 - Washington Nationals

Frankie’s Projection: Kyle Skipworth, C, Patriot HS (CA)

Kiley’s Projection: Eric Hosmer, 1B, American Heritage HS (FL)

Frankie: Skipworth had a huge performance at his recent workout for the Nationals and it’s looking more and more likely that this is a match made in heaven. There have been rumors that Skipworth could slip but given the long running rumor of this connection, it is too much to ignore and the pre-draft workout could just be the icing on the cake.

Kiley: In my scenario, the Nats could really go in any direction. There’s power college arms Aaron Crow and Shooter Hunt along with Boras-repped high school bat Eric Hosmer. And the Nats are just the team who would go for a toolsy high schooler in Aaron Hicks or Gerrit Cole. They’ve also been tied to Zach Collier after his big workout in Washington, and the same goes for Skipworth (who’s gone in my scenario). So, how do I decide who the Nats go with? Highest ceiling. Hosmer has been watched closely since before he could drive and he fits the Nats approach of find the best talent and work out the money later.

#10 - Houston Astros

Frankie’s Projection: Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane

Kiley’s Projection: Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri

Frankie: The Astros are looking far and wide for a big arm to draft and Hunt seems like the perfect match. Not only is he a big, power arm but he could also move fairly quickly up the ladder. Hunt should be on the table for them to grab if they want him or they could go with the likes of someone like Gerrit Cole or Aaron Crow if he falls to them.

Kiley: And, in my scenario, Aaron Crow falls to them. He’s slipped some with reported high bonus demands and stuff that faded down the stretch, but he’s a potential frontline arm, despite some funk in the arm action. The Astros could go bat here with Yonder Alonso, opt for a power college arm alternative in Shooter Hunt, or maybe pop Boras-advised, polarizing prep hurler Gerrit Cole.

#11 - Texas Rangers

Frankie’s Projection: Gerrit Cole, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS

Kiley’s Projection: Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane

Frankie: If this isn’t an ideal match, then I don’t know what is. The Rangers have never been afraid to take power arms in the prep ranks with makeup concerns and Cole may be the best arm in the draft. They are also, historically, not at all bothered by working with Scott Boras. If he doesn’t go here, he could fall but this really seems like a great landing place for Cole.

Kiley: I would agree that Cole is an easy choice here, but I think Texas opts for a college arm here with all those prep arms coming along slowly. And their GM tells me (okay, tells another reporter) that college arm sounds great to him. Texas drafted Hunt out of high school, still needs pitching, might not want another prep arm, but still wants upside. I think Hunt might be the perfect pick here, rather than Cole.

#12 - Oakland Athletics

Frankie’s Projection: Yonder Alonso, 1B, Miami (FL)

Kiley’s Projection: Yonder Alonso, 1B, Miami (FL)

Frankie: This is one I’m surprised more people don’t talk about. I just don’t see Alonso, a first baseman that is not quite the hitter that Smoak is (of course that is debatable to some), going in the top ten picks. And, his place discipline seems like a neat match for Oakland. If he did last this far, I can’t imagine them letting him slide any further. Not to mention, he should be signable for slot dollars.

Kiley: Alonso certainly is a nice fit here, and Daric Barton isn’t really the type to preclude you from drafting another 1B high. And not like Billy Beane would worry about such a thought; he can trade anything! I think this might be a spot for Brett Lawrie if he doesn’t go #7 to Cincinnati, as Oakland loves drafting catchers and advanced power bats. There’s also some talk that this could be a landing spot for Florida prep shortstop Casey Kelly, as the A’s have shown some interest and have broken out of their recent college-only ways, but Alonso and Lawrie are likely higher on their list.

#13 - St. Louis Cardinals

Frankie’s Projection: Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentucky

Kiley’s Projection: Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentucky

Frankie: Friedrich has long been linked to Oakland essentially by default but if he does indeed slip by them, St. Louis is probably an even more logical landing spot for the curveball artist. St. Louis is said to be on the hunt for an advanced college arm and Friedrich would fit that bill. I’d be very surprised if Friedrich falls any further than this spot.

Kiley: St. Louis has been relatively conservative drafting under Jeff Luhnow, with mostly college picks and the occasional prep hitter mixed in. Some locals may call for hometown product Tim Melville, but there’s no history with the Cards and prep pitcher to base that prediction on. I have the Redbirds sticking with the college route, grabbing a small school lefty in Friedrich that gets a lot of Barry Zito comps for his average fastball, good change, and knockout curve that’s the best in the draft. This one almost seems too easy to me, look for us to be wrong, maybe Brett Wallace or Zach Collier with Tim Melville as the darkhorse.

#14 - Minnesota Twins

Frankie’s Projection: Zach Collier, RF, Chino Hills HS (CA)

Kiley’s Projection: Aaron Hicks, CF, Wilson HS (CA)

Frankie: The Twins are as good as any team at scouting the high school ranks and Collier has emerged in a big way this spring. It seems logical that Minnesota would be right on the case. Minnesota has made some very surprising picks over the years, especially last year in the first round with Ben Revere. This could be a real wildcard selection, someone we may not even be thinking of. Brett Lawrie might be a fit here as well.

Kiley: As Frankie says, Minnesota leans to the high school/tools end of the spectrum, frequently goes off-the-board, and usually does well in the draft. Brett Lawrie is definitely in play here, and I would think is the pick if he’s available. In my scenario he isn’t, and Collier is a distinct possibility, but may be too raw at the plate for Minnesota’s liking. Casey Kelly fits great here if the Twins would go over slot, but that’s unlikely. I wouldn’t be suprised if Brett Wallace, Tim Melville, Aaron Hicks, or Ethan Martin were the pick, either. I’ll go with Aaron Hicks here, and say the Twins chase the upside, and believe they’ve got a faster version of Torii Hunter with an 80 arm that could play on the mound. They may even draft him as a pitcher rather than a center fielder, as Hicks reportedly is more open to signing as a pitcher.

#15 - Los Angeles Dodgers

Frankie’s Projection: Ethan Martin, RHP, Stephen’s County HS (GA)

Kiley’s Projection: Tim Melville, RHP, Holt HS (MO)

Frankie: It’s a pretty safe bet to say that the Dodgers will likely go with a prep arm. Martin is drawing more and more attention for his efforts on the hill and would fit neatly into what the Dodgers tend to do. They have a history drafting two way players and they could use Martin in either capacity. Jake Odorizzi and Tim Melville could also fit into this spot.

Kiley: This is yet another spot that could go in a number of directions, and at this point in the draft, that’s a function of a glut of similarly-talented guys. You’ll hear this, I’ll guess, 400 times on the ESPN telecast; TV loves sweeping generalizations, but this one is probably true. Zach Collier is a local kid that again wowed the Dodgers in workouts (he did that for a number of teams), and Gerrit Cole is another local kid, but his funky arm action and Boras representation may scare the Dodgers off. I agree with Frankie that Martin is a natural fit for Logan White, as he loves power prep arms (Withrow, Billingsley, Kershaw, Elbert) and power third base bats (Bell, DeWitt, LaRoche), and two-way athletes (Loney). That being said, White does skew to more projectable frames and cleaner deliveries, isn’t afraid to take a guy 5-10 picks earlier than people expect, looks at the full body of work rather than taking the hot name, and has already taken two first rounders out of the Missouri prep ranks (Elbert, DeWitt). All of that thinking out loud leads me to Melville.

Kiley’s Mock Draft
1. Tampa Bay - Tim Beckham, SS, Georgia HS
2. Pittsburgh - Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt
3. Kansas City - Buster Posey, C, Florida State
4. Baltimore - Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego
5. San Francisco - Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina
6. Florida -Kyle Skipworth, C, California HS
7. Cincinnati - Brett Lawrie, C, Canada HS
8. Chicago White Sox - Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia
9. Washington - Eric Hosmer, 1B, Florida HS
10. Houston - Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri
11. Texas - Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane
12. Oakland - Yonder Alonso, 1B, Miami (FL)
13. St. Louis - Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentucky
14. Minnesota - Aaron Hicks, CF, California HS
15. Los Angeles - Tim Melville, RHP, Missouri HS

Frankie’s Mock Draft
1. Tampa Bay - Buster Posey, C, Florida State
2. Pittsburgh - Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt
3. Kansas City - Eric Hosmer, 1B, Florida HS
4. Baltimore - Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego
5. San Francisco - Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina
6. Florida - Tim Beckham, SS, Georgia HS
7. Cincinnati - Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri
8. Chicago White Sox - Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia
9. Washington - Kyle Skipworth, C, California HS
10. Houston - Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane
11. Texas - Gerrit Cole, RHP, California HS
12. Oakland - Yonder Alonso, 1B, Miami (FL)
13. St. Louis - Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentucky
14. Minnesota - Zach Collier, RF, California HS
15. Los Angeles - Ethan Martin, RHP, Georgia HS

We’ll be checking back in later today with the rest of our first-round projection. Be sure to tell us why we’re crazy in the comments and come back after the draft has happened and make fun some more. That’s what this is all about.

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Tags: 2008 MLB Draft · Draft Buzz · Our Opinion

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mock draft mania « Future Redbirds // Jun 4, 2008 at 11:30 am

    […] Goldstein and both Kiley and Frankie of Saber Scouting┬áhave the Cardinals down for LHP Christian Friedrich, which comes as no big […]

  • 2 Scott // Jun 4, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Frankie,
    Where do you see Melville landing?

  • 3 James // Jun 4, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Who if anyone do you think could fall to the Twins.

  • 4 fpiliere44 // Jun 4, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I have Melville going to the Rockies @ 25.

  • 5 Scott // Jun 4, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Kiley/Frankie,

    Again, thank you for such a comprehensive analysis. I know that many friends are also becoming avid readers.

    There’s a lot of buzz around Anthony Hewitt saying he is probably the most ‘raw, but elite toolsy’ guy in the draft. KG at BP said some compare him to Bo Jackson, others say he won’t get out of A-Ball. What are your thoughts on him and where he ends up?

  • 6 Who will the Reds take in the 2008 MLB Draft? // Jun 4, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    […] Saberscouting.com Mock Draft (Frankie) - Aaron Crow - There were a lot of ways to go on this one. The Reds usually do their best to take the best player on the board though. Crow is that guy. He had some problems in the middle of his spring season but has bounced back nicely. They could look at Brett Lawrie for this spot also, but that is a real long shot. […]

  • 7 Mike R. // Jun 4, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Who are you projecting @ 28??

  • 8 some wag // Jun 4, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    before you actually post the official list/analysis, would you please make several thousand seperate posts covering every single of piece of information you plan to include in the final?

    thanks

  • 9 A Different Mike R. // Jun 5, 2008 at 12:11 am

    I know you’re posting your back half of the first round later, but a sneak peak at the Tigers pick would be much appreciated!

  • 10 kileymcd // Jun 5, 2008 at 12:57 am

    Entering the second half of the mock tonight, so I’ll wait on the projection picks, since you’ll have your answer shortly. A few notes regarding the comments:

    Posey’s $12M asking price is for real. Lots of Yankee fans frequent this space. The draft room will pee their pants if Posey makes it to 28. I would guess he doesn’t, but who thought he’d ask for exactly double the bonus of Matt Wieters?

    As for the Yankees pick, there’s really no way to know, but they love upside and signability guys or injured guys that slipped, so make a list of those guys and pick one–will probably be as accurate as our guess.

    The Tigers have been lusting after Casey Kelly for nearly a year now. That’s who they want. I think the Cubs get him, but Tim Wilken’s never been one to do what I think he should.

    Hewitt, for me, is the tooled-up guy that can’t hit that most think he is. How many guys are cold-weather guys that can’t hit, and then figure it out, and enough to be a useful player? Like 2 in the history of earth? Maybe 10 from hot weather states? Just not a good bet, but the upside is enough that I would still consider him in the 2nd.

    Don’t know who will fall to the Twins. A few guys will slip (Alonso and Hunt are favorites right now), and they’ll get a good player, it just depends how 1-13 go, and there’s about 1000 possibilities out there.

  • 11 A Different Mike R. // Jun 5, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Thanks, Kiley. I know it’s silly to ask for a preview of what you’re going to post soon, but I was just anxious. This site is a daily read for me, now. Not to go way off track but didn’t it start in March/April? If so, I look forward to next year when you have more time to actually get the info/mock drafts/draft news out without having to expunge so much of it so close to the draft day. It’s a fantastic site.

  • 12 kileymcd // Jun 5, 2008 at 3:27 am

    We’re right there with you. We’ve got some good 2009 names and reports already out of the way…should be a good one to follow.

  • 13 Posey Requests Moon, Stars, and 2nd Half of Mock Draft | Saber-Scouting // Jun 5, 2008 at 4:01 am

    […] Log in ← SaberScouting’s Mock Draft, Draft Eve Edition […]

  • 14 The Draft Liveblog | Saber-Scouting // Jun 5, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    […] confident in. And if you want some info on these players and mock commentary, check out the first half of the mock draft, the updated top 100 prospects list, or just poke around the site’s last few posts and […]

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