Top 30 First-Year Player Draft projection
Mayo predicts how the first round may unfold in 2007
Hoo-boy, here goes nothing.
It's time, finally, to unveil my first crack at projecting the entire first round. That's all 30 picks for those of you scoring at home.
This is never an easy task, but it does seem that this year is even tougher (of course, I'm fairly certain I said that last year ... and the year before). Nonetheless, below are picks 1-30, as best I can ascertain at this time. Keep in mind that this projection will be updated next week in the days leading up to June 7 on several occasions as teams start to line things up a little more definitively.
It's certainly less definitive in the bottom half of the first round, where teams may not truly know who is going to fall to them until the big day itself. Many of those teams will set up their boards and take the top guy still available when it's time to pick. In some instances, I tried to follow that advice.
One change from previous weeks appears in this week's projection. While nothing will be official for a little while, the latest word is that Max Scherzer will likely not sign with the Diamondbacks and will thus re-enter the draft pool. As a result, I have put him into this week's projections. Obviously, if something shifts and he does come to terms, changes will be made accordingly next week.
OK, enough stalling. Here are the projections:
1. Tampa Bay Devil Rays: David Price, LHP, Vanderbilt University
Still the same. There will be some talk about Matt Wieters still being a possibility, but there's no reason to change things now. Price threw a complete-game gem in the SEC tournament with some key Rays staffers on hand.
Last week's projection: Price
2. Kansas City Royals: Rick Porcello, RHP, Seton Hall Prep (N.J.)
This has been the guy, and continues to be the guy, the Royals want. The only thing that could change this at the last minute is a financial issue, but as of right now, there's no reason to assume that there will be one, even if Porcello is a Scott Boras advisee.
Last week's projection: Porcello
3. Chicago Cubs: Josh Vitters, 3B, Cypress HS (Calif.)
Back to reality this week. I switched things up here so it would make more sense later, but it's time to start truly trying to line things up. While the Cubs may like Jarrod Parker's arm, everything points to them going with a bat. That bat is Vitters, still considered to be the top high school hitter in the country by many. The Cubs have been on him all along and he's done nothing to have them look elsewhere.
Last week's projection: Jarrod Parker
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
4. Pittsurgh Pirates: Matt Wieters, C, Georgia Tech
Call this the "this is what they should do in this situation" pick. The Pirates would still be pleased it if the Cubs went in a different direction and Vitters were here. But he won't be, at least not in this projection, so they have to look elsewhere. Pitching doesn't make sense, though they have been following Daniel Moskos closely. What they do need is an impact bat and one that might be able to get to the big leagues quickly. The reality is that it's unlikely Pittsburgh ownership would sign off on a Boras pick like Wieters, but the switch-hitting backstop fits for a number of reasons. The Pirates don't pick again until No. 69 (if Scherzer re-enters), so they could afford to spend a little more with that top pick. And even though there are some split opinions on Wieters, he's still the best bet among college bats to get to the Majors in a hurry and have an impact at a premium position.
Last week's projection: Vitters
5. Baltimore Orioles: Ross Detwiler, LHP, Missouri State
Rumors continue that they might make a big splash, and if Wieters did fall to here they wouldn't pass him up. I still have a hard time believing that ownership would sign off on that, and the college lefties' names keep coming up in conversations about the Orioles. Detwiler has been mentioned the most in this spot, so I'm not going to change it, even though he struggled through just three innings in his conference tournament before leaving with a split fingernail. Although that was his last start of the year, it shouldn't impact his draft status and it won't impact my projection.
Last week's projection: Detwiler
6. Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer, RHP, No school
I've said all along if he re-entered, it would make too much sense not to put him here. After all, it was Nationals assistant GM and VP of baseball operations Mike Rizzo who drafted him a year ago with the Diamondbacks. Scherzer's thrown well in indy ball and Rizzo does not shy away from negotiating with Boras. It would give the organization a splash in terms of showing baseball the team is willing to spend on the future.
Last week's projection: Wieters
7. Milwaukee Brewers: Mike Moustakas, SS/3B, Chatsworth HS (Calif.)
The Brewers have liked Moustakas' bat all along, but there was the question of whether they would be able to afford his price tag (he's a Boras advisee). Milwaukee is definitely doubling back on several players they've looked at before, like Detwiler and Canadian right-hander Phillipe Aumont, who's still a possibility for this spot. But it might turn out that Moustakas isn't quite as unsignable as people perceived. The Brewers will undoubtedly do their homework on the signability factor before taking the plunge, but here's saying they will.
Last week's projection: Daniel Moskos
8. Colorado Rockies: Daniel Moskos, LHP, Clemson
This would be the arm the Rockies would prefer to get with this pick, though they'll continue to discuss both members of the Chatsworth duo (Moustakas and Matt Dominguez). They're also looking at Aumont as a possibility, and they did have success with a Canadian pitcher when they took Jeff Francis a few years back. That being said, if the advanced arm is there, they'll take him.
Last week's projection: Aumont
9. Arizona Diamondbacks: Phillipe Aumont, RHP, Ecole Du Versant Gatineau, Quebec
Now going under the assumption the Diamondbacks do not sign Scherzer, it's hard to figure out what direction they'll go in. On one hand, they've got some extra money they won't be giving Scherzer, so if Moustakas were to be around, it would make sense. On the other hand, would they really want to go to battle again with Boras after the Scherzer thing didn't pan out? At least in this projection, it's not a concern with Moustakas off the board. If they decided to go with a college arm, Arkansas lefty Nick Schmidt could go here, but instead Arizona will go with the 6-foot-7 projectable right-hander in Aumont, who continued to impress with a pair of outings in the Dominican recently.
Last week's projection: Moustakas
10. San Francisco Giants: Nick Schmidt, LHP, University of Arkansas
With three picks in the top 30, I suggested the Giants would take one high schooler and two college players with the picks, but projected they'd take the high schooler (Josh Smoker) first because he might not be around when they picked later on. That could still be the case, either with Smoker, Aumont or Parker. But there were some heavy hitters in to see Schmidt at the SEC Tournament, including GM Brian Sabean. That's not a guarantee, mind you, but it's a nice clue. It didn't hurt that Schmidt tossed a two-hit shutout after carrying a no-no into the eighth, either.
Last week's projection: Josh Smoker
11. Seattle Mariners: Casey Weathers, RHP, Vanderbilt
It's been generally believed, almost from the get-go, that the Mariners would be looking for an arm at No. 11. A lot of scouts like the arm of Vanderbilt closer Casey Weathers. A senior, he'd certainly be an easy sign. Is this too high in the draft for a reliever to go? Perhaps, but with the M's playing decent ball, the idea of drafting someone who could help the big club out in a hurry might be enticing. Weathers is the best of the college closer lot right now, and could join Brandon Morrow in Seattle's bullpen very quickly.
Last week's projection: Weathers
12. Florida Marlins: Jarrod Parker, RHP, Norwell HS (Ind.)
There were plenty of Marlins who witnessed Schmidt's tourney gem last week, and if he were around they would be tempted to add an advanced college arm to join the ones in the organization already. But assuming he's gone, they could go with the top prep arm still on the board in Parker, who has wowed many scouts with his stuff and arm strength, even though he is the classic "undersized right-hander." If they want to go bat, it certainly isn't out of the question for them to go with last week's projection, Jason Heyward.
Last week's projection: Heyward
13. Cleveland Indians: Blake Beavan, RHP, Irving HS (Tex.)
Last week, I sided on the bat side of the arm vs. bat debate the Indians might have this year. This week, I've changed gears and gone with the arm. In this case, that's Texas prep star Beavan, who is big, projectable and has power stuff. Think Adam Miller, redux.
Last week's projection: Matt Dominguez
14. Atlanta Braves: Jason Heyward, Henry County HS (Ga.)
Atlanta does like to draft local kids, and they like the high school players, so it could come down to Heyward or Smoker, depending on what direction they wanted to go in. Florida's Michael Main or Matt Harvey from Connecticut is also a possibility here, but in the end, the toolsy Georgia outfielder might be too much for them to pass up.
Last week's projection: Harvey
15. Cincinnati Reds: Kevin Ahrens, 3B, Memorial HS (Tex.)
This one falls under the category of hearing a player's name so much with one team that it's both hard to ignore and hard to not wonder if it's true. There was some talk the Reds would also be interested in Aumont should he slide here, but all of the buzz is that they've been on Houston-area infielder Ahrens all along. He plays shortstop in high school and isn't bad there, but the consensus is that he should move to third where he should profile better both offensively and defensively.
Last week's projection: Ahrens
16. Toronto Blue Jays: Matt Dominguez, 3B, Chatsworth HS (Calif.)
With two picks in the first round, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Jays go with a high schooler with either pick. Logic would say they'd split the picks, but why not defy logic and take two prepsters? The first one will be Dominguez, who didn't seem like he'd be available here in last week's projection. Now he is and he's got an excellent bat-glove combination which sometimes gets lost behind the glare of teammate Moustakas' home run flurry.
Last week's projection: Devin Mesoraco
17. Texas Rangers: Matt Harvey, RHP, Fitch HS (Conn.)
The Rangers would love for Beavan to be around at No. 17 so they could take the local power pitcher. But if the Indians do take him, they will have to look elsewhere. Harvey, once thought of as possibly the top high school arm in the country, has dropped some, but not based solely on talent. He could drop this far because of perceived signability concerns (Boras is his advisor), but the Rangers haven't shied away from Boras guys in the past.
Last week's projection: Beavan
18. St. Louis Cardinals: Jake Arrieta, RHP, Texas Christian University
There was a temptation to put a Boras guy here because the Cardinals can do that, but it didn't make sense to force the issue. That being said, if Andrew Brackman bounces back with a strong regional start later this week, he could very well figure into the picture here. Instead, I'll go with a "safe" pick in Arrieta. He's had an up-and-down season, but he turned in a dandy at UNLV last week and will get a regional start in to give scouts one last look. The Cardinals have enjoyed the Lone Star State in recent drafts and even took a Horned Frog pitcher last year, Brad Furnish.
Last week's projection: Matt LaPorta
19. Philadelphia Phillies: Julio Borbon, OF, University of Tennessee
Every year, the Phillies are associated with the top toolsy, athletic high school position players in the draft class. Granted, they don't always take them -- they nabbed high school pitcher Kyle Drabek in the first round when he slid to them -- but it's not a secret they do like the guys with tools. That could be the reason why Michael Burgess and Kentrail Davis' names come up in association with the team. They could also go with Mesoraco, the on-the-rise catcher from Punxsutawney, Pa. But the possibility of adding Borbon, a leadoff type who's hit with some pop in the past, might not be a bad fit. Borbon only is around here because of an ankle injury that slowed his return and the fact he's represented by Boras. Sure, they've got Michael Bourn just about ready, but you can never have too much at a premium position.
Last week's projection: Michael Burgess
20. Los Angeles Dodgers: Madison Bumgarner, LHP, South Caldwell HS (N.C.)
Like the Braves picking six picks ahead of them, it's widely known the Dodgers like taking high school players. They especially like young arms, and the Dodgers would be interested in any of the high school pitchers mentioned above should they slide. They'd also consider switching gears and going with Dominguez if he somehow were still around. Going on the assumption he won't, there are still some nice prep pitchers to choose from. Tim Alderson from Scottsdale, Ariz., gets mentioned for the first time here, but it's a safer bet to pick a lefty since Los Angeles likes taking them early (Scott Elbert, Clayton Kershaw). That list includes Josh Smoker and Nathan Vineyard from Georgia, as well as Danny Duffy from California, but it may be topped by Bumgarner, who has shown a consistently impressive fastball all season. He doesn't have much in the way of secondary stuff right now, but lefties who can pump it up into the mid-to-upper 90s don't come around all that often, and the Dodgers don't shy away from arm strength guys who can be taught how to throw the offspeed and breaking stuff once they are in the fold.
Last week's projection: Bumgarner
21. Toronto Blue Jays: Devin Mesoraco, C, Punxsutawney HS (Pa.)
The Blue Jays hit the high school jackpot. That's right, you heard me. Toronto taking two prepsters in the first round to join Travis Snider, last year's top pick. Mesoraco could very well be gone even before the Jays pick at No. 16, or they may decide to take him first instead of Dominguez. Whatever the case, there isn't a high schooler who has risen more than Mesoraco, who some have called the best all-around catching prospect in the draft class.
22. San Francisco Giants: Aaron Poreda, LHP, University of San Francisco
Here's the second college guy and one from the team's own backyard. Poreda isn't the typical college lefty and doesn't fit the "pitchability" mold. That being said, he can dial it up to 95 mph and commands the fastball pretty well. His secondary stuff definitely lags behind, and he gave some scouts the sense that he wasn't used to being a dominant pitcher. But those are all things that can be taught and the Giants would be very happy to be his mentor.
23. San Diego Padres: Nick Noonan, SS/2B, Parker HS, San Diego
Another pick from a team's neighborhood. The Padres have had a strong college-heavy bent in recent years, but with Grady Fuson getting more settled, they may not be afraid to change things up a little (they did take some high schoolers early last year). Noonan's bat, from the left side, is his best tool, and he reportedly impressed the Padres brass in private workouts earlier this season. It's unclear whether he'll be able to stay at short, but he could be a very nice offensive-minded second baseman in the future.
24. Texas Rangers: Andrew Brackman, RHP, North Carolina State
Yes, that's two Boras clients for the Rangers, which might be a bit much. That being said, even if the Rangers weren't that thrilled with Brackman, he might be too hard to pass up should he slip this far. Once discussed as a potential top pick, Brackman was throwing 97 mph earlier in the year. But as he racked up more innings than he's ever thrown, the former two-sport star suffered from arm fatigue. That, combined with some outside-of-baseball things he had to deal with, forced him off the mound for a couple of weeks. He's slated to pitch in a regional game later this week. If he's lights out, he might not be here for the Rangers to even consider.
25. Chicago White Sox: Chris Withrow, RHP, Midland Christian HS (Tex.)
The Sox might have the pick of a few high school arms afer taking two college pitchers the last couple of years, from Josh Smoker on the left side to Michael Main on the right. At the same time, both could be gone, though not in this current projection. Even with them around, they might want to take Withrow, the projectable right-hander out of Texas. His dad played pro ball and clearly has taught his son well.
26. Oakland A's: Beau Mills, 3B, Lewis-Clark State
It's no longer easy to pigeonhole the A's into a college pick, what with all the high schoolers they've drafted early the past two years. Picking this late in the first round, they could very well be a "best available player" team, and that includes if one of the high school arms mentioned above falls. If they wanted to go with the "typical" A's pick, they could select UC Riverside's James Simmons. But if Mills, one of the top college hitters in 2007, albeit at a smaller NAIA school, and the son of Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills, is actually around here, they won't hesitate to take him.
27. Detroit Tigers: Tim Alderson, RHP, Horizon HS, Scottsdale
Several teams have been on the Arizona prep right-hander and he could conceivably go anywhere in the latter third of the first round into the sandwich round. While some scouts were concerned with Alderson's unorthodox delivery, he's got command as good as anyone in the high school ranks. He walks almost no one and he's got some pretty good stuff to go along with it. If the Tigers are heavy on high school arms and a Main or Smoker are still here, that could push Alderson down some, but they've been on him all year.
28. Minnesota Twins: Peter Kozma, SS, Owasso HS (Okla.)
The Twins have certainly taken their fair share of high school middle infielders, but there is that old adage that you can never have too much depth up the middle. Kozma came on strong near the end. While he's not toolsy in terms of the wow factor, he does just about everything pretty well. And, unlike many high school middle infielders, he should be able to stay at short long-term. He handles the bat well and has some pop at the plate to boot. His best tool might be his makeup, which could put him over the top and into the first round.
29. San Francisco Giants: Josh Smoker, LHP, Calhoun HS (Ga.)
With a host of teams looking at high school arms, it might be a reach to think Smoker will last this far down. But if he does, the Giants won't hesitate to take him. There's no reason to suggest a slide for Smoker, who I had at No. 10, but sometimes the high school players drop and college players move up as we get closer to crunch time.
30. New York Yankees: Matt LaPorta, 1B, University of Florida
This one almost makes too much sense for it to actually happen. One thing that could keep it from becoming reality is LaPorta going higher than this, a distinct possibility. But the Yankees will need a first baseman soon, LaPorta's bat shouldn't take too much time to get to the bigs, and the Yankees certainly don't mind negotiating with Boras (Ian Kennedy last year, for instance).
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.