MLB Draft 2011 Preview: Part II

Jackie Bradley, Jr. #19 of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates with the Championshop trophy after the men's 2010 NCAA College Baseball World Series. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


Part I can be found here.

Last time out, I looked at some prospects who will probably be taken before the Jays' first pick. However, with the depth of this class, and the possibility of prospects increasing or decreasing their value late on, as well as the inevitable surprise picks, one or two of them might slip through to #21. The one currently most likely to do so is Norris, who I'd love the Jays to pick. Given the depth of good college pitchers, but not college hitters, some good pitchers (yes I'm aware Norris is from high school) might slip through to the Jays. At this moment I have a feeling the Jays will go with a pitcher with their first pick.

New to this edition is that I combined 5 mock drafts/draft rankings to get a composite draft ranking. The ranking by no means represents my prediction of where a guy will be drafted, but rather is an indication of where others predict a guy to go, on average. Notable is that Taylor Guerrieri (13) and Daniel Norris (16) are out of the top 12 I had in my previous post.

Taylor Jungmann (11) - College RHP, standing 6'6, Jungmann projects to be a workhorse with a powerful fastball, sitting 93-95 mph with an occasional rise to 97-98. Breaking ball is a potential strikeout pitch, and his changeup has potential. His wild mechanics are worrisome, though he has apparently improved them, as well as his control. A less polished college guy, but with a lot of potential.

George Springer (12) - College CF/RF, RHB, Springer is the highest rated "5-tool" player in the draft. Raw for a college player, but he combines athleticism with bat speed, arm strength, power and running speed. Swing could be a bit on the long side, and he needs to improve against offspeed stuff. The tools and the possibility to stick in center field give him a very high ceiling.

Archie Bradley (14) - HS RHP, Archie Bradley is an athletic 6'4 right-hander with a fastball that sits 91-94, but has been recorded as high as 98. His curveball shows potential but the changeup needs work. His makeup also get positive reports. Bradley's biggest "flaw" is that he is also a highly-rated quarterback and will in all likelihood be a very tough sign.

Mikie Mahtook (15) - College CF/RF, RHB, Mahtook is a tools guy like Springer, and has made a lot of progress in college. He reportedly has the speed for center field, and has hit for a lot of power, even with the new bats. Is seen as a hard worker.

Blake Swihart (17) - HS C, SHB, Swihart is a power hitter from both sides who runs better than most catchers. His defense as a catcher is raw but he is making progress and his arm and athleticism should keep him at the position. Might be able to handle 3rd or OF if he doesn't stick behind the plate.

Matt Purke (18) - College LHP, Purke's stock has dropped enormously as he has struggled with injuries and declining fastball velocity. Now sitting in the low-90s (previously mid-90s) and not being able to maintain it during a game is a real concern for interested teams. His curve and slider should be good, but his changeup is a question mark. Because of funky mechanics, health is a real question for Purke. As a sophomore, he could decide not to sign and play college ball for another year.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (19) - College CF, LHB, Bradley Jr.'s stock has probably dropped as he is currently out with a wrist injury, and was in a slump at the plate before the injury. Bradley is one of the best center fielders eligible for the draft, and he has a good approach at the plate. Some question his power with wood bats, but he's still seen as projectable in that aspect. He has a cannon of an arm in the outfield.

Josh Bell (20) - HS LF, SHB, Bell already has good power, from both sides of the plate, but projects to have even more. Currently playing CF, he's likely to move to left field because he's not that fast and has an average though accurate arm. While his position is in question, scouts think his bat is special and could play anywhere. He is reported to have good outfield and baserunning instincts though.

Jose Fernandez (21) - HS RHP, Fernandez is a big guy who throws hard, usually 93-95 mph but clocked as high as 98. He gets positive reports on his breaking ball but mixed ones on his changeup. Some worries include his delivery, stamina and tendency to add weight, leading some to project him as a reliever. Could move quickly.

Henry Owens (22) - HS LHP, listed at 6'7, Owens is a big guy who throws 89-91 but could add to that velocity, and he already throws with a deceptive delivery. What will really attract teams is his ability to throw strikes with both his offspeed pitches: a curveball and a changeup. Both of those pitches have been improving, and scouts like the guy's personality and his feel for pitching.

John Stilson (23) - College RHP, Stilson doesn't have a long track record of being an ace pitcher, but throwing 93-98 mph will get you noticed. He throws three other pitches, of which his slider and change are said to be good. He's deemed to have some problems repeating his delivery, and he might turn out to be a reliever but that's far from certain.

Andrew Susac (24) - College C, Susac is reportedly a good defensive catcher, with receiving being the weakest of his catching skills. He is currently out with a broken hamate bone, but was on fire with the bat before that. He has power and discipline, but his hitting looks a bit unconventional. As a catcher, what he lacks most is speed.

Who will the Jays pick?

The Jays under AA seem to have a preference for hitters who could field an important defensive position (Sweeney, Hawkins, Thon, Mims and Opitz are 5 middle infielders among their first 6 hitters picked in 2010) because those guys could develop into stars on both defense and offense. They also seem to prefer pitchers who can throw strikes with multiple pitches as college pitchers, and projectable guys as HS pitchers. I'm also pretty sure they don't value velocity as much as some other teams. However, having just seen one draft by AA, the chances are he'll surprise us all come June.

Personally, I think Owens, Swihart and Bradley Jr. sound like Jays picks. They could wait on Susac and see if his injury drops him to the compensation round. If Mahtook or Norris drop down to #21 I can definitely see the Jays pulling the trigger because of their upside. They picked McGuire, Sanchez and Wojciechowski all at a pick below their original projections. Bell could be their guy if they have enough faith that his bat will make him a star. Jungmann and Springer are unlikely to drop that far, Purke's and A. Bradley's bonus demands will probably deter the Jays from picking them and I don't think the Jays will be that impressed by the velocity on both Stilson and Fernandez.

I'm far from an expert, so I'd like to hear your thoughts! Let's see if anyone here gets the #21 pick right! If I have to pick just one guy, I'll take Owens as my guess. Winners will get bragging rights in our inevitable draft review article(s).

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