The MLB draft is just over a week away, and I’m here to get you better acquainted with the guys who could come off the board near the top of the draft. Unlike the previous two years there is not a true #1 guaranteed pick like Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper. However, this year there seems to be more depth in the top 10. Any team with a top 10 pick will end up with a very good player. Here are my personal top 10 ranked players in this year’s draft.
- Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice- Rendon will be an elite 3B in the big leagues. Whether you want to compare him to Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman, or David Wright, he’s eventually going to be that good.
- Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA- Top pitcher in the draft for sure. Cole is a 100 mph flame thrower who can maintain that high velocity deep into games. Enough said.
- Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia- He’s going to be the first player from this draft to reach the big leagues. Another solid pitcher who has twice as many strikeouts as hits allowed this season.
- Bubba Starling, CF, High School- A 3 sport athlete who will receive a big time signing bonus to not play quarterback for the University of Nebraska. He is the fastest player in this year’s draft and also has decent power. A 5 tool guy.
- Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt- For some reason he is a little underrated and is projected to go a little later than he actually should. He comes from the same school as David Price, has a similar build to Tim Lincecum, and has the best curveball in the country. He looks to be a steal for any team outside of the top 5.
- Dylan Bundy, RHP, High School- The top high school pitcher in the country. He throws in the upper 90’s and has even hit 100 this season. Baseball America has his high school ranked #1 in the nation. That success can be credited to Bundy.
- Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA- He’s kind of taken a back seat to his teammate Gerrit Cole even though he’s had a better season. The guy has a really wacky delivery so he is fun to watch. He also pitches very deep into games.
- Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia- Had a breakout season. Bradley is projected to go higher in the draft then what I have him ranked, but I think he could be somewhat of an overachiever this season. Regardless he has talent and deserves to be picked in the top 10 of the draft.
- Matt Purke, LHP TCU- He was looking like he was going to be drafted near the top of the draft a few months back, but a bad season has set him back some. He also dealt with a few injuries. He isn’t projected to be drafted until the middle of the first round, but he makes my top ten because of the upside he has. This could could be a real steal.
- Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky- Another solid pitcher who should go within the first ten picks. He was once projected to be a top 5 overall pick but the emergence of other players has pushed him back a little.
Now that I’ve listed my top ten lets take a more local look at the Orioles. First we have to analyze the situations in front of them.
#1- Pittsburgh- Gerrit Cole is probably their pick. They already have Pedro Alvarez at 3B so it makes sense that they would take the top pitcher in the draft, who may actually be the best player overall in the draft. I would not be surprised to see them just take the best player and go with Rendon though. But seeing how last year they chose Tailon over Machado we could see a repeat.
#2 Seattle- They need offense bad and they will take the best offensive player. They are hoping that Rendon is there. If he goes then they jump to Bubba Starling. Starling probably won’t go in the top 4 unless Rendon goes first, so the Pirates decision will effect the entire draft. If Rendon goes #1 and Starling goes #2 then good pitchers will start falling and will really affect the next couple of teams.
#3- Arizona- Danny Hultzen should be their pick. Of course that is assuming that the first two picks are Cole and Rendon. Cole, Rendon, Hultzen are the best three players in the nation and honestly should be the top three to go. However, as I just said, if Starling is taken #2 then things will be shaken up. If the order is Rendon then Starling, the D-Backs will gladly take Gerrit Cole with this pick.
#4- Baltimore- They want Dylan Bundy. His older and less talented brother is already in the system with the Frederick keys. There have been some mock drafts that project the Orioles to take Bubba Starling though. I feel that the Orioles always try to attach themselves to a certain player and take that same guy regardless of what happens in the draft. A few years ago they did the same thing with Matthew Hobgood, which has turned out to be a disaster. However, Bundy and Hobgood can’t be compared. Bundy is unarguably the best high school pitcher in the country, and Hobgood was never thought to be. Bundy seems to have a much shorter path ahead of him in the minor leagues than your typical high school pitcher. Clayton Kershaw didn’t take long at all to make it up, and Bundy could be the same way. So don’t be upset if the Orioles get Bundy. The last 4 top high school pitcher picks to make it the big leagues have been Madison Bumgarner, Clayton Kershaw, Chris Volstad, and Homer Bailey. So there is a lot of promise there. The ideal situation, and what I am hoping for is as follows. #1 Rendon, #2 Starling, #3 Cole, #4 Hultzen. I would be ecstatic to get Hultzen at #4. If Hultzen is there and the O’s take Bundy, then, and only then, am I angry.
From there all of the guys I listed in my list should go around the top then including a few more guys I left out. Francisco Lindor is the top short stop prospect in the draft. Because of the position scarcity he is projected to go pretty high in the top 10. He did not make my top ten because I do not feel he is that great of a talent. Take out his position and he’s not really a first round guy. He has exceptional defense, no power, and mediocre speed. He’s a guy to look for if you want to find out which team had the worst first round pick. A big pitcher from Texas named Taylor Jungmann is also projected to go in the top 10, but didn’t crack my list. He’s a good talent, but I just felt that Purke is better and underrated. George Springer, an outfielder from UCONN could also be a steal. He was rumored to be a first pick overall not too long ago. He has a rare nice balance of power and speed much like Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, and Hunter Pence. A possible 30/30 guy.
The one thing to remember about the draft is that nothing is a lock. Every year there are guys who projected to be a lock by a team and then they shock the world by jumping on a guy with high upside. That guy this year will probably be Bubba Starling. If he goes #2 overall it will be a big shock, unless you read this column. I still wouldn’t be surprised though if the Orioles were one of those shockers and took the outfielder out of nowhere. Bank of Bundy, be intrigued by Starling, and hope for Hultzen.