Our first stop around the mock draft world as we prepare for the 2011 MLB Draft is none other than Sodo Mojo. If you’re not aware, Sodo is FanSided’s Seattle Mariners site. It is staffed by four very capable writers and is led by Harrison Crow who authored the April 13th mock draft we examine today.
Since this is the first 2011 mock draft it seems appropriate to set the stage with respect to the AL Central teams.
This year the Minnesota Twins have the 30th pick in the first round. That, of course, means they will make their selection well after the Royals and Indians who pick at 5th and 8th respectively. The Detroit Tigers do not have a first round selection (19th) since they signed Type-A free agent Victor Martinez. Likewise, the Chicago White Sox lost their first round pick (23rd overall) when they signed Type-A free agent Adam Dunn.
At #5, Harrison has Kansas City selecting Gardner-Edgerton HS outfielder Bubba Starling. This seems like the most logical direction for the Royals to go. Not only is he a local product, he’s also the top-rated high school prospect with the most upside in this year’s draft. He is committed to the University of Nebraska to play quarterback but it’s not likely he’ll ever step on the field for the Huskers. He’s on record stating that baseball is his true love, he wants to play for the Royals, and Kansas City has been more than willing to go over slot in the draft ever since Dayton Moore became the team’s GM. Starling, according to some, is the best 5-tool talent in terms of upside to come along since Justin Upton, the first player taken in the 2005 draft. As with any tool-heavy prospect, there is a lot of risk here and some, like John Klima of Baseball Beginnings, are not sold on Bubba’s future. Still, Kansas City is in a place where they can gamble on high upside guys as they start to build a second and third wave. I personally don’t think Starling is much of a gamble.
At #8 in the Sodo Mojo mock draft, the Cleveland Indians are matched up with University of Connecticut’s talented RHP Matt Barnes. As Harrison notes, the Tribe likes college pitchers. Since 2002 they’ve drafted 6 pitchers in the 1st round and 5 of those were plucked from the college ranks. Barnes fits the bill and has an electric arm making him an excellent selection at number 8. According to John Sickels on his site, Minor League Ball:
Scouts rate his fastball as second-best in the draft behind Gerrit Cole’s, and he mixes in a good curve and changeup. Would be a Top Five pick in some draft classes but could fall to the middle of the round depending on other factors this year.
Starling and Barnes would both be excellent choices for the Royals and Indians respectively, but what about the Minnesota Twins?
At pick #30, in the Sodo Mojo mock draft, the Twins select University of Kentucky RHP Alex Meyer. Harrison provided the following reasoning:
Meyer is one of the most under rated arms in the draft. But then again he’s earned it. By showing games where he loses all command of his pitches and then turns around pitches a gem. He has great velocity and his breaking balls are solid. I tend to believe he’ll drop further than this. But I think he is one of the Top-5 or 6 pitchers in the draft.
Prior to reading the Sodo mock draft, I hadn’t spent a lot of time considering Meyer. He’s a college pitcher which obviously fits the team’s preference on the basic level. However, he’s not a strike thrower. In fact he has a relatively high walk rate. Meyer is listed at 6’9″ and 220 pounds. As you’d expect he has a tall lanky frame with a lot of moving parts in his delivery. There are command and mechanical issues with Alex, so in reality the Twins might not be interested in him. However, with a mid-90s fastball and an already plus-curve as a secondary pitch, Meyer could become a serious force with some delivery refinement and coaching. John Klima took in a game which paired up Meyer and Addison Reed and wrote an excellent breakdown of what he saw.