Stop number two on our mock draft tour takes us over to John Sickels’ site, Minor League Ball. Outside of the guys on Baseball America’s staff, John is probably my favorite writer when it comes to the coverage of the minor leagues, prospects, and draft for all MLB teams. His yearly Prospect Book has become a staple in my baseball reference library, and is one of the few publications I make it a point to pre-order.
In addition to his top notch work, Sickels gets bonus points for being a Midwest guy and a Twins fan but enough of the praise. Let’s see who he has the Royals, Indians and Twins selecting in the first round.
With the 5th pick in the draft, John has the Kansas City Royals taking Bubba Starling from Gardner-Edgerton HS in Kansas.
"Simply makes too much sense. He’s immensely toolsy, and the Royals don’t let local guys get past them now."
Harrison Crow had Starling going to the Royals in the Sodo Mojo mock draft published back on April 13th and his is getting to be a near consensus pick among draft amateurs and experts. You can count me among the rank and file of that near consensus. The only way Dayton Moore and company don’t call Starling’s name on draft day is if he is already off the board. The main concerns are signability and his commitment to the University of Nebraska, but the Royals are one team that has proven they are willing to go well above slot to get the most talented players they can. Starling is going to command a large deal, but the team that drafts him will be able to spread his bonus over several seasons since he is a multi-sport star athlete.
With the 8th pick in the draft, Sickels has Cleveland going with Vanderbilt RHP Sonny Gray.
"Fits college pitching theme of the last few drafts, with Alex White and Drew Pomeranz."
In most years, Gray would go much higher than 8th, but the 2011 draft class is shaping up to be pretty special. After Rendon and Cole and there is a huge pack of guys vying for the title of 3rd best player in the draft. My gut tells me Sonny will be off the board when Cleveland picks, but when I look at this mock I find a hard time disagreeing with the way John has the first seven picks falling.
Harrison had Gray going off the board 3rd overall to Arizona in his mock and had the Indians taking University of Connecticut RHP Matt Barnes. Interestingly John Sickels has the Diamondbacks taking Barnes with their 2nd pick (7th overall) right before he has Cleveland drafting Gray.
Finally we come to the Minnesota Twins. With the 30th pick overall John has 2B Kolten Wong from the University of Hawaii.
"There are still lots of attractive options here, but the Twins drafted Wong out of high school, he fits their needs, and has the talent to go slightly higher so it isn’t a stretch."
Kolten is the player I’m hoping the Twins select, but as referenced in the above quote, he has the talent to go higher and I fear he will be off the board. That said, if he falls to Minnesota I am going to be absolutely elated. Harrison had the Twins picking Kentucky RHP Alex Meyer and didn’t have Wong going in the first 33rd picks of the draft.
If you want to dream along with me, here are some links to Kolten Wong content that I’ve flagged as I’ve come across it:
- Baseball Beginnings Scouting Update (March 7th)
- Baseball Beginnings Q&A with Kolten Wong (April 4th)
- Baseball Beginnings Scouting Video (April 6th)
- Minor League Ball College Hitters for 2011 Draft, Part Three (April 7th)
- Baseball America Midseason Draft 2011: Top 50 (April 12th)
- Jim Callis via Twitter (April 17th)
- MLB Trade Rumors Draft Notes (April 25th)
- Baseball Beginnings Scouting Video (May 5th)