Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mock Draft Scenarios

By: Ewan Ross

          To couple with the previous piece written by Marshall Henson wrote about the players the Blue Jays may select at #10 overall, I’m going to go through each of the picks preceding the Blue Jays selection, and attempt to lay out who I believe each of these teams will pick.  The basis for these beliefs is via the multitude of mock drafts (from ESPN’s Keith Law, Baseball America’s Jim Callis,’s Kiley McDaniel &’s Jonathan Mayo).
            Hopefully, you’ll find this useful to get an accurate sense of which players will be available when the Jays walk up to the podium.

#1 Overall – Houston Astros
Primary Target – Jonathan Gray – RH Pitcher – Oklahoma
Secondary Target – Mark Appel – RH Pitcher – Stanford
Tertiary Target – Colin Moran – Third Base – North Carolina
            Ostensibly the Astros decision should come down to two players, the two most talented players in the draft, Right Handers Jonathan Gray, and Mark Appel.  The consensus appears to be that they are the two most talented players in the draft, and if this pick was just about talent they would be the picks.  Talent evaluators seem very split on which is more talented, and so the deciding factor may come down to price.  Jonathan Gray’s price may have fallen due to testing positive for Adderall in the week before the draft, while Mark Appel’s price is always going to be high due to his connection to Scott Boras as his agent advisor.
The wildcard in all this would be third baseman Colin Moran.  Last year at this time, it seemed that the two players they were down to was Byron Buxton, and Mark Appel, and they went off the board and selected shortstop Carlos Correa for a well below slot deal.  In doing this, they not only got a very talented prospect at #1, but also saved a boatload of money in order to players later in the draft and pay them well above slot.  If that scenario were to play out this year, Moran would be the beneficiary. 
Jays Impact - However, regardless of how things play out, none of this is likely to impact the Jays selection, since even if the Astros pass on Gray or Appel, there is zero chance they make it all the way down to #10.

#2 Overall – Chicago Cubs
Primary Target – Mark Appel – RH Pitcher – Stanford
Secondary Target – Jonathan Gray – RH Pitcher – Oklahoma
            The Cubs are probably the easiest team to project in this year’s draft.  Unlike every one of the other teams in the draft they haven’t floated any below slot rumors.  The Cubs strategy is simply to take whichever of the two top end pitchers falls to them.  The rumours seem to be that they prefer Mark Appel to Jonathan Gray, so if the Astros surprise everyone and go off the board, I’d expect Appel would be the pick. 
Jays Impact – Much like the #1 overall pick, this one has zero impact on who the Jays select.  Just like the Astros, regardless of Gray or Appel gets past the Cubs, the lowest they would fall would be to the Red Sox at #7.

#3 Overall – Colorado Rockies
Primary Target – Kris Bryant – Third Base – San Diego
            Just like the Cubs, the Rockies seem fairly easy to peg.  Everyone you read says that they will take power bat Kris Bryant with the #3 pick.  In Keith Law’s last mock draft, he played out the Colin Moran scenario, and still had the Rockies selecting Brant with the #3 pick instead of one of the high upside pitchers.  Very late in the process, there have been rumblings about the Rockies taking first baseman Dominic Smith with the #3 pick, notably from the esteemed Peter Gammons…

The easy explanation here is that they have floated these rumours in order to attempt to drive Bryant’s price down.  I’d think there is zero chance that they pass on Bryant, and if they do, the only possibility is that they pick one of the pitchers instead.
Jays Impact – There are rumours that the Jays might have a passing interest in Dominic Smith, so if the Rockies go off the board, and select him, that would take one of their options off the board.  I don’t see that as happening, so next to no impact with this pick as well

#4 Overall – Minnesota Twins
Primary Target – Kohl Stewart – RH Pitcher – Texas High School
Secondary Option – Jonathan Gray – RH Pitcher – Oklahoma
Tertiary Option – Mark Appel – RH Pitcher - Stanford
            Like the three picks before them, the Twins appear to be locked in on a certain player.  In this case its Texas high school right hander, Kohl Stewart, and for the Twins that’s quite a surprise.  In normal circumstances, the Twins generally have a history of selecting high school position players (notably outfielders), and also college pitchers.  With the current state of their farm system however, pitchers have become a massive area of need, so it would be stunning for them to pass an arm this time around.  However, if the draft shakes out as expected there won’t be a college arm worth taking.  This will drive them to go outside their box, into selecting Kohl Stewart, who is clearly the top prep arm in the class.
            However, if one of Gray or Appel is available, I’d be stunned if they were to pass on them, although Appel’s connection to Boras may scare them.  Again, in the scenario Law laid out, the Twins still passed on Gray, and took Stewart. 
Jays Impact – If the Twins were to take Gray or Appel, if available, it could lead to a massive trickle down.  It would leave Stewart on the board, and turn the Indians into a massive wild card. 

#5 Overall – Cleveland Indians
Primary Target – Colin Moran – Third Base – North Carolina
Secondary Target – Jonathan Gray – RH Pitcher – Oklahoma
Tertiary Target – Mark Appel – RH Pitcher - Stanford
            Colin Moran seems to be the likely selection here.  Unlike most draft prospects, he lacks the loud tools you would normally select, however, he’s a polished hitter.  The only real scenario that seems likely in which they would go another direction, is if Moran is the surprise #1 pick to the Astros.  If Gray or Appel falls all the way to #5, I see no possible way that a team as desperate for MLB ready pitching could possibly pass on that. 
Jays Impact – The only way the Indians pick would impact on the Jays is if none of Appel, Moran, or Gray are available.  In that scenario they could cause a massive trickle down if they pass on Stewart, because who then they become a complete unknown. 

#6 Overall – Miami Marlins
Primary Target – Braden Shipley – RH Pitcher - Nevada
            In every single mock draft I’ve seen the Marlins have taken college right hander Braden Shipley.  This fit’s their M.O., because Shipley appears to be a bargain pick, but one still with considerable ability.  Shipley is a relatively recent conversion to the mound, and that brings with it both positives and negatives.  It can generally lead to questionable mechanics (as you’d see from the likes of Sergio Santos), but on the positive side, his arm hasn’t had nearly as many pitches on it, throughout the pre-MLB portion of his career.   
Jays Impact – If the Marlins passed on Shipley (which I don’t expect), I’d expect the Royals would likely snatch him up.  This could lead to someone else trickling down.

#7 Overall – Boston Red Sox
Primary Target – Clint Frazier – Outfielder – Georgia High School
Secondary Target – Austin Meadows – Outfielder - Georgia High School
Tertiary Target – Phil Bickford – RH Pitcher – California High School
            The Red Sox are at this point are a very tough team to peg down.  All the mock drafts, have the Red Sox taking one of the Georgian outfielders.  The scouting industry seems fairly divided on which of these two players is the superior prospect.  As for Bickford, who I list as the tertiary option, he has flown up the draft boards in the past couple weeks, and he’s jumped into consideration for both the Red Sox & Royals.

Jays Impact – The Red Sox are the primary reason why none of the first five picks are relevant.  Any of those top selections that fall, will be hovered up by the Red Sox.  Even if they needed to sacrifice a future first round pick to take someone like Mark Appel I could see them doing that, especially since their pick will likely be a late one in the upcoming season.

#8 Overall – Kansas City Royals
Primary Target – Trey Ball LH Pitcher– Indiana High School
Secondary Target – Phil Bickford – RH Pitcher – California High School
Tertiary Target – Ryne Stanek – RH Pitcher - Arkansas
Other options  – Austin Meadows - Outfielder - Georgia High School

It seems apparent that the Royals would desperately like to take a pitcher here and ideally a college one, and with Gray, Appel & Shipley all gone if they go that way it would seem like Kansas City native Ryne Stanek would be the way to go.  However, the Razorback pitcher has pitched thru elbow pain late in the year which has raised red flags.  If anyone is going to take him this early its his home town team, but I'd expect its even a shade early for them.
So without a college player worth taking here, I'd expect the Royals to look to the Prep ranks at either Indiana lefty Trey Ball or California righty Phil Bickford. 
Ball is a two way player who not only dials it up over 95 from the left side, but also would profile as a 2nd round talent as an outfielder.  He has the type of long frame scouts dream on from a pitcher, and the temptation of a power southpaw may be too much to pass up.
Bickford on the other hand has been the story of the past week as he has rocketed up the draft board on the strength of his 17 strikeout final start (which say him strikeout his first 11 batters).  Previously seen as more a late first rounder he's put himself firmly in the mix as high as 8.  Bickford is this draft's wildcard, as he also has apparently a high signing demand making him a possibility if the Astros were to go the Moran route at #1 to be their target if he were to fall.  Keep an eye on him.
If the Royals do go with a position player Austin Meadows seems the likely fit, but they could also go with New Mexico first baseman DJ Peterson.  However, I fully expect them to land on one of the three pitchers listed above.
Jays Impact – Its expected that the Jays are interested in both the prep arms listed above, especially Ball.  If Ball gets past the Royals, look for him to land in Toronto's lap at 10.

#9 Overall – Pittsburgh Pirates
Primary Target – Reese McGuire – Catcher – Washington High School
            Every single mock draft has had the Pirates taking high school catcher Reese McGuire.  In this pick, the Pirates kind of have a gun to their head.  This pick is compensation for them failing to sign Mark Appel last season, and that means that if they couldn’t come to terms with this pick, they wouldn’t get a subsequent compensation pick.  The thought seems to be that McGuire could be a cheap sign, but one with considerable risk.  The track record of high school catchers is incredibly poor.  Since Joe Mauer was selected with the #1 pick of the 2001 draft, the only first round high school catcher to reach the majors as a catcher is Hank Conger.   While McGuire is seen as major league ready defensively, but his bat may never come around.
Jays Impact – This pick seems locked in, but if the Pirates were to pass on McGuire, it seems very likely that the Jays would take him.  Since that isn’t likely, I’m discounting McGuire as an option.
            After laying out this scenario, if I assume that the 7 picks appear to be locked in (1-6 & 9) that means that only 2 of the players on the following list will be off the board, when the Jays pick.  The list is in order of the players I wish to see the Blue Jays take.

1 – Clint Frazier – Outfield – Georgia High School
2 – Trey Ball – LH Pitcher – Indiana High School
3 – Austin Meadows – Outfield – Georgia High School
4 – Phil Bickford – RH Pitcher – California High School
5 – Dominic Smith – First Base – California High School
6 – JP Crawford – Shortstop – California High School

If this scenarios play out the way I have laid it out, I am advocating that the Blue Jays take whoever is left over among the group of Ball, Frazier & Meadows.  If they pass on that remaining player, I will be varying degrees of disappointed.  

More Draft coverage coming later today as Donn reveals his 2nd part of his Guest Post mock draft. 

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