Today’s entry takes a look at the MLB draft, which is just a few weeks away. The detailed players below are all considered potential 1st round picks, but some have more issues than others. The following 5 that are up are players that I think will eventually be at least solid, everyday MLB players. The 5 down will struggle to make the big leagues or won’t live up to their draft hype.
Jed Bradley – The Georgia Tech left-hander has been spectacular this season and has incredible stuff. He has had a great season as a starter for the Jackets, posting a 2.63 ERA and 83 K’s in just 77 innings. Should be in a big-league rotation by 2014.
Mikey Mahtook – I am really high on Mahtook and think he is worthy of a top-5 pick. Most mock drafts have him going in the mid-to-late 1st round, but I am not sure what the hesitation is on him. He is a 5 tool outfielder that can hit for power and really run. His is a big league everyday player in 2013.
Bubba Starling – Bubba is a 6’5 freak-athlete that will use his football scholarship to Nebraska as leverage for a huge signing bonus. He is a center fielder with a 95 MPH arm that has great raw power and a polished swing. Once he focuses on baseball full-time, he will become a mega-prospect. Estimated arrival for Bubba is 2015.
Taylor Jungmann – Taylor has been just about un-hittable this year for the Longhorns. In his 12 starts, he has 11 wins, no losses, and 3 shutouts. He has only allowed 73 base runners in 95+ innings while recording 90 strikeouts. A 6’6 lanky right-hander, Jungmann has the build and arm to be a #1-#2 MLB starting pitcher with an ETA of 2014.
Andrew Susac – Another player I really like, Susac could be a big league catcher with few offensive skills than he currently possesses. Susac is excellent behind the plate and also leads OSU with a .359 average and a .487 OBP.
Gerritt Cole – A likely #1-#2 pick, I am very leery of Cole in this draft. The UCLA right-hander has unreal stuff, it just hasn’t produced unreal results. Cole is 5-5 for the Bruins and has had some impressive outings. But at the same time, he has had some shaky outings and has given up 6 HR’s and as many base runners as innings pitched this season. Could be a big-leaguer but not only do I not think he is a top 15 prospect, I don’t think he is the best pitching prospect on his team (Trevor Bauer).
Anthony Rendon – Rendon, another likely #1-#2 pick, is also not worthy of that high of a selection. Rendon is certainly a good prospect and has hit .327-4-29 with most teams pitching around him (66 walks in 49 games), but I want an Evan Longoria type third-basemen with a top 1-2 pick. Rendon looks like a potential future big-leaguer, but not one worthy of a 8 million + signing bonus and the top pick.
Jackie Bradley, Jr – Bradley is an interesting prospect because his stock was so high last season when USC won the national title. He was an integral part of that team and has all 5 tools. The knock on Jackie, though, is that he does not have an elite tool. Not a future MLB player in my opinion, but has enough skills to be worth a pick at some point.
Matt Purke – The tale of Purke’s draft hold-out from 2 years ago was chronicled in this blog entry. The decision to turn down 3+ million from the Rangers as the 14th pick was questioned then, and even more so now. A consensus top 3 pick after last season, when he was dominant in leading TCU to the CWS, Purke has struggled with injuries, command, and velocity all season. After going 16-0 with 142 K’s as a freshman, Purke has just 8 starts in 2011 and now has a sore shoulder. As a draft-eligible sophomore, Purke has dropped from a top 3 pick to a late-1st rounder, and I don’t think his risk is even worth a pick until after the 1st round.
Anthony Meo – Meo currently sports a 2.41 ERA in 12 starts for Coastal Carolina, but his velocity has been a question mark all season. At one point considered an elite prospect as a mind-90’s starter, Meo has been 89-91 at times this year and not quite as dominant like a 1st round college pitcher should be. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but the lack of consistent command has me questioning his future as a MLB player.