The Brewers have a reputation for focusing on athletes and ceiling, but that isn't always the case, as evidenced by last year's selection of the top college slugger in the draft, Matt LaPorta. The Brewers do have some athletes in mind for this year's selection, but everyone's top two -- Hicks and Martin -- are likely off the board, and outfielder Zach Collier failed to impress in a private workout. Cashner might fit well here, and the Brewers are desperate for relief help at the big league level. At the same time, Stanford's Jason Castro is the third best catcher in the draft, and the gap between him and whoever teams think is the fourth best on the board is wider than the Grand Canyon. You can't have a catcher who bats ninth on your team forever, folks.
Selection: Jason Castro, C, Stanford
The Blue Jays broke with their college-favoring ways by focusing on high-ceiling high school players last year, but this year's talent crop falls more in line with their usual philosophy. They're hoping that Wallace falls to them, and chances are looking good for that happening. The two-time Pac-10 Triple Crown winner turns off scouts with his doughy build and lack of athleticism, but his performance is almost too much to ignore for a more performance-oriented outfit like Toronto.
Selection: Brett Wallace, 1B, Arizona State
18. New York-NL
An already bad system made downright barren by the Johan Santana deal needs help. The Mets are hardly complaining, because they got one of the best pitchers in the game, but with three picks between 18 and 33, the pressure is on for them to re-stock the system. They're very high on University of Miami second baseman Jemile Weeks, and they might pop Rickie's brother here if they don't think he'll be there when they select again at 22. On the other hand, Tim Melville began the season as one of the top high school pitchers available, but he disappointed observers throughout much of the season before returning to form down the stretch. He wants to be paid the way his preseason status dictated, and the Mets have deep pockets.
Selection: Tim Melville, RHP, Holt HS (MO)
Scouting director Tim Wilken loves athletes, but many of the Cubs' top targets are looking like they'll be unavailable when the draft reaches them. So they may instead go with someone who has been a slow and steady riser, as the Cubs have been in on hard and heavy to see the last few starts by Illinois high school star Jake Odorizzi. He has the kind of velocity, command, and clean mechanics rarely seen from the cold-weather states. Odorizzi has been even better than ever down the stretch, consistently touching 95 mph with his fastball while showing a much-improved breaking ball. He's not a hometown pick per se; Highland is actually only 35 miles from St. Louis. The Cubs passed on the best Midwest high school arm last year when they opted to take Josh Vitters over Jarrod Parker; they won't let him go by this time.
Selection: Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Highland HS (IL)
Seattle has been attached to a number of players at the 20th pick, and many of them, including Texas Tech outfielder Roger Kieschnick and Cal righty Tyson Ross, are the types of players that most teams see as falling just outside of the first round on a pure talent level. They're also high on a number of college relievers, especially Cashner. If he's there, the Mariners bite on it with the hope that they've found their next closer.
Selection: Andrew Cashner, RHP, Texas Christian
The Tigers have established a track record for taking players that slip due to signability concerns, especially power pitchers. Once again, one should be available to them: California high school star Gerrit Cole has a violent delivery, some major questions about his maturity, and Scott Boras as an agent. At the same time, Cole also has the best arm strength of any high school pitcher in the draft, having touched triple digits on the radar gun in a late-season playoff start. If there is one thing scouting director David Chadd loves, it's big guys who throw hard, and Cole fits that description, giving the Tigers yet again another talent far superior to the time he's selected.
Selection: Gerrit Cole, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS (CA)
22. New York-NL
As stated earlier, the Mets want Weeks, one of the top college athletes available, with one of their two first-round picks, and they might take him at 18 if they have reason to believe he won't be around four picks later. However, if Weeks goes off the board with the first pick, plummeting Tulane righty Shooter Hunt might finally find a home.
Selection: Jemile Weeks, 2B, Miami
23. San Diego
Teams picking below the Padres are having trouble figuring out what they're doing, and the rumor seems to change every 12 hours or so. The top two stories that seem to be gaining currency during draft week couldn't be more different. The first is South Carolina shortstop Reese Havens, a fundamentally sound college grinder; the much more strange rumor has the Padres doing some late homework on Connecticut prep school phenom Anthony Hewitt, who might offer more tools and less refinement than any player in recent memory. That kind of player seems like the anti-definition of a Grady Fuson selection. They might also be intrigued by Hunt at this point. Early in the season, the Tulane ace looked like he might be one the first ten selections, but he ran out of gas by the end of the year, and rarely more than ordinary. If the Padres believe in the early-season showings, Shooter would be a steal here.
Selection: Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane
The Phillies tend to favor young, toolsy players with their top picks, but they went against the grain last year when Rice southpaw Joe Savery fell into their lap. There's not going to be a player like that for them this year, and based on where it looked like he would go as recently as a week ago, Collier is a nice find here. Once seen as a top 15 pick, Collier's game is a bit on the crude side, but his tools all grade out well, and many think his potential ranks with any high school position player out there.
Selection: Zach Collier, OF, Chino Hills HS (CA)
The Rockies are enamored with Odorizzi, and would snatch him up quickly if he fell to them, but their backup plan is a bit of an unknown at this point. After taking college closer Casey Weathers last year, they're not going to go that route again, so they might go in a totally opposite direction and go for Hewitt. Some think he's the next Bo Jackson, and some think he'll never get out of A-ball, but he offers more to dream on than anyone in a draft that offers few players with elite-level upside.
Selection: Anthony Hewitt, SS, The Salisbury School (CT)
The Diamondbacks aren't especially high on anyone it seems, and they might take a power reliever who they hope could move into the closer role quickly. With Cashner off the board and Georgia's Josh Fields suffering from a late-season drop off, the quick-rising Perry could be the perfect fit while providing a nice PR boost as well. He has more velocity than any of the other college bullpen arms, but some scouts are concerned about the straightness of his pitch, and his overall numbers are hardly dominating.
Selection: Ryan Perry, RHP, Arizona
The Twins go against the grain quite often, as evidenced by last year's selection of center fielder Ben Revere, who was in nobody else's mix as a first-round selection. They're in need of position players and not afraid of projects, seeming to almost prefer them at times. An interesting selection here might be California high school star Ike Galloway. Many thought he'd be a sure-fire pick in the first 15 by now, but his unquestionably great tools didn't play as well as the should have this year, so now he's more of a risk than he was thought to be three months ago. Other options include some of the top remaining high school arms, notably Florida lefty Brett DeVall.
Selection: Issac Galloway, OF, Los Osos HS (CA)
28. New York-AL
The Yankees are usually in the position to take players with signability problems who fall into their deep pockets. The only problem is that no such player exists here. So what do they do? They could make a total upside bet if a player like Hewitt is still available but the organization is lacking in advanced power hitters, and two players -- Arizona State's Ike Davis and Cal's David Cooper -- fit the bill perfectly. Most scouts give the slight edge to Davis, and the fact that his father Ron wore the pinstripes as a reliever in the late '70s and early '80s helps the cause. Going by the book here makes it even more likely that the Bombers will spend huge money next month on righty Micheal Inoa, the 16-year-old Dominican wunderkind who will likely command a record bonus for an international free agent.
Selection: Ike Davis, 1B, Arizona State
The Indians don't have a good fit as far as the players still available, as they prefer their high school position players more polished, see their top high school arms off the board, and don't necessarily believe in the philosophy of talking college relievers early. That could make Havens, one of the few up-the-middle college players with even borderline first-round talent, an interesting name for them, and maybe the only player left that they'd be happy with.
Selection: Reese Havens, SS, South Carolina
Another team who wants to swing with a player who falls but can't find a dance partner. When that occurs, the Red Sox tend to save their high-risk picks until after the first round, and play it safe early. Even though they have a good left-handed bullpen arm in Hideki Okajima, Arizona's Daniel Schlereth would be the best college reliever still on the board, and his power stuff makes him possibly closer-worthy and anything but a one-sided specialist. The son of former NFL player and television analyst Mark Schlereth, he's built like a bulldog and brings a gridiron mentality to the mound. More importantly, his velocity was up to 97 mph, and his slider was a true wipeout offering.
Selection: Daniel Schlereth, LHP, Arizona
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