2011 MLB Draft - Keith Law - ESPN Insider
Can anyone with ESPN Insider post Law's top draft picks for the 2011 draft, thanks!
Next year's draft class looks much stronger and deeper than this year's in almost every area, with high school right-handers possibly the lone exception. There's one premium college bat, a number of top-flight college arms -- and a strong mix of prep talent across the board. While this year's draft only offered maybe eight to 10 true first-rounders -- players who'd be picked in the top 30 in almost any year -- the 2011 class could very easily see first-round talents squeezed out of that range because there's just so much talent in the country.
Let's dive into it.
Top names: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice; George Springer, OF, UConn; Alex Dickerson, OF, Indiana; Ricky Oropesa, 1B, USC; Levi Michael, 2B, UNC; Harold Martinez, 3B, Miami; Preston Tucker, 1B, Florida; Jason Esposito, 3B, Vanderbilt; Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, South Carolina; B.A. Vollmuth, SS, Southern Miss; Matt Skole, 3B, Georgia Tech; Zach Cone, OF, Georgia; C.J. Cron, C, Utah
Rendon is the star attraction here, with a great short stroke with good follow through, outstanding plate discipline and plus defense at third. Springer, Dickerson, Cone and Bradley are all great athletes with some raw aspects at the plate but the potential for four or five tools. Skole is the older brother of Jake Skole, the Texas Rangers' first pick in this year's draft. Martinez has bounced back from a disappointing two-year stretch to re-establish himself as a premium bat in the '11 class.
Top names: Matt Barnes, RHP, UConn; Danny Hultzen, RHP, Virginia; Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt; Jack Armstrong, RHP, Vanderbilt; Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech; Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky; Ryan Carpenter, LHP, Gonzaga; Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas; John Stilson, RHP, Texas A&M; Matt Purke, LHP, Texas Christian; Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Florida State; Noe Ramirez, RHP, Cal State Fullerton; Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA; Trevor Bauer, UCLA; Erik Goeddel, UCLA
This is a strong set of college starters, one of the strongest in several years. Gray would be in the discussion for pick No. 1 overall with Rendon if he was 6-foot-3, but he's 5-foot-10 and there are teams that just won't go near a right-hander under 6-foot with a high pick. Meyer, Hultzen, Purke and Cole will all contend for spots in the top 10, as might Jungmann. Bauer will be the baby of the class, as he turns 20 in January. Armstrong's father started the 1990 All-Star Game -- a function of his high win total, how quaint -- and the younger Jack has remade himself under the tutelage of the Vandy coaching staff.
High school bats
Top names: Nick Delmonico, C, Farragut HS, Knoxville, Tenn.; Travis Harrison, 3B, Tustin HS, Tustin Calif.; Dwight Smith, OF, McIntosh HS, Peachtree City, Ga.; Larry Green, OF, Berrien County HS, Nashville, Ga.; Ryan Krill, 1B/OF, Portage Central HS, Kalamazoo, Mich.; Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde Academy, Montverde Fla.; Austin Slater, SS, Bolles School, Jacksonville, Fla.; Christian Lopes, SS, Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Max Homick, 1B/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego; Matt Dean, 3B, The Colony (Texas) HS; Greg Bird, C, Grandview HS; Kavin Keyes, SS/3B, Alta HS, Sandy, Utah
Delmonico played well as an underclassman last summer, impressing both with his bat and his feel for the game. Green earns some "young Ryan Howard" comps for his big left-handed power. Lindor and Slater are both athletic middle infielders from northern Florida who hold some promise with the bat. Bird, playing in the thin air of Colorado, hit .660 with 13 homers and 25 walks in 73 PA this spring but has to prove he can stay behind the plate. If you're interested in bloodlines, Nick Delmonico is the son of the former University of Tennessee coach and Christian Lopes is Davey's son.
High school arms
Top names: Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (Okla.) HS; Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS; Blake Snell, LHP, Shorewood HS, Shoreline, Wash.; Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy, Auburn, Mass.; Jake Cave, LHP, Hampton Christian HS, Hampton, Va.; Deshorn Lake, RHP, Menchville HS, Newport News, Va.; Andy Suarez, LHP, Columbus HS, Miami (Miami commit); Adam Griffin, RHP, Forsyth Country Day HS, Lewisville N.C.; Dillon Maples, RHP, Pinecrest HS, Southern Pines, N.C.; Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill HS, Johnson City, Tenn.; Dillon Howard, RHP, Searcy, Ark.; Bubba Starling, RHP/OF, Gardner-Edgerton HS, Gardner, Kan.; Ricky Jacquez, RHP, Franklin HS, El Paso, Texas; Henry Owens, LHP, Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Joe Ross, RHP, Bishop O'Dowd HS, Oakland, Calif.
Bundy goes to the same high school as 2007 first-rounder Pete Kozma and has an older brother, Bobby, in the Baltimore Orioles' system; he's up to 95 with four pitches but has been used to death already this spring, as his coach used him for 181 pitches in a single day last month.
Bradley just committed to Oklahoma as both a quarterback and right-handed pitcher; he's up to 95 himself and has a bigger, stronger body than Bundy without the repertoire. Beede has already committed to Vanderbilt, automatically making him a tough sign for 2011 because of the school's track record with recruits. Cave is committed to another top program in LSU. Lake is from the U.S. Virgin Islands, but moved to Virginia to improve his shot at a baseball career. Suarez is committed to Miami. Norris has earned comparisons to Scott Kazmir for the quality of his stuff, but with a better build. The wonderfully named Starling (his given name is Derek) excels on the mound and at the dish and is also a highly sought-after quarterback prospect. Jacquez earns Sonny Gray comparisons as another little guy with a huge arm. Ross is Tyson's younger brother. Owens is the best prep arm in California: 6-foot-5, left-handed, projectable, and already sitting above 90.
Area Code Games tryouts
The following guys from the above list have been invited to try out for the Area Code Games this summer (you may remember that term, because it's the place Bryce Harper first rose to prominence):
Travis Harrison, Christian Lopes, Max Homick, Matt Dean, Kavin Keyes, Dylan Bundy, Archie Bradley, Tyler Beede, Ricky Jacquez, Henry Owens, Joe Ross.
Keith Law covers baseball, scouting and the MLB draft for ESPN Insider. Check his online archives here.
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