Monday was a big day in MLB because it was the beginning of the 2010 First-Year MLB draft. MLB Network covered the first 50 picks (the first round and the supplemental round) with the rest of the rounds set for Tuesday and Wednesday. This year’s draft class was expected to be weaker than in year’s past, but the number one selection was not much of a surprise.
The Washington Nationals had the first pick for the second straight season and selected junior college outfielder Bryce Harper (interesting in that he is a catcher). Harper left high school after his sophomore season, received his GED, and played at the College of Southern Nevada (a junior college).
He is just 17 years old, though he has been calling his own game since he was 11 years old (which is rare), which makes him a good choice as a catcher, but he is athletic enough to move to the outfield. Harper was deemed the “Chosen One” and has been labeled baseball’s version of LeBron James.
Harper was followed in the draft by two other high school players, pitcher Jameson Taillon to the Pittsburgh Pirates and shortstop Manny Machado to the Baltimore Orioles. The top three selections were considered the cream of this year’s draft crop. Taillon, considered the best right-hander of the draft, comes out of Texas where his idol Josh Beckett hails from.
Machado is compared regularly to Alex Rodriguez. The last time that prep-age players were drafted with the top three picks was in 1990. The first-round this year was littered with high school players being selected over quality college players, with MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds left to say that it is obvious that some of the college players priced themselves out of the early first-round or the first-round altogether.
The first collegiate player selected came at number four by the KC Royals as they selected Cal State Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon. Colon is the leadoff man for the Titans and was named last season’s Baseball America’s Summer Player of the Year, as he was Team USA’s captain. Colon broke his leg in the final week of Team USA’s summer which hampered him a bit this spring.
However now he is one of the hottest hitters in college. For the first time in the history of the Titans, they had two players selected in the first round. The SF Giants selected Big West Player of the Year Gary Brown, an outfielder, with the 24th pick.
The fifth pick was also a collegiate player, this time being the top pitcher in Ole Miss left-hander Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz, the SEC Pitcher of the Year, threw seven scoreless innings against St. John’s in their regional win (though Ole Miss was eliminated over the weekend).
A few collegiate players who dropped in the draft were University of Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal (dropped to 12th to the Cincinnati Reds), Arkansas third baseman Zack Cox (dropped to 25th to the St. Louis Cardinals), Middle Tennessee State outfielder Bryce Brentz (went in the supplemental round to the Boston Red Sox), San Diego left-handed pitcher Sammy Solis (who dropped to the Nationals with the first pick of the second round), and Texas right-handed pitcher Brandon Workman (who dropped to the second round to the Red Sox).
A few college players who did move up were Texas A&M right-hander Barrett Loux (6th overall to the Arizona Diamondbacks) and UNC right-hander Matt Harvey (who was a third round pick in 2007 but went 7th overall in 2010 to the NY Mets). The concern with Harvey is his 150+ pitch outing this season as he was most likely overused throughout his junior season (arm injuries in his future?).
A few teams made some surprise picks, like the Philadelphia Phillies picking hometown left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle out of Germantown Friends School with the 27th pick in the first round (he was rated as a 3rd-4th round talent), the Texas Rangers taking high school outfielder Jake Skole with the 15th pick (he missed most of the year with an ankle injury and committed to Georgia Tech to play football and baseball with his brother), and the NY Yankees selecting high school shortstop Cito Culver with the final pick in the first round (he was rated as a 5th-6th round talent). These were a few surprise picks for teams that only had one first round pick and could have made these picks later in the draft.
The Boston Red Sox made a splash with their first day’s picks. They coveted LSU right-hander Anthony Ranaudo but his arm injury (and not so great second half) concerned many. He fell to the supplemental round (39th overall) but the Red Sox grabbed him. Prior to that they plucked Brentz, who also had fallen, and selected Ball State second baseman Kolbrin Vitek with their first pick (20th overall). Vitek dropped a bit as he was rated the top second baseman in the draft though he has hit wherever he has played (though he may move to the outfield).
With many of the top picks being represented by the Boras Corp., there are signability concerns and whether or not the process will take until the very last minute (August 16th is the deadline).
Are there any picks you were surprised about or really liked (or did not like)? Let me know through the comments section.