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Analyzing Amateur Baseball Talent as it pertains to the MLB Draft

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Mailbag 1-16-11

I'm waiting for the draft order to be finalized before I update my mock draft once again heading into the spring scouting season. Until then an interesting email hit my inbox this last week, and felt it was worthy of sharing with all. If you have any questions that you would like answered in more of a public forum, feel free to email me at pebert@5tooltalk.com.

I'm a Nats fan, and it occurred to me the other day that if Gerrit Cole gets by Seattle, he may be there at #6.

I'm thinking Arizona won't spend on a Boras client. They took the signable Barret Loux last year and have two top seven picks this year.

I don't see the O's taking him. McPhail doesn't like Boras. I believe I read that he wouldn't have drafted Wieters if he'd been in charge in time.

Bubba Starling to KC seems so logical. I just can't see them passing on him unless he has a brutal year or says he's absolutely going to Nebraska. Even then, I think they'd take someone more signable, like they did with Colon.

What is Seattle's history with Boras? If Purke or Springer are close to Cole would they opt for one of them? Am I completely crazy on this or could Cole make it to 6?

John

You're not crazy at all. In my current mock draft I have Cole sliding to the fifth overall pick (Royals) despite the fact that I currently have him ranked as the second best prospect available for the draft behind Anthony Rendon.

His affiliation with Scott Boras will definitely effect where he goes, however, more and more teams picking at the top of the draft are starting to loosen the purse strings after being burned by not taking players widely felt to be better prospects. The Pirates did so with Alvarez in 2008 and Taillon last year after a long history of going the more cost effective route (as they did again in 2009 with Tony Sanchez). The same could be said for the Orioles, who went big with Matt Wieters as noted by John in 2007 and again last year with Manny Machado. The Royals have been loading up with Boras clients in recent years, so their selection of Christian Colon last year stands out more so than their previous four first-round picks: Luke Hochevar, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Aaron Crow.

The Diamondbacks haven't been in on Boras clients since Mike Rizzo, now the GM of your Nats, left. As you noted, they went on the cheap last year, and now have to also sign the pick they got after Loux failed his physical and was declared a free agent.

In addition, you also have some prospects that are currently ranked pretty close to Cole in Purke, Jungmann and George Springer, so it's not like you're reaching if you do pass on the fireballer.

And that's why I have Cole going to Kansas City in my projection. I know the connection between Kansas City and Starling seems like a no-brainer, just like it did with Alex Gordon in 2005, and if the Royals are indeed willing to drop serious money on whoever they take with their first-round pick, they may be the ones to make the earliest, biggest push to woo Starling (and yes, Boras) away from Nebraska.

As for the Mariners, they did take Dustin Ackley second overall in 2009, and if I remember correctly, their 2008 first-rounder, Josh Fields, has the same affiliation. So there is some recent history with Boras in Seattle. However, while I'm a big proponent of drafting the best player available, if it came down to a bat vs. an arm for the Mariners, I would have to believe they would lean heavily towards the bat.

Should Cole fall to the sixth overall pick, than yes, that would seem to scream as a logical ending point to his "fall" in the draft. We haven't seen too many high profile draftees fall the past few years outside of injury concern (Anthony Ranaudo), incredible bonus demands (Nick Castellanos) or two-sport promise (Zach Lee, and you could argue that Lee really didn't fall given where he was selected).

Going back to Starling, who is somewhat of a draft conversation darling right now, I don't think it's a sure thing that he gets selected that highly. I know he is an unbelievable athlete, but he has some need for polish to his swing and overall game. He has the natural athleticism to make adjustments quickly, but he's far from a sure thing in my opinion. Basically, I wouldn't put him in the conversation of other teenage superstars such as the Upton brothers or even Bryce Harper. He will be heavily scrutinized between now and June, and while I hope for him to succeed in baseball, it is going to take a very large investment to sign this young man away from Nebraska and a potential two-sport collegiate career.

That very well may come down to both the Royals and the Nationals, since both teams haven't been afraid to make such rich financial investments.

As for the other Nationals picks, of which John asked about later in the same email, keep in mind that because they have the sixth overall pick, especially if they go the Cole/Starling or similar route, they may look for a more comfortable pick at #23 and #34 (their compensatory selections from the White Sox for Adam Dunn). They did this in 2009 after selecting Stephen Strasburg first overall.

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Dandy Dozen

SP
Andrew Gagnon Well rounded RHP w/ good size, repertoire
SP
Erik Johnson Big bodied RHP with good FB/CB combo
SP
Deshorn Lake Live-armed RHP with sharp breaking ball
CL
Nick Maronde Lived-armed LHP tough to catch up to
C
Nick Delmonico May not be C long-term, big body, LH bat
1B
Zach Wilson Aggressive hitter can put sting in ball
IF
Sean Trent Well built hitter with pop, speed, arm
3B
Dante Bichette, Jr. Clone of father with big build, power
SS
Austin Nola Steady D' at shortstop, improving strength
OF
Nick Martini Good all around player with patient eye
OF
Shon Carson Shorter, well built 2-sport speedster
OF
Granden Goetzman Fast riser w/ exciting power/speed combo

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