MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo held his first Draft chat of 2011, tackling questions about his Top 50 Draft prospects list, his projections for the first round, which teams are targeting which players and more.
Jonathan_Mayo: Hello, folks. Thanks for coming to chat with me about the Draft. I'll try to answer as many questions as I can in the next hour.
dertyfoot: Who has the best name in the 2011 Draft? 2010's winner was Gauntlett Eldemire.
Jonathan_Mayo: So, throwing down the Gauntlett right away, huh?
Jonathan_Mayo: Thanks to our crack research staff, I've got a nice list of good names in the 2011 Draft class. Here are a few candidates: Taiwan Easterling, Jedidiah Custer Bradley, Jo-El Bennett-Lowe and Malcolm X. Bronson.
JTROYALS: Jonathan, Thanks for the chat. Your insight is great. Do you see the Royals doing several overslot signings this year? Who will be our first round pick? Thanks JT
Jonathan_Mayo: The Royals have not shied away from going over slot in recent years (see Moustakas, Mike; Hosmer, Eric; etc). If the right player is there, they'll do it. As for first-round pick, there's a lot of talk of a college pitcher.
Jonathan_Mayo: And there will be some good ones to consider. They're also discussing high school outfielder Bubba Starling and Florida high school shortstop Francisco Lindor.
HogwildCard: What players in your top 50 do you think could slide down the draft board, possibly into the second round or later?
Jonathan_Mayo: There are definitely some who will slide because of signability or maybe injury. Austin Hedges, the high school catcher from California; Blake Swihart, another high school bat from New Mexico, both will be tough signs and could slide.
Jonathan_Mayo: A guy like Matt Purke, the TCU lefty who was shut down with a bad shoulder and is just coming back, could also slide into the later rounds, then have to do an Anthony Ranaudo kind of thing and show he's healthy by pitching in the Cape.
ofsticksandbats: It seems that most of the position players who were at one time touted as part of 2011's monster draft class have not had great years. Is it the new bats? Was the hype over-blown? In other words, how deep does this draft go with players who would be top-3
Jonathan_Mayo: I'm not sure this was ever touted as a deep class in terms of bats. The strength was always in the arms. That being said, some of the college hitters haven't put up the same kind of numbers some expected, including Anthony Rendon. I'm sure the new bats have contributed to this at least to an extent.
Jonathan_Mayo: But there are still a number of college hitters who have performed, even if after slow starts. Mike Mahtook and C.J. Cron have been solid and George Springer turned it on after struggling early, for example.
costrosfan: Thanks for the chat. At what point do you expect the top half of the draft to start becoming clearer?
Jonathan_Mayo: June 7th?
Jonathan_Mayo: In all seriousness, this is going to be a tough one to pin down, particularly because there's no clarity right at the top. That being said, it is clearing up a bit in that there's about 12 or so names that most people are talking about as potential top 10 picks.
Jonathan_Mayo: That doesn't mean someone can't sneak up there last minute and be a surprise selection, but there is some consensus on who the top dozen or so players are. Figuring out the order? Well, that will be an interesting exercise.
bigtime11: Jonathan...lots of talk that the Brewers might go all UCONN, with Barnes and Springer. What are you hearing for #12 and #15?
Jonathan_Mayo: I could definitely see that happening, and why not? Both are quality players. Not sure if both will be there for those picks -- Barnes is one of those college arms being mentioned all over the top half of the first round. But if he's gone, there will be another college arm they can take if they so choose.
Jonathan_Mayo: In my first mock draft, I had them taking Barnes and high school righty Taylor Guerrieri, someone they've been linked to quite a bit. Still too early to tell, of course.
jakeaustin: Thanks for doing this chat. What are your thoughts about prepster Josh Bell? Does he have a legitimate hit tool and can he stick in center field? What are the chances of him sliding to Texas at pick 33?
Jonathan_Mayo: You're quite welcome. Bell has an outstanding hit tool. You could make the argument that he's one of the, if not the, best pure hitter in the high school class.
Jonathan_Mayo: He'll hit for average and power from both sides of the plate. As for his defense, he'll probably move to a corner at the next level, mostly because he's an average runner. But he'll hit plenty for a corner spot.
Jonathan_Mayo: Will he slide to 33? It could happen. He's committed to the University of Texas and he's advised by Boras Corp. Add those together and a signability-related drop to #33 isn't out of the question.
kr1s: Any realistic chance Trevor Bauer falls to the Padres at #10? Thanks Jonathan!
Jonathan_Mayo: I'd say virtually none. The Draft is a funny business, so you never know, but with the way Bauer has performed, I'm not sure he makes it out of the top five, let alone down to 10.
draft123: what are the chances of dbacks being able to draft Hultzen and Bauer in the first round
Jonathan_Mayo: Follow that up with another Bauer-related question ...
Jonathan_Mayo: I think there's an outside chance of that happening. Gerrit Cole and Rendon could go 1-2, then Arizona could take Hultzen No. 3 and hope Bauer makes it to 7. The teams above them are looking at college arms, so Bauer might not slide that far.
dizzle4: In your rankings, you mentioned that Daniel Norris has the upside of a #3 starter, which surprised me, as I'd imagine a prep arm in the first round should have much higher upside. Why do you think that's his upside?
Jonathan_Mayo: I think people have this sense that being a No. 3 starter is a knock. How many really, really good No. 3 starters do you know of?
Jonathan_Mayo: That being said, the point being made by that assessment is that Norris isn't as projectable as some high school arms are. He's not a tall, slender and gangly type who's going to fill out and start throwing a lot harder.
Jonathan_Mayo: But he's got a good feel for pitching already. His stuff is pretty good as it is. And perhaps it won't take him quite as long as a raw, "high-upside" prep pitcher would.
bhaefeli: What position do the Nationals draft this year ? And who might they go after...???
Jonathan_Mayo: Figured this would be a good chance to show people how to find the Draft order on the site. Just go here to see: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2011/order.jsp
Jonathan_Mayo: Oh, and the Nationals pick at No. 6 and 23. I think at No. 6, they may have to choose between a really good high-upside high school arm like Archie Bradley or whichever top college arm (Bauer?) is on the board.
rogdw: In terms of tools, who do you think has the best raw ability of any player in the draft?
Jonathan_Mayo: I think it'd be hard to pick anyone other than Bubba Starling for this answer. He's got all five tools and has the best chance of any position player in this class to be one of those superstar/impact-type talents in the future.
Jonathan_Mayo: He's also got a football scholarship to the University of Nebraska, and it's going to take a good-sized bonus to sign him. That could, to answer some of you who asked, force him to slide a bit, perhaps down to No. 9 and the Chicago Cubs.
ksmckee87: Do you see the Mariners getting Rendon? Will the Pirate pass on him
Jonathan_Mayo: That's the $64,000 question up top, isn't it? The Pirates are still discussing Rendon -- I don't think they've ruled out any of the top candidates at this point. But the questions about his shoulder, and the potential to not get any good answers about it, will likely make them pause. This is just my opinion here, but I think they pass on him.
Jonathan_Mayo: Then the Mariners will have to do the same thing in terms of deciding whether they should take him. There's still a good chance they pull the trigger, though I did have Rendon "slide" to No. 4 in my first mock.
CJC2988: Given Bundy's reported demands/requests/whatever you'd like to call them, what is the lowest we could possibly see him fall?
Jonathan_Mayo: For those of you who aren't sure of what CJC29288 (that your full name or just a nickname?) is talking about, feel free to peruse my blog post about the Bundy situation: http://bit.ly/jBAQQD Jonathan_Mayo: Bundy's becoming a bit of a wild card, isn't he? First the bonus demands, then the story floated about long-toss concerns? Even with all of that, most feel the kid wants to play and will sign. So I can't imagine him sliding too far. I don't see him getting past the top six or seven.
jrod05: Which College pitcher from the 2011 class makes it to the bigs first?
Jonathan_Mayo: Always have to answer the "first to the bigs" question. If we're looking just at starters, I'd say Hultzen or Taylor Jungmann.
Jonathan_Mayo: Now, if you're thinking about a reliever at all ... there could be some quicker options.
Jonathan_Mayo: Here's an interesting option: John Stilson of Texas A&M. He's starting now and has shown an ability to stay there. But he's closed in the past and has that kind of stuff. If a team wants to shorten him up, he could be the first one to the bigs.
hardwrking: Do you think the braves will go for the young pitching like they do every year or for a potential power-hitting or high-average position player?
Jonathan_Mayo: It is the easy way to go, right? When in doubt, have the Braves take a high-ceiling young arm. If there's one in Georgia, it's a slam dunk. Not sure if it's guaranteed, but in a class that's deep in high-ceiling young arms, that does seem to make some sense.
Jonathan_Mayo: For what it's worth, that's why I had them taking Jose Fernandez, the high school righty from Florida, in my first mock of the first round.
JAYPERS: This isn't so much a question as an opinion. Trevor Bauer has simply dominated the NCAA since Day 1, and if Pittsburgh can't see past his delivery and refuses to look at his projectability, it's their loss.
Jonathan_Mayo: Opinion noted. I would just caution people against ranking players based solely on performance/numbers. It certainly is important -- and I'm not saying Bauer won't be an outstanding starter in the big leagues. But there also have been some pretty good college pitchers with fantastic numbers who have not done as well in the pro game.
simpsonsfan: since the d-backs could use some immediate help does that change their strategy and shift them more towards the college side?
Jonathan_Mayo: I think with at least one of the two picks in the top 10, that's what they'll do. I think that if the scenario works out where they get Hultzen and Bauer, they would be extremely happy because both should help very quickly. And keep in mind that the pick at No. 7 is unprotected -- no compensation for that one.
rossybossy: I know about Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon, but who are some high school players that will be drafted high?
Jonathan_Mayo: Bubba Starling, OF; Dylan Bundy, RHP; Archie Bradley, RHP; Francisco Lindor, SS. Not in any real order, but those are the top high schoolers in this class.
carty23: Hey Jonathan, I've heard alot of Larry Greene to the Cards at 22. Will he fall that far and do you see a fit?
Jonathan_Mayo: Greene's name has been mentioned quite a bit lately in first-round discussions. Honestly, if he's there at 22, it's not because he fell "that far." I've talked to some scouts who don't see him as a first-rounder.
Jonathan_Mayo: He's been tough to evaluate because he plays against poor competition. He's got tremendous raw power (he might be the answer to another question someone submitted about the player with the most pure power).
Jonathan_Mayo: But he also has not performed all that well in higher-profile showcases against better pitching. Now, maybe he just needs to see it more, but he didn't really stand out at the East Coast Showcase, for instance, other than in BP.
purplewall: What happened to all the hype about Matt Purke?
Jonathan_Mayo: A shoulder injury is a good way to kill hype.
Jonathan_Mayo: He was floating a big price tag anyway, then he had a blister. Then he got shut down with bursitis. He just came back last week -- he threw three innings, I believe -- so he needs to show he's healthy before people seriously consider him as a high draft pick.
UeckerPowell: I kept hearing that the Brewers are interested in Taylor Guerrieri, is there any interest in Archie Bradley also? Who would they take if both are there?
Jonathan_Mayo: Yes, I think they'd have an interest in Bradley, who was nearly as dominant as his fellow Oklahoman Bundy down the stretch this season. Bradley's put out a big price tag as well, and that might temper some enthusiasm, but I'm not sure he gets to the Brewers.
Jonathan_Mayo: If he does, I don't see them going with two high school pitchers with the two first rounders. Going one and one -- one college, one high school -- might make more sense.
dyl_jo: Given Rendon's shoulder and Cole's recent struggles, any chance either of those two drops out of the top 5?
Jonathan_Mayo: Sure, I think there's a chance. It may not be likely, but it could happen. Considering that both will be expected to be paid as the "top college arm and bat" in the class, it could force a slide.
Jonathan_Mayo: That being said, I can't imagine either one being on the board by the time the D-backs make their second first-round selection.
Dodgers1991: Best third baseman not named Anthony Rendon is who?
Jonathan_Mayo: Cory Spangenberg for right now. Good JUCO bat who can run. Stay tuned for my breakdown on corner infielders tomorrow.
Jonathan_Mayo: You could make an argument for Vandy's Jason Esposito as well.
Jonathan_Mayo: For the future ... keep an eye on Javier Baez. He was a shortstop in high school, but most feel he'll move over to third at the next level. He's got the actions to be good defensively there and the bat to hit enough for the position.
iggymrf: Henry Owens... see him moving up draft boards? Maybe top 15?
Jonathan_Mayo: Nope. It's not that he's been bad or anything, it's just that he hasn't advanced like some had hoped he might. I've had some scouts tell me they don't think he'll go in the first round at all.
uhtred: Will Starling go to Nebraska or sign if he is taken by KC at #5?
Jonathan_Mayo: I actually think Starling will end up playing baseball, regardless of who takes him. Not that the football thing is a ploy or ruse -- it's legit -- but word is he wants to be on the diamond. Football will raise his bonus, but here's saying he walks away from it.
Jonathan_Mayo: It being football, not the bonus.
Jonathan_Mayo: Got about five minutes left, folks ...
TribeFan85: What is the likelihood Trevor Bauer falls to #8?
Jonathan_Mayo: I think the Indians would love for that to happen -- they drafted Tim Lincecum as a sophomore and made a run at signing him but didn't get it done -- but I think Bauer will be gone by No. 8.
daryl41018: I really like Kolten Wong. What are your thoughts on him?
Jonathan_Mayo: I'm a fan as well. Guy can really hit and runs well. He'll be a decent defender at second base. I think his size, the fact he's already a second base and the fact he's in Hawaii ... all of that makes him a bit undervalued. He's going to be a good No. 2-type hitter.
Jonathan_Mayo: And one who shouldn't take too long to be big league ready, in my opinion.
j3alvarez: what direction do you see the marlins going? pitcher or another bat?
Jonathan_Mayo: They're typically willing to go in either direction, though they love the hard-throwing projectable arms. I had them going college bat in my first mock, but it's still a toss up.
midlight: If you had to compare it with previous years, what would you say is a position that is really well represented in this year's draft?
Jonathan_Mayo: It's all pitching in this class. Pitching, pitching and more pitching. There aren't nearly as many bats, especially in the college realm.
peder29: whom do you see the Orioles taking with the 4th pick?
Jonathan_Mayo: I think the O's are actually in a really good spot in this Draft. They can have someone on their board they'd like but be prepared to take someone who "drops" from the top three.
Jonathan_Mayo: So if Cole or Rendon drop, they're there to reap the benefits. I think they'd love to take a college arm if the right one is available.
Jonathan_Mayo: OK, folks. Time for one more question. If you want to talk more draft, you can send some questions my way via Twitter. I'm at @JonathanMayoB3.
rogdw: what are you hearing from some of the pre-draft workouts that some teams conduct before the draft?
Jonathan_Mayo: I haven't heard much as of yet, but that will really heat up over the next two weeks. I think it's especially important for some of the high school players who haven't played in quite some time. Guys like Lindor and Baez in Florida have been done playing for a few weeks.
Jonathan_Mayo: So I wouldn't be shocked if those types of players work out for teams to get them last looks closer to Draft time. And sometimes, those workouts help propel a player up the board last minute.
Jonathan_Mayo: Thanks everyone for coming to the Draft chat. I appreciate all the interest and questions about the Draft, and I'm sorry I couldn't get to all of them. We will be doing another chat pre-Draft, so keep an eye out for that. And come visit on Twitter!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.