With the first round of the MLB Draft in the books, let's take a quick glance at what we saw transpire.
-- It didn't take long for the first surprise pick, as Danny Knobler wrote. The Mariners took left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen. The ensuing tweets from scouts could be summarized by shock, and pretty much all of them noted their mock drafts were already blown up. One note on Hultzen: he's been said to be the type of pitcher who won't need much time in the minors, as he's already seasoned. If he develops as expected, he could be a nice No. 3 behind Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda for years.
-- Two of the first three picks were from UCLA. Trevor Bauer had the superior numbers, but pretty much everyone agrees Gerrit Cole has the higher upside. Cole went first to the Pirates.
-- The other first-round surprise seemed to be that Anthony Rendon fell down to pick No. 6. He was pretty much the consensus No. 1 player entering the season, but injuries hampered his junior year at Rice. The Nationals grabbed him in what most scouts called a steal. He's said to have big-time power. One question I've seen from fans is why the Nats took him, a third baseman, when they already have Ryan Zimmerman. Well, there are lots of unknowns, that's why. The Nats felt he was the best player on the board. Rendon did see time at second base this spring and moving a power hitter to first is always a possibility. I think the third-base question is one of those you don't answer until you have to. Several scouts noted the Nationals came away with the most talented player in three straight drafts (Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper being the last two).
-- The Mets took Brandon Nimmo 13th overall. The pick was notable for several reasons. He's from Wyoming, where they don't even have high school baseball. Nimmo became the first player from Wyoming to be picked in the first round. In fact, no player from Wyoming had ever even been taken before the sixth round (and that happened in 1966). Also notable was the Mets going with the big-upside pick, as Nimmo is a high-ceiling high school kid.
-- The Diamondbacks have drawn rave reviews for getting two power arms in the first seven picks in Bauer and Archie Bradley. And you gotta love the social media, because Bradley tweeted Bauer with "hit me up man we need to talk lol."
-- The Royals added to their stable of talented youngsters with local product Bubba Starling. It was noted by one scout on Twitter that the Royals could have gone with someone closer to a big-league stint (Starling is in high school), but that general manager Dayton Moore doesn't just want all his eggs in one basket (the current crop of minor-league talent soon to hit the bigs). He wants another wave to follow it.
-- Of the 30 picks, 12 were high school players, one was a Juco player and the rest were juniors in college. That's right, no seniors in 30 picks. Isn't there outrage in other sports when guys leave school early? Here's the difference, though: In baseball, you don't declare for the draft. You are just eligible and drafted if ready. I'm not an NBA or NFL guy, but I feel like if the rules were similar, there might be less whining about guys not getting an education.
-- In our instant gratification society, there might be a rush to judge picks immediately, but remember, this is where baseball is worlds different than football or basketball. It might be five years before you see some of these players, especially the ones from out of high school. So if you see a site doing draft grades, take it with a grain of salt.
[NOTE: When I mention what scouts were saying, I was following scouting outlets on Twitter. I did not talk to any scouts personally about any of these players.]
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