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2011 Draft – Day one wrapup: Nationals, Red Sox are winners

Jun 6, 2011, 11:48 PM EST

Anthony Rendon

A few winners and losers after 60 picks…

Winners

Nationals – Anthony Rendon‘s injury history is a big concern, but he looked like the best bat in the draft and the Nationals took advantage of him slipping to No. 6. They’ll probably try him at second base, and since he’s quick and not too big, he could be solid there. The Nats also got a high-ceiling right-hander in Alex Meyer at No. 23 and a speedy outfielder in Brian Goodwin at No. 34.

Red Sox – Possessing four early picks and plenty of money, the Red Sox were sure to have a field day. They opted for quite a mix, picking college right-hander Matt Barnes at No. 19, high school catcher Blake Swihart at No. 26, high school left-hander Henry Owens at No. 36 and college outfielder Jackie Bradley at No. 40. Barnes projects as a starter for the long-term, but he might be able to make an impact as a reliever next year if the Red Sox want to go in that direction. Swihart is iffy to last behind the plate, but he had one of the highest offensive ceilings in the draft.

Brewers – The Brewers need pitching and they got two very good arms at No. 12 and No. 15. Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley were both considered top-10 picks at times. It remains to be seen in Jungmann’s curve will be enough of a strikeout pitch to make him a No. 2 starter in the majors, but he should be a mid-rotation guy at least. Both guys could be factors in the second half of next year if things break right.

Losers

Mets – With some very talented pitchers and quality up-the-middle players on the board, the Mets rolled the dice on outfielder Brandon Nimmo at No. 13. He’s terribly raw, but he’s going to have to hit to make it an outfield corner. It seemed like the Mets felt they had to have left-handed power in CitiĀ Field and reacged to get some. RHP Michael Fulmer at No. 44 was another iffy pick, though he has a big fastball.

Mariners – The Mariners could have used the bat and were connected with Rendon for the longest time before his shoulder problems scared them off. Instead, they settled for Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen with the second pick. He projects as a nice mid-rotation guy, but since he was their only pick in the top 60, they’re going to have to get lucky to come out of the draft with any offensive talent.

Padres – Some teams deserve the benefit of the doubt when they appear to reach, but the Padres don’t have that kind of track record. Cory Spangenberg has a nice line-drive stroke, but with no position and not all that much home run power, he wasn’t worthy of the 10th pick in the draft. In their defense, the Padres had so many picks that they didn’t want to spend on some of the higher-upside guys and they did do better in getting right-handers Joe Ross at No. 25 and Michael Kelly at No. 48. Still, they missed an opportunity at No. 10.

  1. alawson2 - Jun 6, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Braves clearly losers… they needed hitting and they drafted… a college pitcher?

    • tomemos - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:00 AM

      Keith Law says you always best the best signable player, regardless of your team’s current needs. Player’s not going to be with the team for a couple years anyway.

  2. buckybadger - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:36 AM

    Now I am relatively new to watching baseball on a regular basis and following a team and its prospects. Basically just since the Rockies got Cargo and Tulo. More of a football and boxing guy. It is foolish to judge a football draft right afterwards and we expect to get a handful of contributers and a couple of starters every year. Seems to me its beyond ridiculous to call winners and losers at this point. So much to the point that its pretty irresponsible to even to do so. These guys for the most part won’t see a major league park for at least a couple of years.

    Took a note from your PFT counterparts which gave every team the same grace, an incomplete. Its the only one you can give, especially in baseball. These kids have a long road to success.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:46 AM

      It’s just one man’s opinion. In five or six years, we’ll know if this article was a winner or a loser, too.

  3. bigharold - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    Winners and losers on draft day?? Really?

    With the frequency with which top draft picks never amount to ANYTHING this is easily the stupidest notion since Anthony Weiner decided that Twitter was a good thing.

  4. clydeserra - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    I think its fair to opine about winners and losers today. We now know what teams draft strategy was and can make a guess about its eventual impact.

    I think the Red Sox picks are not going to see the home dugout at Fenway. Those guys are fodder to get Gio Gonzalez in 2013, or Shaun Marcum next year.

  5. crpls - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:57 AM

    Brewers over D’backs, really? Unless you favor two college pitchers over one college pitcher and a crazy high ceiling high schooler, I dun get it.

  6. royhobbs39 - Jun 7, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    As a Nationals fan…this give me a glimmer of hope. Looking like the possiblity of being the 2014 Rays…

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Jun 7, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    I am so sick of this whole idea that you have to “wait a few years to see how the guys do before you judge a draft” That’s just total BS.

    Teams have to fill their needs the best way possible at the time they draft a guy. If they have no pressing needs, then they should take the best available talent or player with the highest ceiling. If that guy doesn’t pan out, it doesn’t always mean the pick was bad. It means they were unlucky.

    If a guy in the 6th round becomes one the best quarterbacks of all time, or the catcher taken in the 62nd round becomes the best hitting catcher of all-time, that is just plain luck. Because if anybody thought Brady and Piazza would become what they became, they would have been the first picks in their respective drafts.

    If a team like the Mariners needed a bat, and they took a pitcher first, then that can be considered a poor choice right now, even if the pitcher becomes the next Sandy Koufax. If that happens, then it will take them off the hook for making a poor choice of a guy who they project as a mid-rotation guy instead of that desperately needed bat.

    Thanks for the update, Matthew.

    • professorperry - Jun 7, 2011 at 9:07 AM

      Amen. Also prospects become part of an organization’s “value” from the moment they sign. For example, if you think the Red Sox’ first baseman is pretty good, then you have to credit that to the talent available to trade for him, including the tough sign of Casey Kelly. It’s true that most picks fail to make it to the majors, but all picks bring value.

      Teams that draft well build momentum, build excitement among fans, and can trade for the major league pieces they need.

    • uberfatty - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:56 AM

      Chris, you had me at the beginning. I agree that people complaining about a grades column this early after the draft are really annoying. What are we supposed to do, just look to the sky and dream of 2014? It’s obvious that we don’t REALLY know how these guys will turn out but we do know their potential, and really it’s just a fun way of quickly determining if some teams “reached” or got a great value pick.

      You lost me when saying that “If a team like the Mariners needed a bat, and they took a pitcher first, then that can be considered a poor choice right now, even if the pitcher becomes the next Sandy Koufax.” The MLB draft is different than other sports because current team needs are not a big factor at all due to the top players not coming to the majors for 2-3 years (typically). Teams should be drafting BPA and then worrying about their lineup later, when they can fill it using trades of FA signings. IE: Washington picking Rendon even though they have Zimmerman. BPA, so they grabbed him and will worry about the rest later.

  8. dirtyharry1971 - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    what a silly article, you cant even come close to grading a MLB draft this early so how can anyone predict winners and losers? Totally amazing

  9. fonzo2 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    It is a relevant an interesting exercise and read. Baseball America will soon – if they haven’t already – re-grade each MLB team’s farm system based on the new draft picks. Actually, a few recent 2009-2010 draft picks have some MLB service time already, and some are everyday players (Strasberg, Ackley soon, Minor, Leake, Storen, Crow, Alex White, Sale). A few from 2010 are on their way too fairly soon.

  10. buckybadger - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    If its just luck that a player pans out than these GMs and scouts make way too much money.

    Almost in any sport you don’t draft for need. You draft the best player available and baseball is no different. It is just plain ignorance to say a team has filled its needs when you have no idea how the players will pan out. Go ahead and make your grades and think you are getting good content but your just getting filler and a line of B.S.

  11. revis24 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    I was worried about the Mets criticism until he claimed they play in “Citi Park”.

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