Dr. D's 2011 MLB Draft Board - the #2 Pick (2)


THE KEY IDEA IS:  Lindor looks like a much better dice roll than other high school players.

(1) The significance of his glove is that he plays in the majors in the middle of the diamond.  

(2) This intersects with the fact that even if he doesn't have power, he will very probably have a Johnny Damon-style OBP/SB game in the majors.   It is the SS position, and the low risk of return on Lindor's OBP, that decides here.  

Lindor, almost uniquely among HS players, comes with an all-important FLOOR -- that of "above-average ML regular."  The upside is exciting, but almost beside the point.  The point is that you can't gamble with the #2.


Bill James, speaking historically, opined that most pitchers could learn to get outs some way or other-- if they could only stay healthy and keep getting chances.  Something very like that works with high school superstars.  Even if he weren't able to hit, Francisco Lindor has a free pass to an ML career and he is going to be *taught* how to hit.

Lindor, as the supreme HS talent of the year, probably has an 80% chance to figure out a good ML offensive game -- and in the middle of the diamond, playing for peanuts, that's a home run with the #2.


Now as a completely separate issue, you have him winning the HR derbies and being compared to ARod and all that stuff.  If he becomes Hanley Ramirez-level, great.  But in any case, this particular kid isn't all that risky as far as his chances to become Derek Jeter.


WHAT WOULD BE FUN ABOUT THE PICK:  The upside.  And, see the 1970's Dodgers shtick above.



THE KEY IDEA IS:  This dude has a pitching motion that is well-and-truly fractured.  And the command issues look therefore chronic.

There's a fine line between Gil Meche and Felix Hernandez.  Until Cole's motion is fixed, no way in the world he's Felix, we can tell you that.


But now don't undersell his arm.  It's equal to Michael Pineda's.


WHAT WOULD BE FUN ABOUT THE PICK:  If the M's took Cole, we would assume that they're going to fix his motion.  And if they did, you are indeed talking about a guy who could become the best pitcher in the league.  Quickly.


=== PRETENDAH's ===

Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia:  everything Trevor Bauer is and much, much less.  A distant second in the Polished College Pitcher derby.

Dylan Bundy, RHP, HS:  if you're going to take a high school pitcher #2, you'd better be very sure that he is the high school pitcher of the decade.  Even if he is, he's got a great shot to be injured before he wins 15 in the bigs.

A very high draft pick is about making sure of big return - not gambling to get 1.2x as much.  The difference between Evan Longoria and David Price is not important, but the difference between them and Jeff Clement is.

Bubba Starling, OF, HS:  a dice roll.  See previous comment.  (Lindor, though a high schooler appears to be much less of a dice roll than is Starling.)

Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt:  A lesser power arm that competes directly with Cole... well, maybe if Gray is going to hit spots, there's room for a dark horse here.


Dr D



Let's hope the Pirate reports are right about Cole at #1.  I'm way tired of Cole vs. Bauer anyway (and not JUST because I'm losing -- with everyone except the Pirates anyway . . . *grin*). http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110606&content_id=20105380&vke...
So apparently the REAL debate is Rendon vs. Lindor, with Lindor charging down the stretch and making up ground on every stride.  Churchill has some sort of inside scoop that's behind his pay wall, and apparently it's "known" that Lindor came to Seattle for a private workout.
I still go with Rendon and his "Hank Aaron wrists" (which have never been injured) and "Edgar-with-good-D" as not even his ceiling.
But I see why Lindor's floor is tantalizing, with the glove-OBP-decent speed combo virtually an MLB guarantee.
[I still can't square Bauer with the "no giant risk at #2" notion, but if Z and McNamara disagree, I'll go there, too.  My sense is Rendon vs. Lindor, though.]


Cole to the Pirates seems to be all but official, which is probably the best news for the M's out of all of their possible picks.
Smoak is really the only legit middle of the order bat in the M's system, and Rendon can match him from either 2B or 3B. He's the only elite college hitter in the draft, the best available player for the M's pick, and the perfect fit for the system.
Everything I've read suggests Starling is the alternative if Rendon's medicals don't check out, and Churchill himself appears to admit Lindor is a pick he concluded himself and wasn't directly leaked from his insiders. Starling is less than ideal, but he's definitely got the talent of a #2 overall and I do agree with choosing a hitter over a similar pitcher based on the direction baseball is headed.
Unfortunately for the other team I follow, looks like the O's are indeed leaning towards Bradley even if Bauer/Bundy are still on board which for me would be about equivalent to the M's selecting Lindor.


The bullpen scoreboard? ... ya, think we've seen that a time or two... depending on where it is, that's probably what, 420' or more...Lindor is exciting, no doubts there.  ... of course a talent like Alex Rodriguez was so obvious that there was 93 million miles between him and the #2 in that draft year.  GM's all over baseball were saying "one of these days Alex will hit .400 with 60 homers" and stuff like that.Odd to hear Lindor spoken of *last-minute* as an ARod type talent, but do like him based on being a middle-of-the-diamond player with a good floor.


Just a few days ago we were still reading all sorts of skepticism about Bauer - that he wasn't being taken seriously as a super-high pick.Bauer could conceivably wind up a Cy candidate even if he's throwing 92.  And what if he's upper 90's?


Of course you don't take an inferior CF just because you have a hole there in the bigs ...But at a certain point, ignoring the shape of your own talent pyramid is a mistake.  The M's have every single one of their SP's locked up, probably even including Bedard, as well as Paxton just next year, and Walker and Campos, and... the rest of the system.NFL drafting teams, who are state of the art, weight need at the pro level heavily.


Yep, the left-center scoreboard behind the M's bullpen. Not that BP power means too much, but it's still something.

Taro's picture

I'd take Bauer over Rendon. I think hes almost a lock to succeed and could throw for 15 years. Rendon still has the injury questionmark.
That said, I'll be very happy with Rendon if we land him.


I'd be on board with a Starling pick if the M's aren't confident in Rendon's medicals. Sounds like Starling doesn't have any plus-plus tools, but he's basically plus-and-a-half on everything. .300 with 30 HR's, 30-40 SB's, above average CF or RF defense, and throwing arm as his best tool. Maybe a Josh Hamilton comp?
Apparently Law is reporting there's a rift between Zduriencik (Lindor) and the scouts (Rendon). Gotta say I side with the scouts on this one, but they're not the ones who will be held responsible for the pick if Rendon's power outage is legit. Pretty easy to argue for the consensus player then blame it on player development if it doesn't work out, haha.


There's just too high a chance that Starling walks away and goes to college to risk a #2 pick.  Not that there isn't a number that will probably get him to sign, but I think that number will be too high given the uncertainty as to whether he is actually a Josh Hamilton-level baseball player.  All of the "intangible" factors (other than $$) point toward college.  If you KNEW he would be Hamilton-esque or if you KNEW he would sign, then OK, but we don't know either with any degree of certainty.


He could be Drew Hensen, he could be Josh Hamilton. Nobody will know for sure for a couple of years.

Issac's picture

Taro, a month a half ago, you said you wanted Hultzen if not Rendon.. there is thread here with a bunch of folks gushing over Hultzen and his K rates... did he suck it up the last month of the season?? If not, I don't get the complaints, you guys loved him back in April.

Anonymous's picture

Had to be the tiebreaker. How many other top pitchers in the draft were LHP? Throwing 95? He can move right in for Vargas or Bedard. Nothing wrong there. They will probably pick a sliding "signability" guy next pick or two.

Taro's picture

Velocity loss 2nd half in the season led to a huge drop in K/9 and I took a closer look at his video. I do not like his mechanics at all and am not as high on breaking pitches as with Bauer.
Scouts generally don't know how to evaluate mechanics so you end up with rediculous scouting reports like Hultzen being less injury risk than Bauer.. After seeing Hultzen pitch I came back less impressed and just stopped posting about him. Bauer got the exact opposite reaction from me. The more I dug, the more impressed I became.
I'm not sold on Hultzen's durability or chance to maintain that early-season velocity anymore. I don't think his upside is nearly as high as anyone else in the top 5 either.
Of course he only needs to stay healthy for 6 years and he should be solid, but this is something the Ms are going to regret.


He was a small guy with a mediocre fastball who had to learn how to pitch before his growth spurt gave him height and mid-90's heat. Those guys develop work ethics to survive and almost as a reward get major league talent on top of it.
That's much better than the Yuniesky Betancourt or (player) Billy Beane types who are men-among-boys that can get by talent over hard work. Those guys have much more trouble adjusting when everyone has talent and what separates players is the extra work.
Pineda was the same way--first he learned to command his 89 mph fastball, then he got a 97 mph fastball.


I really wanted Rendon (partly b/c I went to Rice).
I can only hope that this is a prelude to a trade of Paxton+ for some serious hitting upgrade.  Hmmm, Rendon is blocked by Zimmerman....


Haha, you know things are bad when a guy with "Mariner Optimist" as the login is pessimistic.
Supposedly Hultzen has a $15-20 million inheritance if he graduates from med school by age 25, and his parents are pushing him in that direction and reamed out the D'Backs when they drafted him out of high school.
Perhaps the M's looked around at the candidates - Rendon's bad shoulder, Lindor's lack of offense, Starling's undeveloped skillset - and decided they'd prefer the #3 overall in next year's draft (which will presumably be in a slotted sytem)?


Rendon vs. Lindor vs. Bauer vs. Hultzen.  Didn't see that one coming.
Rendon will need surgery (even his coach said he might), and that created just enough uncertainty.
They love the idea of a super-Vargas in Safeco.
They like that Hultzen hit .336/.423/.483?
I'm a huge Virginia fan, so I like having a UVa guy on the Ms, but I have to say it's a surprise.

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