MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo held his second 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: Hey folks. We're going to get started in just a minute, so keep sending those questions in.
oakland52: who do you have the dbacks going with at 3 and 7?
Jonathan_Mayo: My new mock just came out, so you can check it out. There's still much to be determined at the top, but I think if Danny Hultzen is there at 3, the Diamondbacks take him. I have them taking Francisco Lindor, the high school SS in Florida, at No. 7, but if Trevor Bauer got to them there, that mighit make more sense.
Jonathan_Mayo: I also know that some in their camp love HS RHP Dylan Bundy and I've heard HS SS (though he'll be a 3B as a pro) Javier Baez's name being mentioned as well.
sc_brave7_2: What do you expect from the Braves? Is Dwight Smith a reach for them?
atlantaviala: Who wll the Braves take first, and what is it that they're looking for in the draft?
Jonathan_Mayo: Two for the price of one! Two early Braves questions
Jonathan_Mayo: Figuring out what any team is going to do at the bottom of the first round is tough any year and this one is even tougher.
Jonathan_Mayo: The Braves aren't afraid of good high school pitching and there's a bunch of it in this year's class.
Jonathan_Mayo: I put HS RHP Jose Fernandez, out of Florida, in their spot in the first round and he's just one of many they could consider. I think Dwight Smith likely isn't a first rounder, though it is tempting to put the Georgia kid in their spot.
zcapshaw: Who will the Rockies take at #20?
Jonathan_Mayo: All signs right now point to a college bat. That could be C.J. Cron, the University of Utah 1B who I gave them in my latest mock. It also could be UNC SS Levi Michael or University of Hawaii 2B Kolten Wong.
RyanJS: How does the depth of this pitching class compare to others of years past?
Jonathan_Mayo: It's as good, if not better, than any, at least in recent memory. Many scouts feel this is one of the deepest drafts they can remember, though one pointed out that because it's so pitching-heavy, and pitching is such a risky proposition, that it would be prudent to wait to evaluate just how good of a class it is.
Sherdaddy4: what are the reasons you feel the pirates will go with gerrit cole #1?
Jonathan_Mayo: How's 102 mph sound to you? And hitting triple digits late in games? Obviously, that's not the only thing -- he's got three plus pitches when he's right -- but that kind of arm strength in that kind of body doesn't come around very often.
s_r_braun: Is Francisco Lindor being overvalued simply because he can legitimately play shortstop in the major leagues? What is his offensive upside and how does it compare to other position players in the draft?
Jonathan_Mayo: I'm not sure you can overvalue a guy who can legitimately play shortstop.
Jonathan_Mayo: That being said, there are those who aren't as convinced he'll hit enough to be valued where he's at right now. He got bigger and stronger this year and I've heard he's impressed in private workouts. Yes, his glove is what stands out, but teams considering him at the top really think he'll hit.
7io89p: Is Nick Delmonico's hit, power tool loud enough for 3B?
Jonathan_Mayo: From what I've been told, it could be. And it's from the left side, always a bonus. Right now, he's more of a hitter than a power guy, but there's some projection there in terms of future pop.
Jonathan_Mayo: I think the team who believes he'll be able to catch will be the one to take him early.
nickpugs: You seem to be down on Sonny Gray than most having him fall to No. 13 with the Mets and ranked as the 10th best prospect. Do you not thinik he'll develop a third pitch to go along with that fastball/curveball combo or is it the size that worries you?
Jonathan_Mayo: Not down on him, really. It's more a matter of the depth of college pitching in this class.
Jonathan_Mayo: I'll point out, by the way, that many of my fellow Draft writers with other media actually have him a bit lower down in their Top 50s, if not their mocks. Some will be turned off by his size, though not enough to make him slide very far. I do know a few teams who think he might be a reliever long-term.
7io89p: who would you choose, what order: Spangenburg, Matook, Bradely JR?
Jonathan_Mayo: I think I'd go Mahtook, Spangenberg, Bradley Jr. I like what I hear about Spangenberg's athleticsm, but is he a 3B or an OF? Either way, he'll hit and run well. But Mahtook has performed in a tough conference in a year when college bats have been down.
itsmeMark: At #6 overall, Nats are looking pitcher, HS or College?
Jonathan_Mayo: I think they're open to a number of possibilities at No. 6. They'll react to what happens above them, meaning if someone most feel will go in the top 5 slips to them, they won't hesitate to scoop that player up.
Jonathan_Mayo: That could even mean someone like Bubba Starling, mind you.
Jonathan_Mayo: But the names I'm hearing most with them if things go the way many think are Trevor Bauer (the college guy) and Archie Bradley (the HS guy).
JP_Frost: Which players have you heard the Indians linked with and could Archie Bradley be their pick?
markpmitch: the Indians have gone college arm the last 2 years in the first round... any chance for some offense early this year?
Jonathan_Mayo: Tribe questions aplenty.
Jonathan_Mayo: Most of the names I've heard would mean a college pitcher for the third year in a row. They would love for Trevor Bauer to get to them, but that doesn't seem likely at this point.
Jonathan_Mayo: I had them taking Jed Bradley in my latest mock and he's still in their mix with some of the other college arms available. They are discussing Archie Bradley, but I'm not sure I see them taking a high school pitcher that high. As for offense, there isn't really a player that fits at No. 8, unless they want to consider Francisco Lindor or Javier Baez, both HS players.
daved292: Who do you see the Mets drafting in the first round? You think they will go over slot?
Jonathan_Mayo: I gave them Sonny Gray in my latest mock and given the depth of the Draft in that regard, a college arm would make some sense. It would give them the chance to add an advanced arm to Harvey and Familia in their system.
Jonathan_Mayo: More than anything, though, they'll be in reaction mode, waiting to see if someone from above slips to them. I think for the right player, someone who was supposed to go ahead but slid, they might open the checkbook a little wider.
joejoe146: Kolten Wong, I want him as a Brave. Chances he makes it to #28, and if he does, should they pick him?
Jonathan_Mayo: I'll never be one to guarantee anything in the Draft, but I feel pretty confident that Wong will be gone by No. 28. If, however, he's there, I think it could be a very good pick for Atlanta (or anyone). Wong can flat-out hit, he can run and he plays a better 2B than he's given credit for.
Jonathan_Mayo: He's also one who shouldn't take too long to be big-league ready
miked88: How good is Javier Baez? He has unbelievable numbers and has a clean, compact stroke. How high could he be drafted?
Jonathan_Mayo: I think you have to take any high school numbers with a large amount of salt (low sodium, please).
Jonathan_Mayo: Obviously, you want a guy to dominate at that level, but a lot of good players do in high school. But you're right in that scouts love what he can do at the plate.
Jonathan_Mayo: He'll hit for average and power. He won't stay at shortstop - third base is his likely destination -- but he should have the bat to stay there.
bay_fan: Will Springer be there at 18 for Oakland? If so, do they take him?
Jonathan_Mayo: That's what everyone -- and I mean everyone -- seems to think (including me, for right now). There are a couple of teams considering college bats in the 10-17 range, so there's no guarantee the UConn product will be there. But I think if he's there at 18, the A's will at least be seriously considering him.
thurm12: How does workload affect status for college pitchers? Especially pitchers pitching on two days rest (like Palazzone in the SEC tourney). Does it affect mid-round picks differently than first rounders (Palazzone vs Pomeranz)?
Jonathan_Mayo: I think it can impact if MLB teams are afraid they might be getting damaged goods as a result of overwork. A lot of people out there think Texas A&M is to blame for John Stilson's shoulder injury, for instance.
Jonathan_Mayo: As for the example you're giving, obviously, Pomeranz had top of the draft stuff and Palazzone does not. I don't think Palazzone pitching on two days rest once in the SEC tournament won't impact his Draft status all that much, but if a team thinks overwork will mean he's primed to break down, they'll stay away.
miked88: In terms of ceiling, who are the top five players in this draft?
Jonathan_Mayo: This is a fun question -- not necessarily who the top 5 in talent or the top 5 in terms of predicting the Draft, but the top 5 in terms of upside...
Jonathan_Mayo: Without giving it too much thought, I'll say: Dylan Bundy, Bubba Starling, Archie Bradley are my top 3
Jonathan_Mayo: I'll put Gerrit Cole at 4 (sure, a college guy can have ceiling!)
Jonathan_Mayo: And we'll finish off with Francisco Lindor at No. 5, with a shout out to a HS arm like Taylor Guerreiri as an alternate.
twtaylor: Please tell me Bubba Starling will be staying in KC? He seems like a good fit to play any outfield spot and we need a long term power bat there.
Jonathan_Mayo: Will you hold me to it if I'm wrong?
7io89p: Shouldn't Royals take a lower risk player than Starling?
Jonathan_Mayo: I wanted to throw that one in as well, since it's Starling related...
Jonathan_Mayo: They are seriously considering him and obviously, the whole "hometown kid" thing is a part of it. That and he's really good. I don't really see Starling as that high risk.
Jonathan_Mayo: Yes, he's a high school player, yes he needs to be signed away from football. But all signs point to him wanting to play and he's got a good feel for the game along with all those tools.
Jonathan_Mayo: Five-tool impact guys like that don't come around very often and he might be the only one in this class, at least at the top.
Jonathan_Mayo: The Royals have had success by not being "safe" over the years. You wouldn't have Eric Hosmer in the big leagues right now if they had played it safe.
inthegap6: Mr. Mayo, what do you like and not like about George Springer? And why do you have him dropping to 18th?
Jonathan_Mayo: I want to remind people that I'm not an evaluator. I'm a reporter. So anything I write or say is based on conversations I have with the real experts, the scouts. I have way too much respect for what they do to try and pretend to do it myself without any background.
Jonathan_Mayo: Springer certainly put aside a rough start to the season and put up numbers people thought he might as the year wore on (and it warmed up!). He's got some tools across the board and you don't see that in college players too often.
Jonathan_Mayo: The biggest knock on Springer is about his swing mechanics. There are some holes there, leaving some concerned that he's not going to make consistent enough contact to tap into the power he has.
Jonathan_Mayo: He's not really dropping to 18th. He could go a bit higher, but there are some teams in there who are more likely to go for an arm than a bat.
Dalt21: Do you see Arkansas being able to keep Dillon Howard and Brandon Nimmo, or do you think they're locks to sign?
Jonathan_Mayo: I don't think either are slam dunks to sign, so you can hold on to a small glimmer of hope if you'd like. But I also think you should be preparing for the 2012 Razorbacks season without either one of them on the roster.
7io89p: College closer in this draft most likely to transition to starting?
Jonathan_Mayo: I'd have to go with Stanford's Chris Reed, who's been moving up draft boards lately. He closed largely because Stanford didn't have a closer this year. He's been tough to evaluate because he hasn't pitched a ton in his college career.
Jonathan_Mayo: But he's a lefty with a very good three-pitch mix and pretty good command. I think a team that takes him can send him out as a starter, knowing that if they shorten him up back to a late-inning relief role, he could really move quickly.
boogyloaf: You have the Jays taking Levi Michael in your latest mock. When reading about him, he seems like a very "blah" type of player, one not worthy of a first round selection. Is there a particular reason you have the Jays going with a boring pick such as thi
Jonathan_Mayo: Well, if you consider a guy who can hit and who many feel can stay at shortstop, one who showed a good amount of progress in a very competitive ACC conference, if you consider that "blah," then so be it
Jonathan_Mayo: Obviously, any team picking in the vicinity the Blue Jays are can wait and see what filters down to them and adjust accordingly. But a team in that neck of the woods that believes that Michael can stay at shortstop will take him gladly, blah and all.
dayeditor: A's have trouble giving away their $$ to free agents, but could you see them going for a risky sign in 1st round? Josh Bell?
Jonathan_Mayo: They've been willing to spend more in the Draft and in international scouting efforts of late, so it certainly is possible. That being said, they haven't always done that with that first-round selection, rather waiting for some intriguing guys to slide and trying to sign them then.
Jonathan_Mayo: Josh Bell is now a huge wild card. Everyone knew he wouldn't be an easy sign because the commitment to Texas. But the letter he sent to the Major League Scouting Bureau saying he didn't want to be drafted because he wouldn't sign, that adds to it, doesn't it?
Jonathan_Mayo: The question is: Was that a ploy to drive him to a specific team? Or was it sincere? A lot of people out there think it's the latter, that there's a commitment to getting a college education from the parents and that the kid really wants to suit up for the Longhorns.
Jonathan_Mayo: Someone's going to take Bell, even if it's not until very late in the Draft, but I don't necessarily see a team like the A's at No. 18 giving that a shot.
IKEDKID: Please tell me the Mets will go BPA and not take somebody cheap like Levi Michael
Jonathan_Mayo: OK, the Mets will go BPA and not take somebody cheap like Levi Michael.
Jonathan_Mayo: Feel better?
Jonathan_Mayo: I think they'll wait to see who gets to them and make a call from there. I don't see them taking Michael at 13.
Jonathan_Mayo: About five more minutes folks
bigryan21: who could you see the M's looking at if Rendon's shoulder is a high risk for them?
Jonathan_Mayo: The usual suspects. Going with the assumption that Cole goes No. 1, they'll be considering Dylan Bundy, Bubba Starling, perhaps Danny Hultzen and Francisco Lindor.
ebwvu01: do you think phillies take derek fisher if he's available at their first pick and what do you think of fisher
Jonathan_Mayo: There is always the tendency to like to think a team will go after the top talent in their area and the Phillies certainly have done that (see Biddle, Jesse). brJonathan_Mayo: The Phillies pick at No. 39 and I think Fisher will likely be there for them, should they want to go that route. I had heard that his stock was falling a bit, so I'm not sure if he's in their mix at this point. He's also got a commitment to the University of Virginia to contend with.
andresg9: is Trevor Baure being underrated? He did much better than Gerritt Cole this year
7io89p: What impact has Lincecum success had on teams evaluating pitchers?
Jonathan_Mayo: I put these together for an obvious reason. Bauer is sort of (but not exactly) this year's Lincecum.
Jonathan_Mayo: Based on results, there may not have been a better college performer on the mound in the country this season than Bauer.
Jonathan_Mayo: Llincecum's success certainly has made Bauer's unorthodox workout techniques and delivery a little more palatable to the industry, that's for sure.
Jonathan_Mayo: But there will still be teams who will worry about his size and durability and some who just don't like "different." If the guy goes in the top 6-7 picks, though, I don't really see him as being undervalued.
Jonathan_Mayo: And for that, he probably does have Lincecum to thank
Jonathan_Mayo: Time for one last question (and I encourage folks to send any questions that I didn't get to over to me on Twitter -- @jonathanmayob3)
andresg9: 102! why is he not the number 1 pick! it seems like a no brainer for me
Jonathan_Mayo: Figured it was good to end with a question regarding the guy I have slotted to go No. 1 overall.
Jonathan_Mayo: Since I sang Cole's praises earlier, I'll play my own devil's advocate
Jonathan_Mayo: Just throwing hard does not a successful pitcher make.
Jonathan_Mayo: Cole's had some mechanical issues with his delivery which has made his normally killer slider flatten out and he had been getting too much of the plate with his pitches. Even in college, if you throw hard, but everything is straight, flat and down the middle, you're going to get hit.
Jonathan_Mayo: If the Pirates (or anyone) is confident it's correctable, then it's easy to take him. If there's concern that it's more difficult/complex than that, then you stop and think about it.
Jonathan_Mayo: Alright folks, that's it for me. Be sure to tune in to Draft coverage on MLB.com and MLB Network, starting with a preview show at 6 p.m. ET on Monday!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.