Here we are yet again in 2010. Another sport, another draft, and another highly anticipated draft class that has to meet those overbearingly high expectations of the scouts and GM’s around Major League Baseball. While I love the sport of baseball inwards and out, I also love the memorabilia that keeps the history alive for years to come. Some of these young men will sign soon and be sent off to start their career. And the others; they will wait and wait and wait until their agent gives them the go ahead to grab a pen. Look a little closer around the internet and you may notice that they have already done that very thing. Here are the top 10 Draft Picks of the 2010 MLB Draft along with links to their memorabilia already hitting the market.
1. Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals – College of Southern Nevada – MLB.com Draft Report – The Bryce Harper story is well-documented at this point. Just 17 and in junior college, he’s gotten as much hype as any Draft prospect not named Strasburg. For the most part, he’s lived up to it in his first college season, showing incredible hitting and power skills. He’s moved around on the field and has plus arm strength from anywhere, though most would like to see him catch. The only questions that seem to remain with Harper is if he’ll go No. 1 overall and then, if he’ll sign.
2. Jameson Taillon – Pittsburgh Pirates – The Woodlands HS (TX) – MLB.com Draft Report – Taillon is the complete package in a high school pitcher, with tremendous size, stuff and a feel for pitching. He has three plus pitches in his fastball, slider and curve. Even his changeup, while not used that much, is solid. He uses his size to his advantage and has tremendous mound presence. As impressive as his stuff is, his makeup might be even better. A commitment to Rice might sound intriguing, but if he goes at the top of the first round, and everything points to that happening, it likely won’t be an issue.
3. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles – Brito Miami Private School (FL) – MLB.com Draft Report – Machado entered the season as the top high school position player and has done nothing to diminish that evaluation. Big and athletic, he can do just about everything on the baseball field, with the ability to hit for plenty of average and some power as he matures. He has more than enough arm to play shortstop and is fine there for now, though there is some concern he’ll outgrow the position. Even if he does, he’d be just fine at third, both in terms of handling the position defensively and providing the kind of offense teams look for at the hot corner. Regardless of his position, Machado is primed to be one of the earliest names taken off the board in June.
4. Christian Colon – Kansas City Royals – Cal State – Fullerton – MLB.com Draft Report – A big prospect since high school, there’s a lot to like about Colon’s game. He has a solid approach and setup at the plate and he makes the plays in the field. His individual tools don’t grade out well, and some think he’ll need to move to second as a pro. He was the captain of Team USA last summer and put up big numbers as well. He hadn’t done that in the early going of his junior season and this is a performance-based industry, so that could hurt his draft stock a little. Even if he doesn’t pick it up, his past performance, makeup and baseball acumen should help ensure he doesn’t wait too long to hear his name called.
5. Drew Pomeranz – Cleveland Indians – Ole Miss – MLB.com Draft Report – Pomeranz has established himself as the top lefty arm in a Draft class that hasn’t got a deep the southpaw pool. Big, strong and durable, he has the makings of an above-average three-pitch mix. He commands his fastball and breaking ball very well, and, while the changeup is a bit behind, it’s improving quickly. There’s little not to like about Pomeranz — most criticisms are on the nit-picky side — and it seems likely that he’ll hear his name called very early on Draft Day.
6. Barret Loux – Arizona Diamond Backs – Texas A&M – MLB.com Draft Report – With his performances this spring, Loux is quickly moving up draft charts. The big right-hander has four pitches he uses, though it’s his fastball and plus changeup that really stand out. His breaking stuff needs some tightening, but with his command, mound presence and easy delivery, there’s reason to believe he can improve that part of his game as well. Before the season began, most Texas college pitching buzz went to Brandon Workman, but Loux has forced his way to the top of that conversation and likely into the first couple of rounds.
7. Matt Harvey – New York Mets – North Carolina – MLB.com Draft Report – Once a top high school prospect, Harvey has reclaimed his status as a first-round candidate with a resurgent junior season. The delivery problems that had him so off his game as a sophomore have largely been corrected, though there are still some issues there that can effect his command and ability to throw his breaking ball. Still, Harvey was showing an above-average to plus fastball and maintaining his velocity, to go along with glimpses of good breaking stuff and a feel for a change. He’s come a long way this season, and he likely won’t have to wait too long to be redrafted.
8. Delino Deshields Jr – Houston Astros – Woodward Academy (GA) – MLB.com Draft Report – DeShields has two things really working in his favor: his plus speed and his bloodlines. His dad of the same name spent many years in the big leagues, and the hope is that the younger DeShields could be a similar type of player. He does have the potential to be a very good hitter and puts his speed to use on the basepaths. He has more than enough range to handle center field and the hands to play second if a team wanted to give that a look. Scouts have had a hard time getting a consistent read on DeShields. He’s toolsy and seems like he’ll fall right into the old risk vs. reward debate. It seems likely a team will be willing to take the plunge at some point not too deep into the Draft.
9. Karsten Whitson – San Diego Padres – Chipley HS (FL) – MLB.com Draft Report – It’s looking like a pretty strong year for high school arms, and Whitson should be near the top in any discussion about them. He’s already big, strong and durable and he has plenty of projection, meaning he might throw harder than his already mid-90s fastball. Add in a plus breaking ball and good changeup and he has a very intriguring three-pitch mix already. Some tweaks to his delivery could make him even more dangerous. There might be a right-hander or two ahead of Whitson on the high school depth chart, but he should figure into high Draft pick conversations come June.
10. Michael Choice – Oakland Athletics – University of Texas – Arlington – MLB.com Draft Report – In a year that lacks a ton of big-name college hitters, players from smaller programs like Choice have a chance to shine, and he is taking advantage. Though he’ll need work on his swing mechanics, he has big-time raw power to all fields. He runs well and plays a strong outfield to boot. He may not be the elite hitter clubs seek, but since there aren’t many of those this year, teams may look hard at Choice in the early going.