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Predicting the Draft, 2.0

June 7, 2009

With the draft only three days from now, I figure it’d be a good idea to give it another shot—especially now that Missouri Right-Hander Kyle Gibson has suffered a stress fracture. This could very well make a substantial change to the way the top picks go, and so I’ll switch it up a bit to adjust for this.

1. Washington Nationals—Stephen Strasburg, RHP
There’s no way the Nationals take anyone else.

2. Seattle Mariners—Dustin Ackley, OF/1B
Ackley is clearly the second-best prospect in the draft, and while the Mariners are playing their cards close to the chest, there’s really no reason to believe they’d want to take anyone else here.

3. San Diego Padres—Aaron Crow, RHP
While the Padres have been linked to Donavan Tate, I just don’t see them making a big financial investment in a player that’s as risky as Tate is. Crow has dynamic stuff and is closest to being Major-League ready among the pitchers in the draft, so it makes sense for San Diego to pop him here.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates—Tyler Matzek, LHP
And this is where we start to see the effects of the Gibson fallout. The Pirates would love to have a pitcher of Matzek’s caliber—young and polished with a clean, repeatable delivery and a high ceiling. Pittsburgh hasn’t had much luck as of late with developing front-of-the-rotation starters, but Matzek could easily change that.

5. Baltimore Orioles—Zack Wheeler, RHP
The Orioles have been linked to Wheeler for quite some time now, and with Matzek out of the equation, Wheeler is the logical choice. They could go with Right-Hander Jacob Turner or even Tate, but signability issues with those two youngsters will ultimately lead them to Wheeler.

6. San Francisco Giants—Shelby Miller, RHP
With Matzek and Wheeler gone, Turner’s signability issues and a lack of any true impact bat available, San Francisco turns to the hard-throwing Texan. Miller sits around 93 MPH with a deceptive delivery and heavy sink, and at times hits 98 MPH. He complements this with a potential plus curve and a developing change. With a projectable 6’3”, 205-pound frame, Miller could very well develop into an elite front-of-the-rotation starter.

Previously, I had the Giants taking Tanner Scheppers. But right now I’m beginning to wonder if they’d favor the younger and more projectable Miller, and there’s still some talk about teams doubting the health of Scheppers’ shoulder. Instead of taking that risk, perhaps the Giants would be well-suited to take Miller instead.

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