- Keith Law, ESPN Insider
Day 1 of the 2011 MLB draft was full of surprises, with the Mariners shocking everyone by going pitcher (surprise No. 1) and making that pick Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen (surprise No. 2), probably scorching the Royals' long-held plan to grab a college pitcher with the No. 5 pick. But there were plenty of intriguing moves through the remainder of the evening, some I loved, some that had me scratching my head. I've also listed my top remaining players as the draft moves to Day 2.
Moves I liked
The picks: Taylor Guerrieri (24), Mikie Mahtook (31), Jake Hager (32), Brandon Martin (38), Tyler Goeddel (41), Jeff Ames (42), Blake Snell (52), Kes Carter (56), Grayson Garvin (59), James Harris (60)
Summary: When you pick as often as Tampa Bay did, you're bound to do something I can praise. And I did like the majority of the Rays' picks. Their first pick, Taylor Guerrieri, has top-half-of-the-round stuff but fell on some signability and makeup questions -- however, the Rays did their homework on the latter and are satisfied with what they learned. Mikie Mahtook fell because ... well, I have no idea why he fell, maybe "profit-taking." He's a balanced player who'll contribute on offense and defense and move quickly through the system, and he plays like his hair is on fire. Tyler Goeddel is an athletic, projectable bat who should end up in left field and provide average and power. Brandon Martin is a shortstop who should stay at the position and has a short swing to produce line-drive contact. Grayson Garvin is a polished left-handed starter whose velocity ticked up at year's end, and he comes from Vanderbilt, one of the country's best college programs for developing arms. The Rays took probability, they took ceiling, they took tough signs, they took quick signs. They built a portfolio among their picks, taking advantage of the control they had with all of those selections in a short period of the draft. By August, if they sign most of these guys, that farm system likely will be the best in baseball.
Keith Law takes a close look at Day 1 of the 2011 MLB draft, with some big winners, some major question marks and a number of top players who can still be had on Day 2.