Catching up with 2010's first-round Draft picks
One is in the big leagues, one made the leap to Double-A, two didn't sign and the rest are in some version of A-ball or extended spring training. With the First-Year Player Draft looming on June 6, it's an appropriate time to take a look at what last year's first round is up to.
To find out what this year's Draft class will look like, tune into live coverage on June 6, beginning with a one-hour preview show at 6 p.m. ET on MLB.com and MLB Network, followed by the first round and supplemental compensation round. MLB.com will provide exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
The No. 1 pick, Bryce Harper, got most of the attention at last year's Draft and in the aftermath, and he's now settling in as a Class A outfielder. He's in the same boat -- playing in low A-ball -- as 11 of the other 31 first-rounders, who are either in the South Atlantic or Midwest Leagues. Six are hanging back in extended, waiting for an assignment, most likely to a short-season club in June.
Ten more made a bigger jump up to the Class A Advanced circuits -- the Florida State, Carolina or California leagues. One infielder jumped them all up to the Double-A Texas League to kick off 2011 and, of course, there's the one southpaw already toiling in the Major Leagues.
Here's exactly what's going on with the top 32 picks from a year ago (stats through May 9).
Bryce Harper, OF, WAS, Hagerstown (A):: The No. 1 overall pick started a bit slowly, but that didn't last long. He's now hitting .376/.462/.693 through 29 games. His 1.155 OPS leads the South Atlantic League, leading many to ask just when the 18-year-old will be challenged with a promotion.
Rankings: Top 50 (#2)| Top 10 OF (#2) | Top 10 Nationals (#1)
Jameson Taillon, RHP, PIT, West Virginia (A):: The Pirates kept Taillon back in extended spring training a while to keep his innings down. The big right-hander made his professional debut on April 27, a rain-shortened outing against Harper and Hagerstown. He picked up win No. 1 in his third start and had struck out 11 and walked just two while allowing eight hits in 11 innings of work.
Rankings: Top 50 (#16)| Top 10 RHP (#4) | Top 10 Pirates (#1)
Manny Machado, SS, BAL, Delmarva (A):: Machado started out in the South Atlantic League as well, getting off to a terrific start (.333/.450/.611 and a 1.062 OPS, fifth in the league): before a knee injury sidelined him. The injury is essentially a dislocated kneecap, and the Orioles are hopeful the shortstop won't be on the shelf for too long.
Rankings: Top 50 (#22)| Top 10 SS (#1) | Top 10 Orioles (#2)
Christian Colon, SS, KC, NW Arkansas (AA):: After signing quickly last year, Colon got enough time in to help him jump to Double-A for his full-season debut. He started very slowly, hitting .208 in April, but has turned it on over the first six games of May, hitting .407 in his first 27 at-bats of the month to bring his season line up to .263/.362/.364.
Rankings: Top 10 SS (#9) | Top 10 Royals (#8)
Drew Pomeranz, LHP, CLE, Kinston (A Adv):: It's been a very strong start for the Ole Miss lefty's pro career. Going straight to the Carolina League, he's posted a 1.27 ERA and .162 batting average against in six starts, while striking out 42 and walking just 10 in 28 1/3 innings. He leads the league in strikeouts and is third in ERA, but don't expect him to stay there long enough to qualify for any titles.
Rankings: Top 10 Indians (#4)
Barret Loux, RHP, TEX, Myrtle Beach (A Adv):: The Diamondbacks drafted Loux No. 6, but he didn't sign and became a free agent after he failed a physical with a shoulder injury. The Rangers took a shot and signed him, and he's been fairly solid in the Carolina League with a 3.19 ERA, .225 BAA and 38 strikeouts over 31 innings.
Matt Harvey, RHP, NYM, St. Lucie (A Adv):: It's hard to imagine that Harvey is long for the Florida State League, where he's currently the leader in ERA (1.10), second in strikeouts (39) and holding hitters to a .207 batting average over his first six starts.
Rankings: Top 10 Mets (#2)
Delino DeShields, 2B, HOU, Lexington (A):: After playing the outfield last summer during his debut, he's been playing second base regularly in the South Atlantic League. The 18-year-old has shaken off a rough April (.208), going 9-for-29 (.310) over his first seven May games. The speedster clearly is still learning the nuances of base-stealing, getting thrown out six times in 13 tries so far.
Rankings: Top 10 2B (#9) | Top 10 Astros (#2)
Karsten Whitson, RHP, SD, Did not sign: Whitson turned down the Padres in order to attend the University of Florida, where he's stepped into the rotation and gone 6-0 with a 2.26 ERA in 12 starts as a freshman.
Michael Choice, OF, OAK, Stockton (A Adv): One of the better college bats in last year's class, Choice was sent straight to the California League for his full-season debut. He's hit .241 and slugged .435 over 108 at-bats, showing some of his power in the opening month (four homers, .481 SLG). He's also shown his main weakness -- striking out -- with 37 K's over his first 27 games.
Rankings: Top 10 A's (#3)
Deck McGuire, RHP, TOR, Dunedin (A Adv): The Georgia Tech product has gotten off to a solid start in the Florida State League, posting a 2.93 ERA over his first six outings. The big right-hander has allowed 26 hits for a .220 batting average against, walking 10 and striking out 26 over 30 2/3 innings.
Rankings: Top 10 Blue Jays (#5)
Yasmani Grandal, C, CIN, Bakersfield (A Adv): The University of Miami backstop has enjoyed the California League thus far, hitting .278/.421/.546 over his first 26 games. He's 10th in the league in SLG and OPS and is tied for second in home runs with seven. Not bad for a premium-position guy who will be able to stay there (He's thrown out 27 percent of would-be basestealers to date).
Rankings: Top 10 C (#9) | Top 10 Reds (#6)
Chris Sale, LHP, CWS, MLB: The first in the class to make it to the big leagues -- he debuted on August 6 of last year and was closing games before the season was over -- Sale has scuffled a little bit as a full-time big league reliever this season. He's given up 15 hits and nine runs over 11 1/3 IP (7.15 ERA, .306 BAA). He does have 13 strikeouts, walking five.
Dylan Covey, RHP, MIL, Did not sign: When Covey found out he was diabetic shortly after the Draft, he opted to go to the University of San Diego and learn how to pitch while dealing with the disease. He's made nine starts for USD, posting a 7.60 ERA, allowing 39 hits and 28 walks while striking out 29 over 34 1/3 innings.
Jake Skole, OF, TEX, Hickory (A): The Rangers were able to sign Skole away from going to Georgia Tech, playing football and playing baseball with his brother by making him the No. 15 pick in the Draft. A 3-for-27 start to May has brought his season totals down to .236/.308/.321, though he hit .278 in April with five steals.
Rankings: Top 10 Rangers (#9)
Hayden Simpson, RHP, CHI, Peoria (A): The surprise pick of the first round, Simpson began this season in the Midwest League and has a 4.15 ERA over six starts. He's been a little too hittable, allowing 33 hits over 26 innings for a .311 batting average against. He has 21 strikeouts and has allowed eight walks in that span.
Rankings: Top 10 Cubs (#4)
Josh Sale, OF, TB, extended spring training: The high school outfielder from the Pacific Northwest, Sale has a ton of raw power. Rays fans will have to wait to see it unleashed in competition as he's been in extended and will likely get an assignment to a short-season club in June.
Rankings: Top 10 Rays (#5)
Kaleb Cowart, 3B, LAA, extended spring training: The Georgia high schooler had teams interested as both a position player and a pitcher, and one of the reasons he signed with the Angels was that they wanted him to hit. He got his feet wet last summer and is now in extended, awaiting an assignment later this spring.
Rankings: Top 10 3B (#9) | Top 10 Angels (#2)
Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, HOU, Lexington (A): Getting 12 starts in last summer and then a strong spring landed Foltynewicz a full-season assignment to start the year. It's been a little bit of a struggle for the Illinois high school right-hander, as he's gone 0-5 with a 5.51 ERA over six starts. In 32 2/3 innings, he's allowed 38 hits and nine walks while striking out 16.
Rankings: Top 10 Astros (#4)
Kolbrin Vitek, 3B, BOS, Salem (A Adv): The Ball State product was drafted this high because of his bat, and he hasn't disappointed. Sliding over to third -- he played a lot of second in college -- Vitek has hit .333/.405/.480 over his first 27 games in the Carolina League, good for sixth in batting average.
Rankings: Top 10 Red Sox(#8)
Alex Wimmers, RHP, MIN, Fort Myers (A Adv): Drafted as a command specialist, things did not go well in his 2011 debut. Wimmers did not retire a batter in his first outing, walking the first six batters he faced and being charged with four runs without allowing a hit. He was subsequently placed on the disabled list so he could try to work out the kinks before returning to action.
Rankings: Top 10 Twins (#8)
Kellin Deglan, C, TEX, Hickory (A): The Canadian backstop earned an assignment to the full-season South Atlantic League, where he's played 18 games and hit .245. Over 53 at-bats, he has four doubles and one homer, striking out 25 times and walking just four. He's kicked off May on a better note, going 3-for-10 with that lone homer.
Christian Yelich, OF, FLA, Greensboro (A): One of the better pure bats in the high school class a year ago, Yelich has really started to heat up, hitting .435 over seven games this month to bring his season line to .297/.398/.455. He's hit .324 against right-handed pitching and .233 vs. lefties thus far.
Rankings: Top 10 Marlins (#3)
Gary Brown, OF , SF, San Jose (A Adv): It was hoped that Brown might be a future leadoff hitter, though some worried that he wouldn't draw enough walks and would strike out too much. Well, the Cal State Fullerton product has 12 walks and 20 strikeouts in 30 games while producing a .357/.438/.492 line. He's 10th in batting average and ninth in on-base percentage, while his 19 steals are good for second.
Rankings: Top 10 Giants (#3)
Zack Cox, 3B, STL, Palm Beach (A Adv): Perhaps the best pure hitter, at least among the college ranks, Cox slid a bit mostly because of signability concerns. He went straight to the Florida State League this year and has hit .288 over his first 28 games. While those who worried about his power will point to his .315 SLG and just three extra-base hits (all doubles), it should be noted that his home park in Palm Beach is one of the worst hitters parks in the Minors.
Rankings: Top 10 3B (#8) | Top 10 Cardinals (#2)
Kyle Parker, OF, COL, Asheville (A): The Clemson two-sport star signed but got to play football last fall, getting hurt in his last game on the gridiron. He recovered in time to head to the South Atlantic League and the cozy confines in Asheville. He's performed well, with a .316 average and .505 slugging percentage, ironically hitting much better on the road than at home.
Rankings: Top 10 Rockies (#5)
Jesse Biddle, LHP, PHI, Lakewood (A): The local kid began his first full season in his hometown team's organization not too far from home, in South Jersey. The big lefty had a rough April, with a 7.16 ERA over four starts. His two May outings have been better, with a 2.70 ERA over 10 innings. He'll need to improve his command (16 walks in 26 1/3 innings) to find prolonged success.
Rankings: Top 10 Phillies (#6)
Zach Lee, RHP, LAD, Great Lakes (A): The Dodgers surprised a lot of people by signing Lee away from being the quarterback at LSU right at the deadline, and so far, it's looking like a wise decision. The big right-hander has a 1.17 ERA over six starts, good for second in the Midwest League. He's got 28 strikeouts over 30 2/3 innings, allowing 28 hits and walking 11 along the way.
Top 10 Dodgers (#5)
Cam Bedrosian, RHP, LAA, extended spring training: Like fellow Angel pick Kaleb Cowart, Bedrosian (son of Steve) began the year back in extended. He will make his 2011 debut, most likely with a short-season club, in June.
Rankings: Top 10 Angels (#9)
Chevez Clarke, OF, LAA, extended spring training: That's 3-for-3 in Angels first-rounders hanging back in extended, waiting for an assignment. The upside is that if all three go to the same short-season club, that should be a very fun team to watch.
Justin O'Conner, C, TB, extended spring training: The Indiana high school product did get 41 games in last summer after signing, but he hasn't yet gone to a club this year as he continues to learn the nuances of catching.
Rankings: Top 10 Rays (#8)
Cito Culver, SS, NYY, extended spring training: The upstate New York prep product got 203 pro at-bats last summer to act as a good springboard, but was held back in extended and will head somewhere soon, most likely Staten Island in the New York-Penn League.