02 April 2010

What happens if the Nationals select Bryce Harper?

Last week we explored what would happen if the Nationals did not draft Harper. This week, we assume they do. Honestly, I have a hard time seeing them do anything different. There are some concerned that Harper is going to demand a 10+MM contract, but I severely doubt a 17 year old with some doubt as to whether he can play a difficult defensive position would command such a price. He should go around the same neighborhood as Renaudo and Taillon. I could see the Nationals potentially selecting Renaudo, but Harper is a special prospect. Probably not a once in a generation kind of guy, but he has immense power.

What would the Pirates do?
Last time, I had them go slot. With Ranuado still on the board, I think they select him. The Pirates emerging approach is to either spend big on a polished elite college player or to go slot and recoup talent by overslotting. Of course, given that he has missed significant time this year (elbow), returning to action this past Sunday, Pittsburgh could look to another college arm with the likely candidate being Georgia Tech's Deck McGuire, Ole Miss's Drew Pomeranz or Florida Gulf Coast's Chris Sale. Other names making their case as the potential top college arm in the draft include Texas's Brandon Workman and Virginia Tech's Jesse Hahn, with a dark horse to watch former projected early-1st rounder Matt Harvey from UNC (who has shown some consistency this year to go with big-time raw stuff). Whichever player the Pirates target, the potential dearth of viable overslots and the presence of several solid "slot" candidates would probably make this easy for them.

So what do the Orioles do?
The answer is after the jump.

For the Orioles the choice will be between an elite talent, Jameson Taillon, and a bevy of potential slot picks. The growing consensus is that they would be willing and eager to select Taillon. Although, he has a strong college commitment, which may in turn make Jordan prefer to select a prospect who is more likely to sign on with the team.

If signability is an issue, I can see Karsten Whitson signing for about 500k to 1MM over slot. He still has some projection in his 6'4 frame and already works in the low 90s with his sinker. Jordan has shown over the past few seasons that he seems to scout out pitchers with pro-quality two seamers with good regularity. Here is a description of his fastball from PnR Scouting:

Whitson's fastball is a low-90s offering that can consistently get up to the 94-95 mph zone. He produces some solid boring action and should have the ability down the line to produce groundballs as well as swings-and-misses. There's also potentially more velo in there, be it through some increased strength or clean-up in his stride/plant to get a little more momentum directly towards home. Control is the only factor preventing me from grading it a true plus offering right now, but the velocity and movement are there.

With that said, I think the selection here would be Jameson Taillon. It is rare to have the ability to draft an elite talent like Taillon. A slightly lesser talent was passed on last year by Jordan (Tyler Matzek), but there were whispers of concerns about make up. I would find it hard to believe that the top prep arm in this year's draft would also have makeup issues. Everything I have read about Taillon is that he is solid on and off the field. He would be an excellent selection. Here is what PnR has to say about him:

Taillon has been nothing short of incredible each time I've seen him (on film and in person), and I do not pass that compliment out lightly. As mentioned above, his body control really stands out for such a big-body. There's an excellent combination here of well above-average pure stuff, an ideal Major League pitcher's body, athleticism and poise. In some ways, this summer will make things more difficult on Taillon, as he's set the bar very high for his spring season. At the same time, I never expected to enter the 2010 season with anyone but Bryce Harper atop my big board -- Taillon has given me reason to examine that slot more closely. He has all the makings of a potential front-end starter.

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