Jun 08, 2011, 06:40AM

The Draft in Review

Anthony Rendon, Dylan Bundy, Bubba Starling and more.

Top three major league baseball draft picks for 2011 the future of the game part 1 73876.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

The Washington Nationals selected Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon with the sixth pick in the first round of Monday's MLB amateur draft. The fact that Rendon, long considered the best amateur hitter in the country, was available at that point in the draft was a bit of a shock. The consensus was that Rendon would go no later than second overall to Seattle. Some draft experts even considered Rendon to be a better prospect than last year's number one pick Bryce Harper.  

I wrote last week that the Orioles would have a tough decision to make if both Rendon and Dylan Bundy were available when their fourth pick came up. During the day on Monday I read reports from reliable sources that suggested that Rendon wouldn't be considered by the Orioles because of his injuries this spring. That theory was put to the test on Monday evening with Baltimore ultimately opting for high school pitcher Bundy. I was disappointed by the O’s passing on Rendon to take a high school pitcher. Everything I've read on Bundy is positive but the Orioles’ track record of developing high school talent is dismal. Baltimore's minor league development system has a history of ruining high schoolers and the only impact players drafted by the O's over the past 20 years have generally come from the college ranks. Rendon is a ready-made big league bat. Not even the Orioles could screw that up.

When the Royals used the fifth pick on local kid Bubba Starling they left Rendon on a silver platter for the Nats. Washington had the top pick in the draft in both 2009 and 2010. In each season they drafted the player considered to be a transcendent talent, Stephen Strasburg and Harper, and got him signed. They spent a combined $25 million to sign the two top prospects. Both Strasburg and Harper are Scott Boras clients, as is Rendon.

While some teams were scared off by Rendon's injury-marred 2011 campaign—he’s played much of the season as a DH—the Nats willingly jumped on for another summer-long ride aboard the Boras express. The fact that offensively challenged teams like Seattle and Baltimore passed on the draft's best hitter seems fishy to me.  

I think it's possible that Boras and his team purposely withheld information regarding Rendon's medical reports from some teams. By making Rendon into a question mark Boras effectively removed him from draft consideration for teams like Pittsburgh, Seattle and Baltimore. Arizona seemed destined to go with a college pitcher and the Royals would have been skewered in the local media if they passed on Starling. Boras effectively set up a perfect negotiating scenario in which he can sell Rendon to Washington as the draft's best player with a clean bill of health and worthy of a Harper-like contract. The Nats will come out looking like heroes to the DC media and their fledgling fan base by continually making the financial commitment to draft and sign top-tier talent. A core of Harper, Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos and Strasburg could have things looking up for the Nats in the very near future. The fans have Scott Boras to thank.

  • There is no way that Boras withheld medicals from any teams, that's just bad business. I'm sure the M's had a pre-draft, basic agreement with Rendon and I'm sure they had all of his health files. The reason it seemed like they were going to take him was because they didn't want people to know they were going to take Hultzen, which could've tempted Pittsburgh to take him. When he fell to Baltimore, I'm sure MacPhail had a tough decision to make, but was already set on selecting Bundy. They had obviously done more scouting on him and we more prepared to sign him.

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  • it's not bad business if Boras knew he could get a bigger bonus out of the Nats, as he's already proven. Boras just got the Nats to give Jayson Werth an absurd deal last winter. Don't be surprised if Rendon gets more than any of the top four picks to sign.

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  • Why the hell would Seattle's interest in Hultzen tempt the Pirates to take him? The Pirates had the #1 pick and controlled the draft. They could take anyone they wanted regardless of how bad the Mariners wanted him.

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  • If Seattle showed heavy interest in Hultzen, it would prompt the Pirates to look at him more carefully. Assuming that the M's saw something that other teams didn't in Hutzen, which they most likely did, justifying their reach, why would they want another team picking ahead of them to observe him more closely? The Pirates were undecided about who they were going to take for a very long time, and for awhile it looked like they were going to take Hultzen. Why would the M's even want to tempt them to reconsider?

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  • What about Dustin Ackley? He got $7.5 million in '09. Carlos Triunfel got $1.3 as an undrafted free agent. And that's just the M's. The O's have signed Matt Wieters, Zach Britton, and Manny Machado after drafting them. Pedro Alvarez received a huge bonus, and Pittsburgh selected two high profile Boras clients this year, Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell. So, no, I really doubt that Boras withheld medicals so he could negotiate with the Nats, because he obviously has good customers in those three teams.

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  • We'll know by late August.

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