Updating the 2010 first-round picks; Bryce Harper and more

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Checking in on how the first 32 picks of the 2010 draft are doing approximately 30 games into the 2011 season.

Hitters first, then the pitchers.

1. Bryce Harper (OF Nationals): .371/.460/.701, 7 HR, 5 SB in 97 AB (low-A Hagerstown)
3. Manny Machado (SS Orioles): .333/.450/.611, 5 HR, 3 SB in 90 AB (low-A Delmarva)
4. Christian Colon (SS Royals): .260/.351/.365, 2 HR, 7 SB in 96 AB (AA Northwest Arkansas)
8. Delino DeShields Jr. (2B Astros): .250/.330/.438, 4 HR, 7 SB in 96 AB (low-A Lexington)
10. Michael Choice (OF Athletics): .241/.349/.435, 4 HR, 3 SB in 108 AB (high-A Stockton)
12. Yasmani Grandal (C Reds): .278/.421/.546, 7 HR, 0 SB in 97 AB (high-A Bakersfield)
15. Jake Skole (OF Rangers): .240/.301/.327, 1 HR, 5 SB in 104 AB (low-A Hickory)
17. Josh Sale (OF Rays): Yet to play
18. Kaleb Cowart (3B Angels): Yet to play
20. Kolbrin Vitek (3B Red Sox): .333/.405/.480, 0 HR, 4 SB in 102 AB (high-A Salem)
22. Kellin Deglan (C Rangers): .240/.305/.380, 1 HR, 0 SB in 50 AB (low-A Hickory)
23. Christian Yelich (OF Marlins): .289/.389/.454, 3 HR, 6 SB in 97 AB (low-A Greensboro)
24. Gary Brown (OF Giants): .357/.438/.492, 2 HR, 19 SB in 126 AB (high-A San Jose)
25. Zack Cox (3B Cardinals): .288/.314/.315, 0 HR, 1 SB in 111 AB (high-A Palm Beach)
26. Kyle Parker (OF Rockies): .311/.356/.467, 2 HR, 1 SB in 90 AB (low-A Asheville)
30. Chevy Clarke (OF Angels): Yet to play
31. Justin O’Conner (C Rays): Yet to play
32. Cito Culver (SS Yankees): Yet to play

Machado is currently shelved with a knee injury, but he was right there with Harper as a top performer on this list before going down.

Grandal and Brown should be the first players here to get promoted this season.  Both were college products, and many figured the Reds would start Grandal in Double-A anyway.  Brown struggled in his pro debut last year, so starting him in high-A was the right move.  However, he seems too good for the California League now.  He just had nine hits and eight RBI in a three-game series against Bakersfield over the weekend.

Cox and Choice have been the biggest disappointments so far.  Cox, who likely would have been a top-10 pick if not for high bonus demands, has just three extra-base hits and a 22/4 K/BB ratio.  Choice, who is in the best league for hitters in the minors, has fanned 37 times in 27 games this season and 82 times in 217 at-bats as a pro.

The “yet to play” guys all figure to be assigned to short-season teams next month.

2. Jameson Taillon (Pirates): 1-1, 1.64 ERA, 11/2 K/BB in 11 IP (low-A West Virginia)
5. Drew Pomeranz (Indians): 1-0, 1.27 ERA, 42/10 K/BB in 28.1 IP (high-A Kinston)
6. Barret Loux (Rangers): 2-2, 3.19 ERA, 38/6 K/BB in 31 IP (high-A Myrtle Beach)
7. Matt Harvey (Mets): 4-1, 1.10 ERA, 39/11 K/BB in 32.2 IP (high-A St. Lucie)
9. Karsten Whitson (Padres): Did not sign
11. Deck McGuire (Blue Jays): 1-2, 2.93 ERA, 26/10 K/BB in 30.2 IP (high-A Dunedin)
13. Chris Sale (White Sox): 2-0, 7.15 ERA, 13/5 K/BB in 11.1 IP (ML White Sox)
14. Dylan Covey (Brewers): Did not sign
16. Hayden Simpson (Cubs): 0-1, 4.15 ERA, 21/8 K/BB in 26 IP (low-A Peoria)
19. Mike Foltynewicz (Astros): 0-5, 5.51 ERA, 16/9 K/BB in 32.1 IP (low-A Lexington)
21. Alex Wimmers (Twins): 0-1, infinite ERA, 0/6 K/BB in 0 IP (high-A Fort Myers)
27. Jesse Biddle (Phillies): 1-4, 5.47 ERA, 24/16 K/BB in 26.1 IP (low-A Lakewood)
28. Zach Lee (Dodgers): 3-0, 1.17 ERA, 28/11 K/BB in 30.2 IP (low-A Great Lakes)
29. Cam Bedrosian (Angels): Yet to play

Loux was the Diamondbacks’ first-round pick last year, but the team decided not to sign him after a physical turned up some serious red flags.  He was declared a free agent and signed with the Rangers in November.

The Pirates and Indians probably don’t have any regrets about their picks, but Harvey is looking terrrific and is closer to the majors than anyone else here (Sale excepted).

Simpson, who was widely viewed as a third-round talent before the draft, has yet to make the Cubs look any better for picking him 16th.   He’s the only one of the seven college products here currently pitching in low-A.

Wimmers was placed on the DL with an illness after walking all six batters he faced in his first start of the year.  He’s currently trying to work through his control problems in extended spring training.

Sandy Alderson thinks Tim Tebow will play in the major leagues

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Based on his track record so far I don’t think Tim Tebow deserves to play in the major leagues on the merits. Not even close. But then again, I’m not the general manager of the New York Mets, so I don’t get a say in that.

Sandy Alderson is the general manager, so his say carries a lot of weight. To that end, here’s what he said yesterday:

Noting the Tebow experiment has “evolved” into something greater, general manger Sandy Alderson on Sunday said, “I think he will play in the major leagues.”

To be fair, Alderson is pretty up front about the merits of Tebow’s presumed advancement to the bigs at some point. He didn’t say that it’s because Tebow has played his way up. He said this:

“He is great for the team, he is great for baseball, he was phenomenal for minor league baseball last year. The notion that he should have been excluded from the game because he is not coming through the traditional sources, I think is crazy. This is entertainment, too. And he quietly entertains us . . . He benefits the Mets because of how he conducts himself. He’s a tremendous representative of the organization.”

I take issue with Alderson’s comment about people thinking he shouldn’t be in the game because of his background. Most people who have been critical of the Tebow experiment have been critical because there is no evidence that he’s a good enough baseball player to be given the opportunities he’s been given. I mean, he advanced to high-A last year despite struggling at low-A and he’s going to start at Double-A this year in all likelihood despite struggling in high-A. If he does make the bigs, it will likewise come despite struggles in Double-A and maybe Triple-A too.

That said: I don’t mind if they promote Tebow all the way up as long as they’re being honest about why they’re doing it and aren’t trying to get everyone on board with some cockamamie idea that Tebow belongs on the baseball merits. If they do put him in the majors it’ll be because he’s a draw and a good promotion and because people generally like him and he’s not hurting anyone and I can’t take issue with that.

That’s basically what Alderson is saying here and if that’s the case, great. I mean, not great, because Tebow in the bigs will likely also mean that the Mets aren’t playing meaningful games, but great in the sense of “fine.” Baseball is entertainment too. No sense in pretending it isn’t.