1. Washington: Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State.
Duh. It will be fascinating to see how negotiations progress. Although representative Scott Boras has bandied about a $50-million price tag, I still believe he'll get a major league contract in the $15-20 million range, although it will go down to the wire and make many people in Washington very nervous.
2. Seattle: Dustin Ackley, CF, North Carolina.
In a draft that is light on college bats, Ackley has stood out and is head and shoulders above his peers. Ackley wouldn't need much time in the minors and could aid the Mariners as early as next year. Capistrano Valley (Ca.) left-hander Tyler Matzek has also been linked to the Mariners, and there are reports that Boras is seeking a Mark Teixeira-type deal for Ackley.
3. San Diego: Donovan Tate, OF, Cartersville (Ga.), HS
If the Mariners unexpectedly take Matzek, the Padres will undoubtedly take Ackley. Fort Worth Cats right-hander Aaron Crow and Vanderbilt left-hander Mike Minor have been in the discussion, as has USC shortstop Grant Green (whom they drafted out of high school).
With so many options, the Padres have been a tough team to pin down, but Tate is the top high school player available in the draft, and if everything comes together for him, he is a player the Padres can build around.
With a reported price tag of $6 million to turn down North Carolina for both football and baseball, Tate isn't a slam dunk to sign even taken here. If San Diego doesn't select Tate, he could have a precipitous fall.
4. Pittsburgh: Aaron Crow, RHP, Fort Worth Cats
There have been reports that the Pirates would go with a cheaper pick here to save money in order to make a run at Dominican outfielder Miguel Angel Santos next month, but I don't think the Pirates will do that, especially after the unpopular trade of outfielder Nate McLouth last week. The Pirates have had horrendous luck with college right-handers in the decade, but that should change with Crow, who should move very quickly once he signs.
After a successful, but contentious negotiation with Boras on Pedro Alvarez, they could lock horns again with either Green or North Carolina right-hander Alex White, who improved his stock greatly in his start against East Carolina on Saturday. Pittsburgh has also been linked with Boston College catcher Tony Sanchez and East Paulding (Ga.) right-hander Zack Wheeler if they elect to stick to slot.
5. Baltimore: Zack Wheeler, RHP, East Paulding (Ga.) HS
The Orioles have done a good job in stockpiling talent over the last few years, and they should have their choice of the high school arms, as well as White should they go the collegiate route. If Matzek is available, he certainly would pique their interest being the most polished of the group. Klein (Texas) HS left-hander Matthew Purke, and Westminster Christian Academy (Mo.) right-hander Jacob Turner also have power arms, but Wheeler is one the Orioles have kept a very close eye on.
6. San Francisco: Tyler Matzek, LHP, Capistrano Valley (Ca.) HS
The Giants have been all over Matzek this spring, but with his performances in his last two starts where he has been clocked at 98, San Francisco has to be getting nervous that he could not make it to them. If Matzek isn't available, Purke and Turner could be in play.
7. Atlanta: Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt
Like the Giants with Matzek, the Braves would be doing cartwheels if Wheeler falls to them, although that scenario looks dim. It's unlikely they would deal with a Boras client, so that would cross off Tate and White, should they even be available. Brownwood (Texas) right-hander Shelby Miller is also a candidate as a signable prep arm with a big fastball. Minor gives the Braves a lefty who should bolster their rotation very soon.
8. Cincinnati: Alex White, RHP, North Carolina
Although left-handed pitching is reportedly a priority for the Reds, White gives them an impact arm that should be able to contribute quickly. The Reds could get a shot at a lefty if Minor and Matzek are still available. Lipscomb's Rex Brothers would be another college lefty if they prefer someone with a more powerful repertoire, but after landing a tough sign in Yonder Alonso last year, they will try to land another with White.
9. Detroit: Jacob Turner, RHP, Westminster Christian Academy, (Mo.)
The Tigers have extensively scouted the top high school arms in the draft, and hope lightning strikes twice after the success 2007 first-rounder Rick Porcello has had. If Turner, Matzek, Miller and Wheeler are all gone, the Tigers could go with Purke as their backup plan, but they have been linked to Maize (Kn.) right-hander Garrett Gould, and outfielders Reymond Fuentes from Puerto Rico and Mike Trout from Millville HS (N.J.).
10. Washington (for Aaron Crow): Drew Storen, RHP, Stanford
After failing to sign Crow with the ninth overall pick last year, the Nationals will be certain to make sure the player they select will sign, as they do not receive compensation if their pick doesn't sign. Storen and Kennesaw State right-hander Chad Jenkins are the two names most closely associated with the Nationals at this spot.
11. Colorado: Rex Brothers, LHP, Lipscomb
The Rockies unexpectedly got Christian Friedrich last year, and should have their pick of the remaining college arms that would include Arizona State's Mike Leake and Minor if he slides to this spot.
Brothers gives the Rockies a power-armed left-hander that could move quickly. If White makes it out of the top 10, he would be a good value pick here.
12. Kansas City: Grant Green, SS, USC
The Royals have not been afraid to do business with Boras, and Green would give Kansas City another potential building block provided his junior year was a case of draftitis, and he shows the form he had in the Cape Cod League last summer.
Matzek's name has also been mentioned with the Royals, but it's highly unlikely he would fall this far. Sanchez and Wesleyan Christian Academy's (N.C.) Wil Myers are two catchers that have been mentioned with Kansas City.
13. Oakland: Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State
The A's drafted Leake out of high school in the seventh round, and he has been one of the most dominant pitchers in college baseball during his career with the Sun Devils. Oakland could also be a spot for Brothers or St. Paul Saints right-hander Tanner Scheppers, whom clubs are still weary of taking high due to his shoulder problems from a year ago. A position player could also be in the offing, but Leake is too tempting to pass on here.
14. Texas: Shelby Miller, RHP, Brownwood (Texas), HS
Miller has long been coveted by the Rangers, and they will be on pins and needles hoping he makes it to them. If Miller is gone, they could nab Purke, who would be a terrific value at this spot. Texas will certainly need to be certain it can get a deal done with the lefty, but they were successful in signing Justin Smoak after he slid last year.
15. Cleveland: Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana
The Indians seem to be focusing on college pitching, and Arnett is one they have kept a watchful eye on, as well as Brothers. If Arnett is selected in the first round, he would be the Hoosiers' first first-rounder in 43 years. The Indians could roll the dice with Scheppers if they're comfortable with him medically.
16. Arizona: Matthew Purke, LHP, Klein (Texas), HS
The Diamondbacks have six of the first 64 picks, so they'll have to budget their money wisely, but the opportunity to grab one of the draft's top pitchers is too tempting to pass on. The Diamondbacks are no strangers to taking tough signs, and if they land Purke, he would be an outstanding value pick.
Missouri right-hander Kyle Gibson could also be a fit provided he would be willing to come at a discount due to a stress fracture in his right forearm.
If Arizona passes on Purke and Gibson, they could look at the second tier of high school arms including left-hander Tyler Skaggs (Santa Monica) or Matt Hobgood (Norco), who hail from California, as well as Yukon (Ok.) left-hander Chad James. If Leake makes it this far, he'll likely be their top target, and there are reports that have linked them with Notre Dame outfielder A.J. Pollock as well.
17. Arizona (from Dodgers): Bobby Borchering, 3B, Bishop Verot (Fla.), HS
In an ideal situation, the Diamondbacks would like to get a pitcher and a hitter, and Borchering has one of the biggest power bats in the entire draft. There is some question on whether or not Borchering can stay at third base, but his bat will play at any spot.
18. Florida: Chad James, LHP, Yukon (Ok.), HS
The Marlins have no problems taking high school players, and James has pushed himself into consideration here with a significant bump in velocity that has saw him peak in the mid-90s. Florida has also never shied away from toolsy players which makes California's Brett Jackson a candidate here. If Jenkins or Arnett is still on board, they could also be targets.
19. St. Louis: Tanner Scheppers, RHP, St. Paul Saints
The Cardinals are hoping one of the upper-tier college arms falls to them, and they could be the team that takes a flier on Gibson if he is available. A shoulder problem sabotaged Scheppers' stock last year, and although he has shown overpowering stuff at times this spring, there are several clubs that are very concerned over his injury.
If the Cardinals were to sign him and Scheppers proves his skeptics wrong, he would be a steal here. This is also a spot for Turner should he slide.
20. Toronto: Chad Jenkins, RHP, Kennesaw State
If Jenkins isn't selected by the Nationals, there is a possibility he could slide to this spot. Jenkins has good stuff and pitchability that should make him a candidate to aid the Blue Jays fairly quickly. Toronto has also been open to drafting high school players early in recent years, and they are rumored to be in on McCallum (Texas) outfielder Everett Williams. If Storen is available, he could be a fit for the Blue Jays.
21. Houston: Jared Mitchell, OF, LSU
The Astros are said to be looking at position players, and Mitchell has a tantalizing combination of speed and power. Houston is an organization that is in dire need of high-ceiling players, and Mitchell certainly gives them a good start in that area.
22. Minnesota: Matt Hobgood, RHP, Norco (Ca.), HS
It's unlikely that the Twins would take a prep outfielder for a third straight year, and they've had good success in developing prep pitchers over the years. If Borchering falls this far, he would definitely be on their short list, as could James and Gould.
23. Chicago White Sox: Everett Williams, OF, McCallum HS, Texas
Williams is part of a group of very toolsy high school outfielders that figures to go in this part of the first round along with Fuentes and Trout. If any of the college arms slides, the White Sox could also go that route.
24. L.A. Angels (from Mets): Reymond Fuentes, OF, Fernando Callego (P.R.), HS
Like the Diamondbacks, the Angels figure to grab a hitter an a pitcher with their back-to-back picks. Fuentes is a relative of Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, and profiles as a potential dynamic leadoff man. Trout and Jackson are also possibilities, and they could go with local products in third baseman Matt Davidson (Yucaipa) and shortstop Jiovanni Mier (Bonita).
25. L.A. Angels (from Yankees): Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Santa Monica (Ca.), HS
If Hobgood somehow makes this far, the Angels will grab him with one of their selections. They could also opt for Gould, and they are a prime candidate to take Gibson, Purke, or possibly Turner if they all slide to them.
26. Milwaukee: Mike Trout, OF, Millville (N.J.), HS
The Brewers have never shied away from prep players, and Trout is one of the best the Northeast has to offer this year. Milwaukee could also look at Davidson and Mier as infield picks, and grabbing an arm here is not out of question.
27. Seattle (from Phillies): A.J. Pollock, OF, Notre Dame
It's possible the Mariners would take a pitcher here, but along with Ackley, Pollock would give the Mariners another bat that could move quickly. Sanchez is also someone that could go here, and they could be a club that takes a look at Scheppers or Gibson if they are available..
28. Boston Red Sox: Max Stassi, C, Yuba City (Ca.), HS
It's no secret that the Red Sox have coveted a young catcher to one day be the heir apparent to Jason Varitek, and they could have their choice of all the catchers. They could also be in the market for any of the high-priced prep arms should they slide to this point, and elect to get a catcher in a later round.
29. N.Y. Yankees (for Gerrit Cole): Brett Jackson, OF, California
Like the Red Sox, the Yankees will be a logical spot for any of the over-slot prep arms, and they could also take a shot at Gibson and Scheppers, but they will not be compensated for this pick should this choice elect not to sign, so the Yankees may play it safe here and bust slot in the later rounds.
30. Tampa Bay: Tony Sanchez, C, Boston College
There isn't much the Rays need from an organization standpoint, but catching is a need, and Sanchez can fill that. The Rays could also go with some of the other prep catchers that could be here in Myers, Stassi and Horizon's (Ariz.) Tommy Joseph.
31. Chicago Cubs: Garrett Gould, RHP, Maize (Kan.), HS
The Cubs have an affinity for Notre Dame players, and if Pollock makes it this far, they'll take him. Chicago would also be in play should any of the signability players fall. Gould has some edges to smooth out, but he is one of the harder throwers in the prep class.
32. Colorado Rockies (from Angels): Tim Wheeler, OF, Sacramento State
After grabbing Brothers with their first pick, the Rockies grab the multi-tooled Wheeler, who has the distinct possibility of going a lot higher. Wheeler's stock soared with an outstanding summer in the Cape Cod League last year, and he has done nothing but enhanced it further with a solid spring. Gibson, Myers, Joseph and Gould are also possibilities.