Minor league baseball analyst Mark Anderson spoke with scouting departments across the league to provide insight on how the opening stanza of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft will go down.
1. Washington Nationals
Community College of Southern Nevada
Harper is clearly the top talent in the draft, and one of the most impressive power prospects in memory. After getting the consensus top pitching prospect in memory last year with the selection of Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals won’t pass on another face-of-the-franchise type talent; no matter the price tag.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates
Brito (Fla.) H.S.
The Pirates have a tough decision between Machado and stud right-hander Jameson Taillon. The latest word is that they are leaning toward Machado as their shortstop of the future. Some rumblings also indicate he could be a bit easier to sign than Taillon, which plays to the Pirates tendencies as well.
3. Baltimore Orioles
The Woodlands (Tex.) H.S.
The perfect situation sits on the table for the Orioles. All they have to do is sit back and wait to see what lands in their lap. After the top three players, there is a fair drop-off to the next tier, and the Orioles will jump all over Taillon is he is here. Even with a wealth of young pitching coming up through the system, Taillon could sit atop their rotation for many years.
4. Kansas City Royals
The Royals and Grandal agreed to a pre-draft ‘deal’ to allow them to select him at number four with some confidence in the bonus number. It is believed that this deal, which will likely result in a slot or below-slot bonus, may allow the Royals to be aggressive with over-slot deals later in the draft.
5. Cleveland Indians
Florida Gulf Coast
The Indians have Drew Pomeranz and Sale rated side-by-side atop their draft board, and they will be happy to take whichever player is sitting here at number five. Sale gives them a high ceiling left-hander that could move pretty quickly through the system. Some sources have Zack Cox in play here, but he is likely a long shot for the Indians at this position.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona is a late entrant into the mix for Harvey, and nobody can blame them with the raw stuff he brings to the table. They’ve been relatively aggressive in the draft before, and though Harvey will have a hefty price tag, he would be a good get.
7. New York Mets
Cal State Fullerton
The Mets are notorious for going cheap at the top of the draft, and they have largely settled on a college bat. Colon should come at slot money, and he’s a solid player who should stay up the middle. The Mets may need a replacement for Jose Reyes at short, and if Colon is moved to second base, that is a glaring need in the organization as well.
8. Houston Astros
Position: Third Base
Cox could come off the board on pick before this slot with the Mets going with the best college bat available. If he is still on the board, the Astros could use the infusion of talent. Outfielder Michael Choice is also being discussed at this pick.
9. San Diego Padres
With Grandal going to the Royals early, there aren’t many natural fits for the high-upside Pomeranz, though there should be. Even though the Padres really like Kolbrin Vitek here, and would be eager to pop him, they can’t pass on the powerful left arm of Pomeranz with him dropping to the back of the top ten.
10. Oakland Athletics
Michael Choice is also seriously in play here, but if McGuire falls this far, the A’s won’t be able to pass on his package. He doesn’t have the pure upside of some of the other pitchers in the top half of the first round, but he’s a near lock to be a mid-rotation horse and maybe a bit more.
11. Toronto Blue Jays
Reports on the Blue Jays have been all over the map in recent days, with numerous players on their radar. They are rumored to be going the toolsy high school route (Austin Wilson) by some, while others think they may take a college arm. Wojciechowski gives them a college arm with projection remaining.
12. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds were seriously hoping Yasmani Grandal would be available here, but they are happy to choose between right-handers Brandon Workman and Alex Wimmers with this pick. Wimmers provides a bit more upside than Workman, and they may be inclined to give the Ohio State product a shot.
13. Chicago White Sox
I haven’t heard the Sox attached to much other than college pitching at this point, and some industry insiders believe Workman is high on their list. They have reportedly been all over him in recent outings, and he seems to be the logical choice at this spot.
14. Milwaukee Brewers
Loux has been shooting up most draft boards of late, and he has been rocketing up the Brewers board. They love his power right arm and believe he could move quickly and give help to Yovani Gallardo in the big league rotation.
15. Texas Rangers
Outfielder Michael Choice doesn’t have a good fit anywhere ahead of this, and the Rangers may go with a good college bat here, leaving them in a position to be aggressive with their second first rounder. If Right-hander Stetson Allie is still on the table at this juncture, it will be a tough decision for the Rangers.
16. Chicago Cubs
Chipley (Fla.) H.S.
Whitson is another serious option for the Rangers at #15, and the Cubs may be inclined to take whichever of Whitson and Allie that the Rangers don’t take. They could also make a play for a college pitcher like Arkansas’ Brett Eibner or Texas A&M’s Barrett Loux.
17. Tampa Bay Rays
Bishop Blanchet (Wash.) H.S.
The Rays have been rumored to be heating up on high school catcher Justin O’Connor, but they have always been far more likely to go with the biggest ceiling available. Sale has tremendous raw power and could be a heart of the order run producer, and that is something the Rays can’t pass on in the middle of the first.
18. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Maranatha (Calif.) H.S.
Covey has been rumored to be all over the first round, and he could even come off the board somewhere in the back of the top ten. The Angels have pitching as a bit of a priority in this draft, and Covey would be a great get for them at this pick.
19. Houston Astros
Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) H.S.
After nabbing Cox earlier, the ‘Stros are rumored to be looking for high ceilings; something Wilson has in spades. He is one of the draft’s best athletes, and the Astros have been looking hard at him this spring.
20. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox loved Ranaudo after his breakout 2009 season and it would be nearly a dream come true for them if he fell this far, in spite of the hefty price tag that comes with the Boras affiliation. His solid SEC tourney showing may have moved him back up draft boards, but if he makes it this far, the Red Sox won’t let him slide any further.
21. Minnesota Twins
The Twins had success selecting Kyle Gibson last year in the first round, and this year they could opt for another college right-hander. Eibner has a huge ceiling on the mound, and his athleticism leaves many in the Twins organization believing he can develop the outstanding command they covet to highly.
22. Texas Rangers
Cook County (Ga.) H.S.
Position: Third Base/RHP
The Rangers could go a bit safer route with their second pick in the first round, assuming they are aggressive early in going after Allie, but I have been told they love Cowart’s raw potential. They believe in him both on the mound and in the field, and they think he could be an impact prospect for them in either role.
23. Florida Marlins
St. Edwards (Ohio) H.S.
Allie has the potential to go much higher in this draft, but teams that are attached to him in the upper half of the round, also have other players they seem to like more. The Marlins have been in on Allie all spring, but they may opt to go the college route with another arm like Barrett Loux.
24. San Francisco Giants
Archbishop McCarthy (Fla.) H.S.
Position: Third Base
The Giants have shown a ton of interest in Florida prep shortstop Yordy Cabrera, but they have been ramping up their interest in another Florida prepster, third baseman Nick Castellanos. The Giants could also make a surprise move and opt for Minnesota outfielder turned catcher Mike Kvasnicka.
25. St. Louis Cardinals
Middle Tennessee State
Though the Cardinals have been rumored to be looking hard at college pitching with this pick, Brentz gives them a potentially dynamic outfielder with a potent bat. At various points this spring, Brentz has been believed to be going higher than this, and the Cardinals will be happy to snatch him up here.
26. Colorado Rockies
Hahn and San Diego left-hander Sammy Solis are both attractive options for the Rockies at this spot. They have been expressing a higher level of interest in Hahn in recent weeks, and he could be the guy here. That said, picking Solis would be of no surprise either.
27. Philadelphia Phillies
Henderson (Tex.) H.S.
As is often the case with the Phillies, it is almost all about upside with their first round pick. Jenkins fits that bill, and the Phillies are one of the few teams that could pop him in the first round. The Phillies could also consider Michigan outfielder Ryan LaMarre or San Diego outfielder Gary Brown with this pick.
28. Los Angeles Dodgers
Oviedo (Fla.) H.S.
Financial constraints abound in LA this summer, and Cole would give them a pretty good ceiling with a budget-minded pick Cole has a chance to be a number two starter if he continues improving, and the Dodgers won’t pass on that ceiling with a slot deal.
29. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Blair is unlikely to get past the Angels back-to-back picks here at the end of the first round. They have had staff at each of his most recent outings, and they believe he could move quickly up the ladder. If the front office gets the blessing of owner Artie Moreno, they could be aggressive with one of these two picks, and take a chance on right-hander (and LSU-bound quarterback) Zach Lee.
30. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Cowan (Ind.) H.S.
The Angels are likely to make O’Connor one of their two picks here if he is still on the board. Many insiders don’t believe he will fall this far, but there aren’t many natural fits for him further up the board.
31. Tampa Bay Rays
With a high ceiling offensive player in the bag earlier in the first round, the Rays could look to add to their stockpile of young pitching at the back end of the first. Bettis could fill several roles and the Rays have shown interest all spring.
32. New York Yankees
McKinney (Tex.) H.S.
Lee has the requisite big price tag that it takes to be attached to the Yankees at the end of the first round, and he also has the immense amount of talent that the Yankees would be willing to pay for. The Yankees could go several directions here, but a player looking for slot money isn’t likely one of those directions.
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