Top 10 First-Year Player Draft projection
Mayo predicts how the first round may unfold in 2007
Anyone who has tried their hand at projecting the first round of a draft knows that the key root of the word is "project," and it's one that's a major undertaking.
They also probably know that projecting is a psychological term, defined as the act of taking one's own feelings or emotions and trying to place them on someone else. That's what you'd like to do after trying to make heads or tails out of a draft class, especially in the middle of May.
Yet here I am, doing just that with the projection of the top 10 picks of the 2007 draft below. Every time I start stressing about it, I remind myself that I don't have to hand a player I put in a spot several million dollars, like scouting directors and their organizations do. And if, over the next few weeks, I get better information about who might be going where, I can fix it in the next update. Come draft day, none of the 30 Major League scouting staffs get do-overs.
So we'll start slowly here as I try to shed some light on how the first round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft will shake out. This week, it's my estimate of the top 10. Each week, I'll include 10 more teams with projected picks, along with updates on the top of the list. That will leave me with a few stabs at the 30 first-round picks before draft day arrives on June 7.
1. Tampa Bay Devil Rays: David Price, LHP, Vanderbilt University
The Devil Rays can say they haven't made a decision yet all they want. I think the entire baseball world would be shocked if they didn't take Price with the No. 1 pick. Vandy's Friday starter, Price has done nothing to knock his status as the consensus top player in this year's draft class. Despite a less-than-stellar start this past Friday, the southpaw is 9-0 with a 2.91 ERA on the year. In 105 1/3 innings, he's allowed just 80 hits, walked 26 and struck out 149. He's the kind of arm that could move quickly to the big leagues, just what the Rays need.
Read Price's draft report
2. Kansas City Royals: Rick Porcello, RHP, Seton Hall Prep (N.J.)
After Price at No. 1, things get a little murky, with people unsure of what the Royals will do from a financial perspective with this pick. If the last two years are any indication -- KC took Luke Hochevar in 2006 and Alex Gordon the year before that -- this won't be a signability pick. It'll be a "best guy on the board" pick, even if it's a Scott Boras-advised player, as Hochevar was a year ago. Now, there could be some debate over who that is, but for the Royals and many others, it's Porcello (a Boras guy), who tossed a perfect game over the weekend to help his cause.
Read Porcello's draft report
3. Chicago Cubs: Josh Vitters, 3B, Cypress HS (Calif.)
All indications are that the Cubs are looking for a bat here, and it seemed like Matt Wieters would be a good fit. But when you hear something over and over, eventually it sinks in. And what I've been hearing is that the Cubs really like Josh Vitters, the top high school bat in the draft class. He's a rare breed: a prepster who entered the season with all eyes on him and actually lived up to that hype, showing the ability to hit for average and power. And he did all of that while battling with a bout of pneumonia. If the Cubs decide to shift gears and go with an arm, they are fond of Indiana prepster Jarrod Parker.
Read Vitters' draft report
4. Pittsurgh Pirates: Daniel Moskos, LHP, Clemson University
In a perfect world for the Pirates, the Cubs will take Wieters or Jarrod Parker or anyone not named Vitters, because that's who they covet with this pick. Assuming he's gone, though, it's still very unclear who the Pirates would take instead. They'd like a hitter and GM Dave Littlefield has seen Wieters play. While an advanced college catcher would be nice, there's no reason to indicate the organization would want to get involved with a Boras client. They'd been following Clemson closer-turned-starter Daniel Moskos fairly closely and while he's been inconsistent as Clemson's Friday starter, he's still in the Pirates' mix. Don't be surprised, though, if a latecomer jumps into this conversation in the coming weeks.
Read Moskos' draft report
5. Baltimore Orioles: Ross Detwiler, LHP, Missouri State
The word is that the Orioles will take the best college arm on their board. That could be any of a number of pitchers. There have been rumors that they're looking to make a big splash with a more expensive pick, meaning an Andrew Brackman type of pick. But they're not going to do that just for the sake of doing it and Brackman, while possessing great raw stuff, has been inconsistent. In the end, it may come down to the two top college lefties in Detwiler and Moskos. With Moskos going at No. 4 in this projection, that leaves Detwiler, who many would take ahead of Moskos anyway. Detwiler has some detractors because of a lack of physicality, but he's put up results fairly consistently and just had an eight-inning, 14-strikeout performance last weekend.
Read Detwiler's draft report
6. Washington Nationals: Phillippe Aumont, Ecole Du Versant Gatineau, Quebec
What happens with this pick could come down to who is actually pulling the trigger in the draft room. Assistant GM and VP of baseball operations Mike Rizzo, scouting director Dana Brown and GM Jim Bowden might all have differing philosophies when it comes to the type of player they'd consider for this pick. Can they come to a consensus? They like Detwiler, but in this scenario, the lefty is off the board. They could go with someone like Brackman, especially consiering Rizzo's ability to deal with Boras in the past. For that reason, if Max Scherzer re-enters the draft, he would be a definite possibility here. Rizzo also has had success drafting college bats, so if Wieters is around, they could go in that direction. The Nats took a high school bat with their first pick last year and there was some talk they liked another Boras client in Mike Moustakas. They also took a high school arm in last year's first round and Bowden was in Ottawa this past Sunday to see Aumont. The other decision-makers have seen him, as well. Aumont's stock has been rising with each outing he makes, including the one Bowden witnessed during which the right-hander topped out at 98 mph.
Read Aumont's draft report
7. Milwaukee Brewers: Jarrod Parker, RHP, Norwell HS (Ind.)
This one is really interesting. In past years, prognosticators could more or less skip over the high-priced, perhaps over-slotted type players for the Brewers because they wouldn't open the checkbook for them. That may be changing. The new ownership may be willing to spend more on this pick, especially since the Brewers don't have a second-round selection. There's talk they really like Moustakas' bat and they certainly wouldn't shy away from him because of a perceived lack of defensive ability (see Fielder, Prince, class of 2002). But his perceived bonus demands may be too much even for a team that's willing to spend more. If Wieters slides this far -- something they may not have thought possible not long ago -- they'd probably have to take a look at him. If they want a college arm, there's always Brackman. That being said, they have shown a fondness for power right-handed arms, regardless of size. Case in point: Jeremy Jeffress last year. This year it could be Parker, who rose up the charts with his performance this spring as much as any player in the draft pool. There are some who are concerned that his size (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) will lead to durability problems, the age-old worry about undersized righties. But some scouts think Parker is every bit as good as Porcello, just four inches shorter.
Read Parker's draft report
8. Colorado Rockies: Matt Dominguez, 3B, Chatsworth HS (Calif.)
The two players often mentioned as the ones the Rockies are interested in the most -- Vitters and Detwiler -- are both gone in this projection. I think they'd love to find a pitcher here, but it's doubtful they'd go the Brackman route and it's difficult to find another arm that would fit. To be honest, neither does Dominguez, considering the Rockies' depth at the corner infield positions. But they may look at their board and see Dominguez with his above-average hitting ability and his Gold Glove-caliber defense and not be able to pass him up. He's a high schooler, so they can figure out how he, Garrett Atkins and Ian Stewart all fit at a later date.
Read Dominguez's draft report
9. Arizona Diamondbacks: Mike Moustakas, SS/3B, Chatsworth HS (Calif.)
A great deal depends on what happens with Scherzer. If the Diamondbacks sign him, that could mean they'd not be as interested in college pitching as some think they are. If they don't sign him, that could push one of the aforementioned names down to them. They've been watching Aumont closely, for instance, and should he fall, that could be the direction they go in. If they still wanted to go for a college arm, there's still Brackman, but they also like Moustakas' bat a great deal and they have the financial ability to deal with him if they so choose. He's played shortstop in high school because of Dominguez, but some see him as a third baseman or maybe even as a catcher. It may be a gamble to take a player without a true defensive home for the kind of money he's reportedly looking for, but his bat certainly will play.
Read Moustakas' draft report
10. San Francisco Giants: Andrew Brackman, RHP, North Carolina State
The big guy finally finds a home. The Giants do have three first-round picks, so it will be very intersting to see how they go about picking and signing those selections. They generally scout players based on their abilities only and don't shy away from signability concerns. Brackman came into the season as one of the top couple of arms in the draft and the raw stuff has been there. But the performance has not. Some think that perhaps he's experiencing a dead-arm period based on the fact that the former two-sport star has never thrown this many innings in a season. How he recovers and bounces back from that could determine his ultimate draft position, but he's definitely in the Giants' conversation.
Read Brackman's draft report
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.