06/08/09 10:00 AM ET
Crystal ball: Plenty of Draft questions left
Signability, injury concerns may impact teams' decisions
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
Signability and injury are the two variables causing shifts in this edition of the first-round projection.
Teams are really bearing down on the former and talking to team doctors about the latter. As a result, names like Jacob Turner, Kyle Gibson and Tanner Scheppers could be dropping quite a bit -- Turner because of possible bonus demands, Gibson (stress fracture) and Scheppers (shoulder concerns) because of health.
Matthew Purke, Dustin Ackley and Donavan Tate are all in the top 10, but could slide down if the perceived bonus figures end up being too much for takers at the top.
We'll have one more update for Tuesday, the last pre-Draft projection before things get under way at 6 p.m. ET. A lot can change between now and then, but here's the best information available for picks 1-32. Last edition's projection is listed if there was a change in the pick.
1. Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State
Was, is and will continue to be the top guy.
2. Seattle Mariners: Dustin Ackley, 1B/OF, North Carolina
Signability seems to be an issue, but it's looking like the Mariners will still pull the trigger. If not, Aaron Crow likely remains the next in line, with Tyler Matzek a possibility.
3. San Diego Padres: Donavan Tate, OF, Cartersville HS, Ga.
I'd hesitated to go this route before because, frankly, I didn't believe the Padres would take the leap. But everything I'm hearing now leans toward them going away from their old playbook and taking perhaps the best high-upside athlete in the Draft class.
Last week's projection: Mike Minor
4. Pittsburgh Pirates: Aaron Crow, RHP, Fort Worth Cats
They'd still love to consider Ackley here and other arms in the mix could be Alex White on the college side, Zack Wheeler and Matt Hobgood on the high school end. A pair of college bats remain in the picture: Boston College catcher Tony Sanchez and USC shortstop Grant Green.
5. Baltimore Orioles: Zack Wheeler, RHP, East Paulding HS, Dallas, Ga.
Wheeler still seems like the way to go, with a host of other arms like White, Hobgood and Minor being mentioned here or there.
6. San Francisco Giants: Tyler Matzek, LHP, Capistrano Valley HS, Mission Viejo, Calif.
There was some word that Matzek might drop down a few spots, and if Ackley falls because of signability, this might be a good spot for him, but there wasn't enough to change the pick.
7. Atlanta Braves: Alex White, RHP, University of North Carolina
In this scenario, it might come down to a pair of college arms, White and Minor. Not that one start would make a decision, but White's outstanding Super Regional outing over the weekend certainly didn't hurt. Needless to say, Wheeler's the guy if he's still available.
8. Cincinnati Reds: Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt
The Reds would still love for Matzek to get to them, at least so they could discuss it. White would be possible if he gets past Atlanta. Arizona State's Mike Leake remains in the mix, as does high right-hander Jacob Turner.
Last week's projection: Leake
9. Detroit Tigers: Matthew Purke, LHP, Klein HS, Texas
The Tigers take the best player on their board, period, in most years. Late word was that it would be Purke, the talented high school southpaw with a reported big price tag. Turner is still in the mix, as is Scheppers.
Last week's projection: Turner
10. Washington Nationals: Drew Storen, RHP, Stanford
There was a rumor circulating that the Nats had a done deal with Kenesaw State right-hander Chad Jenkins, but there wasn't enough to make the change from the Stanford closer. Jenkins and Storen both worked out in D.C. last week, so both are very much still in the mix.
11. Colorado Rockies: Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State
Many arms have been mentioned in this spot as it seems like the Rockies will go after pitching. They'd prefer the college variety, it seems, and would likely consider Minor or White should they get this far. The last projection, Rex Brothers, remains a possibility, but Leake seems like a good bet here.
Last week's projection: Brothers
12. Kansas City Royals: Wil Myers, C, Wesleyan Christian Academy, High Point, N.C.
The Royals would be interested if the college arms listed above -- White, Minor, Leake -- got to them at No. 12, but in this scenario, they'd have to look elsewhere. College bats like Green and Sanchez still will be discussed, but they really like what they've seen from Myers, a strong high school hitter who's shown some ability to stay behind the plate.
Last week's projection: Kyle Gibson
13. Oakland A's: Grant Green, SS, USC
Scheppers is still very much in the mix here, but the feeling is the uncertainty over his shoulder will have them look elsewhere. A high school arm like Hobgood could figure in here as could any college arm that drops from above.
Last week's projection: Scheppers
14. Texas Rangers: Shelby Miller, RHP, Brownwood HS, Texas
They've been on him all along and there's no reason to switch off of the Texas high schooler at this point.
15. Cleveland Indians: Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana University
It could come down to Arnett vs. Scheppers, with Arnett winning because of his easy signability and the questions surrounding Scheppers' shoulder.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Rex Brothers, LHP, Lipscomb University
Still have to think Leake's the guy here if he's available, but the D-backs are definitely looking for lefties in the Draft if they can find them.
Last week's projection: A.J. Pollock
17. Arizona Diamondbacks: Bobby Borchering, 3B, Bishop Verot HS, Fla.
Borchering's a switch-hitter with pop and while he may eventually have to move to first base, he'll at least get the opportunity to stay at third. He's considered to be one of the best high school bats in the Draft.
18. Florida Marlins: Chad James, LHP, Yukon HS, Yukon, Okla.
James gets high marks for his pure stuff, though to some, his command is a cause for concern. Florida could consider local product Borchering or college guy Jenkins.
Last week's projection: Jenkins
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Chad Jenkins, RHP, Kenesaw State
This could be a spot for Green to land if he slides past Oakland, and Turner, the local kid from Missouri, might be of interest. But we'll go with the college arm for now.
Last week's projection: Green
20. Toronto Blue Jays: Tim Wheeler, OF, Sacramento State
There remains the possibility that the Jays will be a little adventurous and take a high school bat, but the college-bat route seems like a more plausible route. Wheeler, Pollock and Sanchez could all be considered.
Last week's projection: Everett Williams
21. Houston Astros: Jared Mitchell, OF, Louisiana State
Mitchell, the best athlete among the college hitters, still seems like he could fit well in this system.
22. Minnesota Twins: Matt Hobgood, RHP, Norco HS, Calif.
Hobgood might be gone earlier, in which case the Twins could consider another high school arm like Garrett Gould or a high school bat like Michael Trout or Everett Williams. They're still discussing the "what if" scenario if Gibson drops this far, which he may very well do.
23. Chicago White Sox: Everett Williams, OF, McCallum HS, Texas
The thinking has been toolsy bat in this spot and that still could be Trout or Williams. In the last projection, Williams was off the board. In this one, he's not.
Last week's projection: Trout
24. Los Angeles Angels: Michael Trout, OF, Milville HS, N.J.
The toolsy outfielder from the Northeast lands here, with his name being mentioned all over the place. There are some SoCal prepsters you know the Angels would consider with their two picks should they be here, like Hobgood or maybe even catcher Cameron Garfield, who's impressed in workouts. Gould remains a possibility.
Last week's projection: Gould
25. Los Angeles Angels: Jiovanni Mier, SS, Bonita HS, Calif.
As mentioned above, the Angels love Southern California talent. Mier is probably the best pure shortstop and the chance to get a local kid at a premium position might be too good to pass up.
Last week's projection: Purke
26. Milwaukee Brewers: Garrett Gould, RHP, Maize HS, Kan.
It's now looking like an arm is more likely, and that is of a greater need in the Brewers organization. A college arm might be preferable, and Oklahoma State's Andy Oliver is likely in their radar, but his signability factor might steer them to Gould and his plus curve.
Last week's projection: Matt Davidson
27. Seattle Mariners: Tanner Scheppers, RHP, St. Paul Saints
It was too much for them to consider him at No. 2, though perhaps he belonged in that conversation based on pure stuff. But the shoulder concerns could drop him this far, and after taking the bat at No. 2, they could opt for an arm here.
Last week's projection: Sanchez
28. Boston Red Sox: Jacob Turner, Westminster Christian Academy, Mo.
Here's the tendency to go with the "tough sign" again. Anyone who slides here might be of interest as the Sox take the best player on the board, usually regardless of signability.
Last week's projection: Max Stassi
29. New York Yankees: Brett Jackson, OF, Cal-Berkeley
It'd be tempting to have the Yankees take a shot on Gibson, sort of like they did with Andrew Brackman a couple of years back. For now, we'll stick with the toolsy college outfielder.
30. Tampa Bay Rays: Tommy Joseph, C, Horizon HS.
The Rays have never leaned too far in any direction Draft-wise and they've never picked this far down. They do have a need for catching and they know Joseph well, as he's played on their scout team in the past.
Last week's projection: Mier
31. Chicago Cubs: A.J. Pollock, OF, Notre Dame
Could Gibson land here? It's possible. The Cubs are liable to do just about anything, though they've taken hitters with their top picks the past couple of years. Here's thinking they'll go that route again to kick things off.
Last week's projection: Tim Wheeler
32. Colorado Rockies: Kyle Gibson, RHP, University of Missouri
Why not? Sure, they still like a high school athlete like Slade Heathcott, and he's in the mix. But they liked Gibson at No. 11 before the injury, so the opportunity to get him "on the cheap" at 32 might be too good to pass up.
Last week's projection: Heathcott
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.