06/02/10 2:00 PM ET
Crystal Ball: Projecting the Draft's first round
Bucs, O's could go with high schoolers after Nats take Harper
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
After leading up to it with predictions of the top 10, then the top 20 picks, here is the first shot at what the entire first round might look like in Monday's First-Year Player Draft. Rest assured things will change, and change frequently, between now and Monday night (7 p.m. ET, MLB.com and MLB Network) when the Washington Nationals will be on the clock.
As a result, this will be updated on Monday morning to reflect what people are saying. Look for additional updates, right up until the Draft begins, on the blog or via Twitter. For now, here's a look at what the top 32 picks might look like.
1. Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper, C/OF, College of Southern Nevada
Harper is playing in the JUCO World Series, which will end just a couple of days prior to him being named the No. 1 overall pick.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates: Manny Machado, SS, Miami Brito HS, Florida
There's a fallacy out there that the Pirates wouldn't take a high school arm with this pick. Jameson Taillon is still very much being discussed and could be the way they go. Even if they take Machado, as predicted, that doesn't speak to a refusal to pick a prep pitcher in this spot.
3. Baltimore Orioles: Jameson Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands HS, Texas
No change here. It's still looking like Taillon's the guy if the Pirates don't take him. As mentioned last week, they'll have a backup plan for sure.
4. Kansas City Royals: Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast University
At this point it appears that the Royals are looking at college arms (Sale, Drew Pomeranz and maybe Asher Wojciechowski) and college bats (Yasmani Grandal and perhaps one other). For now, Sale remains the choice.
5. Cleveland Indians: Yasmani Grandal, C, University of Miami
The thinking is still that the Indians would like Sale, but with him going to K.C., they'll likely look at college hitters like Grandal, Michael Choice and Zack Cox. For now, we're sticking with the Miami catcher.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks: Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Ole Miss
Pomeranz got back on track at the SEC tournament and the Diamondbacks were on hand to see it. He could move ahead a few spots, at which point Arizona might look at a guy like Georgia Tech's Deck McGuire.
7. New York Mets: Michael Choice, OF, Texas-Arlington
It's still looking like a college player for the Mets when all is said and done. Bryce Brentz might not be completely out of the picture and Arkansas' Cox gets mentioned a lot.
8. Houston Astros: Deck McGuire, RHP, Georgia Tech
It's looking like the Astros are thinking college arm or high school bat. In that scenario, McGuire's likely the best college pitcher on the board. Houston has also been linked to Sale with this pick.
9. San Diego Padres: Kolbrin Vitek, 2B, Ball State
While there's been talk about high schoolers like Karsten Whitson or Nick Castellanos, a college bat makes a lot of sense here, unless Pomeranz or McGuire are around. But they're not, so Vitek could be the guy, with the Padres thinking he's athletic enough to play center field.
10. Oakland A's: Zack Cox, 3B, Arkansas
There's been a lot of buzz about a high schooler going here, with names like Justin O'Conner and Dylan Covey being mentioned. It's still hard to see Oakland doing that in the first round, so the best pure bat in the college crop seems like a good fit.
11. Toronto Blue Jays: Josh Sale, OF, Bishop Blanchet HS, Wash.
There have been numerous names mentioned here, with most of the industry unsure what the new Blue Jays group will do with all of their picks and supposedly more money to spend. They did well in the Pacific Northwest with Travis Snider and some feel Sale has better bat speed than Snider did coming out.
12. Cincinnati Reds: Bryce Brentz, OF, Middle Tennessee State
Brentz is definitely in the mix for Cincinnati; it'll just be a question of who else is on the Reds' board when it comes time for them to pick.
13. Chicago White Sox: Barret Loux, RHP, Texas A&M
A bit of a wild card here, but why not? The White Sox have done it before. It seems they are looking at college pitching and with the options not necessarily separating themselves, they could go off the board a bit to get a guy they like.
14. Milwaukee Brewers: Nick Castellanos, 3B, Archbishop McCarthy HS, Fla.
There's a chance that Castellanos could be gone by this point. There have also been some rumors of a high price tag. But the Brewers do like his bat. They could opt for a college arm if they want help faster.
15. Texas Rangers: Brandon Workman, RHP, University of Texas
Staying in their own backyard and taking a college arm could make a lot of sense for the Rangers, especially since this is the pick they would not get compensated for should they be unable to sign their selection.
16. Chicago Cubs: Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, The Citadel
The Cubs are liable to do just about anything, from a high school bat like O'Conner to a college arm. Wojciechowski's got good stuff raw stuff and could be like an Andrew Cashner, redux.
17. Tampa Bay Rays: Stetson Allie, RHP, St. Edward's HS (Ohio)
Allie's name has been spread all over the first-round map and there's a chance he could be gone by this point. But the arm strength is undeniable and a team like Tampa Bay could be interested in that if he is still available.
18. Los Angeles Angels: Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Henderson HS, Texas
The Angels don't shy away from high school pitchers. They also don't get scared off by two-sport stars who might be harder to sign. There's a lot to like about Jenkins, who's also a quarterback recruit with Baylor.
19. Houston Astros: Delino DeShields Jr., OF, Woodward Park Academy
DeShields is still being linked to the Astros by many and there have been some mentions about fellow toolsy high schooler Reggie Golden.
20. Boston Red Sox: Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Louisiana State
Tough signs inevitably end up with teams like the Red Sox, and that's one reason why the Boras-advised Ranaudo is showing up here. Another is that GM Theo Epstein was on hand at the SEC Tournament to see Ranaudo's bounce-back start.
21. Minnesota Twins: Alex Wimmers, RHP, Ohio State
The Twins aren't a team that can be pinned down in terms of tendencies, so it's just as likely that they could go with a college arm like Wimmers as it is that they'd go with a high school bat like O'Conner or Golden.
22. Texas Rangers: Justin O'Conner, , C/SS, Cowan HS, Ind.
While there's been a lot of chatter about the Rangers liking Georgia high school standout Kaleb Cowart, one has to wonder how the ownership situation will impact the Draft. It's sounding like Cowart might be an over-slot type guy and while the Rangers haven't shied away from that in the past, they might have to, going with the talented, and perhaps more signable, O'Conner.
23. Florida Marlins: Karsten Whitson, RHP, Chipley HS, Fla.
A strong performance at the Florida state all-star game in Sebring last weekend might mean Whitson's gone by this point, but if he's not, the Marlins have never shied away from high school pitchers and a projectable one in their home state might be hard to let go if he's still around.
24. San Francisco Giants: Jedd Gyorko, SS, West Virginia
The Giants seem to alternate between taking high school pitchers (2009, 2007) and advanced college players (2008, 2006). So it seems time for a bat again and word was the Giants had interest in Gyorko, who can flat-out hit but doesn't seem to have a true defensive home. The Giants may see an offensive-minded second baseman, a la Jeff Kent, when they see Gyorko.
25. St. Louis Cardinals: Christian Colon, SS, Cal State Fullerton
There's a chance that Colon could be gone by this point, but he's not in this scenario and it's reasonable to think the Cards would have interest in an advanced college player up the middle of the diamond. If he's gone, a college arm might be the way to go.
26. Colorado Rockies: Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Barstow HS, Calif.
The Rockies have made a habit of picking up someone who fell to them (see Friedrich, Christian; and Matzek, Tyler) and that could happen again here. They've followed Sanchez closely and seem to like him, perhaps along with local high school pitcher Kevin Gausman. If they want a bat, there was some talk that Derek Dietrich might be of interest.
27. Philadelphia Phillies : Taijuan Walker, RHP, Yucaipa HS, Calif.
The Phillies tend to like the high-ceiling athletes, though it's usually associated with position players. That's why some see a Golden in this spot. But Walker fits the description on the mound and while he's been inconsistent, his tools are undeniable.
28. Los Angeles Dodgers : Matt Harvey, RHP, University of North Carolina
The instinct is to go with the high-ceiling high schooler here and maybe they'll make a run at Cowart or one of the Southern California pitchers. But with Harvey as an advanced college guy with a big arm, they could opt for the guy who might help out more quickly, especially if he's moved into the bullpen.
29. Los Angeles Angels: Dylan Covey, RHP, Maranatha HS, Calif.
The Angels didn't think Covey would initially be around for them at No. 18, but his stock has fallen some and wasn't helped by a dreadful outing last week in the playoffs. If the Angels think he won't make it this far, they could take him with that 18th pick.
30. Los Angeles Angels: Peter Tago, RHP, Dana Hills HS, Calif.
That's right, three high school right-handers in the first round for the Angels. Might be a bit much, but it'd be a mistake to put it past them, especially with two coming from Southern California. If they want to go lefty, there was some talk that Griffin Murphy (another SoCal product) could be in their mix at 29 or 30.
31. Tampa Bay Rays: Michael Kvasnicka, C, University of Minnesota
A compensation pick for not signing LeVon Washington, this one the Rays will want to make sure they can get signed. Murphy's name has come up here and if they want a college bat, someone like Derek Dietrich could be in the conversation. For now, we'll go with Kvasnicka, the college hitter who fills an organizational need.
32. New York Yankees: Austin Wates, OF, Virginia Tech
Like with the Red Sox, the tendency is to associate the Yankees with whatever difficult sign comes to them. The thinking for this pick, though, is that they'll likely stick to slot, unless something blows up in front of them. If it doesn't, a college bat like Wates or maybe Michigan's Ryan LaMarre could be a fit.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.