Baseball America: Harper is the most highly publicized position player in the 45-year history of the draft. Sources indicate that the Nationals will pull Harper out from behind the plate and place him right field in order to prevent his hitting skills from being eroded by the stresses of catching. Hype and reality diverge slightly with Harper. He has incredible raw power and an exceptionally powerful throwing arm, but is only an average runner and defender. At bat, Harper struggles with breaking and off speed stuff and has a discernible hole on the outside corner at the knees. If he solves those problems in the minors, Harper and Stephen Strasburg will form the hitting and pitching cornerstone of the Washington franchise for many years.
The Woodlands HS, Tex.
Baseball America: Taillon is another in a long line of hard-throwing Texas right-handed pitchers. Tall and rangy, Taillon was sensational in last summer's Aflac All-American game, and he has performed brilliantly throughout the spring. Taillon flashes Josh Beckett-like stuff, firing a heavy 93-97 mph fastball and a wicked mid-80s curveball. He projects as a No. 1 starter and staff ace, capable of winning 15-20 games a year over a 10-15-year period. Pittsburgh has had bad luck in drafting pitchers recently; they are hoping that Taillon breaks that streak.
Baseball America: Few players in this draft draw as diverse a range of opinions as Machado. Some see a future A-Rod; in reality, Machado profiles as an above-average defensive shortstop, with a strong arm and buttery-smooth fielding skills. He projects as a .275-.290 hitter with 15-20-homer potential. Not A-Rod, but not bad. In recent drafts the Orioles have selected pitchers with their first picks. Strong on young arms but weak on position players, the Birds hope that Machado will team with Adam Jones and Matt Wieters to form the backbone of their future.
Cal State Fullerton
Baseball America: Colon is a compactly built middle infielder with flashy fielding skills and outstanding bat speed. His below-average running speed may signal a future move to second base. After getting off to a slow start this year, Colon has been hot lately, flashing his electric power. The Royals have a deep farm system, full of talented ptiching and impact bats like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. They hope that Colon will fit nicely as a No. 2 or 3 hitter in front of those two in their big-league lineup.
Baseball America: Pomeranz has been restricted by minor injuries, but his talent when healthy is impressive. He fires a low- to mid-90s fastball and a classic 12-to-6 curve. A lefty, Pomeranz has struggled with his control at times, but quality lefties are hard to find. Starved for pitching, the Indians hope that Pomeranz develops quickly, providing much-needed help for their big-league rotation.
Baseball America: Big and physical, Loux suffered from bone chips in his elbow last year. He has a power arm, delivering a mid-90s fastball. The only knock on Loux has been his secondary stuff, which has been inconsistent. Arizona loaded up on hitters in last year's draft, and it will be no surprise if they spend most of their early picks on arms.
Baseball America: The top prep pitching prospect in the nation in 2007, Harvey did not sign when drafted out of high school and went to UNC. After struggling in his first two years in Chapel Hill, he has regained his form in 2010. Harvey tosses a mid-90s fastball and wicked mid-80s slider. With the exception of 2008, recent Mets drafts have been poor. They prefer big and physical athletes, and Harvey fits that description. New York hope he moves throught the system quickly, since bad drafts and trades have weakened the Mets' big-league staff.
Woodward Academy, Ga.
Baseball America: Son of a former big-leaguer, DeShields has remarkable speed and profiles as a pro center fielder. A Curtis Granderson type, he has bat speed and interesting power. This pick is a gamble; the Astros are hoping that DeShields' results eventually match his tools. That can take time to accomplish. The Astros have a depleted system, and they hope to replenish their organization with their wealth of early selections in 2010. DeShields gives the Astros some desperately needed athleticism.
Chipley HS, Fla.
Baseball America: Son of former big-leaguer Ed Whitson, this right-hander shows electric stuff. He delivers a blistering fastball at 92-95 mph, and adds a hard low-80s slider. Scouts see problems with Whitson's command and mechanics, but his potential and upside were too tempting for the Padres to pass on.
Baseball America: Choice exhibits terrific promise as a hitter, with the potential to hit for power and average. He runs and throws well, and will probably fit best as a middle-of-the-order corner outfielder. Oakland has long since abandoned the Moneyball drafting philosophy. The A's have gone for speedy and athletic position players in recent drafts, and Choice is no different.
Baseball America: Having lost Roy Halladay, Toronto hopes that McGuire moves to the big club soon. Tall and rangy, his whippy delivery enables him to toss a low to mid-90 fastball. He adds a fine curve and slider, but he'll need to sharpen his change. Toronto has restructured its scouting department, and they hope to hit the jackpot with their wealth of picks in 2010. Look for the Jays to load up on pitching.
Baseball America: Grandal has accomplished exacly what scouts look for -- steady progess and improvement during his college career, with no regression. An excellent switch-hitter and strong catch-and-throw defender, Grandal could arrive in Cincinnati within two or three years. The Reds are flush with young talent like Drew Stubbs at the big-league level, and they hope to add a top backstop with Grandal.
Baseball America: Pitching is obviously the strength of this year's draft, and Sale is one of the top lefties. Tall and lanky, Sale has overcome a bout of food poisoning this season to enjoy an outstanding year. Sale has a low-90s fastball, and an advanced change and slider. He projects as a mid-rotation starter.
Maranatha HS, Calif.
Baseball America: The Brewers need pitching to go with their booming bats, like Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Covey started well in 2010 but has struggled recently, experiencing a drop in velocity and control. When right, Covey has a mid-90s fastball and a vicious mid-80s slider. He fits best as a No.2 or No. 3 starting pticher.
Blessed Trinity HS, Ga.
Baseball America: Texas hopes to reload its farm system with four first- and supplemental-round picks this year. Skole is a virtual unknown who has played relatively little baseball. Also a football star, he is an excellent athlete who shows provocative physical skills. Skole will take some time to develop in the minors, but the Rangers feel he can develop into a five-tool outfielder.
Baseball America: The Cubs hope to nail this pick, since they don't pick again until well into the second round. A D-2 college star, Simpson is an undersized lefty who still is able to pump his fastball up to 95. Few observers expected Simpson to be selected this high, and the Cubs are taking a calculated risk with this choice. Some of their recent pitching selections have performed poorly.
Bishop Blanchet HS, Wash.
Baseball America: Sale is a strong and compact left-handed hitter who out-hit Bryce Harper in BP at last year's Aflac All-America game. He may catch, but will probably man either left field or first base. Sale loves to hit the fastball, but will need to learn to hit the curve in the minors. If so, he will provide impressive power for the Rays.
Cook County HS, Ga.
Baseball America: Once again, the Angels are loaded with early picks. They love to mine local Southern California talent, but Cowart is too talented to pass up. Blessed with a powerful arm and excellent speed, Cowart profiles as an athletic third baseman, a position that the Angels have had difficulty filling throughout their history. The only question about Cowart is his bat, but the Angels will give him time to develop at the plate.
Baseball America: With the exception of Darin Erstad and Joe Mauer, the upper Midwest rarely produces top baseball talent. Tall, lean and projectable, the right-handed Foltynewicz throws a low-90s fastball and an excellent change. He employs a curve and a slider, but those pitches are inconsistent and need development. A high schooler, the Astros realize that Foltynewicz will take some time to mature. He projects as a mid-rotation starter.
Baseball America: Vitek is a well-rounded player with five average to slightly above average tools. He fits at any number of defensive positions, but will likely wind up in the outfield. His top tool is his bat, for Vitek exhibits a textbook pro swing. His backswing is compact and his finish is smooth and easy. And, unlike many young players, Vitek has an advanced idea of the strike zone and can use the entire field.
Baseball America: A product of Cincinnati's famed Moeller High, Wimmers is a mid-rotation starting pitcher type without huge stuff. He does have pitching smarts and outstanding command, and he is able to throw pitches that miss the center of hitter's bats. Wimmers tosses a low-90s fastball and adds a top notch change and a quality curve.
Langley HS, British Columbia
Baseball America: Western Canada has produced many great players, like Larry Walker and Justin Morneau. Deglan is a lean and projectable catcher, with a pretty left-handed swing that promises average and power. Scouts have been impressed with his easy and relaxed catching style. Deglan will need improve his transfer and release skills, but once that is done his strong arm will nail many base stealers.
Baseball America: Yelich is a surprise this high, but he is a fine athlete with excellent speed and a fascinating bat. The Marlins have plucked substantial talent out of Southern California, such as Mike Stanton and Kyle Skipworth. Yelich has the speed but maybe not the arm for the outfield, so first base might be in his future. His best tool is his bat. Yelich is blessed with a syrupy-sweet left-handed swing, and he promises to add power as he fills into his angular body.
Baseball America: Brown has staggering speed, blazing down the line in 3.69 seconds on bunt attempts and 3.91 and 3.94 on full swings from the right side. Currently nursing a hand injury, Brown had a great 2010 season, hitting .438 for Fullerton. He's a wonderful center fielder, with an average arm and brilliant fielding skills. He has improved steadily with the bat and figures to hit for average and some pop as a pro.
Baseball America: Cox is a gifted hitter, showing power and bat speed from the left side. Strong and compact, Cox is not an outstanding athlete, so his defensive home eventually may be at third or first. A draft-eligible college sophomore, Cox enjoyed a phenomenal 2010 season. His intelligent and mature hitting approach figures to benefit Cox as he enters pro ball, and quality college hitters can move quickly through a club's system.
Baseball America: Parker is also Clemson's starting quarterback, and he is the only athlete in college history to throw 20 touchdown passes and hit 15 homers in the same school year. Parker has huge power potential but is not an outstanding athlete. The Rockies may groom him as a corner outfielder, but more likely he will fit as a Todd Helton-type first baseman.
Baseball America: The Phillies have plucked Biddle out of their own Philadelphia backyard. Few observers had Biddle up this high. He is a heavy-bodied lefty who throws a low-90s fastball, but his command and secondary pitches are questionable. This may be a signability or "home town" pick; there are many right-handed pitchers still on the board whom most scouts would rank higher than Biddle if signability was not a factor.
McKinney HS, Tex.
Baseball America: Lee is one of the finest high school quartebacks in the nation, and his two-sport ability gives him added negotiating leverage. Lee has an easy arm action, repeats his delivery well and fires a 90-93 mph fastball. His curve and change need work, but his arm strength and fluid motion permit him to profile as a No. 2 or No. 3 big-league starter.
East Coweta HS, Ga.
Baseball America: Son of former Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian, Cam Bedrosian is stocky and compact, not tall and lanky like his father. Cam's power arm delivers a mid-90s fastball and hard slider. He may wind up as a closer in pro ball.
Marietta HS, Ga.
Baseball America: Clarke is a gifted athlete, blessed with a powerful arm and blazing speed. His hitting skills are raw and unrefined, but he boasts quickness and bat speed. Clarke will probably struggle at bat early in his pro career, but if he learns to hit he projects as a top-of-the-order big-league center field.
Cowan HS, Ind.
Baseball America: O'Conner has dabbled at almost every position on the diamond, but the Rays will convert him to a backstop. He showed promise but was overshadowed often on the summer showcase circuit last year by bigger-name players. At that time, he showed promise but no one single big tool. This spring, O'Conner developed rapidly, flashing power, arm strength and versatility. He profiles as the rare catcher who can hit, hit for power, throw and run well.
Irondeqoit HS, N.Y.
Baseball America: The Yankees may feel they have found the next Derek Jeter in Culver, a switch-hitting shortstop. Culver is a fluid fielder with fine playmaking ability, and his arm has been clocked at 94 mph off of the mound. Hailing from a tiny town in upstate New York, Culver was committed to Maryland but will in all likelihood forego college. Culver's bat may take time to develop. While his smooth swing shows promise, Culver is mostly a slap hitter who hopes to produce power as he fills out.
Baseball America: Kvasnicka is a mature-framed switch-hitting college star. He can catch, play the outfield or play third base. His future is brightest as a catcher, where he profiles as an average to above average hitter with a strong arm.
Baseball America: Tall and lanky, Sanchez hails from Barstow, the mid point between L.A. and Las Vegas. Sanchez has a low-90s fastball and a sharp high-70s curve.
McKinney HS, Tex.
Baseball America: A standout football wide out, Lipka has tremendous speed and athletic skills. Raw as a hitter, he stills shows offensive potential. A quality shortstop, Lipka could easily move to the outfield as a pro.
Middle Tennessee State
Baseball America: A hairline fracture of the ankle slowed down Brentz this spring. The Red Sox probably drafted Brentz due to his other-worldly 2009 season, when he hit .465 and blasted 28 home runs. His non-hitting tools are fringe-average, but the Sox nabbed Brentz due to the promise in his power bat.
Desert Mountain HS, Ariz.
Baseball America: Lindsey is an unusual pick for the Angels. He is not fast nor does he have an great arm; in fact, he will move from shortstop to second or left field as a pro. L.A. must see potential in his left-handed bat, which shows signs of power but may not translate to wood.
Baseball America: Syndergaard has snuck up during the last month of the spring season. Lightly regarded before then, he has recently shown a 90-94 mph fastball and an improved curve. Tall and rangy, Synderggard also has an ideal projectable pitcher's frame.
Baseball America: Ranaudo was bothered by elbow problems early this season. That's caused his draft stock to drop, along with signability concerns. He offers a 90-93 mph fastball and a terrific 79-80 curve, but is often hurt by leaving the fastball up in the zone, where it's hittable and driveable.
Madison Central HS, Miss.
Baseball America: Bolden is an exciting athlete, possessing an admirable frame and a boatload of above-average physical skills and tools. A rare throw-left, bat-right outfielder, Bolden is extremely unrefined as a hitter, struggling with pitch recogintion and breaking balls. He fits the Angels profile of speedy young players with all-around potential.
Baseball America: Wojciechowski is an imposing physical presence and fires one of the liveliest fastballs in the nation, sitting at 93-96 mph. His curve and change are crude, but Wojciechowski fits either as a starter or, more likely, as a closer.
Central Kitsap School, Wash.
Baseball America: Tampa's selection of Vettleson is a bit of a reach. He has a fine arm and strong build but does not run well and does not easily fit any one position. His bat shows power but his swing is unusually long on the back end, raising questions about his ability to make consistent contact. Vettleson has dabbled with the gimmick of switch-pitching, but will ditch that as a pro.
Baseball America: Walker is a spectacular basketball player, and his dunks have made him a local legend on the hardcourt. Unpolished as a pitcher, he nonetheless has a wonderful tall pitcher's frame and electric stuff, firing a low- to mid-90s fastball and a hard low-80s slider.
Baseball America: Castellanos has one of the better bats in this year's draft class, which is weak on high school hitters. He will move to third as a pro, where his skills fit more naturally. A lift-and-drive power hitter, Castellanos has difficulty with the curve ball but has shown signs of using the whole field this year, which will benefit him as he advances.
Baseball America: Jackson is a project, with inconsistent command and a maximum effort delivery. The Rangers are no doubt enticed by his power arm, which delivers a mid-90s fastball. A relative newcomer to pitching, Jackson will need time to blossom, and will have to add and fine tune his secondary pitches.
Baseball America: Blair has always shown a remarkable arm, but his in-game results have suffered due to poor mechanics and spotty command. He has a heavy sinking 93-97 mph fastball. Blair adds a change, cutter and curve, but those are works in progress. As he works his way up the minor-league ladder, look for Blair to move to the bullpen.
Dana Hills HS, Calif.
Baseball America: Projected to be chosen much earlier, the 17-year-old Tago is a sensational pick for the Rockies. Tall, loose and projectable, Tago has a terrific arm and an easy delivery, sitting 91-94 mph on his fastball and peaking at 95-96. He'll need to add a ptich or two to his arsenal, but his 76-77 mph curve has the potential to be one of the best in baseball.
Baseball America: Son of former big leaguer Bruce Ruffin, he's had an incredible season as the closer for Texas. The Tigers have picked against type in Ruffin. Detroit usually opts for big-bodied flamethrowers, but Ruffin is a smaller finesse pitcher with a low-90s fastball. He gets darting movement on that pitch, and can place his curve on either edge of the plate.
Baseball America: Olt is a slick-fielding third baseman with a mature pro-type build. Inconsistent at bat in his UConn career, Olt adjusted his stance midway through this season and the results sent his draft stock soaring. He still struggles with pitch recognition and balls on the outer half, but Olt's fluid swing and power potential make him a possible middle-of-the-order run producer.
Henderson HS, Tex.
Baseball America: Jenkins is a throwback -- a multi-sport high school athlete. An outstanding football, basketball and track star, he is a bit crude as a pitcher but still shows hints of stunning talent. His fastball can reach the mid-90s, and he shows a feel for a curve, slider and change. Awkward mechanically, Jenkins will need time to develop in the minors, but the payoff for the Cardinals could be huge.
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