Baseball Draft-Top 10 Player Capsules
SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) A capsule look at the first 10 players selected in the Major League Baseball draft that started Thursday (with position, school, height, weight and college class):
1. HOUSTON ASTROS:
BRADY AIKEN, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (California), 6-foot-3, 210 pounds.
Polished three-pitch hurler just third prep pitcher to be selected first overall, joining fellow lefties Brien Taylor (1991, Yankees) and David Clyde (1973, Rangers). Also first high school lefty taken in top five picks since Adam Loewen went fourth overall to Baltimore in 2002. UCLA recruit has terrific control with fastball that hits 96-97 mph, knee-buckling curve and tough changeup that sits in low- to mid-80s.
2. MIAMI MARLINS:
TYLER KOLEK, RHP, Shepherd H.S. (Texas), 6-5, 230.
Arguably hardest thrower among high school pitchers available in draft era. Bounced back from broken left arm last year in collision while playing first base to have terrific senior season. Fastball sits in high-90s and excited scouts by touching 100-102 mph several times. Ability to maintain velocity has some comparing him to other former Texas fireballers such as David Clyde, Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood and Josh Beckett.
3. CHICAGO WHITE SOX:
CARLOS RODON, LHP, North Carolina State, 6-3, 235, junior.
Widely regarded as top college pitcher available in draft and potential staff ace, who had been mentioned since last year as prime candidate to go No. 1 overall. Followed up incredibly dominant sophomore year - 10-3, 2.99 ERA, 184 Ks and 45 BBs in 132 1-3 IP - with solid but not spectacular junior campaign: 6-7, 2.01, 117 Ks, 31 BBs in 98 2-3 IP. Fastball sits in mid- to low-90s, but gets up to 96-97 mph, and devastating slider that sits in mid-80s.
4. CHICAGO CUBS:
KYLE SCHWARBER, C-OF, Indiana, 6-0, 230, junior.
Finalist for Johnny Bench Award as best catcher in Division I college baseball has powerful bat from left side of plate, hitting .358 with 14 HRs and 48 RBIs and .659 slugging percentage while leading Hoosiers to NCAA tournament. Stock rose drastically in last few weeks as he hit .469 with four HRs and 12 RBIs in Big Ten tournament and NCAA regionals. Solid behind plate defensively, but could move to outfield in pros.
5. MINNESOTA TWINS:
NICK GORDON, SS, Olympia H.S. (Florida), 6-2, 170.
Son of former big league pitcher Tom ''Flash'' Gordon and brother of Dodgers 2B Dee Gordon is outstanding defensive player with smooth mechanics, terrific range, quick hands and strong arm. Has speed on bases, and left-hand bat sprays line drives all over field with some good power. Florida State recruit has also been impressive as pitcher with fastball in low- to mid-90s, but pro future likely is as five-tool shortstop.
6. SEATTLE MARINERS:
ALEX JACKSON, C-OF, Rancho Bernardo H.S. (California), 6-2, 215.
Powerful bat had him atop list of available sluggers in draft. What position, though, is up for some debate. Right-handed slugger has terrific arm and is athletic, and solid enough skillwise to stick behind plate. He needs some work, though, and Mariners might want his bat in the bigs sooner - so he could move to outfield. Oregon recruit has been on scouts' radars since leading California high schoolers with 17 HRs as sophomore.
7. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES:
AARON NOLA, RHP, Louisiana State, 6-2, 195, junior.
Two-time Southeastern Conference pitcher of year - first in SEC history - and Golden Spikes finalist might be most polished pitcher in draft and could compete with North Carolina State's Carlos Rodon for first to reach majors. Led LSU to NCAA tournament, going 11-1 with 1.47 ERA, and 134 Ks and just 27 BBs in 116 1-3 IP. Extremely athletic pitcher whose fastball sits in mid-90s that complements solid slider and good changeup. Brother Austin, a former LSU teammate, is shortstop in Marlins organization.
8. COLORADO ROCKIES:
KYLE FREELAND, LHP, Evansville, 6-3, 185, junior.
Denver native was Missouri Valley Conference pitcher of year and had eye-popping season going 10-2 with 1.90 ERA and 128 Ks and just 13 BBs in breakout season for Purple Aces. Had elbow surgery as HS freshman - and questions arose again during draft process. Fastball sits in low- to mid-90s and has hard slider that can make hitters look silly at times. Low arm angle and some kinks in delivery, but should remain starter rather than reliever.
9. TORONTO BLUE JAYS:
JEFF HOFFMAN, RHP, East Carolina, 6-4, 185, junior.
Was off to solid start - 3-3, 2.94 - with some dominant performances before injuring elbow and needing Tommy John surgery. Despite missing half the season, Hoffman still ended up a top-10 pick. Repertoire is impressive enough for Blue Jays to select him and give him time to heal. Throws fastball in mid- to upper-90s and has knee-buckling curve. Was ranked as No. 1 prospect in Cape Cod League last summer.
10. NEW YORK METS:
MICHAEL CONFORTO, OF, Oregon State, 6-2, 215, junior.
Two-time Pac-12 player of year and Golden Spikes finalist is perhaps most complete college bat among potential first-rounders. Left-handed hitter led conference in several offensive categories, including batting average, while leading Beavers to NCAA tournament. Had just seven HRs after 24 combined in first two seasons, but scouts like power potential. Regarded as solid but not spectacular defensive outfielder, but has knack for making big plays. Mother Tracie was gold medalist in solo and duet synchronized swimming in 1984 Olympics and won silver in 1988.