With baseball's first-year player draft just five days away, the Nationals aren't saying who they will take first overall. But that's more about their own rules regarding caution and secrecy than anything else. By now everyone knows who the star of this mostly average draft is: 17-year-old slugging sensation
Miami prep shortstop
For the second year in a row, Washington has the first pick in a draft headlined by a an obvious can't-miss guy. Last year, it was college pitcher
Scouts are wowed by Harper's incredible power and arm, and while some might like to see him remain a catcher, others say it would be a waste to employ his booming bat there and envision him instead at third base or right field, where his superior arm will also be utilized. The Nats already have a franchise third baseman in
That's only conjecture, of course. But what's obvious now is that he will be No. 1.
Here's my mock draft of the entire first round:
Incredible power can't be ignored. Though, one scout said, "He isn't perfect. I keep thinking of
Has huge power and tools, but according to one scout, "He's not very fast. I'm not sure he'll stay at shortstop.'' He's received comparisons to
"He's the best pitcher in this draft, by far,'' one scout says. Taillon has a 98-mph fastball, superior breaking ball and terrific makeup. The latest in a long line of great young pitchers from Texas (
He has great stuff, including a superior changeup, and has been moving up the board all year. The question is the competition. The Royals could also consider third baseman
He has an excellent breaking ball but his uneven college performance has dropped him from No. 2 to at least No. 4, and perhaps lower.
A very solid college pitcher, he makes sense for the D-backs and appears to be the consensus pick here. If Pomeranz or Sale fall, they're possibilities, as well, but the Diamondbacks are likely to take a college pitcher no matter who it is.
Harvey's had a very nice bounce-back junior year after a slow start to his college career following a legendary prep history. The Mets and Harvey's agent,
Choice has great power and is very signable, and the Astros already scored with
The best college hitter could go even higher, perhaps fourth or fifth. "I'd take him second,'' one scout says (though that won't happen). He can play second base as well.
Allie has a huge arm, and has taken positive steps lately. California prep pitcher
Another in a decent crop of college pitchers.
You'd think they have to take a pitcher. There are many high school kids to choose from, but the Crew needs someone who can get to the majors quickly. and Wimmers is the most polished, big-league ready pitcher in the draft. Prep hitting phenom
Muscular hitter who knows the strike zone. Could go even higher.
Big high school arm has fallen maybe a little. The Rays like young arms with upside.
They like prep players with big potential, and he's a local one with a consistent track record.
Cabrera has dropped over the past couple years but is still viewed as very talented. Fills a need at shortstop.
Very poor college season has dropped him out of the top five, and there's no telling how far he'll fall. Since he's still expected to seek a big bonus, the Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers are prime candidates to draft him.
Another of the Arkansas talents, this guy could make it as pitcher or hitter.
Tremendous hitter is very versatile. Can play the outfield or third base. Also has pitched in college.
Big, hard-throwing prep pitcher's stock has dropped a bit.
Giants would be lucky if Brentz lasts to this spot. They need hitters, so Sale, Eibner, Vitek or even
Gyorko likely will have to play second base or third, but he can hit. "A sleeper,'' one scout says.
He's going to be a tough sign, but the Rockies showed a willingness to take a chance last year.
Mult-italented player may wind up going to Stanford. Word is, he seeks $6 mil to sign, so that could be a hitch. Philly has been known to take athletes and Wilson fits.
The Angels truly are a team that builds around pitchers and here's another semi-local kid who makes sense.
Some see this as a reach, but word is the Angels are on the local boy Tago, whether it be this round or later. Very signable.
Perhaps the best speed in the draft along with
Big-time talent probably won't fall this low, despite supposed $6-million asking price. But if he does, it's hard to see the Yankees passing. Plenty of others with big price tags who could fall, including Cowart and first baseman/outfielder
The Mets rejected a request by
Beltran had arthroscopic surgery on his right this winter after the recommendation of noted knee surgeon
While Beltran suggested upon arriving at spring training that he is putting the dispute behind him, that appears to be a rather hopeful assessment. Things continue to be tense. And once Beltran proves his knee is better, it wouldn't be surprising to see him leaving the Mets one way or another.
The Mets have made every attempt to try to convince struggling left-hander
The Perez situation is separate from what's happening with Beltran except that both players have the same agent. Mets people say in this case they have spoken to Boras and the agent isn't opposed to a minor-league assignment for Perez (Boras didn't return a text). A Mets official said they won't consider releasing Perez because they don't want to eat the remainder of his $36 million contract.
In any case, Perez, who is 0-3 with a 6.28 ERA, needs to put his ego aside. It is high time for him to go to the minors and work out his problems. Far more consistent Mets pitchers over the years such as
• The Angels'
• Astros star
• The Yankees have determined that they will likely pursue a reliever and a hitter at the deadline. They are concerned about reliever
• Just asking: Is
• Congrats to
• The Dodgers have played superbly ever since GM