May 08, 2007

The NFL Draft was covered from picks No. 1-255 on two national cable outlets last month, and every hoops fan in the country has had the Oden vs. Durant NBA Draft debate at some point in the last year. Up next, the country will be buzzing with conversation about why a right-handed high school pitcher has never been the first overall pick in the MLB Draft.

No? OK, so maybe the MLB Draft has a ways to go before it joins the realm of its NFL and NBA counterparts, but its national standing got a boost Monday as ESPN announced it would broadcast the MLB Draft's first round June 7 live on ESPN2.

Plenty of high school seniors are poised to be selected at the draft, an event that was nothing more than a rapid-fire, name-shouting conference call between the 30 major league teams not long ago. This year, each team will get five minutes to contemplate its first-round selection, and the draft will expand from two to three days total.

Among the preps who could soon be negotiating multi-million dollar deals as top-round picks include Hillsborough (Tampa, Fla.) slugger Michael Burgess, SoCal third basemen Josh Vitters of Cypress (Cypress, Calif.) and Matt Dominguez of Chatsworth (Chatsworth, Calif.). Pitchers Rick Porcello of Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J.), Matt Harvey of Fitch (Groton, Conn.), Mike Main of Deland (DeLand, Fla.) and Blake Beavan of Irving (Irving, Texas) are other likely first-rounders.

And hey, if any of those pitchers go first overall, the conversation can finally end. A high school righty will have come off the board No. 1.

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