JOEY DEVINE, RHP, N.C. State (Braves, 27th overall pick)
Possibly the most major-league-ready player in this year's draft, Devine (72 strikeouts in 482/3 innings this season) throws a 97-mph fastball from a funky arm angle and possesses a filthy slider that can be nearly unhittable for righties. The closer joined Class A Myrtle Beach two weeks ago and could be in Atlanta by the end of the season.
ALEX GORDON, 3B, Nebraska (Royals, second overall)
Last week Gordon, a two-time Big 12 Player of the Year, became the Huskers' first winner of the Golden Spikes Award, baseball's version of the Heisman Trophy. With his plate discipline and smooth lefthanded swing, Gordon (who batted .372 with 19 homers) can drive the ball to all fields and should hit for both power and average. He is expected to report to Double A Wichita when he signs.
MIKE PELFREY, RHP, Wichita State (Mets, ninth overall)
Rated by many scouts as the best pitcher in the draft, the 6'7" flamethrower (33-7 with a 2.18 ERA and 14 complete games in 52 career starts) boasts a 97-mph fastball and a bulldog mentality. Longtime Shockers coach Gene Stephenson calls him the best starter in the program's history. The only question about Pelfrey's future is how soon he'll sign: His agent is Scott Boras.
TROY TULOWITZKI, SS, Long Beach State (Rockies, seventh overall)
Tulowitzki is best friends with Oakland's Bobby Crosby, one of his predecessors as the 49ers' shortstop. Scouts think Tulowitzki, who was assigned to Class A Modesto, is a better hitter than Crosby and that the pop in his bat (21 extra-base hits in 152 official plate appearances) will eventually produce big numbers at Coors Field.
July 3, 2005
RYAN ZIMMERMAN, 3B, Virginia (Nationals, fourth overall)
Scouts drool over his defense, but Zimmerman hit .393 with a .581 slugging percentage and struck out just 14 times in 234 at bats. Zimmerman's slick glove and smarts at the plate should mean a quick return on the Nats' investment. After 17 at bats in Class A, Zimmerman was promoted last Saturday to Double A Harrisburg, where he went 3 for 4 in his debut.