A day after I wrote this article, Lucas Giolito was put on the shelf for 6-10 weeks with a strained shoulder. Now, while this doesn’t seem to be serious at the moment, it no doubt affects his draft status as of now. Exactly where he will go remains to be seen, but there are some teams who could still make a play for him in the first round. More on that later.
All of the supplemental picks are final, and we now know how the entire first round will shape up as far as who owns each pick. With both the college and high school seasons underway, players are starting to finalize their resumes for June 4. Here is how I see the first round going right now.
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- Officially licensed by the MLB
1. Houston Astros — Mark Appel, 6’-5”, RHP, Stanford
With Giolito hurt, the Astros can now go conservative and take the most polished pitcher in the draft. Appel has been brilliant so far this season, going 2-1 with a 3.17 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 40 K/10 BB over 31.1 innings for the Cardinal, including a 14-strikeout performance in a complete game against Rice on March 9. The hard throwing right-hander can dial his fastball up to 98 mph, has a plus swing-and-miss slider, an above-average change-up with late fade and will also mix in a cutter.
2. Minnesota Twins — Kevin Gausman, 6’-4”, RHP, LSU
The Twins need pitching badly, and Gausman has front-of-the-rotation stuff and could help them sooner rather than later. He has been dealing so far this season, going 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 31 K/2 BB over 27.1 innings. In his last start against Michigan, he struck out 11 batters, walking none, while giving up just two hits over right shutout innings. Gausman is a power righty who can get his fastball up to 99 mph. His long, easy delivery gives his fastball late life, running in on hitters. His change-up has late, fading action and should be an above-average pitch, while his breaking ball is still developing.
3. Seattle Mariners — Mike Zunino, 6’-2”, C, Florida
With all of the young pitching talent the Mariners have coming through their system — and let’s face it, Jesus Montero is not a catcher — Zunino seems like the perfect fit here as his defense rates as arguably the best in the draft. With good hands, a strong and accurate arm, and tremendous footwork, he fields his position like a major-league veteran. After being named the SEC Player of the Year in 2011 as a sophomore, hitting .371 with 19 home runs, 67 RBI and a .442 OBP, he is making his case for the Golden Spikes award, given annually to the top amateur player in the country. Through 14 games, he is hitting .436 with six doubles, seven home runs and 21 RBI, 11 of them coming in his last four games, along with four home runs.
4. Baltimore Orioles — Byron Buxton, 6’-1”, OF, Appling County HS (GA)
The Orioles have the 10th-most bonus money to play with, roughly $7MM, so they can afford to offer a big signing bonus to Buxton, who some compare to Justin Upton because of his power/speed abilities. He hit .594 with 10 home runs and 48 RBI as a junior last season. A superior athlete, his elite speed and strong, accurate arm will allow him to stay in center field at the next level. Has extremely quick wrists and an easy, fluid swing. Features tremendous pull power from the right side and is a classic combination of speed and power.
5. Kansas City Royals — Michael Wacha, 6’-6”, RHP, Texas A&M
The Royals are another team in dire need of starting pitching, and Wacha is one of the more polished ones in the draft. Has been lights-out for the Aggies this season, going 3-0 with a 0.70 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 34 K/5 BB over 25.2 innings. His fastball touches 95 mph, and his change-up is a true potential plus offering. His curveball has come a long way, and he has superb control of all three pitches. Has the size and frame to be a workhorse at the next level as a frontline starter.
6. Chicago Cubs — Gavin Cecchini, 6’-1”, SS, Barbe HS (LA)
While Deven Marrero may be the most major-league ready shortstop in the draft, the Cubs already have a future superstar of their own at the position in Starlin Castro. The Cubs are in full rebuilding mode, and Cecchini could turn into a franchise-type player with a couple years of grooming as his ceiling is as high as anyone on this list. He hit .548 with 11 home runs, 41 RBI and 32 bases as a junior last season, showing his elite speed and power to all fields. Led U18 Team USA with a .469 average at the Pan Am Championships, adding 10 RBI and eight stolen bases while playing a flawless second base. He has an extremely high understanding and feel for the game and could easily move over to second base with his footwork, range and arm. His bat would fit better there, too. Also, Theo Epstein is very familiar with him as he drafted his brother, Garin Cecchini, in the fourth-round of the 2010 draft.
7. San Diego Padres — Deven Marrero, 6’-1”, SS, Arizona State
The Padres need a shortstop, and landing Marrero here would be a coup. Arguably the best defensive shortstop in the draft, his bat isn’t too far behind. He was Pac-10 defensive player of the year last season and could contend for a Gold Glove in the future. Hit .397 in 2010 and became the first Arizona State freshman to lead the team in RBI (43). Shows a great approach at the plate, as he has only struck out 54 times in 96 games at ASU. Has the ideal size (6’-1”, 190), range and footwork to be a gold-glove caliber shortstop down the road. Led Collegiate Team USA with 19 hits, 14 RBI, five doubles and six stolen bases over 14 games during the summer. He is hitting .325 through his first 11 games this season with only two strikeouts.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates — Carlos Correa, 6’-4”, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (PR)
Correa’s stock has been soaring of late, and the Pirates can add to their suddenly prospect-rich system with one of the most exciting high school players in the draft. A defensive whiz at the position, he has an incredibly smooth feel for the game which makes it look effortless for him. He also has a strong and accurate arm which would allow for an easy transition to third base if he chooses. At the plate, his quick wrists and balanced swing project to a high-average hitter at the next level. Has some power now, but more should come as he matures. He is committed to Vanderbilt, which is always a tough sign, but the Pirates are in the upper half of bonus-pool money, so they can do whatever it takes to lock him up.
9. Miami Marlins — Lance McCullers, 6’-2”, RHP, Jesuit HS (FL)
The Marlins are very familiar with McCullers as he plays right in their own backyard. His arm is electric and is one of the most powerful in the draft. His fastball hits 97 mph with ease. He also has a knee-buckling curve to go along with a plus slider. Has a feel and poise for the game not seen in many players his age. There are questions about his command, however, and he will have to prove this season that he can control his arsenal of pitches consistently. Still, he has one of the highest ceilings in this draft, and the bloodlines as well. His father, Lance McCullers, was a seven-year major-league starting pitcher.
10. Colorado Rockies — Victor Roache, 6’-1”, OF, Georgia Southern
Roache had surgery for a broken wrist he suffered just six games into the season. While he most likely will miss most, if not all, of the season, a broken bone shouldn’t hurt his draft status. After all, it wasn’t a knee, shoulder or elbow that usually lingers. His power would suit Coors Field to a tee and he looks like a fast riser through the system. He lead the nation in home runs last season with 30, and he is maybe the best power hitter in the draft. He has power to all fields, and his quick wrists allow him to catch up to any pitch. His approach at the plate is getting better and more refined every year, so he should be a good-average hitter to go along with all of the home runs he is going to hit. Hit .316 with six home runs and 28 RBI over 42 games at the Cape Cod League last year, leading the league with a 1.004 OPS as well. He struck out 44 times, but also had 30 walks, showing improvement at the plate. He was hitting .412 with two home runs, five RBI and seven walks, to just one strikeout, over his first six games.
11. Oakland Athletics — David Dahl, 6’-2”, OF, Oak Mountain HS (AL)
Dahl has gotten comparisons to Mike Trout of the Angels because of his defense, speed and overall hitting abilities. Runs a 6.5/60, and his plus arm, great range and instincts for the game will allow him to play center field at the next level. As a junior at Oak Mountain High, Dahl batted .449 with 18 doubles, three triples and two home runs while driving in 29 runs. He struck out only 10 times in 118 at bats, posted a .703 slugging percentage, .493 on-base percentage and hit .488 with runners in scoring position. He then joined U18 Team USA and hit .364 with 11 runs, nine RBI and seven stolen bases batting leadoff, while also playing flawless defense for the gold medal winners. More power will come as he matures, and he has one of the highest ceilings in the draft.
12. New York Mets — Max Fried, 6’-4”, LHP, Harvard Westlake HS (CA)
A teammate of Giolito at Harvard Westlake, Fried is considered the best lefty in the draft, regardless of age. The Mets could land a future ace who may end up going top-10 with a strong senior season. He started honing his curveball when he was 12, modeled it after Sandy Koufax, and now owns possibly the best in the draft. He also has a sinking fastball that touches 94 mph and a change-up that projects to a plus pitch in the future. At 6’-4” and 180-pounds, he has the frame to add more velocity as he matures.
13. Chicago White Sox — Joey Gallo, 6’-5”, RHP/3B, Bishop Gorman HS (OK)
The White Sox have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. Gallo would immediately be their top prospect if they land him here. Possibly the best power among prep players, he hit .471 with 25 home runs and a 1.756 OPS over 121 at bats for Bishop Gorman, the number-one ranked team in the country, as a junior last season. He does have a big swing that could lead to a lot of strikeouts, but the power potential is ridiculous. Yet another member of U18 Team USA, Gallo hit .271 with one home run, 10 RBI, four stolen bases and 10 walks over 15 games while playing mostly at first base. He also shines on the mound with a fastball that touches 95 mph, and a quality change and curveball. His bat, however, is what scouts drool over.
14. Cincinnati Reds — Hunter Virant, 6’-4”, LHP, Camarillo HS (CA)
Virant is a Greg Maddux-type pitcher in that he isn’t going to overpower you, rather dominate you with his command, aggressiveness and ability to throw any pitch, in any count. Has four pitches that all grade out to at least average, and with his 6’-4”, 180-pound frame, has a lot of room for improvement. His fastball is his best pitch, sitting in the low 90s, and his curveball has serious potential. He is also a freak athlete with elite speed and a tremendous hitting abilities, something that will come in handy playing in the National League. Another member of U18 Team USA, Virant is a gamer who plays his best in the biggest events.
15. Cleveland Indians — Walker Weickel, 6’-6”, RHP, Olympia HS (FL)
Weickel saw his stock soar after going 2-0, with a 0.66 ERA and 12 K/2 BB over 13.1 innings for gold-medal winning U18 Team USA at the Pan Am Championships this past fall. With his long frame and pitching over the top, Weickel’s delivery is downhill and deceptive. His fastball hits 94 mph and should generate more velocity as he matures. With both his low-70s curveball and low-80s change-up projecting as plus pitches, he is one of the top arms in the draft, and with a strong follow up senior season, could shoot up draft boards come June. The suddenly aggressive Reds have a lot of money to spend at the draft and could toss a good chunk of it at a future ace.
16. Washington Nationals — Albert Almora, 6’-2”, OF, Marion Christian Academy (FL)
Almora is a leader through and through and is a five-tool prospect who is mature beyond his years as a player. A six-time member of Team USA (a record), Almora showed his savvy veteran leadership at the Pan Am Championships this fall, winning MVP honors hitting .421 (16 for 38) with a team-leading 11 runs, five doubles, 11 RBI and nine stolen bases as Team USA went 9-0, outscoring opponents 88-8. He has a plus arm and his speed should allow him to play center field at the next level. A total package of offense, defense, speed and an extremely high understanding and passion for the game, Almora could join Bryce Harper to form one of the most exciting outfields in the majors in a few years.
17. Toronto Blue Jays — Marcus Stroman, 5’-9”, RHP, Duke
Stroman is this year’s Trevor Bauer — an exciting, high-strikeout machine. Through his first four games this season, he is 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 39 K/11 BB over 26.1 innings. He is among the early leaders in strikeouts-per-nine innings, and he struck out 17 batters in a seven-inning, two-hitter against George Washington on March 2. With a fastball that touches 95 mph, and a tight slider that can be ridiculously mesmerizing at times, he is one of the most ready pitchers available in the draft. Went 8.1 scoreless innings for the collegiate Team USA, striking out 17, while walking just one. At the 2010 Cape Cod League, he tossed 25 scoreless innings, striking out 32 while walking just three, including registering 10 saves. With his size, durability is obviously a concern, but he could become a dominant closer if nothing else.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers — Trey Williams, 6’-1”, 3B, Valencia HS (CA)
Williams has tremendous power to all fields and has the defensive tools to stick at third base. His bat speed is incredible and the ball just jumps off his bat. He was once walked with the bases loaded as a sophomore, showing the respect he commands at the plate. In 182 at-bats over the last two seasons, he has hit 19 home runs, rarely getting a pitch to hit. Has good bloodlines, too, as his father, Eddie Williams, played 10 season in the major leagues and was the fourth overall pick by the Mets in 1983.
19. St. Louis Cardinals — Addison Russell, 6’-1”, SS, Pace HS (GA)
The shortstop position is very deep this year, and Russell excels on both sides of the field. With soft hands, exceptional range and a canon arm, he fields his position effortlessly, but a move to third could come due to his size. Played for U18 Team USA at the Pan Am Championships hitting .393 with nine RBI, four stolen bases. He hit the team’s only home run of the tournament, a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning against Canada in the gold-medal game that put the game away early for Team USA. Overall, he hit .364 with 14 RBI, six stolen bases and a 1.095 OPS over 15 games for the team. One of those players who makes the game look incredibly easy.
20. San Francisco Giants — Brian Johnson, 6’-4”, LHP, Florida
The Giants would add arguably the best left-hander among college pitchers in Johnson, a guy with frontline starter potential, and someone who could rise through their system fast. He is 2-0 on the young season, with a 4.13 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 15 K/4 BB over 19.2 innings for the Gators. Has a low-90s fastball with sink, an above-average change-up and his slider projects to a plus pitch at the next level. Has great mound presence and an advanced feel for pitching. Also a tremendous hitter and could be drafted high as an outfielder. In 12 at-bats for Collegiate Team USA, he smashed three home runs, drove in five runs and walked three times.
21. Atlanta Braves — Stryker Trahan, 6’-2”, C, Arcadiana HS (LA)
Other than Zunino, Trahan is the only other catcher who has franchise player-type abilities. With his short stroke and excellent bat speed, he generates incredible power and should hit for a high average. Hit .460 with five home runs as a junior in 2011 with a 1.281 OPS. At 6’-2” and 215 pounds, he makes for a big target behind the plate, and his strong arm and footwork make him a solid defender. Has been clocked at 6.64 in the 60. Phenomenal athlete who could be a standout right fielder if he chooses. He also hits from the left side, a rarity for catchers.
22. Toronto Blue Jays — Nick Williams, 6’-3”, OF, Ball HS (TX)
The Blue Jays get the 22nd pick after failing to sign their first-round pick from last season, Tyler Beede. Williams is considered raw, but the talent is off the charts. He has jaw-dropping power, and his swing from the left side has drawn comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr. He is a regular on the home run derby circuits and the 6’-3” lefty generates incredible pull power and makes it look effortless with his short swing. He also has excellent speed, which should make him a threat on the base paths once he becomes a better base runner. His arm has been clocked at 93 mph, and mixed with his speed, makes him a plus defender, as well. Williams has as much talent as anyone in the draft, he just needs some refining.
23. St. Louis Cardinals — Richie Shaffer, 6’-4”, 3B/1B, Clemson
Shaffer has been one of the best hitters in college over the first few weeks. Through 12 games, he is hitting .476 with seven doubles, four home runs, 14 RBI with a slash line of .607/.976/1.583. He also has shown a great approach at the plate by drawing 14 walks to just six strikeouts. He is a big-time power prospect who won the home run derby at the Cap Cod League last year by hitting six home runs in a one-round contest at Fenway Park — two of them landing on Lansdowne street. Over 36 games in the league, he hit .263 with six home runs, 11 doubles and 22 RBI. His lack of range at third will most likely keep him at first, but his strong arm could play as a corner outfielder. He is shooting up draft boards right now.
24. Boston Red Sox — Lucas Sims, 6’-2”, RHP, Brookfield HS (GA)
The Red Sox take one of the liveliest arms in the draft in Sims, a power righty who has been clocked at 98 mph with his fastball. He also owns a 12-6 hammer curve than can be filthy at times. As with most prep pitchers, his change-up is still developing but looks to be a good offering at the next level. Went 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA with 52 strikeouts over 32 innings as a junior in 2011. Has a bulldog mentality on the mound, attacking hitters without fear. He could be a tremendous closer down the line with his arsenal and make up.
25. Tampa Bay Rays — Matt Smoral, 6’-8”, LHP, Solon HS (OH)
The Rays have been very good at evaluating pitching talent in the draft over the years. They grab yet another prep lefty in this deep class and get a kid with a ton of upside. At 6’-8”, Smoral has the size and durability to be a workhorse starter at the next level. His easy, fluid delivery only adds to that potential. He features a low-90s fastball and a change-up with late sink. Both pitches are potential plus offerings and he has command of both of them. He is very aggressive on the mound, attacking hitters inside and out, without fear. May have more upside than both Fried and Virant.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks — Tyler Naquin, 6’-2”, OF, Texas A&M
Naquin was the 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year after hitting .389 and leading the nation with 104 hits as a sophomore. He has gotten off to a fast start this year, hitting .509 with 11 RBI and eight stolen bases through his first 14 games. He also has drawn nine walks to just seven strikeouts, showing off a great approach at the plate. He doesn’t hit for much power now, but with his frame, he could develop some down the line. As of now, he projects to a top-of-the-order hitter due to his ability to get on base and his speed. Has a reputation as having the best outfield arm in the nation.
27. Milwaukee Brewers — Stephen Piscotty, 6’-3”, 3B, Stanford
The Brewers get the Tigers’ first-round pick as compensation for losing Prince Fielder. Although he plays third right now, Piscotty projects better as a first baseman in the majors and could move along quickly through their system. With his smooth swing and excellent bat speed, Piscotty is one of the purest hitters in the draft, able to spray the ball to all fields. He hit .364 with three home runs and 40 RBI over 57 games as a sophomore in 2011. He then led the Cape Cod League with a .349 average. Through his first 14 games this season, he is hitting .365 with five doubles, three home runs and is top-five in the nation with 23 RBI.
28. Milwaukee Brewers — Lucas Giolito, 6’-6”, RHP, Harvard Westlake HS (CA)
With back-to-back picks, the Brewers can afford to gamble here. Now, as I mentioned, Giolito’s injury doesn’t seem to be a long-term problem, but you just never know with young pitchers. With a scholarship to UCLA in his back pocket, he could very well choose to play college ball for a few years if the price isn’t right in the draft, which makes him a tough sign at this point. If the Brewers toss a bunch of cash at him, they could end up the biggest winners in this draft. Plus, owner Mark Attanasio’s two sons attended Harvard Westlake, so he obviously is very familiar with Giolito.
His fastball was clocked at 100 mph in the early season, and he may have to dial it down a notch when he comes back. Still, if it sits in the 93-95 mph range, it remains a plus pitch. His curveball and slider are already above-average pitches with plus potential. He also mixes in a change-up and split-finger to keep hitters off balance. His size, poise, command and effortless delivery all add up to a future ace.
The Blue Jays, at pick-17 or 22, and the Cardinals, at pick-19 or 23, are other teams that could snatch up Giolito. The Blue Jays have five picks in the first 58, and the Cardinals have four.
29. Texas Rangers — Chris Beck, 6’-3”, RHP, Georgia Southern
At 6’-3” and 220 pounds, Beck has the frame to handle a workload as a frontline starter. Went 9-5 with a 3.23 ERA and 109 K/40 BB over 103 innings as a sophomore in 2011, allowing only three home runs. He turned heads at the Cape Cod League, posting a 2.12 ERA with 41 K/13 BB over 51 innings, showing good command of his pitches. His fastball hits 96 mph, and both his slider and change are quality pitches. Over his four starts this season, he is 1-2 with a 4.33 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 26 K/6 BB over 27 innings. He has a ton of upside, and Nolan Ryan and Co. know how to develop young pitching.
30. New York Yankees — Tanner Rahier, 6’-2”, SS, Desert HS (CA)
Rahier is one of those high-character players on and off the field who works tirelessly at his craft and wants to get better everyday. All of those intangibles make him the perfect heir to Derek Jeter someday. Plus, his talent is off the charts. His arm has been clocked at 93 mph, and his plus-range at footwork make him a legitimate shortstop at the next level. His short, compact swing generates plus power, and his bat speed allows him to catch up to any pitch, making him a great contact hitter. Has elite speed as he runs a 6.6/60. Finished second at this year’s Power Showcase held at Chase Field, after leading the first round with 11 home runs. Tremendous character and a great all-around athlete.
31. Boston Red Sox — Rock Rucker, 6’-5”, LHP/OF, Redan HS (GA
Now that Rucker is focusing full time on the mound, his upside is sky high — 6’-5” lefties who can zip it 95 mph are always a hot commodity. With some refining to his game, he could be something special. He also has a hammer curve that is already a devastating pitch. He is an intimidating presence on the mound and is also a superb athlete who could be drafted as an outfielder if he chooses.
Supplemental first round
32. Minnesota Twins (Michael Cuddyer) — Travis Jankowski, 6’-3”, OF, Stony Brook
Jankowski is the prototypical leadoff hitter. He hit .355 with three home runs, 38 RBI and 30 stolen bases last season. He also showed a great approach at the plate by taking 20 walks while only striking out 22 times over 54 games. The left-handed hitter is just as aggressive at the plate as he is on the base paths and will be an immediate fan favorite because of his hustle. Has great instincts in the outfield, and with his speed and strong arm, he will be able to stay in center field. Hit .329 over 44 games at the Cape Cod League, ranking among the stolen base leaders with 15. He is hitting .355 with four stolen bases and just three strikeouts through his first eight games this season.
33. San Diego Padres (Heath Bell) — Lewis Brinson, 6’-3”, OF, Coral Springs HS (FL)
Brinson hit .473 with four home runs, 23 RBIs and a 1.496 OPS over 20 games as a junior. He was 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts and had 16 walks, leading to a .623 OBP. His stock is soaring after more than holding his own at summer tournaments, establishing himself as one of the best all-around players in the country. Has plus bat speed and gap-to-gap power, which could turn into home-run power as he matures. His speed and strong arm make him a solid defensive player as well. With a strong senior season, could be first-round material.
34. Oakland Athletics (Josh Willingham) — Kenny Diekroeger, 6’-2”, SS, Stanford
Diekroeger is an extremely intelligent baseball player. Able to play any position on the field, shortstop is his natural position, and he should be able to stay there at the next level due to his remarkable athleticism. Was a second-round pick by the Rays in 2009 after hitting .586 with a .688 OBP but chose to attend Stanford. Was Pac-10 freshman of the year as he hit .356 with 41 RBI, becoming the first freshman to lead the team in RBI. Average slipped to .293 last year as he was still adjusting to the new NCAA bats that favor pitchers. The team that drafts him will get a professional in every sense of the word, on and off the field. Through his first 14 games this year, he is hitting .333 with six doubles and 11 RBI.
35. New York Mets (Jose Reyes) — Jesmuel Valentin-Diaz, 5’-11”, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (PR)
Jesmuel has a very high understanding of the game having grown up around it. His father is, Jose Valentin, a 16-year major leaguer. Like his teammate Correa, he is very smooth in the field, and his strong arm and range will allow him to stick at shortstop at the major-league level. The switch-hitter has a short stroke that generates gap-to-gap power and could develop more when he matures. Timed at 6.68/60, so should steal some bases, as well. Gained a reputation as a clutch hitter throughout summer-league tournaments.
36. St. Louis Cardinals (Albert Pujols) — Rio Ruiz, 6’-1”, 3B, Bishop Amat HS (CA)
Ruiz is one of the best third base prospects in the draft and will be able to stick at the hot corner at the next level. Defensively, his soft hands, range and strong, accurate arm make him one of the best at the position. At the plate, his plus bat speed from the left side allows him to make consistent contact to all fields. Hit .455 with 19 extra base hits in 101 at bats as a junior. Very disciplined in all aspects of the game and a student of the game.
37. Boston Red Sox (Jonathan Papelbon) — Kyle Zimmer, 6’-3”, RHP, San Francisco
A power righty whose fastball has been clocked at 97 mph with late sink, Zimmer also features a power curve that projects to a wipe-out pitch at the next level. His slider is above average, his change-up is still developing, and he has excellent command of all four pitches. He had a 3.38 ERA at the Cape Cod League with 37K/14 BB over 48 innings. At 6’-3”and 200 pounds, he has the frame to be a workhorse. Through his first four starts this season, he has a 0.60 ERA, 0.53 WHIP with 15 strikeouts and has yet to walk a batter over 15 innings. He could shoot up this board if he continues to dominate this year.
38. Milwaukee Brewers (Prince Fielder) — Brady Rodgers, 6’-2”, RHP, Arizona State
Over his first two seasons at Arizona State, Rodgers had a 2.47 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 154 K/29 BB over 171 innings. The power righty can dial his fastball up to the mid-90s and he has excellent control of all of his pitches. This season, he is 3-0 with a 0.58 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and 31 K/5 BB over 31 innings. He also has two complete games, showing the durability to be a future workhorse in the majors. Another guy who could go a lot higher if he continues to dominate this season.
39. Texas Rangers (C.J. Wilson) — Ty Hensley, 6’-5”, RHP, Santa Fe HS (OK)
At 6’-5” and 225 pounds, Hensley is a future workhorse at the next level. He can dial his fastball up to 95 mph, and his curve is a potential plus/plus pitch. As with most high-school pitchers, his change-up is still developing but should be an average pitch at least. Has some mechanics issues, but those can be fixed with proper coaching and experience.
40. Philadelphia Phillies (Ryan Madson) — Adam Brett-Walker, 6’-5”, OF/1B, Jacksonville
With Ryan Howard’s future in question with an Achilles injury, Walker would be a great fit at first base as his replacement. One of the top power hitters in the draft, Walker hit .409 with 13 home runs and 73 RBI over 61 games as a sophomore in 2011. Has a long swing that leads to a lot of strikeouts, but he isn’t afraid to take a walk either. Struggled at the Cape Cod League hitting .216 with 56 strikeouts over 38 games. Still, at 6’-5” and 220 pounds, his power and hitting ability will draw a lot of interest come draft time. Through his first 14 games this season, he is hitting .292 with five doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI and has drawn 13 walks.
41. Houston Astros (Clint Barmes) — Cody Poteet, 6’-1”, RHP, Christian HS (CA)
Poteet is seen as undersized by some scouts, but his arm strength leaves little concern. He can crank his fastball up to 96 mph, and his hard, mid-70s curve is one of the best in the country. His change-up is still developing but is very deceptive at times and projects to an above-average offering. He has an easy delivery and is very aggressive on the mound, attacking hitters with superb command. He keeps the ball down, showing good signs of a ground-ball pitcher. Has been a member of Team USA since he was 14.
42. Minnesota Twins (Jason Kubel) — Jesse Winker, 6’-3”, OF, Olympia HS (CA)
Winker is a left-handed hitter with excellent bat speed and an impressive approach at the plate. Hit .509 with seven home runs as a junior. At 6’-3” and 200 pounds, he has raw power to all fields and gets good reads on pitches. Was named most outstanding pitcher at the Pan Am Championships, going 2-0 with 10.1 scoreless innings for gold-medal-winning Team USA. His bat, however, is what scouts are in love with, and with another strong senior season, could be a first-round draft pick.
43. Chicago Cubs (Aramis Ramirez) — Taylore Cherry, 6’-9”, RHP, Vandalia Butler HS (OH)
The Cubs are rebuilding their organization from the bottom-up, and getting a player of Cherry’s talent here would be huge. Like Dillon Maples last year, Cherry has a strong commitment to North Carolina, but could be pried away with the right price. Cherry is a big righty who can get his fastball up to 98 mph thanks, in most part, to his 6’-9” frame. His delivery is easy and fluid, and he looks like he could pitch a doubleheader without tiring. Went 6-1 with a 1.38 ERA and 94 K over 56 innings as a junior, earning him Gatorade Player of the Year honors in the state of Ohio. Both his curve and change-up look to be above-average pitches at the major-league level.
44. San Diego Padres (Adam Harang) — Duane Underwood, 6’-2”, RHP, Pope HS (GA)
Underwood is a hard-throwing righty whose fastball can hit 97 mph with ease. He also features a hard curve that projects to a plus pitch and a deceptive change-up that is still developing. His command can get away from him at times, but his strong arm, athleticism and high baseball IQ will have many teams flocking to Georgia to see his talents.
45. Pittsburgh Pirates (Ryan Doumit) — Nathan Kirby, 6’-1”, LHP, James River HS (VA)
Kirby (no relation to me in case you were wondering) is one of the top left-handed prep pitchers in the country. He features a knee-buckling curveball that projects to a plus/plus pitch, and his fastball reaches 94 mph with late life. His change up is developing quickly and also projects to an above-average pitch. Another player who can rise up this list with a strong spring.
46. Colorado Rockies (Mark Ellis) — Kayden Porter, 6’-5”, RHP/1B, Spanish Fork HS (UT)
The Rockies go with even more power in Porter, a 6’-5”, 240-pound first baseman with immense power to all fields. At the triple-A home run derby last year, going up against professional players, he stole the show by making it to the final round while launching several 450-foot+ home runs, including a 474-foot shot to dead center field. He also is a star on the mound with his fastball reaching 93 mph with room for more velocity. His curveball sits in the low 80s with sharp break and is a nice compliment to his fastball.
47. Oakland Athletics (David DeJesus) — Courtney Hawkins, 6’-3”, OF, Carroll HS (TX)
Hawkins is a five-tool prospect with tremendous power to all fields. He hit .410 with 15 home runs and 22 stolen bases as a junior. His plus arm (clocked at 92 mph from the outfield), mixed with his 6.6/60 speed, project him as a future right fielder in the majors. Still raw with his plate discipline, but that can be said about most high school players. Committed to Texas and could be a tough sign, but worth the risk here.
48. Chicago White Sox (Mark Buerhle) — Clint Coulter, 6’-3”, C, Union HS (WA)
The number-two ranked high school catcher behind Stryker Trahan by most scouts, Coulter is just starting to focus on baseball full time. A former All-State wrestler, he is a huge target behind the plate at 6’-3” and 220 pounds. He generates tremendous power, and his quick wrists allow him to catch up to any pitch. He has the footwork and arm to be a very good defensive backstop at the next level.
49. Cincinnati Reds (Ramon Hernandez) — Skye Bolt, OF, Holy Innocents HS (GA)
Bolt is a switch-hitting outfielder with a short, quick swing from both sides of the plate. Has been timed at 6.61 in the 60. Excellent bat speed and consistent contact project him as a high-average hitter at the next level. Also could add some serious power as he matures. Also has the tools to stick at center field at the major-league level.
50. Toronto Blue Jays (Frank Francisco) — Carson Kelly, 6’-2”, 3B/RHP, Westview HS (OR)
Kelly is an athlete who excels both on the mound and at the plate. He hit .473 with 14 home runs as a junior and is a line-drive hitter with power to all fields. Has very good bat speed and a solid approach at the plate. His strong arm and athleticism should allow him to stick at third base, if he chooses. As a pitcher, his curve, sinker and 93 mph fastball are all quality pitches with the ability to get better with more time and focus on the mound. Was outstanding at the Pan Am Championships for Team USA, going 2-0 1.29 ERA and 12 K/1 BB over 14 innings.
51. Los Angeles Dodgers (Rod Barajas) — Jake Cosart, 6’-1”, RHP, Clear Creek HS (TX)
When you can throw 99 mph, you are going to get some attention. At 6’-1” and 175 pounds, the power Cosart generates from his arm is scary. At the 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase, he hit 99 mph on the radar gun, easily the fastest time at the event. It must run in the family bloodline — his brother, Jarred Cosart, a top prospect for the Astros, hit 102 mph at the 2008 Perfect Game World Showcase. Jake shows signs of a future devastating curve but is still inconsistent with his command. A strong senior season, and added weight, could see him sky rocket when the draft comes around.
52. St. Louis Cardinals (Octavio Dotel) — Clate Schmidt, 6’-1”, RHP, Allatoona HS (GA)
A fast-rising prospect, Schmidt’s fastball has been clocked at 96 mph and his low-80s curve is a plus pitch already. Needs to add another off-speed pitch if he wants to remain a starting pitcher, but his work ethic shows a third pitch will come. His delivery has some effort to it but his athleticism makes up for it. With another year to add that third pitch, and room for more added velocity, Schmidt could continue to rise up draft boards come June.
53. Texas Rangers (Darren Oliver) — Max Foody, 6’-4”, LHP, IMG Baseball Academy (FL)
At 6’-4”and 225 pounds, Foody is a big, power lefty with a lot of upside. His fastball touches 94 mph, and his curveball is a potential plus pitch. Had surgery in 2010 to repair a torn labrum but appears fully recovered and could move up the boards with a strong senior season. A big-time sleeper to keep an eye on.
54. Chicago Cubs (Carlos Pena) — Mitchell Traver, 6’-7”, RHP, Houston Christian HS (TX)
At 6’-7” and 250 pounds, Traver is a big and strong right-hander with a plus fastball that can hit 95 mph with late life. His curveball is a potential plus pitch and his change up is developing nicely. Struck out 67 batters over 41 innings as a junior, but also walked 27 batters, showing needed improvement on his command. Very high ceiling.
55. Toronto Blue Jays (Jon Rauch) — Buck Farmer, 6’-3”, RHP, Georgia Tech
Farmer has been striking out batters at a torrid pace for the Yellow Jackets this season. Through his first four starts, he is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 37 K/9 BB over 25 innings. He struck out 13 over six innings against Ohio State in his last start. He has great command of his pitches, and at 6’-3 and 230 pounds, he has the size to be a frontline workhorse at the next level.
56. Cincinnati Reds (Francisco Cordero) — Austin Maddox, 6’-2”, RHP, Florida
A catcher turned reliever, Maddox has been dominant as a closer for the Gators this season. After appearing in 21 games as a sophomore in 2011, posting a 0.67 ERA and 21 K/3 BB over 27 innings, he is fully committed to the mound this year. Through his first six appearances, he has yet to allow a run or a walk. Over his 13.1 innings, he has struck out 20, while allowing just eight hits with three saves. The power righty has all the tools to be a dominant closer at the next level.
57. San Diego Padres (Brett Austin) — Keon Barnum, 6’-4”, 1B, King HS (FL)
The Padres get this pick for failing to sign their first-round sandwich pick, Brett Austin, last year. Barnum is a big-time power hitter who has power to all fields from the left side of the plate. Hit .491 with six home runs and 10 stolen bases in 55 at-bats his junior season. He also walked an incredible 26 times, showing amazing discipline for his age. At 6’-4” and 220 pounds, has the frame, to go along with a plus arm and defense, to stick at first base.
58. Toronto Blue Jays (Jose Molina) — Rhett Wiseman, 6’-1”, OF, Buckingham Browne & Nicholls HS (MA)
Wiseman is still considered raw, mainly because he plays so many sports. With all of his focus on baseball, he has true five-tool talent. He hit .447 with 11 home runs and 29 stolen bases as a junior last season. His short, compact swing generates gap-to-gap-power and he projects to a high-average hitter. Runs a 6.51/60 and is a threat on the base paths at all times. His accurate and strong arm, along with his speed, will allow him to stick at center field. His commitment to Vanderbilt could make him a tough sign.