Ever since the Moneyball craze hit movie theaters nationwide, there has been a bit more emphasis placed on the MLB draft.
After all, if a team with limited resources like the Oakland Athletics could challenge the big, bad New York Yankees largely by building through the draft, who’s to say every major league squad couldn’t do the same.
Jim Callis of MLB.com gives fans a preview as to what the schedule will look like for the 2014 edition, as well as the television information for the three-day event:
The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. ET on June 6.
Here is a look at the order of picks for the first round, courtesy of MLB.com:
|3||Chicago White Sox|
|9||Toronto Blue Jays|
|10||New York Mets|
|11||Toronto Blue Jays (P. Bickford - unsigned)|
|13||San Diego Padres|
|14||San Francisco Giants|
|15||Los Angeles Angels|
|17||Kansas City Royals|
|20||Tampa Bay Rays|
|22||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|26||Boston Red Sox|
|27||St. Louis Cardinals|
Now that you know where your team will be selecting, let’s take a glance at a couple of the top prospects who could very well hear their names called early in the process.
Derek Hill, Outfielder, Elk Grove (California) High School
Derek Hill isn’t as highly touted as some of the college pitchers in this draft, but he could separate himself as the premier high school talent in 2014.
Talent level equal, which would you rather have?
Hill brings game-changing speed to the table, which helps him flag fly balls down in the gap in center field and steal bases when on the base paths. He has impressive arm strength to go along with his range in the outfield and regularly sprays the ball to the gaps as a hitter. Hill will likely add strength as he gets older, and many of those doubles will turn into home runs.
He is certainly a five-tool player in the making.
Interestingly enough, Hill’s father made it to Triple-A himself and is currently a Los Angeles area scout. There is a chance the Dodgers will pull the trigger in the first round and select the familiar Hill, which would be a testament to his talent even more so than his family pedigree.
Callis actually projected the Dodgers to take him in the first round in his mock draft.
Carlos Rodon, Pitcher, North Carolina State
Carlos Rodon has been seen as the possible top pick for almost two years now, but the North Carolina State pitcher wasn’t as dominant at times this season as he was in the past.
Still, we are talking about the 2013 USA Baseball Player of the Year, a second-team All-American from National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and American Baseball Coaches Association and a first-team All-ACC member. He brings an explosive fastball to the mound and can hit the mid-90s on the radar, and he mixes in an effective slider, cutter and changeup at times.
Of course, the fact that he is a left-hander certainly helps his prospects as the draft approaches.
An anonymous National League scout discussed Rodon’s potential this season, via Jeff Bradley of Sports Illustrated:
He appears to have lost some of his power. Where last year, he pitched at 92-93 [miles per hour] and amped up to 96-97, this year he's pitching at 90-91 and occasionally touching 95. I also see him throwing more sliders than last year.
The scout seemed more optimistic, though, when asked if there was any legitimate reason for concern:
I don't think so, because of the body of work. As a freshman and sophomore, he showed he could beat the best college teams. And in the summers, on Team USA, he pitched against Japan and Cuba. To me, he looks like he's holding back a little right now, like maybe he's saving some bullets for later.
All it will take is one team to feel the same way early in the draft for Rodon to find his path to the major leagues.
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