The Major League Baseball amateur draft is not nearly as sexy as the NFL or NBA drafts.
In fact, a lot of baseball fans likely don't know that the three-day, 50-round marathon kicks off on Monday.
Will there be any hidden jewels this year? If not, it will be the first time ever.
Baseball's premier player, bar none, is Albert Pujols. He was drafted in the 13th round.
Of course you have your supposed "can't miss" prospects. That fellow pictured above is one who falls into that category, Steven Strasburg.
He was the first pick of last year's draft, and he will make his Major League debut next week—that is a very, very quick and rare rise from the minors.
Are there any "can't miss" guys this year? Let's find out.
I'll be starting with my first pick and then working down the draft order. While these are my personal choices, I had a ton of help from various mock drafts.
Enough can't be said about this magazine, and the books that they print.
Jim Callis is their top writer when it comes to scouting amateurs.
Here is what he has to say about this year's draft:
"Bryce Harper is still considered a lock to go No. 1 overall to the Nationals, and righthander Jameson Taillon and shortstop Manny Machado remain the cream of the high school crop.
"After that, uncertainty reigns.
"There's no consensus when it comes to identifying the best college position player (Arkansas third baseman Zack Cox?
"Cal State Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon?
"Texas-Arlington outfielder Michael Choice?
"Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal?) or the second-best high school pitcher (Stetson Allie? Kaleb Cowart? Karsten Whitson? Dylan Covey?), let alone what's going to happen after the first few picks."
Bryce Harper, C, College of Southern Nevada
Once again the Nats have the first overall pick in the draft.
Many remember Harper from last year. He caused a bit of a controversy.
At 16, he quit high school as a sophomore, took his GED, and enrolled in a Nevada junior college. All of this was done in order to get to the MLB draft a year earlier than he would have had he remained in high school.
"There's no point in fighting it or trying to come up with reasons why this won't happen. Bryce Harper is going to be drafted by the Nationals, and it's simply going to be a matter of how much does he ask for." —Frankie Piliere of www.fanhouse.com.
Manny Machado, SS, Brito Miami Private High School (Fla.)
"Machado is going to get the Alex Rodriguez comparison -- tall, athletic, right-handed-hitting Latino shortstop from a Miami-area high school -- but A-Rod Lite is more apt, since he's not preternaturally gifted as a hitter as A-Rod was." - Keith Law of www.espn.com
From Jim Callis at "Baseball America":
"Pomeranz (we'll get to him later) seemed to be sliding out of Pittsburgh's plans before reversing course at the SEC tournament. Though the Pirates wanted a college pitcher and stuck to slot with the No. 4 pick a year ago, the belief is that they'll take the best player available at No. 2 and pay to sign him. That debate would be between Taillon and Machado."
Jameson Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands High School (Texas)
"Taillon is the complete package in a high school pitcher, with tremendous size, stuff and a feel for pitching.
"He's got three plus pitches in his fastball, slider and curve. Even his changeup, while not used that much, is solid.
"He uses his size to his advantage and has tremendous mound presence. As impressive as his stuff is, his makeup might be even better.
"A commitment to Rice might sound intriguing, but if he goes at the top of the first round, and everything points to that happening, it likely won't be an issue." - www.mlb.com
Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Ole Miss
"Pomeranz is a big-bodied lefty with solid stuff across the board and two legitimate swing-and-miss pitches. He generally sits 92-89 mph with his fastball that he can throw to both sides of the plate.
"His curve is his best offering and when he's on, he comes with good depth and tight break at 79-77mph. He can mix-in an upper-70s changeup, which he throws with decent arm speed.
"Not surprising for a big man, Pomeranz can struggle to get all of the pieces of his motion working together, leading to inconsistent command of his offerings and, more broadly, bouts of wildness." - www.draftamerica.com
Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast University
In almost all of the mock drafts online, the first three guys seem to be set in stone.
Most cases, the next two are as well. The difference being there is no consensus as to which college lefty will go first.
I simply chose Pomeranz at No. 4 because he has thrown against better competition in the SEC than Sale has with Florida Gulf Coast University.
Jim Callis over on www.baseballamerica.com agrees.
"Cleveland figures to go the college route in the first round for the ninth straight draft. The Indians would take Sale over Pomeranz, but they could be tempted by a position player such as Cox, Choice or Grandal."
Deck McGuire, RHP, Georgia Tech
"McGuire is an impressive young pitcher, winning the 2009 ACC Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore for Georgia Tech. In just his first year as a weekend starter, he went 11-2 with a 3.50 ERA in 16 starts, striking out 118 while walking 41 in 100.1 innings, not losing a game in the regular season.
"The Richmond (Virginia) native is armed with an array of pitches, including a low to mid-90s fastball plus three solid off-speed pitches in his slider, changeup, and curveball.
"Due to some problems in postseason play in 2009, there is some speculation as to whether he can handle tough situations, but most believe McGuire will be a big-time starting pitcher someday." - www.draftamerica.com
Zack Cox, 3B, Arkansas
With the solid collegiate pitchers gone, it's time to focus on some offense.
"His best tool is his bat and he should hit for plenty of average with at least decent power.
"His plus arm plays just fine at third, but his overall defense at the hot corner likely won't work at the next level. Arkansas has been mixing him in at second and that might prove to be a better spot for the left-handed hitter.
"Regardless of the position, the bat should be enough to get him off the board sooner rather than later." - www.mlb.com
Michael Choice, OF, Texas-Arlington
"Choice's swing has excellent leverage which, combined with his upper-body strength, is going to continue to produce power with wood.
"It's a busy swing, however, with a lot going on in his lower half.
"He has excess leg movement, leading to an early, severe shift forward with his hips, so making contact against better-quality pitching while swinging a wood bat is going to be a challenge." - www.espn.com
Kolbrin Vitek, 2B, Ball State
"The Padres are in somewhat of a tough spot. They expect most of the top college players they have on their short list to be off the board, and they are not enamored with the high school talent out there.
"If Cox or Choice lasts this long, they would be all over them. If not, I expect it to be Vitek." - Frankie Piliere, National MLB Analyst
Yasmani Grandal, C, Miami
"Grandal is a plus defensive catcher who receives well, has a plus arm (with regular pop times under 1.9 seconds), and is one of the few college catchers to call his own games.
"He's nominally a switch-hitter, but his left-handed swing is superior to his right-handed swing, something that has shown up in his splits this year.
"From the left side, he doesn't stride in BP and his front side is very rigid, but he did step forward in games and had a more consistent weight transfer. He has good hip rotation and excellent follow-through, with a swing path that should produce above-average power.
"From the right side, he lacks the same bat speed and his swing is more linear, with a weak finish where he turns his wrists over and flattens the swing out.
"Behind the plate, Grandal has always been solid, and his arm remains plus and accurate, with a quick release that produced a 1.89 pop time to nail a runner at second recently." - www.espn.com
Dylan Covey, RHP, Marantha H.S.
"Toronto failed to sign three picks in the first three rounds a year ago. With seven choices in the first two rounds in 2010, the Blue Jays' new regime is poised to aggressively stock their farm system, and other clubs expect them to spend heavily on high-ceiling talent." - Jim Callis, Baseball America
"Covey has one of the best breaking balls in the 2010 class; a sharp breaker with excellent depth and well above average velocity in the 78-81 mph range.
"Covey's fastball is consistently above MLB average in velocity as well at 91-94 mph, up to 96 and he's shown the ability to maintain his stuff deep into games." - www.baseballrumormill.com
Alex Wimmers, RHP, Ohio State
Does this make sense or what? Ohio State kid moving from Columbus to Cincy—closest thing to Mike Leake in the draft. I see it happening...even though no one else does.
"Wimmers is the closest thing to a Mike Leake this draft class has, although he's not the athlete that Leake is and hasn't pitched in a major baseball conference as Leake did.
"Wimmers does have a chance to end up with two plus offspeed pitches in his curve and change, and that could very well be enough to offset a grade-45 fastball." - www.espn.com
Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, The Citadel
"Wojciechowski is a big, strong right-hander with plenty of arm strength. He's got plenty of fastball and an improved slider to go along with it.
"He's durable enough to start, but the concern is that his command isn't where it needs to be to fit into a rotation long-term.
"The good news is he could gain a few ticks on that fastball in a short relief role. A team might give him every opportunity to start, but he could be the type of college arm that shoots through a system and one day sets up or closes at the big league level." - www.mlb.com
Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, LSU
Ranaudo had elbow issues up until the SEC tournament where he dazzled.
"When he's right, Ranaudo will work at 90-93 and dial up to 94-95 as needed, and the pitch plays up because hitters see the ball so late out of his hand.
"His curveball is inconsistent but flashes plus, 79-83, and he'll backfoot it to a left-handed hitter. He has a solid-average changeup at 79-84 with good arm speed.
"The hitch with Ranaudo will be with his medicals, as it's never been entirely clear what was bothering him; even if it's no longer an issue, teams will still want to know the full history before giving him a major-league deal and a large bonus, but they're not likely to get it." - www.espn.com
Bryce Brentz, OF, Middle Tennessee State
"This pick is compensation for failing to sign Matt Purke a year ago, and Texas won't get another consolation if they fail to close this deal." - Jim Callis, Baseball America
"Brentz is one of the top outfield bats in the 2010 draft class, bringing a classic field skill set to the table.
"He has room in his frame to add another 10-15 pounds and compares favorably to Nick Markakis in both frame and skill set." - www.draftamerica.com
Karsten Whitson, RHP, Chipley H.S.
"He's already big, strong and durable and he's got plenty of projection, meaning he might throw harder than his already mid-90s fastball.
"Add in a plus breaking ball and good changeup and he's got a very intriguing three-pitch mix already. Some tweaks to his delivery could make him even more dangerous.
"There might be a right-hander or two ahead of Whitson on the high school depth chart, but he should figure into high Draft pick conversations come June." - www.mlb.com
Josh Sale, OF, Bishop Blanchet High School (Wash.)
"(Sale) has some of the most impressive bat speed and hitting ability of any player in the 2010 class and the natural lift in his swing gives him top level home run potential.
"Part of Sale's bat speed and power simply comes from his approach, he takes a very aggressive swing and attacks pitches as if he were angry at them.
"Despite this attack mode approach, Sale has little problem with contact even against top level pitching." - www.baseballrumormill.com
Stetson Allie, RHP/3B, St. Edwards H.S.
This pick is compensation from Seattle for the signing of "Type-A" free agent Chone Figgins.
"Allie has been a showcase legend for years, according to one scout who has seen him on and off since Allie was a high school sophomore, and has inspired other scouts to tell me he's a carnival act and a freakshow, because of his unbelievable arm strength, notably his ability to throw a 100 mph fastball right over the catcher all the way to the backstop.
"He'll pitch at 92-96 in games to try to keep it around the plate, and I've seen him throw a ball that looked like it was rising in violation of the laws of physics." - Keith Law, www.espn.com
Christian Colon, SS, Cal State Fullerton
This pick is compensation from Detroit for the signing of "Type-A" free agent Jose Valverde.
"Colon is a spray hitter, with ability to make consistent contact and hit to all fields. He doesn't have much power, though he has shown the ability to hit the gaps on occasion. His pure speed grades out as average or a tick below.
"Colon is a very sure-handed and reliable middle infielder. There are other shortstops with better range, but Colon makes all the plays." - www.rumormill.com
Kaleb Cowart, 3B/RHP, Cook County H.S.
This pick is compensation from Atlanta for the signing of "Type-A" free agent Billy Wagner.
"Kaleb Cowart is a 2010 IF/P with a 6'3'', 190 lb. frame from Adel, GA who attends Cook County HS. Loose athletic build, good strength potential.
"Top two way potential. Fast easy arm, loose athletic actions on the mound. Long powerful arm stroke, FB 90-92 this outing, often 94-95 in recent past. Hard spinning CB with very good depth, good 2 plane shape, developing change up.
"Outstanding defensive infielder, quick feet, athletic movements/balance, cannon arm. Switch-hitter, very good bat speed RH'd, ball jumps hard, long and smooth LH'd, shows power both ways, 6.84 runner." - www.perfectgame.org
Brandon Workman, RHP, University of Texas
"Workman showed two pitches, a 92-94 mph fastball with hard run and a sharp 76-79 mph spike curveball with downward break and two-plane action.
"He's a drop-and-drive guy who cuts himself off slightly when he lands on his front leg.
"His arm action starts out long in the back, but he pronates his elbow early and is shorter around his body.
"He gets great life on the fastball from a three-quarter slot, so unlike a lot of lower-slot pitchers, he shouldn't have a big platoon issue." - www.baseballrumormill.com
Nick Castellanos, SS/3B, Archbishop McCarthy (Fla.)
"Nick Castellanos is a power-hitting high school shortstop who'll likely change positions as soon as he gets into pro ball; his calling card is his bat, and it'll play at third base, which is his most likely destination as well.
"Castellanos has very strong hands and wrists, so even though he still has an 18-year-old's build, he can generate power now, especially with a metal bat.
"His front side can be a little soft and he doesn't completely close it on most swings. He's athletic for his size but isn't a plus runner." - www.espn.com
Matt Harvey, RHP, University of North Carolina
"With a good arm, nice and easy delivery, projectable frame and the possibility to have a three-pitch mix (right now, the changeup lags behind the other two).
"He'll need some refinement with his delivery, but has a very high ceiling." - www.baseballrumormill.com
Yordy Cabrera, SS, Lakeland (Fla.) H.S.
"Cabrera is an exceptionally strong 6-4, 190 lb shortstop from central Florida with a big league ready body. He has loose and athletic actions for his size and moves quickly to the ball at shortstop with very good balance.
"Cabrera's arm strength is easily in the plus MLB area on the pro scouting scale and he can make throws from all angles.
"Cabrera's father, Basilio, is a minor league coach in the Detroit Tigers organization." - www.baseballrumormill.com
Barrett Loux, RHP, Texas A&M
"Loux has been one of the top-performing pitchers in Division 1 this year despite his lack of a plus pitch, instead getting outs by changing speeds and throwing strikes.
"Loux's fastball is in the low 90s, touching 94 occasionally, with some downhill plane on it.
"His best offspeed pitch is a hard changeup at 83-86 with late but sharp tailing action; he throws a slider and a spike curveball, neither of which is sharp, with the slider ahead of the curve at the moment.
"He throws strikes with the fastball and change, but can't command the curve, typical of guys who throw the spike." - www.espn.com
Jedd Gyorko, SS, West Virginia
"It seems that every Draft class has at least one good, advanced college bat that comes in a less-than-athletic looking body without a true position. This year, Gyorko likely will head that group.
"He knows how to hit and should have at least average power. He doesn't run well, however, and it's highly unlikely he'll stay at shortstop at the next level." - www.baseballrumormill.com
Brett Eibner, CF/RHP, Arkansas
"Eibner is the truest two-way talent in this year's draft, as there's a good chance he'll be drafted as a centerfielder and a similar chance he'll be drafted as a pitcher.
"Although he's told several scouts that he doesn't want to be drafted on the mound.
"As a hitter, Eibner has bat speed, gets his arms extended well, and has good hip rotation, creating leverage and loft in his swing that provide above-average raw power.
"He's a fastball hitter who has struggled with offspeed stuff in the SEC this spring.
"On the bump, Eibner is usually 90-94 with pretty good command and fields his position well, but his mid-80s slider is still crude and inconsistent and he almost never uses his changeup, so right now he's arm strength with some command but no secondary stuff." - www.espn.com
Justin O'Conner, C, Cowen H.S.
"O'Conner came into his senior year as a top prospect because he was intriguing, but didn't have a clear position or definite projection with the bat.
"However, since his shift to catching he's established himself as a likely first-round pick.
"He has good bat speed and is very balanced and strong through the swing, but doesn't use his lower half much and may not see the power carry over to wood until he addresses that; he can get a little too linear.
"He's got a plus arm with a lightning-quick release, not quite effortless but really just too easy for a guy with limited catching experience, and his receiving is solid." - www.espn.com
A.J. Cole, RHP, Oviedo HS (Fla.)
This pick is compensation from Boston for the signing of "Type-A" free agent John Lackey.
"Cole is one of the top pitchers in the 2010 class. He sits comfortably in the low 90s and has touched as high as 96 mph this spring.
"He combines athleticism, velocity and movement with a decent curveball and developing change to dominate high school hitters.
"He will play this summer for the Orlando Scorpions – an Under Armour Franchise Team who will be participating in the UA Southeast Tournament." - www.baseballrumormill.com
Sammy Solis, LHP, San Diego
"College lefties will always get plenty of interest when the Draft rolls around, and Solis might be one of the tougher ones to figure out.
"He redshirted a year ago due to a herniated disk and back issues will always make some teams nervous.
"But Solis has a good three-pitch mix -- lively fastball, breaking ball and changeup -- and commands his pitches pretty well.
"He might not have the highest ceiling in the world, but he also shouldn't take too long to get to the big leagues. If he can prove he's healthy." - www.mlb.com
Chad Bettis, RHP, Texas Tech
"This pick is compensation for failing to sign LeVon Washington, so as with Texas at No. 15, Tampa Bay gets nothing if it can't sign the player this time." - Jim Callis, Baseball America
"Bettis has been a swingman for Texas Tech, working in both the rotation and pen, but I think relief is his ultimate role in pro ball.
"He does have a four-pitch mix but his two best weapons are his 90-94 mph fastball and a vicious low-80s slider with hard, late bite.
"He's aggressive with everything he throws." - Keith Law, www.espn.com
Austin Wilson, OF, Harvard-Westlake H.S. (Studio City, Calif.)
And the rich get richer.
"Described as an 'uncommon five-tool player' because he's got all the skills you'd need on a baseball field as well as a passion for getting a quality education.
"Wilson has been compared physically to former major league stars Andre Dawson and Moises Alou, with strong, sharp angles to his muscular body. Wilson is a big, physical corner outfielder with a high ceiling.
"He flashes two plus tools in his raw power and arm strength." - www.baseballrumormill.com