A few players have moved up the draft boards, and a couple of top 10 picks will slide. How far they go is the real question, so we've outlined where the real cream of the crop will end up.
1. Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper, Catcher (Comm. College of Southern Nevada)
No change here. It's really no surprise, as GM Mike Rizzo basically said the team would be drafting Harper without actually saying it. Unless something completely unexpected happens today, Harper will go first.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates: Jamison Taillon, Pitcher (The Woodlands High, TX)
For the last few weeks, the Pirates seemed to be geared up toward taking Brito High School shortstop Manny Machado. In the last 24 hours, though, speculation has changed. The rumor is that they don’t want to pass on another top prep arm like they did with Tyler Matzek last year.
3. Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado, Shortstop (Brito High School, FL)
The Orioles would probably prefer Taillon but won’t complain about whomever they end up landing with the third pick in the draft. They will take whichever player in the top three is still left on the board.
4. Kansas City Royals: Chris Sale, Pitcher (Florida Gulf Coast)
There was a lot of talk that the Royals had a deal in place with Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal this past weekend, but it is starting to look like that fell through. Grandal was said to be looking for “Bust Posey money” less than a week ago, and there is no way the Royals are going to get into negotiations with a tough sign.
Sale offers more upside and could bolster a rotation in big need of help. He makes too much sense to pass up.
5. Cleveland Indians: Zach Cox, Third Baseman (Arkansas)
I originally had the Indians tabbing Drew Pomeranz here, but with the top college hitter still available and the pitcher they truly wanted in Sale gone, they’ll turn to Cox. Michael Choice wouldn’t be much of a surprise, either, as his stock still seems to be on the rise, but Cox isn’t expected to have unreasonable signing demands, so he is the easy pick for a team in need of some offensive weapons.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks: Drew Pomeranz, Pitcher (Mississippi)
Pomeranz is considered by many the top college arm and, until recently, it seemed like there was no chance he would slip to the D-Backs at No. 6. I had them taking Stetson Allie because his upside is matched only by Taillon on the mound, but with someone as polished as Pomeranz, a team that is always looking for pitching won’t pass on a guy who could help in short order.
7. New York Mets: Michael Choice, Outfielder (Texas Arlington)
The Mets seem to have shifted gears recently and are now looking for a bat. With Cox off the board before the Metropolitans select, they’ll turn to the next best college hitter, who could be Choice. He’s a potential five-tool guy and is expected to sign for slot money. If the Mets are willing to go over slot, they could still go for pitching at this point and select UNC right-hander Matt Harvey. But that is not typical of their recent draft strategy.
8. Houston Astros: Josh Sale, Outfielder (Bishop Blanchett High School, WA)
Sale's stock is another who has been soaring of late. He has incredible power potential, and Houston will look for a potential impact bat with this pick. Ideally, Zach Cox would’ve been here, but with hitters on the climb and pitchers falling, the 'Stros will have to settle for a high school hitter who won’t help as quickly as Cox could.
9. San Diego Padres: Kolbrin Vitek, Second Baseman/Outfielder (Ball State)
If the Padres don’t grab Vitek, he could fall for a while, maybe to the Red Sox at No. 20 or even further down in the first round. It doesn’t appear he’ll have to worry about that, as he is the best fit for San Diego.
They’re looking for an advanced college hitter, and with Choice off the board, they’ll look for another guy who can get to PETCO Park in a hurry and fill a need in the outfield. Even though Vitek played second at Ball State, it has been widely speculated that the Padres would shift him to centerfield.
10. Oakland Athletics: Deck McGuire, Pitcher (Georgia Tech)
Nick Castellanos' price tag seems to be going up and the A’s didn’t expect any of the top college arms to slide. McGuire will sign for (or near) slot and should be able to pitch in A-ball this season. McGuire will be the latest in the long line of pitchers that Oakland has developed, meaning they’ll have to look elsewhere in the draft for some future bats.
Dropping out of the top 10:
Stetson Allie, Pitcher/Infielder (St. Edward High School, OH)
He might drop towards the back of the round, but I imagine teams with good farm systems will be able to take a shot at him. He’ll sign close to slot value—it would be surprising if he slips past the Red Sox at No. 20, unless Karston Whitson is still on the board then.
The Sox have been linked to a lot of high-priced talent, like Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Harvey, but the only first-round guy for whom they’ve gone over slot in recent memory was Casey Kelly, and that was because they were able to pay him as a two-sport star given his scholarship to play quarterback at Tennessee.
Nick Castellanos, Third Baseman (Archbishop McCarthy High School, FL)
His bat is special, but his price tag is scaring teams. He could be the biggest surprise if he slips out of the first round altogether, but that doesn’t seem likely.
The Blue Jays are expected to spend heavily on Alex Anthropolos’s first draft, and he could get grabbed as early as their pick at No. 11. The Brewers also aren’t afraid of high-priced talent in the first round and could grab him a few picks later. The Rays, Phillies, and Yankees won’t let him fall to the Red Sox picks in the supplemental first.
Check out the original draft with detailed scouting reports here.