Picks in the first round: three (24th, 31st and 32nd overall)
Tampa Bay has a ridiculous 12 picks in the first two rounds of the 2011 MLB Draft. That's a record.
They also have three picks from 24-32, meaning they stand to pick up more talent than just about any team in recent draft memory. They also stand to shell out more money than most teams would in an entire draft, all in two rounds.
That means they're going to have to draft very wisely, and very selectively. For a team searching for long-term answers at shortstop, Francisco Lindor is an excellent choice with their first pick.
The first thing that most people notice about Lindor is how easy he makes it look to play shortstop, the most difficult position on the field.
He's one of the more polished defenders from the high school crop, is excellent at throwing on the run and often shows some serious flair.
That, right there, would be enough to get Lindor a look in the early rounds. But on top of his stellar defensive play, he's also a switch-hitter who offers some serious power.
He already offers some pretty good juice already. Lindor, all 5'11" and 170 pounds of him, won the Home Run Contest at the Aflac All-American game in 2010.
The majority of his power is generated from his right-side.
On the basepaths, Lindor is more than adequate. He isn't a burner, but if developed properly, he could be a 15-20 steal guy as a pro.
Lindor is an FSU commit, so he should command a pretty hefty bonus to sway him away from becoming the next great Seminole infielder.
The Rays will pony up for the Florida native, and add him to an impressive shortstop stock that includes former No. 1 overall pick (and semi-bust) Tim Beckham and the recently acquired Hak-Ju Lee.
Baseball America's fifth-ranked high-school pitcher, Jose Fernandez, would also be a fantastic addition to an already stocked Tampa Bay pitching system.
Some view Fernandez, a former pitcher for the Cuban National Youth Team, as the top overall prep pitcher, thanks to his mid-90s heat, topping out at 97 mph.
Overall, Fernandez is one of the best high-school arms, with arguably the best velocity. He complements his powerful heater with a very impressive curveball that looks unhittable at times. The pitch is definitely a potential above-average pitch as Fernandez progresses.
He also throws a changeup, but like his curveball, it too needs tons of refinement. Simply put, Fernandez is more of a thrower and less of a pitcher. All three of his pitches lack the command and control he's going to need to survive as a pro.
Aside from his stuff, Fernandez is very reminiscent of Matt Hobgood and Jesse Biddle, in that he has a pro-looking body with very little physical development left.
His fastball is about as fast as it's going to get, so all he needs to do now is work on sharpening his command and developing his secondary pitches.
If he can do that, he could be the steal of this draft. Getting a Cuban defector before he reaches his prime or even his essential stages of development is almost unheard of, and if any team could turn Fernandez into an All-Star, it would be Tampa, who can easily afford to spend one of their 12 picks in the first two rounds on him.
And last but not least is Shawon Dunston Jr.
Speed, speed, speed.
And a little bit more speed. That's what Dunston Jr. has built his game around.
And if that wasn't enough, which it is for most teams, he complements his speed with a good head on his shoulders. You can get a good taste of his baseball IQ by listening to him talk about forgoing homers for in-the-gap shots that he can turn into doubles and triples with his legs.
That's the kind of player that appeals to most teams, but especially a team like Tampa Bay, who values tools and high-risk, high-reward players more than any other franchise. They've made some of those types of players cornerstones of their franchise (B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, etc.).
Growing up inside a clubhouse certainly helped Dunston develop into the stellar prospect that he is today. He repeatedly thanks his dad and credits him for most of his success, and he's pretty lucky to have such a great teacher.
Playing mostly as a center fielder, Dunston shows great speed in the field, not just on the basepaths. He is aggressive getting to the ball, and shows great footwork.
On the basepaths is where he'll make his mark, though. He's a legitimate 50-60 steal guy as a pro, maybe even more.
At the plate, he isn't as advanced. Right now he's definitely a slap hitter. He's got some power tucked away in his tiny 6'2", 162-pound frame, but it's going to take some more work in the weight room to bring it out of hibernation.
As he continues to build strength, he could develop into a legitimate five-tool talent.
And even if he doesn't, he'll always have that speed.