MLB Draft 2011: 5 Bold Predictions for the MLB Draft

Collin BerglundCorrespondent IIIJune 6, 2011

MLB Draft 2011: 5 Bold Predictions for the MLB Draft

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    OMAHA, NE - JUNE 29:  General view of the scoreboard at game 2 of the men's 2010 NCAA College Baseball World Series between the UCLA Bruins and the South Carolina Gamecocks at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 29, 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska.  The Gamecocks defeated
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The MLB Draft 2011 will take place today through June 8.  There are no certainties.

    While in sports like basketball and football, fans can see immediate returns on their draft investments, baseball is a sport where it can take years for top prospects to reach the Majors.

    A couple non-bold positions before we get too crazy:

    1. The MLB Draft will not have the same ratings as the NFL and NBA Drafts.

    2. There will be more chaos in the first round because talent evaluators for different teams often have wildly different scouting reports on players.

    And now for some predictions that could come true in the draft.

High School Players Will Fall

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    GUANGZHOU, CHINA - NOVEMBER 19:  Japan accepts their bronze medals after defeating China 6-2 at Aoti Baseball Field 1 during day seven of the 16th Asian Games Guangzhou 2010 on November 19, 2010 in Guangzhou, China.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Imag
    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    High school players are generally picked with reckless abandon in the MLB Draft.  This year, many of the top prospects are from high school:

    Dylan Bundy RHP

    Bubba Starling OF

    Francisco Lindor SS

    Archie Bradley RHP

    Taylor Guerrieri

    These players will fall more than expected in the draft—only two will be top-10 picks.  As the MLB Draft raises its profile, fans will pay more attention to their team's top picks and be quick to judgment on the effectiveness of GMs across the league.

    High school players take longer to develop.  For some GMs, there might not be enough time to wait on a high school guy.  By the time he gets to the big leagues, the GM could already be fired.

The Pittsburgh Pirates Will Pick Gerrit Cole, and Regret It

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    OMAHA, NE - JUNE 28:  Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole #12 of the UCLA Bruins pitches against the South Carolina Gamecocks during game 1 of the men's 2010 NCAA College Baseball World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 28, 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have had bad luck in the MLB Draft in past years.  That's the only way to explain such a long run of losing baseball—they get top picks every year and don't improve.  

    Guys like Bryan Bullington (No. 1 overall in 2002) did the Pirates no good.  Their luck may be changing.  Recent top picks Paul Maholm, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez figure to be part of the Pirates core for the foreseeable future.  

    Even so, Anthony Rendon should be the No. 1 pick.  The Pirates already have Alvarez at third base, sure.  But in the MLB Draft it is more important than ever to take the best on the board regardless of position; successes and failures are magnified.

    Rendon would be the consensus first overall pick if not for injuries, and he is the best hitter in the country.

UConn Will Have Two Players Go in the Top 10

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  The Connecticut Huskies mascot on the court during a break in the game against the Kentucky Wildcats in the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in H
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The UConn Huskies are not known for their baseball team; they haven't had a player chosen in the first round since Charles Nagy in 1988.  This year, Matt Barnes and George Springer will change that.

    Matt Barnes is a powerful pitcher who routinely throws fastballs in the high-90s.  Springer is a five-tool outfielder who needs to work on hitting offspeed pitches.

    The Arizona Diamondbacks could take either player at No. 7.  If Barnes goes to Arizona, his pitching coach will be none other than Nagy.

The Boston Red Sox Will Make Waves

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    BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 11:  Theo Epstein, general manager of the Boston Red Sox, answers questions about Carl Crawford during a press conference on December 11,  2010 at the Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    The Red Sox have four of the top-40 picks in the draft.  In 2005, the Sox had a similar situation with five of the top-50 picks.  

    Among them, they selected Jacoby Ellsbury  (No. 23), Clay Buchholz (No. 42) and Jed Lowrie (No. 45).  If the Red Sox can replicate that success, they will be looking at sustaining their run of excellence even further.

Tampa Bay Will Be Stacked Five Years from Now

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    ST PETERSBURG, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedma (L) poses with Johnny Damon #22 of the Tampa bay Rays during a press conference at Tropicana Field on February 1, 2011 in St Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The Red Sox have it pretty good in this draft, but they don't compare to Tampa.  Three first-round picks followed by SEVEN compensation-round picks will allow the already potent Rays to get even stronger.  

    Remember when the Rays used to be the joke of the American League?  It might not happen again the way they have been accumulating talent lately.  10 of 60 picks.  That is absurd, unprecedented and downright scary for every other team in the league.

    Sure, not every pick in the draft makes the majors, but if it's a game of probability, the Rays have a huge advantage.