Before the 2009 draft was even over, Baseball America was already looking to the future. After attending numerous high school showcase events and researching 18 summer college leagues and the collegiate national team, our picture of the 2010 draft class began to take shape.
Like this year, when 11 of the first 15 players selected were pitchers, the strength of next year’s class appears to be on the mound. Over the past 20 years, there have been just four drafts where 10 or more pitchers were taken within the first 15 picks, and the 2010 draft could mark the first time it’s happened back-to-back.
“I think there’s some righthanded pitching,” a National League scouting director said. “There are some guys there that have the chance to be big-time arms. (Karsten) Whitson, (Robbie) Aviles has a good arm, (Jameson) Taillon down in Texas. There has a chance to be some power arms.”
But most of the top pitchers, especially on the prep side, are righthanders.
“I don’t see any lefthanded pitching,” the scouting director said. “Last year there were three (high school lefthanders) taken in the top 18, and I just haven’t seen that this year. It’s probably never really a strength of the draft, but I think it’s one of the weaker lefthanded years.”
The consensus is that the high school class is stronger than the college crop.
“I’m just not that excited about the college class in any direction,” the scouting director said. “I think there’s some college arms, but the college bats are a little bit down from what I’ve seen. I didn’t think the Cape had a lot of real strong bat guys. There were some power arms, but more bullpen guys than starter guys, and not a lot of athletic position players.”
Last year, the spotlight was on San Diego State righthander Stephen Strasburg. He lived up to the massive hype and became the first overall pick by the Nationals, signing for a record $7.5 million bonus as part of a $15.1 million guaranteed contract. If 2009 was known as the Stephen Strasburg draft, prepare yourself for Bryce Harper mania.
Harper, a catcher from Las Vegas, was the first-ever sophomore to win Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year award after he hit .626 with 14 home runs and 36 stolen bases. He’s already half teenager, half legend, capable of hitting 570-foot home runs or throwing 96 mph. A cover of Sports Illustrated called him, “The Most Exciting Prodigy Since LeBron.”
With nothing left to prove in high school, Harper opted to forego his junior and senior seasons at Las Vegas High by enrolling at CC of Southern Nevada, where he’s scheduled to play next season once he passes his GED test.
Playing college ball as a 17-year-old will be a challenge, but Harper will have a strong support system in place. He will be able to live at home, and his brother Bryan—a pitcher—will join him on the team as a transfer from Cal State Northridge.
The 2010 draft is still nine months away and many things can (and will) change between now and then, but the charts above provide the first snapshot of the top talent for next year’s class.
|COLLEGE TOP 25 DRAFT PROSPECTS|
|1. Bryce Harper, c||CC of Southern Nevada|
|2. Anthony Ranaudo, rhp||Louisiana State|
|3. Deck McGuire, rhp||Georgia Tech|
|4. LeVon Washington, of||Chipola (Fla.) JC|
|5. Chris Sale, lhp||Florida Gulf Coast|
|6. Christian Colon, ss||Cal State Fullerton|
|7. James Paxton, lhp||Kentucky^|
|8. Zack Cox, 3b||Arkansas*|
|9. Alex Wimmers, rhp||Ohio State|
|10. Rick Hague, ss||Rice|
|11. Drew Pomeranz, lhp||Mississippi|
|12. Jedd Gyorko, 3b/2b||West Virginia|
|13. Bryan Morgado, lhp||Tennessee|
|14. Chad Bettis, rhp||Texas Tech|
|15. Bryce Brentz, of||Middle Tennessee State|
|16. Brandon Workman, rhp||Texas|
|17. Sam Dyson, rhp||South Carolina|
|18. Jesse Hahn, rhp||Virginia Tech|
|19. Brett Eibner, of/rhp||Arkansas|
|20. Todd Cunningham, of||Jacksonville State|
|21. Kyle Blair, rhp||San Diego|
|22. Jarrett Parker, of||Virginia|
|23. Justin Grimm, rhp||Georgia|
|24. Gary Brown, of||Cal State Fullerton|
|25. Rob Brantly, c||UC Riverside*|
|* Draft-eligible sophomore,
|TOP 25 HIGH SCHOOL DRAFT PROSPECTS|
|1. Jameson Taillon, rhp||The Woodlands (Texas) HS|
|2. A.J. Cole, rhp||Oviedo (Fla.) HS|
|3. Karsten Whitson, rhp||Chipley (Fla.) HS|
|4. Manny Machado, ss||Brito HS, Miami|
|5. Stetson Allie, rhp/3b||St. Edward HS, Lakewood, Ohio|
|6. Austin Wilson, of||Harvard-Westlake HS, Los Angeles|
|7. Kris Bryant, 3b||Bonanza HS, Las Vegas|
|8. Nick Castellanos, 3b||Archbishop McCarthy HS, SW Ranches, Fla.|
|9. Kevin Gausman, rhp||Grandview HS, Centennial, Colo.|
|10. Josh Sale, of||Bishop Blanchet HS, Seattle|
|11. Chavez Clarke, of||Marietta (Ga.) HS|
|12. Yordy Cabrera, ss/rhp||Lakeland (Fla.) HS|
|13. Garin Cecchini, ss||Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La.|
|14. Dylan Covey, rhp||Maranatha HS, Pasadena, Calif.|
|15. Stefan Sabol, c/of||Aliso Niquel HS, Aliso Viejo, Calif.|
|16. Brian Ragira, of||Martin HS, Arlington, Texas|
|17. Kaleb Cowart, 3b/rhp||Cook HS, Adel, Ga.|
|18. Justin O’Conner, ss/rhp||Cowan HS, Muncie, Ind.|
|19. Drew Cisco, rhp, Wando HS||Mount Pleasant, S.C.|
|20. A.J. Vanegas, rhp||Redwood Christian HS, San Lorenzo, Calif.|
|21. Cameron Bedrosian, rhp||East Coweta HS, Sharpsburg, Ga.|
|22. Robbie Aviles, rhp||Suffern (N.Y.) HS|
|23. Aaron Sanchez, rhp||Barstow (Calif.) HS|
|24. Michael Lorenzen, of/rhp||Union HS, Fullerton, Calif.|
|25. Drew Vettleson, of/rhp/lhp||Central Kitsap HS, Silverdale, Wash.|