When Royals officials went to bed Sunday night, they still didn’t know whose name they’d call with the No. 1 pick in the draft Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. Insisting money wouldn’t be the determining factor, they still were debating the merits of North Carolina lefthander Andrew Miller, Fort Worth Cats righthander Luke Hochevar and Houston righty Brad Lincoln. Here’s how the first 15 picks of the draft would unfold if it started Monday morning–but a lot could change in the next 24 hours.
We’ll continue to work the draft phones all day, and unveil a full first-round projection late (very late) this evening.
1. Royals. North Carolina lefthander Andrew Miller remains the consensus No. 1 prospect, but he may want an eight-figure major league contract. Kansas City reportedly would prefer to not exceed the $4 million bonus they paid Alex Gordon, the No. 2 pick in 2005 and a superior prospect to anyone in this draft. Fort Worth Cats righthander Luke Hochevar, who reneged after agreeing to a $2.98 million bonus with the Dodgers last fall as a supplemental first-rounder, presents an odd win-win situation. He could get a big league contract with a present value in the Royals’ ballpark, and he’d come out ahead of what he turned down from Los Angeles. It’s a rare case where a Scott Boras client could be a signability pick. Houston righthander Brad Lincoln, who’s 6 feet tall, may not have the classic pro body of a Miller or Hochevar, but he might have better stuff and he brings it to the mound more consistently.
Projected Pick: Andrew Miller, lhp, North Carolina.
2. Rockies. For weeks, Colorado has been locked in on two players: Miller and Long Beach State third baseman Evan Longoria, in that order. Even with Miller putting out an inflated price tag, that won’t deter the Rockies from taking him if the Royals pass.
Projected Pick: Evan Longoria, 3b, Long Beach State.
3. Devil Rays. If Miller and Longoria go 1-2, Tampa Bay would jump on Lincoln. If there’s a different scenario ahead of them, the Devil Rays are believed to prefer Longoria over Miller. Those three players will be the top three picks in some order, unless the Royals go with Hochevar.
Projected Pick: Brad Lincoln, rhp, Houston.
4. Pirates. Pittsburgh, like the next few teams in the draft, hopes that one of Miller, Longoria or Lincoln will slide to them, but that’s unlikely to happen. If it doesn’t, the Pirates will take a pitcher from a group that includes Stanford righthander Greg Reynolds, California righthander Brandon Morrow and Dallas high school lefty Clayton Kershaw.
Projected Pick: Greg Reynolds, rhp, Stanford.
5. Mariners. Seattle has been tied to Hochevar since even before he officially re-entered the draft, but the club says that was never the case. The Mariners will take a college pitcher, with Morrow the frontrunner and North Carolina righthander Daniel Bard the backup choice. Washington righthander Tim Lincecum, the local favorite who was getting play as a possible No. 1 choice a month ago, appears to be no better than the third option.
Projected Pick: Brandon Morrow, rhp, California.
6. Tigers. Detroit has focused primarily on Texas outfielder Drew Stubbs and Kershaw. But if Hochevar gets past the Royals and Mariners, the Tigers are poised to switch gears and go in that direction.
Projected Pick: Luke Hochevar, rhp, Fort Worth Cats.
7. Dodgers. Los Angeles has been quiet about its plans, but scouting director Logan White obviously isn’t afraid of taking a high school player and Kershaw is the best available. The Dodgers prefer Lincoln to Miller, but neither should be available at No. 7. Los Angeles is also the first team mentioned with Virginia high school righthander Jeremy Jeffress, though he fits better in the lower half of the first round.
Projected Pick: Clayton Kershaw, lhp, HS/Dallas.
8. Reds. Cincinnati may prefer to take a college pitcher, but if the top tier has been cleaned out then Stubbs looks like their choice. The Reds also may consider Bard and Lincecum. The Reds are also the first team mentioned on high school studs such as Texas righthander/shortstop Kyle Drabek and New Jersey third baseman Billy Rowell, who should last a little longer.
Projected Pick: Drew Stubbs, of, Texas.
9. Orioles. Baltimore is all over Rowell, the top high school position prospect in the draft. Bard is the second option, and Kershaw would be a consideration. Rumors swirled when the Orioles worked out Kent State shortstop Emmanuel Burriss last week, but he’s a fit with their pick at No. 32, not here.
Projected Pick: Billy Rowell, 3b, HS/Sewell, N.J.
10. Giants. San Francisco was the early favorite to roll the dice on Drabek, whose makeup is a serious issue for many clubs. Then the Giants looked like they’d go for Bard. But now word comes that they’ll save some money and do a predraft deal with California high school outfielder/first baseman Chris Parmelee, one of the best bats in the draft.
Projected Pick: Chris Parmelee, of/1b, HS/Chino Hills, Calif.
11. Diamondbacks. Arizona wants a college pitcher and isn’t afraid to spend heavily on a first-round pick (see Drew, Stephen and Upton, Justin). The Diamondbacks will have their pick of Missouri righthander Max Scherzer, Lincecum and Nebraska righthander Joba Chamberlain, and they’ll go with the Boras client. UCLA lefthander David Huff is a longshot.
Projected Pick: Max Scherzer, rhp, Missouri.
12. Rangers. Owner Tom Hicks, a diehard Longhorns booster, would love Stubbs. With him off the board, Texas will look for some much-needed pitching. The Rangers prefer Scherzer but will just miss out on him. That will leave them considering Drabek, Alabama high school lefthander Kasey Kiker, Bard and Lincecum.
Projected Pick: Kyle Drabek, rhp/ss, HS/The Woodlands, Texas.
13. Cubs. More than one club has speculated that Miller’s advisers are hoping to drop him to Chicago, but that’s an impossible dream. The Cubs are another team willing to pay top dollar and deal with Boras, so they’d go after Hochevar or Scherzer if given the chance. But they’re probably going to be left looking at high school bats such as Rowell (if he’s there), Miami third baseman Chris Marrero and Washington outfielder/first baseman Travis Snider.
Projected Pick: Chris Marrero, 3b, HS/Miami.
14. Blue Jays. Toronto was prepared to overdraft Wake Forest third baseman Matt Antonelli, but now plans have changed. The Blue Jays are hot and heavy for Snider, arguably the best hitter available in the draft. They’d consider Hochevar and other college pitchers such as Lincecum, Huff and Bard.
Projected Pick: Travis Snider, of/1b, Everett, Wash.
15. Nationals. In a perfect world for Washington, a quality college pitcher would be available here and they’d pursue a position player at No. 22. It looks like the Nationals will get to choose from between Lincecum, Bard, Chamberlain and Missouri State righthander Brett Sinkbeil. San Diego righthander Josh Butler is a discount possibility, and they wouldn’t pass on Rowell if he slides.
Projected Pick: Tim Lincecum, rhp, Washington.