Our pre-draft ranking of the Top 200 prospects for the 2010 draft, as selected by Baseball America's editors.
1. Bryce Harper, c
JC of Southern Nevada
After Harper skipped out on his final two years of high school to enroll in a wood-bat junior college league, even his biggest supporters probably would have underestimated how he would perform this season. Over his 180 regular-season at-bats, the 17-year-old hit .417/.509/.917. The school record for home runs was 12, set when the school still used aluminum bats. Harper finished with 23. He has top-of-the-scale power, but scouts have differing opinions about what kind of hitter he'll be. Some believe his exaggerated load and ferocious swings will cause him to strike out 125-140 times a season and keep his average around .250. Others believe in his exceptional hand-eye coordination and expect him to calm down his swing in pro ball, figuring .280-.300 isn't out of the question. Harper also has 80 raw arm strength on the 20-80 scouting scale, but he needs to shorten up his arm action for it to play better behind the plate. Scouts are also split on where he'll end up defensively. Some believe he'll be fine at catcher. Others think he will either outgrow the position or that his bat will be too good to hold back, so a team will want to move him to the position that gets him to the big leagues the fastest—either third base or right field. Harper has done some incredible things on a baseball field, like hitting 500-foot home runs, throwing runners out at first from the outfield, and scoring from second base on a passed ball. He's received more attention and unfounded criticism than any amateur player in years. Perhaps the biggest question now is: Is it possible for him to live up to the hype? He's seeking to break Stephen Strasburg's record bonus, and that certainly won't reduce the hype or the pressure.
2. Jameson Taillon, rhp
The Woodlands (Texas) HS
There's no doubt that Taillon has more upside than any pitching prospect in the 2010 draft. The only debate is whether he's a better pitching prospect than fellow Texas fireballer Josh Beckett was at the same stage of his career. They have similar stuff, with Taillon having a bigger frame (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) and Beckett possessing a meaner streak on the mound and turning in a more consistent high school senior season. Taillon gave up 11 runs in a much-anticipated pitching duel with fellow Rice recruit John Simms in mid-March. His fastball command was out of whack, but he solved the problem and threw a 19-strikeout no-hitter a week later. He owns the two best pitches in the draft: a heavy 93-97 mph fastball that has touched 99, and a hammer curveball in the mid-80s. He throws his heater with such ease that it looks like he's playing catch. He also has a hard slider and the makings of a changeup, though he rarely has needed more than two pitches to this point. He has a classic pitcher's body and strong makeup. With the Nationals zeroing in on Bryce Harper, Taillon is unlikely to become the first high school righthander selected No. 1 overall. He still could match or exceed two draft records shared by Beckett: the highest draft slot for a prep righty (No. 2), and the biggest guarantee ever given to a high school pitcher (a $7 million major league contract).
3. Manny Machado, ss
Brito Private HS, Hialeah, Fla.
Machado committed early to Florida International, but the Golden Panthers have long since determined he's not headed for campus. Instead he could be headed for the first five picks. He leapt into first-round consideration at the start of the 2009 summer showcase season and never stopped hitting or fielding, helping lead USA Baseball's 18U team to a gold medal in Venezuela in the Pan American Junior Championship. He's of Dominican descent and is a tall, lanky shortstop in South Florida, attracting inevitable Alex Rodriguez comparisons. Machado is skinny at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds but surprisingly strong and has a swing that produces hard contact. He's familiar with wood bats and has shown a knack for centering the ball on the barrel. Scouts project him to hit for average future power, with a chance to be a .300 hitter. Defensively, Machado will remain at shortstop as a pro and has a chance to be an above-average defender. He's smooth, makes all the routine plays and has a plus arm that allows him to make the play in the hole. Machado's weakest tool might be his speed, though he's an average runner. There are few chinks in his armor, and the Boras Corp. client is in play with single-digit picks.
4. Drew Pomeranz, lhp
Pomeranz, whose brother Stuart was the Cardinals' second-round pick out of high school in 2003, nearly signed himself out of high school, as a Rangers 12th-rounder in 2007. The deal fell through and Pomeranz instead embarked on a stellar career with Ole Miss, averaging 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings over nearly 300 career innings. He nearly pitched the Rebels to Omaha himself in 2009 with a 16-strikeout complete-game win on two days' rest in the regional final, followed by a 10-strikeout, seven-inning, 146-pitch effort the next week in a super regional. He was no worse for wear last summer with Team USA or this spring, when the Rebels have used him more judiciously. He even was removed from a start at South Carolina in a 0-0 game after seven innings. Pomeranz still was slowed in May by a mild pectoral muscle strain, which caused his fastball velocity to dip into the upper 80s in a start against Arkansas. When he's right, Pomeranz sits 90-94 mph with his fastball and creates tough angles for the hitter, pitching to both sides of the plate. Coaches assert that he's nearly unhittable at the college level when he's throwing his hard curve for strikes, a 12-to-6 downer. His changeup is solid-average as well, as he has shown feel for using it. Control has been Pomeranz's biggest concern. He walked nine in a letdown showdown with Louisiana State's Anthony Ranaudo and was averaging nearly 4.5 walks per nine innings. He said he has fixed the problem with a more consistent takeaway with the ball when he begins his windup, keeping him a better rhythm.
5. Chris Sale, lhp
Florida Gulf Coast
An unsigned 21st-round pick of the Rockies out of high school, Sale has developed well at Florida Gulf Coast and gives the program a first-round pick in its first year as a full Division I member. He was hardly good enough as a freshman to get any innings but survived in a relief role thanks to his changeup, which he has always been able to throw for strikes. His velocity jumped in the summer after his freshman season, when he lowered his arm angle to low three-quarters. The switch gave his fastball and change outstanding late life, and he started hitting 90-plus on radar guns. He shined in 2009 showdowns against supplemental first-rounders Rex Brothers and Kyle Heckathorn, then broke into the big time by earning No. 1 prospect status in the Cape Cod League last summer. As a junior, Sale consistently has delivered for scouts, leading the nation with 114 strikeouts while showing excellent fastball command (12 walks in 83 innings). Sale's changeup grades as plus like his fastball, and his slider is a solid-average pitch that's effective against lefthanded hitters. With his low slot, Sale can get on the side of all his pitches, especially his slider, at times leaving them up in the zone. Some scouts are concerned about his durability, due to both his frame (he lost five to seven pounds off his 6-foot-6, 180-pound listed frame due to a bout of food poisoning in May) and upside-down takeaway at the beginning of his arm stroke. But his arm is quick, and Sale repeats his mechanics, as evidenced by his command.
6. Zack Cox, 3b
Cox is the best pure hitter and top sophomore-eligible player in the draft. He hit just .266 as a freshman on Arkansas' College World Series team a year ago, but improved as the season went on and adjusted his pull-happy approach when he arrived in the Cape Cod League. He hit .344 with wood bats and ranked as the top position prospect in the summer circuit, setting the stage for a breakout spring in which he was hitting .446/.532/.631 through mid-May. Cox has very good hands, a short, lefty stroke and nice command of the strike zone. He has an uncanny ability to hit the ball with authority to the opposite field. There's some debate as to how much power he'll have in the major leagues, but he has the bat speed to do damage once he adds more loft to his swing. He has plenty of strength, as evidenced by a titanic shot he blasted off the top of a 90-foot-tall scoreboard at the 2009 Southeastern Conference tournament. Six feet and 215 pounds, Cox is a decent athlete with fringy speed and range at third base. Not all scouts are sold on his defensive ability. He does have a strong arm—he threw in the low 90s as a reliever a year ago—and will put in the work to improve his reactions at third base. He also has seen time at second base, and one scout said his actions looked better there, but his athleticism is more suited for the hot corner. Cox turned down an $800,000 offer as a Dodgers 20th-round pick out of high school, and he's in line to make two or three times as much as a top 10 choice this June.
7. Deck McGuire, rhp
McGuire is a Virginia product who was a mid-week starter as a freshman at Georgia Tech before settling in as the Yellow Jackets' Friday starter the last two seasons. He had more success for the first three-quarters of 2009 than he had at the end of last season, when he was hammered in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and in regional play—he gave up nine runs to Southern Miss in the regional final working on two days' rest. McGuire's stuff hasn't been quite as crisp since then, and scouts have lowered their expectations for the 6-foot-6, 218-pounder, but most still see him as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter in the majors. McGuire commands a 90-92 mph fastball that hits 94, and he throws with a good downhill angle to the plate, making it tough to elevate. His fastball has a bit less life than it used to. McGuire also throws strikes with his curveball and harder slurve, and his changeup is average to fringe-average. He's an excellent competitor who doesn't fold up with runners on base. He's a proven college winner with a good track record of performance and durability; similar prospects rarely last through the first half of the first round.
8. Stetson Allie, rhp
St. Edward HS, Lakewood, Ohio
Based on his mid-90s fastball and hard slider, Allie entered 2010 as a likely first-round pick, but he had a reputation as more thrower than pitcher. He took a significant step forward in May, dialing his heater up to 98-99 mph and his slider up to 88-89 while showing more polish than ever before, giving him a chance to go in the top 10 picks. The only pitcher in this draft with comparable pure stuff is Jameson Taillon. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Allie has cleaned up his delivery and command, and he maintains his overpowering stuff into the late innings. The North Carolina recruit had expressed a desire to hit, and he does have some of the best raw power in the draft. He famously hit a broken-bat homer at the East Coast Professional Showcase last summer, though his swing has gotten long this spring. With his size, power and arm strength, he could be an early-round pick as a third baseman, but he now accepts that his future is on the mound.
9. Christian Colon, ss
Cal State Fullerton
As a junior at Anaheim's Canyon High, Colon played second base and formed a double-play combo with Grant Green, the 13th overall selection in last year 's draft by the Athletics out of Southern California. Colon was a 10th-round pick of the Padres 2007. Disappointed that he was not chosen earlier, he went off to play at Cal State Fullerton, where the 6-foot, 200-pounder has emerged as one of the nation's premier middle infielders. Colon was enjoying a brilliant summer in 2009 when he broke his leg when sliding in a game against Canada. Chosen as Team USA's captain, Colon still earned Summer College Player of the Year honors, but the injury seemed to contribute to a slow start to his 2010 season. A three-homer game against Washington in late March seemed to revive his bat, though, and his numbers were back in familiar territory. One of the nation's better hitters, Colon uses a distinct upper-cut in his swing, looking to lift and drive the ball. That approach is not typical for a smaller middle infielder, but Colon shows terrific bat speed as his barrel connects with the ball. He also is patient and makes consistent contact; despite his power approach, he's one of the toughest players to strike out in Division I thanks to excellent barrel awareness. He's a skilled hitter who hits behind runners, bunts and executes the hit-and-runs effectively. Defensively, Colon's range is limited, and his speed and arm are below-average for a shortstop. He does exhibit fluid and quick fielding actions and his playmaking ability is outstanding. His frame offers little room for projection, and offensively he can be streaky. For scouts who focus on what he can do, his tremendous hands and footwork, as well as his bat control, make him a future big league regular, best suited as an offensive second baseman.
10. Josh Sale, of
Bishop Blanchet HS, Seattle
Though he works hard, Sale isn't a great fielder, thrower or runner, but there's thunder in his bat. And in a year thin on impact hitters, that's what teams will be buying with Sale in the first round. Sale's father is Samoan and ranks among the best in the nation in drug-free powerlifting. He has inherited his father's love for working out and has a rock-solid, 6-toot-1, 215-pound frame. With bat speed better than Travis Snider—one scout even called it the best bat speed he has ever seen from an amateur—Sale has raw power that approaches the top of the scouting scale. How much of his power he'll be able to use, though, is a question because of a few flaws in Sale's lefthanded swing. He has a high back elbow and sometimes strides too early, but the biggest concern is that he raises up out of his crouched stance, changing his eye level and leaving him susceptible to breaking balls. Most scouts believe the problems are fixable because he's coachable and works hard. He also has a great feel for the strike zone and a patient approach at the plate, and he's so strong that calming down his swing shouldn't sap his power. He also has great hand-eye coordination, as evidenced by the fact that he golfed with a single-digit handicap until he was 15—as a righthanded player. Scouts rave about Sale's makeup and work ethic. He is articulate and studies hard in school, but won't make it to Gonzaga.
11. Michael Choice, of
Choice is a lock to eclipse Hunter Pence (second round, 2004) as the highest-drafted player in Texas-Arlington history, and he could be the first college position player drafted this year. He has the best power among four-year college players in this draft class. He starred for Team USA's college squad last summer, leading all players with three homers at the World Baseball Challenge, and was chasing the Southland Conference triple crown this spring. Texas-Arlington's career leader in batting and homers (.398, with 34 homers through mid-May), Choice has a strong 6-foot, 215-pound frame. He lets balls travel deep before unleashing his lightning bat speed and crushing them to all fields, though he can get pull-conscious and lengthen his righthanded swing at times. He racks up strikeouts but also draws walks, leading NCAA Division I with 66. That total is inflated by 17 intentional and several semi-intentional walks, but he's willing to take a base when pitchers won't challenge him. Choice has 6.6-second speed in the 60-yard dash, so some scouts believe he may be able to stay in center field. Others think he lacks the jumps and instincts for center and fits better on a corner. He may have enough arm strength for right field, and he definitely has the power profile to fit in left. One of the youngest college juniors in the draft, he won't turn 21 until November.
12. Kaleb Cowart, rhp/3b
Cook HS, Adel, Ga.
Cowart was in the running to be the High School Player of the Year as a dominant two-way player, evoking comparisons to past Georgia preps Buster Posey and Ethan Martin. Those two examples set up two different paths for Cowart, who like Posey is a Florida State signee. Posey was more of a third-round talent out of high school and a different type of pitcher than Cowart, who on the mound is all about power. He has arm strength and good sinking life on his plus fastball, which sits in the 91-93 mph range at its best. He also has a hard slider and scouts don't seem to mind his split-finger fastball, either. Scouts prefer Cowart as a pitching prospect with a 6-foot-3, 190-pound pitcher's body. Like Posey, Cowart prefers to hit; he's a switch-hitting third baseman, and while some scouts consider his defense fringy at the hot corner, he has strength in his swing and some raw power. Scouts hope Cowart is more like Martin, a prep third baseman-turned-pitcher who signed with the Dodgers as a first-rounder after realizing he was a better prospect on the bump. But Cowart's signability was in doubt early, as he was asking for close to $3 million in order to spurn Florida State.
13. Yasmani Grandal, c
Grandal has been on the radar a long time. He was an Aflac All-American and potential high draft pick whose Miami commitment and fair senior year caused him to fall to the 27th round in 2007, when the Red Sox drafted him. A native of Cuba who moved to Miami at age 11, he started as a freshman in 2008 for the Hurricanes' 53-11 club that entered the College World Series as the No. 1 seed and produced three first-round picks. Grandal didn't hit .300 in either of his first two seasons, though, and struggled at the plate for Team USA last summer, hitting just .182. Grandal has traded his all-pull approach for more contact and an all-fields swing in 2010, and the results have been dramatic. He has dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference, where he was hitting nearly .500 in league games, and he ranked among the national leaders in on-base percentage (.545) and walks (43). A switch-hitter, Grandal has some length to his swing but has shortened up from the left side and has solid-average raw power. Defensively, he plays with energy and is slightly above-average as a receiver. His throwing arm is his biggest concern, as some scouts have seen more 2.1-second pop times (below-average) than would be expected of a top draft pick. Grandal doesn't defend like fellow South Florida product Tony Sanchez, who went No. 4 overall last year, and his offense is not on par with previous ACC catching products Matt Wieters and Buster Posey. He still figures to go in the top half of the first round and was rumored to be in play as high as No. 4 overall to the Royals.
14. Gary Brown, of
Cal State Fullerton
Grades and stats can be dry and don't tell the full story about Brown, one of the most electrifying players seen in Southern California in years. The 6-foot, 180-pounder is one of the fastest players in the nation at any level of amateur play. An early-season game found him blazing down the line from the right side in 3.69 seconds on a bunt attempt. On two separate infield grounders, Brown got down to first base in 3.91 and 3.94 seconds, giving him 80 speed on the 20-80 scale. The rap on Brown since he failed to sign with the Athletics as a 12th-round pick out of high school in 2007 has been his hitting ability, or perceived lack thereof. After slow but steady improvement in his first two seasons, he has exploded as a junior, ranking among the national leaders with a .449 average in mid-May. Brown has shown interesting pop with a slugging percentage well over .700 as well, and he projects as an above-average hitter as a pro. Brown owes his turnaround to a better stance. He keeps his feet planted to maintain his foundation at the plate, then simply lets his exceptionally quick hands work to attack the ball. An aggressive hitter, the only drawback in Brown's offensive game is his miniscule number of walks and below-average home run power. In the field, Brown has found a home in center field after playing the outfield corners, second and third base in previous seasons. He sports an average arm, and his combination of speed and fly-chasing skills permit Brown to project as a plus defensive center fielder.
15. Karsten Whitson, rhp
Chipley (Fla.) HS
A Florida signee, Whitson played on the USA Baseball 18U club that won a gold medal at the Pan American Junior Championship in Venezuela and pitched at all the big showcase events, so national-level scouts have a history with him. They've seen one of the draft's best secondary pitches in a hard, sharp, 80-84 mph slider. The word most often associate with Whitson's slider is "legit." His fastball also earns praise as he can reach 95 mph regularly and pitches at 90-94 mph. Whitson was a fine prep basketball player who gave up a sport he loves for baseball, and his athleticism usually translates to the diamond in terms of control and the ability to repeat his delivery. However, Whitson had a difficult start in early May in front of a large crowd of scouts, crosscheckers and scouting directors. According to one scout, Whitson had thrown 130 pitches in his previous start and then had more than 10 days off, and his stock was falling as BA went to press. He's one of many Florida prep players whose final landing spot in the draft may depend on how they perform at the state all-star games in Sebring at the end of the month.
16. A.J. Cole, rhp
Oviedo (Fla.) HS
Cole was the shortstop on BA's most recent Baseball for the Ages 12-year-old all-star team, so he has been on the prospect radar for some time. He had a stellar summer showcase circuit in 2009, positioning himself as a potential first-rounder. His spring season started poorly, however, thanks to a bout with the flu and rainy, cool weather that interrupted the high school schedule in the Orlando area. Cole's fastball velocity was down early in the spring but jumped in late April and early May. After sitting 88-93 mph early, Cole was back to sitting at 92-93 and regularly hitting 95-96. He has an athletic, projectable frame and long legs; at 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, he should add strength that will help him have more consistent velocity. He has a low-maintenance delivery and projects to have solid command. His curveball at times exhibits hard, late break and can be a plus pitch, though scouts prefer the hard slider of his rival for the title of Best Florida Prep Pitching Prospect, Karsten Whitson. Cole also has a decent changeup that at times has late fade. At his best, Cole is among the best pitchers available in the draft, and his recovery from his poor start means he won't get out of the first round.
17. Nick Castellanos, 3b
Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla.
Castellanos was already a prospect before last year's Under Armour game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Then he hit four doubles on national television against good competition, and suddenly Castellanos was a "famous guy," a term scouts use for heavily scouted players. He also hit .327 for the 18U USA Baseball team that won a gold medal at the Pan American Junior Championship in Venezuela. He has more than held up under the scrutiny, and in fact has thrived in it, having a stellar senior season. A shortstop in high school, Castellanos projects to move to third as a pro and has the agility and arm strength to play the hot corner. He also should have the bat. He's one of the better hitters in the prep class, thanks to a strong swing featuring good extension and natural loft. He has used the whole field more this year and is a solid athlete with good aptitude. Some scouts question his ability to hit breaking balls, saying they've seen too much swing-and-miss this year to project him as a plus hitter, and have more confidence in his future power. Others debate whether Castellanos has true impact tools or is closer to solid-average. He is an average runner and doesn't have a glaring weakness.
18. Dylan Covey, rhp
Maranatha HS, Pasadena, Calif.
Covey first grabbed the attention of California scouts at a San Gabriel Valley underclassman showcase in Alhambra in the summer of 2008. A sophomore at the time, Covey unleashed a series of throws from right field that exhibited his terrific arm strength. Not surprisingly, several scouts asked Covey if he was a pitcher and asked when he would be throwing next. Since then, Covey has matured, grown into his frame and improved his conditioning. The results have been sensational. Covey made all the standard showcase appearances in the past year, with uniformly outstanding performances. Covey, solidly built at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, hammers the strike zone with a 93-94 mph fastball that can touch 96. He adds a wicked 81-82 mph slider and has steadily developed his curve and changeup. Covey's arm works smoothly and his has solid mechanics, though he will need to fight a tendency to pull his lead shoulder open when tired. Resembling a younger, lighter version of Giants righthander Matt Cain, Covey profiles as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter with four average to plus offerings. A San Diego signee, Covey ranks a notch above the rest in a deep Southern California prep pitching class and figures to take a shorter path to the majors than his peers.
19. Brandon Workman, rhp
The Longhorns have one of the best college pitching staffs in recent memory, as evidenced by their team 2.14 ERA in mid-May—and the fact that Workman, their No. 3 starter, could be a first-round pick. The Phillies drafted him in the third round out of high school, but held firm with a $275,000 offer and wouldn't give him the $350,000 he sought. Now he could get four to five times that amount. Unable to secure a spot in the Longhorns rotation as a sophomore, Workman has been more focused and efficient this spring. His best pitch is a knockout curveball, and he pairs it with a 90-92 mph fastball that peaks at 96. He has developed a high-80s cutter as a strikeout pitch against lefthanders, and he also has some feel for a changeup. His command is better than ever, and he now realizes that he's more effective when he doesn't overthrow, which causes his pitches to flatten out. Workman earned all-star honors in the Cape Cod League the last two summers, leading the league in strikeouts after his freshman season.
20. Matt Harvey, rhp
Harvey entered 2007 as the No. 1 high school prospect in the country, just ahead of fellow North Carolina recruit Rick Porcello. While Porcello signed with the Tigers as a first-rounder that year, Harvey was an unsigned third-rounder of the Angels. Five days after Porcello made his big league debut in 2009, Harvey took a loss in a mid-week relief appearance for the Tar Heels against High Point. That was probably the low point of Harvey's career, as he struggled as a sophomore. As a junior, though, he has regained his mojo. Scouts agree that Harvey's arm action is longer now than it was in 2007 but they aren't sure why. It affects his command, as it's harder for him to repeat his delivery and find the same release point. When he does, Harvey has explosive stuff, and he has worked harder than ever, thanks to improved maturity, to improve his balance and tempo. As a result, Harvey has pitched like an ace, with only one clunker start (against Duke) this spring and several gems, including a 158-pitch, 15-strikeout complete game at Clemson. His final pitch was 96 mph, which is usually where Harvey sits when he's right, in the 92-96 mph range. Once the owner of a power curveball, Harvey now prefers a hard slider that at times sits in the mid-80s with depth and late finish. Some scouts have given it a well-above-average grade. His changeup is just fair, and Harvey's command is below-average. With his stuff, he just needs control, and he has thrown enough strikes this year to get back into the first-round conversation.
21. Alex Wimmers, rhp
Only a hamstring injury has been able to stop Wimmers this spring, as he won each of his first nine starts for the Buckeyes before missing the first two weekends in May. He also starred in 2009, sharing Big 10 Conference pitcher-of-the-year honors before leading Bourne to its first-ever Cape Cod League championship. Scouts said Wimmers had the most polished arsenal on the Cape, and few pitchers in this draft can match the depth of his repertoire. He has the best changeup in the 2010 draft crop, and one area scout said it's the best he has ever seen from an amateur. His fastball sits at 90-92 mph and touches 94, and he could add a little more velocity if he builds arm strength by using it more in pro ball. His third pitch is a curveball that he easily throws for strikes. He's an athletic, 6-foot-2, 195-pounder who holds the record for career batting average (.457) at Cincinnati's storied Moeller High—the alma mater of Buddy Bell, Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin.
22. Asher Wojciechowski, rhp
Wojciechowski grew up in Michigan but moved to South Carolina during high school with his family, in part for the strong college baseball. He wound up at The Citadel and has been a weekend staple for three seasons, earning a spot on USA Baseball's college national team last summer. Noted mostly for his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame and above-average hard slider previously, Wojciechowski worked off the fastball more last summer with Team USA at the urging of Elon coach Mike Kennedy, who was Team USA's pitching coach. Wojciechowski took the advice to heart and has thrown harder as a result of throwing more fastballs and honing his mechanics. After throwing 89-92 mph last year, Wojciechowski has shown one of college baseball's best heaters this season, sitting 93-96 in numerous starts and reaching 96 in the eighth inning in at least two starts. Wojciechowski's slider is still a plus pitch, but he needs work on his rudimentary changeup. He has good control of his fastball and the durable frame to project as a mid-rotation innings-eater.
23. Brett Eibner, rhp/of
Eibner is the best two-way prospect in the 2010 draft. Teams are evenly split about whether he has more potential as a pitcher or an outfielder. A fourth-round pick out of high school by the Astros, he has impressive power in his arm and bat. He has added significant polish as both a pitcher and a hitter this spring, making the decision about his future no easier. After not pitching during the fall while recovering from a mild elbow strain sustained in the Cape Cod League, he has refined his command and secondary pitches. His fastball velocity can be inconsistent, as he'll sit at 88-91 mph during some games and 92-94 in others, peaking at 97. His mid-80s slider/cutter is a plus pitch at times, and he has improved his feel for a changeup. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder has a loose delivery that he repeats well. Eibner also has considerable upside as a power hitter. He can crush the ball to all fields, and he has done a better job this year of recognizing pitches and using the opposite field. Though he's strictly a righthanded hitter in games, he wowed Cape observers with a lefty batting-practice display last summer. His arm is an asset in the outfield, and while his solid speed and athleticism give him a chance to stick in center field at the next level, he projects more as a right fielder. Eibner's preference is to hit, but it remains to be seen if he'll get his wish.
24. Justin O'Conner, c
Cowan HS, Muncie, Ind.
Scouts had been split on whether O'Conner was a better prospect as a power-hitting third baseman or as a pitcher with a 93-95 mph fastball and a hammer curveball. When he began catching at the end of the showcase circuit last summer and played regularly behind the plate this spring, though, it settled any debate about his future. He's now the top high school catching prospect in the 2010 draft. His standout tool is his arm, which grades as plus-plus and is capable of producing 1.8-second pop times. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is agile behind the plate, though his inexperience shows in his receiving. O'Conner also generates above-average thunder with his tremendous bat speed, showing power to all fields in batting practice. A righthanded hitter, he's pull-conscious in games and struggled at times against quality pitching last summer, so there's some question whether he'll hit for a high average. Even if he doesn't, his arm and power could make him an all-star catcher. And if he can't make it as a position player, he has an attractive fallback option as a pitcher. The Arkansas recruit is unlikely to make it past the first round.
25. Kolbrin Vitek, 2b
Vitek has pitched in Ball State's weekend rotation since he was a freshman, and has been a regular in the Cardinals' lineup, first as a DH, then as a third baseman and now as second baseman. Yet his professional future is more likely as an outfielder. In a draft short on premium college hitters, Vitek is one of the best. He ranked as the top prospect in the Great Lakes League last summer, batting .400 and winning the league's first triple crown. A 6-foot-3, 195-pound righthanded hitter, he's a more physical version of former Notre Dame outfielder A.J. Pollock, the 17th overall pick a year ago of the Diamondbacks. Vitek could go in the same range, and the Padres, who own the No. 9 choice, have shown interest in him. With quick hands and a sound approach, he consistently barrels balls and projects as an above-average hitter with average to plus power. On the 20-80 scouting scale, his speed rates as a 55 out of the box and 60-65 under way, leading to hope that he can play center field. If not, he has enough bat to carry him as a right fielder. Vitek lacks the hands and actions to play the infield in pro ball. He's also a legitimate prospect as a pitcher, throwing 88-92 mph from a low three-quarters arm slot and locating multiple pitches for strikes.
26. Anthony Ranaudo, rhp
After winning the championship game of the College World Series last year and ranking third in strikeouts (159 in 124 innings) and fifth in wins (12) as a sophomore, Ranaudo was the top college prospect and No. 2 overall when 2010 started. But scouts haven't been sure what to make of him since he came down with a stress reaction following his first start in February. He missed a month and has battled his mechanics and command since returning. When he's right, he uses his 6-foot-7, 230-pound frame to leverage a 91-94 mph fastball down in the zone and to both sides of the plate, and he backs up his heater with a plus curveball and solid changeup. But that Ranaudo hasn't been seen this spring. He still has a low-90s fastball, but his delivery has fallen out of sync. His arm action is flatter, preventing him from staying on top of his pitches, causing them to flatten out and rise up in the strike zone. Ranaudo also missed the first two months and worked just 12 innings in his freshman season because of a bout with elbow tendinitis. His medical history, inconsistent spring and choice of adviser (Boras Corp.) could cause him to slide deep in the first round unless he suddenly regains his 2009 form.
27. Austin Wilson, of
Harvard-Westlake School, Studio City, Calif.
In the summer after his freshman year at Harvard-Westlake, Wilson was invited to the Southern California preliminary Area Code tryouts at Orange Coast JC. At that tender age Wilson carried a bit of baby fat, and while he did not make the final roster (freshmen rarely do) he displayed a provocative arm and 7.15-second speed in the 60-yard dash. Since then, Wilson has developed into the finest right-field prospect the Southern California region has seen since 2007, when Mike Stanton, the current Marlins phenom, came out of another Sherman Oaks private school (Notre Dame). Sporting a chiseled pro corner outfielder's frame, Wilson displays a throwing arm that conservatively grades out to a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He has lowered his 60 times to around 6.78 seconds, outstanding for a player of his 6-foot-4, 210-pound size. A stress fracture in his lower back, since healed, prevented him from touring the showcase circuit last fall. Before that setback, Wilson put on some of the more impressive wood-bat batting-practice sessions local scouts have seen in years. As one example, in the fall of 2008 at JC of the Canyons in Valencia, Wilson blasted about 20 balls out of the yard, leaving jaws dropping all over the ballpark. The main on-field reservation scouts have regarding Wilson is how his bat will play in games. He struggles with pitch recognition, needs to be more patient, has difficulty with balls down in the zone and will need to avoid committing his front side too soon. Much has been made of Wilson's background. Both of his parents hold advanced degrees from prestigious universities, and he has a Stanford commitment. He is perhaps the draft's most fascinating wild card. He has no adviser heading into the draft and scouts were having difficulty gauging his signability.
28. Bryce Brentz, of
Middle Tennessee State
Drafted as a pitcher out of high school by the Indians in the 30th round, Brentz was known more for a fastball that reached 92 mph. He was in the weekend rotation as a sophomore but made much more noise at the plate, leading Division I in batting at .465 as well as in home runs (28) and slugging (.930). Brentz followed up by hitting .366 for Team USA and moved to center field as a junior, but he hasn't had the encore season he or scouts hoped for, despite giving up pitching. Brentz got off to a bit of a slow start, then missed three weeks with a hairline fracture of his right ankle. He moved to right field after returning from the injury and profiles better there anyway. His arm hasn't quite bounced back to what it was in high school; once above-average, it's now more solid average. Brentz's all-or-nothing approach at the plate makes him streaky, but he has explosive power, and even in a difficult year he was slugging close to .700. The salutatorian at his high school, Brentz is bright, plays hard and is what he is, a feast-or-famine slugger who fits the right-field profile. He shouldn't last past the first round.
29. Zach Lee, rhp
McKinney (Texas) HS
Lee's status as one of the best quarterback recruits in the nation and a top student will make him one of the most difficult signing decisions in this draft. The perception among area scouts is that Lee might require as much as $3 million—and even that might not be enough to steer him away from playing two sports at Louisiana State. He passed for 2,565 yards and 31 touchdowns last fall, and his arm is just as potent on the mound. He already has a 90-93 mph fastball with room for more projection in his 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame. He also throws a sharp slider and a changeup that needs work but shows promise. Unlike many two-sport stars, he has a lot of polish. Lee has a clean delivery that he repeats, enabling him to throw strikes with ease.
30. Yordy Cabrera, ss/rhp
Lakeland (Fla.) HS
The Yordy Cabrera story has several themes that all scouts are familiar with. He moved to the U.S. at age 14 from the Dominican Republic and is already 19. In other words, he's a prep senior who's two years older than junior-college freshman Bryce Harper. Cabrera, whose father Basilio is a former player and the Tigers' Rookie-level Gulf Coast League manager, has spent plenty of time around pro clubhouses and wood bats, and has two plus-plus tools. He has excellent raw power and one of the draft's strongest arms for an infielder, and he has the hands, average speed and actions to at least begin his pro career as a shortstop. Most believe he'll have to move to third base eventually because he's already 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, but should be able to stay in the dirt. As a pitcher, he has launched his fastball into the low to mid-90s, and his arm profiles for third or right field if he has to move. His value will depend on his bat, which remains raw and inconsistent despite his bloodlines. Cabrera kills mistakes, especially hanging breaking balls, but at times has trouble gearing up to velocity. He was unlikely to last past the supplemental round, and if his bat doesn't develop he could move to the mound.
31. Jesse Hahn, rhp
Three years ago, one of Hahn's high school teammates and rotation partners was getting tons of draft attention. The teammate was righthander Matt Harvey, who ended up dropping to the third round and honoring his commitment to North Carolina. Now, both Fitch (Conn.) High alums could be drafted in the first round. Hahn has an ideal pitcher's frame at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, but he missed three weeks of action this spring. He had an MRI on his right elbow that revealed no structural damage. When healthy, Hahn has an electric arsenal. He has a plus fastball that sits 92-94 mph with some armside run. He has been able to run his fastball up to 96-97, especially when he pitched out of the bullpen in the Cape Cod League last summer, but has learned that he's better when he dials it back. He has two average to plus secondary offerings in a slider and curveball, as well as a potentially average changeup. His curveball has 12-to-6 action, but he raises his arm slot on the pitch, which could give it away to hitters. He mixes in an 80-82 mph slider that occasionally gets big on him but is also an average or better offering. His changeup has some fade and really works well when he locates down and to his arm side. His command isn't exceptional, but scouts don't see it as a problem moving forward. Working against Hahn are a spotty medical history and limited track record of performance. As a freshman he went 3-7, 4.64 in 64 innings with 36 strikeouts and 25 walks. He saw significantly less time as a sophomore, going 1-2, 6.00 in 24 innings. Only two of his 17 appearances were starts. Hahn has seen a big turnaround this season, going 5-2, 2.81 with 64 strikeouts and 14 walks through 58 innings.
32. Ryan LaMarre, of
The University of Michigan hasn't produced a first-round pick since the Yankees overdrafted David Parrish 10 years ago. Since breaking his thumb diving for a fly ball in the third game of the season and missing the next 18 games, LaMarre has returned with a vengeance and could end that draft drought. He's one of the best college athletes available, a 6-foot-2, 206-pounder with plus-plus speed. Though the injury has cost him some strength in his wrist and left him basically swinging with one hand, he has consistently squared balls up and was hitting .400 through mid-May. He has enough bat speed and lift in his righthanded stroke to project as a plus hitter with slightly above-average power. His tools and performance have erased memories of a weak summer in the Cape Cod League in 2009. While he has drawn just two walks in his first 26 games this spring, he has shown solid plate discipline in the past. Though the Wolverines eased LaMarre back into their lineup as a left fielder, he's a legitimate center fielder with a decent arm. Area scouts love his makeup, raving about his gamer mentality, work ethic and value as a teammate.
33. Chad Bettis, rhp
Bettis could join Brett Eibner as an unsigned Astros 2007 draft pick (eighth round) who blossoms into a first-rounder three years later. As with Eibner, there's debate about Bettis' future role. He's definitely a pitcher, and while many scouts see him as a rubber-armed reliever, others say he has enough stuff to start. Texas Tech has used him in both roles, deploying him as a starter as a freshman, a reliever a year ago and both ways this spring. A 6-foot-1, 211-pounder, Bettis has a quick arm, fluid delivery and quality fastball. He pitches in the low 90s as a starter and touched 98 mph coming out of the bullpen last summer with Team USA. He generates velocity with his fluid delivery and arm speed rather than effort. He still needs to do a better job of locating his fastball down in the strike zone, but he has thrown more strikes and shown more sink this year. Bettis' mid-80s slider can be a plus, but he also overthrows it at times. His changeup gives him an effective pitch against lefthanders. He sometimes relies on his secondary pitches too much, to the detriment of his fastball command.
34. Seth Blair, rhp
A Top 200 draft prospect out of Rock Falls (Ill.) High in 2007, signability caused Blair to drop to the 47th round and he headed west to Arizona State. He always had good stuff, and his results have taken a step forward every year there. He came into the season expecting to be Arizona State's Saturday starter, but was thrust into the Friday night lights when lefthander Josh Spence was shut down all season. He stepped up nicely, helping the Sun Devils get off to a 24-0 start and rank among the nation's top teams all season. Blair showed electric stuff earlier in the season, sitting 93-95 mph and even touching 97. He tailed off a little as the year went on, but he still pitches at 92-94. It's a heavy fastball with riding life and some sink when it's down in the zone, although it can flatten out later in games. His curveball is an average pitch now with a chance to be plus. He has a good changeup and a cutter that he uses occasionally. A long arm action in the back and some pulling off to his glove side cause him to have average command. His walk rate is down this year, but he still hits a batter nearly every game and runs up a high pitch count that causes him to leave games earlier than teams would like to see out of top pitchers. Blair is a Boras Corp. client, but teams don't consider him a particularly tough sign.
35. Barret Loux, rhp
The Tigers spent heavily to sign high school pitchers Rick Porcello ($7 million contract in the first round) and Casey Crosby ($748,500 in the fifth) in 2007, and thought they also met the $800,000 asking price of Loux, their 24th-rounder. He changed his mind about signing and instead opted to attend Texas A&M, where his 2009 season was halted by bone chips in his elbow. After having the chips removed, Loux is healthy again and racking up strikeouts with a 90-92 mph fastball that touches 95. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder throws with such ease that his fastball appears even harder. If he had a standout second pitch, he'd be a first-round pick, but he may have to settle for the sandwich round because his curveball and changeup are merely effective. His curveball was his best pitch in high school but hasn't been as sharp since his elbow surgery. He'll show an average changeup, though not on a consistent basis. Some teams have medical concerns about Loux, who missed two months of his high school senior season with a tender shoulder.
36. Peter Tago, rhp
Dana Hills HS, Dana Point, Calif.
Tago epitomizes Southern California cool. Oblivious to outside distractions, he calmly ambles off the team bus decked out in a hooded sweatshirt and wraparound shades with his iPod earphones firmly in place. He also worries little about high school hitters, whom he routinely dominates. His lanky 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame is ideally projectable, and Tago delivers the ball with an easy, relaxed throwing motion that is almost poetic. Tago, who switched his college commitment from UCLA to Cal State Fullerton in May, fires a 91-93 mph fastball, and his arm action and build indicate more velocity in the future. His curve exhibits nice shape and two-plane movement, but Tago will need to tighten the spin on that pitch. He can better incorporate his lower half into his delivery and clean up his arm stroke as well. He'll also need to develop a third pitch, such as a changeup. An Aflac and Area Codes alumnus, Tago provides a near perfect model of a prep righthander with a huge upside: projectable frame, easy arm action, calm demeanor and electric stuff.
37. Kyle Parker, of
Parker has unique leverage, as he's a junior in baseball but finished his redshirt freshman football season in January as Clemson's starting quarterback. He threw for 2,526 yards and 20 touchdowns for the Tigers, and he's the first player in Division I history to throw for 20 touchdowns and hit 15 homers in the same season. Parker graduated high school a semester early to join the baseball team and was a Freshman All-American in 2008, clubbing 14 homers. His plate discipline slipped last year, but he has bounced back with a splendid junior season, hitting .391 with 17 home runs, making more consistent contact and being much more selective at the plate. Parker's a good athlete but not an elite, fast-twitch one, and his arm strength, like many quarterbacks, is just average in baseball. He may have enough arm for right field but would be a solid-average left fielder with polish. He has tremendous bat speed at the plate as well as good strength. He's a grinder on the ballfield, and scouts like his aptitude.
38. James Paxton, lhp
Grand Prairie (American Assoc.)
The Blue Jays drafted Paxton 37th overall out of the University of Kentucky a year ago, but they couldn't sign the native Canadian. Team president Paul Beeston told a Toronto newspaper that he had negotiated directly with Paxton's adviser, Scott Boras, which would be a violation of NCAA rules. The Wildcats wouldn't allow Paxton to play until he submitted to an interview with the NCAA, and when he couldn't secure a temporary injunction in the Kentucky courts, he left the team and signed with the independent Grand Prairie AirHogs of the American Association, following the paths of several prominent pitchers in recent years, including Tanner Scheppers. Last spring, he worked at 93-94 mph and touched 97 with his fastball, which features good run and sink. His curveball grades as a true plus pitch at times, and he'll also show solid command and some feel for a changeup, though he doesn't use it often. Despite his stuff and a gaudy 115-20 K-BB ratio as a junior, Paxton got hit hard to the tune of a 5.86 ERA last season. While his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame should lend itself to durability, he has a history of nagging injuries (sore elbow in high school, back issues in 2008, tendinitis in his left knee last spring) that worries some clubs. His stuff was down slightly as he tuned up for the start of the American Association season, but if he regains his 2009 form he could go higher than he did last year. Only Drew Pomeranz offers a better fastball/curve combo among this draft's lefthanders.
39. Jedd Gyorko, ss
Gyorko is on team's draft boards for one reason: his bat. His position on those boards comes down to where teams think he'll play. A shortstop for the Mountaineers, no one is giving him a chance to stay there as a pro. He's labeled as a bad-body guy at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds and will have to work hard to keep himself in shape. His arm is average and he gets mixed reviews on his infield actions. Some think he can play second base, while others say the range will be too short. Third base is an option, but he's not a big power guy, as it grades out as an average tool. He's an above-average hitter, though, thanks to a good, balanced approach at the plate, a good feel for the strike zone and an ability to hit to all fields. He hit .409 and .421 with 16 home runs in his first two seasons at West Virginia. Through 195 at-bats in 2010, he was hitting .369/.462/.718 with 15 home runs, 36 walks and just 17 strikeouts. The consensus is that the bat is easy to believe in and in a draft short on college hitters, Gyorko doesn't figure to be available when the second round begins.
40. Jacob Petricka, rhp
Petricka may have had more helium than any player a month before the draft, with his stock rising so rapidly that it could carry him into the first round. He began his college career at Iowa Western CC, where he sat out 2007 while recovering from Tommy John surgery and mostly pitched in the high 80s. He touched 94 early in the 2009 season after transferring to Indiana State, but didn't hold that velocity and ultimately turned down the Yankees, who took him in the 34th round as a draft-eligible sophomore. Petricka was on follow lists for 2010, and early in the season he was nothing special, sitting at 90 mph and featuring a soft curveball. Starting in mid-April, he made a quantum leap and began pitching at 92-94 mph and reaching 98 with his fastball, holding his velocity deep into games. His breaking ball now has some power to it and grades as a solid-average pitch. Scouts have noted that the 6-foot-4, 180-pounder is doing a much better job of using his legs and finishing his delivery.
41. Jarrett Parker, of
Parker was a key player in Virginia's College World Series run in 2009, and he looked like a likely first-rounder with his body and track record. He slowed down by the time the Cavaliers arrived in Omaha, though, and he hit just .188 in the Cape Cod League. He got off to a slow start in 2010, and his stock continued to fall. His average dipped below .300 for some time, though he turned it on as the draft approached, raising his line to .322/.414/.574 with seven home runs in mid-May. At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Parker would be the final product if someone were asked to draw up the body of a major league outfielder with his long, lean frame. He's a good defender in center field with plus speed and an average arm. At the plate, Parker's strength and leverage give him good raw power. Against Duke this season he crushed a hanging changeup that one-hopped an office building in right field at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which is also home of the Triple-A franchise. Parker's long arms do make him prone to a long swing and high strikeout numbers, and most scouts think he won't hit for a very high average. He would benefit from shortening up his swing and utilizing his speed more. Many hoped for a better season out of him and see him as a risky pick, but there's a lot of upside as well. He could go in the sandwich round, though it's possible that he could slide into the second round.
42. Ryne Stanek, rhp
Blue Valley HS, Stilwell, Kan.
When scouts saw Stanek's 6-foot-4, 180 pound build and his ability to maintain a 90-92 mph fastball on the showcase circuit last summer, it was easy for them to project that he might throw in the mid-90s one day. That day came sooner than expected, as Stanek worked at 91-96 mph in his first game this spring. He has kept that velocity all spring, doing so with little effort. His delivery is fairly sound, though he does throw slightly across his body. His curveball is crisp and has two-plane break, giving him a second future plus pitch. He also throws a slider and changeup. Stanek is one of the cornerstones of a deep Arkansas recruiting class, but his step forward this spring means he'll likely bypass college.
43. Tyrell Jenkins, rhp
Henderson (Texas) HS
Jenkins may be the most athletic pitcher in the draft. Baylor's top quarterback recruit, he also lettered in basketball and ran a 49-second quarter-mile in a relay race this spring—without any training. The next day, he was throwing 92-93 mph fastball in the seventh inning. Jenkins has a loose, quick, whippy arm that can deliver fastballs up to 95 mph. There's a lot of projection remaining in his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame, and lots of room for improvement with his secondary pitches. He can spin a curveball and also throws a slider and changeup. He should develop more consistency once he focuses on baseball and does a better job of repeating his delivery. He's raw but has tremendous upside, making him a perfect fit in the sandwich round for teams with multiple picks. Jenkins is considered much more signable than fellow Texas high school pitcher/quarterback Zach Lee.
44. Mike Foltynewicz, rhp
Minooka (Ill.) Community HS
Foltynewicz is far and away the best pitching prospect in the Upper Midwest. He opened eyes by sitting at 91-94 mph and touching 96 with his fastball at a preseason showcase in February, and he has shown similar velocity throughout the spring. With his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame, strength and arm speed, it's easy to project him regularly throwing in the mid-90s down the road. He already has an advanced changeup for a high school pitcher, as it features good sink and could become a plus pitch. He doesn't consistently stay on top of his breaking pitches, though he was doing a better job later in the spring. He throws both a curveball and a slider, and he'd be best served by focusing on improving his slider. No Illinois high school pitcher has gone in the first round since the White Sox selected Kris Honel in 2001, but a team that believes Foltynewicz can refine a breaking ball could be tempted to pick him that high. He'll pitch at Texas if he doesn't turn pro.
45. Drew Vettleson, of
Central Kitsap HS, Silverdale, Wash.
Vettleson has generated more publicity for being a rare switch-pitcher, but he's a pro prospect as an outfielder. He sits at 88-90 mph from the right side with a good curveball, but he's a better hitter—which says a lot. Vettleson has a quiet approach in the box and he's patient with good pitch recognition. His hand positioning is unique, as he starts with his hands letter-high and deep behind his rear leg. It's a simple swing and he's short to the ball, but it also causes stiffness in his lead arm, which could cause problems when he faces better velocity. It worked for him on the showcase circuit, as he was on fire against some of the country's best pitchers all summer. His swing is smooth and scouts believe he'll make adjustments to hit for average and power. He profiles as a corner outfielder with below-average speed, but has great instincts and makeup. Vettleson hasn't played against great high school competition and has been hard to see, as he's typically pitching, playing shortstop or playing center field lefthanded. Where he ends up going in the draft will likely hinge on how he does in predraft workouts.
46. A.J. Vanegas, rhp
Redwood Christian HS, San Lorenzo, Calif.
Among a solid crop of Northern California high school righthanders, Vanegas is the top talent and the most pro-ready. Listed at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Vanegas has the type of build that can hold up immediately in pro ball while allowing him to pitch with his best stuff more often than not. With his clean arm action, good arm speed and stout frame, he's expected to get stronger and continue to add velocity. Vanegas pitches at 90-92 mph and can dial his fastball up to 94, with good life through the strike zone. He pitches with a high three-quarters arm slot, with smooth, short backside arm action. When his delivery is on, Vanegas spots the fastball to all quadrants of the zone and finishes his pitches well. His best secondary pitch is a mid-70s curveball that has tight spin, good bite and tilt. He also has a changeup. Vanegas was scouted heavily in the summer and fall ball because his high school team did not face very good competition. He has committed to Stanford, which will force teams to do their homework when gauging his signability.
47. Garin Cecchini, 3b
Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La.
Cecchini established himself as one of the top prep hitters in the 2010 draft class when he led the U.S. 18U national team—which also featured Bryce Harper—in slugging (.708) and on-base percentage (.529) en route to its first-ever gold medal at the Pan American Junior Championship last summer in Venezuela. He might have hit his way into the first round this spring, but he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and required reconstructive surgery in mid-March. It was his second operation under the knife of Dr. James Andrews, who performed rotator-cuff surgery on him when Cecchini was 12. A 6-foot-3, 195-pounder, he has a fluid lefthanded stroke and good pull power. The knee injury isn't a long-term concern, because his fringe-average speed isn't a big part of his game and he already was expected to move from shortstop to third base at the next level. His soft hands and strong arm will play well at the hot corner. He's a baseball rat, no surprise considering his father Glenn is the head coach at perennial Louisiana power Barbe High. His mother Raissa is an assistant coach at Barbe, and his younger brother Gavin is a top infield prospect for the 2012 draft. Though he missed most of the season, it may take first-round money to lure Cecchini away from a Louisiana State commitment. He has enough offensive potential and track record to get that payday, and he isn't expected to make it to the second round.
48. Sammy Solis, lhp
During the majority of his tenure at USD, Solis was overshadowed by the likes of Brian Matusz and Kyle Blair. His coming-out party in 2009 never materialized due to a herniated disc in his back, which prompted him to take a medical redshirt. However, Solis, an unsigned 18th-round pick out of an Arizona high school in 2007, has bounced back to go 8-1, 2.49 in 2010. Most observers expect a pitcher of his 6-foot-5, 228-pound size to be a flamethrower, but Solis is instead a canny command, movement and control pitcher. His fastball varies from 88-92 mph and has good life up in the zone. He adds a fine changeup that dives down and away from righthanded hitters; it's his best pitch. Solis can add or subtract speed with his curveball, varying it from 72-78 mph, and at times it too is an out pitch. As Solis leaves his back injury behind, he could gain velocity and durability due to improved conditioning. A devout Catholic with a penchant for public service, Solis' family owns an AIDS orphanage in South Africa. A healthy Solis profiles solidly in the middle of a big league rotation.
49. Perci Garner, rhp
Ball State produced a first-round pick (Bryan Bullington, No. 1 overall) and sandwich-rounder (Luke Hagerty) in the 2002 draft, and could repeat the feat again this year with Kolbrin Vitek and Garner. Garner joined the Cardinals on a football scholarship, but didn't see any game action in two years as a quarterback. After he emerged as the best pitching prospect in the Great Lakes League last summer, he gave up football, and he has continued to make strides this spring. Garner opened the season in Ball State's bullpen but moved into the rotation after shutting down a talented Louisville lineup for four innings in mid-March. He has a strong, athletic 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame and a pair of plus pitches in a lively 92-94 mph fastball that reaches 97 and a power curveball. He also throws a slider and a changeup. Garner's inexperience on the mound shows at times. His delivery can get slow and lack rhythm, and improving it would help his control. Though he's a draft-eligible sophomore, he's not considered a difficult sign.
50. Kevin Gausman, rhp
Grandview HS, Centennial, Colo.
Gausman has a tall, thin build with long arms and legs. While scouts believe he'll add strength, he's one of the older players in this year's high school class and will always be on the slender side. He pitched as much as anyone last summer, throwing in just about every high-profile showcase event possible, including Perfect Game National, Aflac, Under Armour, Tournament of Stars, Area Codes, Team USA and Jupiter. Combine that with the fact that he played basketball all winter and bad weather in Colorado all spring, and it shouldn't come as a shock that his velocity was down a tick this season, sitting at 89-92 mph. Gausman has pitched in the low to mid-90s in the past. His fastball has some life and run, but he doesn't command it particularly well and it's flat in the zone. Last year in the state playoffs, he was up to 96 mph but gave up 11 runs in two innings. His secondary pitches—a 76 mph curveball, a Vulcan changeup and a cutter-like slider—are all below-average currently and project to be average at best. Because he has been inconsistent this spring, Gausman may slide to the supplemental or second round, but it will likely still take first-round money to sign him. If he heads to Louisiana State, he'd be draft-eligible again as a sophomore in 2012.