1. Anthony Rendon, 3b
Rendon entered the season as the draft's top-rated prospect and still sits atop our rankings, but his season hasn't gone as planned. After hitting a combined .391/.497/.750 with 46 homers as BA's Freshman of the Year in 2009 and College Player of the Year in 2010, Rendon hit .323/.526/.516 with five homers in the regular season this spring. He strained his throwing shoulder in the second week of the season and has played little in the field. Rendon hadn't given teams any medical information as of mid-May, leaving them in the dark about the severity of the injury. Though it has affected his swing and bat speed, he's still the best all-around hitter in the draft. The 6-foot, 190-pounder has tremendous strength in his hands and wrists, uncanny hand-eye coordination and exceptional strike-zone discipline. Teams have pitched around him all season, and he was the runaway NCAA Division I leader with 66 walks. His bat speed and ability to barrel balls give Rendon more usable power than any player in the draft, with scouts projecting the righthanded hitter to bat .300 with 25-30 homers a year in the major leagues. When healthy, Rendon is a gifted third baseman with above-average range and arm strength. He has drawn comparisons to Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman, though he bears a closer physical resemblance to David Wright. Rendon tore ligaments in his right ankle in the 2009 NCAA regionals and broke the same ankle on a slide with Team USA last summer, but he has been running and moving as well as ever this spring. He has average speed and runs the bases well. Both ankle injuries came on fluke plays, so scouts don't consider him injury-prone. As frustrating as his season has been, Rendon remains a strong candidate to go No. 1 overall. If Pittsburgh goes in another direction, it's unlikely the Mariners would pass on him at No. 2.
2. Dylan Bundy, rhp
Owasso (Okla.) HS
This draft is deep in college arms, and one scouting director opined that Bundy has a better overall package than any of them. Bundy has operated at 94-97 mph for much of the spring, reaching triple digits on multiple occasions. If hitters try to sit on his fastball, he can make them look foolish with an upper-70s curveball, a high-80s cutter or a mid-80s changeup. The curveball and cutter are plus pitches, and the changeup is already an average offering. Bundy's feel for pitching is as impressive as his stuff. He has exceptional body control, allowing him to repeat his balanced, effortless delivery and locate his pitches with ease. He's not the tallest pitcher at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, but he's strong and throws downhill, so his size is not an issue. His makeup and work ethic are off the charts, too. Though he told teams in mid-May that his asking price was a six-year, $30 million contract—which would shatter Stephen Strasburg's draft-record $15.1 million deal—Bundy is too talented to fall too far in the draft. The Orioles signed his brother Bobby as an eighth-round pick in 2008 and could consider Dylan with the fourth overall choice. If Baltimore passes, he probably won't make it past the Diamondbacks at No. 7.
3. Gerrit Cole, rhp
Cole had one of the best arms in the 2008 draft, when the Yankees drafted him in the first round, but he opted to attend UCLA. In three years with the Bruins, he has matured on and off the field, becoming a clubhouse leader as well as an ace for UCLA's national runner-up team as a sophomore. This spring, he has consistently shown the best pure stuff of any pitcher in this draft, and he has pounded the strike zone, though he struggled to command the inner half during a rough three-outing stretch in April, leading to a fairly pedestrian 5-7, 3.27 mark for the season. At his best, Cole throws three pitches that rate 70 or better on the 20-80 scouting scale. His four-seam fastball sits in the 94-97 range and tops out at 99, and he shows a 92-93 two-seamer that scouts would like to see him use more. His power slider ranges from 86-90 mph with good depth, and he has developed his 85-87 changeup into a third plus to plus-plus pitch this year, though it had more tumbling action earlier than the year than it did down the stretch. In high school, some scouts were concerned about the effort in Cole's delivery, but he has smoothed it out; most scouts generally regard it as clean, repeatable and simple now. He has a physical, durable frame and a competitive but composed mound demeanor—another change from his prep days. Scouts think Cole could rocket to the majors as a closer throwing 98-100 mph, but the consensus is that he has all the makings of a frontline starter.
4. Danny Hultzen, lhp
Hultzen was a late riser at St. Albans High in Washington, D.C., three years ago, but teams correctly figured they wouldn't be able to sign him away from his Virginia commitment. The Diamondbacks took a shot in the 10th round, but he headed to Charlottesville and immediately became the Friday starter. He was a Freshman All-American in 2009 as a two-way player, batting .327 and going 9-1, 2.17, and was a second team All-American in 2010, going 10-1, 2.83. Considered a first-round prospect coming into 2011, Hultzen has pitched himself into consideration for the No. 1 pick, going 9-3, 1.49 with 131 strikeouts and 15 walks in 90 innings as UVa spent much of the season at No. 1. Hultzen has a strong frame at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and offers two plus pitches and above-average command. After working mostly at 88-91 mph his first two college seasons, Hultzen now sits around 93 and touches 96. His changeup is his best secondary pitch, and he commands it well and gets good fade thanks to a low three-quarters arm slot. His slider also shows flashes of being an above-average pitch. His arm slot can make it difficult to find consistency in the pitch, but scouts say he's now closer to the higher arm slot he showed in high school than the low three-quarters he had the last two years at UVa. A good athlete, Hultzen has seen time as a first baseman and DH in all three of his college seasons, though the Cavaliers have limited his at-bats in the last two years. He could be the safest bet among the top prospects in the country and isn't likely to make it past the first five picks.
5. Trevor Bauer, rhp
After graduating high school early to enroll at UCLA in the spring of 2009, Bauer quickly found his way into the Bruins' weekend rotation, and went on to break school records for career wins (32 and counting) and strikeouts (432) by the middle of his junior year. Bauer is as unconventional as he is dominant. He takes an intellectual approach to his craft, studying advanced concepts like biomechanics, effective velocity and pitch tunneling. He is a long-toss devotee who works with rubber tubes before and during his starts. He idolizes and patterns himself after another slight righthander with electric stuff: Tim Lincecum. Like Lincecum, he generates premium velocity using extreme torque, and while some scouts worry about the head movement and recoil in his delivery, others say his arm action is loose and his mechanics add deception. Bauer has the deepest repertoire of any pitcher in the draft. On his worst days, he still holds 91-93 mph fastball velocity deep into games, and he often tops out at 95-96. He has exceptional feel for a sharp, downer curveball that rates as plus to plus-plus. His changeup is above-average, and he mixes in an occasional split-finger and flashes a slider. He also throws what he calls a "reverse slider," which runs in on lefthanded hitters at 85-87 mph—and some scouts say that is plus, too. Bauer relishes striking hitters out, so he throws a lot of pitches. He usually works deep into games (and threw five straight complete games in April and May). That workload concerns some scouts, but others think his arm is in exceptional shape and point out that he conditions himself to throw a lot. He has top-of-the-rotation upside and could move quickly, but he is adamant about continuing his own training regimen in pro ball, which will turn some clubs off.
6. Bubba Starling, of
Gardner-Edgerton HS, Gardner, Kan.
Starling is the best athlete in the 2011 draft. As a pitcher, he'd be a potential first-round pick as a 6-foot-5, 195-pound righthander with a fastball that touches 95 mph. He's also a gifted quarterback who earned a scholarship from Nebraska after leading Gardner-Edgerton to the Kansas 5-A state semifinals as a senior. Starling ran for 2,377 yards and 31 touchdowns last fall, while passing for 790 yards and eight more scores. Despite his ability on the mound and on the gridiron, his future is as a five-tool center fielder who resembles Drew Stubbs. Starling missed nearly a month with a quad injury this spring, but that didn't dent scouts' enthusiasm, and he homered twice in his first game back. His strength, bat speed and the leverage in his righthanded swing give him above-average power. His swing got long at times on the showcase circuit, but Starling did a nice job of shortening it and making consistent hard contact later in the summer. His speed is as impressive as his power, making him a basestealing threat and giving him plenty of range in center field. He has the power and arm strength to profile as a star in right field as well. Starling has faced little in the way of challenging high school competition and will need to smooth out rough edges in his game in pro ball, but that hasn't prevented him from making the short list of candidates to go No. 1 overall to the Pirates.
7. Francisco Lindor, ss
Montverde (Fla.) Academy
Lindor moved to the United States from Puerto Rico as a 12-year-old, and four years later he captained USA Baseball's 16U club to a gold-medal victory against Cuba in the World Youth Championship in Taiwan. A baseball rat, Lindor has tremendous work ethic to go with above-average tools, and he plays the game with ease and passion. He's a switch-hitter with a line-drive stroke from both sides of the plate, and he has excellent hands that work both at the plate and in the field. He has the tools to play shortstop well at the highest level, with smooth actions, fluidity, instincts and good fundamentals. He's a plus runner but not a burner. Lindor's power is the biggest question about him. He has flashed more than just gap power at times, which was pushing him up draft boards. His season ended in April, and he wasn't expected to play in Florida's high school all-star game, instead working out on his own. Scouts haven't scoffed at Omar Vizquel comparisons. Scouting directors said Lindor was a legitimate candidate for the No. 1 overall pick, but more likely he'll slot in just behind that.
8. Taylor Jungmann, rhp
As a freshman in 2009, Jungmann won 11 games and pitched a complete-game five-hitter against Louisiana State in the College World Series finals. As a sophomore, he was the ace of a Texas staff that led NCAA Division I with a 2.45 ERA. Jungmann has taken another step this spring, leading all D-I pitchers with 12 victories and three shutouts and ranking second with a 0.95 ERA at the end of the regular season. He pitches at 91-93 mph and tops out at 95 with his fastball, and he has done a better job of using his 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame to command his heater down in the strike zone. He has improved the sharpness and command of his slider as well. His changeup is average at times but more of a work in progress, though he can get lefthanders out with the sink and life on his fastball. Jungmann excels under pressure—he's 6-0 in NCAA tournament play—and has demonstrated the ability to win without his best stuff. He has some effort and a short stride in his delivery, but he has cleaned it up since high school and it doesn't impede his ability to throw strikes.
9. Archie Bradley, rhp
Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS
Just four Oklahoma high school pitchers have been drafted in the first round prior to 2011: Ronnie Walden, Jamey Wright, Matt Roney and Chad James. Dylan Bundy and Bradley will add to that list this June, and while Bundy has separated himself from Bradley (and every other prep pitcher in the nation) this spring, Bradley still should go in the upper half of the round. After showing a 92-95 mph fastball that touched 98 last summer, he wasn't at his best at the start of the season but was back in peak form by the time the state playoffs began in May. He touched 101 mph on the scoreboard radar gun while striking out 14 and pitching a two-hit shutout in the Oklahoma 6-A state championship game against Owasso, then the nation's No. 1-ranked team. Bradley's hammer curveball can be just as devastating as his fastball, and he has some feel for a changeup. He has a clean delivery that he maintains well, though at times it can get out of whack. An athletic 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, Bradley is also a top quarterback prospect who would play both baseball and football at Oklahoma in the unlikely event that he doesn't turn pro. Teams weren't taking his five-year, $20 million asking price seriously, though he could top the $5.25 million two-sport deal the Dodgers gave righthander/quarterback Zach Lee a year ago.
10. Taylor Guerrieri, rhp
Spring Valley HS, Columbia, S.C.
Guerrieri will be one of the toughest calls for clubs in the first round. He has one of the draft's best arms, and among preps he ranks behind only Oklahomans Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley in pure stuff. Guerrieri has a pitcher's body at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds with long arms, coat-hanger shoulders and present strength. Getting his "man strength," to use the scouting term, has allowed him to maintain his delivery better, and his stuff has improved as a result. At his best, Guerrieri's fastball touches 98 mph and sits in the 93-96 range. He throws his curveball with power as well at 80-83 mph. He flashes a changeup and a cutter in side sessions but rarely uses them in games. Like most high school pitchers, his velocity can vary from start to start, but he still sits 91-93 on his off days. His athleticism and strength allow him to repeat his delivery well, though his command is a question. A South Carolina signee, Guerrieri could go in the first 10 picks if teams are sold on his makeup, but many are not. He's on his second high school thanks to off-field incidents at North Augusta (S.C.) High, and scouts continue to research his decision-making.
11. George Springer, of
Springer was largely overlooked in high school, taking a back seat to higher-profile New England draftees like Anthony Hewitt, Ryan Westmoreland and Chris Dwyer. The Twins took a 48th-round flier on him in 2008 but he went to Connecticut, and three years later he may have the best all-around tools of any college player in the last decade. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Springer has a skill set rarely seen among college players. He generates plus raw power with explosive bat speed. He has a plus arm and is a plus runner, and he's a smooth defender in center field. He struggled early in 2011, when his hands were tight to his body and his stance was narrow, and he collapsed on his back side. But he made adjustments and returned to form when Big East play started, showing scouts why he was the Cape Cod League's No. 2 prospect last summer. His early-season struggles scared some scouts who question Springer's swing mechanics, as he can be exposed with velocity on the inner half. He's raw for a college first-round pick, but Springer may have the highest ceiling in the draft.
12. Sonny Gray, rhp
Gray was BA's No. 52 draft prospect as a high school senior in 2008, but a broken ankle, 5-foot-11 frame and Vanderbilt commitment pushed him down the draft until the Cubs took him in the 27th round. He figures to go 26 rounds higher after three seasons with the Commodores. He has added plenty of polish, throwing higher-quality strikes with similar stuff as he showed as a high schooler. His fastball often gets better during games, sitting from 90-95 mph, touching 97 when he needs it. His size keeps him from getting tremendous plane on his fastball, but he has the velocity to pitch up in the zone. High fastballs help set up his best pitch, a power curveball at 82-84 with downer action. His changeup has come along, and after early reports that it was a distant third pitch, he started using it more in May as it showed improvement. Scouts laud his preparation and competitiveness, so while he's tempting as a closer for his two-pitch mix, many scouts expect him to remain a starter. He could stand to repeat his delivery more regularly, and scouts haven't seen much of his change as they'd like. Those are the only chinks in Gray's otherwise impressive armor.
13. Matt Barnes, rhp
Barnes was an under-the-radar prospect and went undrafted coming out of high school in Connecticut, but after three years at UConn he has firmly established himself as a first-round talent. Barnes shined last summer, ranking as the Cape Cod League's No. 3 prospect during a stint with Wareham and going 3-0, 1.42 with 26 strikeouts in 19 innings for Team USA. Barnes added 6-8 mph on his fastball before his sophomore year, jumping his velocity to its current 92-96 mph range and 98 peak, which he holds deep into games. He has a loose arm and minimal effort in his delivery. Barnes gets good armside run on his two-seamer, and he also throws a cutter. He throws a sharp-breaking curveball that's plus at times and an average mid-80s changeup. Barnes is at his best when he eliminates his slider from his repertoire. His secondary stuff, along with his command and mechanics, need work, as he tends to alter his release point and miss high in the zone. Scouts love Barnes' 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame, and they still think he could add about 20 pounds.
14. Jed Bradley, lhp
Bradley was not drafted out of high school in Huntsville, Ala., but has pitched in the Yellow Jackets weekend rotation for the better part of the last three seasons as he has filled out his 6-foot-4 frame, going from 180-190 pounds when he came to school to a sturdy 224. A rotation stalwart his last two seasons, Bradley was at his best last summer, when he ranked as the Cape Cod League's No. 4 prospect while tying for the league lead in strikeouts. While he's not generally thought of as overpowering, Bradley knows how to miss bats. Scouts love his pitcher's frame, and he has a clean, loose arm. Bradley's fastball sits anywhere from 88-94 mph. In better starts, he's at the higher end of that range, touching 95. His low 80s slider gives him a second plus pitch, and his changeup sits around 80 mph with fade. He earns high marks for his confidence and work ethic. Bradley's performance (6-3, 3.71) has slipped as the draft has neared. Scouts have noticed Bradley's stuff has not been as sharp out of the stretch this spring, and his changeup has lacked consistency, but he's still expected to be drafted among the first 15 picks.
15. Josh Bell, of
Dallas Jesuit HS
Bell has the most usable power among high school players in the 2011 draft, and he provides it from both sides of the plate. He has been switch-hitting since he was 5 years old, and he's equally effective from both sides of the plate. Armed with quick hands, strength and an advanced approach, the 6-foot-3, 206-pounder projects as a plus hitter for both average and power. A cracked left kneecap prevented him from proving himself on the showcase circuit last summer, but he recovered to star at the World Wood Bat Championship in October. Bell's other tools aren't as dynamic as his bat, and he'll have to move from center field once he turns pro, but he profiles nicely as a corner outfielder. He's an average runner who may have enough arm strength to play right field. Bell is a good student whose mother is a college professor and who will be advised by the Boras Corp., so it may cost a team dearly to pry him away from a Texas scholarship. His offensive upside still will draw plenty of suitors in the middle of the first round.
16. Daniel Norris, lhp
Science Hill HS, Johnson City, Tenn.
Norris entered 2011 as the top high school lefthander in the country, and he has done nothing to change that assessment. He spent last summer dealing for the East Cobb Yankees and then gave up football, where he played quarterback, to focus on baseball as a senior. Norris has shown three potential plus pitches, with a fastball that reaches 96 mph but generally rests in the 89-93 mph range, a curveball and changeup. He throws the changeup with good arm speed and has plenty of hand speed to spin a breaking ball, and he has also toyed with a slider. Norris features a clean arm and plenty of athleticism, though like many high school pitchers he has inconsistent mechanics, tipping when he's throwing a fastball or breaking ball. He has the athleticism to make adjustments quickly, and he had already improved his arm action in recent months, making it more compact. Scouts laud his makeup and passion for the game. A Clemson recruit, Norris has strong present stuff and room to improve.
17. Blake Swihart, c
Cleveland HS, Rio Rancho, N.M.
Swihart spent most of last summer with Team USA, and he led the team by batting .448/.492/.845 with six doubles and five home runs. The natural righthander picked up switch-hitting during his sophomore year of high school and started catching seriously just last summer. This spring he has split time between third base and behind the plate. Swihart is a good athlete who is an above-average hitter with average power potential. He hadn't put up gaudy numbers against inferior competition this spring, but he is clearly focused on the future: Swihart works on both of his swings by switching back and forth between hitting lefthanded and righthanded, regardless of the pitcher he's facing. Swihart's athleticism shows up behind the plate. He receives well and shows good footwork. He has a strong arm and has shortened his arm stroke this spring. He obviously would have more value at catcher, but his athleticism and potent bat may tempt a team to move him to another position. Swihart is 6 feet and 175 pounds and baby-faced, so some scouts think he'll get taller and stronger as he matures. He is committed to Texas, and would be eligible for the draft again as a sophomore if he goes to college.
18. Javier Baez, ss
Arlington Country Day, Jacksonville, Fla.
Baez matched up with fellow Puerto Rican native and Florida prep shortstop Francisco Lindor in February in the season's most heavily scouted high school game, with as many as 100 scouts on hand. Baez and Lindor have more contrasts than similarities, though. Where Lindor is smooth and lauded for his makeup, Baez is explosive and scouts generally pan his makeup. He lives with his high school coach (who is also his legal guardian), though his mother remains in the picture. His bat is too good to ignore, though, and offensively he has few peers in this year's draft. He has the fastest bat in the draft, and while he has a dead-pull approach at times, he has the bat speed to let balls get deep in the zone. Baez has plus raw power as well, which may serve him well if he has to move to third base. He has the defensive tools to stay at short until he outgrows it, as at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, he doesn't have much range to spare. He has plenty of arm for either position. His tools fit the catcher profile, but his makeup does not. He plays with energy, but it's not always positive, and he turns off some scouts with emotional outbursts and an off-field demeanor some describe as aloof. He's committed to Jacksonville.
19. Alex Meyer, rhp
The Red Sox offered Meyer $2 million as a 20th-round pick out of high school three years ago. While he had the arm strength to merit first-round money, most scouts believed he would need time to improve his secondary pitches, command and maturity. They were proven correct when he went 6-7, 6.34 in his first two seasons at Kentucky. Meyer started making the transition from pitcher to thrower this year, and as a result he could go in the first 10 picks. He's as intimidating as ever, a 6-foot-9, 220-pounder who works at 95-96 mph and can scrape triple digits with his fastball. His slider gives him a second plus-plus pitch at times, though it's still more of a chase pitch than a true strike. He also has unveiled an effective changeup. The Wildcats have helped Meyer repeat his delivery better, though that's still an issue at times because his levers are so long. His command may never be more than average, but it's a lot better than it was in high school. So too is his ability to compete. Meyer still isn't a finished product, but the huge strides he has made this spring have been encouraging. He finished strong, outdueling projected Vanderbilt first-rounder Sonny Gray with a five-hit shutout in early May and beating then-No. 6 ranked Florida in his final start of the year.
20. Jose Fernandez, rhp
Alonso HS, Tampa
Even in a strong year in Florida last year, Fernandez stood out, and opposing hitters were measured by how they fared against him. He almost didn't get to pitch this season, as he was temporarily suspended pending an investigation into how much high school baseball he played in Cuba. It took two attempts for Fernandez, his mother and his sister to escape the island nation, and he's motivated on and off the field. One scout termed his demeanor as "high-level confidence." Fernandez has those who doubt his age, and he'll be 19 before the mid-August signing date. He throws three swing-and-miss pitches: a fastball that sits 90-95 mph with heavy sink at times and a pair of breaking balls. Scouts aren't sure if Fernandez means to throw both a slider and a curve, but his slider can be sharp and his curve at times has 12-to-6 break. He's shown flashes of a changeup as well and could wind up as a four-pitch workhorse. Sturdy at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Fernandez has a mature body and will have to work to maintain his conditioning.
21. Mikie Mahtook, of
Mahtook burst onto the scene as a freshman, earning a starting spot midway through the 2009 season and helping to spark Louisiana State to the College World Series championship. He was good enough in center field to push premium athletes Leon Landry and Jared Mitchell to the outfield corners, yet at 6-foot-1, 192 pounds, some scouts are still skeptical whether he can play the middle garden in the big leagues. He played right field as a sophomore and moved back to center as a junior. He has an average arm, but if he gets any bigger and loses his slightly above-average speed, he may have to go to left. Mahtook's swing isn't technically proficient, but he's strong, repeats his stroke and has a feel for the barrel. He made consistent hard contact all season, and his OPS (1.205) was higher than it was last season. Scouts expect clubs that value performance to keep Mahtook from sliding beyond the supplemental round.
22. Levi Michael, ss
Michael was a solid high school prospect in Lexington, N.C., but he graduated early in order to join the Tar Heels for the 2009 season. He has played a new position each season, moving from second base as a freshman to third base as a sophomore, before settling in at shortstop this year. He's been a reliable defender at all three spots, and scouts are warming up to the idea that he could stay at shortstop at the pro level. He missed a couple of games with an ankle injury and was still getting back to 100 percent, but he still showed ability in all facets of the game and was hitting .311/.461/.464 with 14 stolen bases in 15 attempts in 196 at-bats. He is a patient hitter with a good eye for the strike zone from both sides of the plate, with a 43-27 walk-strikeout ratio. He hits to all fields and could hit at the top of the batting order, though he shows pop and is naturally stronger from the right side. He's an above-average runner, though he hadn't quite returned to that level since the injury. Scouts don't view the ankle as a long-term concern. Defensively, he has good actions and enough arm strength for shortstop. The only concern is his range, but he'll get every chance to prove himself before potentially sliding to second base.
23. John Stilson, rhp
Stilson set a Texarkana (Texas) JC record by winning 12 games as a freshman in 2009, then led NCAA Division I in ERA (0.80) and ranked second in strikeout per nine innings (13.5) in his first season at Texas A&M last spring. He has made another successful transition this year, moving from the bullpen back into the rotation and serving as the Aggies' ace. His fastball ranges from 91-94 mph, and it touched 96 when he worked as a reliever. He has incredible feel for a dynamite changeup that outranks his heater as his best pitch. He throws a hard breaking ball, and he has the ability to vary the angle and shape of the pitch to make it a slider or a curveball. Six-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Stilson is a quality athlete who also starred in football and basketball in high school and played shortstop at Texarkana. He's an intense competitor who relishes the responsibility that comes with being a Friday starter or a closer. Stilson's delivery is the only reason he isn't mentioned with the top tier of college pitching prospects. He catapults off the mound and throws with some effort, but that doesn't prevent him from filling the strike zone. If the team that drafts him puts him back in the bullpen, he could be the first player from the 2011 draft to reach the majors. But Stilson has legitimate value as a No. 2 or 3 starter, and he'll probably get an initial opportunity to thrive in that role in pro ball.
24. Tyler Anderson, lhp
Anderson came to Oregon from Spring Valley High in Las Vegas in 2009, the Ducks' first season back after a 29-year hiatus, and stepped right into the rotation. He became Oregon's all-time leader in strikeouts this season. He's a good athlete who has gotten bigger and stronger and now stands 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. Anderson's biggest selling point is his feel for pitching. He takes a businesslike approach to carving up hitters and commands five pitches for strikes. He throws both a two- and four-seam fastball, and it sits in the 89-93 mph range with above-average movement. His slider is his best breaking pitch, and he'll mix in a curveball. His bread-and-butter secondary offering is an above-average changeup. Anderson has a funky leg kick in his delivery. It doesn't affect his ability to throw strikes and adds deception for the batter. After being drafted in the 50th round in 2008 by the Twins, Anderson should be a first-rounder this time around and has the polish and work ethic to move quickly.
25. Robert Stephenson, rhp
Alhambra HS, Martinez, Calif.
Stephenson has a long and loose 6-foot-2 frame, and he's not done growing yet so scouts see projection as he matures. He had a busy summer on the showcase circuit and then started off his senior season by throwing back-to-back no-hitters. His fastball sat in the the 90-92 mph range last summer, and he took things up a notch this spring, sitting 93-95 and touching 97. Stephenson has a smooth, athletic delivery and produces good hand speed. This has helped his curveball improve along with his fastball, and he's now throwing the pitch in the 78-80 mph range and commanding it well. He also mixes in an occasional changeup. Stephenson is just as gifted in the classroom as he is on the pitcher's mound, and he's Washington's biggest recruit in a long time. He has been working with Huskies assistant coach Jordon Twohig since he was 13, but the program's recent struggles and Stephenson's status as a possible first rounder make it unlikely he winds up on campus.
26. C.J. Cron, 1b
Power numbers are way down in college baseball this year because of less-potent bats, but don't tell that to Cron, who hit .444/.522/.829 with 15 home runs in 187 regular-season at-bats for Utah. His father Chris played in the big leagues and has managed in the minor leagues since 1995, so C.J. has grown up around the game. He has come through the amateur ranks as a catcher, but he's just serviceable behind the plate and has not played there this season because of an injury to his throwing shoulder and his days as a catcher may be over. He doesn't move well at first base and is a bottom-of-the-scale runner, but that's all right because he's the best all-around hitter in the country and should have no problem producing the numbers teams expect from a first baseman. Cron has the unique combination of pure hitting ability and power. He projects to be an above-average hitter and has legitimate 80 raw power on the 20-80 scale that translates into at least above-average usable power. He has great hand-eye coordination and the strength in his hands to drive good pitches for singles and doubles. He uses a good approach at the plate and makes adjustments well, so he should move quickly through a team's system.
27. Kolten Wong, 2b
At 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, Wong will likely be the smallest first rounder this year. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in tools, with his hitting ability standing out the most. With a compact lefthanded swing and good bat sped, Wong profiles as an above-average hitter who will spray line drives from foul pole to foul pole. He hadn't been pitched to much this year but hasn't gotten anxious or expanded the zone. He has a professional approach at the plate and a good understanding of the strike zone. He has surprising pop for his size and should hit 10-15 home runs a year as a pro. He's also willing to do the little things—he can bunt for a base hit and hit-and-run with the best of them. Wong has average speed and good instincts and is fearless on the basepaths. He's just as versatile defensively as he is with the bat. He profiles best at second base but could become a Chone Figgins type who moves around the field. He played center field as a freshman and has also started games at catcher and shortstop.
28. Austin Hedges, c
JSerra HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Scouts in Southern California rave that Hedges is the best defensive backstop to come out of the area in at least a decade. He has spent six years honing his defense with highly regarded JSerra coach Brett Kay, a former catcher at Cal State Fullerton and in the Mets system. Grades on his receiving range from 60 to 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, while his arm rates as a 70 or even an 80, producing pop times as low as 1.78 seconds. Wiry, athletic and agile, Hedges is an exceptional blocker, adept at keeping balls in front of him. He's a below-average runner but not a baseclogger. Hedges is a high-energy player with an aggressive approach at the plate, and some scouts think he has a chance to be an average hitter with average power, though others think that is too ambitious. A righthanded hitter, most of his power is to the pull side, but he has worked hard on using the opposite field. He's a good competitor with an outstanding work ethic, and he projects as an everyday catcher with all-star potential, though he'll be tough to sign away from his commitment to UCLA.
29. Cory Spangenberg, 3b
Indian River (Fla.) JC
Spangenberg emerged as one of the draft's best pure hitters and should be the first college player drafted out of Florida. He's a Pennsylvania prep product who raked for one year at Virginia Military Institute in 2010, transferring after winning Big South Conference freshman of the year honors. He's a late bloomer physically, with a body type that defies easy categorization. While he isn't lean and athletic, he's also not stocky at 6-foot, 185 pounds. He produces well above-average speed, earning 70 grades on the 20-80 scale and posting 80 times on drag bunts (3.5 seconds from the left side). He also owns a pure lefthanded swing and is an above-average hitter. Spangenberg has hand-eye coordination, patience and the ability to manipulate the barrel, squaring balls up and lacing line drives to all fields. His swing lacks loft, but he has the feel for hitting to add power down the line, which would improve his profile. He has average arm strength, and scouts are mixed on his future position while often comparing him to versatile Marlins regular Chris Coghlan. He may lack the fluidity and footwork to stay in the infield. He played third base this spring at Indian River, but even those who like him at the hot corner admit he probably lacks the power to profile there. He played second base at VMI and shortstop in the Valley League last summer, where he was the MVP after hitting .399. His speed should allow him to play center field. Heavily scouted down the stretch, Spangenberg wasn't expected to make it out of the first round.
30. Andrew Susac, c
Susac gets mixed reviews from scouts in the Northwest this spring, but scouting directors saw him at his best last summer and catching is at even more of a premium than usual this year, so he could still be a first-rounder. He broke the hamate bone in his left wrist midway through the season but was back in game action a month later, even getting back behind the plate. During the layoff, Susac still threw regularly and did drills to improve his footwork behind the plate. He has above-average arm strength and can shut down a running game. He needs to improve his receiving skills, as his hands can get a little stiff, but he's a good athlete who blocks well. Susac has a good approach at the plate, which Beavers coaches attribute to him seeing quality stuff from their pitchers day in and day out. He has more power than a pure feel for hitting. He uses a high leg kick as part of his load, which can disrupt his timing and rhythm at times, but when he's in sync he shows above-average pop, mostly to his pull side. His success on the Cape carried over to this season and helped his confidence behind the plate.
31. Dillon Howard, rhp
Searcy (Ark.) HS
Howard established himself as the top prospect in Arkansas early on, earning all-state honors as a sophomore, and has maintained that through his senior season. He has a strong track record in showcases and summer ball. He hasn't had a boffo senior season but has maintained his status as a potential late first-round or sandwich pick. At his best, Howard throws a fastball with above-average life and velocity. It can sit 92-94 and at times has heavy sink. Command can be an issue, but he's a solid athlete whose arm works well, so scouts can project average big league fastball command. He's played catcher, shortstop and third base in high school and is a baseball rat who has passion for the game. His secondary pitches, a curveball and changeup, have their moments but have been inconsistent this season. He has more feel for his secondary offerings than many prep pitchers, which has some scouts surprised that he hasn't had a more dominant season. Some have raised concerns about his mound demeanor and energy level, but it's unlikely he falls far enough for his Arkansas commitment to come into play.
32. Matt Purke, lhp
Purke opened the year ranked right behind Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole as a potential No. 1 overall pick, but where he'll go in the draft is now wide open. He left an April 16 start against San Diego State after his fastball dropped to 82 mph in the fifth inning, and was diagnosed with shoulder bursitis four days later by orthopedist Dr. James Andrews. Purke didn't pitch again until he threw three shutout innings against New Mexico on May 19. The 14th overall pick in the 2009 draft, he agreed to a $6 million deal with the Rangers, but Major League Baseball (which controlled the club's finances at the time) wouldn't approve the deal because of the team's financial problems. So Purke joined the Horned Frogs and led them to their first-ever College World Series berth in 2010, leading NCAA Division I in wins while going 16-0, 3.02 and winning Baseball America's Freshman of the Year award. He took the summer and fall off and was hampered this season by back and blister issues. Some scouts believe his shoulder problems came because he didn't build up enough arm strength. Others blame his delivery, as the 6-foot-4, 180-pounder slings the ball from a low three-quarters arm slot. His mechanics deteriorated this spring, as he worked from an even lower angle and threw across his body more than usual, causing his stuff to flatten out. When he's healthy, Purke pitches off a lively 91-94 mph fastball that reaches 96 and backs it up with an above-average slider. His changeup has the potential to become a solid third pitch, and he has average command. He exhibited his competitiveness by gutting through nine starts and going 5-1, 1.44. With concerns about his health and signability—he possesses added leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore—it's unclear where Purke might go. He may have to re-establish his value in summer ball, as Anthony Ranaudo did a year ago after a disappointing spring at Louisiana State. He rebounded in the Cape Cod League and got a $2.55 million bonus from the Red Sox as the 39th pick.
33. Henry Owens, lhp
Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.
The top high school pitching prospect in Southern California by a landslide, Owens has a long track record of success against top competition in the biggest showcases and high school games. His 6-foot-7, 200-pound frame, easy arm action, deception, composure and advanced feel for pitching make him a potential late first-round or sandwich pick this June. Scouts have been waiting for his velocity to jump up from the 87-90 mph range for two years, and this spring it has bumped 94, though he still pitches at 88-91. He entered the spring with a loopy curveball as his second pitch, but his offspeed stuff has improved as the season progressed. His curveball has firmed up a bit, and midway through the spring he started throwing a slider and a low-80s cutter, demonstrating better feel for his craft. He also has a promising changeup, though he seldom uses it against overmatched high school hitters. Despite his size and arm action, scouts aren't convinced Owens has a ton of projection, and his lack of current plus stuff creates reservations.
34. Jackie Bradley, of
Bradley was South Carolina's best player his first two seasons, bashing 24 home runs, walking more than he struck out and overcoming an early hamate injury to lead the Gamecocks to the 2010 national championship. He was the Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series and then played for USA Baseball's college national team. Scouting directors saw him hit .318 and saw a premium defender in center field, with average speed but tremendous instincts, good routes and a plus arm. However, Bradley was struggling with the new BBCOR bats and slumping this season before he went down with a left wrist injury. He had surgery at the start of May to repair ligament and tendon damage and wasn't expected to return this season. Supporters point to his track record because his lone plus tools are his defense and his arm. He lost his feel for hitting this spring as he sold out for power, employing an uppercut that helped drop his average to .259. His believers give him above-average hitting grades for his bat speed and approach. Bradley looked to be sliding, perhaps out of the first round.
35. Tyler Beede, rhp
Lawrence Academy, Groton, Mass.
Beede won a state championship as a sophomore at Auburn (Mass.) High, and then transferred to Lawrence, one of the top prep schools in the state. Since then, he has been all over the showcase circuit and developed into New England's best prep prospect. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Beede has an ideal pitcher's frame. Throwing from a high three-quarters arm slot, he pitches at 88-93 mph and touches 95. He has good arm speed on his changeup, and he has a firm curveball that's average but has good shape. Beede is also developing a slider, though he hasn't used it in game action. There were concerns about his mechanics and arm action in the past, but he has smoothed them out this year, repeating his delivery well and getting good extension out front. His father, Walter, was a 13th-round pick of the Cubs out of a Massachusetts high school in 1981 and had a short stint in the minor leagues, when he played with Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid. Beede has advanced command, feel and offspeed stuff, and scouts are impressed with his approach to the game. He has committed to Vanderbilt and could be a tough sign.
36. Joe Ross, rhp
Bishop O'Dowd HS, Oakland
Like Robert Stephenson, Ross' stuff has also been a little bit better this spring than it was on the showcase circuit this summer. Ross, whose older brother Tyson is a righthander for the Athletics, sat in the 91-93 mph range with his fastball this summer. This spring he's been as high as 96. The pitch has good life and comes out easily from Ross' smooth delivery. He has a hard curveball in the 78-80 mph range with 11-5 break and flashes a good changeup. While he doesn't have his brother's size, he still has a nice pitcher's frame at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds. Ross is the total package—he is a quality athlete and he's also a very good student, so he'll likely be a tough pry away from his UCLA commitment.
37. Brandon Nimmo, of
East HS, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Simply getting drafted out of Wyoming is an accomplishment in itself—the state does not have high school baseball and has produced just two draft picks the past decade. Nimmo should become the state's highest pick ever. With a lean, 6-foot-3 frame with projection remaining, he's a good athlete and one of the best sprinters in the state. He tore his right ACL playing football during his junior year in 2009 and spent most of last summer playing with a brace on his knee. He's an above-average runner when he's healthy, which helps him on the basepaths and in center field, and there's more to his game than just speed. Nimmo has a pretty, efficient lefthanded swing. He's short to the ball and has outstanding barrel awareness, consistently squaring balls up and shooting line drives to all fields. He has a good eye at the plate and should be an above-average hitter. As he gets stronger, he could add loft to his swing to turn doubles into home runs. Nimmo worked out for teams in Arizona this spring and had some tendinitis in his knee. His American Legion team started playing in mid-April and their schedule goes right up to the signing deadline, and he has an Arkansas commitment to fall back on. The team that drafts him will likely follow him throughout the summer and make a call at the deadline.
38. Andrew Chafin, lhp
After missing all of 2010 recovering from Tommy John surgery, Chafin has bounced back so well that he should become the fourth Kent State pitcher (following Dustin Hermanson, Travis Miller and John Van Benschoten) selected in the first or sandwich round. Chafin dominated as a reliever in 2009 and has done the same as a starter this spring, going 6-1, 2.14 with 91 strikeouts in 71 innings through mid-May. His 81-83 mph slider can be unhittable and earns some 70 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale, and he commands a 90-95 mph fastball to both sides of the plate. When he was unable to throw a breaking ball during his rehab, he worked on a changeup, which now shows signs of becoming an average pitch. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder repeats his delivery well and throws strikes. Chafin's only setback this spring came when he developed a tired arm after making nine consecutive starts, but his stuff looked crisp again when he took a week off and returned in a relief role. He has the stuff and makeup to become a No. 2 starter or a closer.
39. Jorge Lopez, rhp
Academia de Milagrosa, Cayey, P.R.
Lopez is the best prospect in Puerto Rico and could be the island's highest-drafted pitcher ever. (The current record-holder is Luis Atilano, 35th overall in 2003.) A volleyball player and track participant in the past, Lopez is a fine athlete who has plenty of projection remaining in his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame. He's lanky, long and loose, with a fastball that sits 89-91 mph and touches 93 regularly. Lopez also stands out for having one of the best breaking balls scouts can recall for a Puerto Rican pitcher. He has flashed an above-average curve, which doesn't have true 12-to-6 rotation but isn't far off. At times it's short and tight, and he has a feel for it that belies his age and inexperience. Lopez's athletic ability has scouts optimistic about his ability to pick up larger improvements such as a changeup as well as nuances like fielding his position. He'll have to get stronger to make good on the projections scouts have for him.
40. Trevor Story, ss
Irving (Texas) HS
Story is one of the few quality, surefire shortstops in the 2011 draft, with a better chance to stick at the position than Javier Baez and Levi Michael. Scouts who believe in Story's bat see him as close to a five-tool shortstop, so he could sneak into the end of the first round. He has smooth actions along with plus range and arm strength. He has shown a 90-92 mph fastball while occasionally closing games for Irving. Story has good pop for a middle infielder, though the 6-foot, 175-pounder generates his power by collapsing on his backside and using an uppercut. His quick hands generate plenty of bat speed and allow him to barrel balls, though he may need to tone down his swing against professional pitchers. He has above-average speed and runs the bases well. Though he has committed to Louisiana State, he's expected to turn pro if he gets selected before the start of the second round.
41. Josh Osich, lhp
Scouts have always loved Osich's arm strength and body, and he was a seventh-round pick of the Angels last year, even though he didn't throw a pitch following Tommy John surgery. After showing what he can do when healthy, he should go significantly higher this time around. A key component to Oregon State's weekend rotation, Osich matched his career innings pitched total for the Beavers in the fifth inning of his no-hitter against UCLA on April 30. His repertoire mostly consists of a 93-94 mph heater that he can dial up to 97 and a changeup, though he started mixing in a breaking ball this spring. His changeup and command have both improved, and the breaking ball took his game to a new level. His power arsenal, injury history and age (22) mean a team will likely put Osich on a fast track to the big leagues as a reliever, where he has the stuff, work ethic and mental toughness to succeed.
42. Alex Dickerson, of
Dickerson established his hitting credentials by winning the Big Ten Conference triple crown (.419-24-75) as a sophomore, then batting .500 in a nine-game stint in the Cape Cod League before moving on to Team USA. He hasn't put up the same numbers this spring, as he has battled back problems and teams have pitched around him. He's still one of the better bats available in the draft. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound lefthander has pure hitting ability, average to plus power to all parts of the ballpark and an advanced approach. Pitchers rarely have challenged Dickerson on the inner half, and scouts have lauded his willingness to use the opposite field. He's a below-average runner with substandard range and a fringy arm in left field, and he's going to have to work harder on defense to avoid a move to first base or DH. His back issues don't help in that regard, and he had surgery to repair a bulging disc while he was in high school.
43. Kyle Winkler, rhp
With Matt Purke ailing, Winkler has replaced him as Texas Christian's ace. Hitters have a tough time squaring Winkler's pitches up, especially his 91-95 mph fastball with heavy sink. He has added velocity this spring, not only to his heater but also to his slider, which reaches the mid-80s. His breaking ball is more effective when he throws in the low 80s, and some scouts would like to see him break out the hard curveball he used in high school. His improved changeup gives him a solid third pitch that he should throw more often, and his command also has taken a step forward. If Winkler had ideal pitcher size rather than checking in at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, he'd be a mid-first-rounder. His delivery isn't the smoothest, but it's also deceptive and doesn't feature a terrible amount of effort. Scouts have noted his competitive streak for years, going back to when he led the U.S. national team to a gold medal at the 2006 Pan American Youth Championships with a 1.15 ERA.
44. Brian Goodwin, of
Goodwin has been under the microscope this year and has responded well. He was a 16th-round pick out of Rocky Mount (N.C.) High in 2009 but didn't sign and went to North Carolina, where he posted a solid .291/.409/.511 freshman season. Goodwin then went to the Cape Cod League and ranked as the No. 6 prospect after hitting .281/.364/.360. Then he was suspended for a violation of university policy at North Carolina, so he transferred to Miami-Dade JC. He got off to a slow start thanks in part to a tweaked hamstring, but Goodwin came on to earn comparisons to ex-big leaguer Jacque Jones. Goodwin has average to plus tools across the board, starting with his hitting ability. He's patient, draws walks and has present strength, and some project him to have future plus power. A plus runner who's not quite a burner, Goodwin has the tools for center field, but he played a corner spot at North Carolina and doesn't consistently display natural instincts in center.
45. Michael Fulmer, rhp
Deer Creek HS, Edmond, Okla.
Oklahoma has its best high school pitching crop ever, highlighted by Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley and featuring three other arms who could go in the first five rounds. Fulmer is the best of the second tier and has improved his stock to the point where he could be a top-50 selection. After pitching at 87-91 mph on the showcase circuit last summer, he has boosted his fastball to the mid-90s and topped out at 97 mph this spring. He maintains his velocity, often showing some 93s and 94s in the late innings. His slider also has gotten harder, improving from 78-80 mph to 83-85. Like many high school pitchers, he'll need to refine a changeup. His arm works well, though he could firm up his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame.
46. Dillon Maples, rhp
Pinecrest HS, Southern Pines, N.C.
Maples has had the benefit of professional insight. His father, Tim, was a second-round pick of the Orioles in 1979, and his pitching coach at Pinecrest is James Baldwin, the former White Sox all-star. Scouts got a good look at Maples during his junior season when they went to see Baldwin's son, outfielder James Baldwin III, who signed with the Dodgers as a fourth-rounder. Maples' best assets are athleticism and arm strength. Also a standout kicker on the football team, he stands at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds with a strong lower half. His fastball sits 91-94 mph and has touched the mid-90s throughout the season. His curveball is an above-average pitch that has left his competition in the state overmatched. He lacks command of his fastball and actually does a better job of spotting his curveball. He has shown a changeup in warm-ups but doesn't need it in games, so the pitch will need development. Maples has a short arm action and questionable mechanics that lead to his below-average command. Scouts say his athleticism will allow him to make the necessary adjustments. He is committed to North Carolina, where he would play baseball and have a chance to walk on as a kicker for the football team.
47. Kyle Crick, rhp
Sherman (Texas) HS
Crick played mostly first base for Sherman as a junior a year ago, but began to realize his future was on the mound when he hit 94 mph with his fastball on the showcase circuit during the summer. He since has emerged as the top pitching prospect in the Texas high school ranks this spring. Working from a high three-quarters arm slot, he consistently has dealt in the low 90s, peaking at 97 mph and featuring late life on his heater. His mid-70s curveball is a plus pitch at times, though it lacks command and consistency because he overthrows it. Crick also will flash an above-average slider and fiddles around with a splitter and a changeup, but he's essentially still in the early stages of learning to pitch. He's mainly an arm-strength guy right now, but it's impressive arm strength. There's effort in the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder's delivery, and he'd do a better job of living in the strike zone if he took a more direct line toward the plate. He has committed to Texas Christian.
48. Sean Gilmartin, lhp
Gilmartin isn't flashy, but his total package should take him off the board in the first 50 picks as one of the draft's safest selections. A two-way talent out of a California high school, he attended a camp at Florida State and wound up being one of the Seminoles' rare cross-country recruits. He has pitched on Fridays for three seasons and helped lead Florida State to the College World Series last season, though he struggled putting hitters away in the second half of the season and last summer with USA Baseball's college national team. Gilmartin has improved significantly in the last year and become a scouts' darling with his combination of good size (6-foot-2, 192 pounds), clean arm action and solid athleticism. He has pushed his fastball into the average velocity range at 88-91 mph, his changeup remains a plus pitch and his slider has improved to average. Gilmartin knows how to use his stuff, particularly his changeup, how to set up hitters and how to keep them off-balance. His 10-1, 1.35 season includes four double-digit strikeout efforts. Scouts compare Gilmartin favorably to Vanderbilt southpaw Mike Minor, who went seventh overall to the Braves in 2009 and reached the majors a season later.
49. Dwight Smith Jr., of
McIntosh HS, Peachtree City, Ga.
Smith is the son of the big league outfielder of the same name. Junior has tools and a game that resemble his father significantly. His best tool is his bat, as he owns a pure stroke that ranks among the best in the draft class. He features a prominent leg kick at the plate, yet always seems to be on time and gets his bat into the hitting zone for a long time. Smith has a bit less speed than his dad and may wind up a below-average runner when it's all said and done, pushing him from center field to a corner. He has enough arm strength to make right field a possibility, but a move to a corner will put more pressure on his bat. He has solid power and projects to have average raw power. He's committed to Georgia Tech.
50. Tony Zych, rhp
Zych led the Cape Cod League with 12 saves last summer, when scouts voted him the circuit's top prospect after he dealt 97 mph fastballs during the all-star game. After using him sporadically as a starter in his first two seasons, Louisville has kept him in the bullpen this spring and he has thrived. He has worked at 94-97 mph all season, with a high of 99. His fastball gets on hitters quickly thanks to some funk in his delivery. Zych's arm action isn't pretty and puts some stress on his shoulder, but it adds to his deception and doesn't hamper his control. He's an athletic 6-foot-3, 188-pounder whom the Cardinals recruited as a two-way player who could contribute in the middle infield, where he saw some action as a freshman. Zych has the mental toughness to handle late-inning assignments and shouldn't require much time in the minors. Whether he becomes a closer or set-up man depends on how consistent his mid-80s slider becomes. He doesn't miss as many bats as he should because his fastball can get straight and his slider can flatten out.