Early Draft Preview: The Top 50





Our Top 50 draft prospects list is compiled from conversations with scouts, scouting directors and general managers.

TOP 50 PROSPECTS
1. Anthony Rendon, 3b, Rice
Could be first college position player taken with top pick since Pat Burrell (1998).
2. Gerrit Cole, rhp, UCLA
Had best pure stuff in 2008 draft and has best pure stuff this time around.
3. Matt Purke, lhp, Texas Christian
Rangers offered him $6 million out of high school in 2009 before MLB killed deal.
4. George Springer, of, Connecticut
Potential 30-30 player is best all-around athlete in this draft class.
5. Sonny Gray, rhp, Vanderbilt
If he weren't 5-foot-11, he'd be in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick.
6. Taylor Jungmann, rhp, Texas
Big-game pitcher has gone 6-0 in two years of NCAA tournament play.
7. Jackie Bradley, of, South Carolina
Won Most Outstanding Player honors as Gamecocks took 2010 College World Series title.
8. Matt Barnes, rhp, Connecticut
He and Springer will surpass Charles Nagy (No. 17, 1988) as highest-drafted Huskies ever.
9. Archie Bradley, rhp, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS
Has size, stuff and a football scholarship to play quarterback at Oklahoma.
10. Bubba Starling, of, Gardner-Edgerton HS, Gardner, Kan.
Another QB recruit (Nebraska), he's a two-way star who can hit 94 mph on the mound.
11. Danny Hultzen, lhp, Virginia
Doesn't have the stuff of the arms ahead of him, but he's more polished than any of them.
12. Jed Bradley, lhp, Georgia Tech
One AL scouting director says he'd take Bradley over any pitcher in this draft.
13. Francisco Lindor, ss, Montverde (Fla.) Academy
Five-tool player won Aflac home run derby, is easily the top shortstop in this draft crop.
14. Daniel Norris, lhp, Science Hill HS, Johnson City, Tenn.
Similar to 2010's No. 4 pick, Drew Pomeranz, including his Tennessee roots.
15. Dylan Bundy, rhp, Owasso (Okla.) HS
Mark your calendar: Faces Archie Bradley and Broken Arrow on Feb. 23, April 15.
16. Trevor Bauer, rhp, UCLA
Led NCAA Division I with 165 strikeouts last spring, showed increased velocity in fall.
17. Henry Owens, lhp, Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Ultraprojectable 6-foot-5, 195-pounder was top pitcher at Area Code Games.
18. Anthony Meo, rhp, Coastal Carolina
Showed upper-90s fastball, upper-80s slider in Cape Cod League.
19. Jose Fernandez, rhp, Alonso HS, Tampa
Cuban defector touches 97 mph with fastball, backs it up with hard curveball.
20. Dillon Howard, rhp, Searcy (Ark.) HS
Could pass Hugh Walker (No. 18, 1988) as earliest Arkansas prep pick ever.
21. Josh Bell, of, Jesuit College Prep, Dallas
Started switch-hitting at age 5, has enticing power from both sides of the plate.
22. Blake Swihart, c, Cleveland HS, Rio Rancho, N.M.
Athletic catcher topped U.S. 18U team in hitting (.448), homers (five) last summer.
23. John Stilson, rhp, Texas A&M
Led NCAA Division I in ERA (0.80), ranked second in K/9 (13.5) last year.
24. Kolten Wong, 2b, Hawaii
Cape Cod League MVP is a heady player who hit .341 with wood bats.
25. Tyler Anderson, lhp, Oregon
Used solid four-pitch mix to pitch 16 scoreless innings for Team USA last summer.
26. Jason Esposito, 3b, Vanderbilt
Very athletic for a third baseman with solid tools across the board.
27. Alex Dickerson, of, Indiana
One of best bats in draft, won Big Ten triple crown (.419-24-75) last spring.
28. Brian Goodwin, of, Miami Dade JC
Top juco prospect transferred from North Carolina after being suspended.
29. Brandon Nimmo, of, East HS, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Tremendous athlete is best Wyoming prep prospect since Mike Devereaux.
30. Mikie Mahtook, of, Louisiana State
With solid tools across the board, could go much higher if he makes swing adjustments.
31. Jason Coats, of, Texas Christian
Set TCU record with 99 hits in spring, raised his profile more than anyone on Cape last summer.
32. Peter O'Brien, c, Bethune-Cookman
Scouts love his huge raw power but he must improve his receiving to stay behind the plate.
33. Andrew Susac, c, Oregon State
Draft-eligible sophomore had lackluster freshman year before leading Cape in slugging (.500).
34. Alex Meyer, rhp, Kentucky
He's 6-foot-8 and can touch 100 mph, but he also has a 6-7, 6.34 record in two years of college.
35. Tony Zych, rhp, Louisville
Draft's best reliever prospect earned top-prospect honors from scouts in Cape Cod League.
36. Austin Hedges, c, JSerra HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Outstanding defender is committed to UCLA, will be one of draft's toughest signs.
37. Nicky Delmonico, c/3b, Farragut HS, Knoxville, Tenn.
Can play all over the diamond, bat makes him a top prospect even if he's not a catcher.
38. Javier Baez, 3b/c, Arlington Country Day HS, Jacksonville
Toolsy player has plus power and speed, become more attractive if he can catch.
39. Dwight Smith Jr., of, McIntosh HS, Peachtree City, Ga.
Pure hitter's father Dwight Sr. finished second in 1989 NL rookie of the year balloting.
40. Austin Wood, rhp, Southern California
He's inconsistent and at his third school in three years, but he hit 99 mph on the Cape.
41. Derek Fisher, of, Cedar Crest HS, Lebanon, Pa.
Unveiled five-tool potential at East Coast Professional Showcase.
42. Charlie Tilson, of, New Trier HS, Winnetka, Ill.
Vaulted up draft boards with breakout performance at Area Code Games.
43. John Ruettiger, of, Arizona State
Nephew of immortal football walk-on "Rudy" won Cape batting title with .369 average.
44. Billy Flamion, of, Central Catholic HS, Modesto, Calif.
Corner outfielder has one of the quickest bats among this year's high schoolers.
45. Logan Verrett, rhp, Baylor
One of more polished college arms available, throws three solid pitches for strikes.
46. Levi Michael, ss, North Carolina
Top college shortstop prospect played second and third base in first two seasons.
47. Tyler Beede, rhp, Lawrence Academy, Groton, Mass.
Advanced prep pitcher works both sides of the plate, has quality secondary pitches.
48. Andrew Chafin, lhp, Kent State
Showed 95-mph fastball in fall practice after missing 2010 following Tommy John surgery.
49. Jack Armstrong, rhp, Vanderbilt
Son of former all-star has first-round stuff but must show more consistency.
50. Zach Cone, of, Georgia
Fastest player in draft can move up draft boards if he puts bad Cape summer behind him.
—Rankings by BA staff, capsules by Jim Callis