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We'll have more on the Randy Johnson deal at Trade Central once it becomes official. While none of the players the Diamondbacks will surrender is earth-shattering (big leaguer Luis Vizcaino and three prospects: righties Ross Ohlendorf and Steven Jackson, shortstop Alberto Gonzalez), I don't understand the rush to give them up and commit a reported $24 million over two years to acquire a 43-year-old pitcher with physical problems who's coming off his worst season ever.

The supplemental first round is now up to at least 32 picks after Type B free agent Keith Foulke left Boston for Cleveland. Below is the draft order as it stands now.

First-Round Picks
1. Devil Rays
2. Royals
3. Cubs
4. Pirates
5. Orioles
6. Nationals
7. Brewers
8. Rockies
9. Diamondbacks
10. Giants
11. Mariners
12. Marlins
13. Indians
14. Braves
15. Reds
16. Blue Jays (Frank Catalanotto, A, to Tex)
17. Rangers (Carlos Lee, A, to Hou)
18. Cardinals
19. Phillies
20. Dodgers (Julio Lugo, A, to Bos)
21. Blue Jays
22. Giants (Jason Schmidt, A, to LAD)
23. Padres
24. Rangers (Gary Matthews Jr., A, to LAA)
25. White Sox
26. Athletics
27. Tigers
28. Twins
29. Giants (Moises Alou, A, to NYM)
30. Yankees
Supplemental First-Round Picks
31. Cubs (Juan Pierre, B, to LAD)
32. Nationals (Alfonso Soriano, A, to ChC)
33. Diamondbacks (Craig Counsell, B, to Mil)
34. Giants (Alou)
35. Mariners (Gil Meche, B, to KC)
36. Braves (Danys Baez, A, to Bal)
37. Reds (Rich Aurilia, A, to SF)
38. Rangers (Lee)
39. Cardinals (Jeff Suppan, A, to Mil)
40. Phillies (David Dellucci, A, to Cle)
41. Red Sox (Alex Gonzalez, B, to Cin)
42. Blue Jays (Justin Speier, A, to LAA)
43. Dodgers (Lugo)
44. Padres (Woody Williams, A, to Hou)
45. Angels (Adam Kennedy, B, to StL)
46. Athletics (Barry Zito, A, to SF)
47. Tigers (Jamie Walker, B, to Bal)
48. Mets (Roberto Hernandez, A, to Cle)
49. Nationals (Jose Guillen, B, to Sea)
50. Diamondbacks (Miguel Batista, B, to Sea)
51. Giants (Schmidt)
52. Rangers (Matthews)
53. Red Sox (Keith Foulke, B, to Cle)
54. Blue Jays (Catalanotto)
55. Padres (Dave Roberts, A, to SF)
56. Athletics (Frank Thomas, B, to Tor)
57. Mets (Chad Bradford, A, to Bal)
58. Giants (Mike Stanton, B, to Cin)
59. Rangers (Mark DeRosa, B, to ChC)
60. Blue Jays (Ted Lilly, B, to ChC)
61. Padres (Alan Embree, B, to Oak)
62. Padres (Ryan Klesko, B, to SF)
63. Diamondbacks (have yet to sign 2006 first-rounder Max Scherzer)
Second-Round Changes
66. Nationals (Soriano to ChC)
68. Braves (Baez to Bal)
70. Cardinals (Suppan to Mil)
73. Athletics (Zito to SF)
76. Mets (Hernandez to Cle)
80. Padres (Williams to Hou)
87. Blue Jays (Speier to LAA)
Third-Round Changes
98. Mets (Bradford to Bal)
103. Reds (Aurilia to SF)
106. Phillies (Dellucci to Cle)
Fourth-Round Changes
133. Padres (Roberts to SF)
Remaining Compensation Free Agents
Cin: Scott Schoeneweis (B).
NYY: Ron Villone (B).
StL: Mark Mulder (B).
SD: Chan Ho Park (B), David Wells (B).

    Who would you rate as the top five hitters and top five pitchers, prospects or not, under the age of 25?

    Richard Newman
    Boston

I'll start by looking at this from a prospect standpoint. In the upcoming 2007 Prospect Handbook, I presented my personal Top 50 list. Red Sox righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka occupied the No. 1 spot, but he's 26. Everyone else easily fit the under-25 criteria:

1. Alex Gordon, 3b, Royals
2. Delmon Young, of, Devil Rays
3. Brandon Wood, ss, Angels
4. Jay Bruce, of, Reds
5. Cameron Maybin, of, Tigers

1. Philip Hughes, rhp, Yankees
2. Homer Bailey, rhp, Reds
3. Tim Lincecum, rhp, Giants
4. Andrew Miller, lhp, Tigers
5. Yovani Gallardo, rhp, Brewers

Most of those players will become stars in the big leagues before they turn 25. That's why my overall lists contain nary a prospect:

1. Joe Mauer, c, Twins
2. Miguel Cabrera, 3b, Marlins
3. David Wright, 3b, Mets
4. Grady Sizemore, of, Indians
5. Jose Reyes, ss, Mets

1. Felix Hernandez, rhp, Mariners
2. Matt Cain, rhp, Giants
3. Scott Kazmir, lhp, Devil Rays
4. Jeremy Bonderman, rhp, Tigers
5. Justin Verlander, rhp, Tigers

All those prospects in the first lists are can't-miss guys, but it would be very difficult to take any of them over the established major leaguers. I had a hard time not putting Hanley Ramirez on the position-player list, as he had a better year as a rookie than Reyes did as a third-year big leaguer in 2006.

If not for the uncertainty about his future health, Francisco Liriano would have made the list of pitchers. Cole Hamels was another guy who just missed.

    With the Devil Rays having the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft and all the holes they need to fill at the big league level, which player could they choose who would have the best chance to have an immediate impact in Tampa Bay?

    Steve Stark
    Sarasota, Fla.

Though the Devil Rays are coming off their eighth last-place finish in nine years of existence, they don't have as many holes as you might think. They have the best farm system in baseball. They have more outfielders than they can possibly use, and their infield is starting to get crowded as well.

Thus, if Tampa Bay is looking for a player who can help quickly (immediately would be pushing it), it's going to probably be looking for a starting pitcher. The Rays have a lot of young arms in their system, but most are at least another year or two away. The best candidates from the 2007 draft would be Vanderbilt lefthander David Price or North Carolina State righty Andrew Brackman. Relievers generally move faster than starters, and there are a lot of college relief aces who could go high in June, but not at No. 1.

From a position standpoint, the player who would be the most attractive to Tampa Bay is Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters. Right now, my best guess is that the Rays would take Price.

    What kind of stuff does Yankees lefthander Kei Igawa have and how does it project to the majors? I've heard he has a pretty average fastball that sits in the low 90s, with a heck of a changeup and an average curveball. Are there any current major leaguers that you would compare him to?

    Michael Poliboy
    Stamford, Conn.

Igawa, who didn't sign in time to make our original Yankees Top 10, will rank No. 8 on our Yankees list in the Handbook. Our reports are that he has an 86-91 mph fastball that tops out at 93, along with a hard breaking ball in the upper 70s and a decent changeup. He figures to be New York's No. 4 starter after Randy Johnson's trade.

Igawa sounds similar to a Joe Kennedy or a shorter version of Mark Hendrickson. His stuff isn't overwhelming, but he led Japan's Central League in strikeouts in three of the last five seasons and was the CL MVP in 2003.

<< December 29 Ask BA