Early Draft Preview

Preliminary Top 30

Skinny on the top prospects for the '08 draft

These rankings are based solely on talent, with no attempt to gauge signability or match players with specific teams.

1. Pedro Alvarez, 3b, Vanderbilt
Could make Vandy the first school to produce consecutive No. 1 overall picks, following David Price.

2. Brian Matusz, lhp, San Diego
Potential for three plus pitches makes big lefty the top pitching prospect in the draft.

3. Aaron Crow, rhp, Missouri
Consistently showed well above-average fastball, plus slider last summer in the Cape Cod League.

4. Tim Beckham, ss, Griffin (Ga.) HS
Most polished athlete in draft has more five-tool potential than any of the college prospects.

5. Justin Smoak, 1b, South Carolina
He's a switch-hitting slugger from Stratford High (Goose Creek, S.C.)—just like last year's No. 5 pick, Matt Wieters.

6. Tim Melville, rhp, Holt HS, Wentzville, Mo.
Classic high school pitching prospect with plus fastball, solid secondary pitches, clean mechanics.

7. Yonder Alonso, 1b, Miami
Advanced hitter who displays refined approach, produces for both average and power.

8. Eric Hosmer, 1b, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
He's the high school version of Alonso and the loft in his swing gives him more power potential.

9. Christian Friedrich, lhp, Eastern Kentucky
Fastball jumped from low 80s to low 90s as a freshman, and his curveball is the best in the college ranks.

10. Brett Hunter, rhp, Pepperdine
Led Team USA with 0.66 ERA last summer, then hit 100 mph in fall practice.

11.  Gerrit Cole, rhp, Lutheran HS, Orange, Calif.
 "He may show the best fastball this spring, college or high school," says one front-office executive.

12. Kyle Skipworth, c, Patriot HS, Riverside, Calif.
Four-tool catcher is an accomplished defender with a promising bat.

13. Aaron Hicks, of/rhp, Wilson HS, Long Beach
Owns a plus fastball and curveball, but he may have more value as a speedy center fielder.

14. Harold Martinez, 3b, Braddock HS, Miami
Currently a shortstop, he has Gold Glove potential as a third baseman and can do everything but run.

15. Buster Posey, c, Florida State
Made a smooth transition from shortstop to catcher as a sophomore, makes consistent contact as a hitter.

16. Ryan Perry, rhp, Arizona
Put two mediocre seasons behind him by blowing away Cape hitters with 94-98 mph heat.

17. Shooter Hunt, rhp, Tulane
Can move up this list if he learns to trust his plus fastball-slider combo and throw more strikes.

18. Jacob Thompson, rhp, Virginia
Has very good command of solid stuff, similar to 2007 Athletics first-rounder Justin Simmons.

19. Dennis Raben, of, Miami
His big-time power makes him stand out easily among lackluster college outfield crop.

20. Alex Meyer, rhp, Greensburg (Ind.) HS
Already touches 96 mph and has a lot of projection remaining in his 6-foot-7, 200-pound frame.

21. Luke Burnett, rhp, Louisiana Tech
Topped out at 98 mph as part of a dominant Cape pitching staff that included Crow, Friedrich and Hunt.

22. Tanner Scheppers, rhp, Fresno State
After he sat out last summer, scouts are anxious to see if his power fastball-slider combo is for real.

23. Cody Satterwhite, rhp, Mississippi
Hitters don't like to dig in against Satterwhite, who can reach the upper 90s from a deceptive delivery.

24. Gordon Beckham, ss, Georgia
Unrelated to Tim, he has solid all-around tools and led the Cape with nine homers last summer.

25. Jemile Weeks, 2b, Miami
Rickie's little brother is the best college athlete, a speedster with leadoff skills and quality defense.

26. Sonny Gray, rhp, Smyrna (Tenn.) HS
Stands just 6 feet tall but his power curve is the best among prepsters, and his fastball reaches 93 mph.

27. Kyle Lobstein, lhp, Coconino HS, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Three-pitch lefthander shows advanced feel and command, projects to add velo to high-80s fastball.

28. Brandon Crawford, ss, UCLA
Shows across-the-board tools but scouts want to see him make more consistent contact.

29. Isaac Galloway, of, Los Osos HS, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Impressive specimen stands out with arm and speed, though he's still raw at the plate.

30. Brett DeVall, lhp, Niceville (Fla.) HS
Has the best fastball among prep lefties, and his slider and command are promising as well.