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Posted: Wednesday June 4, 2008 1:31PM; Updated: Wednesday June 4, 2008 1:31PM

Coming attractions: Top 10 MLB-ready talents in the draft

Story Highlights
  • Pedro Alvarez is the top all-around hitter in college baseball
  • Because of the need for relievers, Andre Cashner could arrive first
  • Josh Fields, a Scott Boras client who went unsigned last year, is a top pick again
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Gordon Beckham
Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham has been a star for the Bulldogs.
AP

By Kevin Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus

These 10 draft prospects are the most big-league ready -- so don't be surprised to see them wearing a major league uniform soon.

Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt. The top all-around college hitter combines a sound approach with plenty of bat speed and plus power; ignore this year's injury-affected stat line (9 HRs, 30 RBIs) as his track record is more than long enough for that to be a non-issue.

Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia. A grinder type who has put up some incredible numbers in one of college baseball's toughest conferences (.397 batting average in '08 with 24 HRs), Beckham has drawn frequent comparisons to San Diego's Khalil Greene.

Andrew Cashner, RHP, Texas Christian. Plenty of teams are going to look at college relievers in the first round, and Cashner might be the quickest to the big leagues thanks to a devastating fastball/slider combination that helped him go 9-4 with a 2.32 ERA and nine saves this season.

Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri. Generally considered the best right-handed college pitcher available, Crow has pure power stuff and could come on even faster if converted to a bullpen role

Josh Fields, RHP, Georgia. After going unsigned last year the Scott Boras client has had one of the best statistical seasons of any reliever (2.27 ERA, 56 strikeouts in 31.2 innings and 16 saves -- tops in the NCAA and a school record) and is lined up to make more money than he would had he inked a year ago.

Ryan Perry, RHP, Arizona. 100 mph heat doesn't last too long in the minors, and Perry showed that kind of velocity more than once in last week's regional play. Scouts are concerned that it's straight, but it shouldn't be an issue in getting him to the majors quickly.

Brian Matusz, RHP, San Diego. The best college pitcher in the game doesn't have a dominating pitch, but his combination of three above-average offerings and outstanding command is very rare, and he should rocket through the minors after going 12-2 with a 1.71 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 105 IP as a junior in 2008.

Buster Posey, C, Florida State. One of the safest position player picks in years, Posey could quickly become a Gold Glove catcher who hits around .280 with 15-20 home runs and 75 walks a year.

Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina. A switch-hitter with plus power from both sides, Smoak ended the season on a big-time power surge (23 HRs to go with a .383 BA), and some see him as a switch-hitting Justin Morneau.

Brett Wallace, 1B, Arizona State. At somewhere around 250 pounds, the beefy Wallace doesn't make a good first impression with scouts, but after back-to-back Pac-10 Triple Crowns, everyone knows that the Walrus can hit.

 
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