Top prospect likely to seek record bonus (cont.)
1. Harper, C, College of Southern Nevada. The talk of the draft.
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands (Texas) High. Huge arm from a hotbed of pitching prospects, going all the way back to Nolan Ryan.
3. Drew Pomeranz, LHP, U. of Mississippi. Perhaps the top college pitching prospect, he has had an exceptional year, save for a recent nine-walk outing in tough conditions vs. rival LSU.
4. A.J. Cole, RHP, Oviedo (Fla.) High. Tall lad (6-5) with big-time fastball should go high.
5. Manny Machado, SS, Miami (Fla.) High. Some have compared his big bat and excellent defense to another Miami shortstop, Alex Rodriguez, though the more levelheaded scouts call those comparisons "unfair.'' Still, he's said to be "streaking up the charts.''
6. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, LSU. Looks like a pitcher, getting healthy and moving up.
7. Karsten Whitson, RHP, Chipley (Fla.) High. Big kid (6-4) throws 96 and is said to have excellent mound presence.
8. Zack Cox, 3B, U. of Arkansas. The best Division I hitter in a weak class.
9. Deck McGuire, RHP, Georgia Tech. Throwing well all year.
10. Bryce Bentz, OF, Middle Tennessee St. Big power threat declined to sign when Indians drafted him as a pitcher out of high school.
11. Matt Harvey, RHP, U. of North Carolina. Coming around after disappointing first two years at North Carolina. Big arm with bigger repertoire make him an excellent prospect.
12. Dylan Covey, RHP, Pasadena (Calif.) High. Nice repertoire for prep schooler.
13. Christian Colon, SS, Cal-State Fullerton. Tremendous instincts and defense and some power. Safe bet.
14. Stetson Allie, RHP, St. Edward's (Ohio) High. Thick kid (6-4, 225). Huge arm and about the best velocity in the draft (98 mph).
15. Yasmani Grandal, C, U. of Miami. USA team member may get picked even higher than talent would suggest due to paucity of good catching.
16. Yordy Cabrera, SS, Lakeland (Fla.) High. Combines arm, power and speed.
17. Austin Wilson, OF, North Hollywood (Calif.) High. Stanford recruit is said to have all the tools.
18. LeVan Washington, OF, Chippola JC. Speedster turned down $500,000 offer from Tampa last year.
19. James Paxton, LHP, U. of Kentucky. Improving pitcher may do better after turning down Toronto last year.
20. Gary Brown, OF, Cal-State-Fullerton. Remarkable speed compares to Jacoby Ellsbury.
21. Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast U. Known for sinking fastball and control.
22. Brandon Workman, RHP, U. of Texas. Excellent moving fastball, varied repertoire and a lot of poise.
23. Jedd Gyorko, 3B, U. of West Virginia. Wild card is a Kevin Youkilis type.
24. Caleb Cowart, RHP, INF, Cook County (Ga.) High. Versatile player has good power, strong arm.
25. Alex Wimmers, RHP, Ohio State. Superb curveball to go with a fine record make him solid pick.
Famous names: Cameron Bedrosian (son of former Cy Young winner Steve), Dickie Thon Jr., Delino DeShields, Mel Rojas Jr.
Around the Majors
There seems to be some pessimism about whether the Phillies can sign Jayson Werth after keeping Ryan Howard for a $125-million extension, especially if word that he'll seek close to $100 million as a free agent is true (one exec said Jason Bay's $66 million deal is a fairer comp than Matt Holliday's $120 million contract, though). Philly people fell pretty well covered with two top outfield prospects, Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr., close to ready in the event Werth leaves. Brown would make the Phillies more left-handed than they already are, but the Phillies like the righty-hitting Mayberry, too.
People around baseball do expect the Phillies to make a huge effort to extend Jimmy Rollins beyond, 2011, though there's no evidence there's any progress on that front. Meanwhile, his calf injury is taking longer to heal than first believed and now the Phillies are hoping he can be back by the middle of the month, but it may be later than that
Some are attributing Barry Zito's stark improvement to him making a concerted effort to be rid of distractions, musical and otherwise. Zito is now 4-0 with a 1.53 ERA.
A healthy Vernon Wells hasn't only turned his game around -- he's batting .330 with 8 home runs and 18 RBIs -- but also he's taken more of a leadership role in the Jays' clubhouse.
Carlos Zambrano should get credit for accepting his move to the bullpen. If he's upset about it, he hasn't said so. Though a couple of his friends said they don't like the move, and one called it "asinine.'' But Zambrano has pitched well in that role so far -- three games, five hits and one run allowed in four innings -- and Lou Piniella said he could close on occasion if Carlos Marmol isn't available.
It's very curious that there's been no hint of extension talk between the Cubs and star first baseman Derrek Lee, who can become a free agent at year's end. The Cubs have given out some big free-agent deals, but they should try to take care of their own players when possible. Lee is believed to be interested in staying.
One of the better under-the-radar trades was the Indians' pickup of starting pitcher Mitch Talbot from Tampa Bay for spare catcher Kelly Shoppach. Talbot is off to a 3-1 start with a 2.05 ERA in Cleveland. Meanwhile, the Rays have traded away Jason Hammel and Edwin Jackson in the past two years, as well, and may be the only team that could afford to trade a trio of viable starting pitchers. Their rotation remains one of their many strengths regardless.
Top Twins catching prospect Wilson Ramos had four hits in his major league debut. He is a superb prospect, and it's believed manager Ron Gardenhire would have liked to have started the season with him in the bigs -- though he understood Twins brass wanting to keep him in the minors so he could catch every day. With star Joe Mauer's heel hurting, this is a good opportunity to see Ramos.
Jeff Francoeur, after less than a year in New York, already appears to be the Mets' team leader.
Ryan Madson pulled a dumb move when he broke his right big toe by kicking a metal folding chair in anger. But at least he didn't make up some false story about how it happened, which is what usually occurs. And at least his timing wasn't bad: he went on the disabled list the very day Brad Lidge came off.
Adrian Gonzalez hit 40 home runs last year and Alex Gonzalez hit eight. But check out their numbers so far this season: 6 HRs, 17 RBIs, .548 slugging percentage for Adrian; 7, 19, .604 for Alex. Hard to believe.
Rockies youngster Jhoulys Chacin lived up to his billing in beating the Giants Sunday night. Esmil Rogers is yet another big-time prospect. The Rockies keep producing prospects, and with their injuries, it's a good thing. Huston Street is making progress toward a return, an important thing.
Trevor Hoffman finally got another save. For a while there, a fire alarm could have replaced Hell's Bells as his song after he blew consecutive save chances against the Brewers last week.
Bobby Cox said Roy Halladay was so good and so precise against the Braves that he could have beaten them throwing only fastballs.
The Red Sox know they need to turn things around quickly in that division. It's getting late early for them, as Yogi would say.
The Astros started the year with an eight-game losing streak but briefly fooled a few folks before starting the six-game losing streak they now sport.
Nice to see the D-Train back on track.
MLB Truth & Rumors