A day before the draft, I'm going to offer my first-round projection:
1. San Diego Padres: Stephen Drew, SS, Florida State. The Padres have been bouncing in between Drew, Jered Weaver, Jeff Niemann and now Matt Bush in recent weeks. If they really want a middle infielder, they would be better off with Drew, even if the price tag would be higher than Bush'.
2. Detroit Tigers: Homer Bailey, RHP, Texas (High School). The Tigers short list is reportedly down to Bailey, Jeff Niemann and Justin Verlander. Niemann and Verlander have disappointed this season, while Bailey has dominated at the prep ranks.
3. New York Mets: Phillip Humber, RHP, Rice. There are several more high-profile arms on the board, but Humber has been as steady as they come this spring with a low-90s fastball and one of the best curveballs available in the draft.
4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Jeff Niemann, RHP, Rice. Is this the year the D-Rays finally start accumulating some talented arms? I think so.
5. Milwaukee Brewers: Mark Rogers, RHP, Maine (HS). The Brewers are reportedly hot for Rogers, a fire-balling righty that has enjoyed an incredible year. Chris Nelson might be too good to pass up here.
6. Cleveland Indians: Jeremy Sowers, LHP, Vanderbilt. The Indians have followed Sowers all spring, and like the Brewers they may feel that Chris Nelson is too good to pass up. Sowers has done nothing but produce for over four years now, both in college and in high school, and while he doesn't throw much harder than 89-90 mph, he is the best bet to enjoy a long and productive career at the big league level.
7. Cincinnati Red: Justin Verlander, RHP, Old Dominion. Verlander could go as high as #2 to the Tigers, and before the season was considered a good bet to go to the Padres with the #1 overall pick. However, inconsistent control has turned away the teams at the top, and the Reds are thrilled to have him fall.
8. Baltimore Orioles: Chris Nelson, SS, Georgia (HS). Talking about a team thrilled to have a player fall. Nelson could be a top 3 to 5 pick, but teams looking for arms pass on the talented 5-tool shortstop.
9. Colorado Rockies: Jered Weaver, RHP, Long Beach State. Weaver drops no further, and the Rockies are afraid of dealing with a Boras client. Weaver spots his fastball very well, and throws it about 90% of the time. Since breaking balls don't break like they should in Coors Field, it could be a good match.
10. Texas Rangers: Scott Elbert, LHP, Missouri (HS). Everyone thinks the Rangers love college players, but Grady Fuson has also shown an affinity for polished high school pitchers like Jeremy Bonderman and John Danks. Elbert continues that tradition with his low to mid-90s heat, power slider and good control.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates: Neil Walker, C, Pennsylvania (HS). The Pirates have been hot for this local product all spring, who had a big year at the plate. By the time he's ready for the big leagues, Jason Kendall's contract may finally have expired.
12. Anaheim Angels: Matt Bush, SS, California (HS). Bush could easily go in the top 10, if not the top 5, but again, the need & desire for arms causes Bush to fall. There is some question as to if Bush will be that great of an impact player as a pro, but the Angels have been following him all spring with great interest.
13. Montreal Expos: Wade Townsend, RHP, Rice. Townsend has been at the top of the Expos follow list, and they're happy that he fell to them. If he doesn't, they may end up reaching for a player like they did last year to save some money.
14. Kansas City Royals: Thomas Diamond, RHP, New Orleans. The Royals have recently turned their attention to college pitchers with their first of two first round picks, and Diamond is the best college arm on the board.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks: David Purcey, LHP, Oklahoma. Like the Royals, the D-Backs have also turned their attention to the talented class of college arms. Purcey is a big lefty with some control issues but great upside.
16. Toronto Blue Jays: Justin Orenduff, RHP, Virginia Commonwealth. A college player is a given for the Blue Jays, and they're looking at a couple of college arms including Orenduff and Texas A&M's Zack Jackson. Orenduff gets the nod given his fastball and potentially dominant slider.
17. Los Angeles Dodgers: B.J. Szymanski, CF, Princeton. Everyone is waiting to see how the Dodgers draft given the presence of new General Manager Paul DePodesta, who is expected to lean towards college players coming from the A's, and Scouting Director Logan White, who has done an outstanding job rebuilding the Dodgers farm system almost entirely with high ceiling prep players. They get the best of both worlds with Szymanski, a true 5-tool talent with great speed and power from both sides of the plate.
18. Chicago White Sox: Eric Hurley, RHP, Florida (HS). The White Sox have never been shy about picking up a prep arm, and they get a good one in Hurley who has been soaring up draft charts this spring flashing mid-90s heat.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Josh Fields, 3B, Oklahoma State. The Cardinals system needs just about everything, and they might look for a pitcher if someone like Orenduff or Purcey falls to them. In this scenario, they take Fields, an athletic 3B with a promising bat.
20. Minnesota Twins: Phillip Hughes, RHP, California (HS). The Twins have several early picks thanks to the free agents they lost last offseason. Reportedly they have budgeted appropriately in an attempt to sign as many talented players as they can, and they start with a big, tall projectable prep righty with good stuff.
21. Philadelphia Phillies: Jay Rainville, RHP, Rhode Island (HS). Another prep righty, as the Phillies reportedly are looking to add another arm to their system. Rainville resembles Roger Clemens in size, stuff and his overall delivery. The Phillies have had pretty good luck developing prep pitchers, and try to do so again this year.
22. Minnesota Twins: Glen Perkins, LHP, Minnesota. The Twins stay local for their second first-round pick with Perkins, a fire-balling lefty that can dominate a game with his fastball.
23. New York Yankees: Mark Trumbo, RHP, California (HS). Like the Cardinals, the Yankees need to re-stock their farm system, and take the best athlete on the board. Trumbo could also be a promising power hitter, but his size & fastball makes him more appealing on the mound.
24. Oakland A's: Danny Putnam, LF, Stanford. We all know the A's are going to take a college player, even with their reported interest in California prep shortstop Trevor Plouffe. Putnam is a hard-nosed player that has done nothing but produce in his 3 years at Stanford.
25. Minnesota Twins: Blake DeWitt, 3B, Missouri (HS). The Twins use their 3rd first-rounder on a positional player, and DeWitt might be the best pure hitter available in the entire draft. He'll move over to the hot corner at the pro level.
26. Oakland A's: Mike Ferris, 1B, Miami (Ohio). Another college slugger. Ferris has soared up draft charts this spring with an impressive power display. He could move fast in the A's system.
27. Florida Marlins: Huston Street, RHP, Texas. Street has enjoyed a great year as Texas' closer, and was a big part of their College World Series Championship as a freshman. He could even see the big leagues by the end of the year and into the postseason if the Marlins continue to play well.
28. Los Angeles Dodgers: Chuck Lofgren, RF, California (HS). The Dodgers get another intriguing bat with their second of two first-round picks. Similar to their selection of James Loney two years ago, they may decide to keep Lofgren as a positional prospect despite his talent on the mound.
29. Kansas City Royals: Giovani Gonzalez, LHP, Florida (HS). The Royals get another promising arm with their second of two first-round picks. Gonzalez zoomed up charts earlier this spring, only to fall a little bit back after being kicked off his high school team. He's a shorter southpaw with a great curveball.
30. Texas Rangers: Zach Jackson, LHP, Texas A&M. The Rangers reportedly are hot for prep outfielder Greg Golson with their second of two first-rounders, but they can't pass on Jackson, who could go in the middle of the first round.
The best of the rest: Greg Golson, Bill Bray, Erik Cordier, Tyler Lumsden, Bill Butler, Trevor Plouffe, Matt Tuiasosopo, Dexter Fowler, Brad Myers.
Stay tuned to Brewerfan.net for exclusive coverage on all of the Brewers picks as they happen on the two days of the draft, Monday June 7 and Tuesday June 8.
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