MLB Draft Preview: 10 To Watch

With the Major League Baseball Draft set to begin Monday, takes a look at 10 of the top high school prospects in the Class of 2004 who figure to go high in the draft.

Chris Nelson
Redan (Ga.), RHP/SS, 5-11, 185

Nelson's rise up the draft boards is remarkable considering he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last September. He didn't pitch as a senior, but showed enough promise at the plate as a designated hitter (.584 average, eight homers and 44 RBI) to warrant being a possible Top 5 selection in the draft. He's rated the No. 30 overall prospect in the Class of 2004 by

Homer Bailey
La Grange (Texas), RHP, 6-3, 185

Bailey is considered the top high school pitching prospect in the country and with good reason. Rated the No. 3 overall prospect in the Class of 2004, Bailey mixes a 94-mph fastball with a nasty curve and changeup, a good reason opponents were hitting only .089 against him this season. As of press time, he was 13-0 with a 0.57 ERA. He has stuck out an amazing 180 batters while walking only 12 in 78.2 innings of work.

Matt Bush
Mission Bay (Calif.), SS/RHP, 6-0, 170

Bush, who's rated the nation's No. 2 overall prospect in the Class of 2004, has so much talent that he's been compared to Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin. As of press time, he was batting .432 with 42 runs, 11 homers, 33 RBI and 15 stolen bases while helping to lead Mission Bay to the San Diego Section III finals, which will be played on June 5. Bush, who was named the Gatorade state Player of the Year, has also proven to be a very talented pitching prospect with an 8-1 record, 0.47 ERA, three saves and 88 strikeouts in 59 innings.

Mark Rogers
Mt. Ararat (Maine), RHP, 6-2, 200

Rogers was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year on June 3 after finishing the regular season 7-0 with a 0.14 ERA while striking out 125 and walking just 10 in 49 innings. Rogers, who's rated the No. 22 overall prospect in the Class of 2004, allowed just one earned run all season and held opponents to a .045 batting average. Rogers, whose fastball has been clocked as high as 98 mph, recorded consecutive 20-strikeouts games this season.

Neil Walker
Pine-Richland (Pa.), C, 6-3, 205 rates Walker as the top catcher and No. 11 overall prospect in the Class of 2004. He's a phenomenal hitter with a .656 batting average as of press time. In fact, he went 11-for-14 (.786) with three homers in four playoffs games to lead Pine-Richland to the WPIAL Class AAA title.

Jay Rainville
Bishop Hendricken (R.I.), 6-3, 220

Rainville comes from the same high school as Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli and could follow in Baldelli's footsteps (Baldelli was the sixth overall selection in 2000) as a first round pick. Rainville, who's rated the No. 6 overall prospect in the Class of 2004, went 6-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 42 innings in his first seven games. As a junior, he was 10-0 with a 0.18 ERA while striking out 165 and walking only nine in 77 innings.

Phil Hughes
Santa Ana Foothill (Calif.), RHP, 6-4, 220

Armed with a fastball that has topped out at 97 mph, an untouchable slider and a changeup, Hughes has the arsenal to warrant a first round selection. He went 9-1 this year with a 0.69 ERA, 83 strikeouts and a miniscule three walks. He's rated the No. 8 overall prospect in the Class of 2004 by

Greg Golson
John Connally (Texas), OF, 6-1, 185

There's fast and then there's Golson, rated the No. 4 overall prospect in the country by According to the Austin American-Statesmen, Golson has been timed in the 60-yard dash in 6.35 seconds. He used this speed to become an incredible base stealing threat, going a perfect 33-for-33 in stolen base attempts the past two seasons.

Gio Gonzalez
Monsignor Pace (Fla.), LHP, 6-0, 185

Gonzalez was kicked off the Monsignor Pace baseball team at the end of April, but that's not hurting his draft stock. Utilizing a fastball that's been clocked at 94 mph, he went 6-0 with a 0.93 ERA, 81 strikeouts and 17 walks in 37 innings.

Dexter Fowler
Milton (Ga.), OF, 6-4, 175

Fowler has the all-around skills that make him not only one of the top outfielders in the nation, but a likely first-round selection as well. As of press time, he was batting .444 with 38 runs, 14 homers, 37 RBI and 22 stolen bases while getting ready to lead Milton into the Class AAAAA state finals against East Coweta on June 4. Fowler's teammate, third baseman Eddie Prasch, is projected as a top-round selection as well.

Other Top Prospects To Watch

Scott Elbert
Seneca (Mo.), LHP, 6-2, 185

Chuck Lofgren
Junipero Serra (Calif.), OF/LHP, 6-3, 190

Trevor Plouffe
Crespi (Calif.), SS/RHP, 6-2, 170

Eric Hurley
Wolfson (Fla.), RHP, 6-4, 185

Mark Trumbo
Villa Park (Calif.), RHP, 6-4, 205

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