Draft Report: First Round Taking Shape

The draft may be over three weeks away, but that's not to say it is too early to begin seeing how the early rounds may shake out. In this installment of Draft Report, we have the latest and hottest draft rumors and rumblings regarding what could go down on June 7th.

According to many sources, the first round of the draft is beginning to round into shape, despite its volatile nature. Yes, many things could change from now until draft day, but many teams have begun to bear down and narrow their choices. After consulting many of baseball's top scouts and crosscheckers, here is a look at how the top 10 picks could play out.

1. Tampa Bay Devil Rays - David Price. Could there be a bigger lock? The bottom line is that David Price will be the top pick come June 7th barring a catastrophic development.

"He's the cream of the crop, there's no doubt," said one crosschecker. "He's going to go number one."

2. Kansas City Royals - Rick Porcello. This is the choice of scouting director, Deric Ladnier. But, the big question is whether he will get his way. There is a significant divide in the Kansas City brass over whether they should select Porcello or Missouri State lefty, Ross Detwiler.

"Porcello is who [scouting director, Deric Ladnier] wants," a high ranking scouting official told us. "But, don't be surprised if he has to take Ross Detwiler."

3. Chicago Cubs - Josh Vitters. Early reads suggested that the Cubs and Matt Wieters would appear to be a match made in heaven, considering the Cubs' willingness to spend. But, it appears that the Cubs may be a little lighter in the pockets after their off-season spending spree. Look for them to take the cheaper route, which is not exactly a drop off talent-wise. Right now, according to several sources, they are trying to decide between Vitters and flame throwing Indiana high school righty, Jarrod Parker. Vitters' near sure thing bat will be tough to pass though.

"I think the Cubs are going to surprise," one crosschecker told us. "Remember, they spent a lot of money last year and this year on their big league club. I think the Cubs go either with [Josh] Vitters or [Jarrod] Parker."

4. Pittsburgh Pirates - Ross Detwiler. It is going to be extremely difficult for the Pirates to lock on to one particular player prior to this draft because there are so many scenarios they could have to deal with. This, however, is the most likely of those scenarios. According to sources, the Pirates will opt not to chase a Scott Boras client (Matt Wieters, Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer), and hold out hope that either Josh Vitters or Ross Detwiler falls to them. In all likelihood, one of them will. If it is Vitters, the player they covet, that drops into their lap it will be because the Royals have opted for Detwiler and/or the Cubs have opted for Jarrod Parker. They have shown interest in Daniel Moskos, but players they rank higher on their draft board are likely to be available.

"We put a worth on everyone and, at times, that worth may be more than the pick, " said one official close to the situation. "At times, but rarely, we might skip a player due to his over inflated worth compared to the worth we have put on him."

5. Baltimore Orioles - Matt Wieters. It would be a pretty big shock if Wieters slipped any further than 5th overall to Baltimore. He's simply too good, too polished and too enticing. The big, switch hitting catcher has put together another big season for Georgia Tech and he and his advisor, Scott Boras, will likely put a big price tag on his head. Other options for the O's will be Ross Detwiler and Daniel Moskos, who have repeatedly been closely linked to the team. A dark horse for them is Rick Porcello, if they are willing to pay up and if he slips that far.

"Well, there is always the Boras factor, especially this year," explained another crosschecker. "Chances are, the Orioles will have one of his guys on the table and they will probably pick whoever it is. They'll engage Boras I believe."

6. Washington Nationals - Daniel Moskos. It's unlikely that the Nationals could sit right beyond a bigger swing point in the draft than they do right now at number six. There are several scenarios that could play out in front of them. According to many high ranking sources, they've narrowed their choices to Rick Porcello, Daniel Moskos, or Max Scherzer. Ross Detwiler could also be in play but most scouts are convinced that he will be gone before Washington makes their pick. And, Porcello, who is their top choice, may very well be gone as well. They're made it clear, however, that if he drops due to signability issues, Washington will not shy away from his price tag. Former Diamondbacks scouting boss, Mike Rizzo, who is now with the Nationals, drafted Max Scherzer in '06 and reportedly would not hesitate to chase him again this year in the right situation.

"Washington is probably going to go with Rick Porcello, Daniel Moskos, or Max Scherzer," a crosschecker revealed to us. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and those are the guys they like right now. It will come down to who is available that is highest on their draft board. Remember the Mike Rizzo factor. They'll go with the best guy."

7. Milwaukee Brewers - Phillippe Aumont. True to form, the Brewers like their powerful high school arms once again here in 2007. Reportedly, they've narrowed their choices to Aumont, Madison Bumgarner, and Jarrod Parker. Considering how well Aumont has thrown, he's got to be the top choice right now.

"The Brewers will probably go with Aumont or Bumgarner," explained a high ranking scout. "They like their high school arms and they'll have two high quality ones available to them, maybe three if Parker is around."

8. Colorado Rockies - Mike Moustakas. According to reports, the Rockies are another team that won't be afraid to go over-slot to get the player they desire. The pitchers they covet, Detwiler and Moskos, could very well be gone so they could settle for one of the best hitters in the class in Moustakas. Don't be surprised to see Max Scherzer in the mix if Detwiler or Moskos don't drop.

9. Arizona Diamondbacks - Jarrod Parker. Under normal circumstances, the logical choice would be Max Scherzer, assuming he re-enters the draft. But, after this long debacle of a holdout, it is highly unlikely that Arizona would want to get involved with him and Boras again. And, Parker could be the best arm left on the board. Madison Bumgarner could also be an option.

10. San Francisco Giants - Max Scherzer. Always an unpredictable team, the Giants seem to have made it suspiciously too clear that they covet Beau Mills. But, if their drafts are in any way predictable, it is in their unpredictability. Look for them to go with the most polished arm still on the board, Max Scherzer.

Draft Notes

- Devin Mesoraco has reportedly cemented himself as the top prep catcher in the class, but the big surprise is who may be the second high school catcher drafted. His name is Derek Norris, and he is one of the fastest rising prospects in the country right now. Norris goes to school at Goddard High School in Kansas. Crosscheckers have been flocking to see him of late and they project him to go in the second round.

- According to sources, the teams with significant interest in high school catcher, Devin Mesoraco, are the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, and Detroit Tigers. He figures to be taken with one of the final picks in the first round.

- Following another sub par outing for NC State, towering righty, Andrew Brackman's stock is in a tailspin. Says one crosschecker, "The Boras factor comes to mind. I think he is slipping. He has a world of ability but he has been very inconsistent this spring. I couldn't term him special right now. His money demands are more than were going to pay at our slot." There is now a good chance that he could fall out of the top 20 picks in the first round.

- The word has not circulated much as of yet, but according to sources, Jason Heyward will not be picked in the first 15 picks of the first round. Not only that but there are now many doubts surfacing about his swing. "Heyward will be the bust of this draft," one crosschecker explained. "He will not go in the top 15. He is the miss of this draft. He is an arm and upper body swinger and he doesn't work with his lower half."

- Although many scouts are thrilled with the emergence of Kevin Ahrens this spring, he is not viewed as one of the top 30 picks at this point. The crosscheckers we consulted with project the prep third baseman as a supplemental first rounder.

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