Adding to this are those prospects who are represented by Scott Boras, who has nine players rank who could be among the first 50 players taken. However, many teams tend to shy away from Boras because of the inflated price tags his players carry, and that could have a profound effect on how the draft plays out.
This is how I see the first round playing out:
1. Tampa Bay: David Price, LHP, Vanderbilt
Price has dominated from the beginning of the season, and has asserted himself as the top player in his class. It would be a monumental upset if Price wasn't the selection here. He will make a good fit along side Scott Kazmir as tough lefties in Tampa's rotation, and should some of the other talented arms in their system continue to make progress, the Devil Rays will have the makings of a really solid rotation.
2. Kansas City: Rick Porcello, RHP, Seton Hall Prep (N.J.)
As to where Price to Tampa is a near-slam dunk, this selection is very much subject to change. Porcello has cemented himself as the top prep pitching prospect in the country, but he is represented by Boras, so there is a question of what kind of money ownership is willing to shell out. If Porcello isn't the selection, Missouri State's Ross Detwiler would be a possibility, and if the Royals go with the latter, look for the slide of the Boras clients to begin.
3. Chicago Cubs: Josh Vitters, 3B, Cypress HS (Ca.)
Although it would seem likely for one of the Boras clients to go here, the Cubs reportedly have been on Vitters all spring long, and he has done nothing to diminish his stock. One thing to watch with the Cubs throughout the draft is whether they'll be aggressive in pursuing signability guys, and spend large chunks of money as they did last year in spite of the Tribune Co. putting the team up for sale after this year. Indiana prep right-hander Jarrod Parker has also been linked to the Cubs.
4. Pittsburgh: Jason Heyward, OF, Henry County HS (Ga.)
If the Cubs pass on Vitters, the Pirates will take him without hesitation, but it seems they will be resigned to either overdrafting any position player not named Matt Wieters, or select a college pitcher like Detwiler, Clemson's Daniel Moskos. They aren't in the mix for any of Boras' guys either, but Heyward would compliment Andrew McCutchen as a potentially nice 1-2 punch in the outfield for Pittsburgh.
5. Baltimore: Ross Detwiler, LHP, Missouri State
Scouting director Joe Jordan has done a good job of building up a once barren farm system with a pair of solid drafts, and Detwiler would give the Orioles an arm who could one day give Baltimore three tough left-handers in their rotation. If Detwiler gets plucked beforehand, Moskos would fit here as well.
6. Washington: Matt Wieters, C, Georgia Tech
With five of the first 71 picks, the Nationals have the opportunity to bolster their barren system. Mike Rizzo has plenty of experience in negotiating with Boras, and Wieters would be a big part of the Nationals' future. If Porcello makes his way here, he would also be a fit.
7. Milwaukee: Mike Moustakas, SS, Chatsworth HS (Ca.)
The Brewers are said to have a strong link to Moustakas, whose monster senior season has vaulted him up draft boards. For the most part, the Brewers have shied away from Boras clients, but money has never been issue, and they have already signed prime draft-and-follow Chad Robinson for a reported $500,000. The Brewers could also look at several high school pitchers with Parker, Phillippe Aumont, Madison Bumgarner and Blake Beavan.
8. Colorado: Daniel Moskos, LHP, Clemson
The Rockies will have their pick of a litany of arms here, and Moskos would give them a polished pitcher who could either move super fast as a reliever, or could be developed a potential starter. The Rockies could also go the high school route, and their choice of any of the arms mentioned above.
9. Arizona: Jarrod Parker, RHP, Norwell HS (Ind.)
The Diamondbacks have stayed clear of high school players for the most part, but if Moskos and Detwiler are gone as expected, they would be overdrafting here if they stay with college pitching. Of course, they could roll the dice and go through another tough negotiation with Boras again after signing Max Scherzer and take N.C. State's Andrew Brackman. Parker is the hardest thrower is his draft class, but he has outstanding secondary stuff and is more advanced overall than Aumont, and has more consistency with his other pitches than Bumgarner.
10. San Francisco: Beau Mills, 3B/1B, Lewis-Clark State
The Giants are in need of impact bats, and Mills offers one of the most powerful from the college ranks. Mills may not be able to stay at third long term, which would certainly enhance his value, but he has more than enough power to handle first base, and he could ascend to San Francisco pretty quickly.
11. Seattle: Blake Beavan, RHP, Irving HS (Texas)
The Mariners seem to be boxed in to going the high school route, and unless they want to negotiate with Boras on Brackman, it would still be to early for any of the college arms available. Beavan would give them a good arm to nurture, and Seattle could always grab a more polished player with the 52nd pick.
12. Florida: Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Ecole Du Versant HS (Quebec)
The Marlins have always favored high school players, and they will have their choice of several good ones with this pick. Aumont needs plenty of seasoning, but the Marlins have plenty of depth in their system, and have no need to rush him.
13. Cleveland: Madison Bumgarner, LHP, South Caldwell HS (N.C.)
The Tribe will likely select whomever is left among the quartet of Parker, Beavan, Aumont, and Bumgarner, but they could also look at lefty Josh Smoker as well. Like the Marlins, the Indians have plenty of time to work with Bumgarner on developing his breaking ball and changeup.
14. Atlanta: Josh Smoker, LHP, Calhoun HS (Ga.)
No team mines its own state like the Braves do, and Smoker fits their profile to a tee. His arsenal should make him one of the quicker prep players from his class to move through the minor leagues. If Heyward were to somehow be available, he would be a good fit, as would any of the other high school pitchers if they remain on the board.
15. Cincinnati: Kevin Ahrens, 3B, Memorial HS (Texas)
The Reds have been strongly tied to Ahrens, who has drawn Chipper Jones comparisons for his ability to hit with power from both sides of the plate. The bigger question here is whether or not the Reds would roll the dice and take Brackman, who is a local product. The Reds could also be looking at any of the prep arms should one fall to them.
16. Toronto (from Texas): Devin Mesoraco, C, Punxsutawney HS (Pa.)
The Blue Jays have been one of the most college-oriented teams in the draft under J.P. Ricciardi's watch, but with the one of this draft's strength's being prep catchers, Toronto will find it hard to pass one of the drafts fastest risers, and a potential five-tool performer at a premium position. Ahrens or potential gold-glove third baseman Matt Dominguez also would be targets for the Blue Jays.
17. Texas (from Houston): Julio Borbon, OF, Texas
The Rangers are in dire need of a center fielder, and Borbon would fill that need. The Rangers have dealt with Boras several times in the past, so that won't hinder them here, and by getting Borbon here, they can pursue a number of different players at No. 24.
18. St. Louis: Andrew Brackman, RHP, N.C. State
The Cardinals will be the direct beneficiaries of the Boras effect, as they'll have a choice between Brackman, Florida first baseman Matt LaPorta, or Connecticut right-hander Matt Harvey. The Cardinals do have a pair of extra picks, so they could opt for Arkansas left-hander Nick Schmidt, or UC Riverside right-hander James Simmons if they wanted to save money.
19. Philadelphia: Matt Dominguez, 3B, Chatsworth HS (Ca.)
Dominguez offers terrific defense, but some scouts believe his hitting mechanics will need to be refined. Nevertheless, he offers terrific upside for this late in the first round, and the Phillies aren't afraid of taking high school players with plenty of tools early in the draft.
20. L.A. Dodgers (from Boston): Jack McGeary, LHP, Roxbury Latin HS
The Dodgers have had great success with high school pitching in the past, and if one of the aforementioned arms above unexpectedly falls to them, they will pounce. McGeary offers both polish and projection, but his Stanford commitment will give teams pause, as he may need to go here to satisfy his bonus expectations.
21. Toronto: James Simmons, RHP, UC Riverside
The Blue Jays could add more in the way of infield depth with the extra picks they have in the supplemental round, but Simmons gives them a pitcher with exquisite command that could help them quickly. Schmidt could also factor in here, as could Casey Weathers provided the Blue Jays were looking to save money.
22. San Francisco (from L.A. Dodgers): Casey Weathers, RHP, Vanderbilt
Teams like the Giants, Blue Jays and Rangers will all take a strong look at Weathers as the best senior sign available to save money with all of their picks early on. Weathers has electric stuff, and has developed into college baseball's best closer seemingly overnight.
23. San Diego: Nick Schmidt, LHP, Arkansas
The Padres could also look at Weathers after signing draft-and-follow Matt Latos to save money if available. Schmidt would give San Diego a quality left-hander that should move through the system and be one of the first players from his class to contribute in the big leagues. Local product Nick Noonan could also be a possibility.
24. Texas (from L.A. Angels): Matt Harvey, RHP, Fitch HS (Conn.)
Even though the Rangers have a slew of selections, the opportunity to get one of the top prep pitchers in the draft is too good to pass up here. Harvey struggled with his command in Connecticut's cold weather, but he's been up to 95 with a power curveball and a rapidly improving changeup. The Rangers could go in a number of directions with this pick and also take a look at Florida prep standouts Michael Main and Michael Burgess, Texas right-hander Chris Withrow, or Kent State right-hander Chris Carpenter.
25. Chicago White Sox: Chris Withrow, RHP, Midland Christian HS (Texas)
Withrow has distant ties to the White Sox, as his father reached Double-A in their organization. He also coaches his son in high school. Withrow has been clocked at 94 and has a clean delivery with a solid curveball. The White Sox are reportedly overhauling their draft strategy and are looking at players with significant upside, so Main and Burgess are also possibilities.
26. Oakland: Joe Savery, LHP, Rice
The Athletics have literally no quality left-handers in their system, and if Savery is able to keep making strides with regaining his arm strength, he'll be a very nice value here. After in the mid-80s for the most part this spring, Savery has begun to creep into the low-90s, and although Rice has a poor track record of pitchers needing major surgery after turning pro, Savery has been brought back slowly. Simmons and Schmidt would be other choices if available, while Texas slugger Kyle Russell could also be a fit.
27. Detroit: Michael Main, RHP, Deland HS (Fla.)
The Tigers can go in several directions here. If they want a college bat, they can go with Russell or LaPorta. Burgess would be another top high school bat, and they have also shown interest in Noonan, Oklahoma shortstop Peter Kozma, and Arizona right-hander Tim Alderson. There is also the possibility the Tigers could take Main as a potential five-tool outfielder, but it would be awfully tough to take a pitcher with his power arsenal off the mound.
28. Minnesota: Nick Noonan, 2B, Francis Parker HS (Ca.)
The Twins have had great success in drafting high school players, and they'll have their choice of several of them here. They could also look at Kozma, Texas' Will Middlebrooks, or Mississippi's Wendell Fairley for position players, or Withrow and Main if they are available.
29. San Francisco (from N.Y. Mets): Aaron Poreda, LHP, San Francisco
Left-handers that generate fastballs that have been clocked up to 97 don't stay on draft boards very long, and you can bet the hometown Giants will have a special interest in Poreda, who still needs to sharpen up his secondary pitches. Carpenter could also be looked here, or possibly be selected a few picks later at No. 32.
30. N.Y. Yankees: Matt LaPorta, 1B, Florida
Money will not be an issue for the Yankees, who fill a big need by getting a first baseman that should move through the minors at a very brisk pace and be a contributor for them very soon. The Yankees will also be in play for any of the high-priced prep players that slide to due to signability issues if they want to go that route.