WTNYJune 07, 2004
Draft Day
By Bryan Smith

I trust everything Baseball America says, and sometimes I think that may be one of my weaknesses as a writer. It's late, and the BA website has a report that the Padres have agreed to a pre-draft deal with high school shortstop Matt Bush. Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but I'll give 2 different mock top tens:

Mock Draft #1 (If Drew Goes #1)
1. Padres- Stephen Drew
2. Tigers- Justin Verlander
3. Mets- Phillip Humber
4. Devil Rays- Jeff Niemann
5. Brewers- Homer Bailey
6. Indians- Jeremy Sowers
7. Reds- Chris Nelson
8. Orioles- Jered Weaver
9. Rockies- Matt Bush
10. Rangers- Wade Townsend

Mock Draft #2 (If Bush goes #1)
1. Padres- Matt Bush
2. Tigers- Stephen Drew
3. Mets- Justin Verlander
4. Devil Rays- Jeff Niemann
5. Brewers- Phillip Humber
6. Indians- Jeremy Sowers
7. Reds- Chris Nelson
8. Orioles- Homer Bailey
9. Rockies- Jered Weaver
10. Rangers- Wade Townsend

Consensus Choices
- Tampa will select Jeff Niemann with the 2nd choice
- High school shortstop Chris Nelson will drop to #7
- Rice pitcher Wade Townsend will stay in Texas

After that, the next 5 choices are: Pirates, Angels, Expos, Royals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Dodgers, White Sox, Cardinals, Twins.

Expect the Pirates to choose homestate catcher Neil Walker in the eleventh spot, for both emotional and economical reasons. Then, I expect the Angels to take a high school pitcher with the #12 selection in the draft. If Townsend, Sowers, or Weaver reach Arte Moreno he will bite, but if not, my guess is Orange County native Phillip Hughes. I would slot the Expos into drafting Thomas Diamond, as he doesn't quite have the price tag that high school pitchers do.

With three (Rogers, Elbert, Hurley) good high school pitchers available, expect the Royals to draft another high school pitcher in 2004, this time not as good as Mr. Greinke. Elbert lives in Missouri, so he's got my guess, though Rogers seems to be the consensus best player on the board selection. Arizona is said to what nothing to do with a high schooler, instead desiring a college pitcher, leaving them Orenduff, Purcey, or Zach Jackson to decide between. They should go with Orenduff, one of the worst college pitchers to be chosen in the first.

Toronto is the first of the very sabermetric teams to pick, and I don't doubt they'll pick one of the two Big 12 southpaws, either Purcey or Jackson. At this point I'll say Jackson, though that could change in a day. While much has been said in the Logan White v. Paul DePodesta debate, I say the former wins, and the Dodgers land the pick of the day, Maine right-hander Mark Rogers. Expect the White Sox to take another high school pitcher, and I'll say it will be Jacksonville pitcher Eric Hurley. The Cardinals will bite on raw but talented college slugger Josh Fields, leaving the Twins to finally decide their course of action.

I don't doubt the Twins will choose hometown pitcher Glen Perkins, but he's more likely to go at 22 than 20. At 20, they'll go high schooler, either Jay Rainville or Billy Butler, and I'm guessing it's the latter. The Phillies should the New Englander Rainville at 21, and after Perkins goes at 22, the Yankees will pick Ivy Leaguer B.J. Syzmanski in the 23rd slot. The A's draft will surely start with Danny Putnam at #24, and the Twins third selection should be Texas closer Huston Street, who can fly through the system and come cheap.

I like the A's taking Weaver's teammate Jason Vargas with the next pick, and the World Champions choosing hometown southpaw Gio Gonzalez with the twenty-seventh pick. Paul DePodesta will win battle #2, and the Dodgers will surprise all by taking Cal State Fullerton catcher Kurt Suzuki at twenty-eight. Kansas City and Texas will finish the first round, and once again, I have to agree with my Baseball America boys here, as I predict Mike Ferris and Greg Golson to finish off the first round.

So yes, I really do have David Purcey dropping out of the first round. I didn't realize it until I typed this all up, but I'm going to stick with it at this point. Dropping like hot cakes, the Royals will select him at 31, leaving J.P. Riccardi to choose East Coast college pitcher Chris Lambert with his second choice.

That's all I got, except predicting that Jeff Larish and Dustin Pedroia will get chosen in the supplemental round. Tune in tomorrow, and I'll be back with a report later in the week. Take care....