The MLB Draft doesn't receive as much hype as the NFL's or even the NBA's, but over the last few years the league has done much to promote it to a better degree. It began several years ago when the first round was televised and it has only picked up its appeal with the launch of the MLB Network.
However, compared to the popularity of college basketball and football, college baseball lacks wide recognition the other two sports receive. While so many non-football fans have likely already heard about Cam Newton, the presumed No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, UCLA RHP Gerrit Cole would elicit little to no response.
But the good people at Baseball America, Perfect Game USA and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com all do a great job at keeping interested parties informed of what is going on. Baseball America has already had three of their guys do an early mock draft.
The top two picks come as no surprise as the Pirates select Rice 3B Anthony Rendon, the top position player in the draft, and the Mariners select Gerrit Cole. If that happens, the Mariners would have a loaded rotation in a season or two with Cole, Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda at the top.
The Rockies need to wait until the 20th pick, and there they land South Carolina CF Jackie Bradley. Bradley has fallen this season after hitting .368/.473/.587 with 13 homers on the way to a College World Series victory. His 2011 line is .259/.361/.468 with six homers. And he is out for a few weeks with a wrist injury. Still, projecting him in the future he could be a good center fielder with average tools at the plate.
LSU OF Mikie Mahtook was also considered, but he went just a pick later. He has a .679 slugging percentage (8 2B, 3 3B, 10 HR) and 21 home runs so far. His write up mentions that he has "solid all-around tools." Not a bad pick.
The 2011 MLB Draft takes place June 6-8. We'll have more once we get closer to the draft.