- Keith Law, ESPN Insider
One change at the top can wreak havoc with the rest of the projection, which is what happened here; six or seven picks in the top 10 would change if the Pirates don't do what I'm projecting here at No. 1 overall. A couple of notes before we get into the projection itself:
• Texas A&M starter John Stilson, who already projected as a reliever in pro ball due to a violent delivery, needs surgery to fix a SLAP lesion -- SLAP stands for superior labral from anterior to posterior, and is a type of labrum injury -- in his shoulder and is off the board.
• Another college starter who is destined for the 'pen, TCU righty Kyle Winkler, missed his second weekend in three, reportedly due to arm "tenderness," and probably has to have a good showing at next weekend's regional to put himself back in the top two rounds.
• We're hearing bonus demands on some players, but not all, making the demands that have leaked out (including Josh Bell's intention to send a letter to all 30 teams saying he'd prefer to go to the University of Texas) seem outsized in comparison. I've chosen not to react too strongly to those anecdotal reports until we have numbers in for more players.
Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA
The Pirates are still seriously on Danny Hultzen and Bubba Starling, and I wouldn't rule Anthony Rendon out entirely, but my gut tells me right now they'll find Cole's raw stuff -- he hit 101 for me on Friday night and touched 100 many times, including in the eighth inning -- too good to pass up.
Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice
Rendon did play some second base in the Conference USA tournament, and while I don't see that as his future position, or know anyone who does, it would fit with the persistent rumor that Dustin Ackley is headed for left field. Francisco Lindor is still an outside possibility, as he was scheduled to work out for the Mariners, but even if Rendon goes first overall there's still a chance the Mariners take Cole or even Starling. (As for Rendon's position switch, is there a more insane idea than taking a player who has already suffered catastrophic injuries to both ankles and putting him at the most injury-prone position anywhere besides catcher? Are we trying to get Rendon killed? He's a plus defender at third, maybe more than just plus, when healthy. This is a totally unwarranted risk to take.)
Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia
If Hultzen is gone, it's Trevor Bauer or Dylan Bundy here, with Cole and Starling as backup plans. The D-backs had a small army at ASU to see both UCLA arms this weekend, including GM Kevin Towers, and Bauer hit 95 in the first and ninth innings while spinning a shutout. But Hultzen's been their guy all spring.
Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (Okla.) HS
If Bundy goes at No. 3 to Arizona, the Orioles have the other top Oklahoma prep arm, Archie Bradley, in their sights, and I wouldn't rule out Cole here, either.
Matt Barnes, RHP, UConn
Cole is still the dream scenario for the Royals, who could end up with Bundy, as well. They're determined to get a pitcher who'll move quickly through their system to the big leagues so that he arrives with all their other premium minor league talent, and given the depth of pitching in this draft they can do that without reaching in the least.
11hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com