Diamondbacks likely to go with Upton

Projecting how the first round of the draft may unfold.

Originally Published: June 7, 2005
By Jim Callis | Baseball America
A look at the projected first round of Tuesday's amateur draft:

1. Diamondbacks: Justin Upton, ss, Great Bridge HS, Chesapeake, Va. The Diamondbacks have been telling teams for close to a week that they'll take Upton, the younger brother of 2002 No. 2 overall choice B.J. Upton and the high schooler with perhaps the highest ceiling since Ken Griffey Jr. While a deal had yet to be finalized as of late Monday night -- Arizona is believed to have made an opening offer of a $4 million bonus, with Upton's side countering with a contract similar to the $5.5 million deal the Diamondbacks gave 2004 first-rounder Stephen Drew on May 30 -- that shouldn't stop Upton from going No. 1. Plan B appears to be Wichita State right-hander Mike Pelfrey.

2. Royals: Alex Gordon, 3b, U. of Nebraska. Originally rumored to be looking for an extreme signability pick, the Royals will take the best player on the board in Gordon, a five-tool third baseman who's the most complete hitter in college baseball. His asking price is believed to be a major league contract in the neighborhood of $5 million. Kansas City has visited with Upton and would take him on the off chance he falls, and also thinks highly of North Carolina high school outfielder Cameron Maybin and Long Beach State shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

3. Mariners: Jeff Clement, c, U. of Southern California. The Mariners were expected to take Tulowitzki as recently as Friday, but they're looking for a catcher and a power bat. Clement fits the bill on both counts, and as a bonus he's left-handed. Seattle would gladly snap up Upton or Gordon if one of them falls to No. 3. Rumors persist that the Mariners are considering Stanford first baseman John Mayberry Jr., their unsigned 2002 first-rounder, but he would be a huge reach.

4. Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, 3b, U. of Virginia. The Nationals have been locked in on Zimmerman for weeks, but they were tempted by Texas high school outfielder Jay Bruce after Bruce's impressive RFK Stadium workout on Saturday. In the end, the fact that Zimmerman is closer to the big leagues and is a potential Gold Glove third baseman are the deciding factors, though Bruce has one of the highest ceilings in the draft.

5. Brewers: Ryan Braun, 3b, U. of Miami. The Brewers keep their draft board closer to the vest than most clubs. Scouting director Jack Zduriencik's preference is believed to be Maybin, but four of Milwaukee's last five first-round picks were high schoolers and GM Doug Melvin wants a more experienced player this time around. The Brewers would love a crack at Gordon or Zimmerman, but instead will address their needs at third base with Braun, one of the best college bats available. They also looked at Tulowitzki, but he balked at the idea of moving to the hot corner.

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