One question everyone is pondering in every Draft room is an annual query: Who is going where?
It’s often hard to ascertain what each team is going to do when it’s time to make their first selection, but this year it seems more difficult than most. That starts at the top of the Draft, where a day before the first round began, it was still unknown who the Houston Astros would be taking No. 1 overall. While the Astros officially put the candidate count at five, many in the industry felt it was down to two possibilities Sunday: Stanford University right-hander Mark Appel or toolsy Georgia high school outfielder Byron Buxton. Buxton and Appel were ranked first and second, respectively, in MLB.com’s Top 100 Draft rankings, a list based on talent, not their projected place in the Draft.
“There is no unanimous or consensus guy,” one scouting director said. “Buxton is probably the best position player prospect, but he is a high school guy, which makes for risk. Last year was unclear because there were six or seven guys who were worthy. This year is unclear because there are no true 1-1 caliber talents.”
There does seem to be a general consensus of the names, if not the order, of the other likely top 10 selections. Joining Appel and Buxton on that list are high schoolers Carlos Correa, Albert Almora, Max Fried and Courtney Hawkins. The college set being discussed at the top of the round are Kevin Gausman, Kyle Zimmer, Mike Zunino and Andrew Heaney, with certain teams discussing Deven Marrero and Chris Stratton as well.