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MLB Draft Preview - Part III

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The final portion of the draft's first round is where most of the big spenders have their draft choices. The Angels, Red Sox, Yankees and Cubs all hold picks between twenty-one and thirty-two, and if a big bonus seeking high schooler drops into this range, the drama begins. Several premiere prep players, headed by Jacob Turner, Max Stassi, and Matt Purke, could drop into the latter part of the first round due to signability concerns and rake in record-breaking money if one of the big-market teams is willing to comply.

* Denotes a compensation pick.

21. Houston Astros - Bobby Borchering, 3B, Bishop Verot HS (FL)
The Buzz: Right now, the Astros' farm system is a disaster and they have to focus on taking the best player available. Borchering fits that description as a big switch hitter with good power who has the ability to play third base.

22. Minnesota Twins - James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky
The Buzz: A British Columbia native, Paxton possesses a blazing fastball and a sweeping slurve that sits around 80 and can keep opposing hitters off balance. His results have been up and down this year, but I still see him landing near the middle of the first round.

23. Chicago White Sox - Jared Mitchell, OF, Louisiana State
The Buzz: Mitchell was a football and baseball star at LSU and is considered the top college athlete in the draft. Because of the time spent playing football, Mitchell is naturally a little more raw than most college players, but his tools are all there and the White Sox would be glad if he fell to them at twenty-three.

*24. Los Angeles Angels - Everett Williams, OF, McCallum HS (TX)
The Buzz: Following the best college athlete is one of the best prep athletes in Everett Williams. He is slightly undersized, but he's got a very well developed bat and is the kind of athletic do-it-all player that the Angels organization craves.

*25. Los Angeles Angels - Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, Kennesaw State
The Buzz: Heckathorn stands at an imposing 6-foot-6 on the bump and flaunts a fastball that has been clocked as high as 99 mph on the gun. He backs his heater up with a sinking two-seamer, a strong change-up, and a slider. He has not had as much success as he would like during his junior season, but his stuff alone should keep him in the first round.

26. Milwaukee Brewers - Chad Jenkins, RHP, Kennesaw State
The Buzz: Wouldn't that be something? Two righties from Kennesaw State going back-to-back in the first round. Jenkins has outpitched his teammate Heckathorn to the tune of a 2.54 ERA and has only allowed opponents to hit .229 off him. The Brewers have a lack of pitching prospects in their organization, so Jenkins seems like a sound choice.

*27. Seattle Mariners - Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana
The Buzz: With their second pick of the first round, the Mariners will likely look for pitching if they do indeed spend their first pick on North Carolina's Dustin Ackley. Arnett is a imposing righty with a fastball averaging in the mid- to high-90s, and he is putting a solid junior year together after a slow start to his collegiate career.

28. Boston Red Sox - Tony Sanchez, C, Boston College
The Buzz: If any of the potential big bonus babies such as Jacob Turner, Max Stassi or Matt Purke fall this far, Boston will look to snatch them in an instant. However, if they are all off the board, look for the Red Sox to select a player like Tony Sanchez with this pick. After 201 at bats, Sanchez has hit 14 homers and is getting on base at a .450 clip for Boston College.

*29. New York Yankees - Mike Trout, OF, Millville HS (NJ)
The Buzz: The story about the bonus seekers applies here as well with the Yankees. If they can't nab one of them, they may look towards a local in Mike Trout who possesses great tools highlighted by top-notch speed and a "gritty" style of play.

30. Tampa Bay Rays - Wil Myers, C, High Point Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC)
The Buzz: With one of the top farm systems in baseball and a young and talented major league squad, the Rays have few organizational weaknesses aside from catcher. Myers has a well developed bat and the versatility to play other positions on the field if need be but would likely stick to catching if he gets chosen by Tampa.

31. Chicago Cubs - Rich Poythress, 1B, Georgia
The Buzz: Poythress has seen his draft stock slip since the season began, but in a draft which is so shallow on collegiate power hitters, he may still see his way into the first round. Although his performance may have not reflected it this year, he still has potential to be a legitimate power hitter at the professional level.

*32. Colorado Rockies - A. J. Pollock, OF, Notre Dame
The Buzz: The Rockies have taken college players with their first pick in each of the last four drafts and Pollock's well-developed skill set may cause them to make it five in a row. With three of the first thirty-four picks, the Rockies are on a budget and will also be intrigued by Pollock's signability.