• A few weeks back I went looking for those players identified as the top prospects and possible no.1 overall picks for the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft and identified two pitchers, University of Mississippi left-hander Drew Pomeranz and LSU right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, who both appeared at or near the top of almost every list I could find, as the top collegiate pitchers eligible for the Draft in June. I asked the Nationals Farm Authority's Brian Oliver on Twitter if there was anyone else I should keep an eye on should the Washington Nationals decide to select someone other than baseball's "LeBron", College of Southern Nevada catcher Bryce Harper, and Mr. Oliver recommended a right-handed high school pitcher from Texas named Jameson Taillon, who was compared in one article I read to Roger Clemens and in another to Stephen Strasburg. These three pitchers and Bryce Harper fill the first four spots of MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo's blog post listing the top prospects for the 2010 Draft entitled, "Getting the draft ball rolling", where Mr. Mayo writes (as he did when I asked him if the Nationals would draft Harper on Twitter) that, "The one thing I came away with after talking to some folks who saw him is that we should not assume at all that [Bryce Harper is] the obvious choice at No. 1 overall." Signing Stephen Strasburg, the no.1 overall pick in '09 was the hard part last time around, identifying the top prospect this season might be the real challenge.
• Jameson Taillon• Bryce Harper
• RHP Jameson Taillon: MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo wrote an article on the top prospects for 2010 recently entitled, "Ten names to watch for 2010 Draft", which included The Woodlands High School's Jameson Taillon, a right-hander Mr. Mayo described as having, "(a fastball) in the low 90s, [that] can touch the mid-90s and there might be even more in the tank there. A power 12-to-6 curve is a good out pitch now. Power is his game, but he does flash a changeup." The Baseball Rumor Mill.com's Knuckles wrote in an article entitled, "The Top Ten 2010 MLB Draft Prospects", where he had Taillon ranked second overall behind only Bryce Harper, that, "...because of his size, and where he's from (Texas), Taillon is already hearing Roger Clemens comparisons. Those are certainly premature, but the righty throws a very hard fastball and a good curveball."
• LINK: Baseball Beginnings.com's John Klima's, "Scouting Report: Jameson Taillon, RHP, Woodlands HS (2010 Draft)."
• C Bryce Harper: MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo wrote about Harper's college debut and first at bats in a 2/2/10 article entitled, "Harper watch begins at JUCO tournament", wherein Mr. Mayo reported on a conversation he had with some scouts who witnessed the 17-year-old catcher's first games with the College of Southern Nevada last weekend and discussed what they thought of Harper at the plate:
"There is a little divergence over just how good an all-around hitter he'll be. One scout had no doubt that he'll hit plenty, while another felt that Harper will hit plenty of balls out of the park, but will swing and miss enough to keep the batting average down. It's a mechanical flaw in his swing, where he gets out on his front foot way too early and his bat drags through the zone.
"(CSN Coach Tim) Chambers says it's because Harper has been sitting on his back side too much and is forced to seemingly jump at the ball in order to reach it. Whatever the case, Harper is still able to crush balls on the outer half of the plate but was having difficulty with pitches coming inside."
The most interesting thing to take from Mr. Mayo's article, however, in my opinion at least, is the fact that Harper played behind the plate, at third and in center field in his first weekend with the CSN Coyotes, though Mr. Chambers explained that he has sophomore catchers who need to play too. Just where the 17-year-old catcher might play by the time he's a professional is another question discussed by the scouts Mr. Mayo speaks to, one of whom says, "...with certainty that Harper would not be able to catch as a professional," and another who believes that, "...he's got a good chance to be above-average," behind the plate, "His problems catching are correctable."
I wish DC GM Mike Rizzo had divulged some of the names on top of the board when he and his staff conducted a mock draft a few weeks back...