There will be a record 60 players drafted this year in the first round—technically, 33 true first-round picks and 27 compensation-round selections—but even at that, there may not be enough draft slots available to accommodate all of the elite-level college talent that might be first-rounders in a normal draft year.
This year’s college crop is one of the deepest in draft history, especially in the large number of quality arms, and the simple math says that a number of deserving first-round candidates will spill over into the sandwich round, and beyond.
Perfect Game has identified the Top 100 college prospects for this year’s draft and it was challenging to cut off the list at 100. Of the 100 players, 61 are pitchers.
UCLA righthander Gerrit Cole, an unsigned first-round pick from 2008, still tops the list, even as a significant number of other college pitchers have actually had more-productive 2011 seasons than Cole. Several are challenging him for the top spot with the draft just four weeks away.
Two lefthanders, Virginia’s Danny Hultzen and Georgia Tech’s Jed Bradley, rank 2-3 behind Cole. Other significant arms like UCLA’s Trevor Bauer, Vanderbilt’s Sonny Gray, Texas’ Taylor Jungmann, Connecticut’s Matt Barnes, Texas A&M’s John Stilson and Kentucky’s fast-rising Alex Meyer, all righthanders, are all serious candidates to go in the first 10 picks in the draft. In all, nine pitchers occupy the top 11 positions on the attached list.
The high-end talent among position prospects isn’t quite as pronounced at the college level, especially with a shoulder injury to Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon that has limited him mostly to a DH role this spring. Rendon was projected to be the No. 1 pick overall at the start of the 2011 college season, but his injury has limited his time in the field and diminished his performance at the plate—all of which has potentially impacted his draft standing. He is positioned at No. 4 on the attached list.
Other significant injuries that have sidelined Oregon State catcher Andrew Susac (broken hamate bone) and South Carolina outfielder Jackie Bradley (wrist surgery) has further compromised the depth among college position players. Both were near-locks to go in the first round earlier this year, but their status now is unclear.
Our top 100 list includes both a player’s overall ranking plus his Perfect Game draft grouping. Players in Group 1 (a total of 81) are generally projected to go in Rounds 1-3, while players in Group 2 (the remaining 19) are considered 4th-10th round talents.
As part of Perfect Game’s ongoing preview coverage of the 2011 draft, we will identify the Top 100 Prospects in the junior-college ranks on Tuesday and the Top 100 High-School Prospects on Wednesday.
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