Updated Sat., Dec. 21, 2013
For the first time in the history of the June Amateur First-Year Player Draft, the Houston Astros will own the first overall pick for the third consecutive year. Only two other teams in the history of the draft have selected back-to-back, the Washington Nationals (2009-10) and the Tampa Bay Rays (2007-08). Those picks have produced MLB All-Stars David Price, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, reason for Astros fans to be hopeful with their most recent selections, Mark Appel and Carlos Correa, as well as whoever they take No. 1 in 2014.
It should be noted that the draft used to alternate picks between the American and National Leagues, meaning it wasn't even possible for teams to have back-to-back picks prior to 2005.
NC State lefthander Carlos Rodon is viewed by most as the frontrunner to be selected first overall next June, a status he has held since his sensational freshman season. In two years Rodon has gone 19-3 with a 2.33 ERA and a 319-to-86 strikeout to walk ratio in 247 innings of work. The 6-foot-3, 234-pound lefthander works in the mid- to upper-90s with his fastball, and also throws a mid- to upper-80s wipeout slider.
Royals surge out of the top 10
For the first time since 2009, and only the fifth in 18 years, the Kansas City Royals will not be selecting among the top 10 overall picks. With a 86-76 season in which they just missed the playoffs, the Royals enjoyed a successful 2013 season in large part due to the multiple, early picks they have had in recent years. Billy Butler (2004), Alex Gordon (2005), Mike Moustakas (2007) and Eric Hosmer (2008) served as the heart of the Royals' batting order and represent four of team's first-round picks in the last 10 years -- Gordon, Moustakas and Hosmer all being selected among the top 10 overall picks. Luke Hochevar and Aaron Crow hold the same distinction, and filled integral roles out of the team's bullpen this season.
The Boston Red Sox, who finished the 2012 season with the seventh-worst record in all of baseball, finished the 2013 season tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best overall record in baseball, a jump of 23 slots in the raw draft order.
The Cleveland Indians enjoyed a big jump of their own, going from the fifth overall pick in 2013 to the 24th slot in 2014.
After enjoying their first winning season in over 20 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates saw a similar jump in the draft order, going from 14 (not including their compensatory selection for unsigned 2012 pick Mark Appel) to 27. This is especially notable considering they selected first overall in 2011 when they chose Gerrit Cole.
The Chicago White Sox, who held the No. 18 slot in the 2013 raw draft order, fell 15 spots with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 draft.
The Marlins, Cubs, Twins, Rockies and Blue Jays once again join the Astros early in the draft order. 2014 will be the fourth year in the row the Cubs will have a selection among the top 10 overall picks, the third for the Marlins and Twins and Rockies.
2014 Raw Draft Order
Here is how the raw order of the first round of the 2014 draft will stack up, with the order of the competitive balance lottery and unsigned 2013 picks to follow.