Major League Baseball's amateur draft will be held from June 7th-9th, so we're going to introduce you to some of the top players available during the next few weeks.
High school shortstops have long been a hot commodity during baseball's amateur draft, with six being taken in the first round over the last three years. That includes Tim Beckham and Mike Moustakas, the first overall pick in 2008 and the second overall pick in 2007, respectively. The top shortstop prospect in this year's class (high school or college) is Manny Machado of Brito HS in Miami.
ESPN's Keith Law ranked him as the second best prospect in the draft behind Bryce Harper, while Baseball America had him fourth (subs. req'd for both). MLB.com's Draft Report says that Machado has been "swinging the bat very well" and has a chance to hit for good power, but it's uncertain if he can remain at short as his 6-foot-3, 190 lb. frame fills out. Law notes that he "he has the tools to be a plus defender there," though acknowledges the possibly of him moving off the position. The MLB.com link has video.
Being a righthanded hitting shortstop from Miami with a big frame draws obvious comparisons to Alex Rodriguez, though it's completely unfair to put that on anyone, let alone a kid still in high school. Machado simply doesn't have A-Rod's innate hitting ability. In his latest mock draft, Baseball America's Jim Callis projects the Pirates to select Machado with the second overall pick, and it's hard to envision him getting past the Mets and the seventh overall pick.