Draft Links: Rendon, Bauer, Cole, Mock Drafts

We've already learned that right-hander Gerrit Cole will be the Pirates' choice with the first overall pick in today's amateur draft, and it seems that the next two picks are also starting to crystalize.  "Barring huge late surprises," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the top three look to be Cole, Anthony Rendon (to the Mariners) and Trevor Bauer (to the Diamondbacks).  Here's the latest as we're just hours away from the 2011 draft…

  • Cole, Rendon and Bauer are the first three picks for Baseball America's Jim Callis in his final mock draft.  This represents a reversal for Callis, who said on Friday that "[Danny] Hultzen to Arizona was the biggest lock in the first six picks."  Instead, Callis has Hultzen falling to the Nationals at No. 6.
  • Francisco Lindor had a great workout with the Mariners and there were rumors Seattle could take the high school shortstop with the No. 2 pick, reports Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.  Still, Goldstein predicts Seattle to draft Rendon in his latest mock since Jack Zduriencik didn't see much of Lindor in game action and, if the M's did branch out to take a high school player, they might prefer Bubba Starling.
  • Marc Hulet of Fangraphs and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo also have Cole, Rendon and Bauer as the first three picks in their last mock drafts. 
  • Also from Mayo, he names the ten best draft picks in history according to their placement in the draft order.  For instance, Alex Rodriguez is the best first overall pick ever, Reggie Jackson is the best second overall pick ever, etc.
  • Now that it appears Cole will be Pittsburgh's pick at No. 1, the second-guessing has already begun.  "I think history suggests that the Pirates may be making a mistake here," writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, who cites the surprisingly weak crop of pitchers taken with the first overall pick.  (The jury is still out, of course, on David Price and Stephen Strasburg.)
  • Meanwhile, Tom Krasovic of West Coast Bias asks five scouts and an executive who they would rather draft between Cole and Bauer.  Cole won the informal poll, but only by a 4-2 margin.
  • Nationals owner Mark Lerner says his team won't hesitate to spend to get the draft picks they want, reports James Wagner of the Washington Post (via the Post's Adam Kilgore).  "Last year we had great luck in going after kids with signability issues like A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray, and hopefully we’ll have the same opportunity again this year if the opportunity presents itself," Lerner said.
  • The Rockies are looking at Hawaii second baseman Kolten Wong or UNC shortstop Levi Michael with the 20th overall pick in the first round, tweets ESPN's Keith Law.  Colorado apparently won't be selecting Utah first baseman C.J. Cron.
  • The Tigers have had success finding Major League players in the late rounds of recent drafts, reports MLive.com's Matt Sussman.  Detroit won't have a pick until the 76th overall selection after losing its first round pick to Boston as compensation for signing Victor Martinez.
  • MLBTR's Dan Mennella already posted a set of draft links earlier today, so click here for even more draft news on this busy day in baseball.

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