ESPN.com’s Keith Law provides his ranking of the top fifty amateur players (Insider link) who are eligible for selection in this summer’s Rule 4 draft. The group as a whole has generally disappointed, Law writes, perhaps leading teams to “flee to safety” by looking at safer collegiate performers with their top selections. Of course, such a strategy would also open up some greater opportunities for organizations with multiple early selections to take some risks on higher-upside, younger prospects.
- Like most analysts, Law has called right-handed pitcher and shortstop Hunter Greene the top overall draft prospect. As has been suggested previously, he will indeed no longer take the hill in high school competition in advance of the draft, as Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America writes. That’s unlikely to impact his stock, as teams have already seen plenty of triple-digit heaters and will continue to watch him play in the field — where he’s also considered a top talent. Greene and his family are taking a very active role in assessing organizations and their approaches to developing pitchers, Belinsky explains, with the Twins (who sit at first overall) and Padres (third) seemingly making for a better match than the Reds (who choose second).
- One of the draft’s other top prospects, South Carolina righty Clarke Schmidt, has unfortunately been diagnosed with a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, as Belinsky also reports. The junior starter had risen to be seen as a clear first-round selection before this rough news. Of course, he could still end up being taken with a lofty selection; we have seen several hurlers nabbed quite early in the draft in recent years despite serious arm injuries.