2008 First Round Mock Draft

Where will prepster Eric Homser go?

With the clocking ticking towards the start of Thursday's draft, this is one man's opinion of how things will unfold with the first round.

1. Tampa Bay: Tim Beckham, SS, Griffin (Ga.) HS.
The Rays have reportedly been on Beckham and Florida State catcher Buster Posey, and while the latter would fill a need and get to the big leagues quicker, Beckham has arguably the most upside of anyone in the draft.

2. Pittsburgh: Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt.
With new front office leadership, the Pirates badly need to make a big imprint, especially after the debacle of passing on Matt Wieters a year ago. Alvarez could become the face of the franchise if he becomes the player scouts think he can be.

3. Kansas City: Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego.
This is where things could get murky. The Royals have taken players represented by Scott Boras with their first-rounder in each of the last two years, so American Heritage (Fla.) first baseman Eric Hosmer could fit here, as could Posey or Missouri right-hander Aaron Crow, but Matusz should fit very nicely in the Royals rotation very soon.

4. Baltimore: Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina.
The Orioles could use an impact bat to join Nick Markakis in the lineup, and Smoak would also fill an immediate need. Should Matusz be available, he could be picked here as well.

5. San Francisco: Buster Posey, C, Florida State.
The Giants need immediate help, and would be very pleased if Posey slipped to them here. Smoak and Matusz are other possibilities if they are on the board.

6. Florida: Kyle Skipworth, C, Patriot (Ca.) HS.
Considered the best prep catcher to come out since Joe Mauer seven years ago, Skipworth has been superb this spring in all facets of his game, and this would fill an organizational need, as recent draftees Brett Hayes and Torre Langley haven't progressed as hoped.

7. Cincinnati: Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri.
Although rumors persist that the Reds could go with Sarasota (Fla.) shortstop Casey Kelly, whose father manages the club's affiliate in the Gulf Coast League, the Reds would be very happy if the one-time candidate to go No. 1 overall fell to them. Miami (Fla.) first baseman Yonder Alonso could be scary hitting in the Great American Ball Park, and is also a candidate to go here.

8. Chicago White Sox: Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia.
The White Sox are in need of landing impact position players, and they should have their choice of several here with Alonso, Arizona State first baseman Brett Wallace, Stanford catcher Jason Castro, and possibly Smoak or Skipworth if they aren't gone yet.

9. Washington: Yonder Alonso, 1B, Miami (Fla.).
The Nationals aren't afraid of taking players with signability issues, so Hosmer is a definite possibility here. They also would also have no problem taking a top high school player that would be available, which would include Wilson (Ca.) outfielder Aaron Hicks, Chino Hills (Ca.) outfielder Zach Collier, and Wentzville Holt (Mo.) right-hander Tim Melville. If Washington goes pitching, Eastern Kentucky left-hander Christian Friedrich and Tulane right-hander Shooter Hunt would be other options.

10. Houston: Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentucky.
The second-best lefty available, Friedrich has had a terrific junior season to keep his standing as a solid first-rounder, and he should give the Astros immediate help. Hunt would also be in play here, and it also wouldn't be a surprise if they went for one of the high school players available either.

11. Texas: Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane.
The Rangers could be the next spot for Hosmer, or possibly Orange Lutheran (Ca.) right-hander Gerrit Cole due to their ties with Boras, and the Rangers' willingness to sign his clients. Hicks and Collier could be in the mix as well, with Friedrich as a possible destination if the Astros pass on him. Hunt hasn't pitched as well down the stretch, but he shouldn't fall very far.

12. Oakland: Brett Wallace, 1B, Arizona State
Wallace should be right up the alley for the Athletics, who covet polished power bats like Wallace's. There is also the possibility he could be tried at third base, where he has seen some time at this year. Hunt and Friedrich would also be destinations if they are here, and a high school player would not be out of the question here.

13. St. Louis: Tim Melville, RHP, Wentzville Holt (Mo.) HS.
Although the Cardinals have been a team that has shunned taking high school players, they have looked at Melville extensively. Melville has also put out word that wants a bonus commensurate with being taken in the first 15 picks, so if he doesn't go here, he could have a long wait until his name is called. If one of the college pitchers or bats like Wallace or Alonso slides to them, the Cardinals would look at them as well.

14. Minnesota: Brett Lawrie, C/3B, Brookswood SS, Langley, B.C.
Lawrie has been described by some as the best pure hitter Canada has had since Larry Walker, and no one in the draft has as much helium as Lawrie does. A recent trip to the Dominican Republic cemented his status as one of the top prep bats available. Finding a home defensively will be a challenge, but the bat plays anywhere. Collier and Hicks would also be considerations, as would one of the college arms should one fall here.

15. L.A. Dodgers: Zach Collier, OF, Chino Hills (Ca.) HS.
Collier first started shooting up draft boards with a terrific performance against Hicks, and the Dodgers could easily look at him as well, but the Dodgers will bet on Collier's bat before they may have to make a choice on possibly switching Hicks from the outfield to the mound if the bat doesn't develop.

16. Milwaukee: Josh Fields, RHP, Georgia.
The Brewers certainly aren't afraid of grabbing high school players, so Hicks or Salisbury School (Conn.) infielder Anthony Hewitt could be in the discussion, as would TCU's Andrew Cashner, should the Brewers want to take another reliever.

17. Toronto: Conor Gillaspie, 3B, Wichita State.
The Blue Jays would love to have either Wallace or Alonso fall, and Lawrie would be a distinct possibility if he were available. Gillaspie may not offer the pop Wallace and Alonso have, but he is an outstanding hitter in his own right.

18. N.Y. Mets: Aaron Hicks, OF/RHP, Wilson (Ca.) HS.
The Mets get a nice value, as Hicks could possibly be among the first 10 picks, and although they are rumored to be playing it safe with either Castro, Cashner, or Arizona State's Ike Davis being their top collegiate pick, the Mets also have looked at Stephens Co. (Ga.) right-hander Ethan Martin.

19. Chicago Cubs: Casey Kelly, SS/RHP, Sarasota (Fla.) HS.
The Cubs have never backed off from taking premium athletes, and Kelly certainly fits the bill. The Cubs could also spend big bucks on Cole and Hosmer, or they could take another toolsy prospect in Hewitt.

20. Seattle: Andrew Cashner, RHP, TCU.
The Mariners fortify their bullpen with Cashner, whom some clubs may switch back to a starter because he does have a three-pitch repertoire, although his curveball lags way behind his electric fastball/slider combination. Seattle could also opt for high school pitching in Martin, or Highland (Ill.) right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

21. Detroit: Eric Hosmer, 1B, American Heritage (Fla.) HS.
The chances of Hosmer sliding this far are very slim, particularly with Kansas City, Washington and Texas picking ahead of them, and there are other owners who reportedly are willing to spend the big bucks to keep players from sliding like Rick Porcello did last year, so there could be a team lying in the weeds on him. If Hosmer is gone, the Tigers have reportedly worked out Kelly, and have seen Hewitt extensively. Cole would also be another Boras option here, and the Tigers could also look at several of the college relievers that could be available as well. A dark horse pick could be Hunt, who could slide should he not be taken in the first 10-12 picks.

22. N.Y. Mets: Jason Castro, C, Stanford.
After taking a high-risk talent with Hicks at 18, the Mets get a polished catcher who may be the one player who has improved his draft stock the most over the last year. As I mentioned in their pick at 18, Martin would be another option for the Mets should they elect to go the prep route.

23. San Diego: Ike Davis, OF, Arizona State.
Davis had a monster year until an injury slowed him down somewhat, but his bat could be a much-needed presence for the Padres. The son of former major leaguer Ron Davis, Ike has solid athleticism and a good arm. The Padres could also go with first basemen Allan Dykstra from Wake Forest or California's David Cooper, and they have an interest in Collier should he slide this far. Arizona relief pitchers Daniel Schlereth and Ryan Perry would provide bullpen help.

24. Philadelphia: Anthony Hewitt, SS, Salisbury School (Conn.) HS.
The Phillies have never shied away from taking raw players with huge upside, and Hewitt fits that to a tee. Along with Cashner and Lawrie, Hewitt has as much helium as anyone heading into the draft. He may take longer to develop than other players in his class, but if everything comes together for him, Hewitt could be one of the best players of his class. The Phillies could also grab Martin, who would be a nice value here.

25. Colorado: Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Highland (Ill.) HS.
The Rockies have scouted Odorizzi extensively this spring, and would love to have him available here, although in this case, they would have the option of going with Martin. If the Rockies want to follow last year's plan of taking a reliever, they would have their choice of the Arizona relievers, plus Rice's Bryan Price.

26. Arizona: Ethan Martin, RHP, Stephens Co (Ga.) HS.
The wait comes to an end for Martin, who could very easily hear his name called 10 spots higher on Thursday. Martin had his coming-out party when he defeated American Heritage (Fla.), which could have several players drafted. Also a premium-round prospect as a third baseman, Martin's upside is better on the mound with his mid-90s fastball and nasty breaking ball. The Diamondbacks could also go for Cole, or any of the college players previously mentioned, as well as Miami (Fla.) second baseman Jemile Weeks.

27. Minnesota: Brett DeVall, LHP, Niceville (Fla.) HS.
After taking a bat with Lawrie, the Twins stick with the prep route and take one of the most polished pitchers in this year's crop. Another name to watch with the Twins is Chaska (Min.) left-hander Brad Hand, who is a local product and could be a surprise pick here.

28. N.Y. Yankees: Gerrit Cole, RHP, Orange Lutheran (Ca.) HS.
The team with the most financial muscle in the game lands the hardest throwing pitcher in this year's draft class. Cole doesn't come without questions though, as his makeup, secondary pitches, and projection as a starter or a reliever have been hot topics for scouts all spring. The Yankees could also opt for Pepperdine right-hander Brett Hunter, or Fresno State right-hander Tanner Scheppers, both of whom are wildcards from the college ranks because of injuries.

29. Cleveland: Ryan Perry, RHP, Arizona.
The Indians would love to have Martin slide to them, but with that being unlikely, they opt for a pitcher who can give their bullpen an immediate upgrade. Weeks could also fit here, as could Price. Kent State right-hander Chris Carpenter would be a pick with a local fervor.

30. Boston: Reese Havens, SS, South Carolina.
Three years after turning down the Red Sox as a potential first-rounder out of high school, Boston gets its man, although they would also be in on any of the signability risks that could fall as well. Coconino (Ariz.) left-hander Kyle Lobstein would be a prep name to watch both here and with the Yankees at No. 28.

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