The 2011 Major League Baseball Draft is just under three weeks away and teams are quickly developing their Big Boards in order to be fully prepared when June 6 through 8 approaches. The MLB Draft will go no more than 50 rounds depending on how many teams pass on picks. As the NFL and NBA Drafts have grown in popularity, baseball finally joined the hit parade and is now televising the draft on MLB Network and MLB.com.
This year's draft features a host of talent, but it's safe to say two names are cracking the top of most big boards. UCLA junior Gerrit Cole (RHP) and Rice junior Anthony Rendon (3B) are generally considered the clear-cut top two prospects in the 2011 draft class. The first round talent is solid after Cole and Rendon, but it sounds like most people would be shocked if the Pirates and Mariners don't grab those two early at the top of the draft.
Cole went as a first round pick out of high school to the Yankees in 2008 but he elected to go to college instead. Three years at UCLA appear to have only improved his draft stock. His 2011 wins, losses, and ERA don't blow anybody away (5-6, 3.42), but scouts seem to believe he has the stuff to be a top of the rotation pitcher at the big league level.
Rendon is a guy who has hit like crazy at the college level while also showing a good eye (.326/.530/.520) and shown excellent fielding skills. His primary problem has been staying healthy, as he has dealt with ankle and shoulder injuries in recent seasons. If he can stay healthy the talent is not a question mark at all.
As we await the start of the 2011 MLB Draft, here's a rundown of the first round draft order.