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2011 MLB Draft: Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon Top Most Big Boards

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.

No. Team
1. Pittsburgh Pirates
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Kansas City Royals
6. Washington Nationals
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (for unsigned 2010 first-round pick Barret Loux)
8. Cleveland Indians
9. Chicago Cubs
10. San Diego Padres (for failure to sign 2010 first-round pick Karsten Whitson)
11. Houston Astros
12. Milwaukee Brewers
13. New York Mets
14. Florida Marlins
15. Milwaukee Brewers (for failure to sign 2010 first-round pick Dylan Covey)
16. Los Angeles Dodgers
17. Los Angeles Angels
18. Oakland Athletics
19. Boston Red Sox (from Detroit Tigers for Type A free agent Victor Martinez)
20. Colorado Rockies
21. Toronto Blue Jays
22. St. Louis Cardinals
23. Washington Nationals (from Chicago White Sox for Type A free agent Adam Dunn)
24. Tampa Bay Rays (from Boston Red Sox for Type A free agent Carl Crawford)
25. San Diego Padres
26. Boston Red Sox (from Texas Rangers for Type A free agent Adrian Beltre)
27. Cincinnati Reds
28. Atlanta Braves
29. San Francisco Giants
30. Minnesota Twins
31. Tampa Bay Rays (from New York Yankees for Type A free agent Rafael Soriano)
32. Tampa Bay Rays
33. Texas Rangers (from Philadelphia Phillies for Type A free agent Cliff Lee)

For more on MLB prospects, join Minor League Ball and Baseball Nation. For more Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants chatter, join Athletics Nation and McCovey Chronicles.