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“Supposedly it’s a deep draft, should be a deep draft,” said Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin, whose team picks 12th and 15th overall. “There’s a lot of good college pitchers early in the draft. It depends on if they drop. Their signability is going to be important.”
Meanwhile, Bundy is considered the best high school pitcher available. The 6-foot-1 righty out of Owassa High School went 11-0 with 158 strikeouts in only 71 innings. He could be there at No. 6, when Washington makes the first of its two first-round selections.
“It’s hard to have that impactful a draft without those first picks like the last couple of years, but we feel we’re going to get an impactful guy at No. 6 and we think at 23,” Rizzo said. “That’s really a strong pick.”
Arizona has the third selection, as well as the seventh _ a result of not signing Barret Loux, their top selection last year. Baltimore picks fourth and Kansas City will go fifth.
Tampa Bay has a plethora of picks this year, getting 10 of the first 60 selections and 12 of the first 89 _ mostly as compensation for losing top free agents such as Carl Crawford and Rafael Soriano last offseason.
“Obviously, the more arrows you have, the more likely you are to hit the bullseye,” said Andrew Friedman, the Rays’ executive vice president of baseball operations. “It’s great to have this many picks. In large part because of the failure rate, it gives us more of a chance to get guys that can impact a major league game.”
Friedman said the focus will still be on taking the guys they deem as the best available, and insist they’ve already considered the issue of signability.
“This is something that didn’t just sneak up on us,” he said. “We anticipated being in this position. It’s something we prepared for.”
Other players expected to go early in the three-day draft include: Florida high school shortstop Francisco Lindor, Kansas high school outfielder Bubba Starling and Tennessee high school lefty Daniel Norris.
There are also a handful of right-handers expected to hear their names called in the first round: Vanderbilt’s Sonny Gray, Texas’ Taylor Jungmann and high school hurlers Archie Bradley from Oklahoma and Taylor Guerrieri from South Carolina.
“It’s about getting the best player,” Melvin said, “and doing your homework.”
AP Sports Writers Tim Booth in Seattle, Colin Fly in Milwaukee and Fred Goodall in Tampa, Fla., and AP freelance writers Chris Adamski in Pittsburgh and Rich Dubroff in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.
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