Follow live coverage of the three-day event on MLB.com, Network
By Mark Newman
NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball will mark the 50th anniversary of the MLB Draft today through Wednesday, with Rob Manfred announcing first-round picks for the first time as Commissioner and the D-backs on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick to start what could be an unprecedented opening of three consecutive shortstops selections.
Dansby Swanson of Vanderbilt has been projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the last three MLBPipeline.com mock drafts. Fellow shortstops Alex Bregman of Louisiana State and Brendan Rodgers of Lake Mary (Fla.) High School are projected to go right after him to Houston and Colorado, respectively, according to both Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo in their latest mock drafts.
No position other than pitcher has accounted for the first three selections of an MLB Draft. The only such 1-2 selection was in 1982, when Shawon Dunston went to the Cubs and then Augie Schmidt to the Blue Jays. Shortstop has been the No. 1 overall pick 11 times, most recently when Houston chose Carlos Correa in 2012 and Tampa Bay took Tim Beckham in 2008. There have been 23 shortstops selected in the top three overall picks.
Day 1 will unfold at MLB Network's Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J., with four prep prospects and 60 club reps scheduled to be in attendance. MLB Network and MLB.com will have live coverage tonight, covering the top 75 picks -- or through Competitive Balance Round B -- starting at 7 p.m. ET. MLB.com will provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, starting at 1 p.m. ET. Then rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on June 10, beginning at noon ET.
Prior to the start of the Draft, MLB Network and MLB.com will air a Draft preview show starting at 6 p.m. ET. Of course, the previewing already is well underway. Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB.com analysts Mayo and Callis, the 2015 order of selection and more. Follow @MLBDraft now to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.
MLB.com has launched Draft Tracker, the always-popular live interactive app that includes a searchable database of more than 1,500 draft-eligible players with statistics, scouting reports and video highlights. In addition to @MLBDraft for live updates and commentary, follow @MLBDraftTracker for tweets of all picks as they are made.
Rodgers is among four high-schoolers who are scheduled to be at Studio 42 with hopes of having a cap and jersey presented on the spot, per recent tradition. Others include right-hander Mike Nikorak of Stroudsburg (Pa.) High School, right-hander Ashe Russell of Indianapolis Cathedral High and outfielder Garrett Whitley of Niskayuna (N.Y.) High.
Jason Boulais, from the University of South Carolina at Beaufort, is a fifth college player on an all-day tour of New York. He is an MLB special guest at the Draft as a way of honoring him for his selfless act of donating bone marrow to save the life of a 5-year-old boy in France with a form of blood cancer that can be fatal.
Ken Griffey Jr., the No. 1 overall pick by Seattle in 1987 and a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer next year, will be among 22 former All-Stars headlining the list of club reps working the phones at the 30 team tables. Others with Hall of Fame and/or All-Star credentials include Rick Aguilera (Twins), Bob Boone (Nationals), Johnny Damon (Royals), Andre Dawson and Tony Perez (Marlins), Ryan Dempster (Cubs), Gary DiSarcina (Angels), Steve Finley (Padres), Ryan Franklin (Cardinals), Ralph Garr (Braves), Luis Gonzalez and J.J. Putz (D-backs), Tommy Lasorda (Dodgers), Mike Schmidt (Phillies), Ben Sheets (Brewers), Lee Smith (Giants), Mario Soto (Reds), B.J. Surhoff (Orioles), Robby Thompson (Indians), Alan Trammell (Tigers), Tim Wakefield (Red Sox) and Jack Wilson (Pirates).
The Astros have the second and fifth overall selections atop this Draft. The extra pick comes courtesy of not begin able to sign California high school pitcher Brady Aiken, last year's top overall pick, who recently underwent Tommy John surgery.
Along with Houston, nine other clubs each have two selections in the first round: Rockies (3 and 27), Braves (14 and 28), Yankees (16 and 30), Giants (18 and 31), Pirates (19 and 32), Royals (21 and 33), Tigers (22 and 34), Dodgers (24 and 35) and Orioles (25 and 36). The Braves have a Major League-high five selections within the first 75 picks.
The 2015 Draft will once again feature Competitive Balance rounds, which were agreed upon as a part of the 2012-16 Basic Agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association. The Competitive Balance rounds give clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets the opportunity to obtain additional draft picks through a lottery, which was held last July.
The 10 clubs with the lowest revenues and the 10 clubs in the smallest markets were entered into a lottery for the six selections immediately following the first round of the First-Year Player Draft (picks 37-42). Eligible clubs that did not receive one of the six selections after the first round, and all other payee clubs under the Revenue Sharing Plan, were entered into a second lottery for the six picks immediately after the second round of the Draft (picks 71-75; encompassing five selections this year after Boston forfeited its pick, originally obtained via trade from Oakland).
Much has changed since Rick Monday was chosen to start the first Draft in 1965. Look at the history of the selections to see how the event has evolved.
This Draft will have 40 rounds, and a club may pass on its selection in any round and not forfeit its right to participate in other rounds. For the first time, a flexible time interval will be used during Round 1. The intervals between selections during Round 1 will last between 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes. There will be one-minute intervals between selections during Competitive Balance Round A, the second round and Competitive Balance Round B.
The Draft will resume at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, when selections will be made for rounds 3-10, with one-minute intervals between selections. Day 3 of the Draft on Wednesday will begin at noon ET, featuring picks in rounds 11-40, with no time delay between selections.
MLB Network's live coverage will feature news, analysis, interviews with club front office personnel and representatives, footage from club Draft rooms, and features and interviews with prospects and newly drafted players. MLB Network's Greg Amsinger, Peter Gammons, Dan O'Dowd, Harold Reynolds and Mayo will anchor the live coverage with contributions from MLB Network's Darryl Hamilton, Al Leiter, Pedro Martinez, Dan Plesac, Bill Ripken, Sam Ryan, John Smoltz, Tom Verducci, Heidi Watney and Matt Yallof, as well as Callis and John Manuel of Baseball America.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.