frase: Do you think that the Devil Rays are seriously considering Buster Posey at No. 1 and do scouts project him to be an All-Star at the Major League level? To me it just seems that the Rays have holes elsewhere that may be better served at number 1. Thanks.
Mayo: Figured it best to start the chat off with a question about the No. 1 overall pick. Yes, they are seriously considering Posey. I think projecting someone to be an All-Star is a tough one, but I do know of some people who feel he's a legit No. 1 pick. The combination of bat and catching skills is hard to find these days. Other holes? You don't draft for need at 1-1, but you really think they have another hole more important than at catcher?
sablo04: Can you tell me more about Gerrit Cole? You said the Rangers might be interested in him but Freidrich or Hunt seem to be "surer" things. Also, what are the chances now that Eric Hosmer falls to them or that they take a shot on Tanner Scheppers? Thanks for answering!
Mayo: One word: arm strength. OK, so that's two words. Cole can throw awfully hard and has been up to 98 mph at times. He's got a slider and a changeup, too, but it's the heater that turns heads. There have been some concerns with his delivery as well as his makeup (he gets too emotional on the mound, among other things). Oh, and he's advised by Scott Boras. I don't see Hosmer slipping to No. 11. If the Royals don't take him, the Marlins or the Nationals might. I'll never say never, but it's unlikely. As for Scheppers, I'd be shocked if he went that high. There'd have to be some pretty conclusive medical reports that he'll be fine and even then, to take him at No. 11 doesn't make sense to me.
GMUtrkstar: Any word on who the Nationals are looking at in the Draft?
Mayo: In my most recent projection of the top 20, I still have the Nats taking South Carolina first baseman Justin Smoak. He's a switch-hitter who can hit with power from both sides. Only thing is he could be gone by then. There's been talk of high school outfielder Zach Collier getting a look, but I'm not sure on that one. Hosmer would be a possibility if he slips, as would one of the top college arms, Aaron Crow or Brian Matusz.
zzConflict: Aaron Hicks and Ethan Martin, hitters or pitchers?
Mayo: Martin is definitely a pitcher now. I think he became that to nearly everyone in a game earlier this season against Hosmer and his American Heritage team. Martin had always had arm strength, but he showed up this year being able to throw three above-average pitches for strikes and hasn't really let up. I could see him going as high as No. 12. As for Hicks, there's some split. A lot of people don't want to pass up the potential tools package in a guy who could be an impact every-day player in center field. There is some concern about whether he'll hit enough to get to those tools, though. The flip side is that there are plenty of people who would love to have him pitch, but he's made it pretty clear he's not interested in pitching. Someone could draft him as a hitter and if it doesn't work, move him to the mound in a couple of years, but it's odd to have a fallback plan like that for a first-rounder.
cankid: Who are some of the players that have been linked to the Blue Jays?
Mayo: The Jays are always a tough one to figure out. Not only do they keep things close to the vest, but they can't be pegged as a college only team anymore. That being said, if the right college bat was there, that's my bet. I had them taking Brett Wallace out of ASU, though he may not be there by then. A lot of people have seen Brett Lawrie as a fit because he's a Canadian kid and can flat-out hit and the Jays seem to like that type of high school player (see Snider, Travis).
txboy2004: Do the Astros take the best available player with the No. 10 pick since the farm is so empty or do they go with a college closer to try to help quickly?
Mayo: I don't think i'd necessarily go college closer at No. 10 overall, though that is a strength of this Draft and there are some guys with some big arms to choose from, like Ryan Perry and Andrew Cashner. I think they can take the best available guy who'll get there pretty quickly. To me, that's a college bat like Yonder Alonso.
guyclark: Hey Jonathan, Melville, Meyer, Jake Odorizzi ... what order do those three go off the board?
Mayo: Gotta love the high school arms, huh? It's not a good group overall, but there are some interesting ones. Odorizzi definitely goes off the board first in this trio. After that, I'll say it goes Melville then Meyer.
illinois6: Jonathan, how many first basemen do you see going in the top three rounds, and is UNLV's Xavier Scruggs one of them?
Mayo: You've touched on the biggest strength of the Draft. Second question first -- no, I don't see Scruggs going in the top 3 rounds. He's got power, but I'm told the concern is he won't hit enough to get to that power. Other first basemen that should go in the first three rounds: Hosmer, Smoak, Alonso, Wallace, David Cooper, Ike Davis (maybe more as an OF), Allan Dykstra, maybe Kyle Long (Howie's kid, who might be wanted more as a pitcher).
csu_bucs: What are you hearing about Smoak? Seems like his "down" year was pretty darn good.
Mayo: Didn't realize he was having a down year. He's a Golden Spikes semifinalist who is up to .389 with a .758 SLG as a switch-hitter. I think he could go as high as No. 3 and won't make it out of the top 10.
slewis21: Casey Kelly, will he play quarterback and shortstop at Tennessee or will he sign if selected in the 1st round?
Mayo: I think if he goes high enough, he's going to play baseball as a pro. Rather, if the bonus is high enough, he'll forego Tennessee. That's just a hunch, mind you and I don't think he'd necessarily be upset going and playing two sports with the Vols.
mdturtle: Thanks for the chat. If you had to guess, how would you say the O's top 4 shake out?
Mayo: Thanks for coming. I'm guessing you mean where you think the O's will go with their No. 4 pick, because there's no way I can project what they'll do with their first four picks. Right now, I still say Matusz, the lefty out of San Diego. But they do like their bats and it wouldn't shock me to see them turn to a Smoak or Gordon Beckham.
soxnatio0: Who are the top picks from the state of Georgia, and what teams are they headed to?
Mayo: Georgia's got some serious talent this year. The top guys are Tim Beckham, the high school shortstop who could go No. 1 overall and won't make it out of the top 5 or so picks; Gordon Beckham (no relation), the University of Georgia's shortstop who also is a likely top 10 pick (White Sox?); Martin, a high school right-hander who could go in the middle of the first round (Dodgers at 15, maybe); Josh Fields, the University of Georgia closer, also a possible first-rounder. Others include high school pitchers Michael Palazzone and Zeke Spruill and high school outfielder Xavier Avery.
sevarb41: Who will the Braves likely draft in the first round?
Mayo: They don't pick until No. 40, so it's anyone's guess. But if you want to pick the best talent from the state of Georgia that's still available from the list above (Palazzone?), that's never a bad bet with them.
wolfpack11: With the Diamondbacks recent success in the Draft, what direction do you see them going for this year?
Mayo: The D-Backs are willing to go in any direction and are very much -- I know it sounds cliche -- a "best available player" kind of organization. In this Draft, that could mean a power arm, maybe one of the college closers who could move fast. I'd heard a while ago they liked University of Miami second baseman Jemile Weeks (Rickie's brother), but haven't gone back yet to investigate further.
lext: Who are the the best catching prospects in the Draft? That is where I would like to see the Red Sox pick. Jason Varitek can't catch forever.
Mayo: There is some catching available, but there's a dropoff after the first few. Posey is atop the list, followed by high schooler Kyle Skipworth. Then there's Stanford catcher Jason Castro, Lawrie (more and more see him as a legit catcher), ASU's Petey Paramore, Florida high schooler Adrian Nieto and I'll throw in UC Davis' Jake Jefferies for good measure. I had heard the Sox could be interested in Nieto in the second round or so if things work out that way.
hpcd10: Do you think its harder to draft a Canadian out of high school considering they don't play as much as the southern states do and the competition isn't as high?
Mayo: I think it can be tough, not just for Canadian kids, but for players in the northeast or even midwest, where climate causes issues. Canada definitely has some challenges because the season is so short, but there's been some great talent coming from there of late. This year, it's Lawrie's turn. Guys like Lawrie, and Aumont last year, try to get seen at showcases, playing for the national team and going and giving private workouts to teams as the draft approaches, so that offsets things somewhat.
redfish16: Who are the top high school players that may be drafted?
Mayo: In the order I have in my top 20: Tim Beckham, Hosmer, Skipworth, Hicks, Martin, Anthony Hewitt, Lawrie. I'll add Collier and Odorizzi to the potential first-round list as well.
brett0202: Jon, in your new mock Draft, you have both Perry & Cashner going before Fields. I thought Fields was regarded as the best of the 3 and is also a college senior (despite being a Boras guy). Is it that you think Perry & Cashner are viewed higher?
Mayo: Sorry that one got cut off a bit, but I don't think the Boras thing factors into it now that Fields is a senior. The difference is that some teams think Perry and Cashner could be starters. With Fields, yes, you get a good short reliever who can move fast. Perry and Cashner have bigger arms than Fields and if you think they can start, they could have front of the rotation potential.
mstrbatter: I've heard the Cubs linked with Cole as well. Wilkens is also rumored to like Hewitt, Collier, and Kelly. Have you heard rumors linking Cole with the Cubs, and who is the most athletic of the other 3?
Mayo: If you can figure out Tim Wilkin, the Cubs scouting director, you can have my job! He's willing to go in any direction and isn't afraid to go off the board to draft someone (think Tyler Colvin). I hadn't heard Cole with the Cubs rumors. I think they're looking more at bats. All three of those high school players are extremely athletic. Collier and Hewitt are more five-toolsy types, but Kelly is a big-time quarterback recruit. That being said, I think they like Lawrie better than any of them right now.
mikeruiz: You seem low on Dennis Raben. I have read conflicting reports. Would you say most scouts are high or low on him?
Mayo: It's not a good year for college outfielders and that might help Raben some. Someone will take a chance because of the power potential, but this is a guy who's career average in college is under .300. You have to make consistent contact in order to hit the ball out. That being said, he could still be a sandwich pick type.
emacd01: Who do you think the Tigers are looking at with their pick?
Mayo: I won't make an official projection on their pick at 21 until next week, but I'll tell you they'd probably love it if one of those power arms -- Perry or Cashner -- fell to them. If they decide they still want one and they are gone, Rice's Bryan Price might fit in there. They're also looking at some high school bats, with Collier a distinct possibility, along with Lawrie. They could also go the college route with Castro, the Stanford catcher, if he's still there.
natsfan89: Is it an indictment on Chris Marrero if the Nats take Smoak or Hosmer? what do they do with both of those players?
Mayo: Not necessarily. The Nats will take the player they like best when they pick, regardless of what they have in their system. If they think that's Smoak or Hosmer, then they cross the bridge of worrying what happens when they get there. Maybe you move Marrero back to the OF and hope he's ok in left. Maybe you trade someone. Point is, it'd be a nice problem to have, no, with those kinds of bats in your organization?
draysbay: Where about in the Draft do you see Zach Putnam getting taken, and will it be as a pitcher or hitter?
Mayo: Looks like most are looking at Putnam as a pitcher. I don't think he makes it out of the first half of the second round and could even sneak into the back end of the first.
draysbay: Shouldn the sketchy history of drafted catchers scare Tampa Bay off Posey?
Mayo: I don't think you can ever really line up the current year's Draft based on what happened at a position in years past. Posey has to be evaluated on his own for right now, not because some catcher was a bust a few years back. That being said, looking at college catchers over the past few years taken in the first round, you had Matt Wieters last year. That seems to be working out OK. Jeff Clement (2005) hasn't become a superstar yet, but he's in the big leagues and will hit just fine. Landon Powell (2004) hasn't panned out because of injuries, but Posey certainly isn't Powell. And if you want to go back to the last time a catcher was taken No. 1 overall, that would be Mr. Joe Mauer.
Soco24: Is there any chance Tim Beckham and Pedro Alvarez slip out of the top 3?
Mayo: Chance? Sure. My first projection had Tim Beckham going No. 5. Not a slip, just the way things lined up. If the Rays take Posey, I think the Pirates will take either Alvarez or Tim Beckhma, then the Royals would take Alvarez. No guarantees, obviously, but while there's a chance, it's seeming like it's pretty unlikely.
mikeruiz: Why isn't Cooper getting more attention?
Mayo: He's kind of quietly had a real good year, hans't he? I think he may suffer a little from the sheer amount of talent at his position. Smoak and Alonso get all of the attention up top, but Cooper still has a legit shot at being a first-rounder. It could be worse -- Dykstra gets even less love than Cooper does.
mvdc: Who could fall to the Yanks who have huge upside but there are questions about signability? (i.e. Luke Brackman last year)
Mayo: Well, remember with Brackman, not only was it signability, but he was hurt. The Yankees could go that route again by taking Scheppers and his stress fractured shoulder. That wouldn't be a signability thing. I guess everyone is waiting to see if someone like Hosmer drops because of bonus demands, but I don't see that happening. There are a couple high school pitchers who might be intriguing, like Cole, a Boras advisee.
marlinschp: If Matusz and Skipworth are there at No. 6, who do you see the Marlins taking?
Mayo: That's a good one. I'd say Matusz at this point.
royalsfan8: Is there any chance the Royals land Tim Beckham?
Mayo: Not really. From what I understand, they aren't really high on him.
knuckler26: Who will the Brewers take in the first round?
Mayo: I projected Hewitt in this week's top 20. Been getting a bunch of questions on him. He's got as much helium as anyone. Raw, toolsy, good kid. He won't be a shortstop as a pro and most likely profiles in the outfield. If he doesn't go to the Brewers, I can't see him getting past, say, the Phillies at No. 24.
hawksbaseball: Have the Ray's been looking into Gordon Beckham at all? I mean he's an advanced college bat who's tearing up college pitching, the Rays' current shortstop Jason Bartlett is nothing special, and I would imagine he would go through the Rays system quicker than high school shortstop Tim
Mayo: Nope, Gordon Beckham isn't really a No. 1 overall guy. Yes, having a terrific year, but he's not quite at that level. Sure he'd move more quickly than Tim, but if you take T Beck, it's because of the upside. Of course, guys like Justin Upton have shown that high schoolers can move quickly as well.
dustmuff: Kyle Russell likely headed into the year as a first round candidate. How low do you think he'll drop?
Mayo: Pretty low. Someone will take him because of the power, but even last year there was a question about his ability to make consistent contact. Be he's wishing he took the money the Red Sox offered him last year.
apvoshell: Bonuses aside, who is this Draft's best player?
Mayo: I'd have to say Alvarez, but the interesting thing about this draft class is there isn't a clear-cut answer to that question. Most see Tim Beckham as the best all-around package of tools. But I bet if you were to take a poll of all 30 scouting directors, you could get several different answers to that question.
knuckler26: Who has the sickest stuff as a pitcher in the Draft?
Mayo: Just on pure stuff, it might have to be Perry. Guy can flat-out throw.
jubil: Davis or Eric Thames? Thames' sudden power outburst is hard to explain.
Mayo: I'll go Davis, though Thames has had an excellent year and has certainly moved himself up. But Davis has a little more track record and the big league bloodlines are always a plus (his dad is Ron Davis).
tanliker: Do you see the Twins going with a college pitcher or do they look for a big bat?
Mayo: I think it depends on how things fall. They could have interest in a guy like Christian Friedrich, but especially with the Tanner Scheppers injury, he may be gone by 14. After that, I think as of right now, a high school bat makes sense.
KyleB27: Do you think there is anything to the Kelly to the Reds rumors?
Mayo: No, not really. I think that's a big reach. Not saying it would never happen, but I think that could be one where people just made that connection because of his dad.
the_stork: Give us some insight on how a team would chose among Hunt, Friedrich, and Perry. Thanks.
Mayo: It really depends on what you're looking for. If you like big arms and ridiculous pure stuff, then Perry's your guy. But he's also been every uneven in terms of performance. Hunt's got good stuff, had some trouble with command, but is a solid combo of stuff and pitchability. Friedrich isn't a pure finesse lefty -- he's got some decent stuff -- but probably would be ranked third in a "stuff" competition with this trio. But some teams love lefties. OK guys, time for one more question -- I'll be doing this again on June 3 at noon ET, so be sure to come back and we can talk about how things are taking shape. Sorry, trying to find a good one to cap things off with.
hpcd10: Who do you think the big sleeper is in this year's Draft?
Mayo: Gotta love a sleeper question... He's not a complete unknown, but keep an eye on Tennessee high schooler Seth Lintz. He's got some helium and had performed well late in the spring. In a relatively weak high school pitching class, he could go earlier than you'd think.
Mayo: 1:34 pm OK, folks. That's it for me. Thanks so much for the questions. Sorry I didn't have time to get to more. But come back on June 3 at noon ET and we'll do this again!