If the season ended today, the Houston Astros would have the No. 1 pick for the third consecutive year, a first since the Draft's inception in 1965. Houston took Carlos Correa, a high school shortstop from Puerto Rico, in the top spot in 2012, then followed that up with Stanford right-hander Mark Appel this year.
Any scouting staff will say it would rather not take top honors in this contest, since it's a sign of a lack of success at the big league level, but the Astros knew going into this summer what they should be looking for.
"We are aware of the standings and have kept an eye on them as we've attacked the summer circuit," Astros scouting director Mike Elias said. "Picking No. 1 is never something you want to be doing, but the reality is we're going to be picking high again in 2014."
The Miami Marlins would follow the Astros, based on the reverse order of the current standings. The Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Brewers, Giants, Mariners, Blue Jays and Mets would round out the top 10 selections. Toronto would pick again at No. 11, as compensation for failing to come to terms with 2013 first-round pick Phil Bickford.
With the completion of the summer season -- from high school showcases, All-America Games from coast to coast and college leagues -- most seem to feel the Class of 2014 is stronger and deeper than its most recent predecessor. High school pitching appears to be a strength of this crop, though there does seem to be a number of options among the other groups of prospects.
North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon, a Golden Spikes Award finalist after his freshman year in 2012, is considered by many to be the early front-runner to be the No. 1 overall pick. Other potential top-of-the-first-round talents could be Rodon's teammate, speedy shortstop Trea Turner, East Carolina right-hander Jeff Hoffman, California high school shortstop Jacob Gatewood and fellow Californian prepster Alex Jackson, a catcher who can also play third and the outfield. Among that deep high school pitching crop, Texas right-hander Teddy Kolek, Georgia right-hander Dylan Cease and California lefty Brady Aiken stand out, though it should be noted that a high school righty has never been taken No. 1 overall.
"Our responsibility is to make the most of that Draft pick and all the ones after that first pick," Elias said. "We've been hitting the showcase circuits and the college leagues hard. It looks like it's going to be another strong Draft class. We are excited about following up on a lot of these guys in the spring."