2011 MLB Draft: Latest Rumors And Implications

With five hours to go until the beginning of the 2011 MLB Draft, rumors are flying fast and furious about how things will play out.

The strongest indications are that the Pittsburgh Pirates will take UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole with the first overall selection, and that the Seattle Mariners will take Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon at number two overall. However, the Mariners' pick may not be set in stone just yet, given Rendon's enigmatic shoulder injury, and there is some thought they may turn to Florida high school shortstop Francisco Lindor.

If Rendon is not the number two choice, chaos will ensue. Even if Seattle does go with Rendon, subsequent selections are no longer as certain as they seemed 48 hours ago. University of Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen, long linked with Arizona at number three overall, has reportedly floated large bonus figures, and the Diamondbacks are now looking extremely closely at UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer.

Likewise, the Baltimore Orioles at fourth-overall are no longer certain to pick Oklahoma prep right-hander Dylan Bundy and his hefty bonus demands, and could opt for home-state rival Archie Bradley instead, or perhaps a college pitcher who would sign for slot money. No one seems to know what the Royals, picking fifth overall, will do. They seem interested in college pitching and have numerous options available, but could still go with local high school tools monster Bubba Starling.

Basically, aside from the Pirates picking Cole number one, the top of the draft, which seemed locked down 48 hours ago, is now in flux. Stay tuned!

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