Today is a light schedule on the scoreboard – nine games on the docket – but it's one of the biggest days on the baseball calendar. The First-Year Player Draft, the culmination of a year's work for hundreds of scouts and executives, gets under way tonight in Secaucus, N.J.
For the second year, the draft will be televised live, in its entirety, on MLB Network . The preview show starts at 6, with the first pick set for about 7:15 p.m. EDT.
Also for the second consecutive year, the Washington Nationals will be picking first. On the eve of the highly anticipated debut of last year's No. 1, right-hander Stephen Strasburg , the Nationals are expected to make Bryce Harper the top pick in 2010. Harper is a left-handed catcher/outfielder with phenomenal power – he batted .443 with 31 home runs and 98 RBI in 66 games this season for the College of Southern Nevada. And he's just 17. Here's some background on Harper and the buzz surrounding him from Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.
Even the best mock drafts usually bear little resemblance to what actually happens beyond the first few picks. And even after the picks are made, it's usually years before a draft can be assessed.
Sometimes you take Steve Chilcott No.1 when you could have had Reggie Jackson . Sometimes you get Albert Pujols in the 19th round. For all the work that goes into it, baseball's draft is ultimately an uncertain enterprise. Don't get too excited about the supposed sure thing your team drafts in the first round today, and have fun learning about their other picks and perhaps identifying a Mike Piazza (round 62 in 1988) in the rough.