MLB's annual draft is a three-day event covering a whopping 40 rounds, and this year's draft will begin Thursday night with the first two rounds. Rounds three through 10 will follow on Friday, and the draft will conclude Saturday. Like the baseball season, the draft is a marathon. Not a sprint.
Before the draft begins, we're going to give you a crash course on the top draft prospects available this year. We covered pitchers on Monday and position players on Tuesday, so today we'll try to unearth some sleepers. That is, players who could end up being bargains relative to their draft slot.
The full draft order -- which is subject to change during the offseason due to free-agent compensation -- can be found right here. The Astros, Cubs and Rockies hold the top three selections. On to the sleepers.
High School Pitcher: Kyle Serrano, RHP, Farragut HS (Tennessee)
If Serrano were another three or four inches taller, he'd probably go in the top 10 picks. Teams have always had a bias against shorter right-handers because the perception is they won't hold up under heavy workloads. Serrano, listed at 6 feet tall, is the son of long-time college pitching coach Dave Serrano, currently the head coach at Tennessee. He has a clean delivery and three pitches already: an easy low-90s fastball, one of the best curveballs in the draft and an above-average changeup. Serrano has all the goods; he's just a few inches shorter than the ideal. He's expected to be draft toward the end of the first round or early in the second round. As you probably guessed, he is committed to play for his father at Tennessee.
High School Position Player: Jordan Paroubeck, OF, Serra HS (California)
No player in the draft has had a better private hitting coach than Paroubeck, who spent the spring training with Barry Bonds. His father is a childhood friend of the seven-time NL MVP, who also atetnded Serra HS once upon a time. Paroubeck is a legitimate prospect in his own right and shouldn't fall under Bonds' shadow. He's a true switch hitter with power from both sides of the plate, plus he runs very well and is adept in center field. Paroubeck also draws raves for his work ethic. He remains raw but has a ton of tools on both sides of the ball. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder is committed to Fresno State and is expected to be a late second- or early third-round pick.
College Pitcher: Tony Rizzotti, RHP, Tulane
Rizzotti has attended three colleges -- TCU, Grayson JC (Texas) and Tulane -- in three years as he searched for more and more innings. He had knee surgery in 2010 and again in 2011 to clean up some cartilage. Although Rizzotti starts for the Green Wave, his future lies in the bullpen because he does not have a changeup and some effort in his delivery. At his best, the righty from Texas sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and backs it up with a wipeout slider. He could wind up flirting with triple-digits if moved to the bullpen full-time. Rizzotti has the size -- listed at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds -- and stuff to move up the minor league ladder very quickly as a reliever. He's expected to only be a fifth- or sixth-round pick this week because of the knee trouble.
College Hitter: Victor Caratini, 3B/C, Miami Dade College
Quality catchers are very hard to find, so much so that teams will reach for backstops every year in the draft. Caratini has played primarily third base in college, but he started transitioning behind the plate recently and has seen more and more time there this spring. He has the body -- listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds -- and the hands and footwork to handle the position, plus his arm is very strong. Caratini is also a switch hitter, but his left-handed swing is more advanced than the right. If he can't catch, he'll simply return to third base. But if he can, he'll be an absolutely steal. He's expected to come off the board somewhere in the third through fifth rounds.