At the beginning of the 2011 season, the top pitchers in the country looked pretty clear cut. But then a flamethrower from South Carolina worked his way into the mix.
Taylor Guerrieri of Spring Valley (Columbia, S.C.) was not among the list of first-round MLB prospects early in the season as most of the attention focused on Owasso's Dylan Bundy, Broken Arrow's Archie Bradley and Science Hill's Daniel Norris.
However, a survey of 12 mock drafts for the Major League Baseball First Year Player Selection show Guerrieri is the consensus No. 2 high school pitcher in the country. A 98-mph fastball will do that for a player.
Bundy still ranks No. 1 on nearly every list, but Guerrieri was No. 1 on two lists and No. 2 on four others. The first round, set for June 6, will likely see a number of college players go in the early stages of the first round with Bundy going somewhere around the No. 5 or 6 pick overall, either to the Orioles or Royals, according to most of the mock drafts.
Here's a look at the Top 10 pitchers heading into next month's draft, listed in order of expected selection:
Dylan Bundy, Owasso (Okla.), RHP
- Practically the consensus pick among nearly a dozen mock drafts as the No. 1 high school pitcher to be chosen in the MLB Draft. Bundy recently hit 100 mph with his fastball and he has a long career of high strikeout totals and clutch performances with first Sperry and for the last two years Owasso. Dylan Bundy featureTaylor Guerrieri, Spring Valley (Columbia, S.C.), RHP
- Not high on many lists at the beginning of the season, Guerrieri has quickly risen up the draft lists thanks to a fastball that hit 98 mph this year. He played at North Augusta last year where he tallied 80 strikeouts on the season. Has a curveball and reportedly also throws a changeup and cut fastball. Posted a 6-1 record for Spring Valley this year.Archie Bradley, Broken Arrow (Okla.), RHP
- Big and strong at 6-4, 230 pounds, Bradley will likely end up in college as he is also a highly touted quarterback who plans to play football at Oklahoma. Could drop as a result, but he still ranks as one of the top three high school pitchers available. Hits 94 mph and recently led the Tigers to a 6A state championship in Oklahoma. Had 137 strikeouts in 71.1 innings pitched with a 0.29 ERA.Archie Bradley featureDaniel Norris, Science Hill (Johnson City, Tenn.), LHP
- Considered the No. 1 pitching prospect at the beginning of the season, Norris has done little to erase those notions. He has Science Hill motoring through the Tennessee AAA playoffs while hitting as high as 96 mph with his fastball.Dillon Howard, Searcy (Ark.), RHP
- Most mock drafts have Howard, a 6-4, 205-pounder going toward the end of the first round. Howard has led Searcy deep into the Arkansas 6A state playoffs, including a 14-strikeout performance in the quarterfinals. He has hit as high as 96 mph on his fastball.Dillon Howard feature
Henry Owens, Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.), LHP
- Tall and lanky at 6-5, 180 pounds, Owens is considered a projectable player who could go toward the end of the first round. He's 11-0 on the season and has multiple double-digit strikeout efforts for the Chargers. Averages about 88-90 mph on the fastball.Jose Fernandez, Alonso (Tampa, Fla.), RHP
- Another big pitcher at 6-4, 215 pounds, Fernandez has the Ravens on the verge of a state championship in Florida. He's struck out 129 batters in 86 innings while posting a 12-1 record with a 1.14 ERA. Owns an outstanding fastball that hits 95 mph.Tyler Beede, Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.), RHP
- Beede, a 6-4, 200-pounder from Massachusetts, projects to go just outside of the first round. Hits between 92-94 mph on his fastball.Tyler Beede featureRobert Stephenson, Alhambra (Martinez, Calif.), RHP
- Tossed two no-hitters this year and wowed scouts with a fastball that reached 97 mph. Was regularly around 90-93 last season. Could go late in the supplemental round.Michael Kelly, West Boca Raton (Fla.), RHP
- A couple of mock drafts have Kelly going toward the end of the supplemental round, but Kelly could slip to the second. He's hit 95 mph and he has good size at 6-foot-5, 195 pounds.