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Former No. 1 picks take stage on Draft week

Correa, Price, Swanson, Harper, Strasburg, Cole lead slate
MLB.com

In a week that begins with the 2017 MLB Draft (June 12-14, live on MLB Network and MLB.com), several intriguing matchups are on the slate, featuring many former No. 1 overall picks and some potential October previews.

Carlos Correa (No. 1 overall pick in 2012) and David Price (No. 1 overall pick in '07) will be among the headliners in a matchup of American League heavyweights as the Astros and Red Sox meet for the first time in 2017, beginning a weekend series at Minute Maid Park on Friday. Houston enters the week with MLB's best record, at 44-20, and Boston has won five of its last eight as it chases the red-hot Yankees in the AL East.

In a week that begins with the 2017 MLB Draft (June 12-14, live on MLB Network and MLB.com), several intriguing matchups are on the slate, featuring many former No. 1 overall picks and some potential October previews.

Carlos Correa (No. 1 overall pick in 2012) and David Price (No. 1 overall pick in '07) will be among the headliners in a matchup of American League heavyweights as the Astros and Red Sox meet for the first time in 2017, beginning a weekend series at Minute Maid Park on Friday. Houston enters the week with MLB's best record, at 44-20, and Boston has won five of its last eight as it chases the red-hot Yankees in the AL East.

The Yankees, meanwhile, take their high-flying offense -- living up to the famous "Bronx Bombers" moniker -- to the West Coast, where they'll have a pair of series against the Angels and A's. As each day goes by, the anticipation of what MLB home run leader Aaron Judge (21) will do next only rises.

On Saturday, Judge hit the hardest home run measured in the Statcast™ era (121.1 mph exit velocity) and followed that up on Sunday with a 495-foot blast against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium, the longest in MLB this season. In all, New York outscored Baltimore in the three-game set, 38-8.

In the National League, the Braves visit the nation's capital to take on the NL East-leading Nationals on Monday. Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson (No. 1 overall pick in 2015) has been awakening at the plate, batting .367 (11-for-30) over his last eight games to break out of an early-season slump.

Swanson's Braves will face a power-packed Nats lineup featuring 2010 No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper, who looks to break a 11-game homerless streak. Despite the homer drought, Harper has found other ways to dazzle us, including his Statcast-projected 98.2-mph throw from right field to nail the Rangers' Pete Kozma trying to score on Saturday.

Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in 2009, will take the mound against Atlanta on Monday night, having given up two or fewer runs in each of his last four outings. That includes a career-high 15-strikeout performance against the Padres on May 27.

Another former No. 1 overall selection, right-hander Gerrit Cole (2011), is scheduled to take the mound for the Pirates against the NL West-leading Rockies on Tuesday at PNC Park. Cole is trying to regain his form from prior seasons after a rough two months to open his 2017 campaign. He's given up seven runs in each of his last two outings, and has a 4.83 ERA this season.

Before Cole takes the mound in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, however, a special start for the Pirates and for Major League Baseball is scheduled for Monday night at PNC Park. That's when 25-year-old right-hander Jameson Taillon will make his first start since having surgery for testicular cancer just five weeks ago. Taillon, selected second overall in the 2010 Draft after Harper, has a 3.36 ERA in 24 career starts.

Cole and Taillon will be up against a Rockies club that took three of four from the Cubs over the weekend at Wrigley Field, and has won seven of eight overall while maintaining a lead in the NL West. The NL Player of the Month for May, Charlie Blackmon, has carried over his hot hitting into June: he's 16-for-40 (.400) so far this month, with five doubles and two homers to lead Colorado's offense during its hot streak.

Another must-see moment on the mound will be when Clayton Kershaw takes the hill at Progressive Field on Tuesday, marking the first time in his storied career he's pitched in Cleveland. It's one of just eight ballparks that the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner hasn't yet pitched in during his 10-year career. He'll face the defending AL champion Indians, against whom he's made just one career start, way back on June 20, 2008, for his sixth career MLB appearance.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.