In this week's Pipeline inbox, Jim Callis answers questions about Draft picks becoming their teams' No. 1 prospects, two-sports stars who didn't go the baseball route, and the state of the Royals' farm system. He also conducts his 15th annual hypothetical draft, in which he randomly selects a team and makes its first 10 Draft picks.
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It's time for my standard question: Which Draft picks immediately become their team's No. 1 prospect once they sign? I always look forward to your answer.
-- J.P. S., Springfield, Ill.
J.P. has asked me this question for several years, going back to when I wrote the Ask BA column at Baseball America, and I always enjoy figuring out the answer. For my complete answer, see the video above. Here are the Cliff's Notes: Three draftees -- Detroit's Casey Mize, San Francisco's Joey Bart and Kansas City's Brady Singer -- should definitely become their organization's No. 1 prospect, two others -- Baltimore's Grayson Rodriguez and Seattle's Logan Gilbert -- deserve consideration and two more -- Jarred Kelenic (Mets) and Nolan Gorman (Cardinals) -- are at least in the conversation.
The hardest part of putting this lineup together was deciding who to omit. I couldn't find room for basketball stars Danny Ainge and Cazzie Russell or football standouts Mike Garrett, Ray Guy, John Lynch, Archie Manning, Joe Theismann, Brad Van Pelt, Michael Vick and Kurt Warner. I didn't consider players such as Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, who had extensive baseball careers while shining in other sports.
The only liberty I took with this team was moving Steve McNair from shortstop, the position he was drafted at, to third base, where his 6-foot-2, 235-pound frame would fit better.
Tom Brady, C (Expos, 18th round, 1995) -- five-time Super Bowl champion, three-time NFL MVP, 13-time Pro Bowler as quarterback
Steve Bartkowski, 1B (Royals, 33rnd round, 1971; Orioles, 19th round, 1974) -- two-time Pro Bowler as quarterback
* Russell Wilson, 2B (Orioles, 41st round, 2007; Rockies, fourth round, 2010) -- Super Bowl champion, four-time Pro Bowler as quarterback
Steve McNair, 3B (Mariners, 35th round, 1991) -- NFL MVP, three-time Pro Bowler as quarterback
* Kevin Johnson, SS (Athletics, 23rd round, 1986) -- three-time NBA all-star as point guard
* John Elway, OF (Royals, 18th round, 1979; Yankees, second round, 1981) -- NFL Hall of Famer, two-time Super Bowl champion, NFL MVP, nine-time Pro Bowler as quarterback
Marshall Faulk, OF (Angels, 43rd round, 1993) -- NFL Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, NFL MVP, seven-time Pro Bowler as running back
Hines Ward, OF (Marlins, 73rd round, 1994) -- two-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Pro Bowler as wide receiver
Ken Stabler, LHP (Yankees, 10th round, 1966; Mets, 11th round, 1967 January secondary; Astros, second round, 1968 January) -- NFL Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, NFL MVP, four-time Pro Bowler as quarterback
Dan Marino, RHP (Royals, fourth round, 1979) -- NFL Hall of Famer, NFL MVP, nine-time Pro Bowler
* Played professional baseball.
At 22-46, the Royals have MLB's second-worst record and are on pace for a franchise-record 110 losses. They also began the season with one of the thinnest farm systems in the game, though things are looking up a bit in that regard two months later.
Kansas City's four best prospects are all 19-year-olds, one of whom (outfielder Seuly Matias) leads the Minors with 20 home runs and another (M.J. Melendez) who's becoming one of baseball's top young catching prospects. Outfielder Khalil Lee is performing well in high Class A, though he needs to reduce his strikeouts, while first baseman Nick Pratto is struggling more than anticipated in his first full pro season.
Buoyed by three first-round picks, the Royals had what I rated as the second-best Draft this June. Florida right-handers Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar unexpectedly fell in their laps with their top two selections, and they loaded up on college pitching afterward.
We'll overhaul MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects (as well as all of our team Top 30s) before the Trade Deadline in July. While Kansas City currently is shut out on that list, Singer, Matias and Melendez all could make our midseason update.
2018 Hypothetical Draft (Pirates picks)
For 15 years now, I've annually shadowed a random team through the first 10 rounds of the Draft, seeing how well I could pick players while dealing with the same financial constraints as that club. It always reminds me of how difficult it is to project prospects and find talent in the Draft.
My first 14 Drafts have produced 40 big leaguers, with Chris Archer and Jason Heyward the most notable names and John Curtiss, Greg Allen and D.J. Snelten the most recent. My farm system includes Top 100 Prospects Kyle Lewis and Jon Duplantier. I made my 2017 picks in a Pipeline Inbox that also included my past selections.
This year, I randomly drew the Pirates, who owned the 10th overall selection and a supplemental first-rounder. I debated Singer versus Arizona prep left-hander Matthew Liberatore with my first choice and was pleased with the balance of college arms and high school bats I wound up with. I pushed my expected bonuses to 105 percent of Pittsburgh's pool, giving me $10,909,920 to play with, and added a college senior in the 10th round to make sure I wouldn't forfeit a future first-rounder.
Round: Player, Pos, School (Actual pick)
1st (No. 10): Brady Singer, RHP, Florida (KC, 1st)
Supp. 1st: Xavier Edwards, SS, HS/Florida (SD, supp. 1st)
2nd: Jeremy Eierman, SS, Missouri State (Oak, supp. 2nd)
3rd: Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford (Atl, 4th)
4th: Trey Riley, RHP, John A. Logan (Ill.) CC (Atl, 5th)
5th: Nick Northcut, 3B, HS/Ohio (Bos, 11th)
6th: Elijah Cabell, OF, HS/Florida (Mil, 14th)
7th: Joey Gerber, RHP, Illinois (Sea, 8th)
8th: Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP, Missouri (NYM, 9th)
9th: Jason Bilous, RHP, Coastal Carolina (CWS, 13th)
10th: Matt Sanders, SS, Troy (Sea, 10th)
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.