Teams working out final details before Draft
Potential picks getting last looks ahead of Thursday's first round
It's just about that time.
With the First-Year Player Draft just days away, teams are in full-on prep mode, putting the finishing touches on their boards for the main event.
The Draft takes place from Thursday through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 73 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. Rounds 3-10 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Friday, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m., and Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
At this point, there isn't a lot players can do to impact their stock one way or another, with some exceptions. The biggest one is via the private workout.
In the final days, teams have held, and are holding, workouts for potential draftees, often in their home ballparks. These sessions can take on different shapes and sizes, from having 20 or so potential draftees in at one time to it being more of a one-man show. Whatever the turnout, it's a last chance for players to make an in-person impression in front of decision-makers for a team.
How much can it help? That depends on who you ask, but most feel that Carlos Correa's workout with the Astros made Houston feel a lot more comfortable about taking him at No. 1 overall a year ago.
"I think it culminates the time you spent on players," one scouting director said. "Teams might do it differently in terms of how much value it has. For us, it's a nice finish for all the work we did leading up to it. Sometimes, it's nice to get in front of the general managers and the front-office people who haven't had the chance to see them. It's like the last piece of the interview.
"It's also good to see how a player handles himself in the situation, in a big league stadium. It's nice to have them come out and see our facilities and get the sense of what our work day is like."
A number of first-round candidates have been making the rounds in the past week or so. While teams have to make decisions about who to invite, players have choices to make as well. There are only so many days and hours before Draft day, and a player can't head to every workout he's invited to.
Trying to figure out which ones to turn down -- i.e. from teams a player feels pick after he'll be chosen -- can be difficult. Needless to say, it's been a busy time for prospects crossing the country to make that final impression.
Clint Frazier, projected by many to be a top 10 Draft pick, worked out for a number of teams, including the Twins, Marlins and Red Sox. He also worked out for the Astros, who hold the top pick. Don't read into that too much, as Houston worked out a good number of players as it tried to hone in on who would be the top selection in this year's Draft.
Tim Anderson, the junior college standout who was rising up boards as the spring progressed, was keeping busy, working out with as many as seven teams in the days leading up to the Draft. Strong and athletic, he's the type of player who could really impress teams in a private workout with his tools.
Fresno State's Aaron Judge, the 6-foot-7 outfielder, is another one whose tools could stand out in a workout. And the buzz was that he was doing just that, putting on outstanding batting-practice displays for the D-backs and Padres over the past several days.
Other than workouts, the only on-field action teams can monitor at this point are the NCAA Regionals. They aren't going to make or break a player, and they might not be as heavily scouted by decision-makers as the conference tournaments were. But like the workouts, it can serve as that last final piece to the puzzle.
Teams at the top, for instance, may have liked to see how Jonathan Gray dealt with a little adversity last Friday. The Oklahoma ace gave up three runs early against Coastal Carolina, but then completely shut the door for a complete-game 11-strikeout victory. The 130 pitches he threw may not thrill the Astros or Cubs, but he was dominant after struggling in the first two innings.
Ryne Stanek, the Arkansas right-hander who could also be a top 10 selection, won his Regional start by allowing just one run on two hits over 7 1/3 innings. The only negative was the six walks he allowed. Florida's Jonathon Crawford, considered more of a late first round-type arm, was in a similar boat. He allowed just one run in his 6 1/3 innings on just four hits, but he walked four, though his fastball was as plus as ever (92-97 mph).
One player can do more for his Draft stock in these closing days more than any other without attending a workout or appearing in a postseason game. Indiana State lefty Sean Manaea is the biggest wild card of the Draft, because of the injury issues he had late in the year -- a hip flexor and reports of shoulder stiffness prior to his final start of the year.
A lot of questions can be answered if and when teams get a look at his medical reports. It's something many teams up and down the first round are eagerly anticipating, needing the OK from doctors before seriously considering taking him.