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MLB Draft - Picks No. 1-8

Nationals selected RHP Stephen Strasburg with the first overall pick in Tuesday’s draft.
We’ve known it was coming for months, so now it’s just a matter of getting him signed. The Nationals probably won’t rush to get a deal done, since he’s been worked hard this year and doesn’t really need to throw any additional innings. Ideally, they’d just get him ready for 2010, when he could be in the rotation right from the start of the year. Of course, it’d make more sense to delay his arrival to postpone free agency, but it might save them money in negotiations if they promise him a rotation spot right away. With his high-90s fastball and top-notch slider, he is ready now, and he could soon be a major league ace.

Mariners chose North Carolina first baseman-outfielder Dustin Ackley with the second pick in the draft.
Ackley, a 6-foot-1, 184-pound left-handed hitter, has been a first baseman since undergoing Tommy John surgery, but the Mariners are drafting him as an outfielder and will stick him in center. He has the speed to last there, and he should be able to hit for average. He may not develop into more than a 12- or 15-homer guy, but he could contribute as soon as 2011.

Padres selected high school outfielder Donovan Tate with the third pick in the draft.
Tate has a scholarship waiting for him to play cornerback at North Carolina, but the Padres should be able to get him signed. Tate is a fantastic athlete, but he’s a raw product who figures to take a long time to develop. The assumption is that he’ll hit for power and turn into an excellent defensive center fielder. Still, drafting him this early is a risky move.

Pirates drafted Boston College catcher Tony Sanchez fourth overall.
A polished product, Sanchez is a fine catch-and-throw guy with an iffy bat. If he turns into a .250 hitter with 15-homer power, the Pirates should be pleased. He’s advanced enough to potentially debut next year. The Pirates would prefer not to need him then, but Ryan Doumit is so injury prone that the quality alternative is a necessity.

Orioles selected high school RHP Matt Hobgood with the fifth overall pick in the draft.
Hobgood, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound righty, bares a little too much of a resemblance to Sidney Ponson for comfort. He’s not as hard of a thrower as his build suggests, as he tops out at 92 mph, but he does have an excellent curveball. He’ll have to come up with a changeup over the next few years.

Giants selected high school RHP Zack Wheeler with the sixth pick in the draft.
It’s no surprise to see the Giants go with another high school pitcher. They’ve done well with that strategy recently, and Wheeler looks like another pretty good pick. He already throws 90-93 mph, and he could add velocity as he fills out. His curve is a quality second pitch. A future as a No. 2 starter is a possibility.

Braves selected Vanderbilt LHP Mike Minor with the seventh pick in the draft.
The Braves usually prefer upside, but they’re going for a polished lefty here. Minor throws 88-91 mph with a pretty good slider and changeup. He went 6-6 with a 3.90 ERA, 109 H and 114/37 K/BB in 110 2/3 IP for Vandy this year. A future as a No. 3 starter is a possibility, and he’s far enough along that he could begin next year in Double-A.

Reds selected Arizona State RHP Mike Leake with the eighth pick in the draft.
A bit of a surprise, but a good one. Leake doesn’t possess more than an average fastball, but both his slider and changeup are major league quality right now and he has a curve that he’ll use occasionally. With his command, he should move quickly.