Three top 10 selections from the 2010 Draft head a list of stellar prospects about to make their professional debuts.
Washington Nationals outfield prospect Bryce Harper, No. 3 in MLB.com's Top Prospects list, did see some playing time in the Arizona Fall League, but Hagerstown will officially mark his debut. Cleveland's Drew Pomeranz and Matt Harvey of the Mets also have yet to play a professional inning.
In fact, quite a few top prospects will be starting their pro careers this April. Here's a look at where some of last June's highest picks will get things underway.
, OF -- Hagerstown Suns
The second consecutive No. 1 overall pick by the Washington Nationals has rivaled his predecessor, right-handed pitcher Steven Strasburg, for ink accumulated prior to professional debut. Actually, Harper -- like Strasburg -- got his feet wet in Arizona with nine games in the Fall League (.343 in 35 AB, with one homer and seven RBIs), and he did not disappoint in 13 Spring Training games (.389 with five RBIs and three doubles in 18 at-bats). Drafted as a catcher but quickly converted to outfield duty, Harper will begin at the Class A level in Hagerstown
Drew Pomeranz, LHP -- Kinston Indians
The 6-foot-5 left-hander was the fifth overall pick last June out of the University of Mississippi. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo has him as the No. 4 prospect in the Indians organization, and is looking for a strong debut, suggesting Pomeranz could become the organization's Pitcher of the Year and strikeout leader, particularly if he continues to develop his changeup and sharpen his command.
Matt Harvey, RHP -- St. Lucie Mets
Mets fans searching for something to believe in will want to keep an eye on Harvey, a 6-foot-4 right-hander out of North Carolina. The college seasoning will allow the No. 7 overall pick to start out at the Class A Advanced level. A likely goal for Harvey and the Mets would be for him to head North to Double-A (Binghamton) around the All-Star break on the basis of ongoing development and domination in Florida.
Deck McGuire, RHP -- Dunedin Blue Jays
Taken at No. 11 out of Georgia Tech by the Blue Jays, the steady, durable, 6-foot-6 right-hander could find himself building a rivalry with the Mets' first choice, Matt Harvey, taken four picks earlier. The two former ACC rivals could continue to cross paths further north in the Eastern League, and no doubt both will be in a hurry to get there. For now, McGuire will toil in Florida, and he and Harvey can feud if the lineup cards align.
Hayden Simpson, RHP -- Peoria Chiefs
Thanks to a bout with mononucleosis, it's been a while since anyone has seen the 6-foot tall right-hander pitch. Taken by the Cubs with the 16th overall pick out of Division II Southern Arkansas University, Simpson will debut at Class A, where he'll be out to demonstrate not only that he can command his four-pitch mix but do so over a full season of starts.
Kyle Parker, OF -- Asheville Tourists
The Rockies looked golden when they were able to sign the No. 26 overall pick, Clemson quarterback Parker, but some of the shine came off when he suffered broken ribs in a New Year's Eve bowl game. Fully healed now, the 6-foot tall, power-hitting outfielder should find the compact confines very friendly in Asheville, where he'll get to play for one of MiLB's more colorful skippers, SAL Hall of Famer, Joe Mikulik.
Zach Lee, RHP -- Great Lakes Loons
Like the Rockies, the Dodgers also nabbed a quarterback with the No. 28 overall pick, luring LSU recruit Lee onto the diamond. The 6-foot-3 right-hander might be expected to need some time to adjust to focusing exclusively on one sport, but it should be fun to follow the athletic, highly competitive Lee as he works on refining his pitching skills.
Anthony Ranaudo, RHP -- Greenville Drive
The Red Sox also raided LSU, selecting junior Anthony Ranaudo with the 39th overall pick. The lanky (6-foot-7) right-hander might have gone higher had it not been for some elbow problems in the spring, but a dominating stint in the Cape Cod League laid to rest any concerns that might have troubled the Red Sox front office. The Sox will stack the Drive rotation, adding No. 57 overall pick Brandon Workman, a 6-foot-5 right-hander out of Texas to the mix as well.
Seth Blair, RHP -- Quad Cities River Bandits
The Cardinals will check out the 6-foot-2 right-hander, taken with the 46th overall selection, as a starter. If the former Arizona State ace sharpens his command, he could move into relief work -- or mastering an offspeed pitch might lead to him sticking in a rotation.
Chance Ruffin, RHP -- Erie SeaWolves
Starting out at the highest level of anyone in this list, Ruffin was selected by the Tigers toward the end of the first sandwich round with the 48th overall pick. The 6-foot tall right-hander, a teammate of Workman's at Texas and son of former Major Leaguer Bruce Ruffin, may have earned the higher level entry point with a stellar stint in the AFL, as he led the league with four saves in 10 appearances, crafting a 0.86 WHIP over 9 1/3 innings.