Draft IX: The Reckoning

The final installment of "Draft!" allows us to indulge in the grand internet tradition of ranking things.

Quick! Rank your top five Pink Floyd albums!

Even though the rest of the post will focus on the 2008 draft, there will still be a handful of folks who will ignore everything baseball-related to rush down to the comment box and follow that prompt. People like to rank things. Numbered lists...indentations...firm opinions...sweet mercy, that's good stuff...the impish and naughty mixing of the objective and subjective...mmmmm...I could go for an old-fashioned ranking right now....

Even better: The following ordered list is pulled almost entirely from my nether regions. With a few exceptions, yours probably will be too. Other than on a couple of grainy flash videos, I haven't seen Tim Beckham swing a bat. Hell, I wouldn't know the guy if he sneezed on me in a crowded elevator. But I'm still going to contrast and compare him with other amateur baseball players as if I know what I'm talking about. And if I start to sound like I do know what I'm talking about, don't forget that I'm one of the guys who wanted Kyle Drabek instead of Tim Lincecum. Really, I'm trying to get better at the whole scouting side of baseball analysis, but I'm still an absolute moron.

Now that I've filled you with confidence in my expertise, here's how my draft board looks:

1. Pedro Alvarez - He's a middle-of-the-order bat who could move quickly, and he should probably stick at third. That profile fits the Giants perfectly. It says a lot that scouts didn't blink when his post-injury performances were underwhelming. The Giants won't get the chance, but it's fun to dream.

2. Tim Beckham - He fits a "best player available"-philosophy and a "draft for need"-philosophy. He might be the most talented player in the draft, and he'd slot in perfectly with the Noonan/Villalona infield of the future.

3. Justin Smoak - He'd start for the Giants by the end of 2009. That might not be the best reason to draft him, but it is pretty compelling. His power separates him from Yonder Alonso.

4. Buster Posey - People are bringing up B.J. Surhoff comparisons as if they were worst-case scenarios. A Gold Glove catcher with an OPS+ of 100 is crazy valuable. Forget that Surhoff never won a Gold Glove, and forget that he was moved off the position by the age of 28. Also, forget that the Brewers passed on Barry Bonds, Will Clark, and Barry Larkin in order to take Surhoff. The comparison kind of stands. If Posey provides superior defense with a .290/.380/.430 line, the Giants won't regret the pick. And I'm in the minority that thinks Posey can provide 15+ homers.

5. Eric Hosmer - I love the swing. Love, love, love it. When his swing has eye boogers, I would gladly wipe them away with my thumb. True love, I'm talkin'. I don't care that he plays the same position as Villalona at a similar age. The Giants would figure something out, and there's a 40% chance that it wouldn't be a completely asinine decision.

At least one of those players will be waiting for the Giants. Quick rankings for the rest of the board:

6. Yonder Alonso
7. Gordon Beckham
8. Brian Matusz
9. Kyle Skipworth
10. Gerrit Cole (...don't ask me why. You won't get a straight answer. I just like watching his clips more than those of Crow, Scheppers, Melville, or Hunt.)

Here's how I think the first five picks actually will shake out:

1. Rays - Tim Beckham
2. Pirates - Pedro Alvarez
3. Royals - Eric Hosmer
4. Orioles - Justin Smoak
5. Giants - Buster Posey

Comment starter: Your top five hopefuls, followed by your mock draft.

Comment diffuser: The only correct choice for the top of the list is "Animals." If you had something else at the top, please confine your comments to baseball.

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