Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (subscription only) lists the top 15 prospects in the upcoming 2012 MLB Draft. It's possible to read these things, feel smarter for having read them, and still not have a clear idea what's going to happen next week, because the situation is still so fluid.
For example, I've yet to see Goldstein's top-rated prospect, Carlos Correa, going to the Astros with the No. 1 pick. Goldstein's No. 2 prospect, high school pitcher Lucas Giolito, might go with in the top 10 picks, or he might drop out of the first round completely, due to injury concerns (he's been out for a couple months now with an elbow sprain) and bonus demands. (The player I like the most so far, Georgia high school outfielder Byron Buxton, is ranked No. 3.)
Albert Almora, a Florida high school outfielder, is a possible target for the Pirates at No. 8; Goldstein ranks him as the sixth-best prospect in the draft. High school lefty Max Fried, another potential Bucs target, is at No. 11. Then there's Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero at No. 12.
A plus defender at shortstop, which in this draft is more than enough to make him an elite pick. He's a quick-twitch athlete with great instincts, range, hands and plenty of arm for the position. He has enough bat to easily project as an everyday player who hits at the end of a lineup, and he has a shot at hitting second if his line drive bat fully develops. One scout compared him to Royals prospect Christian Colon, but with superior defense.
Given the Pirates' obvious problems finding hitting, most Bucs fans would prefer that the team not use the eighth overall pick in the draft to grab a future No. 7 or No. 8 hitter. Still, one mock draft after another has the Pirates taking Marrero.
For more on the draft, check out Minor League Ball.