Latest Draft Buzz: June 2, 2011

The draft is officially a week away and rumors are flying like crazy.

Let’s start near the top, with projected No. 1 overall pick Anthony Rendon.

- Rendon saw time at second-base during a two-game stretch in the Conference USA tournament. It was the first time in his career that the Gold Glove caliber third baseman has seen time at second. According to Baseball America’s John Manuel, Rendon was flawless in the first game, but made an error in game two.

This can be viewed through two different lenses. One being that Rendon hasn’t played in the field at all this season, and getting him some reps at second proves to teams that his arm and footwork is still good. Two, second base could be a legitimate long-term position for the projected top pick. Sports Illustrated’s Kirk Kenny seems to believe in the former.

- In a somewhat strange move that can either be interpreted as a strong commitment to education or a creative leveraging ploy, Josh Bell, one of the top high-school hitters in the 2011 draft crop has announced that he is going to forgo joining the pro ranks in favor of playing college ball at Texas.

The move is made all the more interesting due to the fact that Bell is represented, or rather…”advised” by super-agent Scott Boras. Education does seem to be a vital part of the Bell family values, but as a bargaining ploy, the move could earn Bell a few extra hundred-thousand dollars.

Of course, heading off to Texas could make Bell the potential No. 1 overall pick coming out as a college junior in 2014.

It remains to be seen how the move will affect Bell’s status in the first-round, but there’s still a week until draft day.

- Going back to Rendon for another minor news tidbit, Seattle GM Jack Zduriencikcame out with some harsh words for the third baseman and his adviser, also Scott Boras, who have refused to release medical records detailing the extent of Rendon’s shoulder injury sustained prior to the 2011 season. To the Seattle Times, he said:

“You have to basically work through the agent. A player has to grant permission, and the agent is in the middle of that. A lot is at stake for them, too. If a player has a chance to go very high, it makes sense, if they feel very good about their medical history, why not release it? Disclose it. It could benefit the player. If you don’t get (the medical history), for whatever reason, you might have to ask why.”

- In a bit of sad news, Texas A&M right-hander, and potential first-round pick, John Stilson was diagnosed with a torn labrum, and will not only miss the remainder of the 2011 season, but will also likely miss out on a first-round selection.

Stilson was one of the top performing pitchers in college baseball this season, posting a 5-2 record, a 1.68 ERA and a 92:29 K:BB ratio. Stilson is another in a long line of relievers who made the switch to starting, and it seems that is likely the reason that he came down with the ailment.

After pitching 79 innings as a reliever in 2010, Stilson pitched 91.1 innings this season. In a draft this deep, there’s no way that Stilson ends up as a first-round pick and now it seems unlikely that anyone will take a chance on him in the first three rounds.

- Other notable draft prospects who will not be taking part in the 2011 NCAA tournament include: Mikie Mahtook (LSU failed to break the 64-team field), Tyler Anderson (Oregon missed out), Kolten Wong (Hawaii missed out), Alex Meyer(Kentucky missed out), C.J. Cron (Utah missed out), and Alex Dickerson (Indiana missed out).

- As mentioned in last week’s draft update, teams are going to have players or managers who were important to their organization’s history announce first-round picks. For the Dodgers, that honor was supposed to fall to Tommy Lasorda. Unfortunately, the Dodger great was hospitalized with an infection for four days last week. According to CBS Sports, he is now at home, but no statement has been issued regarding his status for next week’s podium announcement.

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