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A Quick Look at the Class of 2000

Unlike recent years, no player has emerged yet as the clear-cut favorite for the top pick in next June’s draft. Southern California catcher Eric Munson was the top college prospect going into last season, while Spring, Texas, righthander Josh Beckett and Raleigh, N.C., outfielder Josh Hamilton were considered the top prep prospects. Those three eventually were the first three picks in the draft.

Whoever the top pick is, it seems likely he will get paid more than the $3.96 million Hamilton received from the Devil Rays this year. The Marlins, who hold the first pick, gave Beckett a four-year, $7 million big league contract as the No. 2 pick this year, a point that won’t be lost on next year’s pick or his agent.

Early speculation among scouting directors for the top pick has centered on University of California third baseman Xavier Nady, who stands out as the top college hitter. College third basemen have been a popular fallback in years without an otherwise obvious or available No. 1: Bob Horner (1978), Jeff King (1986), Phil Nevin (1992) and Dave Roberts (1972).

Who will emerge as the nation’s top high school prospect is anyone’s guess at this point. No Beckett fastball or Hamilton power or B.J. Garbe athleticism jumps out in the 2000 class, though there is a good depth of solid players. Catcher Scott Heard of San Diego gets the early nod based on his excellent defensive skills at a premium position and his extensive experience in front of scouts. Here’s an early look at the top 12 college and high school players for 2000:

HIGH SCHOOL

  1. Scott Heard, c, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego
  2. Joe Torres, lhp, Gateway HS, Kissimmee, Fla.
  3. Corey Smith, ss, Piscataway (N.J.) HS
  4. Dave Krynzel, of, Green Valley HS, Henderson, Nev.
  5. Jason Stokes, 1b, Coppell (Texas) HS
  6. Matt Harrington, rhp, Palmdale (Calif.) HS
  7. David Espinosa, ss, Gulliver Prep, Miami
  8. Mike Davern, rhp, Brea Olinda HS, Brea, Calif.
  9. Zach Miner, rhp, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) HS
  10. Matt Wheatland, rhp, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego
  11. Jaime Shields, rhp, Hart HS, Newhall, Calif.
  12. Randy Truselo, rhp, New Castle (Del.) HS

COLLEGE

  1. Xavier Nady, 3b, California
  2. Patrick Boyd, of, Clemson
  3. Ben Diggins, rhp, Arizona
  4. Daylan Holt, of, Texas A&M
  5. Tyrell Godwin, of, North Carolina
  6. Chris Bootcheck, rhp, Auburn
  7. Jason Young, rhp, Stanford
  8. Dane Sardinha, c, Pepperdine
  9. Aaron Heilman, rhp, Notre Dame
  10. Joe Borchard, of, Stanford
  11. Matt Smith, lhp, Oklahoma State
  12. Lance Niekro, 3b, Florida Southern

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