Upton has great power potential

An analysis of the first-round picks in Tuesday's amateur draft:

1. Diamondbacks: Justin Upton, ss, Great Bridge HS, Chesapeake, Va. Upton demonstrates excellent patience at the plate and a quick stroke. His well-defined and muscular upper body give a hint to his plus power potential, which he accompanies with equal amounts of speed. His 6.23-second time in the 60-yard dash at a Perfect Game showcase last year rates as the quickest in the scouting service's history. Upton moves well defensively and shows clean actions at shortstop but again follows in his brother's footsteps because he has trouble harnessing the plus arm strength that has allowed him to hit 94 mph off the mound.

2. Royals: Alex Gordon, 3b, U. of Nebraska. Gordon should hit for power and average because he has a sweet left-handed swing, strength, exceptional strike-zone discipline and the ability to make adjustments. He uses the entire field and can drive the ball where it's pitched after getting pull-conscious as a sophomore. When Gordon first arrived at Nebraska, some thought he might have to move to first base or an outfield corner. But he has worked hard on his defense, where his strong arm, instincts and quickness are assets.

3. Mariners: Jeff Clement, c, U. of Southern California. Clement generates light-tower power with a short, compact left-handed swing. He stays inside the ball well and gets excellent backspin. As a major-league hitter, he projects to hit .270 to .280 with 30 to 35 home runs. Clement has outstanding makeup and has worked hard to shore up his weaknesses. He has shown his biggest improvement behind the plate. His set-up, mechanics, blocking and arm quickness are all much improved. He still has only a 40-50 arm on the standard 20-80 scouting scale but threw out almost 50 percent of basestealers this year.

4. Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, 3b, U. of Virginia. Zimmerman's bat control, elite defense and polish could give the team a quick return on its investment. Zimmerman rarely strikes out because of his balanced, up-the-middle approach and shows average speed and good instincts on the basepaths. He's always had excellent defensive skills, with hands, feet, arm strength and range that all rate above average. One scout called him the best defender he had ever seen -- at any position -- and said the only question about Zimmerman was how many Gold Gloves he would win. His makeup also gets high marks.

5. Brewers: Ryan Braun, 3b, U. of Miami. Braun has a hitch in his swing and a high, unconventional finish, but his hands are quick enough to make it work, and he's athletic enough to repeat his stroke and drive pitches to all parts of the field. His future position will be the main source of concern for pro teams. He came to college as a shortstop and now plays third, but he has struggled with errors at both spots. Some scouts doubt his infield actions and footwork and say he'll have to move to an outfield corner, where his plus arm and speed could allow him to be an above-average defender in time.

6. Blue Jays: Ricky Romero, lhp, Cal State Fullerton. Romero has three solid, major league-ready pitches that he can throw for strikes almost at will, including a fastball that sits at 90-91 mph and touches 93-94. He also has an excellent curveball and a better feel for a changeup this year after he reduced his reliance on his curve. But Romero gets his highest grades for his makeup, temperament and competitive zeal. He is an excellent student of the game who understands the science of pitching and is a master at controlling the tempo of a game.

7. Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki, ss, Long Beach State. Tulowitzki compares favorably to Oakland's Bobby Crosby, his predecessor as shortstop at Long Beach State. They're about the same size and have similar speed and bat speed at the same stage, but scouts say Tulowitzki is a better athlete and should be a better player. He has more arm strength and range, and more power to all parts of the park, while Crosby was more automatic on routine plays and had more pull power. Tulowitzki has also won over scouts with his approach to the game. He plays with exceptional intensity and an unrivaled passion for the game.

8. Devil Rays: Wade Townsend, rhp, Dripping Springs, Texas. Townsend didn't sign as the eighth overall pick last year, deciding to return to Rice to complete his degree after negotiations with the Orioles broke down. Townsend spent April and May working out for clubs and for the most part showed the same stuff he had in 2004. He wasn't in game shape, so he didn't maintain his velocity past three simulated innings, but he pitched at 90-92 mph with his trademark spike curveball and an effective changeup. Though he has the repertoire to start, most teams project Townsend as a big-league reliever because they say his intensity fits best in that role.

9. Mets: Mike Pelfrey, rhp, Wichita State U. Pelfrey has blown away hitters consistently with a 92-97 mph fastball that's as notable for its sink as for its velocity. He's adept at getting grounders or strikeouts, depending on the situation. He has refined a straight changeup that will be a plus pitch and keeps lefthanders in check. He has also tightened his curveball and become more consistent with it. Add in a perfect pitcher's frame, good control and a competitive makeup, and the only thing that really bothers scouts about Pelfrey is agent Scott Boras.

10. Tigers: Cameron Maybin, of, T.C. Roberson HS, Arden, N.C. Maybin has a rare combination of premium athletic ability, bloodlines and baseball savvy. He has broad shoulders and long limbs and fingers and physically evokes comparisons on the low end to Preston Wilson and on the high end to Vladimir Guerrero. He should be a premium defender in center field with experience, with long, graceful strides gobbling up turf and an average arm. Some scouts think his bat might take time to develop once he starts seeing good breaking balls consistently. His makeup -- including good work habits, maturity and love for the game -- endears him to scouts.

11. Pirates: Andrew McCutchen, of, Fort Meade (Fla.) HS. McCutchen's game isn't all about tools, though his tools are plus across the board. That starts with the most important tool -- the bat. McCutchen has quick hands and a compact swing, producing surprising raw power for his size and giving him the bat speed to lash line drives to all fields. His athletic ability, speed and frame earn comparisons to Mets prospect Lastings Milledge, but he's more polished at the plate, earning 60 and 70 grades from scouts (on the 20-80 scouting scale) with 50 raw power.

12. Reds: Jay Bruce, of, West Brook HS, Beaumont, Texas. Bruce has been compared by scouts to Larry Walker. Though he has average to plus tools across the board and enough athleticism to play center field, Bruce profiles better in right field. His swing can get a little long at times, but Bruce is a polished high school hitter. He centers the ball well and already understands the importance of using the entire field. He also has the strength and skill to eventually hit 30-plus homers annually in the majors. His average speed is probably his worst tool, but he plays quicker than his stopwatch readings on the bases and in the outfield. He has more than enough arm to handle the move to right field in pro ball.

13. Orioles: Brandon Snyder, c/ss, Westfield HS, Centreville, Va. Snyder is tough mentally, jumping back and forth between shortstop and catcher, though he moved behind the plate for good late in his senior season. He plays the game hard with a dirt-rat mentality in spite of his premium prospect status. Snyder's mature approach, line drive swing and ability to pull the ball with authority remind scouts of Justin Upton at the plate. His athleticism and arm strength would play at shortstop or third base, and some teams would start him out as an infielder to make sure his offensive development doesn't get stunted.

14. Indians: Trevor Crowe, of, U. of Arizona. Crowe is an ideal leadoff man with a .500 on-base percentage, above-average speed and the kind of fiery personality that can light a fire under a team. He can be undisciplined at times at the plate and lacks raw power but has juice in his bat and can hit almost anything thrown at him. A switch-hitter, he tends to be a slightly better hitter from the left side while displaying more power from the right. Crowe arrived at Arizona as a second baseman and may end up back there, though he has spent most of his college career in left field.

15. White Sox: Lance Broadway, rhp, Texas Christian U. Broadway succeeds more with polish than overwhelming stuff. His fastball is just average, but he has a plus curveball that he can locate in and out of the strike zone. His delivery and command are solid, and his makeup is a huge asset. He's developing a changeup and is gaining more confidence in the pitch. He has a strong, lean frame and there may be a little more velocity in him.

16. Marlins: Chris Volstad, rhp, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) HS. Volstad is a long, lanky pitcher with good stuff now and plenty of projection for down the road. He pitches consistently in the 88-92 range but repeats his delivery well enough that scouts see him sitting at 94 regularly as he gains strength and experience. He throws strikes with the fastball and has done so right out of the gate this spring. He uses his height well to get a good downward angle to the plate, giving his fastball late life. His secondary pitches are solid for a prep pitcher, particularly his changeup. Volstad's breaking ball is his third pitch, though it's serviceable, and scouts consider his makeup a plus.

17. Yankees: C.J. Henry, ss/of, Putnam City HS, Oklahoma City. Henry has one of the highest ceilings in the draft. He's an exceptional athlete with a tantalizing combination of power and speed. One cross-checker calls him a potential Gary Sheffield and also compares him to Vernon Wells. Henry's swing isn't as pure as Wells' and it will take him time to adjust to professional pitching. Henry also will have to polish his defensive game. He plays shortstop now but may not have quite enough arm to play there in the majors. That's not a concern, however, because Henry's tools would play well either in center field or at third base.

18. Padres: Cesar Carrillo, rhp, U. of Miami. Carrillo throws his fastball anywhere from 90-95 mph (touching 96-97), depending on the need, and he has shown scouts the ability to maintain his velocity deep into games. His fastball has excellent sink and life down in the zone from a three-quarters arm slot, and he went more than 80 innings between home runs allowed this spring. His curveball and changeup can both be plus pitches, though he pitches off his fastball so much that he tends to lose the feel for them at times. He's athletic and quick-armed and should always have good command. Carrillo's stuff won't get much better, but it's plenty good now, making him a candidate to move quickly through the minors.

19. Rangers: John Mayberry, 1b, Stanford. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Mayberry has considerable power potential but launches a tape-measure home run only occasionally in games. He shows excellent power in batting practice but has generally been handled by quality college pitching. Scouts say he needs to shorten his swing because he can be busted inside -- something he has worked to correct in the last year. All his hitting flaws are correctable, but it may take him 1,500 at-bats in the minor leagues. Mayberry has the athletic ability and arm strength to be an average corner outfielder, but he is a superior defensive first baseman -- not to mention an inviting target for infielders.

20. Cubs: Mark Pawelek, lhp, Springville (Utah) HS. Pawelek topped out at 94-95 mph this year with an effortless delivery. Scouts say his feel for pitching, presence and composure are so advanced for his age that he's the equivalent of a college sophomore. He has command of four pitches and knows how and when to use his curveball and changeup. Pawelek is the only high school player in this year's draft who is being advised by Scott Boras and that could have a profound impact on where he is picked.

21. Athletics: Cliff Pennington, ss, Texas A&M. Pennington's best attribute is his makeup. Scouts have loved Pennington's grit and energy since he was in high school, and he won the Cape Cod League's 10th player award for his spirited play last summer. Pennington is more than just a gamer, however, offering tools across the board. He can bat at the top of a lineup, making consistent contact and providing gap power from both sides of the plate. He doesn't have blazing speed, but he runs well and his instincts make him a threat on the bases. Pennington's savvy also enhances his range at shortstop, where he can make both the routine and acrobatic plays. He has an above-average arm, a quick release and the ability to make throws from any angle.

22. Marlins: Aaron Thompson, lhp, Second Baptist HS, Houston. Thompson is the most polished high school pitcher in the draft, and he's left-handed to boot. Thompson has an 88-91 mph fastball and a good curveball. He throws from a high arm slot, which allows him to drive the ball down in the strike zone. He's athletic, repeating a smooth delivery with ease, and scores high in the makeup department. When dozens of scouts attended his April matchup with Josh Wall, Thompson responded with 15 strikeouts and a 2-0 shutout -- handing Wall's team its only loss this spring.

23. Red Sox: Jacoby Ellsbury, of, Oregon State U. Ellsbury has few holes in his game and is capable of beating teams in a lot of ways. He has excellent makeup and instincts. His best tool is his speed, and it's evident both on the bases and in center field, where he catches everything hit his way. He has been clocked in 6.55 seconds over 60 yards. He has become more patient, rarely swings and misses and is comfortable hitting with two strikes. His style of play and physical appearance have drawn comparisons to Johnny Damon at a similar age, but scouts say Ellsbury has a better swing. They question whether he'll grow into the same power, though.

24. Astros: Brian Bogusevic, lhp, Tulane U. Though more teams prefer him as a three-pitch left-hander, he also has five-tool potential as a right fielder. On the mound, Bogusevic shows an 89-93 mph fastball along with a solid slider and changeup. He has good command, though his velocity and location slipped when he strained a hamstring early in the season. Bogusevic's size, swing and bat speed give him tremendous power potential from the left side of the plate. That power is still more raw and not as evident in games -- but it's there. He's also Tulane's fastest player, running the 60-yard-dash in 6.6 seconds during the team's scout day last fall. His arm is obviously an asset on defense as well.

25. Twins: Matt Garza, rhp, Fresno State. Garza had only a four-seam fastball and a slow, lazy curveball when he enrolled at Fresno State, but he now has plus stuff with a four-pitch repertoire. His fastball ranges from 90-94 mph and touches 95, and a hard 82-84 mph slider is an effective second pitch. A 72-78 mph curve has the makings of a solid third pitch, while his changeup has been slower to develop. He's projected to be a starter in pro ball but could move into relief if his curve and changeup don't progress or he lacks the stamina to be a starter.

26. Red Sox: Craig Hansen, rhp, St. John's U. Hansen pounds the strike zone with a fastball that has been clocked consistently in the mid-90s and tops out at 97 mph. The velocity on his slider has been even more impressive, sitting at 85-86 mph with a high of 90. Though his fastball command wavers, he has an excellent approach to pitching and isn't afraid to go right at hitters. He should be even more effective against wood bats. He's suited to be a closer because of his temperament, short arm stroke and full-effort delivery.

27. Braves: Joey Devine, rhp, North Carolina State U. Devine has dominated this season and is one of the closest players to the majors in this year's draft. He has plenty of stuff, starting with a mid-90s fastball that touches 97, and throws it from a funky arm angle--not quite sidearm but lower than three-quarters. His frisbee slider, thrown in the mid-80s, is death to right-handed hitters, who he dominates. Scouts like Devine's competitiveness, makeup and athletic ability, which allows him to repeat his unorthodox delivery. He may need a changeup or split-finger pitch, though, to better attack lefthanded hitters in pro ball.

28. Cardinals: Colby Rasmus, of, Russell County HS, Phenix City, Ala. Rasmus' tools grade out average or above across the board. He covers 60 yards in 6.7 seconds and has a plus arm, throwing fastballs up to 91 mph off the mound. Besides his tools, scouts love his maturity and savvy for the game. Some compare Rasmus to Steve Finley, while others believe he evokes Shawn Green; it depends on whether the scout believes Rasmus can stay in center field. He has a short, simple left-handed swing that he repeats, and the barrel of the bat stays in the hitting zone a long time. While he could use a better load to his swing, he at times produces good leverage, leading scouts to believe he'll hit for at least average power.

29. Marlins: Jacob Marceaux, rhp, McNeese State. Marceaux's fastball has taken a step forward this spring, as he has pitched at 93-95 mph with good sinking life while also featuring a mid-80s slider and a mid-70s spike curveball. His changeup is a solid-average pitch that he can locate on both sides of the plate. There are minor concerns about his durability -- he missed two starts after pulling a ribcage muscle in mid-March -- so some scouts project him as a reliever. But Marceaux has a deep enough repertoire to warrant the opportunity to make it as a starter first.

30. Cardinals: Tyler Greene, ss, Georgia Tech. Green is a 60 runner (some say 70 under way) on the 20-80 scouting scale, with good instincts on the basepaths and elsewhere. A plus arm and good range make him at least an average defender at short. The question is offense. His hands are just OK both at the plate and in the field. Greene's swing has evolved to a metal-bat, inside-out style that doesn't incorporate his hands, short-circuiting his power and leaving him with several holes. His aptitude with wood, however, reminds scouts of Cubs prospect Matt Murton, who also hit better in summers on the Cape than with Georgia Tech.