The 2011 MLB Draft (aka First Year Player Draft) will take place over three days, with the first round and the supplemental first round Monday night and the additional 49 rounds Tuesday and Wednesday. That means that 60 picks will be made Monday night - 33 first round selections and 27 supplemental picks.
On average, teams figure to have two selections each (60 picks, 30 teams), but through free agent losses and unsigned 2010 picks some teams have accrued a large number of those premium picks. Piling up picks in the MLB draft has its advantages and disadvantages. More picks means greater versatility and ability to take risks, but bonus demands are expected to be at record highs this year.
Detroit is the only club not picking tonight. Pittsburgh (No. 1), Seattle (No. 2), Baltimore (No. 4), Kansas City (No. 5), Cleveland (No. 8), Chicago Cubs (No. 9), Houston (No. 11), Florida (No. 14), LA Dodgers (No. 16), LA Angels (No. 17), Oakland (No. 18), St. Louis (No. 22), Cincinnati (No. 27), Atlanta (No. 28), Philadelphia (No. 39), Chicago White Sox (No. 47) and the NY Yankees (No. 51) - 17 teams in all - have just one pick.
Milwaukee (12, 15), NY Mets (13,44), Colorado (20, 45), San Francisco (29, 49) and Texas (33, 37) each have two picks, with Milwaukee and the Mets being in a strong position to reestablish some quality in their depleted farm systems. Minnesota has three picks - 30, 50, 55 - but all are in the latter end of the night.
That leaves six serious power brokers tonight - Tampa Bay, Toronto, San Diego, Arizona, Boston and Washington. Arizona (3, 7, 43) and Washington (6, 23, 34) each have three picks, but the caliber of those picks should allow them to add significant talent in this strong draft. Boston (19, 26, 36, 40) can load up for another strong draft, while Toronto (21, 35, 46, 53, 57) and San Diego (10, 25, 48, 54, 58) can accelerate their building programs significantly, just as the Giants and Rangers did in 2007.
The real fascination in this draft, though, will center around the Tampa Bay Rays. In all they have TEN picks tonight - 24, 31, 32, 38, 41, 42, 52, 56, 59, 60. They will make nine of the 27 picks in the supplemental round. With another compensation pick in the second round, the Rays have a total of 12 picks before the end of the second round. We don't know how much they will be able to spend, but a good night tonight followed by several signed contracts could set Tampa Bay up to continue to be good for the next decade.