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05-25-2002, 12:34 AM
Bryan Bullington
Photo: Stan Denny
1. Pirates. The Pirates locked in on two players. Scouting director Ed Creech indicated a preference for Virginia five-tool shortstop B.J. Upton, the consensus best talent in the draft, but new general manager David Littlefield sees a pressing need for immediate help in Pittsburgh. His choice is Ball State righthander Bryan Bullington.
Projected Pick: Bryan Bullington.

2. Devil Rays. Tampa Bay officials have been coy about their selection, but the prevailing thought is that Tampa Bay likes the same two players as the Pirates and will simply take the one who's left. Scouting director Dan Jennings has a longstanding interest in Upton. The Devil Rays have also pursued Texas lefthander Scott Kazmir and fast-rising Georgia outfielder Jeremy Hermida. In the end, the team's tentative financial position may play a role in the selection.
Projected Pick: B.J. Upton.

3. Reds. Cincinnati had at least eight scouts a game on multiple occasions to see Kazmir and California righthander Chris Gruler toward the end of each player's high school season. Reds camp is split on their selection, with most favoring Gruler. Word in the industry is that's who they'll take. But GM Jim Bowden favors Kazmir, believing there isn't a more polished pitcher in the draft, college included.
Projected Pick: Scott Kazmir.

4. Orioles. The Orioles were set at one point to take Virginia Tech lefty Joe Saunders, but that interest subsided. Their attention turned next to the best available high school hitter. If scouting director Tony DeMacio has his way, the pick will be Hermida, one of the best young hitters to come along in years.
Projected Pick: Jeremy Hermida.

5. Expos. Montreal's muddled future caused it to focus on the safest commodity--college pitching--for most of the spring, with Rutgers righthander Bobby Brownlie the primary target. He did not pitch well amid concerns that his arm was not 100 percent, and the polished Saunders soon became a second option. The Expos also took a hard look at some of the quality high school pitching, with Kazmir's high school teammate Clint Everts, Gruler and California lefthander Cole Hamels the chief targets.
Projected Pick: Joe Saunders.

6. Royals. The Royals will have a hard time passing on hometown product John Mayberry Jr., whose father once starred for the Royals. They've also spent a lot of time in British Columbia looking at lefthander Adam Loewen, who would become the highest-drafted Canadian ever.
Projected Pick: Adam Loewen.

7. Brewers. The Brewers have made noise about taking big slugger Prince Fielder because of a close relationship between the Fielder family and special-assignment scout Bill Lajoie, the GM in Detroit when Cecil starred there. But they have spent more time identifying the best prep arm. North Carolina righthander Jason Neighborgall has as much upside as any pitcher in the draft, though his price tag and lack of command have scared most teams off. A safer pick would be Florida righthander Zack Greinke.
Projected Pick: Zack Greinke.

8. Tigers. The organization still has fond memories of a 12-year-old Fielder launching upper-deck home runs at Tiger Stadium in batting practice when his dad played there. The Tigers believe he may have the best raw power in the draft, though most clubs don't see rolling the dice on a one-tool player in the first round. Detroit also is considering Mayberry, whose father was the sixth overall pick out of a Detroit high school 35 years ago.
Projected Pick: Prince Fielder.

9. Rockies. GM Dan O'Dowd would prefer a college pitcher such as Brownlie or Stanford righthander Jeremy Guthrie, but Clemson third baseman Jeff Baker's power is an enticing tool. Baker has his detractors, and his association with agent Scott Boras may cause him to slide.
Projected Pick: Jeff Baker.

10. Rangers. This is the only pick the Rangers have before the sixth round, and their pressing need for pitching dictates pursuing the most polished college arm. Guthrie and Canadian lefthander Jeff Francis fit the profile and have been mentioned most often.
Projected Pick: Jeremy Guthrie.

part 1 b/c it was too long