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2010 Draft Preview: Who will the Yankees select?

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Like last year, the only certainty is the first overall pick. The Nationals picked Stephen Strasburg a year ago, and he's about to make his big league debut (tomorrow night) - the Nats will likely take another 'prospect of the decade' tonight (7 p.m., MLB Network).

I haven't heard anyone who thinks Washington won't take 17-year-old catcher Bryce Harper (photo) with the first pick. Harper completed his GED two years early to make him eligible for the 2010 draft. He left high school to attend the (junior) College of Southern Nevada. In 62 games, he hit .442/.524/.986 (yes, he's slugged .986). Harper did this as the youngest player on his team and with wood bats - other players his age are still using metal bats and facing lesser competition. Most experts, though, don't think he'll stick at catcher, projecting a move to rightfield.

As for the Yankees, most mock drafts have them taking a prep pitcher. Among the names thrown about are Tyrell Jenkins, Zach Lee and A.J. Cole. The main college names include Gary Brown of Cal State Fullerton ("a bigger, stronger version of Brett Gardner"), and Jedd Gyorko, a bat-first shortstop from West Virginia.

Most of the prep players have signability issues (having already committed to college), but the Yankees are often willing to take risks, especially if the talent is worth it. Beware though - you never know if the draftee's going to pull a Gerrit Cole.

With the plethora of catchers in the system (four of the top 10 Yankee prospects are backstops), would they consider drafting even more? Just last year, highly-touted catchers J.R. Murphy and Gary Sanchez joined the minor league ranks (to go along with Austin Romine and Jesus Montero).

On the opposite end of catchers are shortstops, probably the shallowest position in the system. High risk/high reward prospects like Carmen Angelini, Garrison Lassiter and Jose Pirela haven't come close to their projections. The best SS in the system is Eduardo Nunez (hitting .309/.352/.392 at Triple-A), but his career OPS in six MiL seasons is just .685. He's also committed 153 errors in 544 games at shortstop (though just three this season). He looks like a nice utility infielder/pinch-runner, not much more. With Jeter getting up there in age, will the Yanks value shortstops more than usual?

Outfield is also an area of relative weakness. They began addressing that last year with the first-round selection of Slade Heathcott, a potential five-tool centerfielder whose speed rivals Brett Gardner's. Another highly-touted outfielder is Dominican Kelvin De Leon, whose batting line after two pro seasons is .280/.369/.466, showing impressive power for such a young age.

The only positions where there is nothing close to a ML need in the near future is at the corners. Tex and A-Rod are signed through 2016 and '17, respectively (though how long A-Rod will play 3B is anyone's guess).

Drafting pitchers is never a bad thing, only they're tougher to predict and have a higher chance of injury. Andrew Brackman, taken in the first round back in 2007, had Tommy John surgery immediately after signing, and is only now starting to look like he might have a future in the Bigs.