We are more than three months away from the baseball draft, with a lot of college and high school ball to be played, even in the warm weather states.
But on Thursday John Manuel of Baseball America issued that publication's first mock draft of the season. And since the Twins have the first pick, his projections start there.
This piece is best viewed as an introduction to the candidates for high selection and the issues facing the talent evaluators than as a hard prediction of the draft itself. Manuel's forecast -- that the Twins will take prep pitcher/shortstop Hunter Greene -- may very well be correct come June; he's been viewed as a front-runner for that distinction virtually since the 2016 draft closed. But there's a lot of slips, slides and helium between now and then.
And, perhaps, skulduggery. An interesting phrase from Manuel regarding San Diego and the third selection: "Everyone expects the Padres and GM A.J. Preller to try to do what it takes to push Greene down to them at No. 3 ..." My interpretation is that the Padres are likely to make quiet promises of X money if Greene and his camp discourage the Twins and Reds from selecting him. Greene is from the San Diego area.