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Prospects Report: New arrivals to the party

Eric Mack
Senior Fantasy Writer
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Bryce Harper is finally in the fold for the Nationals organization and Fantasy owners on CBSSports.com. So, naturally, everyone wants to know what is next. The fact Harper has the most-viewed Fantasy player on our website since being signed and added certainly suggests that.

No, you're not going to see the 17-year-old in the majors before the end of this season. But another 2010 first-rounder, Chris Sale, was already getting huge strikeouts against the reigning AL MVP Joe Mauer on Wednesday night. And a 2009 pick did go straight from major Division I baseball to the major leagues this April, Mike Leake.

We take the time this week to outline the 2010 first-rounders' timetables -- where they likely will begin their pro careers and when we might see them in the major leagues. It tends to take three years for most, but today's economics are forcing teams to take earlier and earlier looks at the cheaper organizational talent they have down on the farm.

These first-round picks are making more and more money, after all, and calling them to the big club can still be cheaper than pursuing a free agent or costly veteran trade-deadline acquisition. Heck, the Mets even want a top closer like Francisco Rodriguez's contract to just disappear without any real replacement on staff -- personality and psychological issues notwithstanding.

1. Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals

Harper is going to be introduced with the Nationals in a news conference early next week, which will delay his arrival in the Gulf Coast League. That rookie league ends play Aug. 28, so Harper might only get a few games in before the instructional league season. If he performs capably there, he could then head to the Arizona Fall League, which is the annual showcase for the top organizational talents during baseball's postseason. A good performance there tends to put players on the verge of a major-league arrival the following season. Harper is an advanced player for his age, but we cannot see him starting any higher than Class A ball next spring.

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Potential ETA: mid-June 2011 -- as an 18-year-old!

2. Jameson Taillon, SP, Pirates

High school pitchers tend to take at least three years in the minors before they are true candidates for the majors. Sure, there are some Jeremy Bonderman's and Rick Porcello's out there, but their mediocre results this season should make you hope the Pirates bring Taillon along very slowly. We always say shoulders take years to condition for the 200-inning grind in the major leagues, so Taillon will likely make his pro debut in low Class A in 2011.

Potential ETA: late 2012

3. Manny Machado, SS, Orioles

There is some talk of Machado being a poor man's Alex Rodriguez as a multi-tool shortstop prospect out of Miami. We tend to believe those comparisons are being overstated because of Machado merely being from South Florida. Machado will get time in the Gulf Coast League this month and then the instructional league. You have to figure he opens 2011 in low Class A. Position players tend to take longer to develop than the elite pitchers, so Machado is at least three years away at this point.

Potential ETA: April 2013

4. Christian Colon, SS, Royals

Colon quietly already has his pro career underway as one of the earliest signees. The Cal State Fulteron prospect has plus power for his position and is a potential quick-riser out of a major Division I program, but the Royals tend to move their prospects one level a year. It is commonly said major Division I ball is the equivalent to Double-A, but that figures to be where Colon tops out at in 2011, not opens.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2012

5. Drew Pomeranz, SP, Indians

The top college pitcher picked won't begin pitching as a pro until spring training 2011, but he could impress enough to get time in major-league camp. The Ole Miss lefty can open in high Class A and move quickly, but the fact the Indians are rebuilding and have some other advanced prospects make it more likely he tops out in Double-A as a 22-year-old.

Potential ETA: late 2011

6. Barret Loux, SP, unsigned by D-Backs

Loux has a shoulder issue that kept the D-Backs from signing him, but the commissioner has granted him free agency come Sept. 1 -- a provision to protect early picks that don't get a contract due to injury issues. The D-Backs will get this pick back next June and there are a number of teams interested in taking a chance on Loux's shoulder.

Potential ETA: April 2013

7. Matt Harvey, SP, Mets

The son of former major-league closer Bryan Harvey is more workhorse than an elite arm out of North Carolina. That gives him a chance to move quickly, but still not quick enough to help the pitching-needy Mets in 2011. We figure he spends the entire season in high Class A as a 22-year-old.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2012

8. Delino DeShields, 2B, Astros

The son of the former Expos second baseman of the same name was a bit of a surprise pick in the top 10 this June out of a Georgia high school. He is clearly a long-term project that won't be close to making a Fantasy impact anytime in the next few years.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2014

9. Karsten Whitson, SP, unsigned by Padres

The Padres were pretty disappointed and shocked to fail to get their top-10 pick under contract before the deadline. They will get a top-10 pick next June as compensation. Whitson heads back to the 2011 draft and won't be a candidate to pitch as a true pro until 2012 at this point. He is years away, especially since he was a high schooler and not a college pick.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2014

10. Michael Choice, OF, A's

Choice has already gotten his pro career underway in low Class A and he figures to need the entire 2011 season below Double-A, too. The toolsy outfielder, 20, had three years in college ball, but there is a significant difference between playing in the Southland Conference as opposed to the Pac-10, SEC or ACC. If big schools are roughly equal to Double-A, the Southland is at more Class A-quality.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2012

11. Deck McGuire, SP, Blue Jays

McGuire figures to be on a comparable timetable as fellow ACC pick Harvey, but the Blue Jays have far more depth among starting pitcher prospects and figure to bring McGuire along more conservatively. While he is perhaps capable of handling Double-A in 2011, he figures to spend the year in Class A ball.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2012

12. Yasmani Grandal, C, Reds

Catchers need more time than other positions, perhaps even pitchers -- if you can ignore the rare cases of Mauer, Buster Posey and Matt Wieters. Grandal will need to develop his handling of pitchers in addition to his bat and defense. It is the very reason the Nationals decided to make Harper an outfielder as opposed to leaving him behind the plate. Grandal will stay behind the plate, but he won't be a candidate for the majors next season -- even if he can elevate to Double-A.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2012

13. Chris Sale, SP, White Sox

The first pick to reach the majors is already helping out as a lefty reliever in a pennant race. The failures of Ross Detwiler and Andrew Miller, who similarly elevated quickly in the same year as they were drafted, make us wary of guaranteeing any 2011 impact of Sale. He could help out in relief again perhaps, but that would have to be after he stretches out as a starter in Double-A to open the season. The White Sox need him to build up innings on his arm if they really want him to be a starter long term. If you draft a pitcher in the top half of Round 1, you better be doing it for him to start.

14. Dylan Covey, SP, unsigned by Brewers

Like Loux above, Covey had a health issue that kept him from being signed. Unlike a structurally damaged shoulder, though, Covey was diagnosed with Diabetes. They is treatable and might not affect his career -- albeit a career that won't start as a pro until late 2011. Another high school pitching prospect, he will need years to build up his arm strength and workload.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2014

15. Jake Skole, C, Rangers

One of the earliest signees already has his career underway, but he will need a full year in low Class A ball before we really get a gauge on his long-term prospects. He has held his own to date, though.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2013

16. Hayden Simpson, SP, Cubs

Another surprising pick on draft day, Simpson made it into the first round despite pitching in Division II. The Cubs might have seen his delivery and thought of The Freak, Tim Lincecum. It makes him someone interesting to track, but they will have to do it in low Class A in 2011.

Potential ETA: April 2013

17. Josh Sale, OF, Rays

Unlike the common pronunciation of the Sale drafted at No. 13 overall, this is Sale (sah-LAY). The left-handed hitter was rated by Baseball America as the best high school power hitter, the top corner outfielder, the No. 10 overall prospect, No. 5 position player and top high school outfield prospect in the draft. All of that is nice, but he isn't going to get out of low Class A next season. It makes him a long-term project for an organization that has traditionally frustrated Fantasy owners with their stubborness of moving their prospects slowly.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2014

18. Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels

The Angels are a great development organization and they are moving Cowart along the right way. Despite some teams liking him for his 95-mph arm, they will first get a good look at whether his great bat will play. They lured him out of his Florida State scholarship, perhaps because he liked how the Angels wanted to see if his huge high school numbers at the plate ouf of the Georgia baseball talent hotbed would play as a pro. Cowart has huge upside, but he will need at least two full seasons developing. This could be a perfect organization to do it.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2013

19. Mike Foltynewicz, SP, Astros

The 18-year-old has already gotten his pro career started in low Class A and figures to need a full year at that level before he can really be evaluated as a long-term keeper prospect out of a midwest high school. California, Texas and Florida prospects at least get full-year of baseball work as teenagers -- and they need three years to develop.

Potential ETA: late 2013

20. Kolbrin Vitek, OF, Red Sox

The player who was reportedly under terms on draft night is already 190 at-bats into his pro career. Despite being drafted as a second baseman, the presence of Dustin Pedroia led the Red Sox to move the Ball State product to center field or third base. Vitek will likely spend the 2011 season in high Class A and have a chance to make a debut in the middle of the season after.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2012

21. Alex Wimmers, SP, Twins

The Twins are yet another organization that moves pitching prospects along methodically, although a 2009 pick Kyle Gibson has elevated to Triple-A in his first pro season. Wimmers is not quite in Gibson's class of prospect in our book, but he could finish out next season in Double-A.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2012

22. Kellin Deglan, C, Rangers

Have you heard us say catchers need time? How about high school catching prospects from Canada that actually didn't play high school baseball, because his school didn't offer it? That makes Deglan one of the rawest picks of the first round and perhaps the furthest away from reaching the major leagues. He did help his cause by being one of the first to sign, though. He hasn't been impressive yet in low Class A, which is where he will spend the entire 2011 campaign.

Potential ETA: April 2015

23. Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins

Michael Stanton's rapid rise into Fantasy elitehood -- if he will even be there next spring -- might give you pause to believe Yelich can arrive inside three years. Yelich has a lot of work to do to become the next Stanton. The 18-year-old will open in low Class A next spring and be years away from making an impact for the Marlins or Fantasy owners. There tends to be a hint of an overrated stigma from California position-player prospects, but we have seen the likes of Mike Moustakas debunk that myth in his breakthrough this season.

Potential ETA: late 2014

24. Gary Brown, OF, Giants

The burner was a college teammate of Colon, but he won't be as capable of arriving nearly as quickly. He could be the type of toolsy outfielder that takes years to develop true pop, too. He was tough to strike out in college, but he was equally tough to walk -- another sign he has work to do. He figures to open in low Class A and perhaps top out at high Class A next season.

Potential ETA: April 2013

25. Zack Cox, 3B, Cardinals

Yours truly believed this Arkansas sophomore was a top-10, if not a top-five, pick this June. Instead, he dropped all the way to 25th overall. He is perhaps the best college bat to be picked but questions remain about whether he will have corner-infield power. That should come with years. He could be one of the fastest-rising bats in this draft class, like a Brett Wallace was before him as a Cardinals No. 1 pick. Cox's glove shouldn't be as suspect. He might get an invite to major-league spring training and his performance there could slot him anywhere from Double-A down to low Class A. We think it will be the former.

Potential ETA: late 2011

26. Kyle Parker, OF, Rockies

The Rockies tried to sign him to a baseball-only deal, but Parker is resigned to playing quarterback for Clemson this fall. That means he won't begin pro baseball until the spring and football will make him a real raw talent. A start in low Class A is likely and it could take him a couple of years to get out of there. The Rockies have done pretty well with converted college QBs like Todd Helton (Peyton Manning's backup) and Seth Smith (Eli Manning's backup).

Potential ETA: mid-June 2014

27. Jesse Biddle, SP, Phillies

The Phillies took a local talent that signed quickly and got his pro career underway early in the short-season New York-Penn League. He will need a full season in Class A and perhaps another year in the high minors before a top contender like the Phillies consider him a candidate for their rotation. His left-handedness could get him to arrive a bit earlier as a reliever down the stretch of a pennant race in a couple of years, though -- a La the White Sox's Sale.

Potential ETA: late 2013

28. Zach Lee, SP, Dodgers

The Dodgers were believed to be longshots to sign the freshman LSU quarterback, but once he lost his backup QB job to another freshman, baseball become a lot more of an intriguing option for the Texas product. The Dodgers got him signed and figure to give him a couple of years building up arm strength in the lower levels. He could be one of the prizes of this draft because the lure of football kept him from getting drafted in the top 10, but he was likely a talent that intriguing.

Potential ETA: late 2012

29. Cam Bedrosian, SP, Angels

Steve Bedrosian's son profiles as a late-inning reliever, but he began his pro career in the Arizona Rookie League getting starts this July. The Angels are a deep organization committed to development, so Bedrosian will get moved along year-by-year. The fact he could arrive as a reliever might make him come sooner, but it will also keep him from being a true impact Fantasy prospect initially.

Potential ETA: late 2012

30. Chevy Clarke, OF, Angels

Yet another Angels first-round pick, thanks to their heavy free-agent losses. They scored a huge coup with the drafting and development of 2009 first-round Mike Trout and they could only hope Clarke goes as well. The Georgia prospect has tools but he hasn't been all that impressive in the Arizona Rookie League. Consider him another one of those two years of Class A ball types.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2013

31. Justin O'Conner, C, Rays

O'Conner is a long-range catching prospect who has gotten 144 at-bats deep into his pro career in the Gulf Coast League -- to mediocre results like so many of these other first-rounders. The Indiana high schooler was going to be a project anyway, especially at that position as we said. He will likely play short-season ball again next year and be one of the slower risers to the majors of this class.

Potential ETA: mid-June 2015

32. Cito Culver, SS, Yankees

The Yankees shocked many draft analysts by dipping into the unproven pool of western New York baseball prospects with their last pick of Round 1. Name someone to come out of the Rochester area? Uh, Tim Redding, we suppose. Blech. (We know because we're from there). The long cold winters and lack of college programs in that area make it a poor place to find talent. The Yankees believe they might have a Derek Jeter replacement, perhaps. It might take years for Jeter to retire, or move from shortstop (even if he should have already). It will take longer for Culver to become worthy of this pick. Throw out the personality/psychological comparison, this could be a Matt Bush bust.

Potential ETA: late 2014

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Prospects Report in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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