Late on Friday afternoon, following my chat at 4pm ET, I will be releasing what I'm calling my 2011 Mock Worksheet, which is basically an only slightly cleaned up version of a file called 2011mock.odt that's been sitting on my desktop for well over a week, with source names removed. I hope it will be a fun look at how the sausage is made, but even with just the weekend ahead, one gets the sense that we'll still have more answers than questions at that point. Still, let's not go a full day without some juicy rumors, so here's some happenings from a day of phone calls, IMs and text messages.

What's Pittsburgh Up To?

Nobody seems to really know. For your entertainment, here are three quotes from three different sources this afternoon:

“I think it's Hultzen.”
“Rendon is in the lead there.”
“I'm hearing it's Cole.”

In other words, we have no changes there, though a late rumor has the Pirates getting a pre-draft feel from the Hultzen camp on money, as he's the only non-Boras client of the three. That said don't expect Hultzen's representatives at CAA to be any kind of pushover in negotiations.

Lindor Shines in Seattle, Could Make Things Messy

Florida prep shortstop Francisco Lindor had a private workout for Mariners brass today at Safeco Field, and one source indicated that it was, “Mighty impressive.” Seattle still has their sights set on Rendon, but there is some thought the Lindor could be their surprise back up plan should the Pirates nab the Rice third baseman. “Can you imagine Arizona having their pick of any pitcher?” asked one insider concerning that scenario. Even with their choice, the Diamondbacks still might prefer Hultzen, who they've focused on all spring, although Gerrit Cole would definitely tempt them. Cole's final landing spot could be partially determined by his final pre-draft start at this weekend's regionals in Los Angeles. I have a mole there who promises to report back on not only how Cole looks, but maybe more importantly, who is there to see him.

Washington At Six: Hard To Say

With the first five picks in the draft (Pirates, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Orioles, Royals), there are is least lists and directions that seem to have received general consensus among the rumor mills. For the Nationals, with pick number six, that is anything but the case. There is talk that they'll take a college pitcher who could move quickly, with a focus on UCLA's Trevor Bauer, but other rumors have them looking to make another splash. After getting Bryce Harper and Steven Strasburg in the last two drafts, they might look to add the highest upside player once again, and rumors have ultra-toolsy high school outfielder Bubba Starling suddenly in their mix.

Letters, Oh We Get Letters!

While stories of crazy pre-draft bonus demands (we're looking at you Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley) are nothing new, there seem to be a significant increase in the number of them as we enter the final draft under the current rule set. Once a gambit used primarily by top picks, one scouting director indicated that he's received significantly more such letters this year than any other, with one of the most recent being Tennessee high school southpaw Daniel Norris, see by most as a mid first-round pick, indicating that he's looking for $4 million to sign. Most feel that we'll see no more leverage than in previous drafts, while expecting only standard year-to-year inflation. “They can ask for the moon,” said one scouting director, “And we might stare them down to see if the really want to see what all of this looks like in three years.”

Finding A Landing Spot

While going off rumors and information is the most important part of any mock draft, there are also players who you just need to get off the board at some point, even if they might not have a perfectly logical home. Here are three players that seem to be the back up plans for many teams, but rarely the primary target.

  • Francisco Lindor: The rumor at two applies, but if the Mariners get their man in Rendon, a run on pitching could push him to the end of the top 10, and maybe even beyond.
  • George Springer: While he's still a bit raw at the plate, it's hard to find these kind of tools and athleticism in a college position player. He could go as high as No. 9 overall (Cubs) and as low as No. 20 (Rockies).
  • Jed Bradley: The Georgia Tech left-hander has the kind of size and velocity normally reserved for righties, but he's failed to impress down the stretch, and seems to be in everybody's mix beginning with Arizona and their unprotected pick at No. 7, but at no point has anyone said about any team, “They really like Jed Bradley.”

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Please, please tell me the Indians aren't going to take Jed Bradley if Lindor is on the board at #8.
They are such a wild card right now. One of the teams I'm really digging on and I'll hopefully have more for you by tomorrow there.
Kevin, love the draft coverage, but a suggestion. A lot of the coverage here (and elsewhere) has been more focused on who-goes-where type questions than about who all these kids are. At this point most of us following all this have a general sense of who the first rounders will be, but I think that's come at the expense of providing much insight into each player's profile, really all we have is a short paragraph about your top 20 guys. I mean, we know the D-backs love hultzen, we just don't really know much about hultzen.

I think it would be beneficial to get deeper into the players' profiles, rather than the speculation about where they end up; things like where they might stack up compared to players in the minors, where they might land on a top 100 list, their major league ceilings/floors, best tools, and so on. All the intrigue about who goes where is only really interesting once you have a handle on who the players are.
I tend to save that until after the draft, but you'll get it.
I could be off base, but doesn't it seem strange that Cole's next start could swing where he goes so dramatically? His season started in February and teams have been scouting him since high school. I could understand that they want to see how he pitches with tons of eyes on him, but it seems to me that one start shouldn't carry so much weight. Is it just the nature of the draft that when things get down to the wire, every game suddenly becomes crazy important?
Well, it's one more data point, but it's easy to see how teams could put a fair bit of relevance on it. It's a playoff game and he's got dozens of scouts staring at him and he knows how he pitches could potentially make him an extra million dollars or two, how a kid responds to that kind of pressure against top competition could very well speak to what kind of pro he'll be.
You ever buy a car? Did you have to drive it just one more time before you were sure? Did that drive REALLY change anything about the car?
So that's why Cole was giving Neal Huntington a piggy-back ride.
Oh my god, you win. I think half the office just heard me chortle at this. I don't think I've ever chortled before.
open office ftw!

also, i like the new gold widget up there. very cool.