With the MLB draft beginning today, USA TODAY Sports' Jorge L. Ortiz breaks down eight of the most intriguing prospects.
LHP CARLOS RODON, North Carolina State
MOCK DRAFT: How the top 10 picks may play out
The tools: Once the consensus No.1 pick, Rodon saw his stock drop a bit as he went 6-7 with a 2.01 ERA and 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings, down from 12.5 as a sophomore. Still, his mid-90s fastball and nonpareil slider make the burly lefty awfully appealing.
Know this: Rodon turned down a bonus of more than $500,000 when drafted out of high school by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011.
Where he's going: The Houston Astros have been secretive about their plans for the No.1 pick, and the decision might come down to economics, but Rodon is definitely on their radar.
LHP BRADY AIKEN, Cathedral Catholic HS (San Diego)
The tools: Aiken made a major leap between his junior and senior years in high school, as his fastball velocity ticked up to the 96-97-mph mark and his curveball became sharper. His changeup already was a solid pitch.
Know this: Aiken, 6-3 and 210 pounds, started working out with a personal trainer at 12.
Where he's going: If the Astros don't make Aiken the first high school pitcher taken No.1 overall since Brien Taylor in 1991, the Miami Marlins figure to nab him at No.2.
RHP TYLER KOLEK, Shepherd HS (Texas)
The tools: In the mold of previous Texas fireballers such as Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, Kolek has hit 102 mph on the radar gun and is regarded as the hardest-throwing high school pitcher since the draft began in 1965. He also throws a curve and slider.
Know this: Kolek struck out 126 and walked eight of 219 batters he faced in his senior season.
Where he's going: Both Chicago teams scouted Kolek heavily, but the White Sox pick one spot ahead of the Cubs at No.3.
C-OF ALEX JACKSON, Rancho Bernardo HS (Calif.)
The tools: At 6-2 and 215 pounds, Jackson has shown tremendous pull power and a knack for hitting to all fields, along with the kind of strong arm that would play at several positions.
Know this: Jackson would be the sixth first-rounder in the last 20 years out of this powerhouse program outside San Diego.
Where he's going: Much like Bryce Harper and Wil Myers before him, Jackson figures to play a position other than catcher in the pros. That makes him a possible fit for the Seattle Mariners, who are set behind the plate long range with Mike Zunino.
RHP AARON NOLA, LSU
The tools: Nola throws a fastball that reaches 95 mph out of a three-quarters delivery, generating a lot of ground balls and better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in his junior season. In his last two years, Nola went a combined 23-2 with a 1.52 ERA.
Know this: Nola and his older brother, Austin, were drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 but neither signed, instead playing the next season together at LSU in their native Baton Rouge.
Where he's going: Nola might be the most major league-ready pitcher in the draft, making him an enticing choice for the Philadelphia Phillies.
LHP KYLE FREELAND, Evansville
The tools: Freeland features a fastball in the low to mid-90s and a devastating slider as part of a four-pitch assortment he commands masterfully. In his junior season with the Purple Aces, he averaged better than 10 strikeouts per walk. He was 10-2 with a 1.90 ERA in 2014.
Know this: Freeland qualified for the Colorado state golf tournament three times while in high school.
Where he's going: The Denver product has experience pitching at high altitude, making him a natural for the Colorado Rockies with the eighth pick.
OF MICHAEL CONFORTO, Oregon State
The tools: Conforto's selling point is his bat, and there's plenty to buy considering his power potential and advanced approach. Conforto's home run output declined from 11 to seven in his junior season, but his plate discipline improved and he registered a 1.062 on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS).
Know this: Conforto was the first Beaver to be named one of the three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the best amateur baseball player in the USA.
Where he's going: If the Cubs pass on the pitching prospects available at No.4, they might go for Conforto.
RHP TOUKI TOUSSAINT, Coral Springs Christian Academy (Fla.)
The tools: An outstanding athlete who also excels as an outfielder, Touissant combines a fastball that has reached 97 mph with a superb curveball that accounts for a fair share of his strikeouts. He's still 17 and raw, but with huge projectability.
Know this: The son of a Haitian politician, Touissant was initially a soccer player and didn't focus on baseball until middle school.
Where he's going: Toussaint's lack of command makes him a bit of a wild card, but he has been linked to the San Diego Padres, who have the 13th pick.