Harold Reynolds: Hey everyone, thanks for taking the time to chat today! Let's get started.
punksroo: Who do you think the top five picks will be?
Reynolds: No. 1 will be Gerrit Cole, the pitcher out of UCLA. He's a guy who after 90 pitches is still going to be throwing high-90s. To find that type of pitcher on the free-agent market is going to cost the Pirates about $15 million a year, so if you're trying fill that spot in your rotation, this is the guy. And if he can't be a starter, he's got good enough stuff to close the game for you. You have Pedro Alvarez playing third already, who you drafted two years ago. It doesn't make any sense to me to draft Anthony Rendon and think he's going to play third. My other picks are, No. 2, Rendon, from Rice University, to Seattle, a third baseman with power. It's a coin toss for the next three picks, because I don't know where the clubs are going to go. Danny Hultzen, the pitcher out of the University of Virginia; there's Bubba Starling, although I think he'll go to the Nationals at No. 6 or the Cubs with the ninth pick. Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez are the two top younger shortstops. And the last guys who are really interesting are Dylan Bundy out of Oklahoma, best right-handed high school pitching prospect in a number of years, and Trevor Bauer from UCLA, who will probably be the fastest to the big leagues because of his ability to throw fast pitches for strikes. Starling, Josh Bell, an outfielder, and Bundy are three of the top high school players we've seen in years. If Pittsburgh didn't feel an urgency to have a pitcher in the big leagues soon, Bundy would be the first pick.
Kelseysmith37: Do you think the Draft is deep enough for the Rays to take advantage of all their first-round picks?
Reynolds: It's a deep Draft, and it's a pitching Draft with a lot of left-handers. Any time you have a combo of a lot of pitching and left-handed pitching, you can always make trades. The Rays are going to make hay with a lot of picks this year and will then make a lot of trades in a few more years. I always think of it as, your farm system is there for you to be able to win in the big leagues, and if that means trading prospects to get a veteran who puts you over the hump, you do it. At the end of the day, the goal is to play in and win the World Series.
lilaram10: Regarding the Yankees, this is proably Jorge Posada's last season. Do you think they'd draft a player as designated hitter, or just try to get Hideki Matsui back?
Reynolds: No, you draft the best players available. The DH, in my mind, is a position for veteran players, you don't ever draft a DH.
punksroo: Based on Draft position, which team do you think could have the best Draft?
Reynolds: I think it's got to be the Rays. When you have that many picks -- 10 in the top 60 -- plus their proven track record. Even the D-backs with the third and seventh picks, that doesn't compare to having 10 in the top 60. Don't get too caught up in the first round. If you look at MLB's history, it's the teams with lower-round picks that make the difference. A lot of guys playing today were drafted in the 10th round or lower, and that's the true essence of a good scouting system, when you can draft well deep. That's when you've done your homework.
cjbdiesel: The Philies have sold all their prospects and have the 30th pick this year. How do you think this will affect them for the next 20 years?
Reynolds: The Phillies are in a different class. When you have money and your foundation is already laid in the big leagues, you don't worry about the Draft as much as a club like Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay or Arizona.
jblu: Do you think the financial difficulties faced by the Mets and Dodgers will affect who gets drafted and the signing bonuses that are dealt out?
Reynolds: Yes. It's hard to say when you have two of those storied franchises in those big cities, but I do think it's going to affect how they pick and who they pick. It may not be in the top rounds, but it's the lower rounds that matter. They're not going to gamble on a kid who might not sign right away.
pltiger24: The Tigers have always been interested in pitching in the Draft. Does that stay the same this year, or should they get some offense to pair with the pitching they have gotten in past years?
Reynolds: I think they'll look to get the best available at the time they pick, whether it's a pitcher or a hitter. But the strategy again is you can always trade pitching to go get whatever you need.
DinahKinard: Hi Harold, wondering what you think the Orioles will do with the No. 4 pick?
Reynolds: I think if Bauer's available, they'll get him, because he could be in the big leagues by the end of the summer, similar to Chris Sale last year with the White Sox. They took shortstop Manny Machado last year as their first-round pick, but if you watch the O's night after night, they need pitching.
lilaram10: Will the Yankees draft more starting pitchers?
Reynolds: They don't go until late, so I think it will be again the best available. I don't really look at the Yankees as a club that the Draft is going to affect. The next time a Felix Hernandez or Cliff Lee is a free agent, they're jumping in. Their money is spent in the free-agent market more so than the Draft, in my opinion. I don't think there's a replacement shortstop for Derek Jeter in this Draft. There's not a Machado in this Draft that is at that level. One of the other reasons you see so many pitchers going in the Draft is because internationally there are so many more position players out of Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. There is not as much pitcher development there and that affects how kids are drafted here.
pltiger24: Do you think there will be a big surprise pick in the draft, and who might it be?
Reynolds: I think Josh Bell is going to be a surprise pick. He's told teams not to draft him and that he's going to college, and he's such a superior talent that I think eventually someone's going to draft him. You have to take that chance on being able to have a conversation to sign him. My surprise player who I think has been overlooked -- I've watched over 250 Draft-eligible players by now -- and there's a kid out of University of Central Florida, Ronnie Richardson, who's a switch-hitter. He's an outfielder right now, but he reminds me a lot of Ray Durham or Jimmy Rollins, with that kind of explosiveness. I think you're going to get a great find if you pick this kid. He's the same size as Jimmy Rollins, and I think you can move him to the infield and he'll be something really special.
cjbdiesel: After this Draft, How do you think the Rangers will handle their farm system as far as trading, rebuilding or buying?
Reynolds: They're one of the top farm systems already. They've got some top prospects already. They already have a question mark at first in the big leagues with Chris Davis and Mitch Moreland -- they already traded Justin Smoak, so one of those guys has to go, because you can't have one of your bigger prospects sitting back as an insurance policy. Their big league club is in a position now where they're a contender every year. When you're a contender, you're expected to make a move on your club, like getting Lee for Smoak last year. So this year, what will be their dilemma, whether it's Michael Young, Davis or Moreland? Someone out of their farm system will probably need to be moved.
judd15: How quick does Kenny Williams and the White Sox trade this year's No. 1 pick?
Reynolds: You can't. You have to wait at least a year to trade a pick under the rules. You can't draft them and trade them, and you can't trade Draft picks, because I'm sure Tampa Bay would be doing that right now if it could. Kenny once told me that if it meant helping him at the big league level, he'd trade his own son, which he may do. We've just touched on really the first round and a lot of sandwich picks, but the Draft is 50 rounds. And remember, Mike Piazza went in the 62nd round, so you never know what you're going to get in the lower rounds that could affect your future.
Reynolds: So stay tuned on Monday at 6 p.m. ET! Thanks for taking the time today!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.