Future 50: Gerrit Cole is No. 1

One month into the Division I season, there has been a lot of movement right up to the top of the rankings, based not just on performance but on new looks at players -- some better, some worse. Conference play in college began last weekend, while cold-weather high schools all start next week, so by the next update we should have everyone playing and the best college players facing good competition on a regular basis.

As always, this is a ranking, not a prediction of where players will be drafted. It's way, way too early to make any sort of prediction, as teams aren't close to narrowing their preference lists at this point.

Big Board Bar

1 Gerrit Cole

Gardner H.S.

Analysis: Cole came out of the chute with a vastly improved changeup but took a week or two to build up to his normal velocity. At this point, he's seen as the top player in the draft, not just by me but by the majority of scouts and executives with whom I've spoken. That may change, but if Cole keeps throwing as he has been the last few outings he'll make it very hard for any team to pass on him. Previous Ranking: 3

2 Anthony Rendon

Analysis: Still bothered by a sore shoulder and still struggling with timing at the plate. Previous Ranking: 1

3 Bubba Starling

Analysis: Edgerton Gardner High School's season starts on Monday. Previous Ranking: 4

4 Danny Hultzen

Analysis: I don't believe Hultzen will be the fourth-best player in this draft when we get to June, but right now he's performing and showing a grade-better fastball, while others expected to go in this range have stumbled. Previous Ranking: 19

5 Sonny Gray

Analysis: Had one off week in front of a lot of scouts but has been topping out at 96-97 his last few times out. Previous Ranking: 5