Four tiers of first-round prospects

Mammoth righty Tyler Kolek is a good bet to be the first prep pitcher off the board in June. Mike Janes/Four Seam Images/AP Images

With the college season just starting and all Division I schools getting underway by this weekend, weather permitting, it's time to at least revisit the top echelon of this year's draft class. Rather than re-ranking guys based on just a few games or a scrimmage, I've broken them down into tiers of first-round talents to orient you to the landscape of the first 20-25 names, followed by other names worth watching over the next few weeks as more high schools begin their schedules.

Tier 1

Carlos Rodon, LHP | NC State

You know you're a boss when you have your own tier. Rodon is far and away the best available player in this draft class, with a 70-grade fastball (on the 20-80 scouting scale) and at least a 70 slider, a track record of missing bats, and a pretty good swing too. The Astros aren't guaranteed to take him first overall, but they did buy four season tickets down in Raleigh, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's in their mix.

Tier 2

Jeff Hoffman, RHP | East Carolina

Tyler Kolek, RHP | Shepherd (Texas) HS

Jacob Gatewood, SS | Clovis (Calif.) HS

Alex Jackson, C/3B | Rancho Bernardo HS (San Diego)

Right now, this looks like the decision set for teams drafting second or third -- with the obvious, enormous, I-can't-emphasize-this-enough caveat that it's February and teams won't even think about limiting themselves to just a few names until we get to mid-May.