Your early early early draft preview

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In response to Keith Law’s outrageously early draft preview Mel Kiper has decided to chuck the 2010 NFL draft entirely and start handicapping 2011. True story. Anyway, there’s a top 50 list there, and some overall analysis:

In general, the quality of talent this year is below where it was
the last two years, and is well below what we can already see for the
2011 draft. It’s extremely light on college position players and weak
in high school catchers and shortstops, although I think by the time we
get to June the remaining groups — college arms, high school arms and
high school bats outside of those two positions — will have the same
quality and depth as they do in a typical year.

There is no Stephen Strasburg in this class, nor is there a Dustin
Ackley or a Matt Wieters, and right now we have only two players, Bryce
Harper and Anthony Ranaudo, who are expected to demand well-above-slot
bonuses (although that is simply industry speculation).

In a companion piece Law considers some of the early criticisms of Bryce Harper and dismisses them for the most part. I’m no prospect expert, but I’m not sure how you pass up someone like Harper. Sure, he’s a Boras guy and yes he’ll be expensive, but he’s a special kind of talent.

The only question is whether his therapy schedule will interfere with game times, what with all of that rush-rush-rushing his parents allowed.

Giants sign Austin Jackson to two-year, $6 million contract

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The Giants announced on Monday night the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a two-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives that allow Jackson to earn up to an additional $2.5 million for a total of $8.5 million.

Jackson, who soon turns 31 years old, spent last season with the Indians. In 318 plate appearances, he hit .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 46 runs scored.

The Giants have been on the hunt for a center fielder and Jackson addresses that need relatively cheaply. Jackson will join Hunter Pence and newcomer Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.