Pirates to pick Jameson Taillon at No. 2, Orioles like Manny Machado at No. 3

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Bryce Harper going to the Nationals with the No. 1 pick is a foregone conclusion at this point and Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Pirates have decided on high school pitcher Jameson Taillon with the second pick in tonight’s draft.
Taillon is a 6-foot-7 right-hander from Texas who throws in the mid-90s, ranking as the second-best prospect in this year’s draft behind only Harper according to both Baseball America and ESPN. MLB.com has some video of Taillon overpowering high school hitters, so Pirates fans can take time away from another losing season to drool over him.
Assuming that Harper goes No. 1 to the Nationals and Taillon goes No. 2 to the Pirates, the Orioles are expected to use the third overall pick on high school shortstop Manny Machado. Baltimore reportedly is prepared to take whichever one of Taillon or Machado goes undrafted by Pittsburgh, as those two and Harper are the top three guys on basically everyone’s draft board. Naturally then, the Royals pick fourth.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.