The 2011 MLB Draft is going to be huge.

Last year’s event was by far the biggest and most-publicized in Major League history, and as more fans become more familiar with it and how it works, it’s only going to get bigger and better.

It will start with more coverage. Baseball America already does a fantastic job and as of right now has a pretty good monopoly on the market. ESPN will eventually hop on that bandwagon, fully understanding the attention they garnered for events like Stephen Strasburg’s big-league debut. And the newly-formed MLB Network will become the baseball draftnik’s heaven with their around-the-clock coverage of the three-day event (More Jim Callis please!).

There will be bottom-line tickers, and in a matter of years, you’ll find yourself arguing with your fellow baseball friends about who got a better supplemental pick. 

Okay, maybe that’s going a bit overboard.

But, whatever this case you’re obviously going to need a primer for this year right? Especially about the top players who are eligible. You know why? So, if you’re a Cubs fan for example, you won’t be shocked to high heaven when they tab some kid named Hayden Simpson with their first-round pick.

You’ll know, like the super-geeks at Baseball America, that Simpson went 13-1 with a 1.81 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 99.1 innings for Division II Southern Arkansas. Simpson also pitched six complete games and features a 97-mph fastball, and a knee-buckling slider.

2011’s big names are easy. Guys like Anthony Rendon, Matt Purke, Gerrit Cole and George Springer are the top bets to go in the top five.

But beyond those players, this draft has as much depth as any in recent memory.

So, in order to stave off “Hayden Simpson” confusion, and to fully embrace the new big thing to hit Major League Baseball, here are the top 52 names you should be paying attention to come next July.

A special thanks in advance to Baseball,, Perfect, and for their advanced scouting reports on some of these players, as well as for all of the videos.

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