Maybe you haven’t heard, but Anthony Rendon , the slugging Rice third baseman who many believe will be the No. 1 pick in next year’s MLB draft, broke and dislocated his ankle, eliminating any chance of him playing for either Team USA’s collegiate squad, or any other summer league.

The ankle injury is Rendon’s second in as many years, requiring a second surgery. Just like last summer injury, though, Rendon is expected to return to the diamond before Rice’s season starts next February.

I once saw the Orioles taking Rendon No. 1 overall as a given, but now I’m not so sure. He still is the best bat available, college or prep, and it would be really hard to pass on his skills and tools.

Rendon features a big bat that hits for average and power, and combines that with Gold Glove-caliber defense at the hot corner. He’s already set all sorts of records at Rice and going into his junior year, he has a career average of .391, and has 46 homers and 157 RBIs. More impressive is his outrageous strikeout-to-walk ratio: 96 to 45.

Looking for a comparison for Rendon? Try Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria.

That’s all fine and dandy…but if you can’t move around because of a chronically hobbled ankle, then what good is a solid bat and excellent defense? Goodbye Evan Longoria, hello Jeff Nettles.

So, what are the other options at No.1?

The list starts with Matt Purke , the Baseball America Freshman of the Year, and quite possibly the most talented pitcher in the 2011 draft. Purke throws hard (92-95 mph) and has excellent command (34 walks in 116.1 innings), and can be sensationally overpowering at times (142 strikeouts in 116.1 innings).

Purke was drafted 14th overall in the 2009 draft, and went to college instead of taking the Rangers’ best offer, and as impossible as it seems, has generated even more helium going into next year’s draft, when he will be a draft-eligible sophomore.

After Purke comes Gerrit Cole , who, like Purke, decided for college rather than signing out of the 2008 draft. Cole made huge headlines during UCLA’s College World Series run a few months ago.

His overpowering stuff, including a mid-90s fastball, above-average slider, and average changeup, make him the most likely candidate. He is built a lot sturdier than Purke, and looks to be a real innings eater. Anyone who watched his gusty effort against TCU knows he has ace written all over him.

Recently, the No.1 pick has been all about projection, as seven of the last 12 No.1 picks have been high schoolers, although the 2011 draft doesn’t offer a standout player worthy of the first pick…yet.

Prep stars Daniel Norris , Henry Owens, and Archie Bradley could eventually generate that kind of helium, but as of right now, it looks like the No. 1 pick is coming from the college ranks.

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