2015 MLB Draft Rankings: 26-50

The 2015 MLB Draft is merely five weeks away. On Thursday, we posted the first half of our top-50 prospects ranking for the 2015 MLB Draft. Now find out who makes up the second half of that list.

Yesterday, I released the first half of my first big board since back in October. Needless to say, a lot of things have changed over the course of the 2014-2015 college and high school seasons. I have been thinking about the order in my head for months. The chance to write and really crystalize which players I like the most was extremely helpful.

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At this point I have watched, looked up stats, and read so many reports I have a good feel for these players. Now I can just look at the names, and think about who I would rather have on my team. My top-50 ranking is based simply on what order I would select these players if I were taking each of them off of the board.

Below is the second-half of my top-50 list. The first half can be found here.


2015 MLB Draft Rankings: 26-50

Awaiting Image
Brady Aiken
San Diego, Ca. / 6’4 / 215 lbs
  • P
  • 26
  • IMG Academy

Analysis

I placed Aiken here because pick 26 is the last pick in the first round. Aiken is clearly a first-round talent. On pure talent alone, he would be my top player. If there were no rumors about the long-term health of his arm, he would still be in the top five on my board right now. Yet the rumors persist and scare me. He was my number one player a year ago. Now there is talk his career might be over or will quickly end. It’s ironic that teams sometimes draft guys they know could never hit Double-A, yet the thought of a guy who might be preordained to fail physically seems to have scared everyone off. — Jeff Ellis

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Ashe Russell
Indianapolis, Ind. / 6’4 / 195 lbs
  • P
  • 27
  • Cathedral HS

Analysis

Russell is another player who is all over various experts' draft boards. I have been told by a scout he is a top-10 talent. I have read places where he isn’t in the top 30. He is big (6’4”) and throws hard (hits 97). Russell is a guy who could end up a 2 or 3 starter or could end up a struggling to get to Double-A. His mechanics need some work. I think he is a guy who could end up in the bullpenpen. He needs to go to the right organization that has had success developing a high school arm that is a bit raw. — Jeff Ellis

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Justin Hooper
San Ramon, Ca. / 6’7 / 200 lbs
  • P
  • 28
  • De La Salle HS

Analysis

Hooper and Ashe Russell kind of have to go together. At the start of the year, they were both much higher. They both max out at 97. Hooper is bigger at 6'7''. The reports early in the spring were not positive. His velocity was down and his command was well below-average. Hooper looked like a future bullpen arm, at best, early in the season. He has rebounded a bit but the command issues push him down the board. He has top-10 potential, but right now I have a hard time seeing him go in the top-20. — Jeff Ellis

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Nathan Kirby
Midlothian, Va. / 6’2 / 185 lbs
  • P
  • 29

Analysis

I was never as high on Kirby as others were. He was always more of a 3 or 4 starter to me. Kirby is a low-90’s lefty who has had moments where he has completely lost his command, most notably during the College World Series last year. He strikes me as a backend type. His stuff is average and there are command issues. A year ago, he looked much better but I bet he gets over-drafted based on his sophomore year more than this year. — Jeff Ellis

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Cornelius Randolph
Griffin, Ga. / 6’1 / 190 lbs
  • 3B
  • 30
  • Griffin HS

Analysis

Randolph's position is yet to be determined but the hope is that he can end up at third base. He projects to have above-average hit and power tools for the left side of the infield. Those tools would play up more at third base than if he has to move to the outfield. His value is based on his bat. — Jeff Ellis

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Dakota Chalmers
Gainesville, Ga. / 6’3 / 195 lbs
  • P
  • 31
  • North Forsyth HS

Analysis

Chalmers is a guy who has really risen up boards this spring. He has good size at 6’3” and has hit 98 this spring. I read glowing reports on his secondary stuff early in the spring. He is raw and needs to add some muscle to his frame, but the potential is there for him to be for a very good pitcher for a team that can be patient. — Jeff Ellis

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Juan Hillman
Orlando, Fla. / 6'1 / 170 lbs
  • P
  • 32
  • Olympia HS

Analysis

Hillman is such a smooth athlete when you see him pitch. He is one of the most natural looking pitchers I have seen on the mound this year. He doesn’t throw very hard. He is more of the traditional lefty. Hillman shows solid secondary stuff for his age and good command. He is the type of arm the St. Louis Cardinals seem to target and end up being better than anyone thought. He is one of the safer high school arms. — Jeff Ellis

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Donnie Dewees
Crystal Lake, Fla. / 6'0 / 180 lbs
  • OF
  • 33

Analysis

Dewees is a small school player that really intrigues me. His speed is plus. His hit tool is potentially plus. He looks like an above-average to plus defender in centerfield. He is putting up monster numbers and is rarely striking out. He currently has more homeruns than strikeouts and his ISO is .341. He is clearly a player who is much better than anyone at his level. If he can project to average power, then he is going to be a very good centerfielder. — Jeff Ellis

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Phil Bickford
Westlake Village, Ca. / 6'4 / 200 lbs
  • P
  • 34
  • Southern Nevada

Analysis

There are a few reasons why I am much lower on Bickford than others. I worry that with his command and secondary stuff, he might end up in the bullpen. It worries me that there are rumors he was hurt coming out of high school. Some say that is why he didn’t sign out of high school. He throws very hard, his fastball could be a plus offering in the future and it flashes present plus. Worst case he is a very good bullpen arm. — Jeff Ellis

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Beau Burrows
Weatherford, Tx. / 6'1 / 180 lbs
  • P
  • 35
  • Weatherford HS

Analysis

Burrows is undersized but still brings it at 98 MPH. He is maxed out physically but when you’re hitting 98 that is more than fine. His fastball doesn’t sit that high, however, in outings. He is a solid athlete who has been consistently very good in high school and the showcase circuit. Burrows has two solid pitches, but there is chance he ends up in the bullpen. He could be very good there as the velocity would play up. A team will give him every chance to start and a lot depends on if his change-up can be at least an average pitch. — Jeff Ellis

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Scott Kingery
Phoenix, Az. / 5'11 / 175 lbs
  • 2B
  • 36

Analysis

Kingery has really emerged this year for Arizona. For a long time he was leading the NCAA in batting average. He has cooled down and is only hitting .440 now. The hit tool is legitimate and he should be able to be an average defender at second base. Those two skills alone should make him a starting second baseman. He also has above-average wheels. He projects as a potential top-of-the-order hitter. I would not be shocked if he ends up better than his more heralded teammate, Kevin Newman. — Jeff Ellis

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Blake Trahan
Kinder, La. / 5'9 / 0 lbs
  • SS
  • 37

Analysis

I think Trahan has a chance to stick at shortstop, although he might end up at second. He is yet another plus runner up-the-middle. He has at least average skills at everything. I like his hit tool more than others. I think it can be a 55 tool if he refines his approach. These tools all come together to form a package of a potential starting shortstop. Even if he doesn’t hit his ceiling, he will be a very useful utility type. I would be very surprised if he is not a major leaguer someday. — Jeff Ellis

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Drew Finley
Poway, Ca. / 6'3 / 200 lbs
  • P
  • 38
  • Rancho Bernardo HS

Analysis

Finley is a lot like Juan Hillman to me, but right-handed version, which is why he is a few spots lower. He is a pitch-ability right-hander with good command and developed secondary stuff. He sits in the high-80’s to low-90’s. A safe high school arm, he might add some more velocity but at 6’3” and 200 pounds, he is already a big kid. He should move quicker than most high school arms. — Jeff Ellis

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Tyler Stephenson
Kennesaw, Ga. / 6'4 / 210 lbs
  • 2B
  • 39
  • Kennesaw Mountain HS

Analysis

This placement is almost entirely on scouting reports for me. The catcher position is the only position that might rival shortstop in terms of positional value. Stephenson is a name on the rise. He really came out of nowhere. He's not a showcase guy. He is a defender first who looks like not just a lock to stay a catcher but a potential plus defender there. Then you add-in the right-handed power potential, which is above-average to plus. Stephenson is a big kid at 6’4” and 210 pounds. The eye-test alone says he is going in the top 40 picks. — Jeff Ellis

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Mike Matuella
Great Falls, Va. / 6'6 / 220 lbs
  • P
  • 40

Analysis

I am lower here on Matuella than many others. My issue is that the TJ surgery he recently had is the least of my concerns regarding his future. The fact is that he has never been able to stay healthy, having issues the last two years. He has less tape and games against talent than high schooler Brendan Rodgers. Then there is the back issue. A lot of people are downplaying it. My wife has a PhD in anthropology. She studies bones and bone fragments for a living. I had her explain the back issue to me. One of the problems is the injury is reported by different names in different places which mean different things. If it is spondylosis then it’s a degenerative joint condition. It could potentially do bad things like pinch the nerves in the spinal cord. A lot of it depends on how the degeneration goes. It scares me when you put it along with the lack of track record and that is why I push a guy down my board who was ranked number two in the fall. — Jeff Ellis

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Chris Betts
Long Beach, Ca. / 6'2 / 210 lbs
  • C
  • 41
  • Woodrow Wilson Classical HS

Analysis

I am about 90% sure he will not stick behind the plate and he will end up moving to first. Betts is very similar at first base to BC prospect Chris Shaw. Both have value based heavily on raw power. Betts has a higher potential power rating than Shaw, but his swing is a bit longer, as well. I worry about the bust potential here and the positional value which takes a dive if he can’t catch. — Jeff Ellis

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Alex Young
Hawthorne Woods, Ill. / 6'3 / 180 lbs
  • P
  • 42

Analysis

Young is one of the more well-known arms in college baseball this year. He would be described as a safe pick if not for the fact that he pitches for TCU. TCU is long known for producing pitchers who later have arm trouble. They work their arms a lot, to say the least. Young is a four-pitch lefty and every pitch is average to above-average. He should be a back-end starter in the big leagues and it should happen quickly. — Jeff Ellis

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Alonzo Jones
Columbus, Ga. / 5'10 / 190 lbs
  • SS
  • 43
  • Columbus HS

Analysis

I feel like I should just put Jones on the Kansas City Royals in my mock drafts from now on because he is so fast. His speed is a legit 80-grade skill. He is the fastest prospect this year. The Billy Hamilton comparisons are inevitable and fair. Jones is going to need to improve in all areas to become a starter in the big leagues, however. His speed and potential ability up-the-middle is too good to put him any lower at this point. If he can be an average hitter, the speed will be enough of a tool to cause major headaches. — Jeff Ellis

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Chandler Day
Pataskala, Oh. / 6'4 / 165 lbs
  • P
  • 44
  • Watkins Memorial HS

Analysis

Do you want a player who is all about projection? Day is your man then. He is a big kid at 6’4” but the listed weight is only 162 pounds. He is a cold weather arm, and the last two years baseball seasons in Ohio have been late or cut short because of the long winters. He sits low 90’s but absolutely should be projected to add velocity. He is a Vanderbilt commit, which is another point in his favor. The more I write, the more I want to move him up. This feels too low. He has good feel and potential for three plus-pitches. Yikes, this is way too low. In the next update look for Day to be a riser. — Jeff Ellis

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Taylor Ward
Oviedo, Fla. / 6'1 / 190 lbs
  • C
  • 45

Analysis

There is a lot to like with Ward. He has a strong arm and is a lock to stay behind the plate defensively. He isn’t the biggest guy, but his production at Fresno State has been very good. His eye at the plate has also been very good this year. He has improved every year and has the potential to be a league average bat at catcher, which would make him one of the 10 best catchers in the league, if it happens. — Jeff Ellis

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Austin Smith
Boynton Beach, Fla. / 6'4 / 215 lbs
  • P
  • 46
  • Park Vista HS

Analysis

Smith has some of the easiest velocity in this draft. He throws 96 and is a very good athlete. His secondary stuff is a work-in-progress, to put it nicely. His command is a sub-average skill, as well, right now. Yet he throws 96 and is a good athlete and that is why he is going to go on the first day of the draft. He also has an ideal frame at 6’4” and 215 pounds. If a team can coach him up, he could end up being a mid-rotation guy. The risk is equally high with him. — Jeff Ellis

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Christin Stewart
Lilburn, Ga. / 6'0 / 0 lbs
  • OF
  • 47

Analysis

Stewart is a guy who was known for his power potential entering the year. He has been inconsistent in college, but this year he has been his best season. His doubles have turned into homeruns. He has 12 homeruns on the year. Stewart is in the midst of his best season of his college career even though his BABIP is 50 points below his career average. The numbers show a guy who has improved quite a bit. His walks are up. His homeruns are up. He has a new high in SLG and OBP, yet I see him lower on multiple boards than he was before the year. I don’t get it. He is a left fielder long term, which does hurt, but I like what he has shown this year and am not sure how career years in everything cause a drop in value. — Jeff Ellis

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Jahmai Jones
Norcross, Ga. / 6'0 / 205 lbs
  • 2B
  • 48
  • Wesleyan School

Analysis

I was very high on the athletic Jones before the season. He is a baseball player from an athletic football family. He has a really nice easy swing and, frankly, I would not be shocked to see him develop above-average skills across the board. I hope he can stick at second and still think he could be a good player there. If he ends up in the outfield it will hurt his value. Being average at everything is a good starting second baseman; in the outfield, it’s more a second-division type of player. — Jeff Ellis

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Mikey White
Birmingham, Ala. / 6'1 / 195 lbs
  • SS
  • 49

Analysis

Do you like your baseball players gritty? Are you a fan of grinders, dirtdogs, or any other term used for a player who isn’t a good athlete? If so, then Mikey White is your man. All he has done at 'Bama is hit. He has shown a little doubles pop, as well. More than likely, he will move to second base in the pros but the bat will play there. He strikes-out a lot for a guy who has sub-average power. He is a proven college guy who should be a good value in the second round who can play up the middle. — Jeff Ellis

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Jacob Nix
Los Alamitos, Ca. / 6'4 / 205 lbs
  • P
  • 50
  • IMG Academy

Analysis

Nix is most well known as the other guy who was involved in the Houston Astros-Brady Aiken situation last year. Nix then ended up with Aiken at IMG Academy so he could be draft-eligible this year. He also got a cash settlement which affected his eligibility. Nix has hit the mid-90’s this year but mostly sits in the low-90’s. His secondary stuff needs development. His command needs work. The basic package of size and his fastball are enough to make it into my top-50. He is closer to a high school senior than college junior. There is plenty of room for growth in Nix. If he went to a four-year school it would be two more years before he could be drafted. He had a seven-figure bonus a year ago and I expect he will want the same this year. The talk is he will get it. — Jeff Ellis


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