2015 MLB Mock Draft, 4.0

With just a week to go before the 2015 MLB Draft, the draft order is starting to coming into focus. Who does Jeff Ellis see going to your favorite team? Check out his fourth mock draft.

Writer's Note: I selected the players that appear in this mock draft last Wednesday. It took time for all the analysis with every pick to be completed. The plan was always for this to go up today. None of my picks have been changed or affected by the large number of mock drafts that went up over the last week. This is all mine with my thoughts and reasoning. Be sure to check-out all of our previous draft content, including my previous mock drafts, here: http://sbb.scout.com/a.z?s=381&p=3&blipid=22856

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Dansby Swanson
Vanderbilt / 6'1 / 190 lbs
  • SS
  • [1] #1

Analysis

This pick seems to be coming more and more into focus. Swanson is a clear top-three talent who will sign under slot. No one has gotten the full value at #1 in years and I don’t think anyone will anytime soon. Swanson is starting to pass Brendan Rodgers on a few boards. While I don’t agree, I don’t have an issue with Swanson here at all. He is a clear high-end talent.

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Alex Bregman
LSU / 6'0 / 190 lbs
  • IF
  • [1] #2

Analysis

Early reports were that the Astros were not huge fans of Brendan Rodgers. While I think he is the top bat, I understand the reasoning. Rodgers was not as dominant as scouts had hoped against other high school players. This concern was compounded by the fact he is an older high school player. Bregman is one of the safest players in this draft. If they can't get Swanson, I think the Astros go with Bregman.

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Tyler Jay
Illinois / 6'1 / 185 lbs
  • LHP
  • [1] #3

Analysis

Jay will be the top pitcher on my draft board later this week. There are not a lot of pitchers in baseball with three plus pitches, which Jay flashes. If he had been given a chance to start, I think he would have gone first overall. He has good command and an easy, clean delivery. On top of all of these positives, he is left-handed, which is always a positive. He might be the safest pitcher in the draft, as his worst-case scenario seems to be elite back-end arm.

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Brendan Rodgers
Lake Mary HS / 6'0 / 185 lbs
  • SS
  • [1] #4

Analysis

The Rangers love to roll the dice on upside as much as any team in baseball. They have gone prep early almost every year. They are sitting here and, luckily for them, the consensus top prep player is on the board. Rodgers’ ability to provide plus right handed power from the shortstop position is not something that any shortstop in the majors outside of Troy Tulowitzki has been able to produce.

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Andrew Benintendi
Arkansas / 5'10 / 180 lbs
  • OF
  • [1] #5

Analysis

Every report has the Astros linked to taking a pair of bats with their early picks. Most have them taking a prep bat here, but I think Benintendi should and will be in play here. If they grabbed Kyle Tucker or Daz Cameron, they would hope Tucker or Cameron could do what Benintendi has done this year. Benintendi is closer to the majors and reports seem to indicate his bonus would not be as high as the two prep outfielders. Benintendi seems like a likely top-7 pick now and is still rising.

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Dillon Tate
UC-Santa Barbara / 6'2 / 200 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1] #6

Analysis

The Twins are another team that isn’t afraid of high-risk talent. They have gone with highest upside with almost every high pick. Tate would present the high upside they prefer but in a bit of a safer package. Tate has faded a bit down the stretch and there are concerns with his command. His reported salary demands are also high, which could affect where he goes. The Twins might also prefer Tate because he could help later this year as a bullpen arm if they can continue to contend.

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Carson Fulmer
Vanderbilt / 5'9 / 190 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1] #7

Analysis

The Red Sox have to be very annoyed here. Every time they are linked to a player, it seems that player’s stock goes up. They are being linked to Andrew Benintendi of late, but there is a solid chance he could be gone. Fulmer has appeared to be the number one fallback option for the Red Sox for more than a month. Maybe he is not the top fallback option but really the player the front office prefers.

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Jon Harris
Missouri State / 6'4 / 190 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1] #8

Analysis

Every report has the White Sox linked to a college arm. Their top three targets are off the board right now, so I instead have them taking the arm who is trending up at the right time: Harris. The White Sox have shown a lot of interest in current and former local players during this draft. While Harris pitching at Missouri State isn't local, it is closer to Chicago than a lot of other pitchers who I could project here.

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Walker Buehler
Vanderbilt / 6'1 / 160 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1] #9

Analysis

Buehler is another arm who has faded a bit of late. Since he is undersized, this will be a strike on him. He is still going in the top-15 picks because of what he has shown over the years at Vandy. The Cubs have been linked to a lot of players. They could go any number of directions here. I would bet in this situation this pick would come down to Buehler or UCLA’s James Kaprielian. The Cubs have not been a team to shy from smaller pitchers, so I am projecting Buehler here yet again.

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Ian Happ
Cincinnati / 6'05 / 180 lbs
  • 2B
  • [1] #10

Analysis

This has been a popular landing spot for Walker Buehler in many mock drafts. The Phillies have been tied to Arizona’s Kevin Newman, as well as LSU’s Alex Bregman, before it became clear he would not fall this far. Most reports have the Phillies linked to college players, though there have been many reports linking them to prep stars Tyler Stephenson and Garrett Whitley, as well. I think Happ would make a lot of sense. He could form an up-the-middle tandem with J.P. Crawford, which has been something that Phillies have seemed to have in mind with the reports of players they are scouting. Happ is a personal favorite and a great value here to me.

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Tyler Stephenson
Kennesaw Mountain HS / 6'4 / 210 lbs
  • C
  • [1] #11

Analysis

I know a lot of places have Stephenson's floor at 14 but I feel it's here with the Reds. His size, arm, and right-handed power will make sure he goes early. I think the Reds would consider either Cincinnati kid if they were here in Ian Happ and Andrew Benintendi. Catcher is a weak position in this draft, which will push players like Stephenson up the board.

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Kyle Tucker
Plant Senior HS / 6'4 / 175 lbs
  • OF
  • [1] #12

Analysis

Tucker is in play from the second pick on. I don't think he would go before four but a lot of people love him. He feels like a backup for at least five teams in the top-10. Tucker represents big future power from the left side with a swing that reminds people of Ted Williams. He has been here for a few drafts in a row. The Marlins are the floor for Tucker.

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Trenton Clark
Richland Hills HS / 6'0 / 200 lbs
  • OF
  • [1] #13

Analysis

I know people who love Clark. They project him as a future center fielder with a plus hit tool and an advanced eye at the plate. He also could have above-average power. He is in play from about the Cubs on and a name that seems to be rising over the past few weeks. Tampa has been linked to a lot of college players and this pick is a bit off the board. Yet the positional value, not to mention player value, makes a lot of sense for a team that was very high on Andrew Benintendi. Clark is the prep player who reminds me the most of Benintendi.

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Cornelius Randolph
Griffin HS / 6'1 / 190 lbs
  • OF
  • [1] #14

Analysis

The Braves have a lot of picks and a lot of money in the pool. They have been linked to a lot of different players. I get the feeling more and more this pick will be a bat. I think they want to take a Georgia prep bat and if Stephenson is gone, then I think Randolph goes here. Randolph is reported to have a big bonus demand. There is talk connecting him to the Royals. I think the Braves jump on the local player here, and I also doubt he is the only local Georgia player they draft.

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Kolby Allard
San Clemente HS / 6'2.5 / 175 lbs
  • LHP
  • [1] #15

Analysis

Allard has been heavily connected to the Twins. I am a big Allard fan but I have a hard time believing the Twins will pass on the proven talent at the top to take a pitcher coming off a back injury who is also under-sized. The Twins have typically taken bigger kids early with massive upside. The Brewers last year went pure upside and took big risks. Allard would be a nice blend of risk and top-end talent. He would be a very solid selection to a team that has shown no concerns about height.

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Daz Cameron
Eagles Landing HS / 6'0 / 185 lbs
  • OF
  • [1] #16

Analysis

I have Cameron here way back in my first mock draft. He could go much higher and has been linked to several top-10 teams. The reports are that he has a sizable salary demand. One has to wonder if he is trying to control where he lands. The Yankees over the years have shown they place a high value on bloodlines. While they were the most conservative team in terms of prep talent last year, they are linked to almost only prep players this year.

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James Kaprielian
UCLA / 6'4 / 200 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1] #17

Analysis

The Indians have not taken a prep pitcher with their top pick since 2001. I know the reports have them linked to many prep arms but this would surprise me. They have really valued bats more than arms the past few years, yet it seems things could be changing. Kaprielian is one of the hotter names of late. He is connected with a few teams in the top-10. I think this could be viewed as his floor range. He is a top pitcher who has seen his velocity and stuff jump. He is showing it more consistently and peaking at the right time. The Indians are long-time fans of UCLA pitchers. They have drafted Adam Pluto and David Huff: Huff a first rounder and Pluto a high-bonus guy. They also traded for Trevor Bauer.

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Kyle Funkhouser
Louisville / 6'2 / 210 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1] #18

Analysis

Last year, the Giants took the sliding, but talented big-name pitcher in Tyler Beede from Vanderbilt. This year the falling college pitcher who was once thought to be a top pick is Funkhouser. The Giants have had a lot of success when it comes to producing arms. They have found great success with both college and prep arms. I think Funkhouser would be too good to pass on here. The Giants have been mostly linked to arms through this process.

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Donny Everett
Clarksville HS / 6'2 / 220 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1] #19

Analysis

The Pirates are a team that prefers upside and big tools. Everett has the velocity that they tend to target in prep arms. He has improved throughout the spring and has gotten a lot more looks by teams and scouts. He is now the favorite to be the first prep right-hander off the board on draft day. The Pirates could also be the first landing place for one of the injured arms in this year's draft.

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Donnie Dewees
North Florida / 6'0 / 180 lbs
  • OF
  • [1] #20

Analysis

The A's are another team with a very specific draft history. They don't take college arms very often early and they don't take prep players in general early. When they do grab a prep arm they tend to be guys with velocity. Dewees is in their drafting wheelhouse as a college position player, and he has been linked to the A's. Dewees has basically done everything this year that Andrew Benintendi has done but against much weaker competition. Dewees has excelled on the Cape, though, so it is not like there is no track record. He is going to go at least 15 picks after Benintendi and I don't think the talent gap is as big as the draft gap will be between the talented college outfielders.

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Phil Bickford
Southern Nevada / 6'4 / 200 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1] #21

Analysis

Bickford is another player who has been linked to the Royals many times. He was on their draft radar out of high school and was nearly the selection that year. I am not as down on Bickford as I was earlier this year. He made a very smart decision finding a way to be draft-eligible in 2015, as this year is a much weaker class than next year. He is a big kid with big velocity. I worry he might be a reliever because his third pitch needs a ton of work. There is some big upside but I would still bet on him being a reliever long term.

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Garrett Whitley
Niskayuna HS / 6'1 / 195 lbs
  • OF
  • [1] #22

Analysis

Remember when in the last mock draft I put Whitley number one? Well after the Diamondbacks rumor went away, I could not find a good place for him. He has struggled to perform this year. The Tigers love to take prep athletes, especially in the outfield. Whitley would be a risk but his upside would be too great for the Tigers to pass on. I have not heard them linked to him at all but he fits what they have done in the past.

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D.J. Stewart
Florida State / 6'0 / 230 lbs
  • OF
  • [1] #23

Analysis

Stewart is a performance-over-traditional-scouting player. On the surface, he does not look like a baseball player. Yet all he is done is perform in college. He has one of the best eyes in this class. He gets on base at a high clip and is a good athlete even if he lacks foot speed. The Cardinals have been one of the most successful and most conservative drafting teams. Side note: two of the top drafting teams are two of the most conservative drafting squads, if not the most, conservative drafting teams. Stewart feels like a safe bet to make the majors. I know left field is not an ideal spot for a guy with average power but his on-base skills project him out with the value of at least an average regular down the road.

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Mike Matuella
Duke / 6'6 / 220 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1] #24

Analysis

There have been a few guys linked to this pick, and almost all of them are guys who are injured. I think Matuella is the guy who teams are the least worried about of the big two injured arms. There are a ton of concerns and red flags because of health and a small track record but when you have all the money, like the Dodgers do, you can constantly gamble. They seem to be in full gamble mode right now.

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Kevin Newman
Arizona / 6'1 / 180 lbs
  • SS
  • [1] #25

Analysis

The Orioles have been a very prep heavy team but this year they have been linked almost entirely to college bats. The long history of injury and failures with prep arms might be part of that reason. If the Orioles want a safe bet this late, the safest player would be Newman. He has one of the best present hit tools and should be able to stick at short. His complete lack of power will likely cause him to drop on draft day. Shortstop is very deep this year and a guy like Newman might end up going lower than expected because of the depth along with his well below-average power.

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Cody Ponce
Cal-Poly, Pomona / 6'5 / 235 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1] #26

Analysis

Reports have linked the Angels mostly to college bats. They have been linked to every college bat in the SoCal area. I was told that they have targeted a college arm here, however. In a week, I guess we will see who is right. Ponce is a small-school right-hander who teams were flocking to see lately. He needs some more development but seems like a safe bet as a future innings-eater type of starter.

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Mike Nikorak
Stroudsburg HS / 6'5 / 205 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1A] #27

Analysis

There were reports earlier in the year that the Rockies were heavy on Nikorak. He is another player who faded late. Nikorak is also a prep right-hander, and we often see those guys slide a bit. Nikorak is 6'5", 225 pounds and he has hit 98 MPH this year. The upside is still the same as it was earlier in the year, and after saving money at three, the Rockies can come back and get a value pick with big upside here.

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Brady Aiken
IMG Academy / 6'4 / 215 lbs
  • LHP
  • [1A] #28

Analysis

I think someone takes Aiken in the top-40, so I had to figure out what teams could take that risk. Other mock drafts have mostly placed Aiken to the Yankees or Dodgers. I think the teams that make the most sense might be the Rockies or Braves because of the shear volume of picks they have. The Braves are going to roll the dice a lot with prep talent; we all know that. So why not roll the dice on the biggest risk in the draft? If healthy this year, Aiken goes number one. If he fails to ever make the majors, well, you had three first rounders and it was worth the gamble. It is easier to explain away why he fails than have to explain when he is an All-Star that you passed on three times in the top 40 picks.

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Chris Betts
Wilson HS / 6'4 / 210 lbs
  • C
  • [1A] #29

Analysis

The Blue Jays are another traditional prep drafting team. I know they took a pair of college players a year ago but for now that is more the exception than the rule. Betts is a player who could easily go in the teens. He is a big kid with some of the best power projection in this draft. I think he might be too big for the catcher position, however. I see a future first rounder who is an all-bat type. He reminds me of Bobby Bradley from a year ago who also played some catcher but who I didn't think had any chance to stick there. Betts is basically the same size as Bradley, an inch taller and the same weight. If we re-did last year's draft, Bradley goes in the top-50 after what he did last year in the minors.

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Nathan Kirby
Virginia / 6'2 / 185 lbs
  • LHP
  • [1A] #30

Analysis

The Yankees have been linked to so many prep players. I could easily put Drew Finely here, but after last year, I can't ignore the fact the Yankees drafted exactly one prep player in the top-10 rounds. Kirby is a good value here. He has been hurt and missed the last two months and before then his performance had been sub-par for him. Kirby had a stronger sophomore season and there are some command concerns, yet he was once considered a top-10 player which makes him a nice gamble here.

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Justin Hooper
De La Salle HS / 6'6 / 200 lbs
  • LHP
  • [1A] #31

Analysis

Hooper is reported to want $4 million, which to me would be a sure sign he is going to UCLA. I wonder if it is a half-truth for Hooper, however. Perhaps it will take $4 million for him to sign with most teams but to sign with team that allows him to stay in-state, it might be cheaper. The Giants have been heavy on Hooper. The upside is huge for the 6'7" lefty. His command, however, is a massive concern.

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Joe McCarthy
Virginia / 6'1 / 215 lbs
  • OF
  • [1A] #32

Analysis

A year ago, the Pirates went a bit off the board with a pair of selections in the 30's. They have been linked to McCarthy and while most think it could be a second round target, I would not be surprised to see him here. The Pirates care nothing for your draft order. They grab the player they simply think is the best. McCarthy, if not for the back surgery, would likely have been gone by this point. He has not been great but the hit tool and ability to play center will see him go in the top 100 picks.

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Alonzo Jones
Columbus HS / 5'10 / 190 lbs
  • 2B
  • [1A] #33

Analysis

The Royals love speed. They have made a unique team based on defense and speed and it has worked. The best pure speed in this draft is Jones. I am not sure if he can stick at second base but I see no reason not to give him every chance to play there. He has been a forgotten man with all of the other prep players emerging in Georgia. I think he still sneaks in the top-50 and the Royals make a lot of sense for him here. He reminds so many people of Billy Hamilton.

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Jacob Nix
IMG Academy / 6'4 / 205 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1A] #34

Analysis

The Tigers have been linked to Nix since this process began. They like to draft big-bodied pitchers with velocity and that description certainly fits for Nix. I have gotten nothing but positive reports on Nix this year. It has been harder for me to get video, though, so I have to trust what others tell me. He is an interesting player as he is basically a college freshman, which are rarely drafted this high when eligible.

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Ashe Russell
Cathedral HS / 6'4 / 195 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1A] #35

Analysis

I was very tempted to put Drew Finley here, but I am not sure his father would want to put the extra pressure on the kid by having him in the same organization his dad works for. Instead I have the Dodgers gamble on Russell, who is very talented in his own right. His stock is all over the place, which makes me think he is on a lot of teams boards as a fallback guy. I have seen him anywhere from the early teens to the 40's. I am not sure anyone knows where he will go, but at this point he is a pure value selection for the Dodgers.

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Drew Finley
Rancho Bernardo HS / 6'3 / 200 lbs
  • RHP
  • [1A] #36

Analysis

The Orioles’ failures with young pitchers were outlined earlier. Finley, in many ways, is the opposite of the arms they have drafted previously. He is not the big velocity kid. He is more of a solid right-handed arm with developed secondary stuff who knows how to pitch. He is one of the safest, if not the safest, prep arm. He has grown up in the game and has been linked to virtually every team from 20 on.

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Juan Hillman
Olympia HS / 6'1 / 170 lbs
  • LHP
  • [CA] #37

Analysis

Hillman is one of my favorites. He is one of those guys like Drew Finley who just know how to pitch. Hillman has good command and secondary offerings. He is very thin and should project to add some velocity as he fills out. I have never watched him and been disappointed. I know that is not exactly high-level scouting but when you watch prep kids it can often be frustrating. I don't have those issues with Hillman.

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Tyler Nevin
Poway HS / 6'1 / 200 lbs
  • 3B
  • [CA] #38

Analysis

The Rockies have been linked to Nevin who is another late riser. The son of former big leaguer Phil Nevin looks a lot like his father. I am not sure he sticks at third long-term but the right-handed power he has projects to play anywhere. In this scenario, after going with back-to-back arms for the Rox, I would have to project a bat here. It just made it easier that one of the top talents was also a guy who has been linked to the Rockies.

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Alex Young
TCU / 6'3 / 180 lbs
  • LHP
  • [CA] #39

Analysis

I have stated a few times that Young is such a Cardinals type of pick. He is an extremely safe lefty with four above-average pitches who can move quickly. I don't think there is a huge difference between him and Nathan Kirby. The more I review the two, the more I feel like Young might pass Kirby on my next board. My only concern is the track record of TCU and arm injuries.

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Scott Kingery
Arizona / 5'11 / 175 lbs
  • 2B
  • [CA] #40

Analysis

I am not sure where to put Kingery. It is funny how hard it is for teams to find a solid second baseman yet at the same time, guys who play the position are often undervalued on draft day. The concern is often a college second baseman might have to move off the position. If he is good enough to play second in the pros, he should be able to handle short in college is the prevailing wisdom. Kingery, though, played second because Kevin Newman already had short covered at Arizona. Kingery is a plus runner who is a future lead-off hitter. The Brewers last year had no issue with size and Kingery presents good value and safety as a college bat. I very nearly put Nick Plummer here as they have been tied to him, yet I thought Kingery has the higher perceived value right now.

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Jalen Miller
Riverwood HS / 6'1 / 185 lbs
  • SS
  • [CA] #41

Analysis

I think the Braves interest in Miller is the worst-kept secret in this draft. Most think he is going to go to the Braves with either their second or third pick. I still had him on the board here so it was an easy selection. The value is there because everyone expects Miller to be able to stick at the position. He might not have the offensive tools that make him as exciting as the big name prep players from Georgia this year, but his complete set of skills are enough to still have him on every top-50 list I have seen.

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Nick Plummer
Brother Rice HS / 5'11 / 200 lbs
  • OF
  • [CA] #42

Analysis

I know this pick seems odd, as I had Plummer going to the Indians at 17 for the majority of my mock drafts. Originally I had the Scott Kingery and Plummer picks reversed until I realized that it didn't make sense for either team. The Indians, in particular, tend to go college then prep or the other way around. Last year they flipped between the two with their top four picks. They also flipped between bats and arms for the first five. This pick is based on the earlier selection, which was very likely to be a prep bat. There were two top players here, so the selection was going to be one player to one team and the other to the Indians. Plummer plays in Michigan, which uses a system where players start in a 1-1 count and that has made it harder to scout. Plummer has also not faced the best competition. I am still a big fan but others are doubting and he seems to be in the midst of a massive slide. Either Plummer or Kingery would be a great value here. It is just a matter of whoever the Brewers let slip past them.

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