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1. Philadelphia Phillies A.J. Puk LHP Florida
This pick comes down to two players, Puk and Mickey Moniak. I have heard both linked here heavily. An unlikely plan C would be Jason Groome. I vacillated heavily on this pick, but went with Puk, because I know the man at the top of the Phillies’ draft team is a fan. Puk had one of his best outings of the season in the SEC tournament, which has just helped to put a bow on his year and makes him the likely pick here.
2. Cincinnati Reds Kyle Lewis OF Mercer
Puk, I don’t think, would get past Cincinnati. They are an organization that loves velocity and strikeout ability and seem to be not as concerned about control with arms. I was told they want an athlete if Puk is gone. Lewis fits that bill; his upside is as high as any hitter in this draft. Nick Senzel, I have also been told, is in play.
3. Atlanta Braves Riley Pint RHP St. Thomas Aquinas HS
The Braves are on everyone. One thing I do know is Kiley likes Riley. Yes, I had to do that and, no, I am not sorry. Kiley McDaniel posted pictures this summer from a game he attended where Pint hit 101. The Braves can take risks; they have so many picks and such depth in the minors. I think Pint is the highest ceiling player in this draft. He has a Nolan Ryan ceiling. Of course, the floor is that he fails to make it to Double-A. Pint has been rising a ton, of late, and is on the top of a few boards, from what I have been told.
4. Colorado Rockies Mickey Moniak OF La Costa Canyon HS
Well, I had this projection at the start of the process and I am sticking with it now. The Rockies are big fans and I would be surprised to see Moniak get past them. If he does, I expect the Brewers to draft him, with his floor being the Padres. He fits with them for the same reasons he has all year. He fits the player profile and what type of hitters they are looking to add. I was not shocked to see Moniak creep up boards, and think this is likely where he goes.
5. Milwaukee Brewers Blake Rutherford OF Chaminade HS
I know, I know. Everyone has Rutherford in the teens. Yet, here is my hill and I am potentially going to die on it. Every scout I talk with loves him and I have heard him connected with several teams. The only negative is his age (19) and the concern that he might only profile in left field. He visited Milwaukee this week for workouts. I am going to trust what I have heard and think this is very likely his landing space.
6. Oakland A’s Nick Senzel 3B Tennessee
I have heard a lot of connections to the A’s and prep arms. Here is my issue -- the A’s have not taken a prep arm in the first round since 2001. As a matter of fact, the last three prep arms they selected were Jeremy Bonderman in 2001, Mike Rossiter in 1991, and Todd Van Poppel in 1990. From 1990 onwards, the A’s have had 51 first-round selections. Just three of those have been spent on prep arms, maybe four if you count Cuban Ariel Prieto. I just can't predict an arm here, especially when Senzel so completely lines up with what they typically target.
7. Miami Marlins Braxton Garrett LHP Florence HS
There has been a lot of talk about the Marlins on various prep arms. Garrett has been gaining a lot of steam through the process and seems like a possible top-10 selection. The polished lefty has several teams in the top 15 who are high on him. I think Garrett has passed Groome on more than a few boards.
8. San Diego Padres Jason Groome LHP Barnegat HS
Groome still on the board would be too good a value for the Padres. They are in an enviable situation, as some top talent will slide and they can pounce. Since they have a multitude of picks, they don't have to worry about bonus demands, either. Joshua Lowe and Cal Quantrill are also in play here, as I don't think either make it to 24.
9. Detroit Tigers Justin Dunn RHP Boston College
The Tigers seem to be entirely on arms with this pick. If they went the prep route, then Matt Manning would be the top arm left. Dunn has been the hottest name of late, flying up boards and mocks. Dunn could help the Tigers out of the bullpen this year and then transition back to being a starter next year. Any of the prep arms, and Dakota Hudson, are also in play here.
10. Chicago White Sox Corey Ray OF Louisville
The White Sox are a highly conservative team, which is why the rumors of prep arms never made much sense. I think they will take the top college bat on the board, which is currently Ray. As a bonus, they are often a team that likes to take athletes from the college ranks, which also fits Ray. Ray seems to be sliding on team boards right now, and seems to be the third college bat for more than a few teams. Zack Collins is also in play here.
11. Seattle Mariners Zack Collins C/1B Miami
I have been told that this is the floor for Collins. M’s GM Jerry Dipoto has a rather conservative history and I was told early in the process that the Mariners were focused on college bats. Collins has elite on-base skills and a small chance to stick at catcher. I think the bat can play anywhere and will be fine, even if he ends up at first. Now, for what it’s worth, a year ago every mock had the same player for Dipoto and the Angels. They passed on that player twice, so this pick is far from a lock.
12. Boston Red Sox Matt Manning RHP Sheldon HS
The Red Sox have been connected with high ceiling players, most of whom are arms. This fits in with the past history for GM Dave Dombroski in Detroit. The rumored bonus demands for Manning are a concern and have been between $4-5 million. The pool value for this pick is nearly $3.2 million, which would mean that, with the 4.9% overall allowance for all picks (343K), the Red Sox would just need to pull another 500K out of senior signs. It is not an ideal situation for them, but I have been told they have been very interested in Manning.
13. Tampa Bay Rays Joshua Lowe 3B Pope HS
The last prep arm the Rays took in the first round was Taylor Guerrieri, in 2011. Since then, they have stuck to mostly bats, although they did take Ryne Stanek in 2013. A year ago, they went for pure upside with their early picks. Lowe has been connected to the Padres, but I have heard the Rays are also very intrigued by Lowe. I believe he’s the top two-way player in this draft with power potential. Unless a better prep bat slides, then Lowe makes the most sense.
14. Cleveland Indians Nolan Jones 3B Holy Ghost HS
Jones is another player who is typically later in mocks, and I don't understand why. I have heard the Indians are on Dunn and Collins, from the college ranks, both of whom are gone. They will consider any player, regardless of position. They could consider Delvin Perez here, as well, but there are make-up concerns with Perez and he seems to be sliding. The Indians have previously taken left-handed bats, from cold weather states, who are young for their draft class; that describes Jones to a tee. Hudson could be in play here, as well as Alex Kirilloff and Ian Anderson.
15. Minnesota Twins Dakota Hudson RHP Mississippi State
The reports on the Twins have been mixed. Some will say they are looking at arms, others will say they are all over bats. Hudson is too strong a value to pass on here. He is a safe pitcher, who has found great success all year in a top conference. His performance has declined a bit late in the year, but he has thrown more innings this year than the last two combined. I could also see T.J. Zeuch and Jordan Sheffield here.
16. Los Angeles Angels Alex Kirilloff OF Plum High HS
The Angels are all-in on prep bats. The three names I hear are Lowe, Jones, and Kirilloff. I think they are hoping the Rutherford rumors are true, as this would be his absolute floor. They could also roll the dice on Perez, but I think they want a safer player here. Kirilloff has a lot of swing-and-miss to his game, but also a lot of power potential. There is a bit of a drop-off after this group of prep hitters.
17. Houston Astros T.J. Zeuch RHP Pittsburgh
Zeuch is a hot name right now. I have heard his floor is the Pirates, who love him. The Astros are mostly on arms, and would take a top prep arm if one slid. They could consider Anderson, but the preference seems to be a fast-moving college arm, and Zeuch fits the bill.
18. New York Yankees Cal Quantrill RHP Stanford
I was told Quantrill won’t get past the Yankees. They are a fairly conservative team in terms of prep and college talent, although they seem to have no concerns at all when it comes to injuries. Quantrill has not pitched this year, but should be ready to pitch in the minors the minute he signs. The Yankees had success with a California college arm a year ago and this, I am told, is the floor for Quantrill.
19. New York Mets Will Craig 1B Wake Forest
Everyone and their mom has Craig here. So either this is a hell of a smoke screen, or it is going to happen. The past history says the Mets prefer to go with bats early, and often take safer bats with high picks under GM Sandy Alderson. They have also had no problem taking projected or potential first baseman early. As long as Craig is on the board, this picks feels like the safest in the draft in terms or projection for us mockers.
20. Los Angeles Dodgers Jordan Sheffield RHP Vanderbilt
The Dodgers had no issue taking an undersized pitcher last year, with Walker Buehler. They have been linked to Dunn heavily, but I see zero chance of him falling this far. They have also been big fans of Sheffield. I think they pop him here and then look to go prep with the next pick. Zeuch is also in play if he falls to here.
21. Toronto Blue Jays Cody Sedlock RHP Illinois
The Blue Jays are another team that seems to be all over the place, in terms of reports. So, I am going with what I know of their new President, Mark Shapiro, who was a very conservative drafter in the past. There are reports of them being on college talent of late, and that is what I expect. Max Thaiss could make a lot of sense here, but for now I will go with Sedlock. He is a potential top-20 pick, whose sinking fastball is a pitch that I think will get Shapiro’s attention. During his tenure with the Indians, he seemed to target pitchers who could keep the ball down in the strike-zone.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates Zack Burdi RHP Louisville
This is another pick that is a favorite across multiple sites. The Pirates are very high on Kirilloff and Zeuch, but neither lasts to this pick. I think if both did, they would go with Zeuch first. I think he is at the top of their wish list, in terms of players who they could legitimately get here. Burdi could help a team late this year and then be sent down next year, to be stretched out as a starter. Or a team could just decide to keep him up as a bullpen arm. This is no sure thing, and we have seen many pitchers struggle who were thought to be able to help in the year they were drafted. Still, the Pirates would seem to be one of the best organizations for maximizing talented pitchers.
23. St. Louis Cardinals Ian Anderson RHP Shenendehowa HS
The Cardinals have been a very conservative team historically, but, the last two years, they have spent high picks on upside prep arms. Anderson is too good a value right here. He has a number two starter potential and, thanks to the cold weather in NY, has less mileage and more growth potential. Considering Anderson is in play from 14 on, this would be a great value get for the Cards.
24. San Diego Padres Delvin Perez SS International Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico
I have no idea where to put Perez. There has been a lot of negative buzz around him lately. At this point, there is just so much smoke that it is hard to gauge where Perez will go. I dropped him to here, because the Padres could take a risk, thanks to pool money and a multitude of picks. On talent alone, he should be a top-three player. If not for more concerns late in the process, I would have had him at 13 or 14. At this point, he could be in for a long slide.
25. San Diego Padres Forrest Whitley RHP Alamo Heights HS
I assume the Padres will just go all-in on potential. Whitley is the last of the prep pitchers who have gotten some top-10 talk this year. He is a big kid, at 6’7”, and worked very hard to go from a soft body to a kid in great shape. There is a lot of potential in his frame and, when you combine him with the other two picks, I think Padres fans would have to be excited with the addition of these three players.
26. Chicago White Sox Eric Lauer LHP Kent State
The White Sox were heavily represented at the MAC tournament. The MAC is down this year, in general, but the five big names would be Lauer, Keegan Akin (LHP), Alex Call (OF), Mitch Longo (OF), and Zach Plesac (RHP). After getting the bat earlier, I think the Sox will take the athletic lefty from Kent State here. He fits a lot of boxes for the White Sox. Lauer was a force all year and ended the year with the lowest ERA of any NCAA pitcher since 1981. A plus athlete, big bodied, high production player, Lauer makes almost too much sense here.
27. Baltimore Orioles Robert Tyler RHP Georgia
The Orioles have been reported to be on a ton of players. I was told that Tyler is one of their preferred targets. They have been mostly on college players again this year. Last year’s top pick was a numbers-over-scouting player and, so far, it hasn’t worked. So, I would not be shocked if they went the other way this year.
28. Washington Nationals Matt Thaiss C Virginia
Thaiss has gained a lot of steam during this process for his potential with the bat. The Nationals are a very conservative team early with picks. Most people have Thaiss here, and he would make sense for the Nationals as an heir apparent down the road for Ryan Zimmerman. He is a solid, above-average hitter in most regards. I think he has a chance at catcher, but the bat will play anywhere.
29. Washington Nationals Drew Mendoza SS/3B Lake Minneola HS
The Nats have not taken a prep player in round one since Lucas Giolito, in 2012. As a matter of fact, they have taken just one prep player in the first round since 2008, and just two in the second round over that same time period. Yet, they have been heavily linked with Mendoza. So, I am trusting the rumor mill over tendencies here, which is often a mistake.
30. Texas Rangers Taylor Trammell Mount Paran Christian School
The Rangers like athletes, the end. Fine, I will give you more. Trammell is the type of athlete that I am going to root for, no matter where he goes. Baseball needs more players who choose baseball over football. A successful Trammell is good for baseball. A plus plus speed guy in center, he doesn’t quite fit the typical Texas model where they go for big power early. Will Benson is also in play here, who does fit that bill.
31. New York Mets Gavin Lux SS Indian Trail Academy
The Mets haven’t taken a pitcher in round one since 2011, with Michael Fulmer. They could target Anthony Kay here, who would be a re-draft for them. Instead, I have them taking the talented shortstop from the Milwaukee area. The Mets have liked well-developed bats or big upside earlier. The ability of Lux would be a plus offensive player at shortstop, which is an incredible value, and something the Mets have lacked since Jose Reyes in his prime.
32. Los Angeles Dodgers Will Benson OF The Westminster Schools
I was told the Dodgers will be looking into prep bats with this pick. I think Benson is the last of the third-tier level of prep bats, and would be an easy selection. The big kid with power potential is in play from the early 20s. There are some questions about his hit tool, but the upside should see him get drafted in the first 40 picks.
33. St. Louis Cardinals Jon Duplantier RHP Rice
I have heard ties between Duplantier and the Cards of late. I am a big fan of Duplantier, having placed him at 39 on my last big board. This pick would also allow them to save a little cash, which would help with the signing of Anderson earlier. Duplantier has two above-average pitches and is such a good athlete. He has pitched just two years in school, and I think there is a lot of growth potential still left here.
34. St. Louis Cardinals Bryan Reynolds OF Vanderbilt
Reynolds once had top-10 talk. I have not been his biggest supporter throughout the process, and often wondered aloud what had made him such a highly rated player. I think this is a lot closer to what his value is, though. He’s a good athlete, with speed, but a lot of swing-and-miss to his game. He should be a complete player, who moves quickly for the Cards.
35. Cincinnati Reds Joey Wentz LHP Shawnee Mission East HS
Wentz has seen his stock take a bit of a tumble as the year has gone on. His velocity dropped late in the year, and his commitment to Virginia has also been brought up as an issue. The Reds have the highest pool of money in the draft and, after missing out on Puk, they could take the player who might be a high school version of the big lefty here. He is a very good two-way athlete, with velocity and big upside.
36. Los Angeles Dodgers Daulton Jefferies RHP California
I knew the Dodgers were fans of Jefferies early on and, if he had continued to pitch how he had before injury, then I think he could have gone to them at 20. Again, last year they had no problems taking the undersized college arm with injury issues in Buehler. I don’t think that they will be scared off by Jefferies’ arm issues this year. The issue is, if the Dodgers really like Jefferies, they have to grab him here. Despite the injury concern, I highly doubt Jefferies lasts to their next pick. So, if they liked him then, this is their last chance to grab him.
37. Oakland A’s Kyle Muller Jesuit College Prep
Ok, so this pick is my compromise for all the prep arm rumors involving the A’s. I know I am ignoring everything I stated before, but this pick, at 37, is much closer to a second round selection than a first. Muller is a big lefty, who has had talk as high as the teens. In many ways, he is very similar to Wentz. Both are 6’5” lefties, who touch 95, and showed power potential as a hitter. Oakland could have the best of both worlds by grabbing Muller here, after grabbing Senzel earlier. The depth of the prep pitching class can allow teams to wait a bit and still grab a talented arm.
38. Colorado Rockies Jared Horn RHP Vintage HS
Horn burst onto the scene, then slid back a bit after the initial excitement. Nothing has changed, it’s just that he is no longer shiny and new. He won’t be 18 until July, and has a fastball that already touches 96. A year ago, the Rockies went prep heavy, and I expect them to do the same this year. Horn is a natural fit and, after grabbing a bat, I expect them to take an arm here.
39. Arizona Diamondbacks Anthony Kay LHP UConn
Last year, the Diamondbacks did not take a prep player until the 12th round. I have heard them connected to a few prep players, but I expect them to take a college player. Kay has been a name that has risen, thanks to his performance, even though he was overworked in his conference tournament. He has been a successful pitcher for Connecticut the past few years. I expect to see him go in the late first-round range. I have heard a few arms linked to the Diamondbacks, and they did take a safe lefty, a year ago, with their first pick leading off round two.
40. Atlanta Braves Chris Okey C Clemson
Okey is the first catcher on this list who is a no-doubt catcher. He is not a plus player back there, but I have yet to hear anyone question his ability to play the position. A top prospect since high school, he has performed big over the last two weeks. His ability to stick at catcher and provide an above-average bat for the position gives him great value late. We heard early on that the Braves wanted to add a college bat; if they go prep arm early, I expect a college bat here.
41. Pittsburgh Pirates Brandon Marsh OF Buford HS
I was told there is a chance that Marsh could go in the 20s, to Pittsburgh. They are a team that loves upside, and Marsh is oozing it. He is a 6’4” outfielder, with plus speed. He was an all-state receiver on the football team, and is still very raw. Marsh might be raw, but I don’t think he is a boom or bust type. I mean, there is significant risk, but his speed and defensive ability give him a pretty good chance at being a fourth outfielder, even if the bat does not developed as hoped.