Everyone will have Puk here if he is available, but recent struggles have really torn apart his stock due to lack of consistency. The Reds are all in on athletes, and with upside pitchers with athleticism later in the draft, they can go after a different name here. Lewis has connections to Cincinnati, playing for their Area Code team just a few years back. He's athletic enough for the Reds to go for him, and get the desirable tools he possesses.
The Braves are connected to just about every top talent on the board, and have plenty of money to spend on any upside player. Sources would lean towards Lewis here, but he's off my board which would leave them choosing between four: Blake Rutherford, Ray, Jason Groome and Riley Pint. The Braves are in rebuild mode, but are actually only two or three years away, which would make Ray as the player who fits best in this spot. The Braves do like Ray's tools and athleticism. Riley Pint is also a viable option.
Maybe the biggest question mark in the top five picks is Colorado. I know they're connected to Moniak, but he's off my board already, and should fall here if not taken first overall. This leaves the next best bat available, which is obviously Senzel. I have not heard direct connections, but the Rockies have hit every mark to see the top talents, and he fits their mark.
Everything I've heard regarding the Brewers is bats. However, if Puk is available, an organization who needs a future potential front-end starter would jump to take him. There's a shot Puk will sign at slot value or slightly below which could save them some money. The other name I continue to hear constantly is Rutherford, and if he doesn't go here, he may fall due to signability question marks.
For the first time in a long time, I'm hearing prep arms to Oakland. They've only selected three prep arms in the first round since 1990, and Senzel fits the profile of their typical first round selection, but he's already gone. Even if he was available, the A's already have a system loaded with infielders, particularly third basemen. The A's have some spending room, and with Manning desiring upwards of $5 million in bonus money, the A's can take a shot at one of the largest upside pitchers in the draft, and gain a local-ish (Sacramento) product in doing so.
This is primarily based on sources, and I'm hoping it isn't just a smoke screen. Miami is connected to quite a few prep arms, with Garrett at the top of the board. He's not their standard selection, as they tend to go for big tools, and Garrett is a more polished prep southpaw. Regardless, relying on the information I have to make this pick.
Once again, relying on sources here. Groome is falling drastically due to concerns about makeup and signability. However, I've been told the Padres and Groome already have a deal in place, and San Diego also has plenty to spend on upside prep players ($12.7M). GM A.J. Preller loves upside, and that's exactly what Groome puts on the table, err, draft board in this scenario.
Detroit loves velocity, which would lead to this being a spot for Pint. There's a strong chance he's off the board by this point, but so far, I haven't found a connection that fits aside from Detroit. There has not been a player with this type of upside in the draft in quite some time, as he has potential to become a Nolan Ryan-like pitcher. It's more likely he becomes similar to Justin Verlander, which is ideal for Detroit. At worst, Pint could become a premier reliever who throws in the triple digits regularly.
If Ray is around, the White Sox will jump with glee to take him due to their past record with the Louisville outfielder, and the southside of Chicago connection. Collins gives the White Sox a bat who should be up relatively quick. His stock took a hit due to his abilities, or lack of, behind the plate. If he was any better, he could be a Kyle Schwarber-like selection in the early stages of the draft.
12. Boston Red Sox - Ian Anderson, RHP, Shenendehowa HS (NY)
There's a lot of helium when it comes to Anderson, and he fits the mold of GM Dave Dombrowski's usual mold of high-ceiling players. The Red Sox have a loaded farm system, but not a lot of high-load of arms. Though there are other fits, this is the one that made the most sense to me.
13. Tampa Bay Rays - Joshua Lowe, 3B, Pope HS (GA)
I've heard Lowe could go at eight to the Padres, but with the Padres' deal in place with Groome, he'll fall and won't come back around to Preller and San Diego. Tampa is always linked in on upside and toolsy prep talents, and Lowe fits their mold. He's a two-way player, with third base being his main calling card. He would automatically become their best corner infield talent in the system, with it being weak in that department.
14. Cleveland Indians - Nolan Jones, 3B, Holy Ghost HS (PA)
Cleveland loves upside and young guys for the draft class. I've always had them linked to prep infielders throughout the course of my mock drafts, and Jones has been a constant when it comes to them. There are plenty of names that would intrigue the Indians, but based on Jeff Ellis' knowledge of the system, we've come to a consensus that Jones fits their mold more than others.
15. Minnesota Twins - Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State
There isn't a real direction for Minnesota, aside from best available pitcher in the draft. Hudson is that guy at this stage. T.J. Zeuch and Cody Sedlock could be fits here, as well, but Twins representatives were present at the SEC Tournament and saw Hudson multiple times over the year.
16. Los Angeles Angels - Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade Prep (CA)
Everyone and their sister will tell you the Angels are connected to Alex Kiriloff, but GM Billy Eppler believes in the best player available game plan. Rutherford is still on my board, and is clearly the top talent in this mark, and also someone Angels front office members are familiar with. If Rutherford is on the downward part of the draft for whatever reason, this seems to be his absolute floor. Kiriloff would be the selection if Rutherford is not available.
17. Houston Astros - Cody Sedlock, RHP, Illinois
There are three college arms that fill this slot in my opinion, and the one I've heard most often is Sedlock. Between Justin Dunn, Cody Sedlock and T.J. Zeuch, one will likely be taken here with Houston. All have helium which fits their tendencies, and a college pitcher is their likely path.
18. New York Yankees - Cal Quantrill, RHP, Stanford
Sources have told me there may be a deal in place for Quantrill and the Yankees. They're in the midst of a youth movement, but Quantrill is someone who could be up in a year or two. He's a high-end talent who would have seen his name earlier if he'd pitched with health. The Pinstripes have expressed no fear in injured arms in the past, and have been seen around the Pac12 for the last few years.
19. New York Mets - Will Craig, 3B, Wake Forest
GM Sandy Alderson tends to lean towards bat who will have an immediate impact, and the smoke screen of Craig and the Mets is too believable to ignore. There's some question of whether Craig will stick at third base, but he could be useful as a right-handed platoon early in his career with Lucas Duda.
20. Los Angeles Dodgers - T.J. Zeuch, RHP, Pittsburgh
The Dodgers are linked to many college pitchers, and this could be a great spot to take another undersized Vanderbilt arm in Jordan Sheffield. However, the potential and helium is much higher and leaning towards Zeuch. The Dodgers could also make an attempt at Delvin Perez here.
21. Toronto Blue Jays - Robert Tyler, RHP, Georgia
The Blue Jays are in on the "best of the rest" when it comes to college starters, and Tyler would be that option. President Mark Shapiro loves velocity, and isn't afraid of control issues, which is ideal for taking Tyler here, who has touched triple digits but is still a thrower as opposed to pitcher. There's a fair shot they jump at Zack Burdi due to his velocity, but Tyler is likely a sure-fire starter, who they could use as a reliever this season or next if necessary.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates - Alex Kirilloff, OF, Plum HS (GA)
There are two names I continue to hear here for Pittsburgh and it's Kiriloff and Zeuch, both local products. There's a good chance neither is on the board, but in this scenario, one of them is. From what I've been told, Zeuch is above Kiriloff on the board for Pittsburgh.
23. St. Louis Cardinals - Forrest Whitley, RHP, Alamo Heights HS (TX)
No one does a better job of scouting and developing players. The Cardinals also stick to the standards of usual scouting, which would bode well for Whitley, who has a projectable frame and plus stuff overall. If Anderson is available, they could pop him, or go for the best available college bat, which would do well for their next two picks nine selections away.
24. San Diego Padres - Will Benson, OF, The Westminster Schools (GA)
Upside, upside, upside. A common thread to this draft, but the Padres are exclusive when it comes to these items. Benson is one of the biggest high-risk / high-reward players in the draft, due to his major upside. They also have the spending room to go near the $8 million mark with their first two picks and still have $4-5 million remaining.
25. San Diego Padres - Zack Burdi, RHP, Louisville
There's a chance at saving money when taking Burdi, since he is primarily a reliever. They could also test him out as a starter in the lower minors, and see if that upside can turn into something more. Most would still say prep player here, but at one point or another, they'll have to save a little bit of cash for their other five picks in the top-150.
26. Chicago White Sox - Eric Lauer, LHP, Kent State
Lauer and the White Sox have been connected for some time now. The White Sox were heavily represented at the MAC Tournament with the primary focus on Lauer. They are also one of the best organizations at developing arms, and a southpaw with plus stuff is all over their tendencies. Easy selection to figure here.
27. Baltimore Orioles - Matt Thaiss, C, Virginia
Reynolds allows the O's to save towards upside in the next round, and also keep them with their tendencies of college hitters in the first round. This would be Tyler's floor according to sources, and they could pull the trigger on other college bats like Bryan Reynolds and Buddy Reed.
28. Washington Nationals - Will Smith, C, Louisville
The Nationals only have so much to spend, so if they plan on going after upside players with their next selections, they'll have to go a little under slot with a college hitter here. That leads me to believe a hitter who could be up quickly would be the fit. This would be a conservative selection ahead of taking an upside prep player. This is well under slot, but is sensible in saving for others.
29. Washington Nationals - Drew Mendoza, 3B, Lake Minneola HS (FL)
Here is the upside prep player. Mendoza is looking for a nice pay day, which would take quite a bit from their draft payroll. There's a shot someone else takes him ahead of this, but there's plenty of connections with the Nats already, and a deal could be in the workings already.
30. Texas Rangers - Taylor Trammell, OF, Mount Paran Christian HS (GA)
There are two constants when it comes to Texas and you can mold them together - prep and athletes. Trammell fits both those molds, being a two-sport star in Georgia, and his speed will match up well at the pro level. Although it's a little out of Texas' style to go with power early, the tools and athleticism are the things the Rangers tend to look at.
31. New York Mets - Anthony Kay, LHP, Connecticut
Kay has been on the radar for the Mets for some time. So much so, they drafted him out of high school and have kept tabs on him ever since. He was also a teammate of Steven Matz in high school and is a New York product, which just adds more to the connection with the Mets.
32. Los Angeles Dodgers - Gavin Lux, SS, Indian Trail Academy (WI)
LA is looking for shortstops, primarily in the prep ranks, and Lux is the best available option outside of Perez, who is falling. Although he doesn't fit the toolset the Dodgers usually look at, scouts have seen Lux's adjustments and understanding of the game, which they went for in the trade market this past off-season in Trayce Thompson, who is giving the Dodgers more than they could have ever expected.
33. St. Louis Cardinals - Chris Okey, C, Clemson
The Cards' direction can take them to multiple items with these two picks. I do expect them to take a college player with one of these picks, and their catching depth in the mid-minors isn't exactly ideal for an organization that doesn't have many holes. Okey will stick behind the plate, and his bat will play up. This is slightly underslot for Okey.
34. St. Louis Cardinals - Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Vanderbilt
If the Cards plan on going to upside through the entire draft, they'll have to take another college arm to save for their next selection. Sheffield has large velocity and a small frame, with the latter being something that intrigues the Cards. There's little concern within the developmental staff that a small frame won't have an impact at the big league level, so Sheffield is a fit.
Competitive Balance Round A
35. Cincinnati Reds - Jared Horn, RHP, Vintage HS (CA)
The Reds can pursue an upside pitcher in the second round if they don't go for Puk in the first. Even if they nab Puk, Horn makes the most sense for Cincinnati due to his athleticism, which is their primary focus. Horn also has stuff similar to what Puk possesses but as a right-handed pitcher. They also love the fact he played quarterback in the fall, and has that bulldog mental side of the game with him.
36. Los Angeles Dodgers - Daulton Jefferies, RHP, California
The Dodgers have been linked to Jefferies, who could have gone to them in the first round if not for injuries. He won't make his way back around for them to grab him with their next pick, so they'll have to pull the trigger here. He's also someone they could save some nickles on, but not dimes.
37. Oakland A's - Buddy Reed, OF, Florida
Here is where the A's can get their college hitter, and Reed provides the tools they target. He's a switch-hitter, who, at times, has shown patience at the plate, which is exactly the direction they go for. The thing that would shy me away is how his numbers played in the SEC. However, with this pick, the A's could get a first-round talent for a cheaper price, and save well into their large pool. Oakland took Reed's Florida teammate Richie Martin with their first pick last season.
38. Colorado Rockies - Thomas Jones, OF, Laurens HS (SC)
I've been told the Rockies are going prep early, and looking for an athletic outfielder with one of their first few picks. Jones fits the mold more than anybody at this point, and is the ideal athlete, choosing baseball over being one of the most illustrious defensive backs heading to college this fall.
39. Arizona Diamondbacks - Bryan Reynolds, OF, Vanderbilt
This is more or less going with what I've heard and making connections based on system. The Dbacks are definitely going with one of the more athletic profiles with this selection, and could use help on the offensive side. That leaves me with the best available athletic hitter. Reynolds also has some first-round attachment.
40. Atlanta Braves - Joey Wentz, LHP, Shawnee Mission East HS (KS)
A team that has loads of money to spend can go with major upside after taking a college hitter with the third pick. Wentz had more helium than any other player a month ago, and has fallen off a small amount. No one seems to know how much he wants in bonus, but the Braves can afford him and take the potential on a high quality arm with limited mileage, all while getting an athletic pitcher in the mix.
41. Pittsburgh Pirates - Brandon Marsh, OF, Buford HS (GA)
The Pirates are incredibly high on Marsh. So much so, I've heard from direct sources they plan on taking him here and may be helping him play the card that he's going to Kennesaw State, with putting a nice bonus on the table for him. It'd be a wild smoke screen if he's available here and isn't taken.
42. Philadelphia Phillies - Kevin Gowdy, RHP, Santa Barbara HS (CA)
Gowdy has been as high as #15 on my board due to how long he's been on the radar, and how long scouts have been able to scout him. He's a safer bet than other prep arms, and had a very strong senior season in a challenging prep conference. The Phillies have been prevalent at Perfect Game showcases in the west coast, and Gowdy has been at nearly every one, and impressed.
43. Cincinnati Reds - Delvin Perez, SS, International Baseball Academy (PR)
Oh boy. If any team can take a risk on the money and troubles off the field, it's Cincy. Perez may not fall this far at all, but he could also fall well below this. The Reds have the money, the ownership, and the rebuild mentality where this may be worth it. If not here, possibly the Braves at the next pick, the Brewers a few after, and after that, no one seems to know. Also, the Reds are connected to him at #2, and Brewers at #5.
44. Atlanta Braves - Kyle Muller, LHP, Jesuit College Prep (TX)
Here's the best opportunity for the Braves to go after a toolsy prep player, who could turn into something more at the big level. Back-to-back prep arms with major upside gives them the opportunity to give both a shot at the rotation and have the bullpen be an alternate route if either don't play out.
45. Colorado Rockies - Cole Ragans, LHP, North Florida Christian HS (FL)
This may be overload going with three straight prep players, two who are pitchers, but that's what I can continue to hear with the Rockies. When pitching at Coors Field, you need one of two things - velocity or precision. Ragans already has the former, and could soon have the latter. He commands three different pitchers, and is a sure-fire starter. In 10 years, this could be a pick you look back and consider one of the best steals.
46. Milwaukee Brewers - Carter Kieboom, 3B, Walton HS (GA)
Kieboom has impressed at the brightest of moments against the most challenging of talents. He's also done so in front of the Brewers. They have the ability to go with the best prep player available, and Kieboom fits their style of player, making him the perfect fit.
47. Oakland A's - Brett Cumberland, C, California
This is almost a no-brainer. Despite having an advanced-approach, and the ability to connect on just about everything to put the ball in play, Cumberland won't see the first round. That leaves Cumberland, a combination of local product, analytical aspect, and tools to be the perfect mold for Oakland in the second. Peter Alonso also fits here, but there's a shot Cumberland sticks behind the plate which raises his stock.
48. San Diego Padres - Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville
At some point, the Padres will have to stop going to the biggest upside players and save some cash. This would be ideal for the Padres, taking a player who was possibly considered a top-10 pick last year, to someone who has fallen off as a senior sign. There's still upside when it comes Funkhouser, but senior sign and his drop off will be plenty for the Padres to save money and take a chance at a future back-end rotation arm.
49. Chicago White Sox - Corbin Burnes, RHP, St. Mary's (CA)
The White Sox are going into this draft with a conservative approach, which allows them to do two things. Save money early and go upside later, and also take the best college player available in the process. This is a near-guarantee in finding success in the draft process. The White Sox have no fear of small conference arms, and will almost 100% take Lauer, a southpaw, in the first, which leaves them with a righty next go round.
50. Seattle Mariners - Hunter Bishop, OF, Serra HS (CA)
There are too many connections to not believe this happens. Seattle took Bishop's brother, Braden, last year early in the draft. Bishop is an incredible prep athlete, which is where Dipoto consistently went during his Angels' days. Bishop already has ties to the Seattle area, opting out of a Washington commitment where he would've played at wide receiver. Everything comes together mentally, but very easily could be me over-thinking to the max.
51. Boston Red Sox - Anfernee Grier, OF, Auburn
Dombrowski loves his athletic outfielders, who may be undersized, but possess the tools he desires. Grier has plenty of holes, but he also has the plus items that would match him with Mookie Betts in time. The Red Sox will go with an athletic college outfielder here, and Grier is the best available.
52. Arizona Diamondbacks - Connor Jones, RHP, Virginia
The Dbacks don't have a lot of money to play with, and will need to go college early to preserve cash for the rest of the draft. Jones is a safe bet to be a future major leaguer, with the risk being past arm injuries and a school that doesn't have a great record with arms. However, Jones has the standard stuff Dbacks pitchers look like. Velocity, fastball with sink, and multiple out pitches.
53. Tampa Bay Rays - Alex Speas, RHP, McEachern HS (GA)
The standard plan for the Rays for the last few years is go straight to upside, and that usually recommends prep players. They've been all over Georgia this spring, and have seen Speas for some time. He has a big two-pitch mix, which has been the starting point for many past Tampa arms. There may not be a better group at developing arms in general than the Rays coaching staff, top to bottom, and Speas could be a nice steal, or a bust.
54. Baltimore Orioles - Logan Shore, RHP, Florida
In the past, the O's went with pitchers with giant velocity, but hardly any control. They have been open that this hasn't worked for them, and needs to change soon. Thus, the best available on the board is also the safest bet in the entire draft in Shore. Though the stuff isn't fantastic, he's a finesse artist, which could be the immediate change Baltimore needs.
55. Cleveland Indians - Jon Duplantier, RHP, Rice
The only red flag here is that Duplantier will be 22-years-old just a month after the draft, which doesn't fit Cleveland's tendencies. However, everything else does. He's incredibly smart, on and off the field, and has plenty of velocity, upwards of 96 MPH. Duplantier is also athletic, which has been the drafting plan for Cleveland for years. It just makes too much sense to pass up.
56. Minnesota Twins - Conner Capel, OF, Seven Lakes HS (FL)
Another team that likes athleticism over other tools. Capel is very raw, but that Twins have never had fear of that. Akil Baddoo could also go here, but it seems Capel has a bigger upside. If they go away from my pick in the first and take a prep player, you could see Ryan Boldt here.
57. Toronto Blue Jays - Heath Quinn, OF, Samford
Another team that doesn't have a ton of money to spend, the Jays would be wise to lean towards a polished hitter who has some athleticism. Quinn would likely go higher if he wasn't from a small conference, but tools are tools and you can see him go in the early second round.
58. Washington Nationals - Reggie Lawson, RHP, Victor Valley HS (CA)
Lawson has some big knocks against him. He was injured most of the year, and he is a Scott Boras client. This is where the Nationals come in, who have no fear of any of those items. Lawson has major upside, and is asking for around $1 million in bonus money. The Nats also very fond of California prep arms, and Lawson is the head of that list for them according to early rumors. There's something here, but price tag will be the scary part in attaining him.
59. San Francisco Giants - Akil Baddoo, OF, Salem HS (GA)
The Giants tend to go towards athletic, middle-of-the-diamond players with upside. That means no standout tools, but everything that averages out. Baddoo fits that mold and will be able to fit the cost.
60. Los Angeles Angels - Dane Dunning, RHP, Florida
It's almost a dead lock that the Angels are taking a pitcher in the second round to build quick depth. Dunning is an arm that could be quick to the Majors which would give early depth to this selection, something Eppler is high on. Eppler was also seen at the SEC Tournament, taking a look at arms, which could entail he leans towards one in the conference. Dunning's flaws could turn into the Angels' blessings.
61. Houston Astros - Bo Bichette, 2B, Lakewood HS (FL)
Houston is big on family ties, taking the sons of Mike Cameron and Delino DeShields in recent drafts. They were impressed by the raw toolset of Bichette, and it's only fitting they shoot for him here to gain an upside infielder, and also go slightly under slot to save a little cash flow.
62. New York Yankees - Ryan Boldt, OF, Nebraska
There's talk of the Yankees being high on Reynolds with their first pick, but it's doubtful they'd pass on the chance to go after Quantrill. This would be the poor man's example of Reynolds. Boldt has no standout tools, but enough to where he'll excel as a professional and have average major league potential.
63. Texas Rangers - Keegan Akin, LHP, Western Michigan
I don't even know if you can call the bonus money Texas has as money. They have incredibly limited funds, and will have to go underslot at a few points. Akin fits their style of pitcher though, and comes from a small conference which could recommend a smaller signing bonus. He has the velocity and athleticism the Rangers would enjoy.
64. New York Mets - Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Stoneman Douglas HS (FL)
This is the spot the Mets can go towards a prep arm, and give someone a nice bonus. They may be able to save cash though by going towards an injured arm who doesn't seem set to his college commitment. Luzardo had first-round potential prior to Tommy John surgery, and Alderson does like these type of pitchers who are athletic and have velocity that will play up.
65. Los Angeles Dodgers - C.J. Chatham, SS, Florida Atlantic
There's been some talk flying about the Dodgers wanting someone to fall in the draft. This would be that fall. Chatham has some helium, but the tools aren't really stellar enough to have anyone jump at him late in the first. If he falls, the Dodgers are linked, and would do it.
66. Toronto Blue Jays - Alec Hansen, RHP, Oklahoma
Another Shapiro item - velocity. Hansen has plenty of it, but could not find the zone if it meant his life. There's not a lot of fear with Toronto's game plan when it comes to control, and they could suddenly have what was a top-five pick in the second round, and he could tap into that as a fine tuned reliever or sure fire mid-rotation arm.
67. Kansas City Royals - Bryson Brigman, SS, San Diego
The Royals will always go towards athleticism in building. They also lean towards players who know and understand the game early, and Brigman is a true quarterback at USD. He hits all the marks, despite not having a large toolset.
68. Pittsburgh Pirates - Ben Bowden, LHP, Vanderbilt
The Pirates will likely spend most of their money on their first two selections - standard. They'll need to go under slot with this selection, and Bowden gives them both promise, polish, and some ease on the wallet.
69. Baltimore Orioles - Pete Alonso, 1B, Florida
Another fixture to the Orioles getting college sluggers, Alonso would go much higher if he wasn't a sure fire first baseman. He's made the proper adjustments and turned himself into one of the top hitters at the collegiate level, someone the Orioles can't ignore on their board.
70. St. Louis Cardinals - Dylan Carlson, OF, Elk Grove HS (CA)
Carlson has interest coming from a few teams, and particularly, square at the end of the second round. Teams will wait as long as they can on him, but someone has to pull trigger. The Cardinals could save some money by going after him here, still have plenty for the rest of the draft, and feel they weren't robbed by getting him under slot and too early.