24. San Diego Padres: Hudson Sanchez SS Carroll HS
This is the first really off-the-board pick of the draft. I had Sanchez going 83rd in my big mock. He was 71 on my big board and I think I was the high man on him. Well, the high man outside of the Padres. Sanchez is one of the youngest guys in this draft and, while he is a shortstop right now, he will likely transition to outfield or third base. He's a strong athlete with above-average power potential. I am a bit surprised to see him taken over Nolan Jones. I wonder if he will be well under slot. Unless he is well under, I am not a big fan of Sanchez here, even though I do like him more than most.
25. San Diego Padres: Eric Lauer LHP Kent State
I have seen Lauer in person more than most, as he is right in my backyard. He's a very good athlete who was All State in football, as well as baseball. He put up the lowest ERA since 1979. He led the Cape in strikeouts. The only concern this year was that the only top program he faced was Virginia, in his first start, and he struggled against them. A four-pitch guy who is like a mid- to back-end type, he should move pretty quickly. He's not a big ceiling guy, but rather someone who could help in two years.
26. Chicago White Sox: Zack Burdi RHP Louisville
Many thought he would go much higher; some even talked about him as a top-10 pick. He can help a team this year, working out of the bullpen. The question is, can he work as a starter or is he just a bullpen arm? I don’t love the idea of a bullpen arm early, but I am in the group who thinks he can start. The White Sox had Chris Sale work out of the bullpen the year he was drafted, then stretched him out to start. I imagine it will be the same for Burdi. This kid can throw and is going to help a team very quickly.
27. Baltimore Orioles: Cody Sedlock RHP Illinois
I am sure Baltimore was presently surprised to see Sedlock here. He was over-used at points this year, but, as a guy who was starting for the first time this year, he has a little less wear and tear than your typical college arm. Sedlock was linked to a lot of teams in the first, and many thought he would go in the teens. He was the Big Ten pitcher of the year, and looks like a mid-rotation innings eater type. He might have a little more growth potential, though, because he has not been starting long.
28. Washington Nationals: Carter Kieboom 3B Walton HS
I have been a big fan of Kieboom throughout the process, and he will join his brother in the Nationals system. He's a mature, complete hitter, who is similar in some respects to top overall pick, Mickey Moniak. He doesn’t have the speed, but he has the same advanced all-field approach. Kieboom plays short, but will likely move to third long term. He isn’t a loud tools guy, but does a bit of everything. This is the first high school first rounder by the Nationals since Lucas Giolito.
29. Washington Nationals: Dane Dunning RHP Florida
Dunning was stuck in a numbers game at Florida and, instead of transferring or complaining, just went out and performed so well in the bullpen that he ended up getting taken in the first round. His numbers were off the charts, especially the numbers I tend to look for. He struck out a lot of batters and rarely walked anyone. He is a starter and would have been one for any other team in the country. This pick should save the Nationals a little money, while getting them an underrated arm.
30. Texas Rangers: Cole Ragans LHP North Florida Christian
The minute he was drafted, Ragans drew a comp from me to Braxton Garrett, and the guys on TV had the same thought. Ragans is the second safest prep arm in this class. He should have three above-average to average pitches, along with good control and command. I see a back-end starter, though many think he could end up as a mid-rotation guy. He has some growing to do yet, but should be a pretty fast moving prep arm. He went a little higher than I expected, which might have been due to prep players rising in this draft.
31. New York Mets: Anthony Kay LHP UConn
I mentioned in my mock that Kay was very much in play here. He was drafted by the Mets out of high school, and went to the same New York high school as Steven Matz, who is a current Mets left-hander. A pretty maxed out left-hander, Kay should move very quickly. He has excelled in college and looked very good over the last few weeks, facing better competition in tournament play. He played himself into the first round over the past few weeks.
32. Los Angeles Dodgers: Will Smith C Louisville
The fact that he was going to go in the first round has been talked about over the past few weeks. He was viewed as a likely catcher, who would sign under slot, and provide some offensive profile for the position. One of the many great players from Louisville, Smith ends up being the third player selected from that school. He's not the top catcher on my board, but, again, I think this was also a pick to save some money for later.
33. St. Louis Cardinals: Dylan Carlson OF Elk Grove
I was a high guy on Carlson, after being tipped off to him by my friend, Taylor Ward, who also alerted me that the Cards were all in on him. I put him in the second, which was considered high by many, but the Cards did not want to risk it and grabbed him at 33. I assume they might also save some money, which would help with the signing of their next pick. A coach's son, who should be able to play in the outfield and hits from both sides, Carlson could have above-average hit and power tools. This is a kid with a mature approach, who scouts were all over. Don’t let the lack of talk fool you. After Taylor told me, I talked to a few scouts I know, and they all raved about Carlson.
34. St. Louis Cardinals: Dakota Hudson RHP Mississippi State
Someone always falls; last year it was Jon Harris. This year, it was Hudson, who struggled at the worst time of the year to do so. I have argued that he more than likely had a tired arm, which caused the slide in terms of performance and stuff. He pitched more innings this year than the previous two years combined. He made himself over as a pitcher this year, and should be a mid-rotation starter. A steal right here, the Cards were smart, as always, taking sliding talent and looking at the entire picture and not just the last month.
35. Cincinnati Reds: Taylor Trammell Mount Paran Christian School
The Reds go with another bat here, and I should not have been surprised to see them take Trammell. I was told the Reds were looking for athletes, and Trammell fits that mold. He is a big athlete, who was one of the best football players in the state of Georgia. He should be a centerfielder with plus plus speed. I get excited for kids like him, who chose baseball because they love the game. He has some of the loudest tools in this class.
36. Los Angeles Dodgers: Jordan Sheffield RHP Vanderbilt
I knew the Dodgers were fans of Sheffield, and I thought he would go to them at 32. They were able to wait and get their man here at 36. In his first year as a starter since high school, he started to fade down the stretch. He had a stretch where he did not give up a run for over 30 innings this year. He has two potential plus pitches, with the floor of a great closer. He's an easy get for the Dodgers here.
37. Oakland A’s: Daulton Jefferies RHP Cal
He is the polar opposite of earlier selection, A.J. Puk. Jefferies is an undersized righty, who throws in the low 90s. Jefferies had some talk as a potential top-20 pick, before an injury to his calf, which managed to migrate to his shoulder and caused him to miss some time. This is a bet on the player he looked to be before injury, when he looked like a mid-rotation starter.
38. Colorado Rockies: Robert Tyler RHP Georgia
There was a time when some thought Tyler might be a top-10 pick. He had struggles with command this year, his first back from Tommy John surgery, which is a common occurrence. As a freshman, he didn’t have as much trouble with the walks, which is why one wonders if it is just a matter of a typical recovery. Worst case is that he is a very good reliever, with big velocity and two plus pitches, who will walk some guys. Interesting to see the Rockies go with a college player after being so prep heavy a year ago.
39. Arizona Diamondbacks: Anfernee Grier OF Auburn
I am a big fan of this pick by the Diamondbacks. I heard, late in the process, that they were on athletic outfielders, and mocked Buddy Reed here; instead, they took Grier. I think Grier is the better player, as well, so I think they made the right choice. He struggled a bit in SEC play, but still out performed Reed, who was equally toolsy. Grier did most of his damage outside of conference and, if he had continued it, he would have been a top-20 pick. He can stick in center and might provide some surprising pop.
40. Atlanta Braves: Joey Wentz LHP Shawnee Mission East HS
This was one of the least shocking picks of the night. Wentz was a big money commit to Virginia, who had seen his stuff back up a bit. It caused him to slide down the boards, but the Braves have the money to take a risk on Wentz. They got an arm here who was once talked about as a possible top-10 pick. He burst onto the scene with a hot start, and it is not surprising to see him fade a bit. He was best known as a hitter and, being from Kansas, there is plenty of room for growth. He could end up as the top player for the Braves from this draft, and could have the highest bonus.
41. Pittsburgh Pirates: Nick Lodolo LHP Damien HS
I heard that Lodolo was really set on going to TCU, unless someone met his price, which was going to be over seven figures. The Pirates love big pitchers and Lodolo fits the bill, at 6’6”. I know some don’t love the delivery and there is some thought that he might need to change it a bit. He was thought to be a guy who would go later, but, with his signing demands, he had to go early to be signable. Pirates add another big athlete, which they always seem to turn into very good pitchers down the road. This is certainly a very high ceiling pick.