SCOUT MLB Publishers Mock Draft, Round 1

The SCOUT Network is a leading source of information about baseball's next generation of stars. We put our collective knowledge of the baseball prospect landscape to the test with our SCOUT MLB Publisher's 2015 Mock Draft. SCOUT MLB Publishers, contributors and friends of the network got together to mock-up the first 70 picks of this year's draft. Inside, Round One.

The MLB Draft is less than a week away and our SCOUT MLB group has been busy preparing for the busiest three days of the MLB season. Our group of MLB Publishers, writers and friends of the network recently got together to mock up the first 70 picks of the MLB draft. Below are the results of Round One. In the next article, we mock-up the Compensation Round and the Competitive Balance Round A. In article #3, we take on Round 2.

We had a great time putting ourselves in the role of Scouting Director and we hope you enjoy reading this draft. To get a complete list of SCOUT's MLB sites, please click here.

Round One

Pick #1, Arizona Diamondbacks: Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary (Fla.) HS

Selection made by Taylor Blake Ward, Publisher

Arizona will attain a possible five-tool player in shortstop Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers came into the draft as the highest ranked talent this spring and he is the best overall talent from all potential prospects in this draft. The Dbacks are looking for infield depth for the future. Rodgers comes equipped with a mix of speed, power from the right side, athleticism, and a promising future at the shortstop position. Due to Rodgers' advanced maturity as a baseball player, he can have an impact on the big club within the coming three-to-four years with proper development and become one of the future faces of the organization.

Pick #2, Houston Astros: Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt

Selection made by Jerry Espinoza, Contributor

Dansby Swanson, in my view, is the best college bat in the draft. Swanson is also one of the top-three shortstops available in 2015 along with LSU's Alex Bregman and Lake Mary High School's Brendan Rodgers (who went first pick in this mock draft to Arizona). Swanson is a line drive, gap hitter with speed and can hit the ball out when he gets his pitch (12 HR's in 2015). Swanson was the 2014 College World Series Most Outstanding Player and has had a tremendous 2015 season .351/.440/.654 slash line 38/37 K/BB rate and 14 of 16 stealing bases. Swanson also has the ability to play second base. With Jose Altuve signed through 2017 (with club options) and Carlos Correa just about ready, the Astros have time and weapons on their side. Correa at 6'4" will fill out and can be moved to third base when that time comes. The Houston Astros have had success drafting Commodores in the past with Tony Kemp and Conrad Gregor. Add Dansby Swanson to that list!

Pick #3, Colorado Rockies: Tyler Jay, LHP, Illinois

Selection made by Jeff Ellis, SCOUT MLB Draft Analyst

I know conventional logic says you take Dillon Tate here, but if I am Colorado and have four picks in the top-50 I have to consider finances. I am going to assume the reports true are that I can save a decent chunk of change and still get a top talent. Jay is a top-10 talent. He is a 6’1” lefty with the potential for three legit plus pitches. His command is also a future plus skill. If he had been given a chance to start and succeed, I think he out-ranks Tate. Tate is a better athlete with better velocity but has more effort to his delivery. There are not a lot of pitchers in the majors with three plus pitches and when you add in the fact he is left handed and should sign under slot, well, then this was an easy choice.

Pick #4, Texas Rangers: Dillon Tate, RHP, UC-Santa Barbara

Selection made by Kyle Glaser, Contributor

The Rangers are short on top-tier pitching at both the major league level and in the minor league ranks, and Dillon Tate is the first step in filling those gaps. Tate is a power right-hander with a clean injury history who has dominated elite college competition as both a reliever and as a starter, and is the prototype of a guy who can reach the majors quickly. While other teams will take risks, Tate is the rare pitcher who is both low on risk and high on upside, and the Rangers are lucky to have him. Even if he doesn’t develop as a front-end starter, he can be a top-tier closer for years to come, which is exceedingly valuable in today’s bullpen-driven game.

Pick #5, Houston Astros: Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt

Selection made by Jerry Espinoza, Contributor

Carson Fulmer is one of the most dominating, reliable, healthy pitchers in the 2015 draft. He is a guy that has racked up 136 strikeouts to just 38 walks and has allowed just 22 earned runs over 100.2 innings pitched. Fulmer turned in a 1.97 ERA for one of the best teams in the country and has thrown three complete games in 15 starts. Opposing hitters are hitting just .187 against him. Fulmer sits 92-94 MPH and can hump up to 96 at times. He has plus pitches with his fastball with movement, above-average curveball, and a solid change-up. There have been concerns from scouts about Fulmer's size and his mechanics, but from a team that has a 5-foot-5 batting champion in Jose Altuve, there are no concerns with size. Fulmer was an All-SEC freshman, has been on the Academic Honor Roll, is a competitor that possesses skill, athleticism, and a solid mound presence. Mark up another Vanderbilt Commodore to the Houston Astros family.

Pick #6, Minnesota Twins: Kyle Tucker, OF, Plant (Fla.) HS

Selection made by Melissa Lockard, SCOUT MLB Editor

The Twins could go a lot of different directions here, and they will likely be tempted to take a potentially fast-moving college arm like Walker Buehler or Jon Harris or a polished collegiate hitter like Alex Bregman or Andrew Benintendi, both of whom could join top prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano in Minnesota within two years. However, the possibility of teaming the powerful Kyle Tucker with Buxton in a future star outfield was too much for the Twins to pass up with this pick. Tucker has plenty of projectibility and has polish to his swing already.

Pick #7, Boston Red Sox: Alex Bregman, SS, LSU

Selection made by Michael Hattery, SCOUT MLB Draft podcast co-host

Quite simply, Alex Bregman was the best player left on the board here for Boston. Bregman has a solid chance of sticking at short and his bat is advanced. In terms of the tools necessary to be an impact shortstop, Bregman has all of them. The defense is the largest question but the bat is outstanding. Bregman, at his peak, could produce 10-15 home runs. He pairs a solid hit tool with above average speed and will fit Boston nicely.

Pick #8, Chicago White Sox: Tyler Stephenson, C, Kennesaw Mountain (Ga.) HS

Selection made by Mark Anderson and Chris Brown, Writers

The White Sox figured one of the three big college arms (Dillon Tate, Tyler Jay, Carson Fulmer) would still be available in the eighth slot, but when all of them went off the board within the first five picks, it opened up the door to go after one of the organization's glaring needs. This is a very weak draft for catchers, and there isn't an MLB regular backstop in the entire White Sox organization, so they were quite happy to land Tyler Stephenson, who has all the ingredients to be an All-Star one day. He's got a big arm, plenty of raw pop, and the sort of athleticism that will not only play well behind the dish, but could also allow him to move elsewhere on the field if his bat develops to the point that he needs to play every day.

Pick #9, Chicago Cubs: Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State

Selection made by Mike Nester, Publisher,

Despite drafting bats the last three years, Cubs President Theo Epstein and company finally take a pitcher in the first round. The Cubs are no strangers to Missouri State. The first pitcher drafted by Epstein was MSU product Pierce Johnson, a first-round compensation pick in 2013. Harris gives the North Siders a projected top of the rotation arm. He commands a fastball in the low 90s with ability to hit 95 MPH. He has two breaking balls in his arsenal, a sweeping curve and an above-average slider. His best pitch may be his change-up, as he hides it well and gets plenty of swing-and-miss. The 2015 Missouri Valley Pitcher of the Year made noise on the Cape last summer and followed that up with an impressive junior season, going 7-1 with 105 strikeouts in 89.1 innings along with a 1.91 ERA and .196 BAA. The Cubs’ brass has said they are concentrating on four players and Harris could be one of those of still on the board when they pick.

Pick #10, Philadelphia Phillies: Garrett Whitley, OF, Niskayuna (NY) HS

Selection made by Max Wildstein, Senior Editor/Publisher,

One of the most talented high school athletes in the draft comes from the Northeast, specifically from upstate New York. Garrett Whitley is a 6’1’’ outfielder,coming in at 195 lbs. Scouts say he is one of the most toolsy players in this year's draft class. Obviously coming from the Northeast, he gets compared to Mike Trout. Whitley has the potential to be a five-tool player, but no one is comparable to Trout, so let's tone it down a little, even if this kid’s got some game. One of Whitley’s best tools is undoubtedly his speed, which comes to his advantage in the outfield and on the base paths. In addition to the speed on the bases, Whitley sports some great bat speed from the right side, which many see leading him to be an above-average power hitter in the future. His swing still needs some work, as he is a raw talent. Teams may hold off on going after Whitley since he hails from a cold-weather climate, despite the success of Trout, so we could easily see him falling to the 10th pick here.

Pick #11, Cincinnati Reds: Daz Cameron, OF, Eagle’s Landing Christian (Ga.) Academy

Selection made by Ryan Sullivan,

Although Cincinnati has leaned heavily toward college players in the first round in recent years, I have a feeling they will select the best player available at pick #11, likely a high school outfielder. Son of long-time major league centerfielder Mike Cameron, Daz Cameron has long been on scouts’ radar due to his family lineage and his appearance as a sophomore in the Under Armour All-American Game two years ago. Cameron has solid, but not elite, speed and athleticism but his feel for the game and instincts allow him to profile as a strong defender in centerfield, similar to his father. Questions exist about his skills at the plate, as scouts are mixed on how his power and contact ability will translate against better quality pitching. That said, it feels like Cameron is suffering from a bit of prospect fatigue amongst the scouting community, and would be a tremendous value outside of the top-6 picks in June.

Pick #12, Miami Marlins: Cornelius Randolph, SS, Griffin (Ga.) HS

Selection made by Max Wildstein, Senior Editor/Publisher,

Scouts usually fall in love with prospects in the Southeast, especially in the great state of Georgia. Griffin HS infielder Cornelius Randolph has moved up and down the draft boards in recent weeks. Projected as a likely third base candidate in the pros, he is a 6’1’’ shortstop who can play any of the skill positions in the infield. Randolph sports one of the best bats from the left side in the draft, which is helping him drive up the draft boards. One thing he's doing very well right now is taking pitches, as he's got one of the best eyes among high school players in this year's draft class. His size and lack of speed lead many scouts to predict Randolph will move off of shortstop, as his defense isn't one of his strong suits, either. Not having a tremendous arm may keep Randolph from even being in the infield and the outfield (specifically left field) could even be an option for him. Teams aren't going to be drafting him because of his defense. His offensive potential has such a high ceiling that teams are strictly looking at drafting him because of his swing. With that being said, the Miami Marlins would be very wise to swipe up Randolph if they get the chance with the 12th pick.

Pick #13, Tampa Bay Rays: Ian Happ, 2B/OF, Cincinnati

Selection made by Jeff Ellis, SCOUT MLB Draft Analyst

Ian Happ was clearly the top talent on my board so I grabbed him here. He is a switch hitter with the best current hit tool and one that projects as plus with above-average power and speed. I would give him every chance to stick at second and know that the fallback is third or outfield. The bat will play anywhere but the most value it could bring is at second. I considered Kolby Allard, Walker Buehler and Andrew Benintendi here but only for a bit. Ian Happ brought too much production and value to not take him. He has been a top-10 talent in this draft for me since October. He was highly productive this year despite having hernia surgery before the year began and receiving little to no lineup support. I just compared him to Ben Zobrist in my latest capsule, so it would only make sense for him to join the Rays.

Pick #14, Atlanta Braves: Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt

Selection made by Bill Shanks, Publisher,

The Braves would have loved Tyler Stephenson at this pick, but they’ll go with a pitcher instead and with a familiar school. Atlanta chose Mike Minor from Vanderbilt in 2009 with a first-round pick. Walker Buehler was not as dominant as teammate Carson Fulmer, but the potential is there for him to be a good middle-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.

Pick #15, Milwaukee Brewers: Mike Nikorak, RHP, Stroudsburg (Pa.) HS

Selection made by Taylor Blake Ward, Publisher,

Milwaukee loves players with tools, even if they are a little raw. Mike Nikorak fits that description. He is a raw prep pitcher with a fastball that sits in the mid 90's and taps 98 MPH. He also has a nice off-speed pitch and changeup the Brewers feel they can develop into plus pitches. Nikorak has a solid pitching frame at 6’5’’ and 200+ pounds, and he can fill out more. He is a gifted athlete who was an All-Conference quarterback, which helps Milwaukee believe that -- mixed with his athleticism and natural frame -- he will remain a starter who can take on a high load of innings and stay a top-end starter in the future. It also helps that Nikorak pitched in cold weather (Pennsylvania) and will feel at home in Milwaukee.

Pick #16, New York Yankees: Brady Aiken, LHP, IMG (Fla.) Academy

Selection made by Patrick Teale, Publisher,

Unless his medicals come back in cataclysmic fashion, there is a near zero percent chance that last year's first overall pick gets by the Yankees here. In fact, they're probably secretly hoping that Aiken's Tommy John surgery and sketchy medical prognosis forces the Red Sox [picking seventh] to pass on him. Even though the Yankees would probably be better served taking this shot at Aiken with their second first round pick at #30 overall, chances are even smaller that Aiken would slide past the deep pockets of the Tigers, Dodgers, and Angels so the Yanks would need to take him here. The Yankees haven't had an opportunity to draft a top three overall talent in decades and Aiken's ceiling is just too vast to not take the gamble at this spot. In a farm system in need of some high-end arms, Aiken would be a perfect fit, even with a sure-fire rehab in his short-term future.

Pick #17, Cleveland Indians: Kolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente (Calif.) HS

Selection made by Jeff Ellis, Contributor

This is a case where I, as the general manager, am doing something I am not sure the Indians would do. They have not selected a prep arm with their first overall selection since 2001. It’s been 14 years now. This pick came down to Kolby Allard versus Andrew Benintendi. I have Allard a spot higher on my board and that makes them basically equal values. I went with Allard because on top of being higher-rated, he fits what the Indians look for in prep arms, and would fill a positional need in system. He is a relatively safe, well-developed prep player that is what the Indians have looked for in top-three round arms. If he had not been injured, I am convinced he would have gone in the top-five picks. I know he is undersized, and I know the injury scares some. This is a guy who was compared to Brady Aiken before the injury. He would be the top pitching prospect in the Indians system and one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in the minors. Cleveland drafted Justus Sheffield, who is 5’10”, a year ago, so no fear with Allard at 5’11”.

Pick #18, San Francisco Giants: Andrew Benintendi, OF, Arkansas

Selection made by Melissa Lockard, SCOUT MLB Editor

The Giants aren’t married to a particular type when they are selecting in the first round. Some years, they go after the top high school talent; other years, they are the team that scoops up high-performing collegiate players. The Giants’ farm system is rarely ranked among the top-10, yet they tend to maximize their value with top prospects, such as former high-round draft picks turned key contributors like Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford, Tim Lincecum and Joe Panik. Andrew Benintendi has been rising up the charts this season with an SEC Player of the Year performance. He looks like a potential one or two hitter with speed and some power who can possibly stick in centerfield. The Giants have been looking for a long-term fit in center for awhile and Benintendi could be that guy.

Pick #19, Pittsburgh Pirates: Nick Plummer, OF, Brother’s Rice (Mich.) HS

Selection made by George von Benko, Publisher,

Nick Plummer is another Northern high schooler who had a big summer and has continued to swing a good bat once he got going this spring. The Pirates have taken three high school hitters with their three first-round picks in the previous two drafts. Plummer doesn't have a position that he profiles well at, but he can hit. He is a great athlete who is committed to Kentucky.

Pick #20, Oakland Athletics: Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville

Selection made by Melissa Lockard, Editor-in-Chief,

The A’s have been closely tied to many of the top position player prospects in this draft, especially the collegiate hitters such as Donnie Dewees and D.J. Stewart. They will be disappointed to see Andrew Benintendi taken two spots ahead of them by their cross-Bay rivals, as Benintendi would be a good fit in the A’s organization. Despite their interest in drafting a hitter, the A’s won’t be able to pass up on Kyle Funkhouser at this spot. A potential top pick in the draft earlier this spring, Funkhouser has struggled recently and has seen his draft stock slide. His command issues make him a risk, but Funkhouser offers the potential of being that Jeff Samardzija-type horse in the second or third spot in a big league rotation. The A’s have a good track record of developing pitchers and Funkhouser is a guy who could reap the benefits of developing in the A’s system.

Pick #21, Kansas City Royals: Nathan Kirby, LHP, Virginia

Selection made by Ryan Schinstock, Publisher,

Coming into this season, many projected Nathan Kirby to be a top-10 pick. Questions surround Kirby due to a mid-April lat strain. That injury paired with some questionable control (30 walks in 59 innings) has dropped Kirby’s stock. On the upside, he’s a southpaw that can touch the mid 90’s, he has an established slider/change-up combination, and he has an impressive strikeout rate. The Royals see a guy with some polish that, with the right coaching, can move quickly through the system. Though he appears to be a mid-rotation starter, if he can regain the control he exhibited as a sophomore, he has the potential to be a number two starter. The Royals have had some recent success with drafting and developing pitchers, so they won’t shy away from a guy that many people are backing off from because of a minor injury.

Pick #22, Detroit Tigers: Phil Bickford, RHP, Southern Nevada

Selection made by Mark Anderson and Chris Brown, Writers

Everyone likes a big fastball, but the Tigers LOVE big fastballs, so they were extremely pleased to land Phil Bickford at 22. His combination of velocity, deception, and fastball command may give him one of the best heaters in the entire draft. He also flashes a good slider, but his secondary pitches are generally a work-in-progress, and there's some thought that he's ultimately a reliever. That's fine by the Tigers, though, because Bickford has plenty of time to develop (he doesn't turn 20 until July), and the organization has spent high draft picks on very similar players in recent years.

Pick #23, St. Louis Cardinals: Donny Everett, RHP, Clarksville (Tenn.) HS

Selection made by Brian Walton, Publisher,

With the St. Louis Cardinals entering their first draft with an unknown at the helm, new scouting director Chris Correa, no one is sure what approach the team will take. However, organization officials are fond of saying their proven systems remain in place, with the implication that they transcend any individual. That system has led to pitching-heavy early selections in recent drafts as the organization’s success has usually placed them in the upper teens to low 20’s on draft day. Since second baseman Kolten Wong in 2011, four of the Cardinals’ five first-round picks have been pitchers, including three collegians. Two of them have already reached the Majors in Michael Wacha (2012) and Marco Gonzales (2013).

As this mock draft unfolded, I watched with interest as Louisville pitcher Kyle Funkhouser remained on the board. Had Funkhouser been available at 23rd, he would have been my pick, but he went at no. 20. My next preference, Virginia lefty Nathan Kirby, was the next player off the board. These two matched the Cardinals’ recent preference for fast-rising college arms. When my turn came up, my dilemma was choosing between two righties - another polished hurler, UCLA’s James Kaprielian, or a higher-ceiling, higher-risk option, Tennessee high schooler Donny Everett. Because St. Louis has a good young staff in the Majors and two national top-100 pitching prospects almost ready for Double-A in lefty Rob Kaminsky and righty Alex Reyes, I decided the organization could take the time to turn Everett over to their player development staff. They did pretty well in recent years with high school first-rounders Shelby Miller (2009) and Tyrell Jenkins (2010), both now with Atlanta. As Everett was called a high school version of Funkhouser by at least one national analyst and can throw triple digits, my making him the 23rd overall selection does not feel like a stretch in the least.

Pick #24, Los Angeles Dodgers: Drew Finley, RHP, Rancho Bernardo (Calif.) HS

Selection made by Vanessa Armas, Contributor

Drew Finely is a stand-out right-handed pitcher from San Diego. The Dodgers are familiar with Finley because his father is David Finley, an international scout that helped bring in Hector Olivera and Alex Guerrero to LA. The Dodgers most likely have Finley at the top of their list, so no other picks would have impacted their first-round pick decision. Finley demonstrates a solid fastball ranging in the low 90’s and is a toolsy pitcher that has brought attention. The Dodgers could wait on him and hope he’s there with their second pick, but that would be a risk, as he is a big name on the board.

Pick #25, Baltimore Orioles: James Kaprielian, RHP, UCLA

Selection made by Ryan Sullivan,

Baltimore’s system is currently light on talent, so I would expect the Orioles to focus on college players over high school players, all things equal. Certainly hitters are safer than pitchers, but if the opportunity occurs, I would expect the Orioles to pounce on the chance to select James Kaprielian, perhaps the safest pitcher in this draft class. UCLA’S Friday night starter this season, Kaprielian starred for Team USA last summer and continued his excellence for the Bruins, leading them to an overall #1 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. Kaprielian has an impressive three-pitch mix, consisting of a low-90s fastball, solid curveball and an above-average changeup. Kaprielian may not have the greatest ceiling, but in a draft filled with high-risk/high-reward type prospects, his floor is one of the highest in this class. He figures to develop into a quality #4 starter in the Major Leagues.

Pick #26, Los Angeles Angels: D.J. Stewart, OF, Florida State

Selection made by Taylor Blake Ward, Publisher,

Los Angeles selected D.J. Stewart simply because he was the best player available. It has been four years since the Angels have taken a position player with the first pick of the draft, but Stewart is a complete package both defensively and offensively. I did not expect Stewart to fall this low in the draft, and couldn't be more excited to have a mix of good contact and raw power from the left-side. Stewart should be a quick mover through LA’s farm system, and be useful to the big club in the next two to three years. Anytime you can add a left-handed bat with some power tools, it's a plus.

Click Here to View the Compensation and Competitive Balance Round A

Click Here to View Round Two

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