In just 24 hours MLB draft madness will be upon us. While it certainly has the least amount of fanfare among the four major sports, I find it to be by far the most fascinating. In Football and Basketball so much of the focus is immediate, mostly due to the older nature of prospects, particularly in football. This relies heavily on opportunity and fit with a team’s style and system. The NHL in many ways sits in the middle between the other two sports and baseball. But baseball, that’s a whole different story. In baseball it’s all about projection and development. Even the most MLB ready player spends a year plus in the minors developing. The other end of the spectrum is prep players that can marinate in the lower levels for 3-4 years. It’s an animal unto itself. So today I give you the final installment of my pre-draft posts. You can check the other two here and here. I’m going to begin with a quick mock, and follow that up with some general notes and thoughts. Let’s make this interactive, as more information matriculates, and the draft rumors circulate feel free to post what you’re hearing in the comments.
1. Phillies: A.J. Puk, LHP | Florida
2. Reds: Nick Senzel, 3B | Tennessee
3. Braves: Kyle Lewis, OF | Mercer
4. Rockies: Jason Groome, LHP | Barnegat HS (NJ)
5. Brewers: Delvin Perez, SS | International Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico)
6. Athletics: Mickey Moniak, OF | La Costa Canyon HS (Cali)
7. Marlins: Braxton Garrett, LHP | Florence HS (Ala)
8. Padres: Riley Pint, RHP | St. Thomas Aquinas HS (Kan)
9. Tigers: Matt Manning, RHP | Sheldon HS (Cali)
10. White Sox: Corey Ray, OF | Louisville
11. Mariners: Justin Dunn, RHP | Boston College
12. Red Sox: Dakota Hudson, RHP | Mississippi State
13. Rays: Josh Lowe, 3B | Pope HS (GA)
14. Indians: Blake Rutherford, OF | Chaminade HS, (Cali)
15. Twins: Alex Kirilloff, OF | Plum HS (Penn)
16. Angels: Nolan Jones, 3B | Holy Ghost Prep (Penn)
17. Astros: Zack Collins, C | Miami
18. Yankees: Ian Anderson, RHP | Shenendehowa HS (NY)
19. Mets: Will Craig, 3B | Wake Forrest
20. Dodgers: Jordan Sheffield, RHP: Vanderbilt
21. Blue Jays: Cal Quantrill, RHP Stanford
22. Pirates: T.J. Zeuch, RHP Pittsburgh
23. Cardinals: Gavin Lux, SS Indian Trail Academy (WI)
24. Padres: Forrest Whitley, RHP San Antonio (TX)
25. Padres: Matt Thaiss, C Virginia
26. White Sox: Cody Sedlock, RHP Illinois
27. Orioles: Zack Burdi, RHP Louisville
28. Nationals: Drew Mendoza, 3B Lake Minneola HS (FLA)
29. Nationals: Bryan Reynolds, OF Vanderbilt
30. Rangers: Will Benson, OF Atlanta (GA)
31. Mets: Taylor Trammell, OF Mount Paran Christian School (GA)
32. Dodgers: Eric Lauer, LHP Kent State
33. Cardinals: Robert Tyler, RHP Georgia
34. Cardinals: Logan Shore, RHP Florida
- The top three is pretty much set at Puk, Senzel, and Lewis. There’s some chance that Lewis and Senzel flip-flop spots, but I’m pretty confident Senzel goes two. Of the three Lewis is my favorite in terms of future fantasy value. The knock on him is the competition he faced at Mercer. Does it matter if he dominated said competition winning consecutive player of the year awards and competing for a triple crown? He’s a local Georgia product and the Braves have a long and storied history with local products.
- The Rockies are the biggest question mark to me in the top ten. From a fantasy perspective, which is like a think tank in cosplay clothing, the Rockies have the ability to boost a hitter’s stock or kill a pitcher’s. I have a feeling they keep going arm and grab the potentially highest upside prospect in the draft in Jason Groome. The organization is stocked with hitters, but still lacks impact arms. They love lefties with big potential, so I think they go that direction. The other player they’ve been linked to is California High School player Mickey Moniak.
- This draft is chock full of good prep arms, among them my favorite is Braxton Garrett. His performance at the NHSI was legendary. He also posses one of the better breaking balls in the draft. He has an advanced approach for a prep player, and brings a boatload of intangibles. He’s the son of a coach and a true gamer. If he drops outside of the top ten, highly unlikely, he could be the steal of the draft.
- With Moniak, Rutherford, Jones, and Kirilloff there are a ton of good prep hitters this year. Factor in Gavin Lux, Will Benson, Taylor Trammell, Drew Mendoza, and all the prep arms, and you might say this first round is high school heavy. It’s like a pool party at R. Kelly’s studio apartment!!!
- Many have stated that Puerto Rican shortstop Delvin Perez could have the highest ceiling of any player in the draft. He’s not getting past Milwaukee at fifth IMO. Everyone meet J.B.’s new binkie! Interesting side note, Perez is the first Puerto Rican to go in the first round since Carlos Correa. Heady company Delvin.
- I really like Logan Shore as a back of the first round sleeper. I have him going to the Cardinals at 34, and think that’s a best case scenario for player and team. He’s been Florida’s Friday night starter (college ace) over A.J. Puk for a couple of years, and is very much a polished pitcher to Puk’s stuff and project-ability. The Cardinals love guys like that, and he’s exactly the kind of player they could develop. I actually have them doubling up on polished college arms at the end of the first round with Shore and Robert Tyler from Georgia.
- The Red Sox selection of Dakota Hudson is a bit of a hope of mine. As both a Red Sox fan and advocate of Dakota Hudson I really hope this happens. They need pitching in their system, particularly someone who can move quickly through it. The Sox farm as good as it is, is short on safer arms. I think Hudson has big league starter written all over him.
- From 13-18 I have a serious prep run going, with only Miami catcher Zack Collins mixed in at 17. All those picks seem to make sense but I doubt it plays out like that, but my research kept leading me back there.
- Collins is an interesting player and he could go anywhere from pick 10-20. He’s a college catcher with little chance of sticking at the position. My guess is he moves to first full time within a year. Whoever takes him will at least kick the tires on him catching, because the possibility of an offensive catcher is something no team will deny.
- Justin Dunn, who I briefly touched on in my Sunday post has to be the biggest climber up draft boards this season. He started out as Boston College’s closer, but big upside, and a four pitch repertoire pushed him into the rotation, where he shined, leading the Eagles into the College World Series. In a draft without a ton of certainty from the college pitchers available, Dunn seems like one of the riskier options for teams.
- Zack Burdi is an interesting prospect, he could project as a future star pen arm or could be converted to a starter. He’s a flamethrower with a 100 MPH fastball and is also the younger brother of Twins farmhand Nick Burdi.
- The award for the least signable prep player goes to, Drew Mendoza. It’s said that $3 million might not be enough to get him to scrap his commitment to FSU.
- Cal Quantrill, son of former dog shizz pitcher Paul, has the greatest variation of draft position. he could go as early as 8th overall to the Padres, or potentially could drop to them at 24. Though the latter scenario is unlikely.
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