As usual, MinorLeagueMadhouse will be taking its annual summer hiatus barring any major prospect news, because the blog’s proprietor has accepted an internship, this time in Sacred Heart University’s Athletic Department however, the readers will not be left empty handed. After much deliberation, there will be one last mock draft published before the actual draft. The mock will stick to the first round, as well as the compensatory selections. It will be a one post mock, rather than a split, and the analysis will be more on how the player fits with the team, unless the pick in question has not been on the mock draft list before.
Without further delay:
Part of me really thinks that the recent rumors that Arizona is staying as far away from Brendan Rodgers are just a distracting tactic meant to drive down his price tag, but as draft day continues to make its approach, and rumors that the team is considering options like Garrett Whitley and Tyler Stephenson continue to gain steam, it’s become increasingly clear that Rodgers isn’t going to Arizona.
The rule of the first overall pick is that the player is the best player available, unless you’re the Padres, in which case it’s the guy who costs the least amount of money. Thankfully for the D-Backs, there are plenty of candidates for BPA.
Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson has to be arguably the most high profile College World Series MOP since Pat Burrell in 1996, and his follow-up season has been nothing short of impressive, as he led the team in most offensive categories and was ranked in the top 10 in the country in runs. Swanson’s offensive output completely overshadows the fact that he’s played out of position all year. A second baseman, he’s moved to shortstop, but the expectation is that he’ll stay there when he turns pro.
Swanson’s ability as a hitter and a defender makes him a valued commodity; not since Stephen Drew played for Florida State has there been a more high visibility college shortstop. Considering how well he’s adapted to his position change, not to mention the fact that he plays in arguably the toughest college baseball conference in the country, I’d expect his time in the minor leagues would be pretty quick, probably a year and a half.
Swanson would be an immediate upgrade over the current shortstop Nick Ahmed, at least on the offensive side, and given the model of having a primarily offensive shortstop and a defensive shortstop on the roster, he’d be the perfect complement to the offensive output from Paul Goldschmidt and Yasmany Tomas.
2. Houston Astros
The two players that I have the Astros picking in the first round could chance in terms of slot, but it would be crucial if they were the two picks they made. We’ll get to the other one in due time, but let’s focus on Illinois lefty Tyler Jay right now.
At the beginning of the year, Jay was considered a first round candidate, maybe top 15, but definitely not a legitimate number one, especially given the competition for top left handed pitcher, especially with Brady Aiken and Nathan Kirby.
As the year progressed and the aforementioned Aiken and Kirby both fell due to injury, Jay continued to rise, and was a key contributor during Illinois’ 25 game win streak which saw them winning the Big Ten regular season title. Granted, Jay’s work this season has been mostly (read: all but one appearance) in relief, but his potential has led some to believe he could be a legitimate starter, especially since he’s worked long relief and had a solid summer pitching for Team USA last year. Not only that, but he is a potential Golden Spikes Award finalist.
Given Jay’s limited experience as a starter now, I could see the Astros playing this to their advantage, offering a safe deal so they can guarantee that their other pick signs. Granted, the Astros tactics in the past three years have been questionable, but they have been right when it’s come to talent in the past three drafts, so whatever works for them shouldn’t be questioned until it completely fails.
At worst, Jay is strictly a closer or a bullpen member, at best, he becomes a part of a strong rotation. We’ll see what his drafting team has in store for him.
3. Colorado Rockies
The worst kept secret in baseball is that Troy Tulowitzki will definitely not be a career Colorado Rockie, and given the advantageous position the Rockies are in with two or three available shortstops in this year’s draft, I’d be surprised if they went a completely different direction.
Arizona’s hesitance to draft Lake Mary shortstop Brendan Rodgers opens the door for the Rockies to take him. As this year’s Highly Anticipated Prep Shortstop, there is no doubt that he has the ability to make the big leagues faster than any high school talent in this year’s class. After all, Addison Russell and Manny Machado did it before him, what’s to say he won’t continue the trend?
As the consensus top talent in this year’s draft, it’s possible that he would command a high bonus, but if the Rockies play their cards right and draft a low level college senior with their next pick, they could save a lot of money and utilize it to sign Rodgers, a Florida State commit.
Rodgers’ hitting ability and defensive capability make him a well-rounded athlete. While he’s no Trout or Harper, his ceiling has him as a potential star for whatever team takes him. Should the Rockies take him, he would fit well in a future lineup alongside future outfielder David Dahl, forming a lethal combination which would be the spiritual successor to the CarGo-Tulo days.
4. Texas Rangers
The Astros have been lucky enough to find enough diamonds in the rough to establish a solid rotation. The Rangers have bought enough high level offensive talent, but their rotation is putrid without Yu Darvish. Is it time then to build a rotation through the draft?
The Rangers have the benefit of having the 4th pick in a rich college right-handed pitching class, and should the predictions in this mock hold, they’d have first dibs at the righties.
Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer is the latest evidence that height is only a number, as he’s virtually dominated the SEC despite his effort-filled grunty delivery. Fulmer finished second in the NCAA in strikeouts and fourth in wins. Fulmer is also big-game tested, and would boost any rotation.
He’d probably go higher if he worked on his delivery, which may concern teams, but as a potential top 5 pick, he’d more than justify his value here.
5. Houston Astros
Legacy picks are often a big part of the MLB draft, but it’s not often that those picks are good enough to go in the first round. The Astros are in the unique position to potentially have brothers play on their team, which while we’ve seen it with the Upton brothers on the Padres this year, it’s not as common as we are led to believe.
While Brendan Rodgers may be the best prep player in the class ,Gulf Coast HS outfielder Kyle Tucker, brother of Preston, is potentially the best prep hitter, partially because his mechanics, especially with his swing, are so fluid.
While Tucker’s swing is smooth and effortless, and his potential is that of a middle of the order hitter, the big question mark is his attitude, which many scouts have considered is too lackadaisical and a potential turn-off, although some have said it may help him adjust to the minors better than other prep prospects.
The idea of having Preston and Kyle on the same team would definitely be a major chemistry boost, and would definitely be intriguing, especially if Preston is able to keep his spot on the team,
6. Minnesota Twins
I used the same justification in my last mock when i sent Chris Betts to the Cardinals, and I could probably justify the Minnesota Twins taking Kennesaw Mountain HS catcher Tyler Stephenson for the same reason: the incumbent catcher is getting old, and by the time Stephenson would be ready, Kurt Suzuki would likely be retired or playing DH.
Stephenson has been one of the fastest rising prep players in this year’s class. Some scouts have compared his baseball IQ to that of former Georgia Tech star Matt Wieters, and his defense is considered the best among his position, even better than Betts’.
Stephenson may need work on his bat, however, as while he does have power potential, he has the risk of being an all or nothing hitter due to his swing.
At worst, Stephenson is a value pick, as previously mentioned, he was considered a possibility as the number 1 pick, but at best, he’s a project who could emerge as a potential valuable backstop, aiding in the development of the Twins’ pitching surplus.
7. Boston Red Sox
Four years ago, the Red Sox took a New Mexico prep catcher by the name of Blake Swihart with one of their first round selections. Swihart was considered one of the top prep catchers in his class. A year later, the team opted to take a New Mexico prep shortstop in the 29th round. He didn’t sign, and went to LSU where he established himself as possibly one of the best collegiate talents.
LSU shortstop Alex Bregman is a friend of Swihart, and there have been rumors that the Sox want them to play together again. And to be honest, the idea is actually very appealing. Bregman can hit; in his three seasons at Baton Rouge, he’s never hit below .316. He does have home run power, enough to justify hitting him at least 5th in the order. He’s also a big hustler on defense, which while some scouts feel may hinder him in the future, the effort shows that he’s willing to try hard.
I believe I’ve mentioned this several times, but Bregman could theoretically become the heir to Dustin Pedroia’s position. With Xander Bogaerts currently at the shortstop position and Bregman considered a better second base prospect, it seems more likely that he will slide over to the right side of the infield.
8. Chicago White Sox
Players falling in this draft is not an indication of their stock, but rather of the fact that there is plenty of variety in this year’s class. Granted, it’s not as strong as the previous two classes, but still there are plenty of interesting names.
The White Sox may be lucky enough to have one of the consensus top talents fall into their lap, in this case it’s UCSB righty Dillon Tate, who’s enjoyed quite the season since moving from the Gaucho bullpen to the rotation.
Tate has the ability to throw premium gas, and his arsenal of pitches guarantees him a ceiling of a mid rotation starter. Should he fail there, he does have experience as a closer; last year, he finished in the top 25 in saves.
Though the Sox have one of the weaker farm systems due in part to the rise of several prospects to the big league team, Tate, like Carlos Rodon before him, would give them a big boost.
9. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are definitely set on offense for the foreseeable future, to the point where they have the enviable problem of trying to figure out who to get rid of. What they lack in their organization is a homegrown pitcher, set to take over when Hammel, Arrieta and Lester are done.
The prep pitching in this year’s class isn’t as strong as it was in previous years, but there are a few names who could conceivably jump into the top ten given the right circumstances. Among them is Pennsylvania prep righty Mike Nikorak. Nikorak, whose season just ended, may not have gone far in games, and his walk total may be slightly concerning, but his value as a low contact pitcher could have some teams considering him as a possibility.
Nikorak could be a part of a troika that consists of 2014 draftees Carson Sands and Dylan Cease. His stature and his pitches almost ensure that he’ll be contributing in the rotation in the future.
10. Philadelphia Phillies
I have to give credit where it’s due, and it’s that the Phillies are somewhat prepared for the inevitable fire sale that will dismantle their roster. Even if Cole Hamels doesn’t fetch the price the Phillies are asking, the selections of JP Crawford and Aaron Nola, not to mention the signings of Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera have been somewhat smart.
That being said, baseball is the ultimate example of the Law of Averages, and given the Phillies’ draft history, it wouldn’t surprise me if they fall in love with a player that might be a reach here. No offense to Cincinnati outfielder/second baseman Ian Happ. Happ’s calling card is his unique positional versatility; not many baseball players can play first base, second base, and outfield. With that being said, he may find himself in the outfield, but the Phillies would be wise to try him out in each position, given the players that are likely to depart.
Happ has power, he was ranked in the top 25 in home runs this year, and he can hit, he was ranked in the top 50 in average. I see him as a potential successor to Chase Utley.
Having Happ and Crawford in the same infield would be interesting given their ability to hit and defend. It almost brings back the glory days of Rollins and Utley.
11. Cincinnati Reds
Gut feelings usually aren’t meant to have good connotations attached, but there are exceptions to the rule. In this case, my gut feeling here is that the Reds will use their first round pick on one of the two Cincinnati collegians.
If it isn’t Ian Happ, then they certainly will go after local boy and Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi. A rare draft eligible sophomore, Benintendi has been very impressive this year, running away with the SEC Player of the Year after finishing second in the nation in home runs and in the top ten in other major offensive statistics.
Benintendi would fit somewhere in a future outfield consisting of a speedster (Phil Erwin) and a contact guy (Jesse Winker). He has the potential to be a future star, and it’s not often that a local boy gets the chance to star for his home team.
12. Miami Marlins
Another team that seems to be set for the future is the Miami Marlins. Not only are their two top outfielders locked up until the mid 2020s, but they have a young and up and coming rotation, a solid middle infield and a future franchise catcher. What they lack in their future plan are solid corner infielders.
The Marlins could use this pick to go for Griffin HS infielder Cornelius Randolph. Randolph may be listed as a shortstop, but he definitely will move to third in the future. He, like fellow Georgia prep product Daz Cameron, will likely bulk up and be a better power hitter when he turns pro. His reflexes do need work, but as of now, he’s not a defensive liability.
Interestingly enough, Randolph comes from the same high school as current Tampa Bay Rays shortstop and former first overall pick Tim Beckham.
13. Tampa Bay Rays
The beauty of this year’s draft is that there are so many good talents, if one is taken another good one will show up. This is especially good for the Rays, who could be in the market for their next dynamite starter in this year’s class.
Louisville ace Kyle Funkhouser has fluctuated between the top 5 and the top 15. in this year’s draft, mainly because of the emergence of high ceiling arms. While I would love to put Funkhouser above the likes of Dillon Tate, Tyler Jay and Mike Nikorak, I feel that the most comfortable spot for him is somewhere in the middle of the first round proper.
Funkhouser had a pretty average year this year, but his potential and his build suggests that he is bound to be a high value pick. Even though he doesn’t have the zip that most scouts would like, his durability indicates he could be a solid workhorse starter in the middle of a good rotation.
14. Atlanta Braves
Atlanta’s outfield reads like a who’s who of players that were one at the pinnacle of their game. In a few years’ time, they will be replaced by younger and more impressive guys. Thankfully for the Braves, there are plenty of options in this year’s draft for them to consider.
ELCA outfielder Daz Cameron stands ahead of guys like Nick Plummer, Trenton Clark and Garrett Whitley because of his pedigree, and being the son of former Gold Glover and All-Star Mike Cameron is going to get you somewhere. Take that away, and you have a guy who at one time was considered the top talent in the draft. While Cameron failed to live up to his potential in his last year, his stock has rebounded enough for him to possibly be a legitimate early to mid first round pick.
Like Cornelius Randolph, Cameron has a lot of growing to do in order to be a true pro, but once he does, he could potentially surpass his dad as one of the better outfielders of his era. His bat alone carries him to the middle of any order and his speed, arm and glove are strong enough for him to play in center.
Not since Jason Heyward left have the Braves had a legitimate home grown All-Star outfielder, and this could very well be the guy they draft to be their future franchise face.
15. Milwaukee Brewers
The specters of Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley are clearly in the rearview mirror for the Brewers. Gone are the days of making sense and going for the tried and the tested. Last year’s selection of Hawaii prep product Kodi Medeiros was pretty clear about that. So who do they go after now?
Given their weakness in organizational pitching depth, the ideal pick would be a pitcher, and no enigma stands out more than Missouri State’s Jonathan Harris.
Harris was a virtual unknown until recently, in fact, when I went to research him, there was nothing on the NCAA’s career stats page. Still, his stats weren’t eye popping, although he did have a solid Cape League.
Harris is a four pitch pitcher with low to mid level speed pitches which compensate with movement. He’s built tall, but is about ten pounds thinner than expected.
Missouri State has had a first rounder before in current Rangers starter Ross Detwiler, it wouldn’t be impossible to believe that Harris could be another strong possibility.
16. New York Yankees
As much as I would have loved to have kept Kyler Murray here, his decision to go to college and withdraw his name from draft consideration has forced me to change course. Furthermore, the Yankees have failed considerably in developing Derek Jeter’s replacement (see CJ Henry and Cito Culver for reference) and it’s possible that in this pitching rich class, they may want to look for CC Sabathia’s replacement.
The Yankees like winners, and nothing says winner like a College World Series hero. Vanderbilt’s Walker Buehler completes the Vandy troika, and while he tailed off from his sophomore year, he still was a strong part of the Commodore staff.
Buehler is not sized to be an ace, but a back end rotation arm, he could be. A year younger than former first rounder Ty Hensley, Buehler’s accelerated development ensures that at least one arm could join Ian Clarkin as a potential future 1-2 punch.
17. Cleveland Indians
Another example of a team that seems to be primed for future offensive domination but would do well to add some future pitchers is the Indians. Granted, they did just sign Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco to megadeals, but it’s always good to have a sustainability or contingency plan when their run of dominance is up.
Back in January, I mocked Cathedral High School pitcher Ashe Russell to Cleveland, and I think it’s possible that he returns to this spot. Russell has been considered the top prep pitcher, although my gut tells me he could be a tough sign, potentially dropping him a bit.
Baseball America’s most recent mock pointed out that Russell has been more consistent than Mike Nikorak in terms of his velocity, but he is smaller by an inch and ten pounds. Additionally, he does need to fine tune his delivery in order to stay in a rotation. Still, he could make a strong case to be a back end starter in about 4-5 years, with a possibility of going higher.
18. San Francisco Giants
Looking at the Giants’ top 20 prospects, you can tell that there’s a major emphasis on pitching, and that’s a good thing, considering the ballpark they play in. However, in baseball, it doesn’t hurt to develop hitting to complement pitching.
There are four big prep outfielders in this year’s draft, but none have experienced a rise as big as Niskayuna outfielder Garrett Whitley. Considered one of the major sleepers of the draft, Whitley was even debated as a top pick for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Whitley’s speed and contact hitting makes him look like a raw version of Hunter Pence, except in this case, he could be an asset in centerfield.
The one red flag for Whitley is that he’s from uncharted territory. Niskayuna is not what you would call a baseball hotbed, in fact, Whitley is the first potential MLB draft pick from the school. Still, his ability to play in all weather will give him somewhat of an advantage to his southern counterparts.
Incidentally, the Giants have had experience drafting talent from New York, taking Joe Panik from St. John’s four years ago. Although there hasn’t been enough time to properly evaluate him, it’s a possibility that the Giants could use him as motivation to grab Whitley here.
19. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates love big names, as their recent draft history would indicate. and they’re not averse to taking big risks, see Josh Bell and Mark Appel for reference. Their system could use a left handed pitching project, and there are two big names here that were, at one time, considered top 5 talents.
IMG’s Brady Aiken is probably the biggest celebrity of this draft. He’s an ideal starter who has solid stuff, and his ability and potential allowed him to catapult above players like Tyler Kolek and Carlos Rodon to be the top pick. The one killer to his stock was the UCL issue which eventually forced him to get Tommy John surgery. In fact, there are concerns that he may not reach the level he did last year.
One thing is for certain; Much like Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde last year, whomever drafts Aiken this year will have to wait a year to see how he throws. It’s obvious he’ll be handled with kid gloves, something the Pirates are used to doing, see Jameson Taillon for reference, but should Aiken bounce back, he’ll be a worthwhile risk to take.
Incidentally, as a fun side note, it would be fun to see the Pirates draft a former Astros first round pick after the Astros drafted the Pirates’ first round pick last year.
20. Oakland Athletics
Oakland’s purge of offensive talent with little to no star prospect power has left them grasping for straws, and while they may have some bright spots adequately filling in, there is no clearer signal that Billy Beane is going to lean back on his old Moneyball crutch.
Every year, there is an ideal moneyball candidate, and this year’s example just happens to fall into the A’s lap: DJ Stewart, the hulking Florida State outfielder, has a body built for power, but a mind more oriented to getting on base. Stewart may have a talent for drawing walks, but he isn’t a liability on the basepaths.
Stewart may have had a bit of a slump this year, but he still managed to hit .above .315. He also managed to finish in the top 5 in on base percentage, the top 40 in home runs, and be the national leader in walks.
If Stewart can tap into his power, he has the potential to be Josh Donaldson’s spiritual successor, potentially bringing excitement back to the Bay.
21. Kansas City Royals
The Royals have enough good pitching and enough young Major League offensive talent for them to do whatever they want with this pick, as well as the one they have in the compensatory round. That being said, this could be where the picks become less obvious and more “what am I losing if I go for this option?”
In an ideal world, the Royals go for a developmental player, one who takes enough time to mature for him to come up as another player goes. In this case, it’s Plano High School outfielder Mitch Hansen. Hansen is like a hitter’s version of Aaron Nola, a jack of all trades but a master of none. He has good contact, good power, good speed and good defense. What he needs is to improve them.
Hansen has been compared to swiss army knife players like Michael Saunders and Brandon Nimmo. In an American League lineup, he’d probably land in the 6 hole. Still, his potential for growth definitely could lead to his stock rising further in this draft.
22. Detroit Tigers
As I have pointed out several times in this mock draft, the amount of pitching in this year’s class almost ensures that a team picking later gets an above average arm. Heck, some teams might even get a pitcher who at one point was considered a top 10 pick.
I could see the Tigers drafting a future replacement for either Justin Verlander or David Price here, and depending on how much time they want to invest, they could definitely take a lefty.
Between Duke’s Michael Matuella and UVA’s Nathan Kirby, I feel the Tigers will go for the latter. Kirby is the latest in a long line of UVA pitchers that goes back to Danny Hultzen. Kirby may not have improved as much on his excellent sophomore season, mainly due to fatigue, but he’s not as much of a risk as Matuella, Kolby Allard or Brady Aiken.
Kirby could run through the system quickly, and be ready in time to take the reins from Verlander. He definitely has ace material and could be a late gem.
23. St. Louis Cardinals
The catcher class in this year’s draft is a major dropoff from year’s past. While we were fortunate enough to have Max Pentecost and Kyle Schwarber (since moved to outfield) last year, and the decent class of 2013 and the super class of 2012, this year, there are two definitive first round talents. A team looking to grab a catcher who’s out of range may have to wait until 2016 when guys like Chris Okey and Jeremy Martinez are available.
The Cardinals would be in a position, however to get a catcher now, thanks to Chris Betts of Wilson High School. Maybe it’s because of Tyler Stephenson’s rising stock, but Betts has gone from being the consensus number 1 to a very certain number 2. Still, Betts is a good catcher in his own right.
He fits the mold of a slow runner, but amazing defensive star. Furthermore, his bat is great, allowing him to be a middle of the order run producer.
Betts’ development easily coincides with Yadier Molina’s twilight years, and in all likelihood, he’ll be up by the time Molina is ready to call it quits. Learning from one of the greatest catchers in our era will definitely do Betts some good though.
24. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers would love to have a pitcher who can contribute almost immediately, and while it’s inadvisable for players to make that type of jump after being drafted, it’s not unprecedented.
Yet another known first rounder in this year’s class, Phil Bickford felt that he was ready to go pro after a year at Fullerton. Bickford’s transfer to College of Southern Nevada, while controversial, has certainly produced no ill effects, as he’s won 9 games and kept a sub 2.00 ERA.
Bickford’s run through college has been impressive enough that I feel he could make a case for an early debut in the Majors. His stuff has high velocity and he can control it.
Bickford, like Aiken, could be seen as a hard sign, but a team willing to fork over money will definitely be doing themselves a service.
25. Baltimore Orioles
Another strength in this draft is that of the shortstop class. Whether it’s prep shortstops or college shortstops, there’s definitely a good amount of talent. Baltimore may be chugging along with Everth Cabrera holding the fort for JJ Hardy, but the clear indication should be that they should develop a future successor, not a band-aid.
This college season, I have grown to like Kevin Newman. He’s a fast athlete, he’s gutsy, he can hit for a high average, and he’s tough to strike out, qualities that fit a solid leadoff hitter.
While Newman’s bat probably would be a better fit in a bigger stadium, I think that he could still make Camden Yards work. As a defensive player, he compensates for his range deficiency with hustle and leadership, also admirable qualities.
Newman would be a fine asset for the Orioles to develop, and I hope that he can make himself known in the minors.
26. Los Angeles Angels
If there’s anything the Angels could use in their future plans, it’s hitters to replace their aging stars. Albert Pujols may be on a mega contract, but I doubt he stays for the duration of the deal. In this case, the Angels could go for a power bat to transition in the future.
Although this may be a bit of a reach, I think Chris Shaw of BC could definitely make a solid case as a late first round pick. After a slow start that was further complicated by injury, Shaw rebounded to hit .319 with 11 home runs. numbers that were somewhat expected of him.
Shaw’s power combined with Angel Stadium’s dimensions make him an ideal candidate. He’s a smaller Lucas Duda a capable defender who has the potential to provide offensive protection for Mike Trout. If Shaw can avoid injury and play to his full potential, he definitely will be worth the reach.
27. Colorado Rockies
Although the Rockies drafted a lefty a year before, I feel that they could double dip and go after a guy whose stock has slipped here.
Kolby Allard is definitely better than his position suggests, it’s just back issues have dropped his stock. Though he’s not built as big as your typical pitcher, he still can pitch like one, and given the Rockies’ assets, he would fit well in the back end of the rotation.
It does take time for pitchers to get a feel for throwing in thin air, but Allard has the benefit of time, given his injury and prep status.
28. Atlanta Braves
A young outfield will go far for the Braves, and with Braxton Davidson and Daz Cameron hypothetically in the fold, it’s possible the team could go for one of the high value prep bats.
Nick Plummer fits here because of his contact and his speed. He’ll make a strong case for a corner outfield spot and his bat will offer good protection in a future Braves lineup.
29. Toronto Blue Jays
Demi Orimoloye may be one of the more interesting prospects partially because he’s essentially an in-province product. Even if he has that going for him, he also is a strong hitter and a physical specimen with solid defense.
The Jays’ attempts to “go Canadian” have been well-received by fans, and in a class where there are 3 top Canadian prospects, it would be a disappointment if the Jays missed out on all three.
30. New York Yankees
If a guy like Slade Heathcott can have his top prospect status resurrected, who’s to say that a guy like Michael Matuella can’t have his? Matuella may have an injury history and he may have to wait a year before he gets back on the mound, but the Yankees have somehow managed to make lemonade out of young, injured hurlers before.
31. San Francisco Giants
Justin Hooper is a tall, weird bodied lefty, but his pitches are intriguing and his ceiling as a possible future ace make him hard to ignore. San Francisco is also a 50 minute drive from De La Salle High School, so they must have good intel on him. Assuming most of the power bats are gone by this time, I’d expect them to invest in another southpaw.
32. Pittsburgh Pirates
I like the idea of Ke’Bryan Hayes in Pittsburgh because his power, effortless swing and fielding ability allow him to eventually replace Pedro Alvarez. If he can bulk up, he’d definitely be a middle of the order producer. Hayes is also one of the youngest players in this year’s draft, giving the team ample time to develop him.
33. Kansas City Royals
One of the more underrated prospects despite leading the nation in home runs, David Thompson continues to be my favorite player in this draft. The Royals could use him at first base or DH where he could fill the Billy Butler role, although his defense is still good. In my opinion, Thompson is possibly one of the most underrated players in the draft.
34. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers could recoup a lot of the pitching they lost in the offseason by getting both a college and a prep arm. Donny Everett of Clarksville has popped up on draft boards as a late first rounder. While I’ve ignored him as of late, I think now would be a good time to acknowledge his arm and admit that he could be an anchor in any rotation. He’d definitely slide in in 4-5 years time.
35. Los Angeles Dodgers
If the Dodgers go best player available, then they’ll probably invest highly in Richland’s Trent Clark. I feel that Clark could be a tough sign as he has major potential and could command a high bonus. Still, his athleticism is hard to ignore and I think he’d make a strong case as a future replacement for Andre Ethier.
36. Baltimore Orioles
If the Orioles can grab both Kevin Newman and Scott Kingery in the same draft, they could have the benefit of a double play combo that has three years of experience together, forming an exceptionally cohesive unit. Kingery’s bat also has him as a lower end run producer, but there is potential for growth.