MLB Mock Draft: First and Last Edition

Jason
Jason Groome Is most likely going to be the number one overall pick, according to multiple reports. Credit: Doug Hood/Gannett New Jersey

This is my first and only MLB mock draft I will do this season. Honestly, there is not a clear cut number one pick, but there are five or six players that could go first overall, but we will see on June 6, 2016. Most of these kids are committed to going to a college team, but that all changes as negotiations happened after the draft. Lastly, my favorite prospect in this draft is Carter Kieboom from Walton HS in Georgia and the biggest steal in this draft will be Dakota Hudson from Mississippi State University. Best of luck to every team in this year’s draft and to the prospects as well.

First Round

1. Philadelphia Phillies – Jason Groome, LHP, Barnegat HS (New Jersey)

Groome has been rumored to go number one, but beside that, he is a left handed pitching prospect that lots of teams would love to get their hands on, plus he is in high school, so the Phillies can teach him their ways. If everything goes well with his development, the Phillies can see a potential rotation that could consist of Aaron Nola, Vincent Velasquez, Jerad Eickhoff, Jason Groome, and Jake Thompson. Those five young guns can become a deadly rotation. Groome is a big lefty (6’6″, 220 lbs) that can throw a fastball 96 mph, but it usually sits at 93-94 mph and he pairs it with a vicious curveball and a work in progress changeup that he does not throw it a lot, but has good sink. Lastly, Groome is committed to playing ball at Vanderbilt.

2. Cincinnati Reds – Riley Pint, RHP, St. Thomas Aquinas HS (Kansas)

Pint is committed to LSU, but he has a chance to go number one, but landing as the second pick of the draft is still really good. He is going to a young team that will need Pint in 3 to 4 years. Pint has more of an electrifying arm than Groome, but he lacks consistency with his mechanics by not repeating the same arm slot to find the strike zone. Now, his arsenal is the electrifying part, which he throws a fastball at a consistent 93-97 mph that did reach 102 in the spring. Another pitch that gets lots of praise is his power curve that is so powerful that he can turn it into a hard slider, plus his changeup is not used as much, but brings good fade. The Reds rotation down the road should potentially look different with Rasiel Iglesias, Brandon Finnegan, Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, and Riley Pint or Amir Garrett. Pint could be a potential closer with his arsenal and that all depends on how the Reds use him throughout the minors.

3. Atlanta Braves – Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer

The Braves have zero outfield prospects in their top ten prospects list with the two closest sitting at number 11 (Mallex Smith) and 15 (Braxton Davidson). Now, the outfield should consist of Braxton Davidson in left field, Mallex Smith in center field, and Kyle Lewis in right field. Smith is already in the big leagues. The Braves have a hole in left field, but right field is covered for another two seasons with Markakis making a respectable $10.5 mil per year. Now, the Mercer product is just like Jason Heyward, but with less of a glove, but could be a better hitting prospect than him. Hits to all fields with good bat speed and leverage.

4. Colorado Rockies – A.J. Puk, LHP, Florida

The Rockies continue to find young pitching that can make a difference in the future and they do so by taking Puk. The Gator product should have been the number one pick, but inconsistent play has him looking as a wild card as landing as the number one overall pick. He does throw a 96-97 mph fastball at a consistent level, which he has a chance on reaching 100 mph if he continues to get stronger, which he already is. The 6’7″ southpaw does have the best raw stuff in the draft. In addition, he throws a plus slider at 88-90 mph. If he can maintain his velocity deep into starts his changeup could help him dearly, plus the changeup is his third pitch that could be at best as an average pitch. The Rockies rotation with all their top young starters should potentially include Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman, Kyle Freeland, A.J. Puk, and German Marquez. That could be a nice rotation for Rockie fans to dream about.

5. Milwaukee Brewers – Joey Wentz, LHP, Shawnee Mission East HS (Kansas)

Here is the first shocking pick of the draft. Wentz is another big southpaw standing at 6’5″ and being a southpaw attracts teams and why pass up on a big lefty. Wentz is committed to Virginia, but he should go and sign with the team as he had a dead arm problem and is still lucky to be a potential top 10 pick. Wentz throws his fastball anywhere from 90 to 95 mph and should throw faster and harder, but his armside runs at a different angle that makes it hard to achieve a faster velocity, but a team will fix him up and you will see him hit 92-95 mph. Now, his secondary pitches will save him, which he throws a good curve, but a polished changeup that fades well. A pro about Wentz is his arm action that comes out clean and the athlete in him allows him to repeat his delivery and throw strikes easily. Scouts also love his competitive makeup and envision him becoming a solid two or three starter in the big leagues. The Brewers lack top pitching prospects down in their minors besides Jorge Lopez, Josh Hader, and Kodi Medeiros.

6. Oakland Athletics – Corey Ray, OF, Louisville

Oakland is salivating on seeing Corey Ray falling to them at pick number six. Ray could go as high as number one, but it is hard to pass up on pitching and especially left-handed pitchers. Ray swings a quick bat, but makes hard contact every time, which gives the young outfielder the potential to hit for both power and average. Ray sprays the ball around the whole field and has done a better job of managing the strike zone and making consistent contact this spring. He can play any outfield spot with his speed and arm, but with Billy Burns in center field and looking like he will be there for a while with Khris Davis and Josh Reddick being older in the corners, the A’s can see a new outfield in the future with either Skye Bolt or Jaycob Brugman playing left field with Burns in center and Corey Ray in right field. The Louisville product could excel quickly through the A’s minor league system that will allow Ray to be in the major leagues in two years. Lastly, if Ray makes it to the big leagues within two years, he could be part of a nice outfield that would kick Davis as the team’s designated hitter.

 

7. Miami Marlins – Braxton Garrett, LHP, Florence HS (Alabama)

Garrett is the first small lefty off the board, even though is his big, but not bigger than the previous southpaws selected in front of him. He is 6’3″, but weighs in at 190 lbs. This Alabama kid is committed to playing his college ball at Vanderbilt and I expect him to go there. This is the best curveball from a southpaw, but from a high school pitcher in this draft as it spins like crazy and sits around 76-80 mph with a good depth. Also, his fastball sits at 88-94 mph, but it gets late life by the way he delivers the ball to deceive the hitter. That fastball will get faster when he builds up his frame. His changeup is almost up there as he threw it more this past season. If all goes well, the Marlins future rotation should include Jose Fernandez, Tyler Kolek, Braxton Garrett, Justin Nicolino, and either Jarlin Garcia or Kendry Flores. This is an interesting rotation, but I do not expect Fernandez to be there in a realistic standpoint.

8. San Diego Padres – Delvin Perez, SS, International Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico)

The Padres have a glaring hole at the shortstop position and Perez has a chance to grow in this system and be their future at that position. Once drafted, he will be their best shortstop prospect as the other three within the top five have struggled. Those three are Javier Guerra (no.2), Ruddy Giron (no.4), and Jose Rondon (no.5). The Padres have a weak farm system, which is why these prospects are up there near the top. Perez has the tools to stay at shortstop with his good speed, hands, and instincts, which allows him to have excellent range to his left or right and he can deliver a strike to first base. Now, he needs to refine his approach to the plate along with his pitch recognition, but he can attack a fastball quickly and expect power to come into his swing when he progresses over time.

9. Detroit Tigers – Mickey Moniak, OF, La Costa Canyon HS (California)

Moniak passed Rutherford, but entering the year it was the other way around, but Moniak’s ability to play center field in the long term has him over Rutherford. Moniak makes consistent hard contact against the best pitching competition. He has a good approach at the plate and can spray line drives to all fields. Moniak will add strength over time, but right now he is a double machine, which is fine. His better than average speed works on both sides of the ball, as he can steal bags or run around the bases and on the other hand he can cover lots of ground defensively, which is why he has the ability to win a Gold Glove in his bright future. Moniak gets high marks for his baseball instincts and effort. He is committed to UCLA. Maybin and Gose will not be there in the future as Moniak seems to be their future centerfielder with Derek Hill and Christian Stewart or Steven Moya in the corner outfield spots.

10. Chicago White Sox – Ian Anderson, RHP, Shenendehowa HS (New York)

Tall and projectable with the ability to add more strength. Anderson throws his fastball around 91-95 mph with a good downhill angle. His breaking ball is up and down at times, getting swings and misses, but needs to be more consistent. It is a slurve like action at this point, but he could tighten up more on the pitch to make it a hard slider. Anderson has good feel for an average changeup as well. He’s generally around the strike zone and attacks hitters. He is committed to Vanderbilt, which he will most likely go there as most players do. The White Sox pitching prospects are limited and some are not pitching the way the White Sox would like, so they bolster their pitching depth with a chance to see a future rotation that consist of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Carson Fulmer, and Ian Anderson.

11. Seattle Mariners – Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State

Hudson was previously drafted back by the Rangers in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, but opted to go to college and it has worked out as he is a top 15 pick. The Bulldog can throw a 93-95 mph heater that can reach up to 97 mph, which can either run up sink low. His best pitch is a nasty slider that cuts like a cutter that combines the best features of both, upper-80s velocity and true slider break. Hudson’s curveball and changeup give him two more effective offerings. The Mariners are getting a pitcher that could be up in two seasons and could potentially be in late inning situations if the rotation is filled out, but he has the tools to be a frontline starter. The Mariners rotation could have Felix Hernandez, Taijuan Walker, Edwin Diaz, Dakota Hudson, and maybe James Paxton.

12. Boston Red Sox – Connor Jones, RHP, Virginia

Jones has pitched at the biggest stage in college baseball. He throws a heavy fastball up to 93-94 mph, but sits around 90-92 range, but it is lower as Jones likes more sink to it than rise. Jones will throw two breaking balls, a curve to get strike one and a good slider with good, late bite that he can use as his bread-and-butter pitch. He’ll also mix in a solid changeup with good movement. Jones can work with many pitches which will help him as he does not have the same ceiling as the other college arms coming out. If the rotation does not work out, he would be a solid setup man. If a starter, he could join David Price, Henry Owens, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, or maybe if Porcello is not there in the future they could see Trey Ball evolve into a better pitcher and maybe Michael Kopech or Anderson Espinoza.

13. Tampa Bay Rays – Forrest Whitley, RHP, Alamo Heights HS (Texas)

The Rays farm system has taken a hit over the past seasons as many of their first round picks have not panned out like Josh Sale and Brandon Martin. From their pitching prospects, they are developing nicely, but they need to stock up on more as that has always been the Rays cream of the crop. Whitley will join a farm system that develops pitching prospects nicely, like Blake Snell, Brent Honeywell and in the past in developing David Price, James Shields, James Shields and etc. Whitley is committed to FSU, but the Rays are very good at changing these high school player’s minds about jumping into the organization. Now, Whitley is a big right handed pitcher who stands in at 6’7″ and weighs 225 lbs. He has a perfect arsenal that consists of three pitches. The fastball sits around 92-97 mph that interestingly has a cutting action at the lower end of that range and some running life at the upper end. His power curveball tops out in the low 80s with tight spin and good depth, and he uses it also as a hard slider. Thirdly, he throws a changeup that has come a long way and he used it more this spring, and it drops at the plate and shows flashes of becoming a third plus offering. The Rays love their pitchers to have a deadly changeup as we have seen with Alex Cobb and others in the past.

14. Cleveland Indians – Matt Manning, RHP, Sheldon HS (California)

The Loyola Marymount commit will most likely forgo heading into college by being a top 15 pick. Manning is 6’6″ and weighs 185 lbs, who throws 96-97 mph with his fastball in early parts of the games. He combines that with hard, power curve that has very good bit to it. His changeup will be his third pitch, but he’s shown some feel for it and it should be a viable option in the future. He needs to work more on his secondary pitches to help him setup his power fastball as he progresses throughout the Indians system. He is an athlete that plays basketball also, which he gets that from his father, Rich Manning, who played in the NBA. Manning’s size, athleticism, stuff and projectability is drawing lots of potential suitors to look at him carefully. He will be a project like player, but it could pay off as you do not need him right away as he can develop. In the future he could be with Brady Aiken, Justus Sheffield, Mike Clevinger, Rob Kaminsky, and Danny Salazar.

15. Minnesota Twins – Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade College Prep (California)

The Twins future outfield should be very good with Buxton in center field, moving Sano back to left field, and Rutherford in right field. That would be an interesting outfield. They do have Kepler, but he struggles to stay healthy, which could lead himself to end up playing first base when Mauer is ready to go via trade or retirement. Rutherford is another UCLA recruit like Moniak. Rutherford could end up being an above-average hitter with above-average raw power. He’ll record average to plus run times, and his speed helps him on the basepaths and in the outfield. Rutherford is a solid defender in the outfield, though most feel he’ll move to right field in the future. Lastly, this kid can do anything on the baseball field.

16. Los Angeles Angels – Nick Senzel, 3B/2B, Tennessee

The Volunteer product is versatile by being able to show that he can play third and second base. He moved to third base this past season, but his bat value will be better off as a second baseman. Quick hands and feet, with a solid arm. Has solid speed to also swipe some bags. He combines strength and bat speed from the right side of the plate, and his patient all-fields approach should help him to hit for both average and power. He led the Cape in runs (33), hits (56), doubles (16), RBIs (33), extra-base hits (21), total bases (86), slugging (.558) and OPS (.976), earning MVP honors and winning the league’s Top Prospect Award from scouts. He can escalate quickly through their minors as they have the worst farm in baseball, as they traded all of their top prospects away. Cowart and Kubitza should be the future third baseman. Johnny Giavotella is the team’s current second baseman and has filled in nicely, but is not the future there for them.

17. Houston Astros – Kyle Muller, LHP, Jesuit College Prep (Texas)

Muller is committed to Texas and should go there as he should use it as a development spot, also it is close to Houston so that they can scout him quicker. His heater that now sits in the low 90s and climbs as high as 95 mph. His fastball features some sink and tail, and he uses his 6-foot-5 frame to create angle and plane that are difficult for hitters to handle. Next, his curveball is inconsistent due to his delivery, which can get a bit methodical, but it should give him a solid second offering if he tweaks his delivery. He also shows feel for a changeup with some fade and tumble that he will need to use more at the next level. A quality athlete who already has a big league build body. Astros could use a top southpaw prospect in their farm system as there is only one on their top 30 (Michael Freeman, no.30). By the time Muller is ready, Dallas Kuechel will most likely be gone like most of the other starters except Lance McCullers. Their future rotation should have Lance McCullers, Kyle Muller, Francis Martes, David Paulino, and Joe Musgrove.

18. New York Yankees – Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Vanderbilt

The Yankees will love this advanced pitcher, as their biggest rivals, the Boston Red Sox drafted him back in 2013 in the the 13th round, but Sheffield opted to go to college instead, which has paid off as he is a top 20 pick. Sheffield can flame in a fastball around 94-96 mph, which it reaches 98 at a good rate, also a good pickup on Sheffield’s fastball is that he can maintain his velocity in late innings of his starts. Sheffield throws a hard three-quarters slot breaking ball that is more like a slider than a curveball and should completely develop into a slider. His circle changeup is a work in progress, but he showed that he can produce outs with it. Of all the pitching prospects in the 2016 Draft, Sheffield may have the best chance to develop three plus offerings. Sheffield could come with concerns as he is smaller like Marcus Stroman. His combination of explosive stuff and small stature draws reminds me of Stroman. As for that, his size and his medical history lead to concerns about his durability as a starter. The effort he puts into every delivery leads to overthrows and he needs to work on throwing strikes consistently. He could be a very good setup man as Betances should become the closer in a year or two. Sheffield will get up to Double-A quickly.

19. New York Mets – Alex Kirilloff, OF, Plum HS (Pennsylvania)

Kirilloff is considering playing for Liberty, but I think he will sign with the Mets if drafted there. He is a corner outfielder, but his bat value does not profile a corner outfielder, but it can at a point as he will progress in the minors as he can barrel up any ball and swing for raw power. Not lots of length in his swing, which is a concern, but you can tweak his stance and swing. He is more athletic than people think. He plays center field for his high school team, but will fit better as a corner outfielder. He has a strong arm. He could potentially be part of a young outfield with Alex Kirilloff in left, Brandon Nimmo in center, and Wuilmer Becerra in right. That is a nice group of potential starting outfielders.

20. Los Angeles Dodgers – Cal Quantril, RHP, Stanford

This is the Dodgers first pick of the draft and they take a pitcher who will help bolster the pitching depth in LA. When healthy, he brings an outstanding four-pitch mix, which is a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s, and he can locate it well. He has both a curve and slider, with the former ahead of the latter, and his changeup has good fade and sink. He has an outstanding feel for pitching and a plus mound presence, which is a bonus. The Stanford Cardinal product had Tommy John surgery in 2015, but scouts will not shy away from him because of that. With the Dodgers you never know if their pitchers will end up as starters or relievers in their system or they usually get traded, but with Friedman in charge, they will look to develop their own players.

21. Toronto Blue Jays – Jared Horn, RHP, Vintage HS (California)

The Blue Jays got burned by the R.A. Dickey deal, they traded away lots of top pitching prospects, so now the front office needs to regroup now and draft pitching, which is the team’s biggest needs as they struggle in the major leagues. Horn is committed to California and we will see if he goes to college or the pros. Horn has been impressive and scouts have him shooting up their boards. The 6-foot-3 righty needs to bulk up the muscle to make his power stuff even more powerful. His fastball touches 94-96 mph. He throws two breaking balls, with the curve sitting as a better option over the slider right now.  The California commit throws from a higher slot, which he gets under the slider at times, but when he stays on top of it, it can be a nasty pitch that will record outs rapidly. His changeup is a bit behind, but is a viable option. He could potentially join Marcus Stroman, Conner Greene, Sean Reid-Foley, Jonathan Harris, or Aaron Sanchez in the rotation, even though Sanchez could become a future piece in the bullpen as we have seen in previous seasons.

22. Pittsburgh Pirates – Nolan Jones, 3B, Holy Ghost Prep (Pennsylvania)

If Jones lands in Pittsburgh, this is how they can use him. They could leave him at third base, but they do have Ke’Bryan Hayes, who is the future there at third base, so I thought Jones, which I heard can play second base, so he could be the team’s future there as Josh Harrison will be older and done in Pittsburgh when Jones is ready, just like Kang will be done when Hayes is ready and the same when Mercer is done for either Cole Tucker or Alen Hanson to play shortstop. Jones is one of the most advanced high school bats in the draft, as he displays good bat speed and excellent raw power from the left side. An average runner who might have slowed down a tick as he has added weight to his lank frame. He can play third, but his arm action shows that he would be a better second baseman. He would profile as a big offensive-minded second baseman. Lastly, he still has quick hands that could help him at second base.

23. St. Louis Cardinals – Zack Collins, C, Miami (Florida)

The Cardinals get their future catcher here as they look to find Yadier’s replacement. They have Carson Kelly and Mike Ohlman in their system, but I think Collins will be the main man they focus on. The Hurricane product is an offensive-minded catcher, but is not the greatest defender, but has improved on his throws. Mike Matheny was a former catcher and he was a good one, so expect him to fix Collins. He is a potential 20+ homer guy. He has an advanced approach at the plate who isn’t afraid to take walks. Last thing we know, they could pair and platoon these catchers in their system. Offense to start the game then defense later in the game. Collins could move to first base if needed.

24. San Diego Padres – Robert Tyler, RHP, Georgia

The Padres took their future shortstop earlier by selecting Delvin Perez. Now, they take some pitching by going after the Georgia Bulldog, Robert Tyler, who is a right handed pitcher that was previous selected back in the 28th round of the 2013 draft by the Baltimore Orioles, but he opted to go to college and improve his stock, which he did as he is a first round pick. Tyler is 20 years old and he has the best fastball in this year’s draft. It does sit at 92-95 mph, but in shorter outings, he can touch 97 easily. Another dimension to his fastball is the fact that it also has good running action towards it and it sinks. He throws it on a steep downward plane. The Bulldog throws a plus changeup, but struggles with his curve for quality strikes. Needs to work on repeating his mechanics consistently. He is a big pitcher (6’4″, 225 lbs) that could be better off as a late inning reliever.

25. San Diego Padres – Josh Lowe, 3B, Pope HS (Georgia)

The Padres pick again, but this time they get their future third baseman to pair on the left side of the infield with Delvin Perez. Lowe is committed on going to FSU, but we will see about that. The Padres are weak at the third base position down in the minors. His left handed bat, could fly right past some of the smaller levels down there. He has a quick, controlled left-handed swing and the leverage in his long frame produce considerable raw power. The Florida State recruit also has plus speed and arm strength, which should translate into solid defense at third base. Some say he can play center field also, but the Padres have three young outfielders coming up, which will have the Padres focus on developing Lowe strictly as a third baseman. I see him as a third baseman, but if he changes to become a pitcher, he can do it as he sits around the low and mid 90’s, but his three-quarter slot causes his breaking balls to suffer, but if he gets stronger and firms up, his changeup and slider can be effective.

26. Chicago White Sox – Drew Mendoza, 3B, Lake Mineolla HS (Florida)

The White Sox do have Mat Davidson down in the minors, which he has improved a lot since they acquired him, plus their top five prospect, Trey Michalczewski has struggled at the plate this year and honestly, he is not a great fielding third baseman, which if he figures out his hitting, he could be their future designated hitter. Now, Mendoza could top those two as he is a more consistent hitter, which he is a doubles machine, but those doubles will turn into homers. Good athleticism and arm that will allow him to stay at the hot corner, but needs to work on his footwork.

27. Baltimore Orioles – Buddy Reed, OF, Florida

The Orioles really do not have a top outfield talent in their top 30 prospects. They do have D.J. Stewart and Josh Hart, but both of those guys have not seemed to figure out to hit, but hopefully they do as they could be the two to play along with Reed. Reed is a switch hitting batter that makes solid contact from both sides of the plate, but his setup and approach are inconsistent. Reed has strength, and he should grow into more, though his lack of extension from the left side could keep him from showing any power that way. A tendency to be tentative at the plate has plagued him, but he was swinging more aggressively as the spring progressed, showing the ability drive the ball more effectively. Now, he will be the future center fielder in Baltimore. Why? Well, he can cover lots of ground and he does have a good arm. His speed works on both sides of the diamond. He can steal bags and cover ground. One of the best all-around athletes in the class, certainly among college hitters.

28. Washington Nationals – Bryan Reynolds, OF, Vanderbilt

The Nationals outfield is set, but it is good to add another outfielder to the minor league ranks. Who knows if Ben Revere will be there long term, plus Werth is getting old and is should retire in maybe 2 years, also Michael Taylor is going to take over one of those outfield spots held by one of them, and lastly, can the Nationals afford Bryce Harper when his deal is up? Reynolds is a switch hitting batter from the University of Vanderbilt. The kid does not standout when it comes to his baseball tools, but he is a classic kid that plays the game right and does his job. He spreads the ball to all fields and is willing to accept walks. Power will show over time, but as for now, he is fine the way he is. One of the most well-rounded college players in his draft class. Good speed to swipe some bags and to play good defense. His below-average arm should kick him to left field, but if the team has slower outfielders, they would have to place him in center. Takes smart routes towards the baseball.

29. Washington Nationals – Kevin Gowdy, RHP, Santa Barbara HS (California)

The Nationals love their pitchers and they will love this high school stud. Gowdy is committed to UCLA like most California kids it seems like. Gowdy is a righty that has three above-average pitches that includes his fastball, slider, and a changeup. His fastball sits at the low 90’s, but it will ramp up as time progresses. The slider is not a slider yet, but it will be when he works on it more at any level. It has a good bite on it that can record outs. His changeup is one of the better high school changeups in the draft. He has outstanding command on all three pitches for a kid his age (18). Easy delivery that is repeated the same every time. He is my favorite California high school pitcher in this draft.

30. Texas Rangers – Matt Thaiss, C, Virginia

The Rangers traded their future at the catcher position, Jorge Alfaro for Cole Hamels, but they draft a catcher here that could be their future or just a platoon guy with the one they have in the system already (Jose Trevino). The current catchers in the big club consist of Robinson Chirinos, Bryan Holaday, and Bobby Wilson. Those three are just stop gap catchers and just using them until the prospects make it to the big leagues. Thaiss is a catcher from the University of Virginia. He bats left handed and has an advanced approach at the plate. The Ranger fans will see solid power from this catcher. Could become a designated hitter or first baseman, but the Rangers will grow him as a catcher, but concerns from scouts that his catching skills are quite raw, with a fringy arm and rough receiving skills.

31. New York Mets – Will Craig, 3B, Wake Forest

Craig is the next Billy Butler, but I think he will hit for more power than Butler did. Craig is not a flashy player, probably the least out of the top 50 prospects. He makes consistent hard contact with a pretty right-handed swing that generates impressive bat speed. His mastery of the strike zone should enable him to post high on-base percentages as well, which is impressive. David Wright’s career is pretty much over and if Craig shoots up the minors, he could be a Met in 2 years. Should be a first baseman, but he has a rocket of an arm to throw across the diamond. Time will tell, but this is a solid pickup for the Mets.

32. Los Angeles Dodgers – William Benson, OF, The Westminster Schools (Georgia)

Benson is the next Jason Heyward, plus both of them are from the Atlanta area. Both are at the same level as they enter the draft, but Benson should be a more consistent hitter at an early stage. Benson has a quick bat speed and good strength to give him a chance to become a well-above-average raw power product. Interestingly, he is more aggressive than Heyward bodes well for Benson’s chances of tapping into it. He’s at his best when he uses a short stroke, though he falls into the trap of trying to do too much at times, which is okay, but as he grows through the team, he will relax more as he has more help. The Duke commit is a solid runner that goes both ways as he will be a right field in the pros. Strong arm.

33. St. Louis Cardinals – Alex Speas, RHP, McEachern HS (Georgia)

Speas is heading to Auburn. The Cardinals will talk to him, but he will be joining a top tier organization that develops players nicely, but it depends how long you will be down in their system as they develop them properly. Speas has an explosive 92-96 mph fastball with riding life that will go even higher as he gets stronger. His hard curveball gives him a second out pitch, and his stuff and lanky frame compares him to Dwight Gooden. The Auburn recruit could develop into a frontline starter, but if he can’t develop a changeup and better command, he could be a late-inning reliever.

34. St. Louis Cardinals – Joe Rizzo, 3B, Oakton HS (Virginia)

This South Carolina recruit is a left handed bat that can rake the baseball. He barrels balls up consistently and has some power to go along with it. Hitting is not Rizzo’s problem. His problem is defensively. Scouts do not know where he will play at the next level. He could play first base, left field, or remain at third base. He is undersized from a height perspective (5’9″). Rizzo does get plus grades for his makeup, which should help as teams consider him. A team that really believes the bat will profile at any corner position is the one that will take the South Carolina commit off the board early on in the draft. The Cardinals could use a player like him.

Lottery Round A

35. Cincinnati Reds – Taylor Trammell, OF, Mount Paran Christian HS (Georgia)

Trammell is a great athlete. Plays both football and baseball. In high school, he was Georgia Class-A football offensive player of the year after rushing for 2,479 yards and 36 touchdowns last fall and could have played football in college, but now he is focusing on playing on the diamond and he is a Georgia Tech recruit, but with him staying in the first lottery, he will sign with the Reds. Splitting time betwenn both sports leave Trammell looking like a huge project that can turn into a gem.Trammell is learning how to recognize pitches, handle off-speed pitches while figuring out his power swing. He does show some feel for hitting and his well above-average speed will help him reach base. With his bat speed and strength, he could develop average or better pop. Now, he has the tools to be a center fielder, but if his arm strength does not improve, he should be a left fielder. Trammell could potentially join Billy Hamilton, Jesse Winker in the Reds outfield in the future.

36. Los Angeles Dodgers – Carter Kieboom, 3B, Walton HS (Georgia)

Justin Turner is not a young player anymore and the Dodgers have no future replacements for him. Kieboom could be that replacement for the Dodgers in the near future. The Dodgers get one of the best prep hitters in the draft this year. His excellent hand-eye coordination comes with a mature approach. Kieboom barrels balls repeatedly for solid contact. He had the best at-bats of anyone at the Under Armour All-America Game in July, including an opposite-field single against a 98-mph fastball from Riley Pint. Factor in Kieboom’s quality bat speed and the loft in his right-handed swing, and he should have at least average power once he fills out. Played shortstop in high school, but he will be a third baseman at the next level. The Clemson recruit has the actions, soft hands and solid arm strength to get the job done at third base. Interestingly, he has some experience behind the plate. Sounds like a poor man’s Josh Donaldson.

37. Oakland Athletics – Eric Lauer, LHP, Kent State

The A’s selected talented outfielder Corey Ray earlier in the draft, now they get a college pitcher in Eric Lauer, who is a southpaw that pitched at Kent State. He throws four effective pitches and mixes them well. His arsenal includes a low-90s fastball that reaches 94 mph and features some cutting action from a nice downhill plane, and a solid 78-83 mph slider. Lauer also possesses a mid-70s curveball and a changeup with some sink and fade on it. Lauer will be at best a number four or five starter. Lauer’s athletic, effortless delivery allows him to repeat his mechanics and throw quality strikes. While he doesn’t have a true out pitch or a lofty ceiling. He adds depth to Oakland’s pitching ranks.

38. Colorado Rockies – Zack Burdi, RHP, Louisville

Burdi went to the University of Louisville and was a back end piece of the Cardinals’ bullpen. Burdi can become a starter has he easily repeats his delivery and mechanics, but he has the stuf to be a dominant closer at some point of his career, which the Rockies are hoping that he can be that guy, which if left alone and continues to develop into a reliever, he will move through the minors quicker than if developed as a starter. The Cardinal throws a fastball that sits around 95-98 mph, but can reach 101 mph at times. His brother Nick has the better slider, but Zack has worked on his slider well enough that it can produce outs, which he will need two solid pitches working from the pen. He has a changeup, but rarely uses it, but that will change as he grows through the minors. This is a safe pick for Colorado.

39. Arizona Diamondbacks – Ben Rortvedt, C, Verona Area HS (Wisconsin)

The Diamondbacks have no answers for who will be the future backstop of the franchise. So they take a guy that looks a lot like Blake Swihart. Both are not the best defenders, but do a decent job to stick back there, but both have a good bat for catchers. The only young option that could be the future in that organization could be Oscar Hernandez. Rortvedt swings a fast bat that generates solid contact. Smooth swing, which is nice and easy for hitting coaches. Barrels up the ball with power without swinging for the fences. The Arkansas commit can potentially produce 20 homers and swing for a .270 batting average. He has solid arm strength and makes accurate throws. He sets a good target and moves well behind the plate, though his receiving and blocking skills will have to improve.

40. Atlanta Braves – Chris Okey, C, Clemson

The Braves traded their future catcher in Christian Bethancourt, but he did not produce when he was in the majors. So, the Braves top 30 prospects do not consist of a catcher and I think Okey will be within the top 20 of their prospects as he is a solid catcher with tons of upside. He is a defensive guru. He played five times for the U.S. national team, which shows that he is highly recognized. Okey earns raves for his work ethic and ability to run a pitching staff. His catch-and-throw skills are very good. Now, his bat is capable of belting at least around 15-20 homers per season. His strength stands out more than his bat speed, and he has an offensive upside of hitting .260, which is really good for a catcher nowadays. He was considered one of the best catchers in the 2013 draft, but fell deeply down the draft.

41. Pittsburgh Pirates – Cody Sedlock, RHP, Illinois

The Pirates continue to build their pitching depth in the minors, which will get thin when Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon reach the pros. Cody Sedlock will near the top of their pitching prospects behind those two as the others are not as high as Sedlock. The Illinois product could develop quickly through their farm system, but the Pirates want all of their pitching prospects to grow and learn everything before advancing. He has the ingredients to start at the pro ball level, but he can also pitch from the pen as he was a reliever his first two seasons in college. He throws four pitches, fills the strike zone, generates a lot of ground outs and has a strong 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame. Sedlock’s best pitch is his heavy sinker that sits at 91-93 mph and in shorter outings it can reach 96 mph. He also can miss bats with a slider that can sit around the low 80’s. Sedlock’s curveball and changeup are not special and do not make an impact, but they have their moments as well effective.

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