THE MOCK IS HERE! OFFICIAL 2015 EDITION
1. Arizona Diamondbacks — Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt
2. Houston Astros — Brendan Rogers, SS, Lake Mary HS (FL)
3. Colorado Rockies — Daz Cameron, OF, Eagle’s Landing Christian School (GA)
4. Texas Rangers — Tyler Jay, LHP, Ilinois
5. Houston Astros — Andrew Benintendi, OF, Arkansas
6. Minnesota Twins — Dillon Tate, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
7. Boston Red Sox — Alex Bregman, SS, LSU
8. Chicago White Sox — Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt
9. Chicago Cubs — Ian Happ, OF/2B, Cincinnati
10. Philadelphia Phillies — Tyler Stephenson, C, Kennesaw Mountain HS (GA)
11. Cincinnati Reds — Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt
12. Miami Marlins — Trenton Clark, OF, Richland Hills HS (TX)
13. Tampa Bay Rays — Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville
14. Atlanta Braves — Kyle Tucker, OF, Plant HS (FL)
15. Milwaukee Brewers — Garrett Whitley, OF, Niyuska HS (NY)
16. New York Yankees — Kolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente HS (CA)
17. Cleveland Indians — Mike Nikorak, RHP, Stroudsburg HS (PA)
18. San Francisco Giants — Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State
19. Pittsburgh Pirates — D.J. Stewart, OF, Florida State
20. Oakland Athletics — James Kaprielian, RHP, UCLA
21. Kansas City Royals — Cornelius Randolph, SS, Griffin HS (GA)
22. Detroit Tigers — Ashe Russell, RHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (IN)
23. St. Louis Cardinals — Kevin Newman, SS, Arizona
24. Los Angeles Dodgers — Thomas Eshelman, RHP, CS Fullerton
25. Baltimore Orioles — Cody Ponce, RHP, Cal Poly Pomona
26. Los Angeles Angels — Brady Aiken, LHP
27. Colorado Rockies — Tristan Beck, RHP, Corona HS (CA)
28. Atlanta Braves — Nathan Kirby, LHP, Virginia
29. Toronto Blue Jays — Richie Martin, SS, Florida
30. New York Yankees — Eric Jenkins, OF, West Columbus HS (NC)
31. San Francisco Giants — Phil Bickford, RHP, JC of Southern Nevada
32. Pittsburgh Pirates — Alex Young, LHP, TCU
33. Kansas City Royals — Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX)
34. Detroit Tigers — Nolan Watson, RHP, Lawrence North HS (IN)
35. Los Angeles Dodgers — Nick Plummer, OF, Brother Rice HS (MI)
36. Baltimore Orioles — Scott Kingery, OF/2B, Arizona
AIKEN TO KNOW WHERE BRADY LANDS IN 2015
What a debacle last year was for the Houston Astros in the MLB Draft. Instead of landing the top arm available, they flubbed the deal and may have hurt themselves in future negotiations. But could a reunion be on tap? This would be pretty remarkable and isn’t likely, but nonetheless, Aiken’s whereabouts will be one of the top stories of the 2015 Draft.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are on the clock, and the Astros are No. 2. Aiken carries some baggage because things fell through in 2014, but he is still considered the top arm in this year’s class. The teams picking third and fourth may be the more intriguing options. The Colorado Rockies can never have enough options when it comes to pitching, and if they pass on Aiken (assuming he falls that far), the Rangers could turn their cross-state rival’s trash into their own treasure. It’s far too early to tell anything because it’s still undetermined what Aiken’s plans are in the immediate future, but my early prognosis in Aiken lands in Denver or Arlington.
SOME EARLY THOUGHTS ON THE 2014 MLB DRAFT
Only one thing appears certain about the 2014 MLB Draft, which will commence on June 5 in Secaucus, New Jersey: for the third time in four years, a pitcher will be selected first overall. And, for the third consecutive year, the Houston Astros are on the clock.
Consider how fast the fast-track to the Majors really is these days. Mike Zunino (third overall), Kevin Gausman (fourth), Michael Wacha (19th), and Marcus Stroman (22nd) of the 2012 class have all appeared in Major League games already. And, oh yeah, Wacha started two games in last year’s World Series for the Cardinals.
So it goes without saying that it won’t be long before we see the likes of Brady Aiken, Carlos Rodon, Jeff Hoffman, Tyler Kolek, and Alex Jackson at the big-league level. They are among the gems of this year’s class, one loaded with power arms.
Houston picks first, just as they did when selecting shortstop Carlos Correa in 2012 and Mark Appel in 2013. This year, they very well could tab Aiken, a 6’3”, 210-pound southpaw who could be the most polished pitcher in the draft. Or, the ‘Stros could take an even taller pitcher in Kolek, a 6’5”, 250-pound righty capable of hitting triple-digits with his fastball. And that duo would just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Licking their chops at two will be the Miami Marlins, who know they will end up with a stud no matter what. Should the Marlins choose to eschew the going the pitching route, they could potentially strike gold with Jackson, a catcher/outfielder hybrid with big-time power potential. Or, the Fish could provide their fanbase with some local flavor in shortstop Nick Gordon. The Windemere, Fla., native and brother of Dee is considered the best middle infielder in the draft.
Following up the Marlins will be the Chicago teams, the White Sox and Cubs, while Minnesota will pick at five. By the time the Mariners pick at six, one would have to wonder whether Rodon or Hoffman would still be available. Seattle has plenty of promising young arms in its farm system, but what’s that old adage about “you can never have too much pitching?”
Rodon is a bit of a hefty lefty – okay, maybe just a burly one – weighing in at 234 pounds and
standing 6’3”, but the N.C. State ace enters the draft as Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect because he added about 30 pounds of bulk and, in turn, his fastball velocity jumped to as high as 98 mph. The 21-year-old also features a plus slider.
East Carolina’s Hoffman will be a tough sell for some teams considering he needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of 2014, but these days, that procedure also comes with its fair share of intrigue. Could the 6’4”, 192-pound 21-year-old actually be even stronger than his mid-90’s fastball was in college? That remains to be seen, but despite his health concerns, Hoffman looks like the real deal.
After some of the big names fly off the board, there will be, well, even more potential stars to choose from for the Phillies at seven, Rockies at eight, Blue Jays at nine, and Mets at 10. And then the Blue Jays again at 11. Pitchers Kyle Freeland, Aaron Nola, and Grant Holmes are all Top 10-worthy, while it simply wouldn’t be fair to neglect the position players left on the board. Outfielders Bradley Zimmer and Michael Conforto and shortstops Trea Turner and Jacob Gatewood all have legitimate cases to land in the Top 15.
We know very little for certain about the MLB Draft because of the incredibly high volume of players selected. That, in turn, leads us to one certainty – the later rounds will ultimately produce gems that no one saw coming. No, we’re not projecting a Mike Piazza to fall to someone in the 254th round, but the higher the picks, the greater the pressure.
Still, the ever-growing depth of pitching in these drafts gives promise to rebuilding teams in a league that is starting to see its most powerful era of competitive balance. In just a few short years, names like Aiken, Rodon, Hoffman, and Gordon will likely be front-and-center in that.
MLB Draft Prospect Spotlight: Reds 4th-Rounder RHP Jon Moscot
DA: Were you surprised that you were picked in the fourth round?
JM: Before the draft teams had told me somewhere in there. But the week before our Regional I was looking somewhere in the 5-7 range. I was still really excited. I did well the weekend before the Draft and that helped me. There were a few teams there that were interested and the Reds were one of them. They called me right before and asked me if I wanted to go in the fourth and I was super excited and obviously I took my opportunity where it was.
DA: So what happens now that you’ve been drafted?
JM: Well I’m not sure exactly where I go, I have to fill out a contract and figure out where they want to send me and from there I’ll find out if I go to Montana, if I go to Bakersfield, so I don’t actually know 100% but no doubt I want to play and hopefully I’ll be out [there] soon enough.
DA: What are your thoughts on going to the Reds organization?
JM: I know that they move pitchers up the organization pretty quickly and they need the pitching, so I’m excited to be a part of it, and I know that they have some good facilities, especially their Spring Training facilities
DA: What do you bring to the table in terms of your arsenal?
JM: I throw strikes, I think that’s the most important thing. I throw about 90-93, I hit my spots and I don’t walk too many guys, and I get ground balls. Some movement on my fastball, I throw a slider and a changeup, and it’s been effective this year. I have a split-finger change, and a normal change up. And I throw change, and I throw the split to lefties to strike them out. I do need to work on it a little bit to throw for strikes but it’s definitely effective.
MLB Draft News
06-06-11 // Cole No. 1 not a surprise, but Rendon’s drop to 6 is a bit of an eye-opener
05-26-11 // Keith Law notes that the Pirates have narrowed their board to Cole, Hultzen, Starling, and an outside shot at Rendon
05-24-11 // Rays with record 12 picks in first 89 and a chance to replenish
05-12-11 // Mock draft 1.0 has Rendon to Pirates at 1, Cole to M’s at 2
05-07-11 // MLB.com’s Jennifer Langosch says Pirates haven’t narrowed their draft board but are likely to draft the best player available, not for need, and “won’t be deterred by agent demands”
04-07-11 // Check out the 2011 starting points for every member of the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft
02-25-11 // Matt Purke being held out until Sunday with a blister on his pitching hand.
02-21-11 // Dave Perkin takes a look at the top 10 from California’s high school showcase.
02-19-11 // With two picks in the top 10, the Diamondbacks are prepared to spend money.
02-18-11 // Top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. goes 4-4 to start the Gamecock’s season off with a bang!
02-15-11 // John Royal of The Houston Press introduces us to mega prospect Anthony Rendon.