Pick: C Adley Rutschman, Oregon State
Rutschman’s college career came to an unceremonious end Saturday as Oregon State was eliminated in the regionals. He had a monster draft year (.427/.584/.772 with 69 walks and 36 strikeouts) and was even given the Barry Bonds treatment over the weekend. Cincinnati intentionally walked Rutschman with the bases loaded and a three-run lead.
Buster Posey was going into the 2008 draft because Rutschman’s power potential is more obvious. A switch-hitting catcher with power and strong defensive chops is exactly the type of player teams want to build around.. He’s considered a more complete prospect than
For what it’s worth, Orioles GM Mike Elias recently told The Athletic’s Dan Connolly they have narrowed their list for the No. 1 pick to “about four players right now.” We hear that a lot this time of year. The club with the No. 1 pick plays it cool to create leverage during pre-draft contract negotiations, which are technically against the rules but happen all the time. The O’s could go with another player (Bobby Witt Jr. or Andrew Vaughn are the obvious candidates), sign him underslot, and spend the bonus pool savings on later picks. Elias did that several times when he ran drafts for the Astros. While that may be tempting, the bet here is the O’s play it straight and take Rutschman, the best player on the board.
“It’s hard to understate it — it’s a huge opportunity,” Elias told MLB.com’s Joe Trezza about having the No. 1 pick. “… So you feel a lot of pressure. There is big upside in the opportunity, but it’s not easy. Nobody has a crystal ball and it’s not easy to nail. We just do as much work as we can going into it and do the best we can.”
First mock draft pick: Rutschman
Second mock draft pick: Rutschman
Pick: SS Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville Heritage HS (Texas)
You can never truly call anything a lock in the MLB draft, but the Royals taking Witt is about as close to a lock as it gets. They’ve been all over him this spring and their longstanding affinity for high-end up-the-middle athletes with above-average defensive tools makes this an obvious fit. Add in his power and offensive potential, and Witt has true five-tool ability. He can be the star position player the Royals build their next contending team around.
Should the Orioles take Witt and zig when everyone expects them to zag, the Royals would happily take Adley Rutschman with this pick. If the O’s really go off the board and take Andrew Vaughn with the No. 1 pick, Kansas City would have to think long and hard about Rutschman over Witt. It wouldn’t surprise me if they took Witt anyway though. They like him that much. Witt’s father, Bobby Sr., played 16 years in the big leagues and was the No. 3 pick in 1985.
First mock draft pick: Witt
Second mock draft pick: Witt
Pick: SS C.J. Abrams, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (Georgia)
The No. 3 pick is more up in the air than the White Sox’s recent history of selecting college bats near the top of the draft would lead you to believe (Chicago has used a top 11 pick on a college hitter each of the last three years). On paper, Andrew Vaughn is a clear fit. Advanced hitter, quick mover through the system, etc. He is exactly the type of player the White Sox have been targeting in recent years.
Lately though, there’s been some buzz about the ChiSox going after a toolsy up the middle player, with Abrams the obvious target at this point in the draft. Chicago took similar prospects with their first-round picks in 2012 (Courtney Hawkins) and 2013 (Tim Anderson), and it may be time to go back to that well after five years of college players. The bet here is Chicago passes on Vaughn for Abrams.
“We are going to line up our board and take the highest guy still left on it,” scouting director Nick Hostetler told 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine recently. “We have spent so much time on this — literally from the last day of the draft last year until now … So we are going to line up the board 1-2-3. If No. 1 is still there, that is who we are taking. If it’s the third guy on our board, that is who we are picking.”
First mock draft pick: 1B Andrew Vaughn, California
Second mock draft pick: Vaughn
Pick: OF J.J. Bleday, Vanderbilt
The White Sox passing on Andrew Vaughn would create a little uncertainty here. According to Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald, several Marlins executives, including CEO Derek Jeter and president of baseball operations Michael Hill, were on hand to watch Vaughn and Bleday last week. They’re said to have seen Adley Rutschman at some point as well.
“I haven’t looked at every player across the country like our scouts have but it is an interesting and eye-opening experience,” Jeter told McPherson about his scouting trips. “… I like to get an opportunity to see the interaction of players with their teammates, how hard they play, how they play, knowledge of the game. Obviously you can see tools. You can see guys hit and run and throw. You see a lot of video.”
The Marlins have been connected to Bleday, a lefty power hitter who is above-average speed away from being a five-tool player, for weeks now. Vaughn would be awfully tempting though. As good a hitter as he is, the historically poor track record of righty hitting/righty throwing first basemen is pushing Vaughn down our final mock draft. Bleday it is for Miami.
First mock draft pick: Bleday
Second mock draft pick: Bleday
Pick: 1B Andrew Vaughn, California
Like most teams, the Tigers are playing it coy in the days leading up to the draft. To wit:
For weeks the Tigers have been strongly tied to outfielder Riley Greene, the best high school hitter in this draft, but Vaughn slipping would make them shift gears. Even with the platoon disadvantage and defensive limitations, getting the best pure hitter in the country with the No. 5 pick is too good to pass up. Detroit makes out like bandits in our mock draft.
First mock draft pick: OF Riley Greene, Hagerty HS (Florida)
Second mock draft pick: Greene
Pick: OF Riley Greene, Hagerty HS (Florida)
In a sense, the Padres may have the easiest decision Monday night. The tippy top prospects in this draft can be split into two distinct tiers: Adley Rutschman, Andrew Vaughn, and Bobby Witt Jr.; then C.J. Abrams, J.J. Bleday, and Greene. The Padres will, in theory, simply use the No. 6 pick to take whichever one of those six players is still available. In our mock draft, it’s Greene.
“We’re looking to take the best player. If it happens to be a pitcher, we’ll take a pitcher. If it happens to be a position player, that’s who we’ll take,” Padres scouting director Mark Connor said to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune recently. “If you try to force these picks and what you want to do based on what you have in your system, you put yourself in a position to make the wrong pick potentially or pass on something really good.”
How the Padres have their board lined up is a mystery, so, in the event two (or more) or the top six prospects are still available when the No. 6 pick rolls around (unlikely but not impossible), I’m not sure who they’d take. I know this much: San Diego is all about upside. They’ve consistently taken the best, most talented player with their first-round pick under GM A.J. Preller. They don’t mess around on draft day. Greene is the best player available in our mock draft and that makes him a Padre.
(I should note that, if the top six hitters come off the board with the top six picks as laid out in our mock draft, it would be the first time in draft history a pitcher was not selected within the top six picks. If you’re looking for a top shelf arm, this isn’t the draft for you.)
First mock draft pick: SS C.J. Abrams, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (Georgia)
Second mock draft pick: Abrams
Pick: LHP Nick Lodolo, TCU
Should one of the top six prospects make it here, the Reds would undoubtedly pounce. Since that is not the case in our mock draft, and because Cincinnati does not have any extra picks this year — they traded their competitive-balance pick to the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal — they’re not in position to cut an underslot deal and save bonus pool money for a later pick.
Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports the Reds had 25 players at Great American Ball Park last week for a pre-draft workout, which is standard operating procedure, especially for a team picking in the top 10. Scouting director Brad Meador predictably told Nightengale the Reds will take “the best player available, especially where we’re picking … (When) you’re picking that high, you want to get the best one you can.”
Given the available players, the Reds figure to grab whoever they consider the top college pitcher on the board. We’re going with Lodolo, who’s been connected to Cincinnati for weeks and is the consensus No. 1 pitcher in the 2019 draft. West Virginia’s Alek Manoah, Kentucky’s Zack Thompson, Elon’s George Kirby, and San Jacinto’s Jackson Rutledge are other possibilities.
First mock draft pick: Lodolo
Second mock draft pick: Lodolo
Pick: 3B Brett Baty, Lake Travis HS (Texas)
The Rangers are always a good bet to go for loud tools. That has been their M.O. the last, oh, decade or so. Baty offers lots of upside with his bat-to-ball skills and raw power, as well as his rocket arm at the hot corner. His approach is sound and he has a chance to be an impact player on both sides of the ball. Plus, Brett Baty is a A+ baseball name.
The elephant in the room: Baty will be 19 1/2 on draft day, and older high school prospects don’t have a great track record in pro ball. He carries risk. Because of his age, Baty is lower on draft boards than his tools would suggest, making him a great candidate for an underslot deal that allows Texas to spend big on their next two picks (Nos. 41 and 50).
“We’ve been kind of talking about it recently, about where we’ve done well and where we haven’t done as well,” GM Jon Daniels told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. “Where we’ve been taking risks that have paid off, where we’ve taken risks that haven’t. Some of it is player evaluation and just, appetite for risk, some teams are more risk-averse than others, some teams are more willing to take it on than others. We’ve been willing to take on some risks.”
First mock draft pick: OF Hunter Bishop, Arizona State
Second mock draft pick: Baty
Pick: RHP Jackson Rutledge, San Jacinto JC (Texas)
The Braves hold two first-round picks this year — this pick is compensation for failing to sign 2018 first rounder Carter Stewart, — which gives them a nice big bonus pool ($11.5 million) and some flexibility. They can spend big now or later, or spread the money around evenly. The guess here is they will do the latter.
“As all clubs will say, we’re looking for the best player available when it’s our turn to pick,” GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. “The landscape changes so quickly at the major-league level that it makes no sense to consider drafting for need relative to your big-league club, especially considering the fact that most of these players take several years before they can factor for you at the major-league level.”
Dating back to his time with the Blue Jays, Anthopoulos has always emphasized ceiling and long-term upside. Atlanta is said to be focusing on college players here, with righty Alek Manoah, catcher Shea Langeliers, and outfielder Hunter Bishop possibilities. Rutledge offers a unique and tantalizing blend of size (6-foot-8), youth (turned 20 in April), and power stuff (three potential swing-and-miss pitches) that seems right up Anthopoulos’ alley.
First mock draft pick: C Shea Langeliers, Baylor
Second mock draft pick: OF Hunter Bishop, Arizona State
Pick: OF Hunter Bishop, Arizona State
For a team with so much recent on-field success, the Giants sure have had a lot of top 10 picks the last few years. San Francisco has picked in the top 10 five times in the last 13 drafts. The jury is still out on catcher Joey Bart, the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft, but the Giants absolutely nailed those other four top 10 picks:
The Giants received roughly 90 WAR (and counting) worth of production plus one high-value trade chip from those four picks. Goodness. Of course, those picks were made by a different front office regime, and that level of draft success is hard to replicate. Rookie GM Farhan Zaidi has no drafting track record, which is unfortunate for mock draft purposes.
“As an organization I think our relative strength is on the pitching side. We’re looking to augment the overall hit tools in our organization,” said a surprisingly candid Zaidi to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle recently.
Now, that said, I doubt the Giants would pass on a pitcher if there’s an arm atop their board when this pick rolls around. In this draft though, the high-end bats far outnumber the high-end arms, so a position player would’ve been a good bet even before Zaidi made those comments.
Bishop had a huge spring after making some mechanical changes last summer that unlocked his natural power. With good defense and speed, landing Bishop with the No. 10 pick would be a real nice could for a Giants team that needs to start building its next offensive core. Shortstop Bryson Stott is another possibility here.
First mock draft pick: RHP Jackson Rutledge, San Jacinto JC (Texas)
Second mock draft pick: SS Bryson Stott, UNLV
Pick: RHP Alek Manoah, West Virginia
Stop me if you’ve heard this line before: Blue Jays scouting director Steve Sanders said the team plans to take the best available player. “I think our approach going into this draft is the same as it has been every year, and that is to use the totality of our bonus pool and the picks that are available to us to add the best group of players,” Sanders told the Toronto Star‘s Gregor Chisholm.
There figures to be a run on college players in the middle of the first round and the Giants get it started with Hunter Bishop in our mock draft. A shortstop like Bryson Stott would be difficult for the Blue Jays to pass up, but anytime the top college righty in the draft class is sitting there for the No. 11 pick, it’s hard to say no. That’s true even in a draft light on high-end arms like this one. Manoah may not last this long and Toronto would be happy to get him here.
First mock draft pick: SS Bryson Stott, UNLV
Second mock draft pick: Manoah
Pick: LHP Zack Thompson, Kentucky
Sounds like it is college all the way for the Mets under new GM Brodie Van Wagenen, with a pitcher more likely than a hitter. Nick Lodolo, Alek Manoah, and Jackson Rutledge are the top college arms in this draft class and they’re already off the board in our mock draft. Thompson is the fourth member of the big four college starters and he has the skill set to be a top 5-10 pick as a big, physical lefty with four pitches and a good delivery. He’s held back by an injury history that includes shoulder trouble in high school and an elbow issue last spring. Elon’s George Kirby is another option here. I can’t see Manoah lasting beyond this pick.
First mock draft pick: OF Corbin Carroll, Lakeside HS (Washington)
Second mock draft pick: Thompson
Pick: C Shea Langeliers, Baylor
I did not go into this exercise expecting Langeliers to come off the board before Bryson Stott, but here we are. That’s how the pieces fell. I thought passing on Kyle Wright to take Royce Lewis with the No. 1 pick in 2017 was an indication Derek Falvey, then just hired as the team’s new chief baseball officer, favored high upside prep players. Then last year the Twins took Trevor Larnach, a college outfielder, in the first round, and now I’m not sure what to think.
Minnesota has been connected to college players pretty much all spring, with only a few exceptions. The Twins also hold the No. 39 pick, and, given who’s currently on the board in our mock draft, going college now and high school later makes sense. Langeliers had a whale of a game this past Saturday, going 5 for 6 with a double, three home runs, and an NCAA tournament record 11 RBI …
… and he came into the spring as a potential top 10 pick. Then he broke the hamate bone in his left hand and missed time, causing his draft stock to slip. Langeliers has put up big numbers since returning and he’s a standout defender, so getting him with the No. 13 pick (and potentially for an underslot bonus) is a heck of a deal for the Twins here.
First mock draft pick: LHP Zack Thompson, Kentucky
Second mock draft pick: RHP Jackson Rutledge, San Jacinto JC (Texas)
Pick: SS Bryson Stott, UNLV
The Phillies have had one first rounder (Aaron Nola in 2014) become an impact big leaguer since taking Cole Hamels with the No. 17 pick in 2002. Alec Bohm, last year’s No. 3 pick, has started very well in pro ball and surely Philadelphia hopes that is an indication their first-round luck is starting to turn. I have a hard time believing Stott, the top college middle infielder in the draft and a lefty hitting shortstop who projects to be an asset on both sides of the ball, will last this long on draft day, but he’s still available in our mock draft, and the Phillies would jump on him in this scenario. They’ve been all over the place with the draft rumblings these last few weeks. College, high school, hitter, pitcher, they’re on it all.
First mock draft pick: RHP Matthew Allan, Seminole HS (Florida)
Second mock draft pick: SS Gunnar Henderson, Morgan Academy (Alabama)
Pick: 3B Keoni Cavaco, Eastlake HS (California)
Since GM Billy Eppler took over four years ago, the Angels have generally favored upside over probability in the draft, and it’s working pretty well for them. Their farm system is much improved. Cavaco is the rare underscouted Southern California prospect — he was not invited to top showcase events the last few years — and he’s exploded onto the scene this spring. He’s climbed draft boards and is now considered a lock to go in the top 20 picks somewhere. The Angels are in on him and there’s zero chance he’ll be on the board when their second-round pick, No. 55, comes around, so it’s now or never. The Halos have been connected to top high school prospects all spring. Hard-throwing righty Matthew Allan is an alternative here should Cavaco be off the board.
First mock draft pick: RHP Alek Manoah, West Virginia
Second mock draft pick: RHP Matthew Allan, Seminole HS (Florida)
Pick: 3B Josh Jung, Texas Tech
. Here are all seven — seven! — picks Arizona holds Monday:
- 16th overall: The D-Backs’ first rounder.
- 26th overall: Compensation for failing to sign 2018 first rounder Matt McLain.
- 33rd overall: Compensation for losing Patrick Corbin to free agency.
- 34th overall: Compensation for losing A.J. Pollock to free agency.
- 56th overall: The D-Backs’ second rounder.
- 74th overall: Their own competitive balance round B pick.
- 75th overall: The Cardinals‘ competitive balance round B Pick (acquired in the Paul Goldschmidt trade).
“I think having the number of picks we have helps us artificially infuse a volume of talent into the organization that we wouldn’t be able to do in just a normal, traditional draft,” GM Mike Hazen told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert recently. “I think this helps with continuing to build our organization quite a bit.”
Because they have so many extra picks, the D-Backs have cast a very wide net this spring, and it’s basically impossible to pin down who they’re targeting with each specific pick. The smart money is on Arizona diversifying a bit (some college, some high school, etc.) with a few big money, shoot for the moon picks mixed in.
The guess here — and I stress this is a big guess in a post full of big guesses — is the D-Backs will use this pick on a college player they don’t expect to be on the board with their next pick. Jung fits. He’s a solid all-around player who had a chance to climb into the top 10 picks this year, but was merely very good rather than excellent.
If the D-Backs do go college player here, the smart money is on it being an underslot deal that allows them to spend big on other players later. It could be Arizona will set a bonus number for this pick, shop it around, and select whoever agrees it it. Technically against the rules! But it happens. Like, all the time.
First mock draft pick: RHP Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove HS (Illinois)
Second mock draft pick: Priester
Pick: RHP Matthew Allan, Seminole HS (Florida)
The Nationals typically select the biggest name, highest upside player on the board, even when there are injuries (Lucas Giolito in 2012, Erick Fedde in 2014) or off-the-field concerns (Seth Romero in 2017) involved. Allan does not have any injury or makeup issues. He’s just the best high school pitcher in the draft class and expects to be paid accordingly, which is reportedly north of $4 million. That is a bit above this pick’s slot value ($3.6 million), but not so much so that it’s unworkable. The Nationals rarely pick near the top of the draft and, in this mock draft, they land a player with top 10 tools who is maybe scaring some teams away with his price tag. Allan is right in Washington’s wheelhouse.
First mock draft pick: OF Kameron Misner, Missouri
Second mock draft pick: C Shea Langeliers, Baylor
Pick: RHP Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove HS (Illinois)
The Pirates sure do love live-armed high school pitchers who flash an out-pitch breaking ball, and my guess is they’d love Matthew Allan to get with this pick. He’s not available in our mock draft though. Priester is a candidate to come off the board earlier than this, especially to a team with a large bonus pool and extra picks, so Pittsburgh will have to keep their fingers crossed. If Priester is gone by time this pick rolls around, the Pirates could pivot to a college bat like UNC’s Michael Busch, Tulane’s Kody Hoese, or Clemson’s Logan Davidson.
First mock draft pick: SS Logan Davidson, Clemson
Second mock draft pick: Davidson
Pick: RHP George Kirby, Elon
Similar to Marco Gonzales in 2013, Kirby and the Cardinals just feel like a perfect fit. He is an extreme strike-thrower — Kirby took a 107/6 K/BB into the weekend — with the makings of a quality four-pitch mix. St. Louis is an outstanding pitcher development organization and Kirby could fly through the minors with their help. There’s a chance — a pretty good chance, actually — Kirby will come off the board long before the Cardinals pick. In that case, St. Louis could pivot to a college bat like NC State’s Will Wilson or Tulane’s Kody Hoese.
First mock draft pick: Kirby
Second mock draft pick: Kirby
Pick: SS Anthony Volpe, Delbarton HS (New Jersey)
The dream scenario for the Mariners would be Keoni Cavaco or George Kirby here, though they’re off the board in this mock draft, and they’re unlikely to still be on the board when this pick rolls around Monday night. Volpe is climbing draft boards late — he has received extra scouting exposure this spring thanks to teammate Jack Leiter, a top (but possibly unsignable) draft prospect — because he’s a top of the line makeup guy whose whole is greater than the sum of the parts. He’s a good hitter, a good defender, and a good runner, and it all plays up.
First mock draft pick: 3B Josh Jung, Texas Tech
Second mock draft pick: Jung
Pick: 3B Kody Hoese, Tulane
The Braves have two first-round picks this year and teams usually diversify in these situations. One college player, one high school, one pitcher, one hitter, that sort of thing. We have Atlanta taking a hard-throwing right-hander (Jackson Rutledge) with the No. 9 pick in this mock draft. To balance things out a bit, we’ll give them Hoese with this pick. He’s a power hitting third baseman who’s had a breakout spring, and is a candidate to cut an underslot deal earlier in the first round. An infielder like NC State’s Will Wilson or UNC Wilmington’s Greg Jones are possible alternatives here.
First mock draft pick: RHP Brennan Malone, IMG Academy (Florida)
Second mock draft pick: Malone
Pick: SS Gunnar Henderson, Morgan Academy (Alabama)
The Rays have two extra picks this year — they added the A’s competitive balance round A pick (No. 40) to their own competitive-balance pick (No. 36) in the Jurickson Profar three-team trade — and thus a good-sized bonus pool ($10.3 million). They can play it straight and take the best player with each pick, or go underslot early and pay big later.
“We strive to look at history to help us value every perspective and use past drafts, and the outcomes of those players to help us predict how to value each of our different perspectives within a draft,” scouting director Rob Metzler told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times over the weekend. “But it will always be a work in progress trying to improve that, trying to get better at forecasting the future. So it’s really, really challenging.”
This is about the point where we could see a run on shortstops and Henderson keeps climbing draft boards because he keeps looking better and better. There’s quite a bit of upside here, and Henderson won’t chew up so much bonus pool space that it will limit what the Rays can do with those two extra picks.
First mock draft pick: 3B Brett Baty, Lake Travis HS (Texas)
Second mock draft pick: 3B Keoni Cavaco, Eastlake HS (California)
Pick: 1B/OF Michael Busch, UNC
Busch has been connected to pretty much every team in the 15-25 range and could even go higher than that to a team with extra picks looking to cut an underslot deal. The Rockies reportedly scouted the ACC tournament heavily last month and Busch is arguably the conference’s best draft prospect. so there’s been plenty of speculation connecting the two. If not Busch, NC State’s Will Wilson could be a fit for Colorado with this pick.
First mock draft pick: Busch
Second mock draft pick: OF Kameron Misner, Missouri
Pick: SS Will Wilson, NC State
Should Busch still be on the board, the Indians would likely grab him. Since that is not the case in our mock draft, we have Cleveland going with Wilson, a do-it-all college infielder who seems to be Plan B for lots of teams in the back-half of the first round. Texas A&M’s Braden Shewmake and Clemson’s Logan Davidson are possible alternatives, though it’s not out of the question that the Indians go for a high school kid with a big arm here. Daniel Espino (Georgia) and J.J. Goss (Texas) could be in that mix.
First mock draft pick: SS Braden Shewmake, Texas A&M
Second mock draft pick: Shewmake
Pick: RHP Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy
The Dodgers pick here and also No. 31 (compensation for failing to sign 2018 first rounder J.T. Ginn), though it seems unlikely they’ll play bonus pool games. Expect two straight shot, best player on the board picks. Espino has added about 10 mph to his fastball the last three years and now routinely touches 98-99 mph. Add in the makings of two above-average breaking balls and you have exactly the type of player an analytics savvy organization can turn into an elite prospect. The raw tools make Espino look a little like Walker Buehler at the same age.
First mock draft pick: Espino
Second mock draft pick: Espino
Pick: OF Corbin Carroll, Lakeside HS (Washington)
Arizona has this pick plus two of the next eight picks. They already have a solid college bat in Jung in their pocket from earlier in the mock draft, and this feels like an appropriate spot to go big. Carroll has the hit tool and center field chops to go in the top 8-12 picks somewhere, but he’s an older high school kid (19 in August), and they have a way of sliding down the draft. The D-Backs can pay him (maybe even overpay him a bit if he really leverages his UCLA commitment) and bet on the potential two-way impact.
First mock draft pick: RHP Jack Leiter, Delbarton HS (New Jersey)
Second mock draft pick: Carroll
Pick: SS Logan Davidson, Clemson
The Cubs have one of the smallest bonus pools in this year’s draft at $5.8 million. Such is life when you win 95 games and don’t have any extra picks. I’m sure the Cubbies would love a top high school arm like Brennan Malone or J.J. Goss, but it would take some serious draft pool manipulation, and may not be possible without going super cheap in Rounds 2-10. Given their drafted history under Theo Epstein, a college bat is likely here, and Davidson is the best available as a sure-handed shortstop with power potential.
First mock draft pick: RHP Seth Johnson, Campbell
Second mock draft pick: 3B Kody Hoese, Tulane
Pick: RHP Brennan Malone, IMG Academy (Florida)
Generally speaking, the Brewers are a straightforward “best available player” team on draft day. Even when they have extra picks — Milwaukee traded their competitive-balance pick (No. 41) to the Rangers for Alex Claudio — they don’t get cute and manipulate their bonus pool. Malone, a four-pitch righty who made strides with the whole “pitching, not throwing” thing this spring, is the best player on the board in our mock draft, so the Brewers get him. They’ll make the money work with later picks accordingly.
First mock draft pick: 3B Tyler Callihan, Providence HS (Florida)
Second mock draft pick: RHP Seth Johnson, Campbell
Pick: SS Greg Jones, UNC Wilmington
Given who is still on the board and their reported preferences, a college bat is the likely pick here. The A’s would jump at Kody Hoese, Michael Busch, or Will Wilson with this pick. All three are off the board in our mock draft though, so we’ll give Oakland the fast-rising — and fast-running — Jones. The draft’s fastest runner tore the cover off the ball in front of many scouts and executives the last two weeks, pushing him into first-round consideration. Even if he winds up in center field to get more value from his legs, Jones has a chance to be a dynamic leadoff man.
First mock draft pick: SS Will Wilson, NC State
Second mock draft pick: 1B/OF Michael Busch, UNC
Pick: 3B Tyler Callihan, Providence HS (Florida)
It will almost certainly be a bat for the Yankees with this pick. If not Callihan, an older high schooler with Yankee Stadium friendly left-handed power, then it could be Missouri’s Kameron Misner or Florida high schooler Rece Hinds. Gunnar Henderson, Kody Hoese, and Corbin Carroll would all be of interest here should they make it this far. Given the board and given the buzz, a bat looks likely here …
… unless the Yankees take a shot at New Jersey high schooler Jack Leiter. The Yankees acquired the Reds’ competitive-balance pick (No. 38) in the Sonny Gray trade and have a larger than expected $7.5 million bonus pool. Leiter is the son of longtime big leaguer Al Leiter, and also one of the best high school pitchers in the country. He is strongly committed to Vanderbilt, however, and unconfirmed rumors says he is only willing to sign with New York. If the Yankees do take Leiter, you can be sure they’ll have a firm grasp on his signability or even have a (technically illegal) pre-draft agreement in place. They’re not going to wing it with roughly $2.4 million in slot money on the line.
First mock draft pick: 3B Kody Hoese, Tulane
Second mock draft pick: Callihan
Pick: OF Kameron Misner, Missouri
I think the dream scenario for the Dodgers would be Brennan Malone here, giving them two very high upside pitching prospects with their two first-round picks. Since we have Malone coming off the board earlier, Misner is the next best fit. Los Angeles is not shy about drafting players with glaring flaws (Jeren Kendall‘s swing-and-miss issues, most notably) and Misner has excellent tools but a weird lack of production as a junior, particularly in conference play. This late in the first round, every player has a flaw, and few offer the sort of athleticism and tool package Misner brings to the table.
First mock draft pick: 3B Keoni Cavaco, Eastlake HS (California)
Second mock draft pick: OF Maurice Hampton, Memphis University HS (Tennessee)
Pick: RHP J.J. Goss, Cypress Ranch HS (Texas)
A few college bats could fit here, particularly Logan Davidson. More likely, the Astros have their eye on one of the prep arms slated to come off the board late in the round first, like Daniel Espino. Goss looks like an Astros pitching prospect given his quick arm, high-spin breaking balls, and powerful delivery. Houston doesn’t have any extra picks and they have the third smallest bonus pool ($5.4 million), yet Goss would give them quite a bit of upside at the end of the first round.
First mock draft pick: Goss
Second mock draft pick: Goss