MLB Mock Draft

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  1.    Houston Astros: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford – Standing at 6’ 5” 220, Appel possesses prototypical build for a frontline starter in the major leagues. Appel has a fantastic mid to upper 90’s fastball with excellent command. He also has a very good curveball and a devastating changeup. The makeup and stuff are there, the only concern people have about him is he doesn’t miss enough bats due to his lack of deception in his delivery. If Houston doesn’t go with Appel, Byron Buxton should be the choice.
  2.      Minnesota Twins: Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County High School – This 6’ 1” 175 pound outfielder possesses game-changing speed, an incredibly athletic body, a very good arm, and a swing that should eventually produce power as he moves through the minor leagues. Buxton has earned comparison to Justin Upton and Matt Kemp. If the Astros take Buxton at number 1, Appel should land here.
  3.      Seattle Mariners: Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Academy – Correa might outgrow shortstop, standing at 6’4” at the young age of 17. If he were to change positions down the road, 3rd base or a corner outfield position would be the likely destination. He has absolutely insane power potential, and is a very good contact hitter as well. He has outstanding plate discipline and very good makeup. He also has very good speed, as well as a plus arm. Very easily could be the best player of this draft in 3-4 years.
  4.      Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU – This pick is almost impossible to predict as Baltimore could go anywhere with this pick. However, with the lack of pitching currently in their farm system, I bet they go with an arm here, and Gausman is the safest choice. Gausman has an excellent fastball that consistently sits in the mid 90’s, as well as an above average changeup and curveball. His slider is simply the best in this draft, averaging anywhere from 84-88 MPH with sharp downward action.
  5.      Kansas City Royals: Kyle Zimmer, RHP, San Francisco – This pick is almost guaranteed to be a pitcher, and with Dayton Moore’s track record of picking college pitchers, Zimmer is the best college pitcher left on the board. His fastball is in the mid 90’s, but lacks movement. His curveball is devastating, and his makeup is excellent, but his lack of a consistent, above-average 3rd pitch is what is holding him back. 
  6.      Chicago Cubs: Albert Almora, CF, Mater Academy – Chicago’s pick is probably the most predictable pick in the top 10. GM Theo Epstein has been on Almora for weeks. Almora is one of the most polished prep bats in this class, thanks to a mechanically-sound swing and outstanding hand-eye coordination. He possesses an advanced feel for hitting along with plus power and above-average defense in center as well. He’s only an average runner, but he has a very good glove.
  7.      San Diego Padres: Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake – I doubt Fried slips past the Padres, just because left-handed power pitchers are a valuable commodity. His fastball sits in the lower 90’s, but his off-speed stuff is absolutely extraordinary for his age. He’s only 17, and could add an extra 2 to 3 MPH on his fastball before he gets to the major leagues. He has a tremendous feel for pitching, and is an exceptional athlete.
  8.      Pittsburgh Pirates: Mike Zunino, C, Florida – The hot rumor around baseball is Zunino is falling due to his lack of production this past spring at Florida. Zunino is still the top college bat in this class, so a fall past 8 would be unlikely. The potential is there for Zunino to be a top-hitting catcher, but his defense is his calling card. Pittsburgh loves picking college players, so if Zunino isn’t the pick, look for it to be Devin Marrero.
  9.       Miami Marlins: Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carol H.S. – Hawkins is probably the most powerful and explosive hitter in this draft. The potential is there for him to hit 30-40 homers a season in the majors. Contact can be an issue at times, but with his power it’s hardly a deterrent. Hawkins also possesses in absolute cannon for an arm and has very good speed.
  10.   Colorado Rockies: David Dahl, CF, Mountain Hills H.S. – Dahl has an extremely athletic frame and his insane bat control. The power should develop with time, but Dahl very rarely misses the ball. He is extremely raw, but is an exceptional athlete that should have no problem adjusting to professional baseball. This might be a bit high for him, but comparisons to Colby Rasmus and Carlos Beltran merit a top 10 selection.
  11.   Oakland Athletics: Richie Schaffer, 3B, Clemson – Shaffer shot up draft boards this spring with his combination of bat speed and raw power that’s unparalleled among this year’s crop of college bats. I don’t see a star, but I see a high-probability big-league regular with above-average upside, 20-plus homers with a strong batting average and a few runs a year saved on defense.
  12.   New York Mets: Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe H.S. – Cuecchini is probably my favorite player in this draft class. At only 17 years old, he posses very good bat speed and control. His defense is extremely advanced and there is potential for him to be a gold-glove shortstop some day. He has extremely good makeup and his range is phenomenal.
  13.   Chicago White Sox: Matt Smoral, LHP, Straton H.S. – Smoral would be a top 5 pick if not for his extreme injury concerns. His stuff is extremely good and his frame is unbelievable (6’8”, 225.) He certainly is a risk, but if he can stay healthy, Smoral could be a top of the rotation starter.
  14.   Cincinatti Reds: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State – Heaney is one of the older prospects of the class at 22 years old. He established himself as the top left-handed college pitcher in the draft. He has extraordinary stuff, but his delivery is unorthodox and he could be injury prone later in his career. Coming into the season, Heaney wasn’t even really considered a draft prospect but he shot up draft boards with a dominating senior campaign.
  15.   Cleveland Indians: Joey Gallo, 3B, Bishop Gorman H.S. – Gallo would be a potential top 10-pick as a pitcher, but his preference for hitting is so strong that he doesn’t tell scouts when he’s scheduled to pitch, leaving him more of a back of the first round guy because of questions over whether he’ll hit enough to get to his power. If he doesn’t work out as a position player, Gallo could turn into a pitcher. He has a very good arm and has been clocked at 96 MPH off the mound. I’d take a flier on him at the back of the first round for his potential as a low-average, high-power bat in the majors at third or first, but there’s also a real risk that he doesn’t make enough contact to stay a position player and ends up on the mound in three or four years.
  16.   Washington Nationals: Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake H.S. – Giolito might have been a candidate to go first overall before a tender elbow ended his high school season in March; tests were uniformly negative, showing no ligament or tendon damage, and he’s expected to be able to throw for teams before the draft. His fastball is electric, clocked a few times in triple digits. He has good mechanics and outstanding off-speed stuff. It’s all a matter of staying healthy.
  17.   Toronto Blue Jays: Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M – At season’s outset, Wacha was seen as a top 10 pick because of his great mechanics and exceptional command. His stuff isn’t overpowering, and he isn’t the biggest of guys (5’11” 180.) He has awesome durability, but lacks a second dominant pitch. Probably a back end of the rotation ceiling.
  18.   Los Angeles Dodgers: Ty Hensley, RHP, Edmond H.S. – Hensley has exceptional stuff, good frame, and perfect makeup, but his command is average at best. There’s huge potential here in the raw material if a club feels like they can clean him up and get him to throw more consistent strikes.
  19.   St. Louis Cardinals: Lance McCluers, RHP, Florida – McClurers possesses a perfect frame (6’3” 215) and has very good stuff. His fastball sits in the low 90’s and has very good command. His off-speed is average at best. If not for his extreme overuse in the college, he could be a top 10 pick. Because of the incredible amount of innings he threw in college, scouts are worried he could burn out quickly.
  20.   San Francisco Giants: Corey Seager, SS, Northwest Carribus H.S. – Seager has All-Star upside as a power-hitting third baseman who should offer plus defense at the position once he moves off shortstop. He has very good power and excellent bat control. Concern still remains about his intent to play college baseball at South Carolina, where he is said to be heavily committed to. The Giants need hitting, and if they could manage to sign him, he could become a monster.
  21.   Atlanta Braves: Tanner Raiher, SS, Palm Desert H.S. – Rahier has extremely good bat control and rarely strikes out. He doesn’t possess much power, but that could develop as he moves through the minor leagues. He plays exception defense, but because of his size, he’s likely to move to 3rd base. He has an exceptional arm and is very young at only 17 years old.
  22.   Toronto Blue Jays: Zach Eflin, RHP, Hagerty H.S. – Eflin came into the spring as a super-projectable righty who could scrape 90 with a good changeup, but who was waiting for his velocity to spike. This spring it did, allowing Eflin to sit in the low 90?s and hit 95 with a 6-5, 200-pound frame that still has projection left. Eflin has some trouble repeating his delivery, specifically his stride length and direction, as he is still growing into his body.  When healthy, he has the body, projection and stuff to be a middle-of-the-rotation anchor for years.
  23.    St. Louis Cardinals: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke- Stroman would go in the top five picks this year if he were only about five or six inches taller, but at 5-9 or so he’s being pegged as a reliever by most scouts — yet a reliever who could pitch in the majors this year if a team were so inclined. That said, he has a starter’s repertoire in an above-average fastball, an out pitch among his secondary offerings, and a weapon to use against lefties, along with an extremely aggressive approach and tremendous self-confidence on the mound. Should move through the minors very quickly.
  24.   Boston Red Sox: Addison Russell, SS, Pace HS – Russell has an explosive swing that could translate to big power in the majors someday. However, he does have contact issues at times. The attractive thing about Russell is he’s only 18 years old and is about as good of an athlete as Byron Buxton. Crazy speed.
  25.   Tampa Bay Rays: Stephen Piscotty, 3B, Stanford – Piscotty has very good hitting tools. He has both excellent power bat control. His approach at the plate is also outstanding. Piscotty’s weakness is in the field, as he made the 2nd most errors of any Pac 12 3rd baseman this past season. His bat is so explosive that he’s almost guaranteed to be a 1st round selection.
  26.   Arizona Diamondbacks: Hunter Virant, RHP, Palm West High School – Virant is power pitching, high school left-hander. Draws favorable comparisons to Tyler Skaggs.
  27.   Milwaukee Brewers: Ty Buttrey, RHP, Providence H.S. – He is one of the older prep prospects in this years draft at 19 on draft day and will be a draft-eligible sophomore in two years at Arkansas if he opts to go to school. As a big, physical right hander with some polish and a non-zero chance for three plus pitches, Buttrey is an attractive upside play.
  28.   Milwaukee Brewers: Strykar Trahan, C, Acadinia H.S. – Trahan probably has the best name in the draft, but the kid can also play some ball too. He hits extremely well for a catcher, but I doubt he stays there in the minors. He has a very good arm, so he projects out to be a power hitting, solid 3rd baseman.
  29.   Texas Rangers: Lewis Brinson, CF, Coral Springs H.S. – Brinson has as high an upside as any player not named Byron Buxton in this draft with an ultra-projectable frame and plus tools galore. The problem is that fifth tool, his bat, and it’s been so hit and miss that many teams won’t consider him in the top two rounds. An organization that doesn’t necessarily need him in the next couple of years is likely to pull the trigger on him. He will be a project, but well worth it.
  30.   New York Yankees: D.J. Davis, OF, Stone County H.S. – He can fly, but the arm may not translate to anywhere but left field. The comps to Billy Hamilton are too easy — left-handed hitting 80 runners from Mississippi high schools — but Hamilton was also an exception to the recent trend of Mississippi prep hitters failing to make much contact in pro ball. Davis is a great upside play but will likely require a lot of patience as well as some work to calm down his swing.
  31.   Boston Red Sox: Brian Johnson, LHP, Florida – Johnson’s fastball doesn’t overwhelm anyone (upper 80’s), but his changeup and slider are devastating. He projects as a guy that will move through the minors quickly because minor league hitters don’t adjust well to good off-speed stuff.

Tyler Howard

 

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