Mock Draft 3.0

The draft is getting close. Some teams have begun pre-draft meetings, and pre-draft workouts will be begin in the coming weeks. The college season is winding down, many high school seasons have concluded, and it’s almost time for the evaluating to come to a halt.

Early on, this draft class’s strength was on the mound. The college pitching prospects have been shaky, and some intriguing players have emerged to fill the void, with T.J. Zeuch and Dakota Hudson cementing themselves as a first-round prospects. The high school pitching has also stepped up, with righthanders Riley Pint and Matt Manning throwing bullets. The prep southpaws have also been good, with Joey Wentz, Braxton Garrett, Kyle Muller and Jeff Belge stepping forward.

Jason Groome, who entered the spring as our No. 1 prospect, has shown promise, but the risk factors for a pitcher so young, as well as the short time frame to evaluate him in the spring, make him a little too risky for the teams picking at the top.

Draft fever is building, as is the BA500, up to 200 prospects this week with 100 per week until the final BA500 drops June 2. Here’s the third installment of our Mock Drafts.


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1. Phillies: As we wrote in last week’s mock, Phillies executive Pat Gillick has hit the trail hard this spring, and he’s been spotted watching many players. Lately, Gillick and other high-level Phillies executives have been in to see Southern California prep outfielders Blake Rutherford and Mickey Moniak, with sources indicating that the club could be looking for a player to cut a deal with for under-slot money. Gillick, a Southern California alumnus, has picked players from the area often in his career, and with varying degrees of success. Adam Jones (2003, Mariners) has been one of the few that has lived up to his potential. Still, the safer option probably makes the most sense given Philadelphia’s regime change and the importance of this pick in the club’s rebuilding effort. PICK: A.J. Puk, lhp | Video


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2. Reds: Cincinnati appears likely to target a college bat, though Puk could be their guy if he’s available here. The college hitters with the most upside here are Kyle Lewis and Corey Ray, each of whom has their risks, with Lewis playing against weaker competition this spring and Ray’s defensive future uncertain. Lewis’s mammoth power and chance to play center puts him ahead of Ray for many sources, and he seems like the best fit here. PICK: Kyle Lewis, of


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3. Braves: The Braves’ farm system is loaded with pitching prospects, and there’s a narrative building that the system needs a position player. The acquisition of Dansby Swanson, however, lessened that need, and could allow the Braves to feel comfortable going with the arm that they believe in. While a college bat is not out of the question, Atlanta has been connected to prep arms at the top, including Groome, Manning, Pint and Ian Anderson. PICK: Riley Pint, rhp | Video


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4. Rockies: In recent years, Colorado has gone after up-the-middle position players who can hit with their early picks, going with Brendan Rodgers last year, popping Forrest Wall with their second pick in 2014, and gambling on David Dahl in 2012. Colorado appears to be riding the Mickey Moniak train, and he fits for them. PICK: Mickey Moniak, of | Video


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5. Brewers: Scouting director Ray Montgomery has bet on high school upside often in recent years, selecting Trent Clark last year and going with Touki Toussaint in his final year with Diamondbacks. The Brewers have been connected to shortstop Delvin Perez for a long time, but they are also believed to covet Groome and Ray as well; here all three are available. Ray’s draft year performance jump and cold-weather roots could mean there’s more in the tank, giving him more upside than the typical college corner outfielder. PICK: Corey Ray, of | Video


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6. Athletics: There were rumors circulating that Oakland could cut a deal here, but with the talent that could be available here, an underslot deal seems less likely. Senzel’s safe profile makes a solid bet here, and his move to shortstop in recent weeks has helped his stock, and he’s leading the Southeastern Conference with 23 steals in 24 attempts. PICK: Nick Senzel, 3b | Video


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7. Marlins: Over the past four drafts, the Marlins have used their first pick on each of the four demographics—high school bat (Josh Naylor), high school arm (Tyler Kolek), college bat (Colin Moran) and college arm (Andrew Heaney). Miami’s system needs a jolt, and while Kolek’s injury could make them think twice about a prep pitcher, Groome has a lot less mileage than Kolek had at the same time, and Groome has frontline starter upside. PICK: Jason Groome, lhp | Video


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8. Padres: San Diego has three of the first 25 picks, stoking the rumor mill with tales of under-slot deals for high-ceiling preps either at this selection or picks 24 and 25. General Manager AJ Preller likes to get out and scout, and he’s been seen watching many first-round candidates. Stanford righthander Cal Quantrill hasn’t pitched since the middle of his sophomore year, and recently stopped throwing bullpens. Quantrill is one of the wild cards connected with San Diego; Virginia catcher Matt Thaiss could also be a candidate to make a deal in the top 10. But the Padres also could negotiate with Puerto Rican shortstop Perez, who is pretty much a lock to sign as he is not committed to college. PICK: Delvin Perez, ss | Video


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9. Tigers: Detroit valued power arms under Dave Dombrowski, and little appears to have changed since Dombrowski’s departure. The Tigers have been connected to Dakota Hudson, a natural fit given the organization’s predilection towards SEC players, but they’ve also been tied to Matt Manning, an athletic NorCal prep arm whose fastball has reached the upper 90s this spring. PICK: Matt Manning, rhp | Video


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10. White Sox: The White Sox appear to be taking a close look at every demographic. Ian Anderson has shown well this spring, and has gotten past some discomfort that resulted from a bout with pneumonia. Anderson has a high ceiling given his wiry body and cold-weather roots, but his current strike-throwing ability and now-stuff is pretty polished, giving him a relatively high floor. The White Sox have not taken a high school righthander in the first round since popping Kris Honel at No. 16 in 2001. Chicago could also take a deep look at Blake Rutherford here. PICK: Ian Anderson, rhp | Video


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11. Mariners: Seattle has had higher-up scouting executives in to see Rutherford in recent weeks, and he’s shown a little more game power than he did earlier in the year. His age (19 on draft day) has scared some teams away, but his power-speed combination and advanced bat should prevent him from sliding too far. PICK: Blake Rutherford, of | Video


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12. Red Sox: The Red Sox value track record and history, which Virginia righthander Connor Jones and Miami catcher Zack Collins bring to the table. Collins’ improved defense has him in consideration for teams in the 10-15 range, with the Red Sox being the most likely fit. Boston could also be in on a college arm, though there is some belief among sources that both Hudson and Jordan Sheffield could end up in the bullpen long-term, and T.J. Zeuch’s lack of a polished offspeed pitch has raised questions about how he’ll perform against hitters who have seen him before. PICK: Zack Collins, c | Video


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13. Rays: Tampa Bay has an excellent history of developing pitching, taking things slow and steady with prep arms and mastering the education of the changeup. Alabama prep lefthander Braxton Garrett is athletic, can spin a breaking ball and has unleashed a devastating changeup this spring. He’s a good fit for the Rays. PICK: Braxton Garrett, lhp | Video


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14. Indians: The Indians’ draft position makes it unlikely any of the first-tier prep prospects will fall to them, though there are some believers in second-level prospects such as outfielders Taylor Trammell and Alex Kirilloff and lefthander Joey Wentz. Wentz’s athleticism and present strike-throwing ability could make him a good fit for Cleveland. PICK: Joey Wentz, lhp


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15. Twins: Minnesota’s farm system could use some punch on the pitching side. Mississippi State righty Dakota Hudson could be a good fit here, as could Louisville closer Zack Burdi. The Twins took Illinois closer Tyler Jay in the first round last year and are starting him in the minor leagues now, and they have Zack’s older brothe Nick Burdi developing in Double-A. Hudson, Sheffield, Zeuch, and Connor Jones are safer bets to start, but Burdi might have a higher ceiling than all of them. PICK: Dakota Hudson, rhp | Video


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16. Angels: The Angels have also been closely connected to Pennsylvania prep outfielder Alex Kirilloff, but they sorely need to address their lack of pitching depth. The Angels’ unwillingness to exceed the luxury tax threshold, a light 2016-2017 free agent pitching market and the club’s 30th-rated farm system give first-year GM Billy Eppler few avenues to acquiring pitching. Here, the Angels are likely to go after a college arm. Zeuch’s size and command make him a good fit for the Angels’ power-pitching draft approach. PICK: T.J. Zeuch, rhp


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17. Astros: Houston is in unfamiliar territory, with this year’s pick being the latest they’ve selected in the draft since 2009. They’ve been connected to Pennsylvania prep infielder Nolan Jones, a lefthanded hitter with power, but they’ve also been linked to Connor Jones and Burdi. A more polished, safer pitching prospect would be a nice complement to their farm system, but Houston has bet on upside in recent years. Burdi has frontline stuff, and could be an asset for a big league bullpen as soon as the end of this season. Houston or another team could pursue a Brandon Finnegan-like developmental track for Burdi. PICK: Zack Burdi, rhp


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18. Yankees: In last week’s mock, we gave the Yankees Ian Anderson in this spot. They’d be thrilled to have him if he were available, but they’ve also been linked to Nolan Jones and Jordan Sheffield, with Sheffield being a particularly strong fit at this spot given his improved command this spring. PICK: Jordan Sheffield, rhp |  Video


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19. Mets: The Mets value college performers, and they’ve already got a deep pitching staff, making a quicker-to-the-majors college arm appear less likely. The Mets are in on Wake Forest third baseman Will Craig, who’s performed as well as anyone and has the highly-coveted righthanded power bat that teams are always looking for. He has a rough summer in the Cape Cod League, but has performed in the spring. PICK: Will Craig, 3b


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20. Dodgers: The Dodgers are rumored to be looking deeper at college options, but been connected to prep shortstops Nolan Jones and Gavin Lux, two cold-weather area prospects with boom-or-bust potential. They could also take a shot on the upside of a pitching prospect like Texas’ Forrest Whitley or California’s Jared Horn. Los Angeles impact-filled farm system could allow for that kind of gamble. PICK: Nolan Jones, ss/3b | Video


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21. Blue Jays: Toronto hasn’t shied away from injured players in the past; they took Jeff Hoffman in the first round in 2014. While the top of the front office has changed, the team’s locale hasn’t, and Stanford’s Cal Quantrill seems like a natural fit for the Jays. He’s Canadian, his father played for (and now works for) Toronto, and he has shown potential with three pitches. Toronto could also take a shot on of the athletic prep outfielders available here. PICK: Cal Quantrill, rhp | Video


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22. Pirates: The Pirates have placed a clear emphasis on up-the-middle contact bats and ground ball pitchers in recent years, taking Kevin Newman in 2015 and Cole Tucker in 2014, and developing a pitch-to-contact philosophy throughout the organization. One contact bat available here could be Taylor Trammell, a prep outfielder from Georgia with plus-plus speed and the ability to play center field. Connor Jones might also be a fit here. PICK: Taylor Trammell, of


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23. Cardinals: St. Louis has been linked to the college ranks, a relatively safe demographic that could make sense for the first pick of first-year scouting director Randy Flores’s tenure. Sources indicate the Cardinals are high on Zeuch, and they’d love to have him here if he’s available. But Robert Tyler also has a lot of things that the Cardinals prioritize, with prototypical size (6-foot-4, 226 pounds), a premium fastball and a wicked changeup. PICK: Robert Tyler, rhp | Video


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24-25. Padres: The Dads are hitting the trail hard on prep athletes. Josh Lowe might not be available here, but it’s hard to imagine his tools sliding past San Diego in this scenario. An arm with ceiling might also be in play here if the Padres haven’t gotten one at No. 8. PICKS: Josh Lowe, 3b/of | Video and Jared Horn, rhp


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26. White Sox: If the White Sox ended up with a prep arm at No. 10, it’d be hard to imagine them doing the same thing again at 26. We gave them Kent State southpaw Eric Lauer last week, and that seems like a pretty good match. He’s a strike-throwing lefthander with an easy delivery and promising command. If they end up going in another direction with their first pick, Whitley, who has significantly improved his body since last year, could be in play here. PICK: Eric Lauer, lhp


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27. Orioles: As we wrote last week, the Orioles have had success recently when they’ve bet on bats, hitting on Trey Mancini and Chance Sisco. Drew Mendoza might be a fit here, but local product Joe Rizzo could also be in play. He’s a stroker with a less-than-ideal body and defensive question marks, somewhat similar to the two players the Orioles picked early last year, D.J. Stewart and Ryan Mountcastle. PICK: Joe Rizzo, 3b | Video


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28-29. Nationals: We wrote last week that the Nats aren’t afraid of Boras clients, and opined that Reggie Lawson could slot in here for that reason. Mendoza is also a Boras client and has moved up boards after showing promise with his bat this spring. The Nationals could also grab Kirilloff here if he’s available, getting two of higher upside bats in the class. PICKS: Drew Mendoza, ss/3b and Alex Kirilloff, of


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30. Rangers: The Rangers like Georgia athletes with power. Toolsy prep outfielder Will Benson fits Texas’s modus operandi, as do righthander Alex Speas, Trammell, if available, and Brandon Marsh, among others. PICK: Will Benson, of | Video


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31. Mets: After getting Craig at 19, the Mets could target a double-down on college bats and get themselves a center fielder, with Buddy Reed potentially sliding this far. PICK: Buddy Reed, of | Video


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32. Dodgers: Last year, the Dodgers saw Walker Buehler pitch really well at the Dodgertown Classic. Despite Buehler’s shakiness and injury issues, the Dodgers made him their first pick. The guy who shoved at this year’s Dodgertown Classic was Alec Hansen, the Oklahoma righthander with arguably the best package of stuff in this class, and arguably the most inconsistent command in this class. Hansen was lights-out last week, with a fastball up to 98 mph, and if he keeps it up down the stretch, some team will be more than happy to gamble on him. PICK: Alec Hansen, rhp | Video


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33-34. Cardinals: If Thaiss hasn’t made a deal earlier in the draft, he would be a good fit for St. Louis here, even if they don’t think he’s a catcher long-term. They could also add some upside and nab Lux, the quick-twitch Wisconsin prep who’s shown intriguing pop this spring. PICKS: Matt Thaiss, c and Gavin Lux, ss

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