2014 Draft Preview: Shakeup Atop Mock Draft 3.0

Mock Draft 1.0: Track Record Lands Rodon At Top Of First Mock
Mock Draft 2.0: Rodon Remains Atop Shifting Class


In our third mock draft, Baseball America is no longer projecting North Carolina State lefthander Carlos Rodon to go No. 1 overall.

Rodon’s last home start, May 9 against Wake Forest, was a seven-inning effort that he finished after a 1 hour, 15-minute rain delay. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and Marlins GM Dan Jennings attended the game, along with Rodon’s adviser, Scott Boras.

There was concern when Rodon re-entered the game after the delay, though multiple sources on hand have confirmed that while his stuff was crisper before the delay, his command and feel for pitching were better after. Rodon pitched just five innings the following Thursday at Virginia Tech, lacking his usual go-to power slider, though he sat in the 91-93 mph range.

N.C. State did not use Rodon on three days’ rest in its Atlantic Coast Conference play-in game against rival North Carolina, and the 4-3 loss likely ended the team’s season and Rodon’s college career. N.C. State sources have said that Rodon was physically ready to pitch, and coach Elliott Avent said afterward that Rodon had meant too much to the university over his career to risk using him on short rest.

Rodon’s 6-7, 2.01 season (with 117 strikeouts in 98.2 innings) compares favorably to the junior season of righthander Gerrit Cole in 2011, when Cole went No. 1 overall despite an iffy junior year for UCLA (6-8, 3.31, 114 IP/119 SO). But Cole was touching 100 mph that season, still bringing his best stuff to the mound regularly.

“The $6 million question is whether or not he is athletic enough to start long-term,” one executive said this week. “Some guys think he is, but other guys aren’t so sure and think he may wind up a reliever. It just seems like there isn’t a $6 million player in this draft.”

If the Astros agree with that assessment, then they won’t be selecting Rodon No. 1 overall.

1. ASTROS
HoustonAstros

If all of that is true, then Houston likely will select San Diego prep lefty Brady Aiken, who has an easier delivery and better body than Rodon.

Projected Pick: LHP Brady Aiken


Miami Marlins2. MARLINS: One Marlins source insists owner Jeffrey Loria will not step in and dictate that the club select Rodon, a Cuban-American who was born in Miami, if he is available at No. 2 overall. Industry sources continue to point toward San Diego prep catcher Alex Jackson, even if they think he’ll have to move from behind the plate.
Projected Pick: C/OF Alex Jackson

3ds_whitesox853. WHITE SOX: Rodon and slender South Side ace Chris Sale would make an interesting odd couple as well as a potentially formidable rotation duo.
Projected Pick: LHP Carlos Rodon

3ds_cubs794. CUBS: The Cubs would love for Rodon to fall here and would like a college pitcher. But injuries to East Carolina righthander Jeff Hoffman and UNLV righthander Erick Fedde and Texas Christian lefthander Brandon Finnegan’s recent slide have thinned that crop. Team president Theo Epstein was part of a Cubs contingent checking out Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost at the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament this week in Fort Myers, Fla. If the Cubs aren’t comfortable with Texas prep fireballer Tyler Kolek or Louisiana State righthander Aaron Nola, they appear poised to take Pentecost, who could sign a money-saving deal that would allow the Cubs flexibility later in the draft.
Projected Pick: C Max Pentecost

3ds_twins815. TWINS: Minnesota’s concerted effort to get more power arms in recent years synchronizes well with Kolek’s availability in this scenario.
Projected Pick: RHP Tyler Kolek

3ds_mariners836. MARINERS: Mariners officials, including GM Jack Zduriencik, have been in hard of late to evaluate Hartford lefthander Sean Newcomb and N.C. State shortstop Trea Turner. If the Mariners are under pressure to take a college player, either would make sense, but so would Florida high school shortstop Nick Gordon, generally considered a better prospect and a Seattle target for much of the spring.
Projected Pick: SS Nick Gordon

3ds_phillies837. PHILLIES: The Phillies are in on Gordon as well, but with an older big league roster, they’re also looking for someone to move quickly. That would lead them to Nola, who threw well Thursday at the SEC tournament in front of six scouting directors.
Projected Pick: RHP Aaron Nola

3ds_rockies858. ROCKIES: Nola, who has been outstanding all year, has late helium and isn’t expected to fall past Colorado. If he is gone, the Rockies likely will choose between the two healthy top college lefties on the board, Evansville’s Kyle Freeland (a Colorado native) and Newcomb.
Projected Pick: LHP Kyle Freeland

3ds_bluejays819. BLUE JAYS: Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos was on hand for Trea Turner’s fine Tuesday effort against North Carolina that included a long triple and a potential steal of home, when the Wolfpack shortstop was ruled out by a home-plate umpire who was finishing a showy called third-strike call and did not get a good look at the play.
Projected Pick: SS Trea Turner

3ds_mets8110. METS: In our first two projections we had the Mets selecting Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto, who is generally regarded as the best college hitter in the class, but now it looks like they’ll choose between Turner or Newcomb if they are available.
Projected Pick: LHP Sean Newcomb

3ds_bluejays8111. BLUE JAYS: The Jays would have their pick of pitchers with upside here. Anticipating a ton of scouting heat at next week’s Florida high school all-star weekend in Sebring, Fla., the guess here is Miami prep righty Touki Toussaint if he throws well.
Projected Pick: RHP Touki Toussaint

3ds_brewers7912. BREWERS: As usual, not many in the scouting community (or media) have heard much about what the Brewers are doing. With their big league team playing well, and several key homegrown products contributing, the Brewers could get aggressive with the injured Hoffman, whom they would not have had a chance to get before his injury. They also should have a clear shot at enigmatic Vanderbilt righty Tyler Beede, whose stock has fluctuated due to his inconsistent performance.
Projected Pick: RHP Tyler Beede

padres-201313. PADRES: Talk persists that San Diego wants a college bat. Would they give Oregon State’s Conforto a chance to play third base as a pro, as he did Tuesday in a midweek game against Oregon? It was his first career game at the position.
Projected Pick: OF Michael Conforto

3ds_giants8314. GIANTS: As one national crosschecker put it this week, Hoffman “did everything right. It’s a shame he got hurt.” That’s an opinion shared by most of the industry, so Hoffman shouldn’t fall too far. Drafting him would give the Giants one of the draft’s premier arms at the 14th spot.
Projected Pick: RHP Jeff Hoffman

3ds_angels8715: ANGELS: Believed to be another team in search of college bats, the Angels could have several choices here, including Indiana catcher Kyle Schwarber and San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer.
Projected Pick: OF Bradley Zimmer

3ds_diamondbacks2116: DIAMONDBACKS: Arizona had several representatives at the SEC tournament to check out Beede, who might be falling, particularly after his breaking ball was a well below-average on Thursday. The Diamondbacks also had GM Kevin Towers (who recently got a new boss in chief baseball officer Tony La Russa) check out Missouri prep outfielder Monte Harrison earlier this week. Harrison delivered with a home run, a line-drive double and a bloop double that showed off his speed.
Projected Pick: OF Monte Harrison

3ds_royals2917: ROYALS: Kansas City also had representatives in to see Harrison, who like 2011 Royals first-rounder Bubba Starling is committed to play football at Nebraska. The Royals continue to be strongly linked to high school pitching as well, from South Carolina righthander Grant Holmes and Florida righthander Sean Reid-Foley to Hawaii prep lefty Kodi Medeiros, who hit several 96s in a recent start. They may have to reach up this high to get Medeiros, who likely would not last until their second pick at No. 28.
Projected Pick: LHP Kodi Medeiros

3ds_nationals8118: NATIONALS: Sources continue to have conflicting information on whether the Nats will go with Fresno prep infielder Jacob Gatewood or a college bat. We’re going with Gatewood this time around.
Projected Pick: SS Jacob Gatewood

3ds_reds8319: REDS: Cincinnati will have its choice of high-upside prep righties with the likes of Reid-Foley, Holmes and Georgia’s Spencer Adams.
Projected Pick: RHP Sean Reid-Foley

3ds_rays520: RAYS: If Conforto falls, this is his floor, as the Rays’ affinity for Pacific Northwest prospects is well known. They’ve also been linked to toolsy high school outfielders Harrison and Californian Derek Hill, if they can stomach the risk.
Projected Pick: OF Derek Hill

3ds_indians8321: INDIANS: After having one pick on the first day of last year’s draft (albeit No. 5 overall), the Indians have four picks in the top 61 this year, so they could gamble on an injured pitcher such as Fedde or Finnegan. Having Holmes, who will rank as the No. 3 prep pitcher on some boards, fall to 21 could be a coup for the Indians, who also could splurge for a power bat such as Schwarber.
Projected Pick: RHP Grant Holmes

3ds_dodgers8322: DODGERS: Our earlier Spencer Adams selection just fits too well to change at this point, but the depth of prep arms could prompt the Dodgers to zag and take a college player such as Florida State righthander Luke Weaver, who was finishing strong.
Projected Pick: RHP Spencer Adams

3ds_tigers8323: TIGERS: Fedde would be a fit here if he gets past the Indians. The Tigers also have been tied to relievers such as Louisville’s Nick Burdi and Virginia’s Nick Howard, with late-rising Mississippi State lefthander Jacob Lindgren an outside possibility. Lindgren, who was averaging more than 16 strikeouts per nine innings, shined Wednesday at the SEC tournament, with a 92-94 mph fastball and a power 82-84 mph slider that flashed 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale.
Projected Pick: RHP Erick Fedde

3ds_pirates8124: PIRATES: This far down, this far out, we’re at the educated guess stage, as opposed to the informed-by-rumors stage. So it’s a matter of tendencies and what’s left on the board.
Projected Pick: C/OF Kyle Schwarber

3ds_athletics7925: ATHLETICS: Oakland continues to be connected to high school hitters such as Mississippi infielder Ti’quan Forbes and Georgia infielder Michael Chavis. Oakland also could have interest here in Cal Poly lefty Matt Imhof.
Projected Pick: 2B/3B Michael Chavis

3ds_redsox8526: RED SOX: Every big league organization has seen a lot of Virginia all spring. While outfielder Derek Fisher started the year as the top Cavalier on most boards, he has been usurped by closer Nick Howard, who has an outside chance to start.
Projected Pick: RHP Nick Howard

3ds_cardinals8127: CARDINALS: With the first of two picks, St. Louis can afford to be aggressive, particularly with a power arm. They also have interest in Weaver.
Projected Pick: LHP Brandon Finnegan

3ds_royals2828. ROYALS: Having taken Medeiros the first time though, Kansas City could stay fairly local by pairing him with a polished college bat from Wichita State.
Projected Pick: 1B Casey Gillaspie

3ds_reds8329. REDS: We’re keeping the Reds in the Florida camp, where the high school talent runs deep and should be on display in Sebring next week. Forrest Wall is the rare prep second baseman with legitimate first-round ability.
Projected Pick: 2B Forrest Wall

3ds_rangers8330. RANGERS: Texas has had more success drafting hitters than pitchers of late. Kentucky’s A.J. Reed gives them both, though dominating the SEC and leading the nation in homers will keep him in the batter’s box.
Projected Pick: 1B A.J. Reed

3ds_indians8331. INDIANS: With its second pick of the day, Cleveland would prefer a college bat before they are all gone. North Carolina prep first baseman/outfielder Braxton Davidson also could fit for teams looking for an advanced bat.
Projected Pick: OF Derek Fisher

3ds_braves8332. BRAVES: The Braves have been tight-lipped. The board just keeps unfolding in a way that the prep lefthanders, such as Florida’s Foster Griffin and Alabama’s Cody Reed, make sense.
Projected Pick: LHP Foster Griffin

3ds_redsox8333. RED SOX: Boston has seen New Jersey product Anthony Ranaudo, who went to Louisiana State, have success in its system and can roll the dice with extra picks on enigmatic New Jersey prep Joey Gatto. At this point, he has as much upside as anyone in the draft.
Projected Pick: RHP Joey Gatto

3ds_cardinals8034. CARDINALS: Prep power arm plus reasonable signability, with a late healthy rush thrown in after a heavy early workload, should equal a home for California righthander Luis Ortiz.
Projected Pick: RHP Luis Ortiz