Now that all of the selections have been made, our draft experts took a few moments to glance at each team’s draft list and see what stood out. We won’t be able to fully judge any draft class for years, of course, but it’s never too early to start analyzing. Each team’s draft list is linked from its report, or you can go to our main Draft Database page. Jim Callis wrote the East, John Manuel the Central, and Conor Glassey the West.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
The Braves used their first four selections on a pair of power arms and a pair of offensive-minded catchers. Righthander Jason Hursh (first round) throws a heavy 92-98 mph heater with little effort, and stocky righthander Carlos Salazar (third) had one of the best fastballs—he reaches 97 mph—among this year’s high school crop. Victor Caratini (second) has a more polished bat than Tanner Murphy (fourth), who has more power. Of Atlanta’s first 10 picks, only Hursh, Caratini, and Salazar ranked among Baseball America’s top 200 prospects.
It was a pleasant surprise for the Marlins when college baseball’s best pure hitter, third baseman Colin Moran, was available at No. 6. Matt Krook (supplemental first round) also lasted a little longer than expected, giving Miami a southpaw who can touch 95 mph and unleash a nasty curveball. The Marlins’ next two picks were college righties: Trevor Williams (second) has plus velocity and command, and Colby Suggs (supplemental second) could move fast as a reliever with a heavy 93-98 mph fastball.
The Mets made Dominic Smith the first high school first baseman drafted in the first round since Eric Hosmer in 2008. Smith was the first of four high schoolers to kick off the Mets’ draft, followed by hard-throwing 6-foot-1 righty Andrew Church (second), toolsy outfielder Ivan Wilson (third) and projectable 6-foot-7 righty Casey Meisner (third). New York had an extra third-round pick for failing to sign its second-rounder last year. The Mets fleshed out their class with polished college bats such as L.J. Mazzilli (fourth), son of ex-Met Lee Mazzilli, and first baseman Matt Oberste (seventh).
The Phillies made no secret of their attraction to shortstop J.P. Crawford and got him in the first round. They balanced college performers and toolsy preps in the rest of their draft, with offense-first catcher Andrew Knapp (second) and lefty Ben Wetzler (fifth) filling the first role. They’ve already signed Mississippi State football recruit Cord Sandberg (third), and got more upside with Puerto Rico’s top prospect, shortstop Jan Hernandez (third), and catcher Jake Sweaney (fourth).
The Nationals gave up their first-round pick to sign Rafael Soriano and went for big tools over polish in their 2013 draft class. Pitchers with fastballs below 92 mph need not apply, as the Nats stocked up on power with righthanders Jake Johansen (second round, up to 99 mph), Nic Pivetta (fourth, 97), Austin Voth (fifth, 94 as a starter) and David Napoli (94 as a reliever). Righty John Simms (11th) threw more than 100 pitches in a relief outing in super regionals, and he may be a tough sign away from his senior year at Rice. The Nats took plenty of intriguing picks in the later rounds, none more than 37th-rounder Karsten Whitson, a 2010 first-rounder who missed the season at Florida with shoulder surgery.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Despite the Cubs’ pitching needs, the organization started the draft with Kris Bryant, the most exciting bat in the class, at No. 2 overall. Chicago then loaded up on arms, taking seven in the first 10 rounds. Lefty Rob Zastryzny (second round) has feel for his fastball, while college righties Tyler Skulina (fourth), Trey Masek (fifth) and Scott Frazier (sixth) all have power stuff. Frazier, who was a sixth-rounder out of high school, has the most upside but the furthest to go to realize his potential. The Cubs have more intriguing late picks than most led by BA 500 members Trevor Clifton (No. 148), Daniel Poncedeleon (322) and Michael Wagner (192), all righthanders.
Two of the draft’s top college outfielders led the Reds’ class in Phillip Ervin and Michael Lorenzen, both of whom could be legitimate center fielders. Lorenzen, however, may have more upside on the mound, and that’s where the Reds plan to start him out. He closed for Cal State Fullerton and could move quickly with a fastball in the upper 90s. The Reds mixed in projection picks from the high school ranks, with power-hitting third baseman Kevin Franklin (second round) and righthander Mark Armstrong (third). South Carolina prep Cory Thompson drew interest as a pitcher and hitter but was announced as a shortstop. Miami Hurricanes fans will watch this class closely to see if recruits Willie Abreu (11th round) and Zack Collins (27th) sign or come to school.
The Brewers lacked a first-round pick after signing free agent Kyle Lohse, but still got two first-round-quality talents in righthander Devin Williams and infielder Tucker Neuhaus. Williams is quite raw, and Neuhaus had an injury-plagued spring, which helped explain why they were available with the 54th and 72nd overall picks. The rest of Milwaukee’s draft leaned heavily toward college players, including local product Josh Uhen, a Wisconsin-Milwaukee righty who has flashed a 98 mph fastball.
The Pirates took two of the draft’s top high school up-the-middle players in the first round in center fielder Austin Meadows (with the compensation pick for failing to sign Mark Appel last year) and catcher Reese McGuire. Lefty Blake Taylor (second) stands out for his downer curve. The college picks have projection remaining as well, as JaCoby Jones (third) was the top college athlete available, while lefthander Cody Dickson (fourth) has looseness and plus velocity for a southpaw, albeit without command. The Pirates got good value with several college performers as well, getting the draft’s top four-year college shortstop in Mississippi State’s Adam Frazier (sixth) and hard-throwing righty Buddy Borden (seventh).
As usual, the Cardinals mixed proven college performers, such as Marco Gonzales (first round), Mason Katz (fourth) and Nick Petree (ninth), with upside prep picks such as Ian McKinney (fifth) and enigmatic prep shortstops Oscar Mercado (second) and Chris Rivera (seventh). Gonzales and high school lefthander Rob Kaminsky–a second first-rounder selected with a compensation pick for losing free agent Kyle Lohse–both have rotation potential despite smallish frames. Katz played first base primarily as a senior at Louisiana State but was announced as a second baseman and profiles as a utilityman. Lefty Jimmy Reed (sixth) and Petree, who dominated in college despite middling velocity, are intriguing pieces for a standout development program.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
Getting Nevada righthander Braden Shipley with the 15th overall pick could be a steal for Arizona. He was in the mix as high as fourth overall and profiles as a top-of-the-rotation starter because of his stuff, athleticism and toughness. The Diamondbacks got another quality arm in Marshall righthander Aaron Blair in the supplemental round. Arizona got big power in second-rounder Justin Williams—though he has little shot at playing shortstop—and Georgia Tech first baseman Daniel Palka (third), as well as two of the fastest players in the draft in prep outfielder Matt McPhearson (fourth) and juco outfielder Colin Bray (sixth). Oregon closer Jimmie Sherfy could be a bargain in the 10th round, and there were plenty of interesting later picks like toolsy high school outfielder Dane McFarland (12th), catcher Elvin Soto (16th) and hard-throwing righthander Adam Miller (20th).
With the third overall pick, the Rockies landed Baseball America’s No. 1 draft prospect in Oklahoma righthander Jonathan Gray, and he should move quickly to Coors Field thanks to a fastball that reaches 100 mph and a nasty slider. High school third baseman Ryan McMahon (second round) offers slick fielding and a potent lefthanded bat, while righthander Alex Balog (supplemental second) should be a solid mid-rotation starter. Dom Nunez (sixth) was a high school catcher, but the Rockies drafted him as a third baseman. His father played in college for Jerry Weinstein, who is the Rockies’ catching instructor. Florida Gulf Coast outfielder Sean Dwyer (11th) has a quick bat with power potential.
Despite a track record of aggressively drafting high school pitchers, the Dodgers landed premium college arms with their first two picks in Jacksonville righthander Chris Anderson (first round) and Minnesota lefthander Tom Windle (second). They went to Arizona for college third baseman Brandon Dixon (third) and prep first baseman Cody Bellinger (fourth), who has drawn Adam LaRoche comparisons. UC Santa Barbara shortstop Brandon Trinkwon (seventh) entered the year as a second-team All-American, but hit just .280/.367/.384 this year and may wind up moving to second base. Southern California prep righthander Greg Harris (17th) has interesting upside and big league bloodlines.
First-round pick Hunter Renfroe looks like a profile right fielder with athleticism, power potential and arm strength. After that, first-year scouting director Billy Gasparino went for high-upside high school players in third baseman Dustin Peterson (second round), outfielder Jordan Paroubeck (supplemental second), outfielder Mason Smith (fourth) and first baseman Jake Bauers (seventh). The team could make a run at late-round picks such as prep righthander Connor Jones (21st), Tulane righthander Tony Rizzotti (25th), prep catcher Chris Okey (31st) and prep lefthander Garrett Williams (33rd). It’s easy to root for righthander Max Beaty (32nd), who came back from testicular cancer last year.
The Giants went against the grain by taking Florida prep shortstop Christian Arroyo 25th overall, who wasn’t a consensus first-round talent. Arroyo was MVP of the 18-and-under World Championship as Team USA took home the gold medal last summer and hit well this spring. The Giants like his bat and his ability to stay up the middle and will likely save some money on him to sign North Carolina prep third baseman Ryder Jones (second round) away from his Stanford commitment. Jones already has signed. San Francisco went college-heavy after that and then may have found value late in Puerto Rican outfielder Johneshwy Fargas (11th), Villanova righthander Pat Young (13th round) and California prep third baseman Jonah Arenado (16th).