Mock Draft: June 4
Jim Callis' updated look at how the draft will shape up
See also: Mock Draft 1.0: May 14
See also: Mock Draft 2.0: May 28
Three days before the draft, we have a lock to go No. 1 overall and two near-certainties for the second and third picks. The Nationals will take College of Southern Nevada catcher Bryce Harper with the first choice, and the Pirates and Orioles will take the two best high school players, Texas righthander Jameson Taillon and Florida shortstop Manny Machado, in either order.
Nothing else has been settled. Teams will try to pinpoint the asking prices of potential first-rounders this weekend, and in some cases try to get a final look at players in high school and college playoffs. From the Royals at No. 4 and on down, first-round picks remain very fluid.
Below is our third guess at how the first round will play out. We'll have a final mock first round early Monday morning, then continue to report information as we get it leading up to the draft, which begins at 7 p.m. at MLB Network's Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J.
Harper's season ended when he was ejected during a Junior College World Series game on Wednesday, and Southern Nevada was eliminated the next day while he sat out with a mandatory related suspension. He's immature, but he's also one of the best power prospects in draft history.
PROJECTED PICK: BRYCE HARPER.
All indications are that the Pirates are deciding between Taillon and Machado. While they avoided taking a high-priced prep pitcher with the No. 4 selection a year ago, Taillon remains very much in their discussion.
PROJECTED PICK: MANNY MACHADO.
Baltimore is just going to sit back and see who's left: a tremendous power hitter (Harper), a younger model of Josh Beckett (Taillon) or a potential five-tool shortstop (Machado). If the Pirates went in a different direction and left the Orioles with a choice, Baltimore would probably take Taillon.
PROJECTED PICK: JAMESON TAILLON.
If one of the big three doesn't fall to Kansas City, they Royals probably will choose between a pair of college lefthanders, and Florida Gulf Coast's Chris Sale seems to be moving ahead of Mississippi's Drew Pomeranz on several draft boards. If the Royals want a bat, they could pop Texas-Arlington outfielder Michael Choice, who's in play for virtually every team behind them. This also is the high-water mark for The Citadel righthander Asher Wojciechowski.
PROJECTED PICK: CHRIS SALE.
They'd like Sale. If he's gone, Cleveland will consider Pomeranz along with hitters such as Choice, Arkansas third baseman Zach Cox and Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal. Many teams believe both Cox and Grandal want lucrative above-slot deals, in which case they could slide for a while.
PROJECTED PICK: MICHAEL CHOICE.
Arizona is focusing on college pitching. The Diamondbacks could choose between one of the lefties or righthanders Deck McGuire (Georgia Tech) or Matt Harvey (North Carolina). Pomeranz wouldn't have lasted this long six weeks ago, but after battling a strained pectoral muscle he looked good again in the Southeastern Conference tournament last week.
PROJECTED PICK: DREW POMERANZ.
Teams picking behind the Mets have little idea what they might do. Though they're making noise about paying Taillon or Machado if they got this far, it's also easy to say that because it won't happen. New York sticks to slot as much as any club, which could eliminate Cox and Grandal. The Mets are bearing down heavily on a pair of catchers, Minnesota's Mike Kvasnicka and Indiana high schooler Justin O'Conner, who would be money-saving picks. There's also talk they're switching from hitting to pitching, which could lead them to the resurgent Harvey—though he's advised by the Boras Corp. It's possible they could elevate another pitcher and reduce costs that way.
PROJECTED PICK: MATT HARVEY.
Houston has been on Washington high school outfielder Josh Sale's power bat all spring, but its ardor for Georgia high school outfielder Delino DeShields' athleticism is equally well known. With the Blue Jays (No. 11) and Rays (No. 17) interested in DeShields and picking before the Astros' next choice at No. 19, Houston could switch to DeShields.
PROJECTED PICK: JOSH SALE.
San Diego has been tied to Ball State second baseman Kolbrin Vitek, who would move to center field, for weeks. Other possibilities include Choice, Cox, Cal State Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon (their 10th-round pick out of high school in 2007) and Florida high school third baseman Nick Castellanos. The only pitcher mentioned here is Florida prep righthander Karsten Whitson, who has climbed over the field to rank as the second-best pitcher in the high school crop behind Taillon.
PROJECTED PICK: KOLBRIN VITEK.
Oakland will wait and see who falls to No. 10. Choice probably won't make it thus far, but Cox stands a good chance. The A's also could go for O'Conner or Colon, though Colon would be the third straight college middle infielder they've drafted. McGuire could tempt them to go for a pitcher.
PROJECTED PICK: ZACK COX.
11. BLUE JAYS.
Toronto is cooling on taking California high school outfielder Austin Wilson, one of the draft's toughest signs, but the Blue Jays want athletes and are willing to spend money. If Choice is gone, the Blue Jays may try to beat the Astros to the punch on DeShields, and they're one of a few clubs in on fast-rising Georgia high school outfielder Jake Skole. They'd rather get Skole in the sandwich round but he might not last that long. Whitson and Josh Sale also could be in the mix.
PROJECTED PICK. DELINO DeSHIELDS.
Cincinnati will take the best player who will sign for close to slot money. Colon may be the best player on the board, but he's also advised by the Boras Corp. If that deal can't happen, the Reds would turn to McGuire, Middle Tennessee State outfielder Bryce Brentz or Ohio State righthander Alex Wimmers.
PROJECTED PICK: CHRISTIAN COLON.
13. WHITE SOX.
Chicago wants a college pitcher and may get a nice surprise in McGuire, who projected to go in the top 10 for most of the spring. If he doesn't drop to No. 13, righthanders Brandon Workman (Texas), Asher Wojciechowski (The Citadel) and Wimmers would be in play.
PROJECTED PICK: DECK McGUIRE.
As much as Milwaukee needs pitching, the most persistent talk has it opting for Castellanos instead. The Brewers also are looking at the same arms as the White Sox, and could be the first team that would take enigmatic Louisiana State righthander Anthony Ranaudo, Texas A&M righty Barret Loux and fast-rising Florida high school righty Luke Jackson.
PROJECTED PICK: NICK CASTELLANOS.
This bonus pick for failing to sign Matt Purke last year is unprotected by further compensation, so selecting Cox or Grandal would be extremely risky. If Texas sticks to full value and slot money with the choice, Wojciechowski or Workman would fit. If the Rangers want to push someone up their board they can sign quickly and easily, Skole, Kvasnicka, Canadian high school catcher Kellin Deglan and Georgia prep outfielder Aaron Shipman are options. With Skole's stock soaring, he might not come at a discount any longer.
PROJECTED PICK: ASHER WOJCIECHOWSKI.
Two players repeatedly get mentioned with Chicago: O'Conner and Whitson. Wojciechowski and Wimmers are back-burner options.
PROJECTED PICK: JUSTIN O'CONNER.
Adding Whitson or fellow Florida high school righthander A.J. Cole to its stable of arms may be difficult for Tampa Bay to resist. On the off chance Josh Sale slid to No. 17, the Rays would pounce. They're also interested in athletic outfielders, and if they lose out on DeShields and Skole, Alabama high schooler Reggie Golden could be next on their list. Though Tampa Bay could use a catcher, it doesn't appear to be targeting Grandal.
PROJECTED PICK: KARSTEN WHITSON
Los Angeles is linked to every quality California high school pitcher, including Dylan Covey, Scott Frazier, Aaron Sanchez, Peter Tago and Taijuan Walker. Covey never figured to get this far until his performance dipped late in the spring, and the Angels could take Whitson or Ohio high school righthander Stetson Allie here and try to get Covey with pick No. 29 or 30.
PROJECTED PICK: DYLAN COVEY.
Houston would love to get DeShields here, but it may have to settle for Golden or Arkansas outfielder/righthander Brett Eibner, whom they failed to sign as a fourth-rounder out of high school three years ago.
PROJECTED PICK: REGGIE GOLDEN.
20. RED SOX.
No team is the center of more rumors than Boston. The Red Sox appear to have the most interest of any team in the first round in Ranaudo, who came down with a stress reaction in his elbow in his first start and only recently has begun to resemble the dominant pitcher who helped LSU win the 2009 College World Series. Other clubs think reports that Grandal wants to match Buster Posey's $6 million bonus are a ploy to drop him to Boston, which needs catching help and drafted him out of high school in 2007 (27th round). Castellanos' signability also scares some teams, and he could land with the Red Sox as well. There's also a school of thought that the Red Sox rarely venture well over slot in the first round, with Casey Kelly in 2008 the lone exception under GM Theo Epstein, and will sign someone for slot at No. 20 and spend heavily in the sandwich round at No. 36 and 39. In that case, they could look at Vitek, Workman, Brentz or Skole.
PROJECTED PICK: ANTHONY RANAUDO.
Minnesota reportedly covets the strike-throwing Wimmers. If he's gone, the Twins would consider Workman, Brentz and Golden.
PROJECTED PICK: ALEX WIMMERS.
22. RANGERS. Texas could grab Brentz or Workman, two players it could consider at No. 15. If the Rangers are allowed to go over slot while in the midst of bankruptcy and the sale of the franchise, they could go for Texas high school righthander/Louisiana State quarterback recruit Zach Lee or Georgia prep righthander/third baseman Kaleb Cowart. Cowart's desire to hit and price tag could drop him out of the first round altogether.
PROJECTED PICK: BRYCE BRENTZ.
Florida will stick to slot as usual but is leaning toward taking a college player in the first round for just the second time in six years. Texas A&M Barret Loux, who struck out 10 in a regional outing against Florida International, is the name mentioned most. Eibner is also a possibility, and the Marlins appear to be the first team in on Illinois high school righthander Mike Foltynewicz.
PROJECTED PICK: BARRET LOUX.
Bet on a bat for the offensively-challenged Giants. Castellanos and Brentz would be targets if they were still available. San Francisco appears to like West Virginia shortstop Jedd Gyorko over Eibner and Georgia Tech shortstop Derek Dietrich.
PROJECTED PICK: JEDD GYORKO.
St. Louis will scoop up someone who lasts longer than expected. Workman, Allie and Grandal are the most likely candidates.
PROJECTED PICK: BRANDON WORKMAN.
The Rockies are showing a lot of interest in Clemson outfielder/quarterback Kyle Parker. They're also following high school righthanders Kevin Gausman (a homestate product) and Cam Bedrosian (son of former Cy Young award winner Steve).
PROJECTED PICK: KYLE PARKER.
Philadelphia appears to be the only club that would make a run on Wilson in the first round. They'll take a high-upside player, such as Allie or Texas high school pitcher/Baylor quarterback recruit Tyrell Jenkins. GM Ruben Amaro made multiple appearance at Philadelphia prep lefthander Jesse Biddle's games, but No. 27 for Biddle seems like a bit of a stretch. California high school first baseman Christian Yelich is another dark horse.
PROJECTED PICK: STETSON ALLIE.
Los Angeles is connected with several high school players who figure to sign for slot: Jenkins, Washington outfielder Drew Vettleson, Cole and Foltynewicz. The Dodgers would like a shot at O'Conner but are unlikely to get it.
PROJECTED PICK: A.J. COLE.
Many of the pitchers Los Angeles will consider at No. 18 will still be available 11 picks later. The Angels also are on college arms such as Arizona State righthander Seth Blair and San Diego lefty Sammy Solis.
PROJECTED PICK: PETER TAGO.
Los Angeles isn't afraid of high school arms, and it could prove it by taking three in the first round. The Angels also could expand their search beyond the West Coast and look at Allie and Whitson if they drop. They're showing strong late interest in Bedrosian.
PROJECTED PICK: CAM BEDROSIAN.
Like No. 15, this bonus choice for failing to sign LeVon Washington won't garner any further compensation. But if Grandal really falls this far, he may be impossible to resist. If Tampa Bay sticks to safer signs, it could go for Gyorko, Jenkins, Kvasnicka or Dietrich, or even cut a deal with California high school outfielder Michael Lorenzen. There's an outside chance someone like Brentz or Workman could still be on the board.
PROJECTED PICK: YASMANI GRANDAL.
Despite New York's deep pockets, it seems more likely to sign a player for closer to slot than for big money in the first round. Michigan outfielder Ryan LaMarre, Virginia Tech outfielder Austin Wates, Jenkins, Gyorko and Yelich are among the prime candidates.
PROJECTED PICK: RYAN LaMARRE.