Final Mock Draft
Pirates will take Gerrit Cole, Mariners should grab Anthony Rendon
Mock Draft I (May 13)
Mock Draft II (May 27)
Mock Draft III (June 3)
As draft day dawned, one thing was certain: The Pirates will take UCLA righthander Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 overall selection. After that, teams were still scrambling to line up their picks.
The consensus in the industry is the Mariners will choose Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon with the No. 2 pick, but there's no confirmation from Seattle. The Diamondbacks had appeared locked in on Virginia lefthander Danny Hultzen at No. 3, and the Orioles had zeroed in on Oklahoma high school righthander Dylan Bundy, though now those teams seem headed in different directions.
It no longer looks like the consensus six players in the draft (the four mentioned above, plus UCLA righthander Trevor Bauer and Kansas high school outfielder Bubba Starling) will go in the top six. For scouting reports on the players in our latest first-round projection below, please see our Top 200 Prospect list
Pittsburgh's final decision came down to college pitching, meaning that Rendon did not make the final cut. Multiple sources have confirmed the Pirates will take Cole.
Projected Pick: Gerrit Cole.
Nothing official yet, but the story remains the same in Seattle. The Mariners want a bat, with Rendon the frontrunner but Florida high school shortstop Francisco Lindor and Starling also considerations.
Projected Pick: Anthony Rendon.
On Friday, I wrote that Hultzen to Arizona was the biggest lock in the first six picks. No longer. This decision comes down to Bauer or Bundy, both of whom the Diamondbacks also have liked for a while. If Cole and Bauer go 1-3, they'll match Arizona State's Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks in 1978.
Projected Pick: Trevor Bauer.
Perhaps because of the exorbitant asking prices of Bundy ($30 million big league deal) and Hultzen ($13 million), Baltimore is looking at the other stud Oklahoma prep righthander, Archie Bradley. He has a leverage in the form of the opportunity to play quarterback at Oklahoma, but that also means his bonus can be spread over five years under provisions for two-sport athletes. The Orioles would love a shot at Bauer.
Projected Pick: Archie Bradley.
Kansas City suddenly gets to choose between Bundy and Hultzen after not expecting either to be on the board. The Royals want an advanced arm, and Bundy qualifies despite being a high schooler. If they opt for a bat, they could take Lindor over Starling.
Projected Pick: Dylan Bundy.
Before the upheaval at the top of the draft, Washington was just going to wait to see which one of the six elite players would get here. Now the Nationals are going to have multiple options, and it will hard to pass on Hultzen, a local product.
Projected Pick: Danny Hultzen.
Arizona's dream would be to somehow get Bauer and Hultzen, but that doesn't seem possible. They could get their pick of the next tier of college pitchers, a choice that would come down to Matt Barnes (Connecticut) and Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt). They also have interest in Lindor. This pick is unprotected, compensation for not signing first-rounder Barret Loux a year ago, so signability is an issue.
Projected Pick: Matt Barnes.
Cleveland might suddenly be faced with a decision on whether to take Starling, who is a better prospect than fellow two-sport star Donavan Tate, who got $6.25 million as the No. 3 overall pick in 2009. The Indians haven't taken a high school first-rounder since 2001. Grabbing Archie Bradley would be an easier call, and if he's gone they may go with a college arm such as Georgia Tech lefthander Jed Bradley, Texas righty Taylor Jungmann or Gray.
Projected Pick: Jed Bradley.
Chicago will take a high-ceiling player, and no one has a higher ceiling than Starling. Other candidates include Archie Bradley or Lindor. If Rendon's shoulder injury starts driving teams away, this could be his landing spot.
Projected Pick: Bubba Starling.
With an unprotected pick received for failing to sign 2010 first-rounder Karsten Whitson, San Diego is looking at college players. The Padres would consider Barnes, Bradley and Jungmann among the pitchers, and Connecticut outfielder George Springer and Indian River (Fla.) JC third baseman Cory Spangenberg among the hitters.
Projected Pick: Taylor Jungmann.
College pitchers are the strength of this draft, and Houston is in on Jed Bradley, Jungmann and Oregon lefthander Tyler Anderson. It would be hard to ignore Archie Bradley's upside or the fact that Lindor is the best surefire shortstop in the draft.
Projected Pick: Francisco Lindor.
Milwaukee could use a shortstop, and if Lindor is gone, Florida high schooler Javier Baez is the next-best option. The Mets also like Baez, so the Brewers couldn't afford to wait until their No. 15 selection, where they should have plenty of enticing arms available.
Projected Pick: Javier Baez.
New York appears to prefer college arms, though Jungmann, Bradley and Barnes are may be gone. Other possibilities are Springer, Louisiana State outfielder Mikie Mahtook, North Carolina shortstop Levi Michael on the college side, as well as Baez, outfielder Brandon Nimmo (Wyoming) and righthander Taylor Guerrieri (South Carolina) among the high schoolers.
Projected Pick: Mikie Mahtook.
Florida drafted Mahtook in the 39th round out of high school in 2008 and may finally get their man—unless the Mets get to him first. The Marlins are linked mostly to college position players (Springer, Spangenberg), but don't rule out Baez.
Projected Pick: Cory Spangenberg.
Milwaukee has several pitching choices here. A polished college lefty in Anderson, a fast mover in Gray, more risk and reward with Kentucky righthander Alex Meyer or any number of high school arms, beginning with Guerrieri. This pick is unprotected, compensation for failing to sign Dylan Covey, their 2010 first-rounder.
Projected Pick: Taylor Guerrieri.
With owner Frank McCourt battling MLB for control of his team, there's no way Los Angeles exceeds the slot recommendation for this pick. That may rule out high schoolers such as Guerrieri and California righthander Robert Stephenson and lead the Dodgers to an easier-to-sign college guy. They've shown interest in Anderson all spring.
Projected Pick: Tyler Anderson.
Los Angeles is the floor for Lindor, but it would be surprising if he dropped this far. The best values on the board at this point could be high-upside prep pitchers like Guerrieri, Stephenson, Jose Fernandez (Florida) and Joe Ross (California).
Projected Pick: Jose Fernandez.
Oakland will take a college bat, with the candidates including Springer, Mahtook, Michael, Spangenberg and Utah first baseman C.J. Cron.
Projected Pick: George Springer.
19. RED SOX:
Other teams believe Boston will take a guy who fits into the slot parameters here, then get aggressive with its next three picks in the first and sandwich rounds. The Red Sox would love for one of the college pitchers to fall to them, and while Barnes, Bradley and Jungmann all look like they're going in the top 10, Gray could last this long. They offered Meyer $2 million out of high school, and he's another possibility.
Projected Pick: Sonny Gray.
Colorado is another team all over college position players. The Rockies would consider Springer, Spangenberg, Mahtook, Cron, Michael and Hawaii second baseman Wong.
Projected Pick: C.J. Cron.
21. BLUE JAYS:
Toronto is one of the teams known to have interest in Texas high school outfielder Josh Bell, who sent a letter to teams informing them he plans to attend college. That won't stop some team from offering Bell a lot of money—the Red Sox are another possibility—but it won't have to select him in the first round. Add the Blue Jays to the list of clubs mulling the same college position players.
Projected Pick: Levi Michael.
St. Louis' decision could come down to college bats (Cron, Michael, Wong) versus high school arms (Guerrieri, Tennessee lefthander Daniel Norris, Stephenson, Fernandez, Ross and Arkansas righty Dillon Howard).
Projected Pick: Kolten Wong.
At one point, Washington considered taking Meyer with the No. 6 selection. The Nationals would be thrilled to get him with their second choice, and will have Anderson and the college position players as backup plans.
Projected Pick: Alex Meyer.
With the first of a record 12 choices in the first two rounds, Tampa Bay could grab one of the college bats before they all run out. If Wong is gone, the Rays could go with Stephenson, Stanford lefthander Chris Reed or California prep lefty Henry Owens. Stephenson won't last until Tampa Bay's next pick at 31, and it may have to take Reed here to keep him away from Atlanta.
Projected Pick: Chris Reed.
As much as San Diego wants Springer or Spangenberg to slide this far, it won't happen. Signs point to the Padres going with a high school pitcher (Ross, Stephenson) over the remaining college position players, such as catcher Andrew Susac (Oregon State) and outfielders Jackie Bradley (South Carolina) and Brian Goodwin (Miami-Dade JC).
Projected Pick: Joe Ross.
26. RED SOX:
Boston will start spending its money here. The Red Sox are linked to every catcher, and the best in this draft are high schoolers Austin Hedges (California) and Blake Swihart (New Mexico). Their high price tags could make them available in the sandwich round, which could allow Boston take Nimmo or Massachusetts prep righthander Tyler Beede here. They won't come cheap, either. Ross is an option priced closer to slot.
Projected Pick: Austin Hedges.
Like all teams picking at the bottom, the Reds will set their board and see who comes to them. Possible targets include Anderson, Michael, Stephenson and Ross.
Projected Pick: Robert Stephenson.
Most of the players attached to Atlanta are lefthanders: high schoolers Norris and Owens plus collegians Reed, Sean Gilmartin (Florida State), Josh Osich (Oregon State) and Grayson Garvin (Vanderbilt). After hitting on a Texas high school shortstop (Matt Lipka) in last year's sandwich round, the Braves may go that route again with Trevor Story.
Projected Pick: Trevor Story.
San Francisco's knack for developing pitchers is no secret. Giants targets could include Stephenson, Ross, Norris and Osich.
Projected Pick: Daniel Norris.
Minnesota's priority appears to be strike-throwing southpaws, with Anderson atop the list but Gilmartin more likely to be available.
Projected Pick: Sean Gilmartin.
Tampa Bay could go with one of the pitchers it considered at 24. The Rays also have been linked to Florida high school first baseman Dan Vogelbach, but may shy away if he seeks more than slot money. College outfielders Bradley and Goodwin are the type of athletes Tampa Bay usually likes.
Projected Pick: Henry Owens.
This could be a spot where Tampa Bay decides to gamble on a higher-priced player. Among the possibilities: Swihart, Nimmo and Beede. The Rays could take Vogelbach and try to wrestle him into the slot. A longshot: Missouri high school outfielder Johnny Eierman.
Projected Pick: Blake Swihart.
Texas has new ownership with money to spend and covets athletes. Swihart or Nimmo would fit the bill. The Rangers also have followed slugging California prep third baseman Travis Harrison.
Projected Pick: Brandon Nimmo.