MLB Mock Draft
By Carlos Collazo
Opening weekend of Division I baseball is in the books. There was plenty of action throughout the country for Power Five schools, junior colleges and a number of high schools as well.
That means scouts are busy getting their first game looks at some of the top-rated prospects around the country. We touched on a number of those prospects in this week’s draft stock watch, but we also wanted to take another crack at a mock draft.
While it’s still a bit too early to start linking teams to specific players with any real confidence, we wanted to make this mock draft a bit more valuable than just a thought experiment and our own best guesses at the moment.
So, for this mock, we’ve brought in an industry insider who is going to make alternating picks with me throughout the first round. Our scout is a front office executive who focuses on the draft at a national level.
We generously allowed our scout to have the first pick and then alternated selections for teams throughout the entire first round. As you read through the mock, odd number picks are scout selections and even number picks are BA selections. Our thought process in this edition was to select players we would each take if we were picking for the teams at this point in time.
- 1Vanderbilt SSNotes:
Our scout is going with Martin here, which is the same No. 1 selection we made in our previous mock draft. While Martin could easily be selected as a shortstop when the draft arrives, he’s been handling third base so far this season for Vanderbilt. Martin tallied a pair of hits in the team’s first three games, but has a .467 on-base percentage with three walks.More Less
With Martin off the board, I decided to get the best power bat in the class. Torkelson’s offense was too exciting for me to go with one of the arms that makes sense in this range. He’s already got two home runs and nine walks in four games. If you were betting on a player to lead the country in walks this season, Torkelson would be the favorite.More Less
Georgia righthander Emerson Hancock was considered here with my next pick, but with the amount of college arms Kansas City has targeted lately I’m going with Gonzales. He fits in this range on talent alone and had one of the loudest opening weekends of any college player. In a four-game series against Texas Southern, Gonzales went 8-for-14 with four home runs, two doubles, six walks and 17 RBI. I like the middle infield prospect duo of Gonzales and Bobby Witt Jr., though Gonzales has been playing some games at shortstop so far this season.More Less
Hancock goes to the Blue Jays with our scout’s next pick. We broke down the top-ranked pitcher’s first start of the season here. It wasn’t the best, but scouts aren’t going to overreact to one outing. Hancock is still in the top tier of college players in the class.More Less
- 6UCLA OFNotes:
All of the first five picks were fairly straightforward to make, but it got a bit more difficult for me at No. 6. There’s a bigger pool of players who make sense at this point with this pick, but I think Mitchell’s college toolset is just too impressive to ignore, or pass on, here. Through his first four games, Mitchell went 5-for-12 with a pair of doubles and four walks and he converted both stolen base attempts.More Less
Another pitcher off the board here for our scout, which gives him three college arms in his first four picks. Detmers matched up against Mississippi in his first start. He was solid in that game, striking out nine batters and walking two in five innings while allowing three hits and one earned run.More Less
I thought about taking Veen with my previous pick with the Mariners, but really like being able to match him up here with San Diego, a team that’s been as aggressive as any in terms of high school players in the first round. Our scout friend praised this pick, mentioning the amount of helium Veen has early this season. He becomes an option around this pick and likely doesn’t get out of the top 15. We got in-person looks at Veen last week. You can check out video of the outfielder here and also read about his development as a prospect here.More Less
- 9Mississippi State RHPNotes:
Another scout pick, another college pitcher off the board. This would make Ginn a two-time first-round selection and also make him the first of several sophomore-eligible players to be selected in the draft. Ginn threw just three innings in his opening start against Wright State, striking out four and walking two, while scattering three hits and allowing two earned runs.More Less
- 10South Carolina RHPNotes:
At this point our highest-ranked players on the board are high schoolers. I could have my pick of the best of the class, whether I wanted to go with an arm (Jared Kelley) or a big bat (Austin Hendrick). Still, I heard great things about Mlodzinski in his first start and I think the top 10 is going to be very college heavy. Just one prep player among the first ten picks seems crazy, but I wouldn’t be shocked at all if it turned out that way.More Less
It didn’t take too long for Kelley to get off the board, as our scout takes him with this pick. On talent, Kelley fits anywhere in the 6-10 range, but we have seen prep righthanders slide down the board on draft day. This is a moderate slide, to be sure, but there are a lot of college arms to compete with who have a better chance than Kelley to raise their stock this spring.More Less
I like the value of getting Hendrick here for the Reds and it’s fitting that their farm system weakness is in the outfield. Hendrick seems to be one of the prep players who really won’t be able to move the needle for himself in terms of draft stock this spring. It could be more about the players moving around him, but anywhere in the 5-15 range seems realistic for him at this point.More Less
I was curious to see where Meyer would end up in this mock. I was thinking about targeting the Minnesota flamethrower in the middle of the first, but I admit I didn’t think about him this early. This is the value of having industry insiders participate, and Meyer has one of the bigger up arrows in the country after a very loud debut, where he was reportedly up to 101 mph. Meyer struck out seven and walked three over five innings and had all the typical stuff he’s shown for a few years out of the bullpen.More Less
Kjerstad currently ranks No. 25 on our Top 200, but it’s safe to say he’ll rank higher than that on our next update. His bat is just that good. Texas doesn’t have a ton of upper-level talent in its system and Kjerstad could be a player who enters pro ball and moves fairly quickly thanks to his hit tool and power potential. Kjerstad had a massive weekend against Eastern Illinois, going 7-for-12 with four home runs, a double and a pair of walks.More Less
Our scout goes with Bailey at this spot, making him the first of a talented quartet of catchers who should come into play around this range. This pick would give Philadelphia some of the best organizational catching depth in baseball considering the backstops it already has in its system.More Less
Given the way the board has played out so far, the Cubs could go in a number of directions. They took a break from the bats in last year’s draft and could do the same again this year. Tennessee lefthander Garrett Crochet is interesting and prep righty Mick Abel is the best talent remaining on the board, according to our draft rankings. Still, Austin Wells is a special lefthanded bat. In four games against Albany and Minnesota, Wells went 7-for-13 with a home run, four doubles and seven walks.More Less
- 17Jesuit HS, Portland, Ore. RHPNotes:
Our scout is taking the top-ranked remaining talent on the board here in Abel. Again, this speaks to the tendency of prep righthanders sliding down the board on draft day, but perhaps by the time scouts get to see Abel this spring he’ll have taken a step forward.More Less
I thought about taking Hassell with my previous pick with the Cubs. Since he’s still on the board here I’ll give him to the Diamondbacks, who have recently loved advanced hit tools early in the draft. Sure, they have a lot of outfield talent in the organization already, but Hassell is arguably the best prep hitter in the class—how often does that player make it this deep?More Less
Crochet going off the board here with our scout pick brings the college pitcher count to seven. Crochet missed the first weekend with shoulder soreness, so that’ll be worth monitoring throughout the year. Without stating the obvious, health is important for Crochet because he doesn’t have much of a starting track record at Tennessee. However, his pure stuff is among the best in the country. His variance is wide, but this pick does have a Mets feel to it.More Less
Perhaps I’m a bit biased because I just saw Wilcox in person and he was good. Like Crochet, I think Wilcox could have a fairly wide range of outcomes, but he has the body and pure stuff that teams can dream on. Wilcox has improved his feel for his secondaries and faced the minimum in his first three innings against Richmond.More Less
Our scout is giving the Cardinals the offensive-oriented prep catcher in Soderstrom, again showing that teams do not draft for need. St. Louis’ farm system has plenty of catching talent, but in the draft you take the top talent, period.More Less
I thought about taking Howard with a number of my previous picks, but I always paused thanks to my questions about his hit tool. If the board played out like this in June, it would be the latest the first prep shortstop has come off the board since the 2006 draft. That year, the first high school player drafted as a shortstop was Preston Mattingly, who the Dodgers took with the 31st overall pick—a supplemental first-round selection.More Less
- 23Arkansas SSNotes:
Our scout is making this a mini-run on shortstops who happen to be the highest-rated prospects remaining on the BA 200. This could wind up being good value for Cleveland, thanks to Martin’s exciting power/speed toolset. During the opening weekend, Martin went 3-for-10 with a double and three walks, to two strikeouts.More Less
Our scout friend and myself have both mentioned how difficult the mock process becomes around this range. The separation from one prospect to another is very slight and while we’ve been making educated guesses throughout this process, the picks in the 20s have less schooling than the picks at the top. Romo could be the best defensive catcher of the four backstops in the first round and he has some potential offensively as well.More Less
Our scout is giving Crow-Armstrong to the Braves, which would give the team another dynamite defensive center fielder around the time that Cristian Pache could be outgrowing his prospect status. Crow-Armstrong’s the best defender in the class and has a chance to improve his stock with a strong hitting spring in Southern California.More Less