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2023 MLB Mock Draft Version 4.0


Image credit: Paul Skenes (Photo By John Korduner For The Washington Post Via Getty Images)

Welcome to Mock Draft 4.0, the penultimate Baseball America mock draft of the year. 

There’s been a decent amount of chatter in the last 48 hours or so, but there’s still a lack of confidence in what’s happening at the top of the draft. Based on that information, we have a new name in the top spot for the first time this spring. That said, I don’t expect to feel confident in the Pirates’ choice until the name is read on Sunday.

As most teams picking in the top spot have done in recent years, Pittsburgh is keeping things close to the vest. One scout put it like this: 

“The Pirates could throw off the whole draft or they could just keep it simple. And they’re not known to keep it simple.”

As we get down to the wire it’s probably worth reiterating how much of the mock draft process truly is guesswork. We’re trying to find the needle of noise in a haystack that’s mostly just signal, and even if we did find the noise in one haystack, a gust of wind could easily change everything. 

Last year, Baseball America correctly predicted eight of the first 40 picks (8.5 if we get credit for Owen Murphy going to the Braves but with the wrong pick, but who’s counting?), which is good for a .200 average that can’t even be passed off as a good number among baseball folks. 

Still, I’d be lying if I told you I wouldn’t be happy hitting .200 again this year. Enough rambling, let’s get into the mock. Here’s what I’ve been hearing:

1. Pirates — Paul Skenes, RHP, Louisiana State

Slot Value: $9,721,000 

Total Bonus Pool: $16,185,700

Three days out from the draft and I still don’t have a ton of confidence in which direction the Pirates are going. The one consistent rumor that seems to be swirling for the Pirates in the last 48 hours or so is that Dylan Crews is not the pick here. So, for the first time, we’re going with a different name. I initially had Wyatt Langford in this spot, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear his name called, but there’s a compelling case for the Pirates to take Skenes, and there’s been enough buzz with the righthander that he’s my best bet at the moment despite the difficulty of picking between the two. We’ve continued to hear Max Clark’s name floated here, and some in the industry think the Pirates could still go toward the prep route, which presumably means Walker Jenkins—whom the Pirates scouted heavily all spring—could also be in play. The college names feel more likely, though I would be lying if I told you I had more confidence in this pick today than I did a month ago. The opposite is probably true.

Dart Throw Later Picks: LHP Alexander Clemmey

2. Nationals — Dylan Crews, OF, Louisiana State

Slot Value: $8,998,500 

Total Bonus Pool: $14,502,400

We’ve continued to hear that the Nationals are highly interested in Paul Skenes, and if the Pirates don’t take the massive righthander 1-1 I still expect him to be the pick here. In this scenario he’s not available, and I think the Nationals would probably still be happy to take the No. 1 player on the BA draft board in Crews. If neither of the LSU teammates is selected with the first pick I would probably still lean Skenes over Crews, though it seems like the Nationals do like both players quite a bit. The top high school players don’t come up all that often here.

Dart Throw Later Picks: 3B Trent Caraway; OF Jake Cunningham

3. Tigers — Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida

Slot Value: $8,341,700 

Total Bonus Pool: $15,747,200

It’s been difficult to get a read on Detroit’s draft room, though it should be positioned nicely to take whichever elite college player is available. It sounds like Crews doesn’t fall past No. 3 if he doesn’t go in either of the first two spots, and with $15.7 million in pool money, the Tigers can outspend anyone in this draft outside of Pittsburgh—and they have quite a bit more pool money to spend than the Rangers, who pick right behind them.

Dart Throw Later Picks: RHP Jonathan Rogers

4. Rangers — Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick HS, Southport, N.C.

Slot Value: $7,698,000 

Total Bonus Pool: $9,925,300

A number of sources in the industry  expect the Rangers to choose Walker Jenkins if he makes it to this pick, and that feels like the safe pick for Texas here, though there’s some thought that Max Clark could actually be the prep outfielder here as well. However, Texas does have just the 16th largest bonus pool despite picking No. 4 overall, and just a year ago it showed everyone that you should never feel comfortable about the direction it is headed. It would be impossible to fully discount an underslot option if the Rangers want to try to spread their money around a bit more. It sounds like Arjun Nimmala and Enrique Bradfield are two players further down the board they like, and both players are ranked higher than Kumar Rocker was at this time a year ago.

Dart Throw Later Picks: RHP Jonathan Rogers; OF Devin Saltiban

5. Twins — Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest

Slot Value: $7,139,700 

Total Bonus Pool: $14,345,600

The Twins have been tied to a variety of players with this pick and could take the draft in a number of different directions. Will the 2023 class be similar to 2019, where the top-tier talents all go inside the top five (six, in 2019) or will Minnesota go with someone else? There are a lot of college names tied to Minnesota, including Jacob Gonzalez, Jacob Wilson and Brayden Taylor, as well as Rhett Lowder, who’s the running favorite to be the first pitcher selected after Skenes. It’s entirely possible that the Twins simply sit here and take Max Clark (or Walker Jenkins, if he’s available), but I’ll go with Lowder for now. I wouldn’t entirely rule out the top prep righty in Noble Meyer but he also doesn’t feel like the most likely option.

Dart Throw Later Picks: SS Eric Bitonti; OF Grant Gray

6. A’s — Brayden Taylor, 3B, Texas Christian

Slot Value: $6,634,000 

Total Bonus Pool: $14,255,600

It seems like Taylor has a significant number of landing spots from around this range and into the middle of the first round. Oakland gets tied to Max Clark, Rhett Lowder and Kyle Teel a  considerable amount, and Jacob Wilson could make sense as well. It’s mostly college names, plus Clark—though I don’t have any strong conviction about who leads this group of players. Scarcity at the position could make Lowder a decent option, but he’s gone in this scenario. 

Dart Throw Later Picks: RHP Laif Palmer

7. Reds — Max Clark, OF, Franklin (Ind.) Community HS

Slot Value: $6,275,200 

Total Bonus Pool: $13,785,200

Clark gets rumored to more under or overslot deals than any player at the top of the first round. In this scenario it’s an overslot deal to the Reds, who have not been hesitant to pay up for a player who gets to a pick they probably shouldn’t. The Reds signed Cam Collier to a $5 million deal at pick 18 in 2022, which was a $1.34 million overslot deal. In 2021 they signed Matt McLain to a $4.63 million deal at pick 17, which was about $1 million over slot. In an era when it seems like most teams are hunting underslot deals, Cincinnati is clearly OK paying up to get a guy it likes. This is also the reason why many expect that No. 7 could be a landing spot for one of the big five to fall, rather than No. 6 to the A’s. If not Clark, many of the college players mentioned in front of this pick make sense, including Rhett Lowder and Kyle Teel. In a scenario where Walker Jenkins makes it here I feel like the Reds might do backflips to get him. 

Dart Throw Later Picks: LHP Adler Cecil; OF Jake Cunningham

8. Royals — Blake Mitchell, C, Sinton (Texas) HS

Slot Value: $5,980,100 

Total Bonus Pool: $12,313,500

There are a lot of underslot rumors for the Royals here at No. 8. Whether that’s a function of draft philosophy or simply where they’ve found themselves on the board is a tougher question. Think back to 202,  when Kansas City pulled a surprise and took lefthander Frank Mozzicato at pick No. 7 and signed him to a $3.55 million deal for almost $2 million in savings. Texas catcher Blake Mitchell is the name that could make sense, though Mitchell is more highly regarded than Mozzicato at the time and I’m not sure how much savings that deal would net. He’s more of a split-camp sort of player given some teams’ aversion to prep catchers, but those who like Mitchell think he could be a star. Florida shortstop Adrian Santana could be another player they like, for this pick or a later one, and they are also linked with Noble Meyer, Rhett Lowder, Chase Dollander and the college hitting trio of Brayden Taylor, Jacob Wilson and Kyle Teel. There’s no shortage of options here and this could also be the high-water mark for Matt Shaw.

Dart Throw Later Picks: SS Adrian Santana; RHP TJ Nichols

9. Rockies — Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee

Slot Value: $5,716,900 

Total Bonus Pool: $11,909,800

There’s a lot of buzz with college pitchers for the Rockies. Chase Dollander would represent a great value based on his preseason reputation and based on the simple fact that he might be the second most talented pitcher in the class. He didn’t post in the same way that Skenes and Lowder did, but many in the industry still believe he’ll quickly get back to the 2022 version of himself, who entered the year as the consensus top pitching prospect in the class. It doesn’t seem like Rhett Lowder would get much further than this pick if he’s on the board, and it seems like Lowder is a better bet to go among the top 10 than Dollander—though in this scenario three college arms go inside the top 10. There’s also some buzz here with Brayden Taylor and Enrique Bradfield.

Dart Throw Later Picks:

10. Marlins — Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Mississippi

Slot Value: $5,475,300 

Total Bonus Pool: $12,829,600

Gonzalez could be off the board as high as No. 5, and there’s a chance he goes in the 5-10 range, but the Marlins are linked to him—as well as a number of college hitters and a few high school bats—here at 10. Miami has also beared down on Brayden Taylor and Matt Shaw, and they could be in play here as well. For the high school side, Arjun Nimmala could make sense, and lately there’s been some Colt Emerson chatter as well—both players seemingly get tied to the same teams, presumably for model-related factors like their extreme youth. 

Dart Throw Later Picks:

11. Angels — Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland 

Slot Value: $5,253,000 

Total Bonus Pool: $8,328,900

I’ve been hearing potential fast-moving college names with the Angels mostly, and there are more bats than pitchers mentioned, though presumably that’s more because of the supply than the demand. If Chase Dollander makes it this far he could make sense, and Hurston Waldrep also seems to fit what the Angels have done in recent years. There’s also been some thought that Waldrep could push up into the top 12. For hitters, Shaw is mentioned here and both Jacob Gonzalez and Enrique Bradfield might be options as well. Bryce Eldridge is one of the few high school players linked to the Angels, and this might be the higher range for him.

Dart Throw Later Picks:

12. D-backs — Kyle Teel, C, Virginia

Slot Value: $5,043,800 

Total Bonus Pool: $11,084,300

As we mentioned in our previous mock, Arizona is consistently linked with Colin Houck,  though it also gets tied to Teel, who is the best catcher in the class. Teel’s realistic range of outcomes feels higher than Houck’s at this point—there’s a real chance he goes inside the top 10—but there will almost undoubtedly be more high school shortstops available for Arizona with its second pick at No. 48 than viable catchers. Colt Emerson could be a fit here, or any of the college infielders who are already off the board in this mock if they make it to this point. 

Dart Throw Later Picks: OF Devin Saltiban; 

13. Cubs — Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon

Slot Value: $4,848,500 

Total Bonus Pool: $8,962,000

The Cubs are tied to all sorts of demographics here, though it’s more often hitters than pitchers—presumably given the greater number of offensive options available. High schoolers Aidan Miller, Arjun Nimmala, Bryce Eldridge and Blake Mitchell could fit here, as could Brayden Taylor and Matt Shaw. I think the Cubs could entertain Noble Meyer or Thomas White here, but with Wilson here he’s the pick. It’s hard to top his bat-to-ball skills in this class.

Dart Throw Later Picks: OF Duce Robinson

14. Red Sox — Aidan Miller, 3B, Mitchell HS, New Port Richey, Fla.

Slot Value: $4,663,100 

Total Bonus Pool: $10,295,100

Boston has taken high school hitters with each of its last four picks in the first round: Mikey Romero, Marcelo Mayer, Nick Yorke and Triston Casas. There’s no obvious California prep shortstop for them in this spot this year, but I’m still hearing mostly bats for the Red Sox and talk of an underslot deal as well. 

Dart Throw Later Picks: OF Caden Sorrell; C Michael Carico; SS Roman Martin

15. White Sox — Tommy Troy, 3B, Stanford

Slot Value: $4,488,600 

Total Bonus Pool: $9,072,800

It’s been college and hitter heavy for the White Sox for a while now in my conversations, and they should be right in the middle of a solid wave of college hitters. In this scenario Troy, Enrique Bradfield, Nolan Schanuel and Chase Davis seem to be the best of the bunch. Chicago gets linked more to the college third base duo of Yohandy Morales and Brock Wilken than others around it as well, and I think they are real options here as well. It’s very hard to see players like Brayden Taylor and Jacob Gonzalez getting much further down the board than this if they are somehow still available with all of the potential landing spots in front. 

Dart Throw Later Picks:

16. Giants — Enrique Bradfield, OF, Vanderbilt

Slot Value: $4,326,600 

Total Bonus Pool: $9,916,900

It sounds like Bradfield could go anywhere from the back of the top 10 throughout the middle of the first round. He’s more difficult to place than some hitters who don’t have the same impact questions, but Bradfield’s speed and defensive tools are also far and away the best of the draft class. San Francisco sounds like one of the teams who could be in on him. Walker Martin is frequently mentioned here as well, and Nolan Schanuel could also be a fit. I’m curious if the Giants would take a pitcher here—in this scenario Noble Meyer, Hurston Waldrep and Thomas White are all available—but I am mostly hearing bats. Tommy Troy, Matt Shaw and Aidan Miller might be a fit here.

Dart Throw Later Picks: 2B Quinn McDaniel 

17. Orioles — Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest HS, Dover, Fla.

Slot Value: $4,169,700 

Total Bonus Pool: $10,534,800

Many of the players who are dubbed “model favorites” get tied to the Orioles, including Nimmala, Nolan Schanuel and Chase Davis. There are arms that fit nicely on talent here if Baltimore is inclined to diversify a farm system that is overflowing with talented hitters, and it could also be interested in high school players—potentially on underslot deals—including Dillon Head, George Lombard Jr. and Bryce Eldridge. 

Dart Throw Later Picks: RHP Kiefer Lord; OF Carson Roccaforte

18. Brewers — Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida

Slot Value: $4,021,400 

Total Bonus Pool: $10,950,600

Milwaukee is one of the few teams in the 10-25 range which gets tied to pitchers often, and this board would provide it access to some pretty elite arm talent. Noble Meyer is available, but if he falls this far would the Brewers have the bonus pool money to keep him from getting to, say, Seattle? The same could be true for Thomas White if he’s available. Waldrep does get linked to the Brewers, and he has some of the best pure stuff in the class. If it’s not an arm, then Nolan Schanuel could make a lot of sense, or perhaps even a late-rising college arm like Joe Whitman or Ty Floyd. 

Dart Throw Later Picks: SS Eric Bitonti; SS AJ Gracia; LHP Adler Cecil; SS Jay Harry

19. Rays — Colin Houck, SS, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.

Slot Value: $3,880,100 

Total Bonus Pool: $10,872,100

It’s always tough to get a read on the Rays. I have them going with one of the top players available in Colin Houck here, though I haven’t heard that specific player/team link. A few names who are mentioned with Tampa Bay include Hurston Waldrep (who is not available), Enrique Bradfield (also not available) and high schoolers Sammy Stafura, Alex Clemmey and Tai Peete—all of whom could make more sense with its next pick at No. 31. 

Dart Throw Later Picks: SS Tai Peete

20. Blue Jays — Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Florida Atlantic

Slot Value: $3,746,000 

Total Bonus Pool: $6,529,700

Schanuel is linked to nearly all of the teams who are picking in the 17-23 range, so I’m expecting he goes off the board somewhere there unless he goes on some sort of underslot deal beforehand. Other model players like Chase Davis and Arjun Nimmala are frequently mentioned, and I think the Blue Jays could be in on Dillon Head and Kevin McGonigle as well, and they might be one of the earliest possible landing spots for Charlee Soto.

Dart Throw Later Picks: OF Grant Gray, RHP Laif Palmer; OF Devin Saltiban; SS Myles Naylor

21. Cardinals — Chase Davis, OF, Arizona

Slot Value: $3,618,200 

Total Bonus Pool: $6,375,100

There are enough landing spots for Chase Davis in this range that I feel like he goes up here. The Cardinals are one team that has been strongly associated with him recently. If players like Arjun Nimmala, Hurston Waldrep or Tommy Troy are still available they could be a fit as well. 

Dart Throw Later Picks: 3B Mike Boeve

22. Mariners — Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS, Portland, Ore.

Slot Value: $3,496,600 

Total Bonus Pool: $13,170,900

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s surprising to see Meyer’s name this far down the draft board. He’s the No. 7-ranked player on our board, after all, and seen as the consensus top high school player in the draft. However, there’s an extremely talented crop of hitters, on both the college and high school sides, and the old draft adage is that the hitters rise and the high school pitchers fall. Potentially that is the case here. There should be someone who falls to the Mariners with this pick because it seems to happen year after year. Kevin Parada in 2022 to the Mets. Cam Collier in 2022 to the Reds. Kahlil Watson in 2021 to the Marlins. Brady Singer in 2018 to the Royals. There’s always a player who falls just a bit further than we expect, and they find a pretty good home with a team with multiple picks and lots of bonus pool money to throw around. This year that team is the Mariners. Getting a Pacific Northwest high school pitcher with uber upside could be a really fun combination. There are more organizations who are simply out entirely on high school pitchers in the first round compared to hitters, so perhaps there’s a chance the prep pitchers slide. 

Dart Throw Later Picks: LHP Alexander Clemmey; RHP Steven Echavarria

23. Guardians — Colt Emerson, SS, Glenn HS, New Concord, Ohio

Slot Value: $3,380,900 

Total Bonus Pool: $8,736,700

Emerson continues to get linked to Cleveland, and he makes sense as an ultra-young prepster with solid contact skills. This feels like the lower end of outcomes for Nolan Schanuel, and if he’s on the board I could see the Guardians pouncing. I’d assume the same is true if Arjun Nimmala somehow makes it this far—for the same reasons they are tied to Emerson. Eric Bitonti could be an interesting underslot option here as well for a team that has employed that strategy in the past. LSU righty Ty Floyd has been gaining late helium and is sounding like a potential first-rounder, and Cleveland has historically valued pitchers with his fastball metrics. Chase Davis and Bryce Eldridge are two players who fit on talent in this range, but who might not be fits for Cleveland.

Dart Throw Later Picks: RHP Jason DeCaro; SS Jarren Purify; SS Eric Bitonti; RHP Tanner Hall

24. Braves — George Lombard Jr., SS, Gulliver Prep HS, Miami

Slot Value: $3,270,500 

Total Bonus Pool: $8,341,700

Lombard Jr.’s range seems to be from 21-28, though it would also not shock me if he goes to the Orioles at No. 17. He’s available in this version of the mock, and he has consistently been linked with the Braves. In lieu of an option that I feel more comfortable with at this stage, he’s the pick. Bryce Eldridge is also a name that gets mentioned here reasonably consistently. I expect the Braves will look for an underslot deal at 24 given how Alex Anthopoulos has operated in the past. Atlanta could be hoping for a college bat to slide, but there are numerous landing spots for all those profiles among the top 20 picks, so it feels more likely that a high school hitter is the best option. Walker Martin could be another name to keep in mind.

Dart Throw Later Picks: RHP Jonathan Rogers, RHP Laif Palmer

25. Padres — Walker Martin, SS, Eaton (Colo.) HS 

Slot Value: $3,165,400 

Total Bonus Pool: $5,416,000

I previously mocked Chase Davis to the Padres and I think they would be interested if he were available. In this scenario, he goes off a few picks in front, leaving the Padres with a number of high school players. Walker Martin is a name that is tied to San Diego and I get the sense it would be less worried about his age than more model-heavy teams might be. Dillon Head is a name who’s been tied to San Diego as well and could make sense here, as could Bryce Eldridge and Trent Caraway.

Dart Throw Later Picks: SS Eric Bitonti; 3B Trent Caraway

26. Yankees — Sammy Stafura, SS, Walter Panas HS, Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.

Slot Value: $3,065,000 

Total Bonus Pool: $5,299,400

Considering the Yankees just drafted Spencer Jones a year ago, it would make sense for them to be another team intrigued by Bryce Eldridge—who is pretty close to the high school version of Jones. However, with Sammy Stafura on the board here it’s hard to not put him with the Yankees considering how much the team has been tied to him. Many people in the industry simply think he’s their guy at this point. It feels a lot like last year with Spencer Jones in that regard. It’s interesting to wonder if the Yankees would still take Stafura if they were picking between him and an arm talent like Thomas White, who many considered a potential top-10 pick at times this spring but is slipping in this mock. It’s much tougher to actually pull the trigger on White in this mock, though, considering the buzz connecting New York and Stafura, especially when you remember the organization hasn’t taken a prep pitcher in the first round since Ian Clarkin in 2013.

Dart Throw Later Picks: SS Tai Peete

27. Phillies — Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.

Slot Value: $2,968,800 

Total Bonus Pool: $5,185,500

This could be around the floor for Chase Davis if he still finds himself on the board, though there are enough teams on him that I don’t expect that to happen. The Phillies are commonly associated with high school pitchers because they have taken Andrew Painter and Mick Abel in recent years. Both those picks seem to be working out well. I think the Phillies are just going to take the best player available here, whether that’s an arm like White or one of the high school shortstops who could be around. I don’t know if they are in on Walker Martin, but if they were that would make a lot of sense.

Dart Throw Later Picks:

28. Astros — Ty Floyd, RHP, Louisiana State

Slot Value: $2,880,700 

Total Bonus Pool: $6,747,900

This would give Louisiana State three first-round picks and put it in fairly exclusive company. It sounds like the Astros really like Floyd’s riding four-seam fastball, which averaged around 19 inches of induced vertical break from a lower release point this spring. He generated a 29% miss rate with the pitch this year and also ended the season on a high note with 17 strikeouts in eight innings in the College World Series against Florida. College pitching falls off in a big way once Hurston Waldrep is off the board and Floyd has a decent chance to be the next player selected from that demographic. If the Yankees pass on Stafura he could be a fit in this spot. Walker Martin, Bryce Eldridge and Ralphy Velazquez could be other names that fit. 

Dart Throw Later Picks: SS Avery Ortiz

29. Mariners — Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest

Slot Value: $2,800,700 

Total Bonus Pool: $13,170,900

Wilken is more of a talent that makes sense here for the Mariners than a specific link I have for them at this range. He could go throughout the 20s, but both he and Yohandy Morales simply don’t get as much buzz as the middle infielders. Don’t be surprised if one of them surprises us and goes a lot sooner.

30. Mariners — Jonny Farmelo, OF, Westfield HS, Chantilly, Va.

Slot Value: $2,732,500 

Total Bonus Pool: $13,170,900

Unlike Wilken, I have heard that the Mariners are on Farmelo and he makes sense here on talent, I think. It’s a well-rounded profile with good pure hitting ability, speed and defense. Seattle has enough bonus pool money to sign him out of Virginia.

31. Rays — Tai Peete, SS, Trinity Christian HS, Sharpsburg, Ga.

Slot Value: $2,670,600 

Total Bonus Pool: $10,872,100

I don’t know that Tai Peete is viewed as a consensus top-40-type player, but I have heard that a few teams are really excited about him. The Rays and the Yankees both fit that description. He’s a twitchy athlete and is a legitimate prospect as a pitcher as well as a hitter. 

32. Mets — Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami

Slot Value: $2,607,500 

Total Bonus Pool: $8,440,400

Like I mentioned with Wilken, I think it’s possible that Morales goes well before this, but I’ve heard the Mets could be interested if he’s available. He’s not the pure hitter type that the organization has targeted recently. If the Mets want to go that direction, perhaps Kevin McGonigle could be a fit. 

33. Brewers — Trent Caraway, 3B, JSerra Catholic HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Slot Value: $2,543,800 

Total Bonus Pool: $10,950,600

California prep bats like Caraway, Eric Bitonti and Ralphy Velazquez start to get mentioned a bit more in the supplemental range, and lately Caraway has drawn the most attention of the group. 

34. Twins — Joe Whitman, LHP, Kent State

Slot Value: $2,481,400 

Total Bonus Pool: $14,345,600

Whitman is probably the favorite to be the first college lefthander picked this year and there’s a chance he goes in the first round. If he doesn’t I don’t expect it’ll take too much longer once teams start looking around at other college pitching options. 

35. Marlins — Kevin McGonigle, SS, Monsignor Bonner HS, Drexel Hill, Penn.

Slot Value: $2,420,900 

Total Bonus Pool: 

McGonigle doesn’t get the same amount of buzz as other top prep shortstops like Arjun Nimmala, Colin Houck, Walker Martin, Adrian Santana or Colt Emerson. Perhaps I’m just missing those conversations. It also sounds like signability has become a bigger question with him in recent days, though whether that’s posturing or real is impossible to say. It feels odd that the industry would let arguably the best pure hitter in the high school class get to Auburn … right? 

36. Dodgers — Charlee Soto, RHP, Reborn Christian Academy HS, Kissimmee, Fla.

Slot Value: $2,362,700 

Total Bonus Pool: $7,274,600

While Kevin McGonigle has some signability questions, it seems like Soto has teams questioning the shape and metrics on his fastball—sort of along the same lines as Ty Madden’s fastball in 2021. I feel confident Soto does pretty much everything else well enough that it’ll end up being a minor nitpick for a team rather than a real deal-breaker. He throws hard, has one of the best sliders and changeups in the prep class and is also an impressive athlete with physicality and youth on his side. That’s a lot of checked boxes. 

Dart Throw Later Picks: RHP TJ Nichols

37. Tigers — Bryce Eldridge, RHP/1B, Madison HS, Vienna, Va.

Slot Value: $2,309,500

Total Bonus Pool: $12,829,600

I have heard the Tigers are one of the teams interested in Eldridge. Perhaps Detroit is able to get him here on an overslot deal. 

38. Reds — Ralphy Velazquez, C, Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS

Slot Value: $2,255,100 

Total Bonus Pool: $13,785,200

In this mock I don’t have the Reds taking Kyle Teel at No. 7, but they could potentially swing back around in the supplemental round and get one of the big three catchers in the class with Velazquez. 

39. A’s — Dillon Head, OF, Homewood-Flossmoor HS, Flossmoor, Ill.

Slot Value: $2,202,500 

Total Bonus Pool: $14,255,600

I mainly wanted to get Head into this mock draft. He’s one of the players I just couldn’t find a home for in this version, but who has a decent chance to go inside the first round. It’s great speed and defense in center field with solid contact skills at the plate. 

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