A quick look at the how the Eastern Division teams fared in the 2016 MLB draft.
THEME OF THEIR DRAFT: Raw arm strength. Baltimore went with college pitchers for its first three picks, then added Jacksonville’s Austin Hays (3), whose best tool may be his plus arm in right field. After adding a projectable righthander in Brenan Hanifee (4), the Orioles picked Alexis Torres (5), a prep shortstop who can also really throw. After the 10th round, they took North Dakota lefthander Zach Muckenhirn (11), Nebraska’s Max Knutson (12), Hawaii Pacific lefty Brandon Bonilla (13), Eastern Florida State JC righthander Ruben Garcia (14), South Carolina-Aiken righthander Nick Jobst (15) and Florida Southwestern JC’s Willie Rios (16), all pitchers who throw relatively hard.
UPSIDE GUY: Knutson (12) is a lefty with a big fastball. If he can figure things out, Knutson could end up being a great value in that spot.
BOSTON RED SOX
THEME OF THEIR DRAFT: College performers. After taking lefthander Jason Groome with their first-round pick, the Red Sox took college players with their next nine picks, and most of those players were solid performers. The value of the Red Sox draft will hinge largely on whether they can sign Groome, but some of their picks have relatively high floors. FAU shortstop C.J. Chatham (2) has a solid all-around package of tools. Florida righthander Shaun Anderson (3) has quality stuff, and could transition to a starting role after closing for Florida. Maryland righthander Mike Shawaryn (5) entered the spring as a potential Day One pick, and then his stuff came back strong at the end of the season.
UPSIDE GUY: Prep shortstop Nick Quintana (11) has shown well offensively in some of the most heavily scouted events, though there are questions about his defense.
NEW YORK YANKEES
THEME OF THEIR DRAFT: West Coast, Best Coast. The Yankees had SoCal outfielder Blake Rutherford (1) fall into their lap, and they took SoCal prep righthander Nolan Martinez (3). The Yankees have gone to California for five of their past six first-round picks, including righthander James Kaprielian and shortstop Kyle Holder in 2015. They also picked Southern Cal righthander Brooks Kriske (6), outfielder Timmy Robinson (21) and center fielder Corey Dempster (37), and Cal State Fullerton first baseman Dalton Blaser (8) and righthander Miles Chambers (20). The Yankees picked SoCal prep lefthander Miles Sandum (31) and catcher D.C. Clawson (34) on Day Three.
UPSIDE GUY: Left fielder Joe Burton (24) has shown some promising tools and he’s relatively young as a junior college freshman.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
THEME OF THEIR DRAFT: Balance. The Blue Jays went with a college pitcher (Pitt righthander T.J. Zeuch) in the first round, then added a college bat (Mississippi outfielder J.B. Woodman) and prep bat (shortstop Bo Bichette) in the second round. They mixed upside with safety throughout the top 10 rounds, then picked a few promising prep pitchers after the 10th round. Toronto’s system gets an immediate jolt with Zeuch, and the Blue Jays added some prep players who could develop into top prospects down the line in Bichette and outfielder D.J. Daniels (6).
UPSIDE GUY: Prep lefthander Travis Hosterman (11) is loose and projectable, and could develop into a legitimate starting pitching prospect as he matures physically.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
THEME OF THEIR DRAFT: Ceiling and safety. Tampa took one of the highest-ceiling players in the class with Josh Lowe at 13th overall, then took some higher-floor college players in Nebraska outfielder Ryan Boldt (2) and LSU’s Jake Fraley (2s). After that, the Rays took a series of projectable arms, including righthanders Austin Franklin (3), Easton McGee (4), Mikey York (5), Zach Trageton (6), J.D. Busfield (7) and lefty Zach Thompson (11). The Rays clearly believe in their ability to develop pitching.
UPSIDE GUY: The Rays took a chance on two-way prospect John McMillon (21). He’s got power and arm strength, and could be an intriguing prospect down the line if they can sign him.
THEME OF THEIR DRAFT: Prep arms. The Braves managed their large bonus pool effectively, and ended up with three high-ceiling prep arms on Day One (Ian Anderson, Joey Wentz, Kyle Muller). They’d go on to add more ceiling in North Carolina prep righthander Bryse Wilson (4) and Georgia prep righthander Matt Rowland (11), both of whom have shown flashes of velocity and promising sliders. Atlanta also got a solid pair of college performers in Louisville lefty Drew Harrington (3) and Cal catcher Brett Cumberland (2s).
UPSIDE GUY: Walters State (Tenn.) CC first baseman Ramon Osuna (14) is built like a tank and boasts easy plus raw power. If he can figure out how to get to his power, Osuna could be a nice value.
THEME OF THEIR DRAFT: High school ceiling and college speed. The Fish used their first three picks on prep players. Lefthander Braxton Garrett (1) has huge potential, especially if he can develop more velocity as he gets stronger. Prep center fielder Thomas Jones (2) has a chance to be a five-tool player if his bat gains more consistency. The Marlins added a few impact prospects to their system, then they added a couple speedy outfielders in Marshall’s Corey Bird and Cal’s Aaron Knapp.
UPSIDE GUY: Lehigh second baseman Mike Garzillo (25) has intriguing speed and power, but will have to prove he can make consistent contact to succeed as a pro.
NEW YORK METS
THEME OF THEIR DRAFT: Sometimes it pays to go to school. The Mets used their first 11 picks on college players, acquiring a solid mix of pitchers with upside and track record, bat-first power conference performers and up-the-middle defenders with histories of hitting. Overall, the Mets played it very safe, but they could see impact from first-round Boston College righthander Justin Dunn.
UPSIDE GUY: Prep righthander Matt Cleveland (12) has a physical frame and projectable stuff. If they can sign him, the Mets got a good value there.
THEME OF THEIR DRAFT: Track record. The Phillies began the draft by taking SoCal prep outfielder Mickey Moniak (1), who played at most of the major events on the amateur scouting circuit. Then they took prep righthander Kevin Gowdy (2) and prep shortstop Cole Stobbe (3), both of whom participated in the Area Code Games, played for Team USA, and started off their summers with strong showings at the Perfect Game National Showcase. The Phillies also added Oregon lefthander Cole Irvin (5), a strong power conference college performer.
UPSIDE GUY: Mater Dei outfielder Josh Stephen (11) showed very well with the bat this spring, and could be a steal if the Phillies are able to sign him.
THEME OF THEIR DRAFT: High ceiling with a hint of risk. Washington started its draft by taking Carter Kieboom (1), who has a chance to stick at shortstop but might have to move. Then they took Florida righthander Dane Dunning (1), who has a chance to be a starter but may end up in the bullpen. Then they took Oklahoma third baseman Sheldon Neuse (2), who has shown well with the bat and has promising power, but also could end up on the mound, where he’s got two solid pitches. The Nationals also took injured prep lefthander Jesus Luzardo (3), who could have been a first-round pick had he been healthy, and they rolled the dice on the exciting raw tools of Texas A&M outfielder Nick Banks (4) and New Mexico State center fielder Daniel Johnson (5). There’s plenty of ceiling to this class, but there’s also plenty of uncertainty.
UPSIDE GUY: Kent State first baseman Conner Simonetti (13) has excellent bat speed and power potential. If his pure hitting ability catches up to his power, he could be a nice find in that spot.