It’s the week of the MLB Draft! Finally, let’s dive into the picks!
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1. Baltimore Orioles – Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan (HS)
No one knows (maybe not even those in the Orioles front office) who knows where Baltimore will go at 1:1. It seems like every mock out there is tossing out underslot options for this pick, but I also wonder if (considering how much money Baltimore has) they don’t just take the player who many view as the top talent in the draft. I also can’t shake the thought of Jackson Holliday or Cam Collier being options here. all told. This is a toss-up.
Mock Draft 1.0: Josh Jung
Mock Draft 2.0: Druw Jones
2. Arizona Diamondbacks – Temarr Johnson, 2B, Mays (HS)
Arizona certainly will hunt upside and I believe they’re in on all of the HS bats (and possibly Collier), however Arizona has built an incredible outfield core with hit over power prospects from previous drafts. Termarr Johnson is almost underrated at this point and would fit a prior Diamondbacks style of drafting demographic.
Mock Draft 1.0: Druw Jones
Mock Draft 2.0: Termarr Johnson
3. Texas Rangers – Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater (HS)
I keep thinking that Brooks Lee makes a ton of sense form the outside, but I do wonder if Texas uses the opportunity to take an exceptional and high upside player in Jackson Holliday. The Oklahoma native is the son of Matt Holliday and an intriguing middle of the diamond player. Elijah Green has to be in consideration as well and the other HS bats and Kevin Parada. Texas wasn’t afraid to go overslot to pick up their top target last year (Jack Leiter). I’ll project they do the same.
Mock Draft 1.0: Brooks Lee
Mock Draft 2.0: Brookes Lee
4. Pittsburgh Pirates – Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola
Collier is one of the best risers in the entire class. What he did to bet on himself is almost legendary and certainly hasn’t been seen in the last decade. Collier could fit all over the top 10, but Pittsburgh has been rumored to be in on Collier the last few weeks. His seven games facing advanced college pitching in the Cape Cod can’t hurt.
Mock Draft 1.0: Chase DeLauter
Mock Draft 2.0: Dylan Lesko
5. Washington Nationals – Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
Washington has never shied away from taking players with loud tools high. They embrace a higher degree of risk compared to many other clubs. This feels like natural landing spot for Elijah Green, like I listed in Mock 1.0. However he has an overslot deal below in this scenario.
Mock Draft 1.0: Elijah Green
Mock Draft 2.0: Noah Schultz
6. Miami Marlins – Brandon Barreria, LHP, American Heritage (HS)
I’d understand if you switch pages after this pun, but there’s something fishy going on with the Marlins scouting this year. They’ve parted ways with their scouting director shortly before the draft. Several months ago (prior to the Lesko injury) I heard chatter not to be surprised if two prep pitchers go top 10 (one person said even top 6). Lesko was the other obvious candidate, but shortly thereafter Barreria shut it down for the season. The consensus is that he has offer(s) high enough that it’s not worth the risk. The Marlins might be a team that goes underslot here at pick 6 to take a player that some scouts will pound the table for.
Mock Draft 1.0: Daniel Susac
Mock Draft 2.0: Jace Jung
7. Chicago Cubs – Zach Neto, SS, Campbell
Preamble: Looking at all the Cubs selections who received a first-round caliber bonus under Dan Kantrovitz (James Triantos, Ed Howard, and Jordan Wicks), there are some common threads. Most importantly, all of these players received rave reviews for their make-up. If a team is going to make a significant investment, they are making that investment in both the player and the person. Additionally, each of Triantos, Howard, and Wicks have qualities that dramatically reduce risk: Triantos’ high contact ability, Howard’s plus defense at shortstop, and Wicks’ college LHP demographic and offspeed pitches. Finally, these three have a significant ceiling. Triantos’ hitting ability isn’t just suburb, it’s “freaky” plus-plus hitting. Howards has all-star upside with even just average offense. Wicks added a spike-curve and a sweeper slider and has the Cubs pumped that he just may showcase a frontline profile. So, when we look at who the Cubs may target at pick 7, we identify players with supreme make-up, high floor, strong ceiling potential.
Who are the likely targets in this year’s draft? Zach Neto, Brooks Lee, Drew Gilbert, and Gavin Cross would be available names that make the most sense. Anyone doubting Zach Neto should take a look at his excellent production (in college and on the Cape in limited sample), batted ball data, defensive projection, and his makeup. He checks a number of boxes on all those fronts. For this reason he’s the selection in this mock, though I don’t believe the Cubs are locked into any players entering Sunday. The relative slot savings from this selection would allow the Cubs to aggressively add surrounding talent in subsequent rounds. Though he may come as an underslot, Neto is well worth the selection independently.
The other names listed above are mostly familiarly tied with the Cubs and teams picking in this range, however Drew Gilbert may appear out of place. He shouldn’t. Like Neto, Gilbert combines all of the qualities above. He’s a fiery player and not everyone will like it, but someone will love it. Another name that I, maybe surprisingly, strongly considered here was Elijah Green. In this mock I have multiple teams passing because of an aggressive bonus demand being met from New York, but could the Cubs be considering the ultimate ceiling player in Green, possibly. His issue is whiffs, but he makes good swing decisions. The Cubs have had success with players with similar issues. I’m not the highest on Green and he doesn’t fit the archetype above, but if the Cubs want to find a superstar in this draft, Elijah Green is that player.
Mock Draft 1.0: Termarr Johnson
Mock Draft 2.0: Jackson Holliday
8. Minnesota Twins – Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
The Twins favor hitters who have strong batted ball data, which Lee showcases. He’s more of an above-average regular than future star, but Brooks Lee is a quick mover that has plenty of ceiling in his won right. He owns one of the best hit tools in the class and looks like he’ll be able to stay on the left side of the infield (though scouts are mixed there). There was chatter that Lee had a grooved swing, but from those that I speak with, they don’t believe that’s the case.
Mock Draft 1.0: Jacob Berry
Mock Draft 2.0: Kevin Parada
9. Kansas City Royals – Drew Gilbert, CF, Tennessee
Five out of the last six first-round picks by Kansas City have been pitchers, but I think that strategy changes this season. Gilbert is severely underrated and after Kansas City traded pick 35 to Atlanta, taking Gilbert for a slot savings could be an ideal way to continue to target overslot candidates later. Daniel Susac would make sense here too
Mock Draft 1.0: Dylan Lesko
Mock Draft 2.0: Daniel Susac
10. Colorado Rockies – Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
Colorado has pushed for power in recent years and Susac has that all in a catcher’s profile. I do worry about his ability to recognize spin, but that might be a quibble that doesn’t bear out. Teams appeared mixed on Susac behind the plate, but a team with conviction that he’ll succeed there should consider taking him early.
Mock Draft 1.0: Gavin Cross
Mock Draft 2.0: Cam Collier
11. New York Mets (compensation) – Jacob Melton, CF, Oregon State
Perhaps the first surprising name in this mock. The Mets have a ton of flexibility with two first round picks. Here the Mets take a player who could sign for closer to $1.5M leaving New York the ability to float a $7M bonus down to pick 14.
Mock Draft 1.0: Robert Moore
Mock Draft 2.0: Dylan Beavers
12. Detroit Tigers – Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia
The Tigers have historically leaned college players and positioned themselves as a franchise on the rise. I’ve been way too spoft on Gavin Cross, but the data is really strong and the production excellent. I don’t believe you’d be off if you felt he was a top 5 quality player.
Mock Draft 1.0: Kumar Rocker
Mock Draft 2.0: Chase DeLauter
13. Los Angeles Angels – Jacob Berry, 1B, LSU
Everyone keeps thinking the Angels are going pitcher here in the first and possibly a whole bunch more picks in the draft. And I buy that possibility, but sometimes the board allows you to take a player ranked higher and you make the selection. Here Jacob Berry falls and offers a near-ready player to a team with an accelerated timeline. Pitchers such as Rocker, Prielipp, Horton, Hughes all make sense as do the prep pitchers here.
Mock Draft 1.0: Bryce Hubbart
Mock Draft 2.0: Jacob Berry
14. New York Mets – Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy
In this scenario, The Mets go superstar hunting in the player with the highest ceiling in the draft class. Elijah Green offers all-world tools, but his swing and miss add a legitimate concern to his profile. In some ways, Green reminds me of Brady House. Last season who had swing and miss, but he had made strides in his senior year of high school. Green posted ghastly contact rates in the 60s-%. This spring, he’s striking out in nearly a third of his plate appearances. I could conceivably see a situation in which the Mets are able to balance any bonus demands of Green along with the risk in his profile. It pays to be able to outspend any mistakes. By saving money at 11 with Jacob Melton, the Mets could comfortably offer Elijah $7.5 million and still not have to adjust the remaining pick pool money. They further balance the risk with a safer profile in Melton with ultimate upside in Green.
Mock Draft 1.0: Brock Jones
Mock Draft 2.0: Elijah Green
15. San Diego Padres – Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford (HS)
Most assume that AJ Preller’s San Diego Padres will be going “big-game hunting”. They want loud tools and high ceilings. Jett Williams, Maximus Martin, Henry Bolte, Brock Porter, Robby Snelling, and Justin Crawford could be in play. Here Preller and the Padres take a gamble on Dylan Lesko who, almost surely, wouldn’t have been available if not for his injury and subsequent Tommy John surgery.
Mock Draft 1.0: Peyton Pallette
Mock Draft 2.0: Brandon Barriera
16. Cleveland Guardians – Jace Jung, 2B/3B, Texas Tech
Another player who slides that is snapped up by an opportunistic team is Jace Jung in this mock. Jung could/should go much higher. He represents a lot of qualities that Cleveland looks for as a middle-infield prospect with good hit tool (his power doesn’t hurt either). He’s an advanced and quick-moving hitter who could thrive in Cleveland’s system
Mock Draft 1.0: Cam Collier
Mock Draft 2.0: Hunter Barco
17. Philadelphia Phillies – Kumar Rocker, RHP, Independent
Kumar Rocker was one of the true great questions surrounding this draft class. Why did the Mets back out last year and what were his true medicals? Based on feedback, I would say a good number of teams feel comfortable enough to draft Rocker relatively high, likely in the first round. Rocker, for all that happened in the past year, is an advanced arm. It’s not impossible he could pitch out of a big league bullpen this fall.
Mock Draft 1.0: Brock Porter
Mock Draft 2.0: Gavin Cross
18. Cincinnati Reds – Justin Crawford, CF, Bishop Gorman (HS)
Crawford has suitors all throughout the teens and 20s in this draft. Cincinnati tends to draft for upside and has been tied to the Nevada outfielder. Crawford showcases upper-tier athleticism, which is no surprise as the son of Carl Crawford. The Reds are a club that has embraced power in its high draft picks, but in this case they bank on the upside tools blossoming.
Mock Draft 1.0: Jayson Jones
Mock Draft 2.0: Jud Fabian
19. Oakland Athletics – Cole Young, SS, North Alleghany (HS)
Oakland has been tied to Cole Young from a few reputable publications and they’ve targeted prep players in recent years to great effect. The A’s are in a position where they should just take the best player available and in this mock it happens to be Cole Young if we’re talking prep players.
Mock Draft 1.0: Gavin Turley
Mock Draft 2.0: Josh Kasevich
20. Atlanta Braves – Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (HS)
After the somewhat epic (relatively speaking) trade between Kansas City and Atlanta, the Braves now have an additional $2.2 million in slot savings. One theory is that it’ll allow the club to buy-down a player with a higher demand down to pick 20. Dylan Lesko could be an option, but I have them targeting Brock Porter who has a similar high-upside, but isn’t presently rehabbing form Tommy John surgery.
Mock Draft 1.0: Cayden Wallace
Mock Draft 2.0: Bryce Hubbart
21. Seattle Mariners – Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State University
Cooper Hjerpe is incredibly divisive. For some, he’s a top 15 caliber player in the class, for others he wouldn’t be a consensus first rounder in a year with better pitching. I’ve watched Hjerpe several times in person and I’m impressed with the moxie. He was able to beat teams with his stuff. I do question how hitters may adapt as it felt like they just couldn’t adjust to the unique angle. He doesn’t throw with premiere velocity, but a club like Seattle has been willing to embrace a bit velo in their MLB rotations for the right pitcher.
Mock Draft 1.0: Josh Kasevich
Mock Draft 2.0: Cooper Hjerpe
22. St. Louis Cardinals – Jett Williams, SS, Rockwall-Heath (HS)
For the last few seasons, the Cardinals have alternated between safe college performers and risky profile high school bats. Here the Cardinals take another toolsy high school player. Jet Williams could go a dozen picks higher than this, but Saint Louis is notorious for scooping up falling players to add to their premiere player development department. Don’t lose sight on Tucker Toman, Henry Bolte, and Justin Crawford here
Mock Draft 1.0: Kevin Parada
Mock Draft 2.0: Gavin Turley
23. Toronto Blue Jays – Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee
Toronto appears to be more closely linked to bats and Beck offers one with upside from a premiere program. This is a club in major contention so it wouldn’t surprise me to take a relatively quick-moving player. I haven’t heard Eric Brown with them though I’m a bit surprised why.
Mock Draft 1.0: Jud Fabian
Mock Draft 2.0: Kumar Rocker
24. Boston Red Sox – Peyton Graham, SS, Oklahoma
Graham always had upside, but he began to fully realize it later in the year. He made a lot of money this June in the College World Series. Boston loves to grab middle-infielders and Graham shows enough chops that he looks like a strong bet to start out at SS in professional ball.
Mock Draft 1.0: Carter Young
Mock Draft 2.0: Mikey Romero
25. New York Yankees – Reggie Crawford, LHP, Connecticut
The newly minted Tennessee Volunteer (if he doesn’t sign) has an electric left arm and receives huge credit for his all-world makeup. The Yankees like college bats with optimal traits so Spencer Jones, Eric Brown both make sense.
Mock Draft 1.0: Connor Prielipp
Mock Draft 2.0: Eric Brown
26. Chicago White Sox – Tucker Toman, SS/3B, Hammond (HS)
The White Sox are mostly tied to pitchers, but I can’t quite shake Chicago double-dipping on prep SSs after Colson Montgomery. Toman has some serious fans around the game. Noah Schultz and Owen Murphy are the other players I seriously considered for this pick.
Mock Draft 1.0: Parker Messick
Mock Draft 2.0: Brock Porter
27. Milwaukee Brewers – Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
After entering the year as a possible 1:1 candidate, Chase DeLauter finds himself towards the back of the first round in this mock. CDL never had a long healthy stretch of success this season mostly due to fluke injuries. He fits Milwaukee’s style well and could be a similar play as Keston Hiuria was in 2017.
Mock Draft 1.0: Blade Tidwell
Mock Draft 2.0: Jackson Ferris
28. Houston Astros – Dalton Rushing, C, Lousiville
This is a team/player pairing that I’ve heard from multiple people so I’m rolling with it. Rushing boasts some impressive batted ball data. If we’re talking catching options, Houston could also consider local talent, Silas Ardoin.
Mock Draft 1.0: Noah Schultz
Mock Draft 2.0: Tyler Locklear
29. Tampa Bay Rays – Eric Brown, SS, Coastal Carolina
Eric Brown may utilize an unorthodox hitting stance, but his batted ball data clearly shows it works for him. The Rays love middle-infield hitters with great metrics. Brown should really go a dozen picks higher, but Tampa Bay scoops him up.
Mock Draft 1.0: Cole Young
Mock Draft 2.0: Cole Young
30. San Francisco Giants – Dylan Beavers, OF, California
Beavers (who unfortunately doesn’t play for Oregon State) has whiff concerns, but makes quality swing decisions. He offers upside and San Francisco has targeted similar players in previous years (Hunter Bishop being one of them). Brock Jones, Prielipp, and Owen Murphy are all names that wouldn’t surprise me.
Mock Draft 1.0: Peyton Graham
Mock Draft 2.0: Walter Ford
Who is remaining?
Names like Noah Schultz, Henry Bolte, Owen Murphy, Walter Ford, and Max Martin, among others aren’t listed above, but that’s because they become prime overslot candidates in the competitive balance and second rounds. I think Connor Prielipp receives a first-round quality offer in the comp. Cade Horton I hear mixed opinions on as to whether he’ll go back to campus. There are first-round caliber players that will likely be taken by clubs with aggressive overslots that aren’t featured here.
How did your team do?
Let me know in the comments if you agree with the picks.