College playoffs are heating up, high school seasons are winding down. This is prime time to discuss the MLB Draft. Just like last year, North Side Bound partnered up with Willie Hood of Next Year in Cleveland to bring you a collaborative mock draft. Willie and I factored in historical drafting tendencies, bonus pools, signability considerations, and team information as we ultimately went 70 picks deep. This draft will be split into pieces with discussion on picks 1-15 at NSB and the analysis of 16-30 at Next Year in Cleveland. If you just are interested in teams and players selected you’ll be able to find those on both sites.

Selections 31-70 with analysis will be run simultaneously on both sites later this week. Enjoy the mock!

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates – Dylan Crews – OF, LSU

Previous 1st round selections: Quinn Priester- RHP, Nick Gonzales- 2B, Henry Davis- C, Termarr Johnson- 2B
Bonus Slot: $9,721,000

Greg: Yes there are always the possibilities for bonus pool shenanigans. You could make a case for taking Max Clark, Paul Skenes, Wyatt Langford, and perhaps Walter Jenkins if you’re firm about his projection is similar to a JD Drew player. Those are the big five in the class. But with talent alone, Pittsburgh would have to have a significant reason not to give Dylan Crews the first $9+ million bonus in MLB history.

2. Washington Nationals – Paul Skenes – RHP, LSU

Previous 1st round selections: Jackson Rutledge- RHP, Cade Cavalli- RHP, Brady House- 3B, Elijah Green, OF
Bonus Slot: $8,998,500

Willie: Recent draft history says the Nationals love power arms and prep upside bats. At number 2 overall with Skenes on the board, this seems like a no-brainer. There’s still plenty of time between now and July and anything could happen. If the Pirates bypass Dylan Crews then he’s likely the pick. Either way, it seems Crews and Skenes will go back-to-back. If the Nationals throw a curve keep an eye on prep outfielders Walker Jenkins and Max Clark. Skenes has had much digital ink spilled on him so I won’t spend much time but he’s a power righty with big present stuff, strike-out ability, good control, and likely move quickly through the minors. Skenes represents the top arm in the draft class and a potential number 1 starter in short order.

  1. Detroit Tigers – Wyatt Langford- OF, Florida

Previous 1st round selections: Riley Greene- OF, Spencer Torkelson- 1B, Jackson Jobe- RHP, Jace Jung- 2B
Bonus Slot: $8,341,700

Willie: The Motor City Kitties hold a pivotal pick in this draft class. It seems unlikely that Crews or Skenes will be on board when they are on the clock. So, they will get their choice of the next tier of talent. Recency points towards Detroit going with the college bat here and early rumors point toward the new regime going bat here. If they deviate it’s likely toward one of the talented prep stars Max Clark or Walker Jenkins or backstop Kyle Teel. Langford represents a corner bat with thunder in his stick and the potential to hold down a middle-of-the-batting-order position for quite some time.

  1. Texas Rangers – Kyle Teel – C, Virginia Max Clark – OF Franklin HS, IN

Previous 1st round selections: Josh Jung- 3B, Justin Foscue- 2B, Jack Leiter- RHP, Kumar Rocker- RHP
Bonus Slot: $7,698,000

Greg: I floated this scenario in my Mock Draft 2.0 and recently Joe Doyle of Future Stars has as well. Kyle Teel is a “unicorn” of a prospect. What he does on both sides of the ball is impressive. Texas has been willing to be creative in moving money around and with them not picking until the fourth round, this selection offers an opportunity to save value, take an excellent player, and then use the savings to buy down a player to pick 108. How much could Texas save? The more folks I talk with the more I feel that Teel ends up in the top 10, possibly as early as 3.

 The fourth overall selection is assigned a $7,698,000 figure. The minimum the Rangers could realistically offer would be 70% of the slot ($5,773,500 around the value of pick 9), but a number closer to the 6th pick value ($6,634,000) saves approximately a million. With the savings here, the 5% overage amount (~$496k), and making senior signs in rounds 6 and 7 (to save $500k), they can present a $2.6M offer to a player at pick 108. In this draft we presented Round Rock HS prep righthander Travis Sykora that $2.6M offer. We’ll see if another team tops that offer as we go along. 

  1. Minnesota Twins – Max Clark- OF HS, IN

Previous 1st round selections: Keoni Cavaco- SS, Aaron Sabato- 1B, Chase Petty- RHP, Brooks Lee- SS
Bonus Slot: $7,139,700

Greg: Max Clark was my 1.1 entering the year. He’s made good on the projection. We’ve since seen several college players go off, but a smart team is going to take Clark and let him man CF for them for a long time. Historically the Twins have been willing to take nearly all the main demographics high. They’re willing to take riskier selections. Clark isn’t risky per se, but he’s a high school hitter. You have to trust that he’ll be able to handle pro-level velocity and spin. I buy that with his track record of time playing for USA Baseball and on the showcases that he will.

  1. Oakland A’s – Walker Jenkins- OF HS, NC

Previous 1st round selections: Logan Davidson- SS, Tyler Soderstrom- C, Maxwell Muncy- SS, Daniel Susac- C
Bonus Slot: $6,634,000

How the A’s draft: Up the middle contributors. They’ve balanced between prep and college talents.

Willie: Oakland sticks to the safer demographic – hitting early and coming back for pitching later. This pick is no different; they are positioned well to grab a talented position player here and there’s no drop-off in talent quite yet. The soon-to-be Las Vegas Athletics (?) could get talented young outfielder Max Clark, or they could slide down the board a little for another center-of-the-diamond piece in backstop Kyle Teel. Of course, there are the two enticing shortstops: Jacob Gonzalez and Jacob Wilson that could intrigue. However, by grabbing Walker Jenkins here the Athletics get a five-tool talent with obvious upside. Jenkins is a star in center field and should become one of the faces of the franchise in due time.

  1. Cincinnati Reds – Chase Dollander- RHSP Tennessee

Previous 1st round selections: Nick Lodolo- LHP, Austin Hendrick- OF, Matt McLain- SS, Cam Collier- 3B
Bonus Slot: $6,275,200

Greg: Is Dollander just one fix away from being the 1.1 candidate he was entering the season? That’s a big ask, but Dollander has still been pretty good. The Reds have been a team that jumps on a player that is “falling” in the draft. McLain, Collier, and even Hendrick were all projected to go higher before the draft. It’s generally a good strategy. It isn’t difficult to see a scenario where Dollander makes adjustments in pro ball and settles in as a player in the middle of his 2022 and 2023 seasons. That’s a really good arm and one that may not need long in the minors either.

    8. Kansas City Royals – Jacob Gonzalez- OF Ole Miss

Previous 1st round selections: Bobby Witt- SS, Asa Lacy- LHP, Frank Mozzicato- LHP, Gavin Cross – OF
Bonus Slot: $5,980,100

Greg: Gonzalez really shouldn’t find his way down to the Royals, but that’s the nature of the draft at times. He was absolutely in the discussion for a top player in the class entering the season. Since then he’s put up more walks than strikeouts and improved his batting average and on-base percentage. It’s not all production though. JGon has metrics to match up

  1. Colorado Rockies – Rhett Lowder- RHSP Wake Forest

Previous 1st round selections: Michael Toglia- 1B, Zac Veen- OF, Benny Montgomery- OF, Gabriel Hughes- RHP
Bonus Slot: $5,716,900

Greg: The consistent refrain I’ve heard is that A) Rhett Lowder should go in the top ten as long as he’s healthy in July and B) The Rockies should be targeting pitchers with profiles like Lowder. It feels like a great fit.

  1. Miami Marlins – Jacob Wilson – SS, Grand Canyon

Previous 1st round selections: J.J. Bleday- OF, Max Meyer- RHP, Khalil Watson- SS, Jacob Berry- 3B
Bonus Slot: $5,475,300

Greg: The Marlins are a club that valued production over metrics to take a well-respected player last season in Jacob Berry. Jacob Wilson is that type of player. He simply does not strike out. He takes solid at-bats. He plays on the dirt. There are scouts who love him and his background being in the game around his father, MLB-vet Jack Wilson, adds to his intangibles. The knock on him is that he doesn’t hit the ball hard (average exit velocity of 84 mph per Mason McRae) and he chases the ball out of the zone a shade over the average college hitter. Not every team will weigh those factors the same. I’ve been saying for a while that a Marlins club that values intangibles and excellent college production will zero in on Jacob Wilson as one of their top targets. 

  1. Anaheim Angels – Colton Ledbetter- OF Mississippi State

Previous 1st round selections: Will Wilson- SS, Reid Detmers- LHP, Sam Bachman- RHP, Zach Neto- SS
Bonus Slot: $5,253,000

How the Angels draft: College performers and pitchers are the primary first-round targets of the Angels.

Willie: Last year the Angels popped Zach Neto in this same range. That pick has brought almost instantaneous results as the young shortstop is already contributing at the big-league level. Picking Colton Ledbetter here adds another college bat with contact skills, emerging power potential, and some flexibility in the outfield. While Ledbetter is likely bound for an outfield corner he could help if needed in center field on a short-term basis. For me, this pick would allow the Angels to save some resources to push down the board because they lost their second round pick when signing Tyler Anderson.

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks – Hurston Waldrep- RHSP Florida

Previous 1st round selections: Corbin Carroll- CF, Bryce Jarvis- RHP, Jordan Lawler- SS, Druw Jones- CF

How the Diamondbacks draft: Outside of 2020, we generally see the Diamondbacks target higher ceiling prep talent early.

Willie: The Diamondbacks love talented prep bats and have taken some intriguing young power arms through recent years. Thats exactly what this pick represents, a talented right-handed starter that’s been hit around in the SEC this season. His secondaries (slider and curve) are generally filthy and his upper-90’s heater has been hittable but the talent is undeniable. There are some command issues, reliever concerns, and his fastball needs work. Waldrep is the enigma of the first-round arms, he could go much higher or lower. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it just takes one. In this mock, the Snakes are that one!

  1. Chicago Cubs – Arjun Nimmala– SS

Previous 1st round selections: Ryan Jensen- RHP (under Jason McLeod), Ed Howard- SS, Jordan Wicks- LHP, Cade Horton- RHP
Bonus Slot: $4,848,500

How the Cubs draft: we saw the Cubs prioritize players who the organization viewed as falling to them in Howard and Wicks, but unless something crazy happened last year they were very into the profile of Horton. This is an organization that has been willing to target upside with their top few selections over the past few years.

I’ll say that this selection tied me up in knots. I had the ability to go back to the well again with Collin Houck and Colt Emerson, who I really buy into this spring. The upside is there with Nimmala though there is significant risk the power doesn’t show up in-game. His age and ceiling could add another top 100 caliber prospect to the organization. However if you make this selection, you want to hedge your bets with other players with different profiles later in the draft. We’ll get to that in the second round in this draft. 

Often though, fans want to talk about who else was considered.Outside of Houck, Bryce Eldridge and Noble Meyer were names I looked strongly at. The latter two have big time tools. Eldridge appears to be committed to playing as a two-way guy (hitting and pitching) at the next level and the Cubs publicly discussed doing that plan with Nazier Mule’ last year. Meyer is, in my opinion, the clear prep arm. I’d take him over Thomas White as of right now.

College guys? Yes this is a great area to target one. If one of the college arms like Waldrep, Dollander, or Lowder made it to pick 13, it’s worth a strong discussion. Enrique Bradfield Jr. could be a dynamic addition to the organization. So too could the college infielders. Tommy Troy (more on his profile soon), Brayden Taylor, and Yohandy Morales.

How about Matt Shaw? He’s a popular name here. I’m a believer in the bat, but I just can’t buy that he’s an infielder. If anything he feels like a right-handed-only Ian Happ. And that’s a solid selection. Happ is an all-star and gold glove winner in LF. No issues with anyone who thinks he can play second base. I hope he can. That would be awesome for his profile, but I think he slides to the OF.

  1. Boston Red Sox – Tommy Troy – SS, Stanford

Previous 1st round selections: Nick Yorke- 2B, Marcelo Meyer- SS, Mikey Romero- SS

Greg: Good contact middle infielders are always a safe bet. That even undersells Tommy Troy who shows off skills reminiscent of Nico Hoerner. It’s a bat that produces hard contact and doesn’t chase. He could benefit from added launch in his swing.

  1. Chicago White Sox – Noble Meyer- RHP Jesuit HS, OR

Previous 1st round selections: Andrew Vaughn- 1B, Garrett Crochet- LHP, Colson Montgomery- SS, Noah Schultz- LHP

Greg: The white Sox have pivoted towards riskier selections in the past three seasons with Crochet (injured and limited track record), Montgomery (older high school hitter), Schultz (prep lefthander) being the last three first first round picks. Meyer represents the best high school arm and one of the highest upsides in the class. It’s upper 90s velocity and good movement with his fastball, wicked slider, and a solid changeup that could be above-average in the future. He possesses a strong projectable frame and could be a great addition to the lower levels of the White Sox infrastructure where they are slowly building up.

This mock draft is just getting started. To read the rest of the summaries from picks 16-30, check out our thoughts at Next Year in Cleveland. If you’re just interested in the teams and names for the rest of the first round, check them out below.

  1. San Francisco Giants – Enrique Bradfield- OF Vanderbilt
  2. Baltimore Orioles – Jack Hurley- OF Virginia
  3. Milwaukee Brewers – Matt Shaw- 3B/2B Maryland
  4. Tampa Bay Rays – Chase Davis- OF Arizona
  5. Toronto Blue Jays – Colin Houck
  6. St. Louis Cardinals – Blake Mitchell- C HS
  7. Seattle Mariners – Bryce Eldridge- RHP/1B
  8. Cleveland Guardians – Colt Emerson- SS John Glenn HS, OH
  9. Atlanta Braves – Charlee Soto- RHSP HS, FL
  10. San Diego Padres – Walker Martin- SS HS, CO
  11. New York Yankees – Nolan Schanuel- 1B/OF Florida Atlantic
  12. Philadelphia Phillies – Brayden Taylor- SS TCU
  13. Houston Astros – Sammy Stafura- SS HS, NY
  14. Seattle Mariners – Adrian Santana, SS
  15. Seattle Mariners – Jackson Baumeister – RHP, Florida State

Part 2

Make sure to check out the rest of the Mock. We go all the way to pick 70. That’ll be available later this week.