There are lots of MLB mock drafts happening right now. Some variations rely on “MLB Insider” information to try to accurately predict which players will end up where. Others take a more educational approach, teaching fans about players they’ll see years down the line in a fun format. A third type is the classic “here’s what I’d do” mock draft, in which experts essentially roll out a ranking. All are entertaining, all are valuable, and all generally tell you something about a player you didn’t know beforehand.
As always, this mock draft will not be like those mock drafts. Instead, it will follow in the proud tradition of our inaugural name draft from 2015, which was born from Craig’s realization that that year’s crop of talent included players with very, very silly names. After Ulysses Cantu went no. 1 overall in 2016 and Jeter Downs was popped first last year, who’ll earn ultimate glory in 2018? You’ll Have To Keep Reading To Find Out!
Per usual, we’re confining ourselves to MLB Pipeline’s list of top 200 draft prospects for the purposes of this exercise. That means that even if there was a player named, like, Enya Walletchange who wasn’t covered there within, he wouldn’t be eligible. As always, to say there’s an element of subjectivity involved in picking these names would be incorrect: picking them is completely subjective. That being said, if you disagree with us, you’re wrong. Enjoy!
1. Detroit Tigers: Owen Sharts, RHP, Simi Valley (CA) HS
[TRADE ALERT: We have a first in Mocking the Draft history. Ben has agreed to give up the no. 2 and no. 10 overall picks in 2018, plus a conditional 2019 first-round pick, to move up for the first overall selection.]
In 1999, Mike Ditka traded his entire draft for running back Ricky Williams. I only have to give up three picks here, and I am ecstatic, because Owen Sharts is a better name than Ricky was a football player. Friends, when greatness stares you in the face, you must be bold enough to grasp it, and that is what I am doing here. Owen Sharts’ name literally means “to be in poop debt,” and that makes him the quintessential Detroit Tiger.
Every time Owen puts on a baseball jersey, it will say “Sharts” on the back. Every. Damn. Time. And the headlines? My god, think of the headlines. “Twins Can’t Contain Sharts in Detroit.” “Tigers Release Sharts After 15 Years.” “Sharts Takes Tribe to the Outhouse.” Owen Sharts is gonna get at least 13 headline writers/social media interns fired (including me, probably), and I can’t wait.
This name is a sophomoric masterpiece. It will earn smirks from the immature and condemnation from the prude for the next 20 years, a Rorschach Test for humor we’ll get to take every fifth day. This name is ridiculous. It is beautiful. And it is mine. —BC
2. San Francisco Giants: Blaze Alexander, SS, IMG (FL) Academy
[PICK TRADED TO CRAIG FROM BEN]
You must be high if you thought a dude named Blaze wasn’t going to end up in San Francisco. You hate to see a great name brought down by a regular-ass surname, but there’s decent cadence here. I also feel confident popping him this high because of his incredible work ethic: when not taking extra rips in the cage or working on his fundamentals, he works as an American Gladiator and a bodyguard for White Goodman. —CG
3. Philadelphia Phillies: Durbin Feltman, RHP, TCU
Was it tempting to pair Beer and Blaze here? You bet. But the power that Beer displays is offset by the swing and miss present in “Seth.” Durbin Feltman, on the other hand, is a dream combo of first and last name, with elite upside. This could be a frat bro yacht boy who’s friends with Shep on Southern Charm or … well, no. That’s who he is. Look, it might not be the highest-upside name around, but when the floor is plus, you don’t look back. —CG
4. Chicago White Sox: Osiris Johnson, SS, Encinal (CA) HS
Let’s just call a spade a spade; this is a tremendously bad-ass name, and we should hope it starts a trend. After doing this exercise for a few years, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of Bradens, Triston/an/ens, Hunters, and Griffins. But what if more parents start naming their children after the mythical gods of yesteryear instead of ACC lacrosse middies? Who would you be more scared to face—Triston McKenzie or Hephaestus McKenzie? What’s more likely to give you pause—Hunter Strickland or Heimdall Strickland? The choice is clear. Plus, it’s only appropriate that a player named after the Egyptian god of the afterlife and rebirth should land with this iteration of the White Sox. —BC
5. Cincinnati Reds: Kameron Guangorena, C, St. John Bosco (CA) HS
Aside from being the worst Real Housewife of Dallas, “Kameron” is one of the more acceptable mutations of a standard name. “Guangorena” is sublime. It is a tropical fruit. Or a tropical disease. Or a disease that affects only tropical fruits leading to a limited time run as a Starbucks fruit frappuccino thing, like those unicorn ones that existed for a hot second what feels like 15 years ago. Fifteen years ago was also the last time someone saw a Guangorena in the wild. With your assistance, at 23 cents a day, you can help bring back this majestic creature. —CG
6. New York Mets: Nander De Sedas, SS, Montverde (FL) Academy
Pronounced the way Jerry Remy would say “Xander decides,” Nander De Sedas is a phonetic masterpiece. He’d serve as one of the most purely fun baseball names to play for the Mets since Lastings Milledge. As an added bonus, “sedar” in Spanish means “to soothe” or, in a medical context, “to administer a sedative to,” so De Sedas could be kept plenty busy if New York retains its current medical personnel. In terms of real MLB value, De Sedas should be ready by 2024, at which point he’ll probably still have to fight Jose Reyes for playing time. —BC
7. San Diego Padres: Braxton Ashcraft, RHP, Robinson (TX) HS
The original home of the Yacht Club, San Diego is a fitting landing spot for Ashcraft. His workouts consist of “a good soak.” His least-favorite scene in Game of Thrones was finding out the people of Qarth weren’t actually wealthy. His favorite movie of all time is the original Kingsman because they discuss hat etiquette. He was overheard calling the royal wedding “a bit gauche” and when he took a Buzzfeed quiz on which OC character he was, he got Oliver. He’s excited to get popped as a top-10 pick, but not nearly as excited as he was when the tax bill passed. —CG
8. Atlanta Braves: Steele Walker, OF, Oklahoma
Steele Walker sounds like the nom de guerre assumed by a young man who stars in video that Dayton Moore wouldn’t want airing in the clubhouse. There’s probably a subreddit dedicated to his … acting. Thankfully, he lands with a fan base that’s used to watching NSFW baseball material (Ronald Acuna’s swing). —BC
9. Oakland Athletics: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Dayspring Christian (FL) HS
Gunnar Hoglund would be the arch nemesis in a reboot of The Mighty Ducks. Or the arch nemesis in whatever number Die Hard we’re on. No matter how you slice it, he’s some sort of arch nemesis. Or maybe he’s just that guy from The Good Place? Of course he ended up being not so good, so maybe it still works? Anyway, look for Gunnar to emerge as a major leaguer, and a menace to society, in about five years. —CG
10. Pittsburgh Pirates: Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran (CA) HS
[PICK TRADED TO CRAIG FROM BEN]
This is the last time the words “Cole,” “Win[n], and “Pirates” will be used together for a while. —CG
11. Baltimore Orioles: Konnor Pilkington, LHP, Mississippi State
An organization always in need of pitching, the Orioles thought they were getting the chance to bring another arm into the fold until a thorough physical revealed they actually drafted Karl Pilkington, star of An Idiot Abroad [smash cut to Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant giggling uncontrollably while Karl explains the horror of an Orioles physical on speaker phone]. —CG
12. Toronto Blue Jays: Bryce Montes De Oca, RHP, Missouri
Listen, baseball is not a boring sport, and if you’re reading this, you know that. But there are times when baseball fans don’t do themselves any favors in terms of dispelling this stupid myth. One such time occurred this week, when Baseball Twitter lost its freakin mind over a goose. Was the goose flying into the scoreboard funny? Yes. Was it so funny that we should still be talking about it five days later? No. That may be a bad sign for baseball in general, but it’s a great sign for Bryce “mounts of goose” Montes De Oca. Even if his defining characteristic is crashing and burning (which, given that he’s a Blue Jays pitcher in this scenario, seems likely), he’ll get his 15 minutes of fame. —BC.
13. Miami Marlins: Chander Champlain, RHP, Santa Margarita (CA) HS
An appealing pick for Derek Jeter because he sees Chander as Chandler without the “L,” which you have to re2pect (#NoLs). By the time he reaches the majors his name will be Chander Champain, which come to think of it, might be an improvement on an already good name. —CG
14. Seattle Mariners: Michael Flynn, RHP, Arizona
Leave it to Jerry Dipoto to acquire a trader. —BC
15. Texas Rangers: Kingston Liniak, OF, Mission Hills (Calif.) HS
It’s a sweltering Saturday and you’ve been running all day. It started early, with an actual run before it got too hot. You came home, showered, did two loads of laundry, hit the grocery store, and then the pet store because your dog requires a special brand of food. The day is slipping away and you’ve got more to do. Your next task is clear on the other side of town and even on a weekend, traffic can get bad. Still, it’s a necessary evil, so you load up in your car, turn on the engine, and are hit with one of the great joys in life, slowly evaporating in this era of podcasts and streaming music accessible anywhere: Your favorite song on the radio, and you caught it at the beginning, too. You didn’t think they even played The Kingston Liniak Jazz Trio on the local college station, much less a standard one. It’s been a long day, but suddenly a tolerable one. —CG
16. Tampa Bay Rays: Bren Spillane, 1B, Illinois
This name sucks, and we all know it. It’s too lazy to be Brent, too confused to be Bern, and too extra to be Ben. “Bren” is not a real name, and any regular person is going to be displeased by this moniker. But this is the god damn Rays we’re talking about, and they’ll find a way to convince half of the baseball intelligentsia that Bren is edgy and forward-thinking and cool. “Actually,” a Baseball Twitterer with two fan posts at FanGraphs and his own WordPress blog will tell you, “Bren is extremely good, and the Rays are getting an undervalued asset here.” They’re not. Bren is awfully named. He belongs at the Trop. —BC
17. Los Angeles Angels: Griffin Conine, OF, Duke University
Two of the best players in franchise history are Mike Trout and Tim Salmon. Conine is obviously not in a “normal name fish” situation, but he does have two animal-adjacent names going on (conine is close to canine, let me have this). Figure this gives them two shots at someone who is Trout/Salmon-adjacent and they can’t be mad at that. —CG
18. Kansas City Royals: Colton Eastman, RHP, Cal State Fullerton
Colton Eastman is basically what you’d get if the producers of The Great Wall or Iron Fist tried to draft Kolton Wong. —BC
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Ford Proctor, SS, Rice
The Cardinals did well to snag themselves a man who serves and then monitors exams to Ford automobiles this late in the draft. They’re going to have the inside word on which cars and trucks are performing well, and that’s invaluable to a Major League Baseball franchise. His keen observations paired with the Cardinals’ ability to get the most out of their investments could lead the team to secure a Fiesta but receive the performance of a Shelby, harkening back to another 19th overall selection by St. Louis. —CG
20. Minnesota Twins: Landon Marceaux, RHP, Destrehan (LA) HS
As we discussed last year, exceedingly bougie names seem to be falling by the wayside a bit. That being said, I just couldn’t pass Marceaux up again here. Landon Marceaux refers to any vintage from 1980 or later as “table wine.” His favorite sport is cycling. He wrote Columbia Pictures a sternly worded letter (on embossed paper) after accidentally watching a few minutes of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. His favorite cartoon character growing up was Treize Khushrenada. He feels as though shopping in Andorra is “a little played out” at this point. His family owns three Löwchens named Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. He’s really, really going to hate Minnesota. At least he’ll enjoy his West Coast trips when he’s able to visit Braxton Ashcraft. —BC
21. Milwaukee Brewers: Seth Beer, 1B, Clemson
ABV-average pop; ball hops off his bat; lacks premium body; dedication to the craft; has shown a pre-swing hand pump; after a strong cage session Beer looks good enough to go in the top half of the first round; will have to mash to make the profile work, when balls are lightstruck it just won’t work; finding the barrel is crucial; could improve conditioning; rumors are swirling but Brewers Association is hard to overlook. —CG
22. Colorado Rockies: J.T. Ginn, RHP, Brandon (MS) HS
Even in mock drafts we just can’t get a decent Beer to Coors Field. Anyway, there’s no universe in which Ginn’s career ends any other way than with him getting suspended for PEDs, leading to approximately 5,400 “Ginn and Juiced” jokes. Until then, it makes sense for the Rockies to add some, err, stiff competition to their rotation. —BC
23. New York Yankees: Travis Swaggerty, OF, South Alabama
Travis Swaggerty has a cameo on Vanderpump Rules as a friend of James’ who guest spots on his latest track “(It’s Not About) The Pasta.” T. Swagg’s run on the show ends when a fight breaks out after he calls Kristin a Guangorena, and after a few hushed questions about what that even means she throws multiple drinks at him. —CG
24. Chicago Cubs: Jameson Hannah, OF, Dallas Baptist
You broke the rules for Jameson Hannah. You were a young hotshot right out of college, eager to impress your new bosses, make your mark on the world, and get ahead. You wanted to focus on work and only work. But damn, you just couldn’t help but steal glances at Jameson every time she walked by your workspace. “She’s out of my league,” you thought, and you were right. But one day, at a company-sponsored Happy Hour—the only time you could afford to drink—Jameson sat next to you. You made her laugh, she made you smile, and suddenly those rules forbidding coworker dalliances surely didn’t apply to you. You two were special and different—you were going to make it. Three months later, the fling was over. Jameson got promoted, changed her Facebook privacy settings, and transferred offices. All you ended up with was an awkward conversation with HR and $3,000 in credit card debt. You always knew it wouldn’t last—you’re a realist at heart—but all you feel is sad. —BC
25. Arizona Diamondbacks: Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee (Ga.) HS
Talk about value. I had Rocker pegged at a top-10 option coming into this thing, so for him to fall to 25 is fairly staggering. There’s a lot of headline value in the last name alone (for both good and bad outings), and somehow there’s a great amount of flow despite his first name ending in the same letter his last name starts with (trust me, I know how dreadful this is). Throw in that there’s never been a Kumar in the majors or minors and you’ve got a singular talent who could help us stop associating “Rocker” with “John” once and for all. —CG
26. Boston Red Sox: Noah Song, RHP, Navy
What exactly is the Noah Song? Is it “Flood” by Jars of Clay? Is it “The Worrying Kind” by The Ark? Is it “The Rain Song” by Led Zeppelin? Hell, maybe it’s just a psalm. We’ll never know, I suppose, but it’s appropriate that Noah finds himself going to a city that’s for some reason proud of its dirty water. Plus, even if he’s terrible, he won’t be the worst Song played at Fenway on a regular basis. Yeah, “Sweet Caroline” sucks. —BC
27. Washington Nationals: Josh Breaux, C, McLennan (TX) CC
Why would the Nationals take him? That’s a clown question, Breaux. —CG
28. Houston Astros: Terrin Vavra, SS, Minnesota
Honestly, this is less a name than it is a collection of sounds? It’s easy to picture Vavra’s parents—who one imagines are named Breh and Femmhp—just sort of giving up here.
DOCTOR: Congratulations! It’s a healthy baby boy. What’s his name?
BREH: [panicked look]
FEEMHP: Let’s, uh … let’s go with … Terr … in?
DOCTOR: … uh, ok?
The good news is Terrin is an Astros infield prospect now, so he’s destined for glory despite the #slack that went into his moniker. —BC
29. Cleveland Indians: Cadyn Grenier, SS, Oregon State University
I’m not entirely clear what a French-Canadian hockey player is doing in the MLB draft, but his love of going top shelf should help in these halcyon launch angle days. The adjustment from hockey stick to baseball bat is giving scouts some pause, but others argue there’s no “wood bat” transition to grapple with because hockey sticks are made of wood*. Either way, we know the entire state of Utah will be behind someone named Cadyn, opening up a new revenue stream for Cleveland. —CG
*I know they’re composite materials that only even sometimes include wood, do not “well, actually” me about this hockey fans, I will not abide.
30. Los Angeles Dodgers: Cal Raleigh, C, Florida State
The man’s name literally means “a California come-from-behind victory,” which is something the Dodgers badly need right now. He’ll likely end up on the disabled list in five to seven days. —BC