What you see below is my current mock draft. Instead of big write-ups, which I’m saving for my final mock draft on Monday, these are the notes from calls and texts in my latest mock worksheet with source names removed. I hope it's a fun look at how the sausage is made.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA. This is still a lean at best. Not only does nobody know, but the Pirates almost seem to be enjoying the reaction to their indecisiveness.
- Everything indicates Cole, but I think it's Dany Hultzen.
- Hultzen not Boras (CAA), might be calling for a pre-draft feel (early ask was eight figures) – forget that.
- Rendon leading
- Hearing Cole
- Rendon third of three
- Hultzen favored by many, backlash fear
2. Seattle Mariners: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice. Rendon is still Seattle's focus, but the Francisco Lindor rumors grow by the hour. He still looks like Plan B, but a shock here is possible.
- Cole might be backup
- Bubba Starling in mix, Jack Z. likes more than scout dept.
- Huge heat at recent Lindor games
- Lindor in SEA on Thursday, impressive workout, easy plan B, maybe more
3. Arizona Diamondbacks: Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia. Nothing but college arms seemingly in the mix, and Hultzen has been the focus all year. If he's gone, Trevor Bauer looks like their second choice.
- All over Hultzen
- UCLA arms backup
- Could come down to money
- Willing to pay Bundy/Bubba-level cash?
- Taylor Guerreri—up on everyone's board
- Could be in position to take any pitcher they want
4. Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso HS (OK). Bundy remains strongly connected to Baltimore, but if calls over the weekend don't give them a clearer view of how much money it will take to sign Bundy, they could switch to Bauer.
- Bundy makes too much sense
- Cole backup over Bauer.
- Could have choice of many arms, money will be a factor – not pure slot, but won't go crazy
5. Kansas City Royals: Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA. The focus is on pitching, specifically guys who can catch up to their upper level prospects quickly, and Bauer fits the bill. Ignore the long-toss hype, they'll take him.
- Cole, Bundy, Bauer
- Focus on pitching—Guerreri surprise in mix, but focus is on college and quick movers
- Long toss stuff heavily overhyped
- Matt Barnes?
- Rendon, Lindor, Hutlzen, Bundy, Cole, Starling, Bauer, ??? (Archie Bradley)
- Starling thing is product of fans and media
6. Washington Nationals: Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner Edgerton HS (KS). The Nationals have seen what a high-profile prospect can do for fan interest, and they want to make another splash despite not having the top pick.
- If big guy drops, they'll pounce
- Kicking tires on Starling
- No Starling = best college arm
7. Arizona Diamondbacks: Francisco Lindor, SS, Monteverde Academy (FL). While this pick is unprotected, Arizona is not expected to be overly conservative like some teams. That said, Archie Bradley could be too rich for their blood, and Lindor's arrival could line up well with the loss of Stephen Drew to free agency.
- Lindor could land here if signable
- Lesser college arm who will sign (Barnes, Sonny Gray)
- Bauer might be too expensive, hard to get feel for money on him.
8. Cleveland Indians: Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow HS (OK). The Indians are the first big wild card. They've been attached to names in every quadrant except high school bats. A high school arm is out of character, but Bradley could be too good to pass up.
- Archie Bradley – need to dig on money more
- Love UCLA arms
- Guerreri zooming
- Barnes/Springer – NO. Cleveland NOT heavy at big east tourney
- Jed Bradley? (No relation to Archie)
- Taylor Jungmann/best of college arms
9. Chicago Cubs: Taylor Guerreri, RHP, Spring Valley HS (SC). The next highly unpredictable pick in the top ten. Late rumors have the Cubs hoping a big college arm falls to them, but the highest upside high school arm could be the plan.
- Could surprise with Springer
- Not afraid of Starling
- Lindor/Baez in HS mix
- Late run on Guerreri
10. San Diego Padres: Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut. This pick is unprotected, and Barnes fits well in this slot as a safe, affordable pitcher who could move quickly.
- Jungman/Sunny Gray
- Barnes fits well—on him at Big East tourney
- George Springer
11. Houston Astros: Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt. The Astros want a pitcher, and indications are that they believe Gray can stick as a starter.
- Arms: Archie Bradley, ton of college guys
- Jed Bradley
12. Milwaukee Brewers: George Springer, OF, Connecticut. The Brewers have been attached to nearly every arm that fits in this slot, but with literally no one who even resembles a position prospect in the system, an up-the-middle-talent with upside like Springer's could add some zip to an otherwise moribund system.
- Best player on board
- Really, whatever college pitcher is left
- Up the middle talent could make a difference
13. New York Mets: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas. While many have assumed a safe college position player, their focus seems to be on pitching. Jungmann shouldn't be a difficult sign, and has the polish to breeze through the system and catch up to Matt Harvey and Juerys Familia's timetable.
- Jungman, Gray, and Barnes
- Mikie Mahtook
- Javier Baez/Levi Michael – in lead, like the SS thought
- Hearing nothing but pitching of late
- Go crazy and shock if there is a drop? Mixed.
14. Florida Marlins: Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU. While the Marlins tend to go the high school route, with their system in such dire straits it seems as if they are more focused on college players this year. One possible surprise here is Florida high school product Javier Baez.
- No way Lindor gets past them, Baez could be pan B
- Cory Spangenberg possible (might just be FLA connection)
- Mahtook/C.J. Cron for safety
- College hitter
- Heard they're downplaying risk.
15. Milwaukee Brewers: Levi Michael, SS, University of North Carolina. The Brewers will play it safe with an unprotected pick. With Yuni Betancourt in the big leagues and nothing resembling a real shortstop in the system, Michael is a bit of an overdraft but almost makes too much sense.
- Safe, college: Michael/Mahtook
- All you hear.
16. Los Angeles Dodgers: Robert Stephenson, RHP, Alhambra HS (CA). High school southpaw Daniel Norris scared them off with his $4 million bonus demands; their financial situation will not allow for aggressiveness here. They love Stephenson, and more importantly, they can sign him.
- All over Robert Stephenson
- Norris preferred, money scared off
17. Los Angeles Angels: Javier Baez, SS, Arlington County Day School (FL). The Angels have been attached to pretty much every high school arm that fits around here, but they also are rumored to have some interest in Baez, who would be a nice find this late in the draft. A current crazy rumor has them making a run at Josh Bell, but this is too early for such a gambit.
- Daniel Norris
- Dillon Howard
- Bell? (no way)
18. Oakland Athletics: Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill HS (TN). The Athletics taking a high school pitcher in the first round? Not the best marketing move with the Moneyball movie around the corner, but they have been heavy at Norris’s games and he's clearly in the mix. If they don't want to risk taking him due to the bonus demands, junior college speedster Cory Spagenberg would be the likely pick.
- Strong on Norris, but $4 mil letter.
- Not on Jed Bradley
19. Boston Red Sox: Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky. The Red Sox drafted Meyer out of high school three years ago and made a big run at signing him, so the interest is certainly there and it's doubtful they will get another shot at him seven picks later.
- Best player available
- Hoping someone drops
- Could pay for Brandon Nimmo/Blake Swihart. Nimmo wants $3 mil.
- Swihart in mix, but not with first pick
20. Colorado Rockies: C.J. Cron, 1B, Utah. It's very rare to hear one name connected so often with a team drafting so late in the first round, but that's the case with Cron and the Rockies. He can't run, can't throw, and can't field, but he's also the college bat most likely to hit in the middle of a big league lineup.
- College position-player focus, would love Mahtook but know it's doubtful.
- Love Cron
- Kolten Wong
21. Toronto Blue Jays: Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech. Toronto plays it notoriously close to the vest, but rumors have them looking at pitching, and Bradley is just a guy who I have to get off the board.
- Pitching—college guy who could fall, heavy on Norris
22. St. Louis Cardinals: Dillon Howard, RHP, Searcy HS (AR). The Cardinals have very few names attached to them other than the usual list of high school pitching suspects expected to go in this area. Howard is a semi-local product who has gotten some attention from St. Louis. They have also been aggressive at times of late, and could make a surprising run at a big bonus player.
- “All the usual high school suspects”
- Could surprise, willing to spend
23. Washington Nationals: Cory Spagenberg, 3B, Indian River State. The Nationals would love to make another splash here, but Springer will cost enough as is. Athletes and upside fit the bill, and Spagenburg would slide in with that thinking.
- Wouldn't mind making splash with both picks
- Not hearing pitching, hearing more athletes
24. Tampa Bay Rays: Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso HS (FL). Indications are that the Rays will play it safe with the first of their record-number of early picks, then take risks later. They won't be thinking under slot as much as simply the best available player who isn't expected to produce troublesome negotiations. Fernandez is a local product, and the team is very familiar with his abilities.
- Might actually be the most conservative of their picks
- Wong, Cron
- HS power arm if left, especially Fernandez
- Upside athletes come later
25. San Diego Padres: Kolten Wong, 2B, Hawaii. No direction on this pick, but the system is quite short on up-the-middle players. Wong could be a perfect fit.
- High school arm—several Cali names
- Henry Owens
- Joe Ross
- Some movement towards up the middle player
- “Whatever is there”
26. Boston Red Sox: Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS (NM). The Red Sox usually save their big money for after the first round, but with many players dropping big bonus demands, they'll have to move a little earlier. Any high school player wanting big money is in the mix here. This could be a landing spot for Josh Bell and Brandon Nimmo as well, and they might go in a different direction at #19 hoping Meyer can still be here.
- Still looking to pounce
- If Meyer keeps falling, he goes well here or #19
- Could kick tires on Nimmo cash
- Bell could tempt
27. Cincinnati Reds: Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon State. The Reds seems to be looking at pitching, specifically something left from the college crop that can move quicker than a prep player. Anderson fits well here.
- Pitching, primarily focus on what's left from college.
28. Atlanta Braves: Trevor Story, SS, Irving HS (TX). The Braves seem to be focusing on high school pitching and athletes. They like local product Dwight Smith, Jr., but this is too high for him. They've been busy in Texas over the last few years, and Story is an athletic up-the-middle player that could appeal to them.
- Like Smith Jr. but willing to wait
- no way Spangenburg gets here
- Prefer arms and athletes
29. San Francisco Giants: Joe Ross, RHP, Bishop O'Dowd HS (CA). I've heard nothing but high school arms here, but Tyson's younger brother has come up often.
- Joe Ross, other HS arms
- All over Ross
30. Minnesota Twins: Kyle Winkler, RHP, Texas Christian. The Twins seems to be looking at pitching, specifically something left from the college crop, with the usual focus on fastball command. Winkler isn't the sexiest guy on a scouting level, but he's throws strikes, misses bats, and had an outstanding spring..
- Anderson fits
- Wong fits
- Winker fits
31. Tampa Bay Rays: Brian Goodwin, OF, Miami-Dade JC. The Rays are expected to focus on athletes with many of their picks, but they might stay within normal slot range here with Goodwin and hope that some of the bigger names that drop fall all the way to the supplemental round.
- High Upside Athlete
32. Tampa Bays Rays: Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Bishop Verot HS (FL). While the Rays are expected to continue their run on tools, late rumors had them interested in Vogelbach with one of their first-round picks. He fits well in a system that lacks power prospects, although a pre-draft letter indicated that he was looking for a $1.65 million bonus.
- definite interest in Vogelbach
33. Texas Rangers: Josh Osich, LHP, Oregon State. There is some thought that the Rangers will spend big on a player like Josh Bell, but that also might be a ploy best used in the later rounds. Their location just might give them a leg up on landingBell, but Osich is a name that has been in the rumor mill for a while. One name I've yet to hear is their 2009 first-round pick, left-hander Matt Purke.
- Lots of Osich talk
- Bell, but not here—Texas connect could help chances.
- No Purke
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