Whether you want to admit it or not, everyone loves mock drafts. I can’t tell you the exact reason why, but part of it is probably that “can’t stop looking at this train wreck” feeling we get—the attempt to predict so many complex variables (i.e. the mock draft itself) being the train wreck. They also provide some optimism that the player fans love for no real reason will make it to their respective favorite club.
Please keep in mind that this is a mock draft, not a board. Also remember that we’re still a little under a month away, so this—and every other mock draft you ever read—should be taken with a heaping bowl of salt, and a plethora of things will change between now and draft day. We’ll do an updated version as we get closer to the day, but I’ve gathered enough information to feel comfortable putting this out.
Here’s the first edition of the 2015 MLB Mock Draft.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks – Garrett Whitley, OF, Niskayuna HS (N.Y.): The Diamondbacks haven’t come close to finalizing this decision, as I’ve been told they’re debating names like Dansby Swanson, Dillon Tate, and even Tyler Stephenson. Right now I believe the choice is Whitley though—for a number substantially lower than the $8.6 million dollars the slot comes with, and with three potential 60 tools, it’s not as massive a reach as some might believe.
2. Houston Astros – Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt: Assuming Swanson doesn’t go at no. 1—and there’s a strong chance he will—this will come down to Swanson vs. Brendan Rodgers. While there’s no doubt that Rodgers has the most upside of the two, Swanson offers more safety as the more likely player to stay at shortstop along with a plus hit tool. Dillon Tate is also a possibility here, but it’s more than likely we see a shortstop go with this pick.
3. Colorado Rockies – Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary HS (Fla.): I haven’t actually heard Rodgers associated with this pick much, but I assume that’s mostly due to the belief that he wouldn’t be available. As the best player in the class, I would be very surprised if he was still on the board after this pick. If he goes before, Tate is the pick. If Tate and Rodgers are gone, they jump on Swanson.
4. Texas Rangers – Dillon Tate, RHP, UC-Santa Barbara: The two names I hear most commonly associated with this selection are Tate and Alex Bregman, and Bregman may actually be in the lead here. At the end of the day, the pitcher with the potential for two 70-plus pitches is the choice, assuming he’s still on the board.
5. Houston Astros – Alex Bregman, 2B, LSU: Yes, Houston has one of the better middle infields in baseball. Yes, the Astros have the best shortstop prospect in baseball already. Yes they took a shortstop three picks earlier. I still think Bregman is the pick if he does get past Texas, as the LSU standout has as high of floor as any player in the class. While it’s a somewhat lazy comp, there is some Dustin Pedroia here, and it’d be a major upset if he wasn’t taken in the top seven.
6. Minnesota Twins – Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville: Funkhouser’s struggles on Friday night give me pause, as does the fact that the Cardinal right-hander still has serious issues with command. His pure stuff is as good any right-handed pitcher in the class outside of Tate though, and Minnesota has scouted him hard the past few weeks.——
7. Boston Red Sox – Daz Cameron, OF, Eagle’s Landing HS (Ga.): Boston is really hoping Bregman falls here, and if he does they send in their card very quickly. If he’s not on the board, it likely comes down to Cameron verse Carson Fulmer, and I think they prefer the above-average tools across the board outfielder in this situation.
8. Chicago White Sox – Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt: This is likely as far as Funkhouser falls, and other name’s I’ve heard associated with this pick include Tyler Jay and Fulmer’s teammate Walker Buehler. The White Sox could then either put the right-hander in the bullpen and fast-track the arm, or hope that the high-effort delivery holds up enough to become a top-of-the-rotation starter.
9. Chicago Cubs – Trenton Clark, OF, Richland HS (Tex.): I know, Cubs fans. You want an arm. And I’ve heard the Cubs associated with Walker Buehler, Harris, and Fulmer. The preferred option here is Bregman, with Cameron not far behind, but if those two are off the board, it appears that one of the most intriguing high-school bats in the class will be the selection.
10. Philadelphia Phillies – Tyler Stephenson, C, Kennesaw Mountain HS (Ga.): There has been talk that Stephenson could go first overall while cutting a deal, but I’m not buying that just yet. While Stephenson represents more of the “old” way of Phillies thinking—high upside, low floor—he wouldn’t be a huge reach at 10, as the backstop has plus-plus power potential and has a non-zero chance of staying behind the plate.
11. Cincinnati Reds – Kevin Newman, SS, Arizona: I’ve heard local boy Ian Happ associated with this pick, and he wouldn’t be bad value by any stretch of the imagination if that’s the direction they went. I just can’t see Newman sliding out of the top 11, and he fits an organizational need as a shortstop who can play above-average defense with a potential plus-plus hit tool, though the power tool is lacking.
12. Miami Marlins – Kyle Tucker, OF, Plant HS (Fla.): All I’ve heard associated with this selection is high-school outfielders, including Whitley, Clark, and of course Tucker. The offensive upside of Tucker likely makes him the choice—assuming Whitley is off the board—as the outfielder has drawn Darryl Strawberry comps from more than one scout I’ve spoken with.
13. Tampa Bay Rays – Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State: The Rays will be thrilled if the draft breaks this way, as Harris—a right-hander who has shown four pitches that flash plus—is someone they apparently covet a great deal. If Harris is off the board, they could go with Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi, with both Clark and Tucker as realistic options as well.
14. Atlanta Braves – Mike Matuella, RHP, Duke: To be clear, I haven’t actually heard Matuella associated with this selection, but it just makes too much sense for me. A right-hander with the ability to get downhill plane and two pitches that have flashed plus-plus usually doesn’t make it to pick 14. Atlanta has $10.6 million in its draft allocation pool. If they feel Matuella is too risky, they could go with Buehler.
15. Milwaukee Brewers – Kolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente HS (Calif.): Milwaukee went all upside with their 2014 draft class—to mixed results so far—so it would make sense for them to take a “safe” prep like Allard here, a pitcher who has been called a poor man’s Brady Aiken with three above-average pitches. If Allard’s back injury scares them, they could go with outfielder Nick Plummer, and this is probably the lowest Fulmer falls.
16. New York Yankees – Mike Nikorak, RHP, Stroudsburg HS (Penn.): The Yankees haven’t had this high of selection in ten years, and also possess the fifth-highest draft allocation of any team this year. With those kind of funds, it wouldn’t be a huge upset to see a Matuella or Brady Aiken go here, but I think they take the best prep pitcher left in Nikorak, a right-hander who can get up to 97 with an above-average breaking-ball.
17. Cleveland – Ian Happ, 2B/OF, Cincinnati: Last year, Cleveland was fortunate to have Bradley Zimmer fall into their laps. In this version, they get a similar type of luck, as Happ is the most advanced bat in the class and should be a competent defender in a corner outfield. I’ve also heard Indiana prep right-hander Ashe Russell attached here, as well as Buehler.
18. San Francisco Giants – Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt: This is another Aiken or Matuella potential landing spot, and if Buehler’s not on the board, Aiken is likely the selection. In this scenario Buehler’s still there, so the Giants take a Commodore right-hander with their first-round pick for the second year in a row.
19. Pittsburgh Pirates – Nick Plummer, OF, Brother Rice HS (Mich.): Plummer is the most advanced offensive prep in the class, but falls here because of concerns about the defensive profile. If Plummer goes to Milwaukee they could go with Ashe Russell, and if any of the right-handers above fall to here they would likely pounce.
20. Oakland Athletics – Tyler Jay, LHP, Illinois: There’s a strong chance Jay isn’t on the board, as several scouts I’ve spoken with believe that Jay is the best left-handed pitcher in the class. Concerns over whether or not he can start likely see him slide into this range though; if that’s the case, Oakland is the likely landing spot. If he’s off the board, names like James Kaprelian, Andrew Benintendi, and Cornelius Randolph have been discussed.
21. Kansas City Royals – Donny Everett, RHP, Clarksville HS (Tenn.): Everett has a plus-plus fastball and an above-average breaking ball, but also has a strong commitment to Vanderbilt and delivery that borders on violent. If he’s deemed “unsignable,” Cornelius Randolph is the likely pick.
22. Detroit Tigers – James Kaprielian, RHP, UCLA: This isn’t your typical Detroit Tigers selection, but that might not be such a bad thing. Kaprelian is one of the “safer” right-handers in the class, with two 55 pitches and a solid 50, and he generally throws all three pitches for strikes. If either of the Vanderbilt right-handers make it here, they’re the pick, and Phil Bickford makes some sense with this spot as well.
23. St. Louis Cardinals – Richie Martin, SS, Florida: Martin was once considered one of the top collegiate bats in the class, but a so-so junior year and concerns about the swing have seen his stock drop somewhat precipitously. Still, he’s one of the better defenders in the class, and if there’s any team I’d trust to develop Martin into a competent offensive player, it’s St. Louis.
24. Los Angeles Dodgers – Brady Aiken, LHP, IMG Academy (Fla.): Despite possessing the 24th pick, the Dodgers have over $7 million dollars at their disposal, which should be enough to get Aiken signed, assuming the medicals work out and that they go underslot with their next few selections. If Allard is still on the board, he’s the likely selection, and if both are off the board, Bickford is likely option three.
25. Baltimore Orioles – Nathan Kirby, LHP, Virginia: There was a time that Kirby was considered a lock to go in the top ten. Time has a way of changing things. It’s tough to see him making it out of the first-round though, as the left-hander has above-average stuff and will show solid command at times. If they want to go with more upside, Randolph makes sense, and I’ve also heard that they’d love Matuella to fall here.
26. Los Angeles Angels – Phil Bickford, RHP, Southern Nevada CC: Bickford has been inconsistent in his time at Southern Nevada, or as I like to call it, the house that Harper built. When he’s at his best, he shows two plus pitches and a fastball that will touch 97 though, so he’d be a nice value play at pick 26.
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