1. Arizona Diamondbacks – Dansby Swanson (SS/Vanderbilt)
The Diamondbacks are top-heavy with right handed pitching and thin at shortstop. On the Major League level, Nick Ahmed is a weak point on their team.
2. Houston Astros – Brendan Rodgers (SS/Lake Mary High School FL)
Houston received this pick as compensation for not signing Brady Aiken last year, which now looks like a good decision given his medical status. At the moment, Carlos Correa is every bit of the shortstop of the future for Houston, but the Astros could use Rodgers as a potential trade chip or slide him to third base.
3. Colorado Rockies – Tyler Jay (LHP/Illinois)
If Rodgers is available, he could be the pick for Colorado, who has been openly looking to move on from Troy Tulowitzki. Poor pitching has plagued the Rockies, and playing in Denver’s high altitude certainly doesn’t help, but the team does not have much to offer in their minors system as well.
4. Texas Rangers – Alex Bregman (SS/LSU)
Texas has needs all across their roster, but shortstop is an intriguing option. Jurickson Profar’s injury history puts his future with the team in question. The Rangers may stick with Elvis Andrus at shortstop, but there is still an opening available at second base.
5. Houston Astros – Dillon Tate (RHP/Santa Barbara)
Houston has a lot of room for flexibility in this draft considering they have two picks in the top 5. Tate could help solidify the future Astros rotation.
6. Minnesota Twins – Kyle Tucker (OF/Plant High School FL)
Minnesota has recently worked out Tucker, but they have for the most part kept their draft strategy close to the chest. Tucker could be taken by the Astros, where his older brother is in their farm system, but if he falls here the Twins shouldn’t think twice.
7. Boston Red Sox – Daz Cameron (OF/Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy GA)
The son of former Red Sox outfield Mike Cameron, Daz’s hitting is questionable, but he has the speed and defensive prowess to command center field at the Major League level.
8. Chicago White Sox – Carson Fulmer (RHP/Vanderbilt)
It appears that the White Sox will be looking into a college arm with this selection. With Carlos Rondon, last year’s top draft pick, already at the Majors and veterans Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija on the roster, Fulmer could be a solid back end starter before moving up the chain.
9. Chicago Cubs – Jon Harris (RHP/Missouri State)
The Cubs went offense-heavy when it came to building their farm system. Now they will need to focus on pitching to fill out the rotation.
10. Philadelphia Phillies – Tyler Stephenson (C/Kennesaw Mountain High School GA)
The Phillies have long relied on stockpiling athletic high schoolers in their farm system and relying less on college level players, which is why the Aaron Nola selection was relatively surprising last year. Nola, however, may prove to be exception to the rule as the team continued to repair their weak farm. Stephenson is the best all-around catcher in this class.
11. Cincinnati Reds – Andrew Benintendi (OF/Arkansas)
The Reds have been tied to several bats for this draft class, but all but Benintendi have been selected already. Benintendi could also draw a lot of local interest as he was born and raised in Cincinnati.
12. Miami Marlins – Trenton Clark (OF/Richland High School TX)
Rumor has it that the Marlins brass is unhappy with the fact that the team took Tyler Kolek over Carlos Rondon, who is not only in the majors now, but is also of Cuban descent. This may propel the team to go the college route, but their success has been in finding high school talent. Garrett Whitley has also been tied into this spot.
13. Tampa Bay Rays – Garrett Whitley (OF/Niskayuna High School NY)
Tampa is reportedly interested in a college bat, but they have a tendency of going for a high school bat. I think a college bat really comes down to whether or not Benintendi is available.
14. Atlanta Braves – Cornelius Randolph (3B/Griffin High School GA)
The Braves, as usual, are tied to the high school talent in the Peach State and it is a good year to do so. Randolph has played shortstop in high school, but his size will command him to shift to the hot corner.
15. Milwaukee Brewers – Walker Buehler (RHP/Vanderbilt)
Milwaukee took a high-risk draft pick last year when they took a hard-to-evaluate Kodi Medeiros and so far the return has been minimal. Expect them to take a more ready player this year by targeting a college player. Buehler is potentially a top 10 talent, but could slide due to drafting trends by the teams ahead of the Brewers.
16. New York Yankees – Ian Happ (2B/OF/Cincinnati)
The Yankees have a number of options at this junction. Last year’s first overall selection Brady Aiken could be taken here if the Bronx Bombers are comfortable with his rehab from Tommy John surgery, but I think the more likely scenario is a college hitter. Happ could fit in either at second base or in the outfield for New York, depending on whether they truly feel that Rob Refsnyder is the team’s second baseman of the future.
17. Cleveland Indians – Brady Aiken (RHP/IMG Academy FL)
There are a lot of questions about Aiken’s surgically-repaired elbow that is going to put a huge question mark on his draft status, but you do not get selected first overall for no reason. The talent is there and if his recovery is on schedule, he should be taken relatively early.
18. San Francisco Giants – James Kaprielian (RHP/UCLA)
San Francisco has a tendency of taking right handed pitchers early in the draft. Kaprielian slides a bit mainly because he is a pitcher who is good all around but does not excel at any one spot.
19. Pittsburgh Pirates – Mike Nikorak (RHP/Stroudsburg High School PA)
Pittsburgh has been tied to high school arms in the draft, but the best guy for them could be a guy who plays in the Keystone State.
20. Oakland Athletics – Kevin Newman (SS/Arizona)
Last year, the A’s surrendered their top prospect, shortstop Addison Russell, to acquire Jeff Samardzija in an all-in move that did not work out. Oakland has a tendency to got for middle infield college bats as well, of which Newman fits the profile.
21. Kansas City Royals – Phil Bickford (RHP/Southern Nevada Junior College)
Kansas City has reportedly been interested in college arms if one is to fall to them. They Royals have also been tied to Cornelius Randolph, so if he falls here I expect the Royals to snatch him.
22. Detroit Tigers – Kyle Funkhouser (RHP/Louisville)
Detroit has been interested in Funkhouser for quite some time, but were worried that he wouldn’t make it to this spot. Luckily for them, he did.
23. St. Louis Cardinals – Kolby Allard (LHP/San Clemente High School CA)
Allard is a top 10 talent who falls here because of injury concerns. Much like Aiken, a lot of teams are dropping him entirely off of their lists. Allard is athletic and possesses arm speed, but he has not pitched since injuring his back, and the injury is similar to another back injury he endured earlier in his high school career. Nonetheless, at this spot of the draft, it is high-risk, high-reward for St. Louis.
24. Los Angeles Dodgers – Michael Matuella (RHP/Duke)
The Dodgers have one of the best situations in baseball. Their MLB team is highly competitive, they have a talented farm system, they are gunning after ever international talent worth their salt and they have the money to allow them to make mistakes. That’s why taking someone like Matuella here is not of significant risk. Matuella underwent Tommy John surgery at the beginning of April and will likely not pitch until next summer. But with a rotation topped with Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu in the Majors and Julia Urias as their top prospect, they can afford to wait.
25. Baltimore Orioles – D.J. Stewart (OF/Florida State)
Baltimore tends to go for college bats. Kevin Newman could also be an option here if he is available.
26. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Blake Trahan (SS/Louisiana-Lafayette)
With a thin farm system and a win-now mentality, the Angels need to continue to rely on more MLB-ready players in college. Trahan has been targeted by the Angels for quite some time.