1. Philadelphia Phillies – Jason Groome (LHP/Barnegat High School NJ)
The Phillies have quite a few options to go here, but I think Groome is a good fit, especially since he is a relatively local product. However, I do have to admit I am a bit biased about this pick since I am from the same area and would love to see a Shore Conference athlete go first overall, though New Jersey’s rule banned him from playing this season.
The Phillies pitching is suddenly deep, but not all of those players are long-term solutions and having a lefty atop the rotation with Aaron Nola will form a solid foundation. Groome has a fastball that touches 97 MPH along with a curve and a changeup he is currently developing.
If the Phillies don’t take Groome, expect A.J. Puk to be the pick.
2. Cincinnati Reds – A.J. Puk (LHP/Florida)
The Reds have made it clear that they will take Puk if he is available. Alternative options include Nick Senzel, another player they are enamored with.
Cincinnati has done a pretty good job rebuilding their farm system with pitching depth, but you can never have enough pitchers in today’s MLB. Puk’s fastball has improved throughout college and has touched 99 MPH last season. He also has a slider and changeup in his repertoire,
3. Atlanta Braves – Kyle Lewis (OF/Mercer)
They Braves are loaded in pitching prospects, so the team will need to find a bat for their lineup. Lewis has the makings of a 30 home run hitter in the MLB, but his level of competition in college could hurt his draft stock.
4. Colorado Rockies – Riley Pint (RHP/St. Thomas Aquinas High School KS)
The Rockies can’t lure premier free agents and will never compete until they can field a formidable pitching staff, leaving their only option to do so through the draft. Pint has the space to bulk up and could reach triple digits with his fastball, but will need to work on his consistency before he reaches the pros.
5. Milwaukee Brewers – Corey Ray (OF/Louisville)
The Brewers have a few outfield prospects in the top of their farm, but Ray may be the better than all of them. Ray has the potential to hit 25 home runs and steal even more bases. Milwaukee may soon depart from Ryan Braun as well.
6. Oakland Athletics – Nick Senzel (3B/Tennessee)
Considered the safest pick in this draft, Senzel is more MLB-ready than most prospects. He will, however need to improve defensively, where his arm isn’t great and he does tend to freeze up.
7. Miami Marlins – Braxton Garrett (LHP/Florence High School AL)
Miami needs to build a rotation around Jose Fernandez. Tyler Kolek was taken with their top pick in 2014, but his status is up in the air now after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Garrett’s fast ball tops out at 93 MPH, but his curveball has a ton of potential to be a lethal out pitch.
8. San Diego Padres – Cal Quantrill (RHP/Stanford)
The Padres are razor-thin at pitching talent in the minors and their major league rotation has taken a hit after pulling the plug on James Shields. Quantrill is a year removed from Tommy John surgery, but has good command to go along with a four-pitch repertoire that includes a pair of plus pitches.
9. Detroit Tigers – Dakota Hudson (RHP/Mississippi State)
Detroit is apparently interested in a hard throwing righty and Hudson, whose fastball hits 97 MPH, fits the bill. More importantly, his stats seem to finally have aligned with his talent. After two straight seasons with an ERA above 4.00, Hudson posted an ERA of 2.62 across 106 2/3 frames.
10. Chicago White Sox – Mickey Moniak (OF/La Costa Canyon High School CA)
Moniak falls in this draft, but I can’t see Chicago passing on him. A left handed bat who can hit all across the field, Moniak will need to bulk up and add power in the minor leagues.
11. Seattle Mariners – Justin Dunn (RHP/Boston College)
Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto was a big fan of drafting college pitchers during his tenure with the Angels and it would be easy to imagine he follows suit with Seattle. Dunn started the season as Boston College’s closer, but his draft stock skyrocketed when the team moved him to the rotation, he finished the season with a 1.49 ERA across 60 1/3 innings pitched.
12. Boston Red Sox – Zack Collins (C/Miami)
Long-term, Collins will likely not be a catcher, but Boston can worry about that later on. Collins’ bat is too good for Boston to pass up.
13. Tampa Bay Rays – Gavin Lux (SS/Indian Trails Academy WI)
As usual, the Rays are focused on the prep school scene. Lux’s glove has always been a focal point, but his bat is starting to show some potential too.
14. Cleveland Indians – Blake Rutherford (OF/Chaminade College Prep CA)
The Indians already have Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier as their top prospects, but Rutherford will need some time to develop, so he won’t immediately create a log-jam in the outfield. Rutherford had the potential to be a plus power hitter, especially if he tacks on muscle.
15. Minnesota Twins – Josh Lowe (3B/Pope High School GA)
I originally had the Twins taking Delvin Perez, but I think he drops out of the first round after testing positive for PEDs. Another high school prospect who could become a solid power hitter once he bulks up, Minnesota could also opt to put him in any spot of the outfield.
16. Los Angeles Angels – Alex Kiriloff (Plum High School PA)
The Angels could use pitching, but the team has been tied to Kiriloff for quite some time. A safer bet for the Angels may be a more pro-ready college player, but General Manager Billy Eppler will likely push for the best available player.
17. Houston Astros – Zack Burdi (RHP/Louisville)
Houston may try to use Burdi as a starter, but his future in the MLB is at closer. Burdi has two strong pitches, a fastball that reaches 101 MPH and a slider that maxes out at 88 MPH.
18. New York Yankees – Ian Anderson (RHP/Shenendehowa High School NY)
The Yankees seem set on taking a high school arm, and Anderson is the top available player who fits the bill. Anderson already has a solid curveball to go along with a fastball that flirts with 97 MPH.
19. New York Mets – Will Craig (3B/Wake Forest)
The Mets have had their eyes on Craig throughout the scouting process and unless someone else takes him ahead of the Mets, I would be stunned if they don’t pull the trigger on him.
20. Los Angeles Dodgers – Cody Sedlock (RHP/Illinois)
The Dodgers front office is hoping this year’s draft goes better than last year after top pick Walker Buehler underwent Tommy John surgery and second pick Kyle “Marty” Funkhouser opted to return to school. Pitching is becoming an issue in Los Angeles in any game not started by Clayton Kershaw.
21. Toronto Blue Jays – Joey Wentz (LHP/Shawnee Mission High School KS)
With a new front office, the Blue Jays will be one of the more interesting teams to keep an eye on. When in doubt, go with the best available player in Wentz who already has a three pitch repertoire.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates – T.J. Zeuch (RHP/Pittsburgh)
Despite being 6’7″, Zeuch is not an overpowering pitcher, instead relying on solid command to get batters out.
23. St. Louis Cardinals – Matt Manning (RHP/Sheldon High School CA)
A developmental arm, Manning has a mid-90s fastball and a curveball that has potential. St. Louis could come away with a steal.