With the MLB Draft set to kick off just five hours from now, Padres Prospectus has released a mock draft of the top 15 picks based on the latest chatter surrounding the draft.
There’s still some uncertainty about who Minnesota will take with the number one pick, but the general consensus is that five or six guys are still in play with McKay and Wright as the front-runners. Additionally, there’s been some last minute reports suggesting that the Rays could cut a deal with an unexpected prep player at number four.
Regardless, here we go:
1. Twins: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Louisville
While Minnesota was rumored to be leaning in Kyle Wright’s direction, the most recent buzz is that they’ll instead take McKay with the intent of sending him to the mound, where he could move quickly through the Twins system.
2. Reds: Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS (California)
The Hunter Greene camp doesn’t seemed thrilled about the prospects of Greene going to the Reds at number two, but nevertheless, Cincinnati seems determined to select him here.
3. Padres: Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt
I know everyone is slotting Mackenzie Gore here, but A.J. Preller opted for college pitching (Quantrill and Lauer) in the first round last year so that he could be aggressive with high upside prep arms in the second and third round. With Wright’s combination of a high ceiling and a high floor unexpectedly available here, I think Preller pulls the trigger so that he can be riskier later.
4. Rays: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS (North Carolina)
The Rays could very well look to cut a deal here with rumors of Bubba Thompson as a potential fit, but I think they’d be ecstatic to land the player some consider to be the best pitching prospect in the draft.
5. Braves: Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia
One thing the Braves have done since moving into their new ballpark has been to try and slighty speed up the competitive window; unfortunately, the injury to Freddie Freeman has put a hitch in those plans this season. They’ve got strong middle infield and pitching depth in the system and a high ceiling outfielder in Ronald Acuna at AA, but if they strike an under the slot deal with Haseley, they’ll have more flexibility later and have the last piece for their outfield of the future.
6. Athletics: Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS (North Carolina)
They could just as easily go Royce Lewis here, but the scarcity of outfield depth in their organization pushed them towards Beck in the draft after going all in on pitching in last year’s draft.
7. Diamondbacks: Royce Lewis, SS/OF, J Serra Catholic HS (California)
It may seem strange for the premier high school bat to fall all the way to seven, but that is what makes the MLB draft so interesting as teams settle for lesser talent at cheaper prices, allowing a team to get a top five talent a couple of picks later.
8. Phillies: Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
According to John Manuel of Baseball America, the Phillies are planning on drafting Smith or Haseley, and with Haseley projected to be off the board, it’s Smith’s promising bat that they nab with the number eight pick.
9. Brewers: Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard HS (Kentucky)
With the Brewers focused on either pitching or the outfield, I think they’ll reach for Adell with Beck as their primary target.
10. Angels: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina
The Angels are desperate for pitching at both the Major League and Minor League level, so I’d anticipate them leaning towards a college pitcher that can join Los Angeles fairly quickly. Even though he had a poor postseason, Bukauskas has the raw stuff and refinement to beat out Alex Faedo for our last top then spot.
11. White Sox: Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt
The White Sox are one of the harder teams to predict in this year’s draft because they could really go in any direction; however, I believe they’ll be inclined to take a bat in another outfield-needy organization. Kendall sorely needs to develop at the plate, but his potential to be a five-tool player is too much for the White Sox to pass up at eleven.
12. Pirates: Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS (Texas)
Neal Huntington would have loved for Kendall to fall in his lap because after top prospect Austin Meadows, the Bucs are terribly thin in the outfield. Instead, they select the prep righty who has the stuff to one day be a frontline starter.
13. Marlins: Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida.
The Marlins could opt for collegiate southpaw David Peterson here, but Faedo’s fastball slider combo is superior to Peterson’s; in fact, Faedo could have gone higher if not for a middling start to his junior season at Florida.
14. Royals: Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach HS (California)
Not so long ago, Kansas City boasted a bevy of talented young hitters, but inconsistency and pending free agency have them looking to restock. He’s got plus bat and advanced approach that should make him a safer prospect than other high school bats.
15. Astros: Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State
With the Astros in place to contend for years to come, they take a Burger and his prodigious power with hopes that he can help the big league club sooner rather than later. Kentucky’s Evan White is also an option for right here if Houston is indeed more inclined to take a college bat.