1-1) Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
2-40) Andrew Thurman, RHP, UC Irvine
3-74) Kent Emanuel, LHP, North Carolina
4-107) Conrad Gregor, 1B, Vanderbilt
Others of interest: 5) Tony Kemp, 2B, Vanderbilt; 6) Jake Nottingham, C; California HS; 7) James Ramsay, OF, South Florida; 29) Randall Fant, LHP, Arkansas:
COMMENT: The Astros made the obvious and logical choice at the top of the draft by selecting Appel. After that, they filled in mostly with college players, which is logical given the amount of money it could take to sign Appel. More goes into this than going just for pure upside; you have to look at the money, too; the Astros know what it will take to get Appel signed and had to run their draft accordingly. Thurman and Emanuel are possible fourth starters who might not need long in the minors. The Astros picked a lot of college players in middle and later rounds, which is a strategy that the Cardinals have used to great effect in building system depth. One exception is power-hitting Jake Nottingham, possibly a steal in the sixth round if everything comes together.
Los Angeles Angels
2-59) Hunter Green, LHP, Warren East HS, Bowling Green, Kentucky
3-95) Keynan Middleton, RHP, Lane Community College
4-127) Eliot Morris, RHP, Pierce Junior College
5-157) Kyle McGowin, RHP, Savannah State
Others of interest: 6) Harrison Cooney, RHP, Florida Gulf Coast; 9) Stephen McGee, C, Florida State; 10) Grant Gordon, RHP, Missouri State; 11) Jonah Wesely, LHP; California HS
COMMENT: With no first-round pick the Angels needed to be creative and I think they did a good job here, grabbing a top 30 quality prospect with Hunter Green in the second round, then two lively junior college arms who will need some development work but have considerable upside. McGowin, Cooney, Gordon, and 7th round pick Garrett Nus and 8th round pick Nate Smith all add decent enough arms to a thin farm system. There isn't much in position talent, with walk machine Stephen McGee being the best of the lot. This isn't a spectacular group, but given their bonus pool of just $2,998,200, I think the Angels did a reasonable job of adding organizational depth to the system.
1-24) Billy McKinney, OF, Plano West HS, Plano, TX
2-63) Dillon Overton, LHP, Oklahoma
2S-71) Chad Pinder, SS, Virginia Tech
3-100) Ryon Healy, 1B, Oregon
3S-106) Chris Kohler, LHP, Los Osos HS, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
4-131) Dylan Covey, RHP, San Diego
5-161) Bobby Wahl, RHP, Mississippi
Others of interest: 6) Kyle Finnegan, RHP, Texas State; 7) Dustin Driver, RHP, Washington HS; 8) Tyler Marincov, OF, North Florida; 12) Dakota Freese, RHP, Des Moines Area CC: 19) A.J. Vanegas, RHP, Stanford
COMMENT: This looks very good to me, featuring a diverse mix of upside and value though they'll have to get creative with the money if they want to sign Driver away from UCLA. McKinney is one of the most polished high school hitters in recent memory. Overton, Pinder, Healy, and Marincov were all success stories in college who could be solid role players. Covey, who has already signed, is a former first round pick who struggled for San Diego but might thrive in pro ball. Wahl fell unexpectedly but the talent that made him a projected first round pick in February is still there; he's awesome in the fifth round if they can make the money work. Lottery ticket Freese can hit 95 and has a big-bending curveball, but command problems and makeup concerns dropped him down. He'll be interesting to follow at least. Overall, I like what Oakland did even if they can't sign Driver. (NOTE: According to Twitter, Driver signed a few minutes before I posted this article. No word on $$$).
1-12) D.J. Peterson, 3B, New Mexico
2-49) Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
3-85) Tyler O'Neill, OF-C, Garibaldi SS, Maple Ridge, BC
4-117) Ryan Horstman, LHP, St. John's
5-147) Jack Reinheimer, SS, East Carolina
Others of interest: 6) Corey Simpson, OF, Texas HS; 12) Justin Seager, 1B, Charlotte; 29) Chantz Mack, OF, University of Miami-Florida.
COMMENT: Peterson had a thunderous college campaign and most sources think his bat will move quickly, although not everyone thinks he can remain at third base. Austin Wilson has outstanding athletic gifts but never fully lived up to expectations in college; that may or may not change in pro ball, but the tools for stardom are there if he can tap them. O'Neill is highly-respected as a hitter but they'll be more pressure on his bat as an outfielder than as a catcher. College choices with modest tools but good track records fill out many slots, perhaps freeing up enough money to assure that power-hitting 6th rounder Simpson passes up the University of Houston. 29th round college senior Chantz Mack was the leading Hurricane hitter this spring and led the club in steals and walks, but has never excited talent evaluators with a 5-11, 205 build.
1-23) Alex Gonzalez, RHP, Oral Roberts
1-30) Travis Demeritte, SS, Winder-Barrow HS, Winder, Georgia
2-62) Akeem Bostick, RHP, West Florence HS, South Carolina
3-99) David Ledbetter, RHP, Cedarville College
4-130) Isiah Kiner-Falefa, SS, Mid-Pacific Institute
5-160) Joe Jackson, C, The Citadel
Others of interest: 6) Sam Wolff, RHP, New Mexico; 7) Nick Gardenwine, RHP, Kaskaskia CC; 12) Derek Thompson, LHP, John A. Logan JC; 19) Ryan Ledbetter, RHP, Cedarville College; 27) Sherman LaCrus, C, Western Oklahoma State JC
COMMENT: I have to like this class just because of the cool names, but there's considerable talent here too. Gonzalez is potentially a steal at 24th overall and could be in the majors very quickly. Demeritte has one of the best bats in the high school class, at least for power potential, though his ultimate position is uncertain. Bostick is a huge upside play, high risk, high reward. "Mid-Pacific Institute" sounds like a subsidiary of the Hanso Foundation, Weyland-Yutani, or North Central Positronics, although Kiner-Falefa is less likely to destroy the world and more likely to develop into a solid defender with an okay bat. Jackson (great-great-great nephew of Shoeless Joe) has a good glove and hit the snot out of the ball this year. Woolf has a very live arm, and both Illinois junior college picks bear close watching. Overall I think this is well done.