First, the full rundown of CMD selections:
Round 1 pick #9
Round 1 pick #11
Round 2 pick #50
Round 3 pick #84
Round 4 pick #115
After failing to sign Phil Bickford, the Blue Jays' loss is my gain (hell, maybe theirs too) as they'll have 2 early-mid firsts in a very strong area of the draft from where I'm sitting. The real Jays have had a pretty strong preference for raw/toolsy high school players, particularly pitchers, which devolved to near self-parody last year, as nearly all of the legit prospects they drafted fit that description. I have my own biases, but I'm not that extreme. I'll get to the later picks, well, later, but for now, here are my rough targets (and non-targets) in the first round:
Grant Holmes RHP South Carolina HS
The token stumpy high school RHP who doesn't Project. Project to what, exactly? His fastball is already what you see at the front of ML rotations. On the short list.
Aaron Nola RHP LSU
Yeah he's really good but who fucking cares? Might be the safest pitcher in the draft. With a good change and great command of a passable fastball he's only gonna be so bad, but I don't know that he throws anything high level hitters are going to miss. Doubt he'll be available anyway, but the Fake Jays don't play it safe either.
Touki Toussaint RHP Florida HS
A divisive player. I love arm strength and athleticism in pitchers, but from what I've read and can see I'm really not that blown away by this guy. He has huge potential, but he's so raw and there's a lot going on in that delivery. What's going to make it out the other side? I'm not sure he'll ever do anything Grant Holmes can't do right now. With that said, he's in the running.
Trea Turner SS NC State
I see him mocked/ranked in the late teens sometimes, and I don't understand why. He's a legit SS who walks significantly more than he Ks (increasingly so), has some raw power and will be an elite base runner in the majors. Even if he has to move to 2B or even center, there's a lot that can go right here. There aren't a lot of college hitters with his combo of safe skills and star potential.
Bradley Zimmer OF San Francisco
I'll be honest: I don't get it. I know it's a thin year for college hitters, and this guy actually has tools. Physical potential, but he reminds me more of Tyler Naquin than, I dunno, Hunter Pence or whatever the comp for the good version of him is. Maybe I'll come around, it's happened before, but I actually prefer...
Max Pentecost C Kennesaw State
One of my faves. The athleticism, the developing power, the bat on ball ability...everybody like this is gonna get compared to Jonathan Lucroy, but I actually think that makes sense.
Kyle Freeland LHP Evansville
This side of Rondon, Aiken, and Kolek, he's the top pitcher on my board. Reminds me of a more physical and frenetic Andrew Heaney. The only downside I see here is that he has a stressful-looking delivery with a lot of effort and arm, but I like literally everything else.There's deception, Projection, average or better velocity, life on everything, and both this season (albeit in...whatever conference Evansville plays in) and in the CCL his K/BB numbers have vaulted into ridiculousness. I think he'll tear through the minors. Gimme.
Brandon Finnegan LHP TCU
As a short lefty with a big fastball and a seriously impressive junior season, he might as well have been constructed in a lab to be drafted by me. Maybe he's a reliever because he's short? Pffft. The left handed lower-middle-class man's Marcus Stroman? His delivery actually worries me more than Freeland's does fwiw (probably not much).
Jeff Hoffman RHP East Carolina
Yeah, that's right. There's close to 0% chance I actually do this because there are going to be at least 2 guys I like available to take, and I'm not trying to be That Team in such a strong draft, but he's in the range.
Michael Chavis 3B Georgia HS
Here's a dark horse for #11. Along with Freeland, maybe my favorite 1st round prospect. I'm no scout, but everything he does looks good, and I think he could be a legitimately great defensive 3B. Quick and explosive rather than smooth and fast, but might be a quiet 5 tool player. Major bat speed and raw power combined with a swing that looks geared for contact, which is a great combination. He's the older side and maxed out, whoopty do; that just means he's not likely to grow out of anything.
Tyler Beede RHP Vanderbilt
Big, throws hard, sound delivery, has a good pedigree, fits the range, probably has other characteristics.
Jacob Gatewood "SS" California HS
In a word: Pass. There's a lot to be said for having maybe the most power potential in the draft, but I don't like the looks of his swing, or much else besides the power. Big right fielder? I don't like hoping for hitters, let somebody else do it.