Favored Strategy, for the Moment
Unless a consensus projected Top 4 pick falls to us at 7th overall, there would not stand to be a player who screams "must take" at our turn. Given that and the system's slim pickings in the starting pitching department, this would seem to be the right sort of scenario for trading down until later in the round and getting an extra early round pick or two, were that allowed. In lieu of that, trying to sign to what would otherwise be a mid- to late-first rounder for a few hundred thousand dollars under the $3.3M slot value would stand to be be a wise play. So we should work to identify two to three such players we like as much as those projected to go in the vicinity of our spot and broach the possibility of them moving up and accepting a below-slot deal.
Other Organizational Deficits to Address in the Single-Digit Rounds
Beyond starting pitching, what other areas of the farm system are relatively depleted of potential major league regulars? Corner outfield (Sandberg taken in 2013)? Centerfield? Second base (Roman Quinn should wind up there, but needs to hit to be a regular)? Catcher (respectable depth, but is there a big league regular in waiting?)? Shortstop (J.P. Crawford would be the guy, but you can never have enough of these)? Shouldn't Howard's contract defer attention to 1B types until later rounds? These spots would naturally receive priority in assembling the position player target list. Given that the club's first 4 picks and 8 of the first 9 selections in 2013 were position players, it does seem wise to lean towards arms in these rounds this time around.
The Floor is Open for Player Nominations
Our Decision Sciences Department is feverishly working to review organizational scouting reports on draft candidates and quantify how well each player meets the system's preferred tools and performance criteria. Please file any unsubmitted reports before Monday (May 26) and notify the scouting director below about any scouted players who you believe should receive consideration for our first 5 selections in the draft (go one more round than the mock draft will go). Remember the new regime's biases towards more refined position players with a reasonable degree of plate discipline and pitchers who have a plus primary fastball, collect strikeouts at a respectable rate, and induce relatively soft contact on batted balls.