Happy tax day!
33. Houston Astros – Robbie Aviles, RHP, Suffern HS (NY) – The Astros have been building strong pitching depth through the draft in the two years since Bobby Heck took over, and I expect more of the same this year. After getting their hitting prospect with Austin Wilson early, going with Gausman and Aviles, a pair of high-ceiling arms in the Astros’ style of drafting would make a lot of sense. No matter who the names are on draft day, I expect the Astros to walk away with at least a pair of high-level arms. Previously: NR, 42, 31.
34. Toronto Blue Jays – Michael Choice, OF, UT Arlington – Choice is really rising up boards with an excellent junior season, and the only thing holding him back from being a surefire first-rounder is a lack of elite tools beyond his bat. He offers plus to plus-plus power, and I expect the Jays to look for power arms and power bats, though they might want a little more athleticism than Choice from their picks under a new regime. Previously: NR, 50, 41.
35. Atlanta Braves – Cameron Bedrosian, RHP, East Coweta HS (GA) – I know plenty of Braves fans would be absolutely thrilled with this selection, and this pick would also carry a lot of weight in the local media, who are almost on the fence in terms of support for the front office. Bedrosian has been solid all year, and even though he’s not very projectable, he’s a solid mid-rotation prospect who knows how to pitch and has incredible bloodlines. Previously: NR, 32, 33.
36. Boston Red Sox – Brandon Workman, RHP, Texas – I don’t have any overwhelming reason as to why I dropped Workman down in this mock, but a combination of questions and the fact that there are pitchers jumping over him makes him fall just a tad. The Red Sox have a good history of picking power Texas arms from the college ranks, with Alex Wilson being the most recent example. I’m sure they’d be thrilled to get an arm like Workman with this pick. Previously: 15, 31, 13.
37. Los Angeles Angels – Griffin Murphy, LHP, Redlands East Valley HS (CA) – Murphy has risen up as the top prep left-handed arm in this class, and he continually impresses from start-to-start. I’m not short on reports at all for him, as dozens of scouts attend each and every start. The Angels always look for strong prep left-handed pitching, especially from their own backyard, and this pick makes a lot of sense, though Murphy could rise even higher than this. Previously: NR, NR, NR.
38. Toronto Blue Jays – Yasmani Grandal, C, Miami – Grandal is still in a fight for the top college catcher in this class, though I give a slight edge to Micah Gibbs for his receiving skills right now. However, Grandal has the better bat and a higher ceiling, and I’m sure that Toronto is looking to fill out as many positions as possible with their huge number of early picks in this draft. Previously: NR, NR, 22.
39. Boston Red Sox – LeVon Washington, OF, Chipola JC (FL) – Washington has been coming around lately, but the tools are still not what they were. Combine that with the fact that he’s still a Boras client, has huge leverage as a junior college freshman, and other options have shown up, and you have a falling star. However, some people will start to sleep on Washington too early, and he could still be a major factor, especially to a team like the Red Sox that has a big draft budget. Previously: 14, 8, 32.
40. Los Angeles Angels – Bryan Morgado, LHP, Tennessee – Ok, maybe I’m going overboard with the Angels and left-handed pitching. However, they drafted three left-handers early last year in Tyler Skaggs, Tyler Kehrer, and Pat Corbin, so I’m not exaggerating too much, if at all. Morgado gets mixed results, but he still has mid-rotation upside and excellent stuff from the left side, so he’s a candidate to have a better pro career for numbers than collegiate career. Previously: 31, 39, 49.
41. Toronto Blue Jays – Chad Bettis, RHP, Texas Tech – Power arms are power arms, and though most project Bettis as a long-term reliever, I’m a firm believer that there are enough teams out there that will try Bettis as a starter. He’s done quite well in a difficult transition this year, and if he’s healthy and successful come June, I think a team with multiple picks could pick him early as a possible starting arm. Previously: NR, 26, 37.
42. Tampa Bay Rays – Barret Loux, RHP, Texas A&M – Though the Rays rarely venture into the college ranks early on, I think budgetary reasons might change that a little this year. In addition, their history shows that when they do venture into the college ranks, it’s for big-armed pitchers, and Loux is quickly on the rise as just that. Durability is still a question for Loux, but as the season goes, he should answer some of those questions, and he could sneak into the true first round. Previously: NR, NR, NR.
43. Seattle Mariners – Todd Cunningham, OF, Jacksonville State – This is the Mariners’ first choice, and I’m split between them going for a big name that’s dropped due to bonus demands and a solid name for quick movement up the chain. They spread it out last year beyond the selection of Dustin Ackley, and collegiate picks dominated past their selection of Steve Baron in the supplemental first round. Cunningham is still a solid hitter with upside as a starter. Previously: NR, 47, NR.
44. Detroit Tigers – Stetson Allie, RHP, St. Edwards HS (OH) – This is also the Tigers’ first pick, and I think their history clearly shows that they like big-armed pitchers if the fit is right, and signability isn’t as much of an issue, as they open their pocket books for players regularly. Allie is seen almost completely as a future reliever at this point, but the talent is just too good to ignore. The North Carolina commitment is an issue, though, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Previously: 16, 20, 25.
45. Texas Rangers – Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Henderson HS (TX) – Though I see the Rangers adding in more hitting into their draft mix this year, they’ll still get their share of pitching, especially on the high school side early on. Jenkins has had one of the best early-season runs in terms of improved stuff and performance, and this slot might actually be too low for him. He’s athletic and offers #2 starter upside, and that could be a steal in this range. Previously: NR, NR, NR.
46. St. Louis Cardinals – Kyle Blair, RHP, San Diego – With Matt Harvey having been their first selection in this mock draft, I think the Cardinals might be looking at a pitching-hitting combo in the supplemental first round. Blair has had a rough go at times this year, but his stuff is too hard to ignore at times when he’s on, and teams that like prototypical pitching prospects, like the Cardinals, should be looking at him starting in this range. Previously: 26, 40, 38.
47. Colorado Rockies – Jedd Gyorko, 2B, West Virginia – Gyorko hasn’t been as on fire as he’s been in previous years, but the hitting impact is still there, even if you think he’s done all his damage against weaker pitching. The Rockies typically like college bats, and even though Gyorko’s defensive value is up in the air, teams in this range could be looking at him as a hitter that could move quickly and provide value in short order. Previously: 29, 36, 45.
48. Detroit Tigers – Kris Bryant, 3B, Bonanza HS (NV) – Though Bryant’s stock isn’t as shiny as it used to be, there are still a fair number of teams that see him as a potential impact bat. The question is more about how much of a chance a team has to mold that bat into a consistent performer. The raw power is unquestioned, and teams that value power could easily pick him in the range of the supplemental first round or second round. Previously: 11, 44, 34.
49. Texas Rangers – Reggie Golden, OF, Wetumpka HS (AL) – Like I said above, the Rangers are expected to mix in a few more bats in the early going, and after getting Gibbs in this scenario, I see them adding to outfield depth within the prep ranks. Golden has huge power in a tightly-coiled, athletic body, and though his bust rate is a little high, he’s still a desirable candidate for the first couple of rounds come June. Previously: NR, NR, 44.
50. St. Louis Cardinals – Austin Wates, OF, Virginia Tech – After getting Kyle Blair with their first supplemental first round pick, I’d expect a hitter to be selected here, and Wates offers plenty of value for this range. Wates is much more athletic than his normal first base position suggests, and he’s going to get a fair shot to play center field as a pro, and the Cardinals value players with defensive value from the collegiate level. Previously: NR, NR, NR.