Mock Draft MarkTwo
Here's another Mock Draft for your perusal. This is based on a combination of industry buzz/rumor/innuendo, history, logic, and intuition. I know a lot of people take these quite seriously, but keep in mind that even a "strong rumor" a week away from the draft has a decent chance of not coming true.
A highly-placed front office executive last week warned me against taking any rumor too seriously, saying "Last year, we didn't know who we were going to pick until two minutes before it was our turn." Many teams keep things close to the vest, while others aren't above spinning things to throw other teams (or agents) off track, and even teams which are honest about what they are looking for can't predict exactly what will happen, especially if they pick later in the draft. It only takes one team to do something unexpected to throw the whole draft into chaos.
It is no longer a sure thing that Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole will go 1-2.
I will post a mock supplemental round this afternoon.
1) Pirates: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice: It's not a sure thing, but I still think it will happen. There may be rumors right up until draft day that the shoulder issue will scare the Pirates off, but in the end I think Rendon is the best overall hitter in the draft and I think the Pirates will agree.
2) Mariners: Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA: As with Rendon, this isn't a sure thing but the attributes that attracted scouts to Cole in the first place are still here. There is some talk that the Mariners will go with a position player here, so if Rendon falls he could end up with Seattle. Another option is Bubba Starling although he won't have the rapid impact that Rendon or Cole would.
3) Diamondbacks: Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia. Everyone still thinks this will happen, and I agree.
4) Orioles: Dylan Bundy, RHP, Oklahoma HS: His stock has shot up since our last mock, his brother pitches in the system, and Bundy might get to the majors as fast as some of the college pitcher (I had Jed Bradley here last time).
5) Royals: Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech. Persistent rumors hold that the Royals will take an advanced college pitcher instead of local product Bubba Starling (who we had here last time). Which advanced college pitcher is a matter of debate, however. I still think Starling is a possibility, but the Royals have coveted left-handed pitching as much as they covet tools, and Bradley won't need long in the minors. If the Mariners and Pirates pass on Cole, he will probably end up here.
6) Nationals: Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA: No change from last time.
7) Diamondbacks (failure to sign Barret Loux): Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky. His stock has been rising as scouts are increasingly convinced that the gains he made with his command this year will stick. I had Matt Barnes here last time and that is still a strong possibility.
8) Indians: Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt: No change from last time.
9) Cubs: Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas HS: Assuming that the Royals do pass on Starling, it is hard to see him falling much further than this. I had Francisco Lindor here last time and that would also make some sense.
10) Padres (failure to sign Karsten Whitson): Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut. I had George Springer here last time but Barnes makes sense also, should be signable for this unprotected slot, and has terrific upside.
11) Astros: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, University of Texas: Home-state product, very talented, good mixture of safety, affordability, and upside.
12) Brewers: Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, South Carolina HS: High ceiling arm that the system needs badly. I had Blake Swihart here last time, but buzz has his stock dropping.
13) Mets: George Springer, OF, Connecticut: Loads of tools with some risk involved, but rumors indicate the new front office is willing to be more aggressive in the draft. I had John Stilson here last time but Springer makes more sense. Mikie Mahtook is also plausible, and there are rumors they like Brandon Nimmo.
14) Marlins: Archie Bradley, RHP, Oklahoma HS: No change from last time.
15) Brewers (failure to sign Dylan Covey): Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU: No change from last time. This just makes too much sense to me as an unprotected pick.
16) Dodgers: Jose Fernandez, RHP, Florida HS: No change from last time. It still seems logical to me that Fernandez's combination of arm strength, polish, and affordability would attract the Dodgers given their financial situation. There is talk that they would be interested in more conventional high school arms like Robert Stephenson, although most of the high school guys might not settle for slot. One of the college pitchers is possible too.
17) Angels: Francisco Lindor, SS, Florida HS: Someone always drops unexpectedly, and in this scenario it is Lindor. I had Guerrieri here last time and he would also make sense if still on the board.
18) Athletics: C.J. Cron, 1B, Utah. I had Josh Bell here originally but he's telling people he doesn't want to sign. Someone will still draft him, but not this early. We will go with another power bat with Cron.
19) Red Sox (for Victor Martinez): Daniel Norris, LHP, Tennessee HS: All the focus on the college pitching this year seems to leave Norris without as much attention as he deserves. I had Andrew Susac here previously but most seem to regard Norris as a superior prospect.
20) Rockies: Kolten Wong, 2B, University of Hawaii: Strong rumors here. I had Norris previously in this slot.
21) Blue Jays: Corey Spangenberg, 3B-2B, Indian River JC: His pure hitting skills are moving him up draft boards quickly. Previous pick here was Javier Baez.
22) Cardinals: Javier Baez, INF, Florida HS: Original choice was Alex Meyer but his stock is up since the last mock. I still see Baez in the 20-25 range and he fits well with the Cardinals.
23) Nationals (for Adam Dunn): Brian Goodwin, OF, Miami Dade CC: Goodwin's stock has risen and rumors link the Nats to him. I had Jungmann here previously.
24) Rays (for Carl Crawford): Robert Stephenson, RHP, California HS. No change from last time. Still makes sense to me.
25) Padres: Andrew Susac, C, Oregon State: I had Tyler Anderson here last time but I think Susac fits better and represents great value in this slot.
26) Red Sox (for Adrian Beltre): Tyler Beede, RHP, Massachusetts HS: Lots of rumors that the Red Sox will go with a catcher like Austin Hedges or Swihart here. But for me, the concerns about Hedges' bat and bonus demands drop him down to the point where the Red Sox could take him in the supplemental and give him an overslot deal. I will stick with Beede.
27) Reds: Andrew Chafin, LHP, Kent State: Rumors have Chafin here. I had Josh Osich in this slot previously.
28) Braves: Dillon Howard, RHP, Arkansas HS: Braves-type draft. I had Goodwin here previously but it sounds like he won't be here by 28.
29) Giants: Joe Ross, RHP, California HS: The Giants are not an easy team to predict. I had Henry Owens here last time, then switched it to John Stilson. But Stilson just tore his labrum, so we'll stay in the Bay Area and go with Joe Ross.
30) Twins: Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon. I had Wong here last time but it doesn't sound like he will fall that far. Anderson fits the Twins mold, and they drafted him once before.
31) Rays (for Rafael Soriano): Jorge Lopez, RHP, Puerto Rico HS: I love this guy, he's incredibly projectable, should be affordable, and would thrive in the Rays system. I had Cron here previously.
32) Rays: Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina: Still makes sense to me.
33) Rangers (for Cliff Lee): Trevor Story, SS, Texas HS: Sure, the Rangers have Profar, but Don't Draft For Need. Story is local, has good offensive potential, can stick at shortstop, and you can never have too many infielders who can hit. Signability of previous choice Derek Fisher is clouded by strong Virginia commitment. Brandon Nimmo and Blake Swihart are also plausible.
I will have the supplemental posted later today.