The 2014 Major League Baseball draft begins at 7 PM Eastern time, 6 PM Central. Follow along right here with your fellow fans. We'll cover each pick right here.
1) Houston Astros: Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego, CA: This 6-3, 210 pound lefty offers smooth mechanics, a 92-97 MPH fastball, and an advanced secondary arsenal including a curve, slider, and changeup. His athleticism and makeup are also highly-regarded. He’s committed to UCLA but certainly signable with the first overall pick, projecting as a top of the rotation starter.
2) Miami Marlins: Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS, Shepherd, TX: The hardest-throwing right-hander in the history of the draft, perhaps since Bob Feller, Kolek has been clocked as high as 102 MPH. This pick was not predicted in most mock drafts, but he’s certainly worthy of the choice on arm strength alone. His slider and curve are promising as well. No way the 6-5, 250 pounder gets to college at TCU
3) White Sox: Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State University. Rodon looked like the top pick six months ago, but an erratic spring knocked his stock back just a tad. His "erratic spring" still resulted in a 2.01 ERA 117/31 K/BB in 99 innings, 84 hits. At his best the 6-3, 235 pounder has a mid-90s and a killer slider, but his stuff was a bit up and down this spring. He's still a great choice here.
4) Chicago Cubs: Kyle Schwarber, C-1B, Indiana University: Schwarber’s glove is questioned and he may be a first baseman in the long run, but the bat is not doubted, with left-side thunder and a good, solid, mature approach to hitting. He batted .348/.456/.643 with 13 homers, 10 steals, 42/28 BB/K in 224 at-bats this spring. This is an interesting choice for the Cubs, with the speculation that a below-slot deal will free up cash for later picks.
5) Minnesota Twins: Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS, Orlando, FL: Tom Gordon’s son and Dee Gordon’s brother, Nick is a sound defender up the middle and will stick at shortstop. He’s not as fast as his sibling but should have more power and is a more instinctive player. He is a top pitching prospect as well but prefers to play every day. Florida State commitment but is certainly expected to sign in this spot. Sources who know him well regard his makeup as exceptional.
6) Seattle Mariners: Alex Jackson, C-OF, Rancho Bernardo HS, Escondido, CA: Regarded as the best high school bat in the draft, Jackson features excellent power and a good feel for hitting, along with superior arm strength. Opinions differ about his future position. He is athletic enough to catch but needs more repetitions. He could move very quickly through the minors on the strength of his hitting alone. University of Oregon commitment but expected to sign.
7) Phillies: Aaron Nola, RHP, Louisiana State University: Nola has been utterly dominant for a top college program posting a 1.47 ERA, 134/27 K/BB in 116 innings, 69 hits, and just four homers. Nola has outstanding command but there’s nothing wrong with his stuff, either, with a low-90s fastball, a terrific changeup, and a solid breaking ball. He will not need long in the minor leagues.
8) Rockies: Kyle Freeland, LHP, University of Evansville: Freeland had one of the most dominant statistical seasons in college, with a 1.90 ERA, 128/12 K/BB in 100 innings, 79 hits, zero homers. He’s got plenty of stuff, too, with a low-to-mid-90s fastball, great slider, workable curve, and change. The main question here is health, with concerns of elbow trouble in his past, but he’s a hometown kid for the Rockies and they are very familiar with him. Like Nola, he probably won't need a lot of time.
9) Blue Jays: Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina University: Hoffman was supposed to be a top three pick before blowing out his elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery. He posted a 2.94 ERA, 72/20 K/BB in 67 innings, 53 hits over 10 starts before the injury. A healthy Hoffman can hit 97 MPH and shows the potential for three solid secondary pitches in a slider, curve, and change. He's 6-4, 195. With proper recovery he can be a rotation anchor.
10) Mets: Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State University: Regarded as the top hitter in college baseball this year by many experts, Conforto features impressive left-side power and a good feel for the strike zone, hitting .351/.506/.557 with 51 walks this year in 56 games. His other tools are nothing special but scouts don’t mind; his bat is that good, and he’s ranked as one of the safest, most advanced hitters in the draft.
11) Blue Jays: Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State University: Pentecost is unusually athletic for a catcher and had a great year with the bat, hitting .424/.479/.631 with nine homers, 16 steals in 16 attempts. He’s a little raw on defense but clearly has the tools for the position and just needs more experience. His strong spring pushed him from a potential second-round pick into the first. Rumored as high as four, he’s a good choice here.
12) Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Walakea HS, Hilo, HI: This 6-1, 190 lefty has an unusual low-angle arm slot with a nasty sinker/slider combination. He can get up to 95 MPH and has the potential for a good changeup too. He is committed to Pepperdine but certainly signable here. The fastball has unusual movement and he's very tough to square up.
13) Padres: Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State University: The best shortstop in the draft not named Nick Gordon, Turner hit .321/.418/.516 with eight homers and 26 steals this year while showing the tools to stick at short. He’s stolen 113 bases in 127 attempts in his college career and has on-base skills to go with the wheels and glove. He may not show as much power in pro ball, but the complete package is attractive.
14) Giants: Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt University: Beede had an erratic spring, although the final results (3.20 ERA, 106/43 K/BB in 98 innings, 74 hits, four homers) don’t look bad. Note the high strikeout rate, courtesy of electric mid-90s fastball and a curve and change that could both be plus pitches eventually. Inconsistent command kept him out of the top ten, but his upside is immense and he fits well in the Giants development program.
15) Angels: Sean Newcomb, LHP, University of Hartford: This 6-5, 240 cold weather arm posted a 1.25 ERA, 106/38 K/BB in 93 innings, 51 hits, zero homers this year. He’s loose despite his size and hits the mid-90s. His breaking ball and changeup need additional polish, but that’s not unexpected given his background, and he doesn’t have as many innings on his arm as the typical college pitcher.
16) Diamondbacks: Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Academy, FL. One of the most unique talents in the draft era, Toussaint is originally from Haiti and originally played soccer. And he’s taken to it well, showing a blistering mid-90s fastball and an outstanding curveball. His changeup has potential too. The main issue is command, but when he’s on he is truly overpowering. He could be a huge value here if he reaches his ceiling. He is a Vanderbilt recruit but signable here.
17) Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU: He’s just 5-11 but he has a great arm with a 93-98 MPH fastball and a very good slider. He has a changeup too, and great numbers: 2.07 ERA, 122/25 K/BB in 91 innings, 67 hits, two homers. He could have gone 10 spots higher if not for concerns about a potential shoulder issue, though he was great in his last outing. Assuming no health issues he can reach the majors quickly.
18) Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV: Fedde was excellent this year: 1.76 ERA, 82/21 K/BB in 77 innings, 58 hits, one homer. Alas, he blew out his elbow and will miss a year with Tommy John surgery. However, the Nationals aren’t afraid to take risks on injured pitchers in the draft and wanted to grab his low-to-mid-90s fastball, slider, and changeup. He could be a mid-rotation starter or a very dominant reliever.
19) Reds: Nick Howard, RHP, University of Virginia: Howard had a great season as a closer: 2.15 ERA, 50/12 K/BB in 29 innings, 19 hits, 19 saves. However, scouts think he can start since he is very athletic, has four solid pitches (93-95 fastball, slider, curve, change) and was closing only due to team needs. Command and stuff combination could move him up quickly once he gets his stamina back up.
20) Rays: Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State University: Gillaspie was a monster for the Shockers this year, hitting .389/.520/.682 with 15 homers, 58 walks, 28 strikeouts in 211 at-bats. Conor Gillaspie’s younger brother, Casey has impressive switch-hitting power and a very good eye for the strike zone. He’s not a typical Rays draft but if you want hitting, he’s one of the safest bets available.
21) Indians: Bradley Zimmer, OF, University of San Francisco: The brother of Royals prospect Kyle Zimmer, Bradley is one of the better athletes in the draft. Some think he might be a tweener, not running quite well enough for center but not showing quite enough power for a corner. I'm not sure that's true, I think he can stay in center. His line drive bat should fit near the top of a batting order, however, and he is a premium talent in a class somewhat short in college offense. He could have gone 10 spots higher. He hit .368/.461/.573 with seven homers, 21 steals, 31/34 BB/K in 220 at-bats.
22) Dodgers: Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS, Conway, SC: The University of Florida commit isn’t classically projectable at 6-0, 215, but that’s OK since he already throws in the 90s and has a nasty curveball. He’s signable here and is relatively safe as high school pitchers go. Adding polish to his changeup is on the agenda, but he fits into the strong body profile the Dodgers look for.
23) Tigers: Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS, Elk Grove, CA: The son of Dodgers scout Orsino Hill, Derek may be the best defensive outfielder in the draft and is polished in many phases of the game. The main questions revolve around how much power he’ll show, but he’s expected to hit for average. He is a University of Oregon recruit but considered signable.
24) Pirates: Cole Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS, Phoenix, AZ: A surprise pick, about 20-30 spots sooner than expected by people who weren’t the Pirates, but he did have late helium due to his defensive ability and projectable physical frame. Committed to the University of Arizona, he doesn’t have much power but impresses scouts with his feel for the game. He should be able to hit for average. Arizona -based scouts seem to like him.
25) Athletics: Matt Chapman, 3B, Cal State Fullerton: Chapman hit .312/.412/.498 this year with six homers, 27 walks, and 26 strikeouts in 205 at-bats. He has a very strong arm and is also a prospect as a pitcher, but scouts like his defense at third base and he has a chance to hit for average with moderate power.
26) Red Sox: Michael Chavis, 3B-SS, Sprayberry HS, Marietta, GA: A Clemson recruit, Chavis is expected to hit for both power and average. He’s not a big guy at 5-10, 195, but the Red Sox have no problem with "undersized" players if they have good tools, which Chavis does. Signability should not be an issue in the first round.
27) Cardinals: Luke Weaver, RHP, Florida State University: Weaver has a consistent track record of success for a big program, including a 2.62 ERA, 85/23 K/BB in 106 innings, 88 hits this year. Extremely polished, the 6-2, 170 pounder (official, he looks smaller than that) ranges between 88 and 93 MPH, sometimes higher, changes speeds well, and throws strikes. Command is his best asset but the Cardinals should have a lot of credibility with their pitching development.
28) Foster Griffin, LHP, The First Academy, Orlando FL: Committed to the University of Mississippi, Griffin is 6-3, 210, hits 90, already has a good changeup, and flashes a solid breaking ball. He still has projection and could throw harder in time. His command is already good for his age. I think he represents good value here.
29) Reds: Alex Blandino, INF, Stanford University: Blandino had late helium and was being rumored later in the first round after entering the spring as more of a second round type. Blandino hit well for Stanford this year at.312/.399/.540 with 12 homers, 29 walks, 30 strikeouts in 215 at-bats, following up a strong run with wooden bats in the Cape Cod League. He has a solid glove at third base but could also be developed at second. The relative paucity of reliable college bats helped moved his stock up.
30) Rangers: Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS, Sanger, CA: Ortiz saw his stock go up and down and back up again this spring with some minor health concerns but he looked strong late, showing 90-97 heat, good potential with the curveball and changeup, and solid command. Committed to Fresno State, he is signable here. He’s not projectable at 6-0, 225, but he already has the strength he needs. He could be a number two starter if he fully maxes out his arsenal.
31) Indians: Justus Sheffield, LHP, Tullahoma HS, Tullahoma, TN: This Vanderbilt commitment should be signable here and he should be worth it, featuring a low-90s fastball and a full arsenal of secondary pitches. He has a good feel for pitching and is polished for his age. He’s not big at 5-10, 195, but is athletic and has clean mechanics, leading to optimism about his durability.
32) Braves: Braxton Davidson, 1B-OF, Roberson HS, Asheville, NC: Committed to North Carolina, Davidson has enormous power in his 6-1, 210 frame. He showed better pure hitting skills this spring, convincing teams that he was worth buying out of college. The Braves called him as an outfielder but the pre-draft consensus was that he’d be a first baseman in the long run. Either way the bat will play.
33) Red Sox: Michael Kopech, RHP, Mount Pleasant HS, Mount Pleasant, TX: Committed to the University of Arizona, Kopech is an athletic, classically-built 6-3, 190 pitcher with a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a strong breaking ball. He needs more consistency but that’s true for most pitchers his age. His upside is quite high and this is another guy who could become a number two starter if all goes well.
34) Cardinals: Jack Flaherty, RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, CA: Another promising high school guy at the back of the first round, featuring an 88-92 MPH fastball with more velocity possible down the line. He already has a good changeup and good command, and his breaking stuff has good potential. Listed at 6-3, 215, he is a North Carolina guy and won’t be cheap, but he fits into what the Cardinals look for in a young pitcher.