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Ten value picks from the 2015 MLB Draft

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Xavier Turner
Xavier Turner
Frederick Breedon, Getty Images

Here are ten "value pick" sleeper prospects selected in the 2015 MLB Draft. These prospects were all drafted no earlier than the 10th round but (perhaps) have a better chance to contribute in the majors than is typical for late picks.

This list is NOT about players who dropped for signability reasons; it is not a list of late-round "maybe he'll sign for an over-slot bonus" pick. As a result, there's only one high schooler here and most of the others are college seniors.

Carson Cross, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals: A fifth-year senior from the University of Connecticut, Cross was drafted in the 14th round by the Cardinals. The son of former NBA player Jeff Cross, Carson is tall and athletic at 6-6. He missed all of 2014 with a shoulder injury but came back effective and durable this year, posting a 2.29 ERA with a 108/29 K/BB in 106 innings. His velocity is average but he throws strikes and changes speeds effectively. His stuff could play up in relief but he could also be a back-end starter.

Alexis Diaz, RHP, Cincinnati Reds: The only high school player on this list, Diaz was drafted in the 12th round out of Puerto Rico. He received buzz as high as the third round due to a projectable, athletic frame, a 90 MPH fastball that should get faster, and bloodlines as the brother of Mariners prospect Edwin Diaz. Alexis did not have a college commitment so it is unclear why he fell in the draft, but the upside is high.

Mitchell Gunsolus, 3B, Boston Red Sox: Drafted in the 10th round out of Gonzaga University, Gunsolus hit .353/.449/.556 this spring with solid plate discipline and the look of a professional hitter and potential on-base machine. His defense needs work and the physical upside as a senior is limited, but he's got a chance to be a Matt Carpenter type surprise..

Brendon Hayden, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies: Drafted in the 16th round out of Virginia Tech, senior slugger Hayden hit .307/.389/.542 this spring with 11 homers, attractive left-side home run power in an era that needs more bats. The former Wisconsin prep spent considerable time as a pitcher earlier in his career. There are always college sluggers from later rounds who don't make a good transition to pro ball, but Hayden's background might provide some separation by implying untapped upside.

Chase Johnson-Mullins, LHP, Atlanta Braves: Selected in the 13th round from Shelton State Community College in Alabama, Johnson-Mullins is a 6-8. 270 pound lefty with a low-90s fastball and a workable curve. His career has been slowed by command issues and Tommy John surgery, but scouts love to dream on this type of arm.

David LuCroy, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers: Chosen in the 20th round from East Carolina University, David is the younger brother of Brewers catcher Jonathan LuCroy. A senior starter, LuCroy posted a 2.18 ERA with a 47/29 K/BB in 66 innings. He's still somewhat raw, particularly with his secondary pitches. This shows up in a low strikeout rate but he has plenty of arm strength and more upside potential than the typical late-round senior.

Logan Ratledge, SS-2B, Pittsburgh Pirates: Drafted in the 13th round, North Carolina State shortstop Ratledge didn't stand out as a hitter until his senior year, when he exploded with a .329/.431/.558 line with 10 homers, 19 doubles, and 11 steals. He controls the strike zone well and is a steady defender, though in the majors he would be more of a second baseman than a shortstop. There could be some Brian Dozier-like potential here. 

Xavier Turner, 3B, Texas Rangers: One of the more interesting stories in the draft, Turner is a junior at Vanderbilt but was suspended by the NCAA for the entire season. The reason for the suspension has not been disclosed, but he passed up the option to transfer to an NAIA school to avoid the suspension and was allowed to practice with Vanderbilt. His physical tools are quite good, with his speed, strong arm, soft hands, and power potential leading to a spot in the 19th round despite the unusual circumstances.

Grant Watson, LHP, San Francisco Giants: UCLA senior lefty Watson posted a 2.30 ERA in 97 innings with a 66/20 K/BB and 80 hits allowed. Well-known to college baseball fans, he lasted until the 16th round because he doesn't throw hard and observers worry that his margin for error isn't wide enough for him to survive at higher levels. That may be true. But maybe not. .

Adam Whitt, RHP, Houston Astros: A senior and successful closer for the University of Nevada, Whitt's outstanding spring (14 saves, 2.82 ERA, 47/9 K/BB in 38 innings) earned him a spot in the 16th round. His sidearm delivery adds deceptive spice to an upper-80s fastball and nasty change-up, profiling him as a middle relief type who could zip through the minors quickly as a rapid reinforcement.