2015 MLB Mock Draft
By Federal Law, all mock drafts must contain a disclaimer that nobody really knows what’s going to happen until five minutes before the actual draft. And maybe not even then.
Here’s my take on what could happen. There’s some combination of rumor and logic behind each choice, but with even less certainty than normal this year.
1) Arizona Diamondbacks: Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt: Persistent rumors indicate that Georgia high school catcher Tyler Stephenson may be the pick, but those rumors blow hot and cold and I’d like to hear what’s said over the weekend. High school catching is a risky demographic. The only consensus seems to be that Brendan Rodgers, regarded by many as the best player in the draft, won’t be the choice. For now I will stick with Swanson, linked to the top spot for longer than Stephenson has been.
2) Houston Astros: Alex Bregman, SS, LSU: Personally I think he’s the best overall player in the draft this year. He can hit and he can play shortstop just fine in my view. He would fit into Houston’s analytics schema.
3) Colorado Rockies: Tyler Jay, LHP, Illinois: Very strong rumors for weeks that the Rockies want a pitcher. For a while it looked like Carson Fulmer, but the most common name now is Tyler Jay since more and more scouts think he can start.
4) Texas Rangers: Brendan Rodgers, SS, Florida HS: The Rangers love their tools guys and Rodgers certainly fits. They’d have to be very happy if Rodgers does fall here, which I think he will.
5) Houston Astros: Kyle Tucker, OF, Florida HS: This rumor was long-standing but has cooled recently, with other names being mentioned more often including Daz Cameron or Rodgers if he falls here or maybe someone like Andrew Benintendi. We’ll stick with the older rumor and pair Kyle with his brother Preston.
6) Minnesota Twins: Daz Cameron, OF, Georgia HS: Cameron to the Twins is another rumor around for weeks, until names like Bregman, Tucker, and Dillon Tate cropped up recently. Bregman is gone in this mock. Carson Fulmer could also be possible if the first place Twins want a quick contributor, but in this case we’ll stick with the bloodline and tools guy.
7) Boston Red Sox: Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt: Bregman and Benintendi are getting mentioned here a lot, but I think Fulmer is a better fit, especially since he can start (in my view anyway). I view Fulmer as the best pitcher in the draft and that's hard to pass up here.
8) Chicago White Sox: Dillon Tate, RHP UC Santa Barbara: Strongest rumors link White Sox with Fulmer and Jay but both are gone here. Highest pitcher still on the board is Tate, potentially a steal in this spot that would be hard to pass up.
9) Chicago Cubs: Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt: Cubs want a pitcher is a strong rumor with Buehler and Jon Harris most common names. Buehler’s track record is a little longer.
10) Philadelphia Phillies: Tyler Stephenson, C, Georgia HS: Rumors are all over the place here with no firm direction given that much will depend on what happens ahead of them. A catching prospect would fit well here and Stephenson has buzz higher than this, so the slot works.
11) Cincinnati Reds: Ian Happ, OF, University of Cincinnati: This is another long-standing rumor, supplanted recently by Benintendi, but my gut says that Happ’s better track record with wooden bats is a separator.
12) Miami Marlins: Trenton Clark, OF, Texas HS: Marlins supposedly want a prep bat and Clark has the best balance of tools and present skills remaining.
13) Tampa Bay Rays: Phil Bickford, RHP, Southern Nevada: Rumors here contradictory and vague. Bickford is physical and young (and successful) enough to fit into the Rays pitching development system very nicely.
14) Atlanta Braves: Mike Nikorak, RHP, Pennsylvania HS: Everyone is assuming the Braves will select someone from Georgia or at least the Deep South. We will play contrarian and go north of the Mason/Dixon line with a cold-weather, high-ceiling prep arm, which would make sense for a team with multiple picks that can diversify.
15) Milwaukee Brewers: Chris Betts, C, California HS: Betts’ stock has been slipping of late but this seems like prospect fatigue/over-reaction to me. Betts has an excellent power bat and a reasonable chance to stay at catcher. Brewers could use someone like that.
16) New York Yankees: Garrett Whitley, OF, New York HS: Another rumored landing place for Betts, but he’s gone so we will go with a high-upside home-state player who should hopefully be better than Cito Culver.
17) Cleveland Indians: Andrew Benintendi, OF, University of Arkansas: He’s being mocked 10 spots higher than this by other sources and that may very well be right, but in this scenario he’s the top guy left on the board and the Indians have shown a liking for college outfielders recently.
18) San Francisco Giants: Ashe Russell, RHP, Indiana HS: Big, projectable, but already throws hard. Seems logical to me.
19) Pittsburgh Pirates: Cornelius Randolph, INF, Georgia HS: Could go five spots higher or five spots lower, but persistent rumors on this one.
20) Oakland Athletics: Kevin Newman, SS, University of Arizona: This is another frequent mock link-up and it makes sense given Newman’s track record of hitting and playing a premium position.
21) Kansas City Royals: Kolby Allard, LHP, California HS: The strongest rumors have the Royals linked to Randolph and Bickford, but both are off the board in this scenario. With those options off the table we’ll go with Allard as Option C on the assumption that the back injury is not a big deal.
22) Detroit Tigers: Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, University of Louisville: Mocked as high as five a month ago but sagged down the stretch. Hard to see him falling much further than this.
23) St. Louis Cardinals: James Kaprelian, RHP, UCLA: Fits past draft patterns for this team, has had a great season, and could go as high as eight or nine under different conditions.
24) Los Angeles Dodgers: Brady Aiken, LHP, IMG Academy: A frequent and strong rumor and we won’t buck it, although it all depends on what is really in that medical report. If Aiken's health is too risky another choice would be one of the available raw-but-talented prep arms (Justin Hooper? Dakota Chalmers?).
25) Baltimore Orioles: Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State: Orioles reportedly want fast dividends and Harris could provide them, especially since he could go 20 spots higher than this.
26) Los Angeles Angels: D.J. Stewart, OF, Florida State: Word is the Angels want a college guy. Stewart was linked here for weeks, then that cooled down in favor of pitching names but given relative paucity of offensive talent he still fits very well here.
27) Colorado Rockies (for Michael Cuddyer): Nick Plummer, OF, Michigan HS: Most advanced prep bat left on the docket and fits recent Rockies draft patterns (Ryan McMahon, David Dahl, Forrest Wall) of selecting left-handed high school hitters.
28) Atlanta Braves (for Ervin Santana): Donny Everett, RHP, Tennessee HS: Ok so he’s not from Georgia, but he throws really hard and would make a nice one-two punch with Nikorak for a team wanting to take more chances.
29) Toronto Blue Jays (for Melky Cabrera): Demi Orlmoloye, OF, Canada HS: Toolsy high-upside Canadian outfielder who might not be around when the Jays pick again.
30) New York Yankees (for David Robinson): Nathan Kirby, LHP, Virginia: Erratic spring cost him a shot at the Top Ten, but would diversify nicely in combination with raw toolsy prep Whitley at the top.
31) San Francisco Giants (for Pablo Sandoval): Christin Stewart, OF, Tennessee: Giants have a habit of drafting college bats that other teams have questions about. Stewart has strong power from the left side but is being projected as low as the third round due to questions about his glove. I think someone will pull the trigger on this bat sooner than people expect and the Giants seem like a good fit if that is true.
32) Pittsburgh Pirates (for Russell Martin): Austin Smith, RHP, Florida HS: He’s received less recent notice than other prep arms but has a long track record of success, ideal 6-4, 215 pound athletic build, plenty of arm strength and present pitchability.
33) Kansas City Royals (for James Shields): Michael Matuella, RHP, Duke: He could go 15 spots higher than this due to Tommy John recovery. It would be (maybe) risky to pair him with Allard as we’ve done here for KC, but the upside would be enormous if the doctors sign off on the medical reports.
34) Detroit Tigers (for Max Scherzer): Cody Ponce, RHP, Cal Poly Pomona: Tigers like hard-throwing physical right-handers from college and Ponce would pair nicely with Funkhauser. If they want more diversity perhaps a college hitter would fit (Joe McCarthy? Scott Kingery?) or a raw tools upside hitter (Eric Jenkins? Mitchell Hansen?)
35) Los Angeles Dodgers (for Hanley Ramirez): Jacob Nix, RHP, IMG Academy: We gave the Dodgers Aiken so let’s pair him with Nix, IMG teammate and part of the ’14 Astros draft fiasco. Nix would fit here talent-wise so it isn’t impossible by any means.
36) Baltimore Orioles (for Nelson Cruz): Chris Shaw, 1B, Boston College: Excellent power, good pairing with Harris for a system needing a quick impact.
37) Houston Astros (comp balance traded from Marlins): Juan Hillman, LHP, Florida HS: We have Bregman (college hitter) and Tucker (high school hitter) at the top, so we diversity further with a prep arm, but not just any prep arm: Hillman is polished but has seen his velocity pick up in recent weeks. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go in the 20s.
38) Colorado Rockies (comp balance): Richie Martin, SS, Florida: More diversity, advanced college infielder to fill out trio with college arm (Jay) and prep bat (Plummer), plus the Rockies could be looking for infield depth soon.
39) St. Louis Cardinals (cb): Austin Rei, C, University of Washington: Rei is NOT being mocked this high by other sources but there is logic here. Rei has fought a thumb injury but when healthy he is a very successful hitter and is solid with the glove as well. I think he could go in the comp round to the right club and that could be the Cards.
40) Milwaukee Brewers (cb): Peter Lambert, RHP, California HS: Fast-riser, relatively polished California prep with three pitches and increasing velocity, fun battery with Betts.
41) Atlanta Braves (cb traded from Padres): Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Texas HS: Multiple picks with this team, we have Nikorak and Everett with the first two choices. Hayes could be a bargain here if they can make the money work.
42) Cleveland Indians: Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Cal State Fullerton: Rumors have Eshelman moving into the comp round (if not higher) despite lack of plus velocity due to his unworldly control.