1) Arizona Diamondbacks: Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt: Junior, hits right, batted .348/.443/.656 this year with 15 homers, 15 steals, 42/43 BB/K in 247 at-bats. Most complete player in college baseball, impressive defensive shortstop along with a multi-threat bat. The Diamondbacks made the obvious and, in my view, the correct pick. He won't need long in the minors and could be an All-Star.
2) Houston Astros: Alex Bregman, SS, LSU: Junior, hits right, batted .313/.408/.539 with nine homers, 36 steals, 36/21 BB/K in 243 at-bats, only one who comes close to Swanson in terms of overall package. Mixed opinions about glove at shortstop but I am among the optimists. It will be interesting to see how the Astros manage this with Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve already up the middle but you can't have too many infielders who can hit.
3) Colorado Rockies: Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary HS, Florida: Hits right, Florida State commit, widely regarded as the best player in the draft, expected to hit for power and average, can stay at shortstop. Rumors that the Rockies would go with lefty Tyler Jay over Rodgers didn't pan out, likely the wisest long-term decision for Colorado.
4) Texas Rangers: Dillon Tate, RHP, UC Santa Barbara: Junior, 2.26 ERA with 111/28 K/BB in 103 innings, 66 hits. Former closer turned to starting and performed well, upper-90s fastball with hard slider, change-up, stuff down a little towards the end but was still the first pitcher drafted and a logical choice for the Rangers. Rumors that he could slip down the lists proved unfounded. Upside: number two starter or a power closer.
5) Houston Astros: Kyle Tucker, Plant HS, Tampa, Florida: Hits left, University of Florida commit, Preston Tucker’s brother. If Daz Cameron isn’t the top prep outfielder it is probably Tucker, projects to hit for both power and average despite some unusual-looking swing mechanics. More athletic than his brother, lean at 6-4, 175. Nice companion pick with Bregman and neat to see him joining the same organization as his sibling.
6) Minnesota Twins: Tyler Jay, LHP, Illinois: Junior, extremely successful three-year reliever (1.48 ERA, 137/30 K/BB in 122 college innings over three years, just 69 hits, 24 saves) but has the size and stuff to start, low/mid-90s heat, quality slider, solid curve and change-up, no issues with command. Most teams see him as a starter now and he had a chance to be the first pitcher drafted overall. Instead he is the second. The Twins don't have an issue converting relievers into starters.
7) Boston Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi, OF, University of Arkansas: Draft-eligible sophomore, hits left, incredible breakout season, .385/.493/.725 with 19 homers, 23 steals, 46/31 BB/K in 218 at-bats, he can handle center field, too. Expected to be the first college outfielder drafted and he was. Broad base of skills stands out and fits Red Sox development model very well. A secondary average player.
8) Chicago White Sox: Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt: Junior, 1.92 ERA with 147/41 K/BB in 108 innings, 71 hits, mid-90s heat with strong breaking stuff, outstanding makeup. High-effort delivery causes some observers to project him in pen, but an increasing number see him as a starter and the White Sox are not afraid of pitchers with unconventional mechanics.
9) Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ, OF, University of Cincinnati: Junior, switch-hitter, batted .369/.492/.672 with 14 homers, 49/49 BB/K in 198 at-bats, also has a great track record with wood, expected to hit for average with at least moderate power, top college outfielder in the draft until passed by Benintendi in recent weeks. Can he play second base? It doesn't really matter; they will find a spot for him or make a trade if necessary. Acquiring talent is the goal.
10) Philadelphia Phillies: Cornelius Randolph, SS, Griffin HS, Georgia: Hits left, Clemson commit, scouts love the bat, will hit for average and get on base and produce at least solid power. Probably not a shortstop long-term, could wind up at second, third, or the outfield. In Philadelphia he would make a great DP combination with J.P. Crawford but he could also wind up at third.
11) Cincinnati Reds: Tyler Stephenson, C, Kennesaw Mountain HS, Marietta, Georgia: Right-handed hitter, committed to Georgia Tech. Stephenson was obscure six months ago but was so good this spring that he had a chance to go first-overall if rumors are to be believed. I think this slot at 11th is more appropriate. Scouts like his power and overall hitting skills, and his defensive tools are impressive as well, making him a complete backstop prospect.
12) Miami Marlins: Josh Naylor, 1B, St. Joan of Arc Catholic CC, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada: Lefty hitter, raw power outstanding and more of a polished hitter than you might expect for a cold-weather guy. Texas Tech commit but expected to be signable, certainly in this spot. This is about 20 spots higher than expected but he had loud late buzz, given the difficulty in finding power bats of this caliber. Scarcity raised value of power and I wonder if that will continue in subsequent choices.
13) Tampa Bay Rays: Garrett Whitley, OF, Niskauyna HS, New York: Hits right, Wake Forest commit, attracts observers looking for the next Mike Trout from cold-weather state, power and speed potential stand out and bat more polished than you might expect. Got some first-overall buzz for a while but cooler heads prevailed, slots well here for a patient organization. High-impact possibilities.
14) Atlanta Braves: Kolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente HS, California: UCLA commit, candidate to go in top five until a stress reaction injury in his back sidelined him. When healthy, delivers easy 90+ heat with impressive curveball and low-effort delivery. Potentially a huge steal here for the Braves, could be top of rotation guy if it all comes together.
15) Milwaukee Brewers: Trenton Clark, OF, Richland HS, North Richland Hills, Texas: Hits left, Texas Tech commit, long history of hitting well against top competition, very good running speed, good batting eye, should develop respectable power as well, also a fine defender in center field. Brewers continue their high school, high ceiling approach from last year though he has more polish than many preps. I like the pick.
16) New York Yankees: James Kaprielian, RHP, UCLA: Junior, 2.02 ERA with 114/33 K/BB in 106 innings, 86 hits, velocity kicked up well into 90s this spring and he already knew how to pitch with full arsenal, excellent instincts. Won’t need long in the minors, mid-rotation projection, should be a durable strike-throwing workhorse type. Maybe not a sexy pick, but that doesn't mean it is a bad one.
17) Cleveland Indians: Brady Aiken, LHP, IMG Academy: Age-equivalent of a college freshman, first round pick first overall last year but deal with Astros fell apart after medical exam revealed elbow issues. Out with Tommy John as you know, rumored to go late in the first round so the slot here with Cleveland is a bit of a surprise, but it is an intriguing gamble.
18) San Francisco Giants: Phil Bickford, RHP, JC of Southern Nevada: Sophomore, insane stats (1.45 ERA, 166/21 K/BB in 87 innings, 45 hits) on the strength of nasty sinking fastball overmatching wooden bat JC hitters. Slider and change draw mixed reviews, he was projected anywhere from Top Ten to the late 20s so this is a mid-point spot. The Giants seem like a great organization for his skill set, needing to refine the secondaries to go with his present strength and velocity.
19) Pittsburgh Pirates: Kevin Newman, SS, Arizona: Junior, hits right, batted .370/.426/.489 with 22 steals, 20/15 BB/K in 227 at-bats. Won two Cape Cod League batting titles so record with wood is good, doesn’t have as much power as Swanson or Bregman but can definitely stay at shortstop. Polished in general and won't need a great deal of minor league time. Some sources regard him as significantly under-rated.
20) Oakland Athletics: Richie Martin, SS, Florida: Junior, hits right, batted .291/.405/.414 with 20 steals, 33/33 BB/K in 237 at-bats. Doesn’t have big power but makes contact, uses speed well, polished defensively and can stay at shortstop. Continues run of college shortstops in a good year for that demographic. Young for the draft class so there could be more upside here.
21) Kansas City Royals: Ashe Russell, RHP, Catherdal HS, Indianapolis, Indiana: Texas A&M commit, live body at 6-4, 195, cold-weather background, high upside with mid-90s heat but secondary pitches that need development. Stock has been up and down a little but ultimately this seems like an appropriate spot. Number two starter upside.
22) Detroit Tigers: Beau Burrows, RHP, Weatherford HS, Texas: Texas A&M commit, would make one hell of a one-two punch with Russell but that's not going to happen now. Stuff is right there with Russell and Donny Everett but he's 6-0, not 6-2, and there was some concern his height might hurt his stock. That didn't happen either; his mid-90s arm strength certainly fits well into the Tigers mold.
23) St. Louis Cardinals: Nick Plummer, OF, Brother Rice HS, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: Hits left, University of Kentucky commit, cold-weather bat thrived on showcase circuit, very polished, similar to Clark in that regard although doesn’t have as much speed and defensive projection. The bat looks excellent and even if he winds up in left field he still projects as a regular.
24) Los Angeles Dodgers: Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt: Junior, 2.97 ERA with 81/25 K/BB in 79 innings, 78 hits. Some nagging injuries but throws four quality pitches for strikes; like Carson Fulmer and James Kaprielian, he won’t need long in the minors. Mid-rotation projection, with some chance to exceed that, making him a potential bargain in this spot for the Dodgers.
25) Baltimore Orioles: D.J. Stewart, OF, Florida State University: Junior, hits left, batted .318/.500/.593 with 15 homers, 12 steals, 69/47 BB/K in 214 at-bats. Good power from left side with outstanding strike zone judgment, doesn’t have Andrew Benintendi’s defensive ability but a great track record with bat. Has an unusual crouch but I don't think that is going to be a huge issue. Very nice pick for the Orioles.
26) Los Angeles Angels: Taylor Ward, C, Fresno State University: Junior right-handed hitter, batted .304/.413/.486 this year, impressive with the glove and has some power although some worry about the bat at higher levels; won't hit for much of an average but should have some pop. Defense is considered excellent and many viewed him as the top college catcher, but this is about 30 or 40 picks sooner than expected.