The College World Series is finally upon us and the draft mere days away. Time for a new mock draft! Enjoy!
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our most recent projections for the first round.
The Twins have reportedly narrowed down their choice to “five or six” players according to Minnesota CBO Derek Falvey. If we had to guess, that’s Hunter Greene, Brendan McKay, Kyle Wright, Royce Lewis, Austin Beck and possibly J.B. Bukauskas. The Twins have placed a priority on their next two picks (No. 35 and 37), meaning Greene could be out of their price range. Bukauskas hurt himself with his start in the NCAA regionals, and Beck has too many question marks to warrant the No. 1 pick. That leaves McKay, Lewis and Wright. We’re still putting our money on Wright heading into the weekend.
Season stats (pitching): 5-6, 0 SV, 3.40 ERA, 16 GP, 16 GS, 103.1 IP, 82 H, 39 ER, 31 BB, 121 K, .216 AVG
Notable: Prior to his season-ending start (8 H, 7 ER), Wright had allowed just nine runs and 24 hits over his previous six starts, spanning 53.2 innings.
The Reds are in a situation similar to the Twins with picks at No. 32 and 38, meaning they could also take themselves out of the Greene sweepstakes in favor of spending a little more money on those later picks. McKay has continued to excel in NCAA tournament play, and, to nobody’s surprise, was named the Baseball America Player of the Year.
Season stats (pitching): 9-3, 0 SV, 2.31 ERA, 15 GP, 15 GS, 97.1 IP, 61 H, 25 ER, 33 BB, 131 K, .178 AVG
Season stats (hitting): .343/.464/.657, 54 R, 13 2B, 1 3B, 17 HR, 56 RBI, 45 BB, 36 K, 1-for-1 SB
Notable: The only player to win more than once, McKay is a shoe-in to win his third consecutive John Olerud Award as the nation’s top two-way player
Greene will be one of four prospects attending this year’s draft. Attendance has been rewarded in previous years with Mike Trout and Aaron Judge going on to have successful pro careers.
Season stats (pitching): 3-0, 0 SV, 0.75 ERA, 5 GP, 5 GS, 28.0 IP, 18 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 43 K
Season stats (hitting): .324/.374/.598, 23 R, 6 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 8 BB, 12 K, 2-for-3 SB
Notable: Greene was named MVP of the Mission League late last month.
The Rays have grown quite interested in McKay, but unlike the top three teams, they prefer him as a hitter. He’s been mocked to the Rays on several occasions now, but we don’t see him falling this far. They’ll likely be left with three options: MacKenzie Gore, Austin Beck and Lewis, who’s the most athletic of the three.
Season stats: .377, 32 R, 4 HR, 25 SB
Notable: Lewis will be the highest-drafted player from JSerra since Austin Hedges was selected in the second round back in 2011.
The Braves seem to be drifting away from Austin Beck, and their preferred choice now appears to be Gore. A franchise never afraid to take risks in the first round, they might also make a run at Shane Baz, who’s rocketing up draft boards, or Nick Pratto, who’s sliding and could sign for well under slot.
Season stats: 10-0, 0.20 ERA, 68.1 IP, 145 strikeouts
Notable: Gore led Whiteville to their fourth consecutive appearance in the state title game
The A’s also seem to be moving away from the pool of prospects they had been considering, including J.B. Bukauskas and Pavin Smith. They’d love a shot at getting Gore, but that seems more and more unlikely the closer we get to draft day.
Season stats: .590/.700/1.218, 12 HR
Notable: Beck hit three homers in his final high school game, a loss in the third round of the state playoffs
We’ve been hearing all spring that Baz’s commitment to TCU is so solid that no matter where he gets picked, he’s likely headed to college. Arizona may test that theory by making him the second right-handed pitcher drafted. Other options include Virginia’s dynamic duo, Adam Haseley and Pavin Smith.
Season stats: N/A
Notable: If selected in the first round, Baz would be the second Concordia Lutheran alum drafted in the first round in the past three seasons (Ke’Bryan Hayes, 2015)
J.B. Bukauskas may have the best slider in this draft class, but Faedo is right behind him. He also features premium velocity and has shown he’s more likely to stick as a starter than the UNC right-hander. All signs point to Philly going the college route, so if it’s not Faedo, then Bukauskas, Haseley and UCLA’s Griffin Canning are likely options.
Season stats: 7-2, 0 SV, 2.60 ERA, 17 GP, 17 GS, 107.1 IP, 89 H, 31 ER, 35 BB, 132 K, .223 AVG
Notable: In two NCAA starts, Faedo has allowed one run in 11 innings and struck out 19.
Adell, who will also be attending the draft, has seemingly found a home in Milwaukee in almost every mock draft. At this point, this pairing seems even more predictable than the No. 1 pick.
Season stats: .554/2.091/1.434, 52 R, 9 2B, 0 3B, 24 HR, 60 RBI, 32 BB, 9 K, 18 SB
Notable: Adell finished the season five home runs shy of the state record set by Shon Walker in the early 1990s
The Angels seem to be targeting college pitching with this pick, and there’s a realistic possibility that Bukauskas will fall this far. They’d happily scoop him up and could rush him to the Majors as early as next year. #anythingtohelpmiketrout
Season stats: 9-1, 0 SV, 2.53 ERA, 15 GP, 15 GS, 92.2 IP, 62 H, 26 ER, 37 BB, 116 K, .188 AVG
Notable: Bukauskas was one of just five pitchers, with nine or more victories, to finish the regular season undefeated.
Kendall to Chicago seems to be another pretty safe prediction, although if the Sox had their way they’d love Adell or Faedo.
Season stats: .307/.372/.556, 59 R, 10 2B, 5 3B, 15 HR, 53 RBI, 24 BB, 74 K, 20-for-24 SB
Notable: With 67 career stolen bases, Kendall is still 29 short of the Vandy career record set by Charles DeFrance in the early 1980s.
A week ago the Pirates wouldn’t have expected Smith to fall to them, but with all the moving and shaking in the top-ten, it’s seeming increasingly likely. Their preference is a college bat, so they’ll also take a look at Haseley and Keston Hiura, and possibly Griffin Canning.
Season stats: .341/.428/.561, 52 R, 11 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 72 RBI, 38 BB, 11 K, 2-for-2 SB
Notable: Smith finished the season ranked seventh nationally in runs-batted-in and third with a 20.3 K/AB mark.
With the Fish debating between lefties D.L. Hall and Rogers, we think they’ll come out on the side of projection and upside, which favors Rogers (6-6/190).
Season stats: 11-0, 0 SV, 0.33 ERA, 11 GP, 11 GS, 63.1 IP, 14 H, 3 ER, 13 BB, 134 K
Notable: Rogers tossed four no-hitters in 2017, and on April 21st threw a perfect game
The Royals like both Hall and Rogers, and we expect them to take whichever is available. In this case, it’s Hall.
Season stats: N/A
Notable: Hall pitched as a freshman at Valdosta High, transferred for his sophomore and junior campaigns, and then went back to Valdosta to pitch his senior year
We had the Astros angling for pitching, but with several hitters from the college and high school ranks still available in this scenario, and with the massive successes they’ve had in the draft the past few years, they can afford to take a chance on a hitter of Pratto’s caliber.
Season stats: N/A
Notable: Pratto shared Sunset League MVP honors with teammate Hagen Danner, who is also expected to be an early pick.
Haseley has no business falling this far, but if he does, count the Yankees among the teams that will be drooling over him. With three above-average tools and a chance to stick in centerfield, he’d be a perfect fit for New York.
Season stats: .393/.492/.662, 67 R, 15 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 43 BB, 20 K, 10-for-14 SB
Notable: Despite making his mark as a hitter, Haseley has posted an 18-5 record in three seasons on the mound for UVA.
The Mariners were linked to Peterson earlier this spring, and he’s still a good fit for him near the middle of the first round.
Season stats: 11-4, 0 SV, 2.51 ERA, 15 GP 15 GS, 100.1 IP, 88 H, 28 ER, 15 BB, 140 K, .237 AVG
Notable: With 17-strikeout and 20-strikeout performances, Peterson had two of the five highest single-game strikeout totals of the year
Pearson seems like a logical fit for Detroit, who loves premium velocity.
Season stats: 5-2, 0 SV, 1.56 ERA, 13 GP, 13 GS, 81.0 IP, 60 H, 14 ER, 23 BB, 118 K, .235 AVG
Notable: Over his final seven starts, Pearson allowed just three earned runs (0.60 ERA) and struck out 62 in 45 innings.
The Giants love for college hitters is well-known, and in this scenario the best available is Burger, who offers the best average-power combo in this class.
Season stats: .332/.445/.656, 69 R, 13 2B, 0 3B, 22 HR, 65 RBI, 42 BB, 38 K, 3-for-4 SB
Notable: Burger earned MVC Player of the Year honors, and claimed a spot on the Collegiate Baseball All-America squad for the third year in a row.
We had Canning going higher in our previous mocks, but with the ascension of several prep arms, he’s starting his slide down into the 20s. He’d be a great get for New York here, although they might prefer more projectable arms like Blayne Enlow, Sam Carlson or Hans Crouse.
Season stats: 7-4, 0 SV, 2.34 ERA, 17 GP, 17 GS, 119.0 IP, 93 H, 31 ER, 32 BB, 140 K, .213 AVG
Notable: Canning struck out at least ten batters in half of his 16 regular season starts, and struck out 12 three times.
The O’s have been consistently linked with college hitters, such as Logan Warmoth and Jake Burger, and college pitchers, like Alex Lange and Nate Pearson, but they seem to be heading in the high school outfielder direction as of late. Thompson is the best of the bunch, offering the best defense in this draft, plus speed and a high-risk, high-reward profile at the plate.
Season stats: N/A
Notable: Thompson turned down several football scholarships, before committing to play baseball at Alabama.
Warmoth has been one of the most consistent performers in college this year, showcasing solid defense, a great arm, contact skills, a little bit of power and good baserunning ability. He’ll likely be the first college shortstop off the board, and Toronto loves college hitters.
Season stats: .336/.404/.554, 60 R, 19 2B, 5 3B, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 28 BB, 47 K, 18-for-21 SB
Notable: Warmoth struggled in UNC’s disappointing NCAA regional run, going 2-for-16 (.125) and leaving 10 batters on base.
Hiura hasn’t played the field all year, after receiving a PRP injection into his elbow. The doctor that administered that injection? The Dodgers’ own orthopedic surgeon.
Season stats: .442/.567/.693, 48 R, 24 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 50 BB, 38 K, 9-for-15 SB
Notable: In addition to leading the nation in batting average and on-base percentage, Hiura finished in the top 15 in walks, doubles and slugging percentage.
The Sox haven’t let concerns of any kind (injury, maturity, etc.) dictate their drafting. Romero is a top-ten talent in this draft, but his calamitous season will see him dropped here…or even further.
Season stats: 4-5, 0 SV, 3.51 ERA, 10 GP, 7 GS, 48.2 IP, 46 H, 19 ER, 20 BB, 85 K
Notable: At the time of his suspension, Romero led the nation in K/9.
The Nats have intentionally gone after injured players the past few years and have been rewarded in a big way. Schmidt underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this spring, and shouldn’t take the mound until 2018 at the earliest. If he can get back to pitching the way he was before his injury, the Nats will have another steal.
Season stats: 4-2, 0 SV, 1.34 ERA, 9 GP, 9 GS, 60.1 IP, 41 H, 9 ER, 18 BB, 70 K, .194 AVG
Notable: Schmidt’s brother Clate was drafted in the 20th round in last year’s draft, and now pitches in A-ball for the Tigers.
Houck was a top-ten talent heading into the season, but a rough season has dropped him. He has the tools to be a end-of-round steal.
Season stats: 4-7, 0 SV, 3.33 ERA, 14 GP, 14 GS, 94.2 IP, 78 H, 35 ER, 24 BB, 95 K, .220 AVG
Notable: Houck received less than three runs of support from his offense this year, and hit 18 batters, good (or bad) for seventh in the nation.
Seemingly every expert has Allen tied to the Cubbies. For those who aren’t familiar with him, Allen is an undersized (5’8″) player who is easily the best defensive shortstop in this draft class. He should hit just enough to stick in a big-league lineup, and his speed should allow him to steal 20-25 bags a year.
Season stats: .297/.434/.494, 25 R, 10 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 17 BB, 4 K, 17-for-23 SB
Notable: Allen committed to Southern California as a 15-year old.
The best prospect to come out of Minnesota since Joe Mauer, Carlson opened some eyes this spring by increasing his velocity into the upper 90s, reportedly touching 99 mph once and putting his name in contention for a spot in the first round. The Jays love high-risk, high-reward pitchers with premium velocity, so if he’s still available, expect them to take a long look.
Season stats: 3-1, 0.41 ERA, 34 IP, 68 K
Notable: Carlson’s brother Max, a sophomore on the Burnsville squad, should be a highly-ranked prospect in the 2019 class.
You won’t ever see Crouse’s mechanics used as an example in a lesson on pitching, and despite the deception it creates, it will likely be addressed once he reaches the pro ranks. Whether that costs him effectiveness is anyone’s guess, but even if it does, Crouse will still own a upper-90s fastball, which will make him a highly sought after prospect on day one.
Season stats: 7-3, 0 SV, 0.88 ERA, 11 GP, 11 GS, 63.1 IP, 35 H, 8 ER, 17 BB, 99 K, .152 AVG
Notable: Crouse racked up 254 strikeouts during his high school career, allowing just 115 hits in 189.1 innings.
If the Cubs draft Allen with their first pick, don’t think for a second they’ll go after a pitcher with their second. After all, Allen is going to be drafted high on the strength of his defense, which means they might still go after a college bat. White’s is as good as any, and his defense sets him apart when it comes to first basemen in this year’s draft class.
Season stats: .373/.453/.637, 48 R, 24 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 41 RBI, 25 BB, 31 K, 5-for-7 SB
Notable: White was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team all three years at Kentucky.