2015 MLB Draft Rankings, April Edition

This is the update to September’s list and a lot has happened since then. I chose to rank as many players as there are first round picks and to give reports on them, since those are the guys that matter at this point. I obviously have lots of info beyond that to pass along, but opted to be more general at this juncture.

The next couple section break down plays as sandwich to 2nd rounders or 3rd rounders or others of note, with varying definitions from each group that I note below.  The reason I’m less detailed about the lower rankings is because 1) we’re still six weeks from the draft, so this will change 2) it’s kinda silly to act like 45 and 65 are that different at this point and 3) there’s inherent secrecy from scouts about draft rankings, so these will likely change again in the summer when we see these guys compete on an even playing field. For these next two groups, players are presented in order of preference, so you can shift them around a few spots if you want, but the final section of others is in no order at all.

As I’ve said in many places already, this class is very weak up top. The top 15 players listed below have anywhere from six to ten players worth of being picks in the top half of the first round in a normal year. This amounts to 5-9 elite players missing, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but means teams picking in the top 20 will likely notice they’re getting less than they may have expected to get a year ago when the draft class was less clear.

Again, since the draft is inherently secretive at some level and I can’t see every player multiple times this spring, these rankings are a mix of what I’ve see and think and what scouts are telling me. I’d like for it to be 100% my opinion, but that would be foolish, so I have to side with the preponderance of scouts, even when they disagree with me.  I’ll link to video from the FG YouTube page where we have it, which is still a lot, but there will be a lot more in the coming weeks, as we have video of nearly every player I put in the top 3-4 rounds.

The Rumor Mill

There’s already some chatter among scouts about how the top picks may play out. It’s early and decisions haven’t been made yet, but I bet you’re going to hear some of these things all the way up until draft day.

Arizona at #1 is a giant wildcard. Teams don’t know where they’re leaning, what they value, what their strategy is or even who in their front office is actually going to make the pick. Brendan Rodgers has had a solid spring and held serve at #1 in a weak year, so that’s the presumptive pick, but it’s nowhere near a done deal. At one point early in the spring, LHP Kolby Allard (since injured), LHP Nate Kirby (performance has slipped considerably) and CF Daz Cameron (still polarizing) were thought to be the players along with Rodgers that were in the mix for Arizona, per multiple sources, but that can’t be the case at this point.

Houston appears to be focused on the consensus top three prospects — Rodgers, Dillon Tate, and Dansby Swanson — as their target at #2 overall, though that shouldn’t be seen as surprising since the whole industry would be doing the same thing with that pick. With a dropoff after those three, Houston has the leverage to pit two players against each other to make sure they get a signable players with the compensatory pick from the Brady Aiken fiasco. At #5, Houston has been tied to Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron, who they’ve both been scouting heavily, but it’s too early to think even Houston knows who they’re taking at that pick.

Colorado only drafts pitchers that sink the ball with their high picks, so Carson Fulmer and Kyle Funkhouser make more sense for them at #3 than Tate or Mike Nikorak. There was a nutty rumor a few weeks ago that Texas was eyeing Georgia prep LF Chad Smith at #4 overall, but he’s more of a target in round two.

– At #7 Boston, has been subject to a number of strong rumors, which is also helped by their GM being spotted on ESPNU watching Carson Fulmer and Dansby Swanson last night. The strongest rumor on Boston this spring has been that their target is LSU shortstop Alex Bregman, who was a high school junior in New Mexico the year Boston drafted top prospect Blake Swihart from another New Mexico high school. Swihart and Bregman are friends and Boston drafted Bregman the next year, but a knee injury made it hard for them to meet his price.

Bregman would surely draw lazy comparisons from everyone, everywhere to Dustin Pedroia, since he’s a gritty, short, high-energy, white middle infielder, but this draft class has fallen apart so badly that it now isn’t likely that Bregman makes it to #7. Boston has also been tied to Swanson and Tate, but those players likely don’t get to their pick either, which helps explain why Cherington was watching Fulmer last night. Fulmer was also drafted out of high school by the Red Sox in 2012 and the rumor is that they made a high-six to low-seven figure offer, but ultimately couldn’t meet his price. Fulmer should be available at #7 and has been tied to some clubs picking behind the Red Sox, like the White Sox at #8.

– There hasn’t been much specific team/player buzz I’ve been hearing outside of that, but this will surely pick up in the coming weeks. Given the weakness of this draft up top, there will be less consensus from team-to-team on the tops of their boards. Because the current draft system incentivizes teams to save money when all else is equal, scouts foresee a lot of 1st round picks that are seen as 2nd round values and sign for well-below-slot.

– Lastly, he’s still waiting for a ruling and I still think he’ll be declared an international player and soon, but SS Lucius Fox would be high on the prep bat list in the supplemental to 2nd round group if he’s declared draft eligible. More on Fox here.

 

1. Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary HS (FL), Florida State commit Video: Rodgers has been seen a ton, standing out early in his high school career and going to tons of events where he faced top pitching with a wood bat. He developed physically last summer and now has plus bat speed and raw power, though his power plays closer to average in games. He’s an average runner with a plus arm and some scouts see a lack of the loose, flashy actions and say he isn’t a shortstop, but some scouts literally haven’t seen him misplay a ball in dozens of games over the last few years, so that opinion is becoming less popular. He’s struggled at times against crappy prep pitching this spring, but has performed everywhere that matters in a predictive sense and has been hitting for power all spring. He isn’t the strongest #1 pick in recent years, but he’s still the clear choice for me at this point.

2. Dillon Tate, RHP, UC Santa Barbara Video: Tate was a reliever getting into the mid-90’s last spring after a low-profile high school career, then he got famous last summer for Team USA when he hit 99 mph along with a 65 slider, though he tired late in the summer. He was supposed to relieve this year until an injury just before opening day gave him a rotation spot (for the first time in his career) that he hasn’t given up since. He sits in the mid 90’s with heavy life, a plus slider and at least an average changeup. Tate is super loose and athletic but only 6’1 or 6’2 and there’s enough effort to the delivery and general crudeness that some scouts say he’s still a reliever (I don’t), but either way, it’s among the best balls of clay a development staff could receive.

3. Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt Video: Swanson was an advanced defender with a light bat in high school, then played second base his first two years at Vanderbilt and over the summers. Scouts got their first recent look at him playing short this spring and it still works. Swanson is a plus runner with fringy raw power and a strong 6’1/190 frame. He’s a contact hitter with more 10-13 homer power that wears out the gaps and would be a nice 6th-10th overall pick most years, but a high probability shortstop with some ceiling is hard to ignore in this draft.

4. Alex Bregman, SS, LSU Video: Some scouts see the 6’0/185 Bregman field grounders and say he’s a second baseman. I’ve seen him a lot the last three years and his unique approach to defense–charge everything and never slow down–works for him and I think it’ll work in the big leagues. He has 12-15 homer power in games, advanced feel for contact and average to above speed along with all the gritty makeup stuff you could ask for. He nearly signed out of high school if not for an ACL tear and toyed with the idea of catching then, though that probably won’t happen now.

5. Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt Video: I’m the high guy on Fulmer, but I think teams are coming around on him. There’s some effort to the delivery, but he’s never been hurt, goes deep in games, has succeeded hugely as a starter and reliever at the highest amateur levels, is hyper-aggressive and strong-bodied. At his best, Fulmer sits 92-96 and hits 97 mph with life, an above average to plus hook and an above average changeup. If the starting thing doesn’t work out, he’s a closer that could be big league ready in no time, where some scouts think his delivery and approach fit best, while other see Sonny Gray. If I’m betting on someone in this draft class to succeed more than the industry consensus, I’m rolling with the dude that’s never failed before, that’s never been hurt before, that has has plus stuff and that has performed everywhere, delivery and height be damned.

6. Kyle Tucker, RF, Plant HS (FL), Florida commit: Tucker has one the prettiest swing many scouts have ever seen, with comparisons to Ted Williams, Daryl Strawberry and Ken Griffey, mechanically-speaking. Tucker is 6’4/190 with fringy speed, a solid average arm, plus current raw power and more coming along with the effortless all-fields ease to his swing that scouts are looking for. Some are turned off by Tucker’s low energy approach to the games while others see his confident, laid-back demeanor will allow him to get through the grind of pro ball. Tucker can also get passive at the plate and get opposite-field happy and slap at the ball, but he will also go through stretches where he looks like an unstoppable hitting machine, which has been happening more and more often down the stretch.

7. Ian Happ, RF, Cincinnati Video: Happ has been moving up and down in the 5-20 range for me all spring. He played shorstop as a freshman and second base two summers ago on the Cape, but has been a corner outfielder since. Some scouts think he can still play second or third and that makes his above average bat and power from both sides of the plate even more attractive.

8. Tyler Jay, LHP, Illinois Video: Jay has started one game in his college career, but has serious helium and should go right around here. He’s smallish (6’1/185), has some effort to his delivery and has no experience starting, but he’ll flash three 60-or-better pitches that dart all over the place and has been dealing this spring. When the draft class gives you lemons, you draft lefties with electric arms.

9. Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville Video: Funkhouser has been a plus fastball, above average to plus slider, average changeup, good enough command guy for a couple years, then he took a step forward last week (where the video is from). He sat 93-96 and hit 98 mph with more life and now has that #2/3 starter look if he can keep it up. Funkhouser has a bulldog’s 6’3/225 frame and approach, but had struggled with command at time earlier this spring, so that will be something to watch down the stretch.

10. Mike Nikorak, RHP, Stroudsburg HS (PA), Alabama commit Video: Nikorak was a revelation last summer as an unknown who hit 97 mph and flashed a plus curve from a 6’5/220 frame. His velo dipped later in the summer but he worked in a solid average changeup. Nikorak’s velo is back, sitting 93-96 and hitting 98 mph this spring, checking all the boxes for a projection prep arm with limited miles on the odometer.

11. Kolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente HS (CA), UCLA commit Video: Allard has lots of top-five pick momentum early in the spring, despite being a 5’10 or 5’11 prep lefty. He sits 90-93 and has been as high as 97 mph with a clean delivery, feel for a changeup and an above average to plus breaking ball. Allard is also very young for his class and some SoCal scouts saw shades of Brady Aiken when Allard hit 97 mph late last summer. He’s been out for weeks with a back injury and should throw before the draft, so he’ll go in the top 10 if everything is back to normal as expected.

12. Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt: I’m a little down on Buehler because of a skinny 6’1/175 frame that likely never fills out, his arm action is for hitters to follow, he has little plane to his stuff and little life on his fastball. That said, he sits 92-95 mph, with a 55 or 60 hook and a changeup that’s at least a 50. There’s some durability questions and the raw stuff may play down in games, but there’s plenty of arm talent to work with.

13. Kevin Newman, SS, Arizona Video: Newman has steadily been climbing the board this spring. He won two Cape batting titles but was seen as a solid average runner that fit best at second base entering the spring. For whatever reason, he’s now a plus runner that scouts think can stick at shortstop, so his contact bat now looks more attractive. He can’t really hit for power with his wide setup, but an everyday shortstop is enough that teams may not mess with it much.

14. Kyler Murray, SS, Allen HS (TX), Texas A&M (FB) commit: I wrote a lot about Murray in September and that’s all still true. He has at least 60 bat speed and 70 or 80 foot speed, along with 50 raw power and the hands for the infield. He’s been a DH exclusively this spring due to shoulder impingement, which scouts were notified about during the first week of his season, with Dr. James Andrews advising on the decision. Murray takes grounders before most games, but doesn’t make throws on the field, sticking to his prescribed throwing program. Scouts like the way his hands work defensively, but obviously can’t make a final determination until they see more game reps and also like the bat speed and offensive potential, but he’s still pretty raw at the plate.

Murray has easy first round ability but the question marks put him in the middle of the round talent-wise. Delving into all the off-the-field stuff is a whole different animal with Murray. He’s the most famous amateur athlete in the state and arguably the top QB recruit in the country. His father Kevin played one season of pro baseball before going to Texas A&M to be a quarterback and the Brewers trying to get back some of his bonus in 1982 is what changed the language in pro contracts going forward. His uncle Calvin played in the big leagues and now works with Scott Boras. Calvin also worked with Pirates prospect Josh Bell, the so-called least signable player in the 2011 draft who, shockingly to many, signed with Pittsburgh for a $5 million bonus.

So, there’s some family history to wade through, some high-powered advisors, an injury, a complete lack of reps to judge his talent on the field, enticing ability, and the allure of his Texas football-fueled celebrity continuing at College Station. The belief among scouts is it will take multiple millions to even get Murray’s attention and the current CBA means that only a handful of teams could even do that, completely separate from their willingness to put most of their pool into one player and/or using a high pick on such a question mark whose dedication to baseball isn’t clear (and his father’s past doesn’t inspire confidence).

Scouts don’t think he will pass up football entirely, so it comes down to how much money you’ll give Murray to buy his baseball rights once/if he gives up football. Since he’s a smaller, mobile QB that isn’t the a top-of-the-NFL-Draft-type, there’s a real chance that could happen while Murray is still in his physical prime, so that should cost somewhere in the mid-six figures.

5/6/15 UPDATE: Murray has removed his name from the draft.

15. Nate Kirby, LHP, Virginia: Kirby had lots of top-5 hype as a lefty with above average to plus stuff and some feel, but he’s faded in the last few weeks and I saw him last week throwing average stuff with no conviction by the 3rd inning. I’d bet he goes around 10-12, but I’m worried his arm action makes him easy to time and he’s always had below average fastball command.

16. Daz Cameron, CF, Eagle’s Landing Christian HS (GA), Florida State commit Video: Son of Mike Cameron was hyped early in his high school career as a potential 1-1 but hasn’t made the expected progress since then. He’s an above average to plus runner with the same kind of bat speed and average raw power, but the game performances were only okay over the summer and he’s facing weak competition this spring. He could easily go in the top 5-10 picks, but some teams don’t like him in the top 20.

17. Garrett Whitley, CF, Niskayuna HS (NY), Wake Forest commit Video: The cold weather prospect got started late this spring and popped up late last summer, but he’s a chiseled 6’2/200 with 65 speed, 50 power and some feel to hit, so scouts don’t need to see much to be impressed and he’s performed well.

18. Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State Video: Harris has emerged this spring and is flashing four above average pitches and at least average command from a projectable frame, so he’s now securely in the 1st round. Here’s a recent report on Harris from Andrew Krause.

19. Nick Plummer, LF, Brother Rice HS (MI), Kentucky commit Video: Plummer is somewhat limited as a sub-6’0 high school left fielder from a cold-weather state, but has has plus bat speed, above average raw power, good performances against top pitching and the quick twitchiness that scouts like to see.

20. Trenton Clark, LF, Richland HS (TX), Texas Tech commit: Clark is a bit of a tweener that likely fits best in left field and has solid average raw power, but he’s ranked this high because he’s always hit and hit a ton.

21. Phil Bickford, RHP, Southern Nevada JC (NV) Video: Bickford is another wild card in this class that flashes top 10 ability some days, has more average stuff with less command on other days and some teams still don’t have a good feel for him as a person. He could go 10-15 spots higher or lower than this and is one of the more polarizing players in the class.

22. Cornelius Randolph, 3B, Griffin HS (GA), Clemson commit: Big lefty power bat has above average raw juice and has raked all spring, including two lasers off Tristin English’s 94 and 95 mph fastballs in a matchup earlier this month. Some think he fits at second base, some think third and some say left field, but a potential above average bat/power combo from the left side fits anywhere.

23. Cody Ponce, RHP, Cal Poly Pomona Video: Ponce faces weak competition in Division 2 and has been banged up a bit this spring, but he’s 6’5/235, has made progress this spring with his delivery and has huge stuff. On the Cape, he sat 94-97 mph in a short stint, but usually sits 90-95 mph with an above average to plus breaking ball and enough feel to start.

24. Michael Matuella, RHP, Duke Video: Matuella is the second-biggest question mark in the draft behind Aiken. He’s had a number of starts and stops and medical dings since he started throwing in the mid-90’s two falls ago. His back issue seems like a small or non factor at this point and the Tommy John surgery should go fine, but many scouts haven’t seen peak Matuella yet, because he hasn’t thrown more than about 30-40 innings at a time without getting hurt. He has top three overall talent, but scouts don’t have a ton of conviction about him.

25. Chris Betts, C, Wilson HS (CA), Tennessee commit: Betts has lost a lot of weight this spring and scouts give him a better chance to stick behind the plate, with the same plus arm he showed when he was bigger. His above average raw power has backed up some, but his feel to hit from the left side is still there, so he should go comfortably in the 1st round.

26. D.J. Stewart, LF, Florida State Video: Stewart has been scouted for awhile in the middle of the Noles lineup and has easy to identify tools: above average power from the left side, a very patient approach, feel to barrel the ball and surprising quickness for his stout frame. He’s a left fielder, the value is mostly from the bat and he has a weird deep crouch that he hits from, but also has a long track record.

27. Brady Aiken, LHP, IMG Post-Grad (FL) Video: Aiken is a massive question mark at this point. He has that #1 overall ability in him and he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery, so many fans just assume he’ll go from a top 3 pick to a top 10-15 pick and that’s that. There is persistent, consistent and detailed buzz coming from many sources that there is more to Aiken’s injury than just a clean surgery like Erick Fedde, Jeff Hoffman or Lucas Giolito from recent years

I won’t repeat the specific rumors, but the worst versions of it say there are career-threatening issues at play, while others say it’s merely an increased risk of further injury going forward.  All 30 teams will get Aiken’s medical before the draft, the details will likely leak to the media and the answers that no one has at this point will come out before decisions have to be made. Either these rumors are bunk and Aiken will go 7th-10th overall as some expect, or he’ll get taken off a bunch of draft boards altogether and I’ll be forced to rank him somewhere around 40, with no telling where he’ll go or how much money he’ll get. I decided to split the difference and put him him in between those two possible scenarios.

28. Austin Smith, RHP, Park Vista HS (FL), Florida Atlantic commit Video: Smooth 6’4/215 righty has one of the cleaner arms in the class and his velo has been trending up, sitting 92-95 and hitting 96 mph recently. He doesn’t have much projection and the changeup/command are coming along, but the athleticism, frame, arm action, velo and above average breaking ball are all in place.

29. Beau Burrows, RHP, Weatherford HS (TX), Texas A&M commit Video: One of the more consistent prep arms in the class hit 98 mph early in the spring but has settled a bit lower. Scouts love the athleticism, makeup and consistency, the above average breaking ball is there, the changeup shows up at times but he could still have more feel to pitch. I’ve never loved how much he tilts his torso at release, but he makes it work for him.

30. Justin Hooper, LHP, De La Salle HS (CA), UCLA commit Video: He could finish strong and go in the top 10 or drop a ton if he fades and becomes unsignable. Hooper was brutal early this season, then hit 97 mph with some strikes last week. The upside is huge: 6’7/230 lefty up to 97 mph with above average breaking ball and has flashes above average changeup, but command and consistency are big issues.

31. Ashe Russell, RHP, Cathedral HS (IN), Texas A&M commit Video: Well-known from the showcase circuit and now flashing his peak stuff again, hitting 97 mph this week after showing 88-93 earlier in the spring. The delivery isn’t pretty, but he’s 6’4, has a plus fastball, above average to plus hook and some starter traits.

32. Alex Young, LHP, TCU Video: Young jumped out in a standout Cape performance last summer, then struggled early this spring. He’s simplified his repertoire by dropping his curveball, allowing his 88-93 mph fastball, plus slider and average changeup to play as a potentially quick-moving 4th starter with at least average command.

33. Tyler Stephenson, C, Kennesaw Mountain HS (GA), Georgia Tech commit: Late riser wasn’t on the showcase circuit much but has risen due to some Matt Wieters to his game. One scout said he has “an 80 frame” at 6’4/210 with an easy plus arm, tools to stick behind the plate, above average to plus bat speed and raw power along with more contact than expected this spring.

34. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX), Tennessee commit: Son of Charlie Hayes has blossomed this spring, with more life to the frame, a plus arm, above average power projection and lots of hard contact in games.

35. Dakota Chalmers, RHP, North Forsyth HS (GA), Georgia commit Video: Pop-up arm last October in Jupiter has flashed high 1st round stuff this spring, working 93-95 and hitting 98 mph at his best, but more comfortably at 90-93, hitting 95. He has projection at 6’3/185, a 55 or 60 curveball and has worked in a 55 changeup, but he’s still growing into his delivery.

36. James Kaprelian, RHP, UCLA Video: Enigmatic pitcher will pitch 90-92 mph, throwing too many solid average curveballs and look like a reliever at times, then will work 93-95 mph early in games with an above average to plus curveball at times. The changeup and command still come and go, but the peak stuff is hard to ignore if he can keep doing that.

 

Supplemental 1st & 2nd Round (45 players for 39 picks, ranked 37th through 81st)

The bottoms of these lists, particularly the longer lists, likely slide more into the early 3rd round, but a number of prep players will price themselves too high and either slider to later rounds to get paid or head to college. This list and the next one are in my order of preference, so you could sub in a guy that’s high in the next group for a guy low in this group.

College Pitchers (7)

Kyle Cody, RHP, Kentucky

Josh Staumont, RHP, Azusa Pacific Video

Thomas Eshleman, RHP, Cal State Fullerton Video

Riley Ferrell, RHP, TCU Video

Brandon Koch, RHP, Dallas Baptist

Andrew Suarez, LHP, Miami (FL) Video

Justin Garza, RHP, Cal State Fullerton Video

College Position Players (13)

Andrew Benintendi, CF, Arkansas

Richie Martin, SS, Florida

Donnie Dewees, CF, North Florida Video

Blake Trahan, SS, Louisiana Lafayette Video

Scott Kingery, 2B, Arizona

Chris Shaw, 1B, Boston College

Kyle Holder, SS, San Diego

Joe McCarthy, RF, Virginia

Harrison Bader, CF, Florida

Taylor Ward, C, Fresno State Video

Gio Brusa, LF, Pacific

Isiah Gilliam, LF, Chipola JC (FL)

Christin Stewart, LF, Tennessee Video

High School Pitchers (14)

Brady Singer, RHP, Eustis HS (FL), Florida commit

Donny Everett, RHP, Clarksville HS (TN), Vanderbilt commit

Juan Hillman, LHP, Olympia HS (FL), UCF commit

Tristan Beck, RHP, Corona HS (CA), Stanford commit Video

Cole Sands, RHP, North Florida Christian HS (FL), Florida State commit

Chandler Day, RHP, Watkins HS (OH), Vanderbilt commit

Brendon Little, LHP, Conestoga HS (PA), North Carolina commit

Luken Baker, RHP, Oak Ridge HS (TX), TCU commit Video

Jonas Wyatt, RHP, Quartz Hill HS (CA), San Diego State commit

Triston McKenzie, RHP, Royal Palm Beach HS (FL), Vanderbilt commit Video

Peter Lambert, RHP, San Dimas HS (CA), UCLA commit Video

Antonio Santillan, RHP, Seguin HS (TX), Texas Tech commit

Jacob Nix, RHP, IMG Post-Grad (FL)

Jake Woodford, RHP, Plant HS (FL), Florida commit

High School Position Players (11)

Eric Jenkins, CF, West Columbus HS (NC), UNC Wilmington commit

Jalen Miller, SS, Riverwood HS (GA), Clemson commit

Bryce Denton, RF, Ravenwood HS (TN), Vanderbilt commit

Demi Orimoloye, RF, St. Matthew HS (CAN), Oregon commit Video

Mitchell Hansen, LF, Plano HS (TX), Stanford commit

Alonzo Jones, CF, Columbus HS (GA), Vanderbilt commit Video

Chad Smith, LF, South Gwinnett HS (GA), Georgia commit

Tyler Nevin, 3B, Poway HS (CA), UCLA commit

Kep Brown, LF, Wando HS (SC), Miami (FL) commit Video

Jahmai Jones, 2B, Wesleyan HS (GA), North Carolina commit Video

Josh Naylor, 1B, St. Joan of Arc HS (CAN), Texas Tech commit

 

3rd Round (45 players for 30 picks, ranked 82nd through 126th)

The bottoms of each of these lists are more 4th round talents, so this is intentionally more of a 3rd and first half of the 4th round list, since I can’t help myself. A half dozen or more of these high school players will end up heading to college and some others from the prep lists will sign for over-slot bonuses in later rounds. Fenter is a player known to have demands higher than this area of the draft, so he’s expected to go to college.

College Pitchers (9)

Ryan Burr, RHP, Arizona State

Mitch Traver, RHP, TCU

Ryan Kellogg, LHP, Arizona State

Travis Bergen, LHP, Kennesaw State

Mac Marshall, LHP, Chipola JC (FL)

Tanner Rainey, RHP, West Alabama

David Hill, RHP, San Diego

Jeff Degano, LHP, Indiana State

Jake Lemoine, RHP, Houston Video

College Position Players (12)

Mikey White, SS, Alabama

Andrew Stevenson, CF, LSU

Mark Mathias, 2B, Cal Poly

Skye Bolt, CF, North Carolina

Kevin Kramer, 2B, UCLA Video

Jose Vizcaino, Jr., SS, Santa Clara

Rhett Wiseman, RF, Vanderbilt

David Fletcher, SS, Loyola Marymount

David Thompson, LF, Miami (FL)

Kal Simmons, SS, Kennesaw State

Edwin Rios, 2B, Florida International

Brandon Sanger, LF, Florida Atlantic

High School Pitchers (14)

Tristin English, RHP, Pike County HS (GA), Georgia Tech commit

Gray Fenter, RHP, West Memphis HS (AR), Mississippi State commit

Drew Finley, RHP, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA), USC commit Video

Nolan Watson, RHP, Lawrence North HS (IN), Vanderbilt commit

Mike Soroka, RHP, Bishop Carroll HS (CAN), California commit

Dylan Thompson, RHP, Socastee HS (SC), Coastal Carolina commit Video

Jackson Kowar, RHP, Charlotte Christian HS (GA), Clemson commit

Nick Neidert, RHP, Peachtree Ridge HS (GA), South Carolina commit Video

Bryan Hudson, LHP, Alton HS (IL), Missouri commit

Luke Shilling, RHP, Notre Dame Prep HS (MI), Illinois commit

Garrett Davila, LHP, South Point HS (NC), Tennessee commit

Austin Riley, RHP/3B, DeSoto Central HS (MS), Mississippi State commit

Jared Padgett, LHP, Graceville HS (FL), Mississippi State commit

Cole McKay, RHP, Smithson Valley HS (TX), LSU commit

High School Position Players (10)

Trey Cabbage, 3B, Grainger HS (TN), Tennessee commit

Ryan Karstetter, SS, IMG Academy HS (FL), Virginia commit

Cadyn Grenier, SS, Bishop Gorman HS (NV), Oregon State Video

Jonathan India, SS, American Heritage Delray HS (FL), Florida commit Video

Lucas Herbert, C, San Clemente HS (CA), UCLA commit

Nick Shumpert, SS, Highlands Ranch HS (CO), Kentucky commit Video

Doak Dozier, CF, Arlington Heights HS (TX), Virginia commit

Kolton Kendrick, 1B, Oak Forest HS (LA), Southeastern Louisiana commit

Ryan Mountcastle, LF, Hagerty HS (FL), UCF commit

My list of other players to watch could go on for much longer than this, so instead of simply trying to name everyone that might go in the top 5 rounds in June, I’ll tell you some archetypes (listed in no particular order) of the players that just missed this list, with some examples and lots of examples on the college side:

More High School Players (72)

Projectable Pitchers (12): RHP Nolan Kingham (NV, Texas), RHP Justin Maese (TX, Texas Tech), RHP Alexis Diaz (PR, None), LHP Max Wotell (NC, Arizona), LHP Hunter Bowling (FL, Florida), RHP Nick Lee (LA, Louisiana Lafayette), RHP Bryan Hoeing (IN, Louisville), LHP Daniel Tillo (IA, None), RHP Matthew McGarry (CA, Vanderbilt), RHP Hector Moreta (FL, None) RHP Sam Bordner (OH, Louisville) and LHP Adam Wolf (OH, Louisville)

Polished Pitchers (23): LHP Patrick Sandoval (CA, USC), LHP Thomas Szapucki (FL, Florida), RHP Wesley Rodriguez (NY, Pittsburgh), RHP Jordan Hicks (TX, Tulane), LHP Nick Sprengel (CA, San Diego), RHP Ryan Madden (CO, Oklahoma), RHP Joe DeMers (CA, Washington), RHP Parker McFadden (WA, Washington State), RHP Ian Kahaloa (HI, Hawaii), RHP Cody Mobley (IN, Evansville), RHP Evan Sperling (VA, Virginia), RHP Chris Andritsos (TX, Oklahoma), RHP Karsen Lindell (OR, Washington), RHP Colton Eastman (CA, Fullerton), RHP Javier Medina (AZ, Arizona), LHP Michael Zimmermann (FL, Florida), RHP Tanner Dodson (CA, California), RHP Anthony Guardado (CA, Long Beach State), RHP Kyle Molnar (CA, UCLA), LHP Shane McClanahan (FL, USF), RHP Jiovanni Orozco (AZ, Arizona) and LHP Logan Allen (FL, South Carolina)

Big Raw Power, Not Enough Contact (9): LF Daniel Reyes (FL, Florida), LF Greg Pickett (CO, Mississippi State), 1B Devin Davis (CA, Loyola Marymount), C/1B Joe Davis (TX, Houston), CF Dayton Dugas (LA, Wichita State), RF Ryan Johnson (TX, TCU), LF Kyle Dean (CA, BYU), LF Chris Chatfield (FL, USF) and 1B Tyrone Perry (FL, Florida State)

Up-The-Middle Position with Offensive Questions (13): C Garrett Wolforth (TX, Dallas Baptist), CF Isaiah White (NC, East Carolina), CF Blake Perkins (AZ, Arizona State), C Joey Bart (GA, Georgia Tech), C Justin Cohen (FL, Florida State), CF D.J. Wilson (OH, Vanderbilt), C Caleb Raleigh (NC, Clemson), CF Marquise Doherty (MO, Missouri), C Elih Marrero (C, Mississippi State), C Carlos Salazar (AZ, Arizona), C Nick Fortes (FL, Ole Miss), SS Nick Madrigal (CA, Oregon State) and CF Tyler Williams (AZ, Arizona State)

Solid All-Around Position Player (15): 1B Desmond Lindsay (FL, North Carolina), SS Travis Blankenhorn (PA, Kentucky), CF Reggie Pruitt (GA, Vanderbilt), RF Jason Heinrich (FL, UCF), 3B L.T. Tolbert (FL, South Carolina), 3B John Aiello (NJ, Wake Forest), CF Miles Gordon (CAN, San Francisco), RF Matt Vierling (MO, Notre Dame), 3B Zack Kone (FL, Duke), CF Kevin Collard (CA, San Diego), CF Ryan McKenna (NH, Liberty), 2B Ethan Paul (WA, Vanderbilt), 3B Matt Kroon (AZ, Oregon), 3B Brendon Davis (CA, Fullerton) and 3B Julian Infante (FL, Vanderbilt)

More College Players (135)

Potential Pro Starting Pitchers (23): RHP Marcus Brakeman (Stanford), LHP Kevin Duchene (Illinois), RHP Grayson Long (Texas A&M), RHP Kolton Mahoney (BYU), LHP Brett Lilek (Arizona State), LHP Jack Wynkoop (South Carolina), LHP Cole Irvin (Oregon), LHP Michael Boyle (Radford), RHP Jackson McClelland (Pepperdine), RHP Johnny Piedmonte (North Carolina State), RHP Brock Hartson (UT San Antonio), RHP Michael Murray (Florida Gulf Coast), LHP Justin Jacome (UC Santa Barbara), RHP Andrew Sopko (Gonzaga), LHP Brandon Waddell (Virginia), RHP Andrew Moore (Oregon State), LHP Kyle Twomey (USC), RHP Jordan Hillyer (Kennesaw State), RHP Dustin Hersey (St. John’s River JC in FL), RHP Taylor Cockrell (State College JC in FL), RHP Chase Ingram (Hillsborough JC in FL), RHP Scott Effross (Indiana) and LHP Zack Erwin (Clemson)

Likely Pro Relievers (28): LHP Alex Robinson (Maryland), RHP Kyle Wilcox (Bryant), RHP Josh Sborz (Virginia), RHP Cody Poteet (UCLA), LHP Phil Pfeifer (Vanderbilt), RHP Travis Lakins (Ohio State), RHP Blake Hickman (Iowa), RHP Nolan Long (Wagner), RHP Koda Glover (Oklahoma State), RHP Patrick Weigel (Houston), LHP Garrett Cleavinger (Oregon), LHP Jake Drossner (Maryland), RHP Ian Gibault (Tulane), RHP Drew Smith (Dallas Baptist), RHP Cory Taylor (Dallas Baptist), RHP Kyle Davis (USC), RHP Jacob Cronenworth (Michigan), RHP David Berg (UCLA), RHP Jake Kelzer (Indiana), RHP Breckin Williams (Missouri), RHP Jimmy Herget (USF), RHP Trevor Megill (Loyola Marymount), RHP Junior Harding (Chipola JC in FL), RHP Taylor Lewis (Florida), RHP Seth McGarry (Florida Atlantic), RHP Taylor Clarke (Charleston), RHP Jameis Winston (Florida State) and RHP Chandler Eden (Yavapai JC in AZ, Texas Tech commit)

Injury/Command Questions (11): RHP Jon Duplantier (Rice), RHP Mitchell Tripp (UCF), RHP Eric Hanhold (Florida), RHP Trey Killian (Arkansas), RHP Tyler Ferguson (Vanderbilt), LHP Tyler Alexander (TCU), LHP A.J. Minter (Texas A&M), LHP Tyler Stubblefield (Texas A&M), RHP Trey Wingenter (Auburn), RHP Reilly Hovis (North Carolina) and RHP Trent Thornton (North Carolina)

Junior College/Small School Spring Pop-Up Guy (4): LHP Chase Mullins (Shelton State JC in AL), RHP Scooter Hightower (Columbia State JC in TN), Jacob Taylor (Pearl River JC in MS, LSU commit) and RHP Mariano Rivera, Jr. (Iona)

Senior Sign Starting Pitchers (7): RHP Benton Moss (North Carolina), LHP Taylor Guilbeau (Alabama), RHP Preston Morrison (TCU), RHP Jordan Ramsey (UNC Wilmington), RHP Andrew Istler (Duke), RHP Casey Mulholland (USF) and RHP Colin Welmon (Loyola Marymount)

Senior Sign Position Players (20): 1B Austin Byler (Nevada), 2B Jared Foster (LSU), C Garrett Stubbs (USC), C Garrett Kennedy (Miami), 3B Ian Sagdal (Washington State), RF Steven Pallares (San Diego State), CF Jake Fincher (North Carolina State), 1B Kyle Martin (South Carolina), 2B Logan Ratledge (North Carolina State), RF/RHP Ashton Perritt (Liberty), C Gage Green (Oklahoma State), CF Cody Jones (TCU), 1B Collin Ferguson (St. Mary’s), SS Blake Allemand (Texas A&M), 3B Conner Hale (LSU), 2B Dante Flores (USC), C Kade Scivicque (LSU), 3B Josh Tobias (Florida), 3B Kenny Towns (Virginia) and 2B Dylan Moore (UCF)

Big Power, Questions About Contact (10): 1B Brian Mundell (Cal Poly), C/1B Austin Allen (Florida Tech), 1B Luke Lowery (East Carolina), C/1B Chris Chinea (LSU), 3B Jose Cuas (Maryland), C/3B/1B Carl Wise (Charleston), 3B George Iskenderian (Miami), 1B Brad Zunica (State College JC in FL), 1B Willie Calhoun (Yavapai JC in AZ) and 1B R.J. Ybarra (Arizona State)

Big Tools, Questions About Performance (7): CF Steven Duggar (Clemson), CF Kyri Washington (Longwood), SS Drew Jackson (Stanford), RF Sam Gillikin (Auburn), RF Jaylin Davis (Appalachian State), CF Vincent Jackson (Tennessee) and SS C.J. Hinojosa (Texas)

Solid All-Around Position Player (20): C Austin Rei (Washington), CF Ben Johnson (Texas), CF Tate Matheny (Missouri State), 2B Brandon Lowe (Maryland), CF Johnny Sewald (Arizona State), LF Casey Hughston (Alabama), 2B Max Schrock (South Carolina), 3B Brenden Overton (Hillsborough JC in FL), SS Donnie Walton (Oklahoma State), 3B Travis Maezes (Michigan), 3B Garrett Benge (Cowley County JC in KS), 3B Ty France (San Diego State), 3B Paul DeJong (Illinois State), 3B Christian Williams (Gulf Coast JC in FL), RF Anderson Miller (Western Kentucky), RF/RHP Conor Costello (Oklahoma State), 2B Kyle Overstreet (Alabama), 3B Xavier Turner (Vanderbilt), 3B Daniel Pinero (Virginia) and 3B Mitchell Tolman (Oregon)

Up-The-Middle, Defense-First Position Player (7): SS Tyler Krieger (Clemson), CF Cam Gibson (Michigan State), CF Mark Laird (LSU), CF Kyle Survance (Houston), CF Jeff Hendrix (Oregon State), CF Todd Isaacs (Palm Beach JC in FL) and CF Braden Bishop (Washington)



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Kiley McDaniel has worked in the scouting departments of the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates and has written for ESPN, among other outlets. Follow him on twitter for real-time thoughts on the players he’s seeing and hacky attempts at humor.


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buctober 2015
Guest
buctober 2015
1 year 1 month ago

Though i know itll never happen, id love for Happ to slide down to Pittsburgh and be the new Pittsburgh Kid when Walker inevitably leaves one way or another. Plus he kind of reminds me of another former Bearcat, Josh Harrison

Brian
Guest
Brian
1 year 1 month ago

Ian Happ hit 2 homeruns off of Fifth Third arena the other day against Memphis. The kid is crazy talented.

buctober 2015
Guest
buctober 2015
1 year 1 month ago

I actually played on his HS team for a couple of years. The kid is nasty with a boatload of talent

Brian
Guest
Brian
1 year 1 month ago

Cincinnati is an up and coming baseball program (I hope) and a fantastic school, but how did a kid from PA with his talent end up at UC? Curious, do you know anything about his decision?

Dave
Guest
Dave
1 year 1 month ago

This is to Brian- Western PA isn’t exactly a hot bed of talent, so it’s really Big 10/MAC/Old Big East that recruits the area. He was a big star around here, but I don’t think any major schools paid him any mind. I don’t even recall if Pitt offered him. He was 5’11” and skinny, IIRC.

M W
Guest
M W
1 year 1 month ago

Why does Pittsburgh need to keep Cincinnati grown players?

Dave
Guest
Dave
1 year 1 month ago

Happ is from Pittsburgh and went to high school at Mt. Lebanon.

vslyke
Member
1 year 1 month ago

Wow, this article has so much more content than I expected. Thanks again Kiley for all the work that went into this.

Balthazar
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

Seconded. Deep content, and solid concise skill and tool remarks. The kind of post to wile away an afternoon over. Thanks for the hard work KMcD.

2014 National Champions
Guest
2014 National Champions
1 year 1 month ago

You are the man, Kiley. Thanks for continually providing us with so much great content. It sure seems like Vanderbilt fans will need to be paying attention to their signees once they get drafted and as that deadline to sign picks approaches because boy that is an awful lot of Vandy commits/signees listed. For years, we seemed to be able to expect our entire class to show up with maybe one or two choosing to go pro (Ryan Westmoreland, Shawon Dunston Jr and Kyle Waldrop come to mind) every few years but now it seems we are recruiting at a level where everyone in the class could be considered a draft risk. I saw Donny Everett pitch at Vandy’s stadium a few weeks ago and boy I left that game knowing I will never see Mr. Everett in a VU uniform because he was absolutely lighting up the radar guns around me. Here’s hoping many of these stellar VU recruits make their way to campus. Thankfully the deadline to sign picks is earlier than it used to be so we won’t have to be on pins and needles all summer long!

IMW
Guest
IMW
1 year 1 month ago

Kiley, will you be my best friend?

Joseph
Guest
Joseph
1 year 1 month ago

WHEN IS THE NEXT LIST DROPPING? GIMME GIMME GIMME MORE LISTS. RANK MY LIFE.

On a serious note great work man. We’ll enjoy it until a team inevitably hires you.

Jimmer
Guest
Jimmer
1 year 1 month ago

He’s already worked for at least one team before he chose to come here. I’m guessing that if he wanted to work full time for a team, he’d already be doing that.

Travis Lincoln
Guest
Travis Lincoln
1 year 1 month ago

What are your thoughts on Bubba Derby out of San Diego St?

IMW
Guest
IMW
1 year 1 month ago

I think that’s one of the greatest names ever.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

Along with J. Dansby Swanson!

Martin
Guest
Martin
1 year 1 month ago

Is it pronounced liked Derby (ala Kentucky Derby) or like the European rivalry variation (Darby)?

Lamp
Guest
Lamp
1 year 1 month ago

Kiley – What are the chances the Rangers take someone like Kyler Murray at 1.4 with very little intent to sign him? This draft class looks so barren at the top compared to 2016…would getting 1.4 next year be a reasonable plan?

SecondHandStore
Guest
SecondHandStore
1 year 1 month ago

No team would do that. Even in a poor draft class, the top talent is still good. Besides that, they’d lose the ability to spend the money associated with that pick. That would affect their entire draft.

Kyle
Guest
Kyle
1 year 1 month ago

Wow I did not expect Burrows, Hooper, Akin, Michael Matuella, Garrett Wolforth or, Ashe Russell would be that low.
I personally was hoping for the Angels to draft Kyle Tucker although, that was based off of me seeing him ranked in the vicinity of 30 on several older lists. I would not mind seeing the Angels take a risk with Akin or try to sign Hooper if he fell that low, although with Hooper, he would likely be a very tough sign.

Dave
Guest
Dave
1 year 1 month ago

Kiley, is there any buzz around Jimmy Herget from USF? He’s having his worst college season- 2.65 ERA and 72 Ks in 57 innings. The ERA is up, but so is the K rate. He’s 6’3″ and super-skinny. I’ll grant that he’s a little on the old side, but I’ll be surprised if he isn’t a top-10 round pick.

Craig
Guest
Craig
1 year 1 month ago

Christin Stewart is listed as #27 and also as a comp / 2nd rounder.

Craig
Guest
Craig
1 year 1 month ago

Never mind. I am an idiot.

furtigan
Guest
furtigan
1 year 1 month ago

Kiley – Is Brandon Lowe that much of a non-prospect? Cold-weather college 2B, I know, but dude hits it on the screws three times a night, every night.

Lurking Draft Pulse Observer
Guest
Lurking Draft Pulse Observer
1 year 1 month ago

Interested what the buzz is nationally on Brandon Moore. He’s been a continual statistical performer who pops up when you run some current stats.

Lurking Draft Pulse Observer
Guest
Lurking Draft Pulse Observer
1 year 1 month ago

…Brandon Lowe…Apologies.

Klimt
Member
Klimt
1 year 1 month ago

Why is Jameis Winston on this list? No NFL team would let him pitch and his hitting is at a high school level.

Sorry for the hit and run comment, but its obvious a ton of good work went into this and Winston’s inclusion seems like an oversight from rough drafts.

E-Dub
Guest
E-Dub
1 year 1 month ago

Dang, Kiley. This is a great stab at making sense of this slippery draft. Everyone is pretty much where I’d expect them to be at this point, from your Fulmer and Tucker love (I agree, so you MUST be right) to Ke’Bryan Hayes’ rise. Kudos to you for not falling for a gaudy strikeout game and overrating Drew Finley (unlike a certain colleague of yours).

Does Kept Brown’s position take into account the achilles injury? Peter Lambert is my favorite of the polished prep righties. Any idea what slot he needs to go pro?

Dan
Guest
Dan
1 year 1 month ago

Possible college oversights (or maybe you just don’t like them?):

Matt Rose
Paul DeJong

Capt. Clutch
Member
Capt. Clutch
1 year 1 month ago

Hey Kiley, would Joe McCarthy have ranked higher if not for the back injury this year?

Goldsteins dumb fedora
Guest
Goldsteins dumb fedora
1 year 1 month ago

Ive followed Chris Andritsos for the past 3 seasons. Im surprised the pub on him seems so small. Is he maxed out physically? Big kid who has 3 pitches… a change up I know that has flashed plus.

Goldsteins dumb fedora
Guest
Goldsteins dumb fedora
1 year 1 month ago

Garrett Wolforth the catcher at Concordia Lutheran with Hayes has stood out behind the plate for me as well. I didnt realize he was now a draftable senior until a few weeks ago.

nick
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

Who are the Indians looking at ? Is casey Schroeder catcher at Polk CC worth going after in the 12 round ?

Lurking Draft Pulse Observer
Guest
Lurking Draft Pulse Observer
1 year 1 month ago

The kid from Ohio?

SKT
Guest
SKT
1 year 1 month ago

Any thoughts on Cole Bauml? Canadian kid playing at Northern Kentucky.

Woah
Guest
Woah
1 year 1 month ago

That Dillon Tate leg kick doe.

Ian
Guest
Ian
1 year 1 month ago

Do we know who Casey Close represents in this draft and if there’s any linger issues with him and the Astros that might lead to the Astros not picking one of his guys?

Curtis
Guest
Curtis
1 year 1 month ago

Hey Kiley, great list. Anything on Cole Bauml out of NKU?? Putting up monster numbers. He got beaned last weekend on the thumb and is out for a couple weeks, but his numbers are as good and/or better than many on this list??

Lurking Draft Pulse Observer
Guest
Lurking Draft Pulse Observer
1 year 1 month ago

Fantastic content. Thank you very much for this hard work.

This is a pithy correction, so pardon me. Edwin Rios of Florida International isn’t a 2B, he’s a CIF. Maybe even a 1B/DH type more than someone who is movable in 1B and a LF spot.

Thanks again. Very deep list with a lot of names that seem to be in these respective mixes.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
1 year 1 month ago

It’s 3 prospects I didn’t see on here ,curious to know what you go on em if anything . Bakari Gayle , Tekwaan Whyte , Dexter Neal

Davis Allegan
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

Hello

stevie G
Guest
stevie G
1 year 5 days ago

No PJ Conlon, LHP, University of San Diego on any of your lists of college pitchers. Are you kidding me!!! 26-7 with a sub 3.00 ERA in 3 years of Division 1 baseball. I get it, he’s not 6’3″ and doesn’t throw mid 90’s. However, the last time I watched this game it was about pitchers being able to get hitters out. Lets see, 60 hits allowed in 90+ innings this year. He is better than 2/3’s of the pitchers on your list, no disrespect to any of them, just to your ignorance.

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