The Final Mock Draft

The normal caveats apply. What follows represents a series of educated guesses. Crazy rumors were flying all over the board last night and early today. This may or may not prove I’m an idiot and/or this whole process is stupid. I opted to leave the embedded videos out of this mock, but for video on every player mentioned, tool grades and all kinds of other info, see the Sortable Draft Board.

1. D’Backs – Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt

I’m told this will be the pick, but there was discussion of Tyler Stephenson, Garrett Whitley and Tyler Jay as recently as yesterday.

2. Astros – Alex Bregman, SS, LSU

This one is still a toss-up between Bregman and Rodgers, with an outside shot of a target from 5 going here to save money to pay Daz Cameron at 37.

3. Rockies – Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary HS (FL)

Rodgers or Jay would be the pick here and Rodgers would stop at 4 if Jay goes 3rd. Harder for Colorado to pass on the shortstop here.

4. Rangers – Trenton Clark, CF, Richland HS (TX)

I’ve heard some very positive buzz on Clark to the point that I slid him up my board a couple spots. Texas has been a mystery all spring; other than taking Rodgers if he gets here, no one knows who Texas actually likes. I’m told it’s Clark and that he won’t get past the Cubs at 9 if Texas passes. Clark has been a hot name the last few weeks, with private workouts for the D’Backs, Rangers, Twins, Cubs and Rays, with three of those teams having their GMs at the workout. Texas likes Tate as an option here and would likely take Bregman if he’s here.

5. Astros – Kyle Tucker, RF, Plant HS (FL)

Latest buzz was Tucker over Cameron and Benintendi for this pick, but this pick has the widest group of names tied to it, and, by extension, the 2nd pick could accordingly go counter to expectations.

There have been all kinds of rumors flying about this pick and how it impacts Houston’s plans for their later picks. Daz Cameron has been a target of the Astros all spring and he’s by far the most likely of the top tier of players to slide a long way down the board. A couple teams told me they’re scared to take him since he could blow up their whole draft if he doesn’t sign, even though no one thinks he wants to go to school.

I’m told that Cameron’s adviser wasn’t shopping his name in the last few days, suggesting the landing spots are already in place (likely 5, 7, 9 or 37). I’m told Brady Aiken also isn’t being shopped around, either, while Funkhouser and Randolph don’t seem to be as settled as Aiken on Cameron and are still looking for homes.

6. Twins – Dillon Tate, RHP, UC Santa Barbara

The Twins, Red Sox and Cubs are all threats to take Cameron and keep him from sliding all the way down to 37, but I have all three teams getting a target of theirs, making the Cameron question moot. Bregman and Tucker are the other names associated here. There’s a scenario where Tate slides all the way to 11, however unlikely.

7. Red Sox – Andrew Benintendi, CF, Arkansas

Fulmer, Tate and Jay all gets looks here, but teams picking around here think Boston goes with a bat.

8. White Sox – Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt

Chicago appears to like Fulmer as the best pitcher in the draft; I do, too, so they’re in good company.

9. Cubs – Tyler Jay, LHP, Illinois

Ian Happ has late momentum here after a private workout for the Cubs, but the pitcher they want falls into their laps here; Theo Epstein saw Jay pitch well recently after seeing another handful of pitchers with mediocre outings, like Kaprielian and Harris. People are tying the Cubs to a bat here and they’d take Clark, probably take Benintendi and are taking a long look at Happ, but the high level eyeballs have been on pitchers down the stretch.

10. Phillies – Tyler Stephenson, C, Kennesaw Mountain HS (GA)

I’m told it’s a bat here and it’s either Stephenson or Cornelius Randolph, with Happ a darkhorse.

11. Reds – Ian Happ, 2B/RF, Cincinnati

The Reds will wait to see who slips to them of the top tier and, if Cameron goes in the top 10, it could be Tate with the pitchers sliding to the back of this group. As is, they’ll take Happ here, but would take any of the players going in the couple picks ahead of them in this scenario.

12. Marlins – Garrett Whitley, CF, Niskayuna HS (NY)

Miami has been tied to college arms and high school outfielders, with Clark and Tucker long being targets here. Kaprielian, Buehler, Harris all in play here along with a late rumor on Kolby Allard.

13. Rays – James Kaprielian, RHP, UCLA

The Rays are hoping for Stephenson, Happ or Whitley (really, any of the bats going ahead of this pick) to fall to them, but will take a college pitcher if they don’t make it, with Kaprielian and Harris the most likely.

14. Braves – Cornelius Randolph, 3B, Griffin HS (GA)

Randolph has caused a number of rumors due to his bonus demands, with most assuming he goes 10th, 14th, 21st or 28th. The Braves want to get him with their second pick, but I think they’ll take him here since the Royals will selected him at 21 if Atlanta passes.

15. Brewers – Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt

Buehler’s size and potential durability (or lack thereof) has some teams behind here and they’ve told me they won’t take him, but he’ll go somewhere in the top 25, with his range starting here and the Brewers onboard. Jon Harris also fits here and Funkhouser may move this high. Industry people generally believe this is the beginning of Brady Aiken’s range as well. Also heard a late rumor of Nolan Watson here.

16. Yankees – Chris Betts, C, Wilson HS (CA)

I’ve heard the Yankees tied to bats, but college pitching is what’s on the board, so it would make sense if they pivot based on value to take a college arm.

17. Indians – Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State

The Indians aren’t leaning in any direction, just waiting for value to fall to them. I could see Aiken here but Russell, Newman or Funkhouser seems more likely.

18. Giants – Justin Hooper, LHP, De La Salle HS (CA)

The Giants have been tied to Randolph, Plummer and then every high-school righty in creation, but Nikorak, Watson and Russell the most. Hooper has some late helium here as a local kid with enormous upside — he’s 6’7/235, has hit 97 mph and has a plus slider and above-average changeup — but big command issues due to his size and delivery. The Giants don’t mind taking a non-consensus guy with their top pick and Hooper is just that.

19. Pirates – Brady Aiken, LHP, IMG Post Grad

I’ll give the Pirates Aiken for their past picks (Mark Appel, Josh Bell) that steer into risk when the reward is big and there isn’t another obvious pick on the board. I think Pittsburgh plays value like the Indians and takes whoever slips down here who was expected to go higher, which would be Funkhouser or Allard in this scenario.

20. A’s – Kevin Newman, SS, Arizona

Oakland has been tied to college bats, with Newman making the most sense here, but Funkhouser wouldn’t surprise me here.

21. Royals – Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville

They’d love to get Cornelius Randolph here and would take him if he makes it. Nate Kirby and Ashe Russell will get looks and Bickford has long been tied here, but should slide to their next pick. Funkhouser recouped some value sitting 92-93 and hitting 96 mph in his last outing after a month-long slide into the high-80’s.

22. Tigers – Mike Nikorak, RHP, Stroudsburg HS (PA)

Matuella’s range starts here and any hard thrower has been tied here at some point, with Aiken a possibility. Russell, Bickford, Funkhouser all mentioned here frequently.

23. Cardinals – Kolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente HS (CA)

The Cardinals don’t have huge upside available here. Teams aren’t worried long-term about Allard and he’s a potential #2 that would go top-6 if he were healthy. The Cards like athleticism and arm speed and Allard has both.

24. Dodgers – Michael Matuella, RHP, Duke

Aiken would stop here and I think Allard would, too, but Matuella seems most likely to make it. Maybe putting injured pitchers with the Dodgers is lazy, but I don’t know where any of these guys will go and this makes sense.

25. Orioles – Nolan Watson, RHP, Lawrence North HS (IN)

I’ve heard prep righties and college bats for Baltimore but it’s anyone’s guess who actually gets here.

26. Angels – Blake Trahan, SS, Louisiana Lafayette

I’m told Trahan and Kevin Newman are the big targets here.

27. Rockies – Ashe Russell, RHP, Cathedral HS (IN)

Russell could go to Cleveland or San Francisco ahead of this, but is more likely to land in the late 20’s. Tyler Nevin keeps getting mentioned here, but he should make it to their next pick at 38.

28. Braves – Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX)

I’m told this is as far as Hayes will fall with some teams looking at him above this, but would make for an interesting development situation if the Braves took Randolph as well.

29. Blue Jays – Josh Naylor, 1B, St. Joan of Arc HS (CAN)

Naylor has tons of helium with multiple teams in the 20’s and 30’s after a scorching spring and may not get to this pick, but the Jays love taking Canadian players and he belongs here. Brady Singer, Richie Martin and Eric Jenkins have also been mentioned.

30. Yankees – Nick Plummer, CF, Brother Rice HS (MI)

Plummer, Brady Singer, Donny Everett and Kyle Cody have all been tied here and Plummer is also a target of the Giants with the next pick along with the D’Backs at 43, while Cody and Singer could slide a bit farther and Everett could be an overpay at a later pick.

31. Giants – Cody Ponce, RHP, Cal Poly Pomona

Ponce has been tied to Colorado, San Francisco and Oakland and should go in the late 20s to early 40s. Nolan Watson, Austin Smith and Beau Burrows also have been tied here and I could see them taking a prep arm at 18 then floating Hooper down here, since I don’t think there’s another team in the top 30 that’s on him.

32. Pirates – Eric Jenkins, CF, West Columbus HS (NC)

The Pirates like athletes and Jenkins is one of the best ones in the draft. I’ve also heard Triston McKenzie here and Austin Smith here and to the Royals with the next pick.

33. Royals – Nate Kirby, LHP, Virginia

I’ve heard them with Jacob Nix, Triston McKenzie, Eric Jenkins and Chad Smith at this pick, but they’re taking a look at Kirby with their first pick, so this is solid value. Some teams are worried about Kirby’s lat strain, calling it more of a tear, but some teams are more comfortable with it.

34. Tigers – Jacob Nix, RHP, IMG Post Grad

The Tigers are tied to power arms as usual. Burrows, Everett and Staumont are in play here.

35. Dodgers – Donnie Dewees, CF, North Florida

Dewees has been tied to analytically inclined teams in the 20s and 30s and Nix may go here if Detroit passes.

36. Orioles – Richie Martin, SS, Florida

Martin has been tied to the Tigers and Blue Jays and should be gone by 40. Triston McKenzie could also fit here.

I was going to do 36 picks, the technical full first round, but the first comp pick seems pertinent if things play out as I have them here.

37. Astros – Daz Cameron, CF, Eagle’s Landing Christian HS (GA)

Houston gets their wish and grabs three players from their top 10.

With the positive weed test and some medical questions rising up now, along with facing poor competition and being hard to get access to out of high school, Phil Bickford is sliding to around this area; I’d guess he goes in the 30’s or 40’s with the Tigers and Royals mentioned the most..

Beyond this, I’ve heard the Phillies and Mets on Cole Sands; Rangers and Royals on Chad Smith; Rays and Braves on Jake Woodford; Dodgers on Lucas Herbert; Blue Jays on Juan Hillman; Royals on Austin Smith; and the Braves on Jalen Miller and Alex Young. A number of advisors for players in the 40s and 50s on my list say that if they don’t go by 50 or 60, expect overslot deals at the beginning of day two (round three).

We hoped you liked reading The Final Mock Draft by Kiley McDaniel!

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Kiley McDaniel has worked as an executive and scout, most recently for the Atlanta Braves, also for the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. He's written for ESPN, Fox Sports and Baseball Prospectus. Follow him on twitter.

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