Callis and Mayo: Early 2016 mock draft
Jersey high school hurler Groome, Florida's Puk headline first crack at top 10 picks
Trying to determine which teams are going to pick which players six months before the actual Draft is about as easy as hitting Wade Davis. We've tried to predict the first 10 selections in each of the past two Decembers, and we have yet to nail one exactly. Last year, in part because of injuries that decimated the top of the Draft, we each identified just two players who went in the top 10 choices.
Undaunted, we'll give this another shot.
Callis: Jason Groome, LHP, Barnegat (N.J.) HS. Though he's still in high school, Groome combines stuff and polish better than the top college arms, A.J. Puk and Alec Hansen.
Mayo: A.J. Puk, LHP, Florida. His results haven't always lived up to his pure stuff, but if they do this spring, Puk very much be in the 1-1 mix.
Callis: Alec Hansen, RHP, Oklahoma. He may have the best pure stuff in this Draft, though Hansen will have to prove he can stay healthy and command his full arsenal.
Mayo: Groome. The top high school arm in the country, Groome has three plus pitches and a feel for all of them. Did I mention he's left-handed?
Callis: Corey Ray, OF, Louisville. Rebuilding Atlanta has loaded up on young pitching in the past year and desperately needs some position players. Ray is the best one in the 2016 Draft and should advance quickly.
Mayo: Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade College Prep (Canoga Park, Calif.). The best all-around tool package from the high school set, Rutherford is the one prep bat who has the chance to jump to the top of the first round.
Callis: Rutherford. Colorado got the highest-ceiling high school position player in 2015 with Brendan Rodgers at No. 3 and could do so again in 2016 with Rutherford at No. 4.
Mayo: Riley Pint, RHP, St. Thomas Aquinas HS (Overland Park, Kan.). He joins Groome as an outstanding 1-2 prep punch at the top of the Draft, with a fastball that touched 98 mph over the summer.
Callis: Puk. He would fit right in with a Milwaukee system chock full of lefty pitching prospects, including trade acquisition Josh Hader, 2014 first-rounder Kodi Medeiros and 2015 supplemental first-rounder Nathan Kirby.
Mayo: Buddy Reed, OF, Florida. His tools are undeniable. The only question is about the bat. If Reed hits, he's a top five pick.
Callis: Bryan Reynolds, OF, Vanderbilt. Oakland has taken position players with seven of its past eight first-round choices, including four from major college programs, and the steady Reynolds fits that mold.
Mayo: Ray. He also has tools, with the ability to run and hit for power from the left side. Ray has a lower ceiling than Reed, but he also has a higher floor.
Callis: Reed. The quintessential high-risk/high-reward talent in the 2016 Draft, Reed has the type of loud tools that always seem to attract Miami's attention.
Mayo: Hansen. If Hansen is 100 percent for all of 2016, the 6-foot-7 right-hander probably doesn't get this far.
Callis: Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer. His raw power rivals that of Padres 2013 first-rounder Hunter Renfroe, and together they could lock down the outfield corners in San Diego for years.
Mayo: Lewis. A big performance in the Cape Cod League has elevated Lewis into this neck of the woods, despite hailing from a smaller program in Mercer.
Callis: Pint. This is an easy pairing, because Detroit puts a premium on velocity, though Pint won't last this long if he learns to repeat his mechanics and live in the strike zone this spring.
Mayo: Delvin Perez, SS, International Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico). He may not go No. 1 overall like Carlos Correa, but if Perez hits, the 6-foot-3 shortstop could skyrocket up boards.
10. White Sox
Callis: Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Vanderbilt. A year after taking Commodores right-hander Carson Fulmer at No. 8, Chicago could grab another one in Sheffield, who has the potential for three plus pitches, but must demonstrate he can throw enough strikes.
Mayo: Cal Quantrill, RHP, Stanford. One of the big wild cards in the Draft, as he'll be returning from Tommy John surgery in April. When healthy, Quantrill is a top-of-the-Draft caliber arm.