This is it, folks, our last official mock drafts before we finally get to hear who the Orioles take No. 1 overall Sunday. Throughout the Draft season, we’ve been alternating weeks with our first-round projections. Now we’re putting them together for all of you to compare side by side.
There is still much that could change between the time of this writing (Saturday night) and when the Draft actually begins (7 p.m. ET, with a one-hour pre-Draft show at 6 p.m. ET, live on MLB Network and streaming on MLB.com).
One thing does still appear certain: The Orioles continue to look at a group of five players, all hitters. Four of them are high schoolers -- Druw Jones, Jackson Holliday, Elijah Green and Termarr Johnson -- with Brooks Lee the lone college bat in play. And it’s pretty apparent they will discuss all five until the last possible moment, making the rest of the first round a very uncertain proposition.
Callis: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Peachtree Corners, Ga. (No. 1)
No one outside of the Orioles' innermost circle may know who they're taking until they actually exercise the pick, so all of us mock drafters are really just guessing. Baltimore can take the best player (Jones, the son of former star outfielder Andruw Jones), sign him for around $8 million (which is roughly $800K below the recommended allotment for the pick) and still have almost $1.7 million in extra money for later picks if they go 5 percent over their $16.9 million bonus pool. My gut says the order of likelihood here is Jones, Holliday, Johnson, Lee and Green.
Mayo: Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan HS, Peachtree Corners, Ga. (No. 1)
The O’s are keeping five names on their board until the last minute in all likelihood, but I’m sticking with them taking the best player, even with buzz that Termarr Johnson as the money-saver is still very much in play.
Callis: Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater (Okla.) HS (No. 2)
The biggest lock is Jones at No. 2 if he doesn't go No. 1. Holliday over Johnson or Lee appears to be the D-backs' Plan B.
Mayo: Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater (Okla.) HS (No. 2)
The D-backs will take Jones if the O’s don’t, with Holliday looking like the best option with Jones gone.
Callis: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (No. 3)
The Rangers would love a shot at either Jones or Holliday. Green is the guess if both are gone, though there's talk he could slide as far as the Mets at Nos. 11 or 14 or the Padres at No. 15 if Texas passes. Other options here are Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada, Johnson and Lee.
Mayo: Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech (No. 6)
Parada, Brooks Lee and Elijah Green seem to be the options here, and if Green doesn’t go at this pick (which he could), it could be tougher to find him a home.
Callis: Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS, Ga. (No. 4)
There's a lot of chatter that Campbell shortstop Zach Neto is going to do a discount deal in the Top 10, and that could happen here. Parada and Lee would be more expensive college bats. The Pirates apparently are cooling on Chipola (Fla.) JC third baseman Cam Collier.
Mayo: Termarr Johnson, 2B, Mays HS, Ga. (No. 4)
As time passed on Saturday night, this was a link that an increasing number of sources felt was as much of a lock as any. Lee could still be an option, with Cam Collier as the money-saver in another direction.
Callis: Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech (No. 6)
The Nationals would strongly consider Green but likely will trade ceiling for a quicker return on investment with Parada, Louisiana State third baseman/outfielder Jacob Berry or Lee.
Mayo: Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly (No. 5)
Green’s very high ceiling is being discussed, but it seems like the Nats would prefer to go the college route, with Lee getting the nod over Jacob Berry.
Callis: Jacob Berry, 3B/OF, Louisiana State (No. 7)
The simple answer is that the Marlins take whichever of Johnson, Berry and Parada remain. Lee and Virginia Tech outfielder Gavin Cross are two more college hitting options, but don't rule out Miami doing a discount deal to stockpile money for later selections.
Mayo: Jacob Berry, 3B/OF, Louisiana State (No. 7)
Yet another potential home for Green, yet another team opting for the more advanced college hitter.
Callis: Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly (No. 5)
I'm much less bullish on Lee going No. 1 than the rest of the mock draft industrial complex, and while he's in play for seemingly every club, he doesn't seem to be anyone's top choice. The Cubs love Collier but may find it hard to take him ahead of Lee (or Johnson if he gets here). They could take Neto as a money-saver choice or pop the first pitcher with Alabama left-hander Connor Prielipp.
Mayo: Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech (No. 10)
There have been links between the Cubs and Collier, but I’m going with another (four-year) college hitter here.
Callis: Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola (Fla.) JC (No. 8)
Barring a dramatic Johnson slide, it's probably a college bat (Berry, Collier, Cross) for the Twins. They could be tempted by Prielipp or Oklahoma right-hander Cade Horton, both of whom have recovered completely from 2021 Tommy John surgeries.
Mayo: Zach Neto, SS, Campbell (No. 17)
Collier looks good in their model because of his age, but I'm still getting the feeling the Twins prefer a college bat as well.
Callis: Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech (No. 10)
The Royals appear to be in the market for a college hitter, though Green could entice them if he falls. They've also been linked to Nevada prep outfielder Justin Crawford for a while, and they have interest in Horton as well.
Mayo: Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (No. 3)
This might be the first firm landing spot for Green if he doesn’t go in Top 3-5 picks, and he also could end up at 11 or 12.
Callis: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech (No. 9)
Like the Royals, the Rockies are linked to all the college bats listed above (as well as James Madison outfielder Chase DeLauter and possibly Neto). They're another candidate to take the first pitcher, with Horton and Michigan high school right-hander Brock Porter the front-runners.
Mayo: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech (No. 9)
If Green goes higher, one of the above college bats could filter down. But in this scenario, Jung is the best one available.
(compensation pick for failure to sign 2021 first-rounder Kumar Rocker)
Callis: Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's Prep (No. 11)
The Mets have plenty of spending power with picks Nos. 11 and 14, and they may try to get Green down to their first selection. Long tied to college bats, they get mentioned more with high schoolers as of late: Green, Porter, Texas shortstop Jett Williams and Crawford.
Mayo: Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola (Fla.) JC (No. 8)
The Mets could be faced with an interesting choice between Green and Collier, but they might still opt for Collier because of the hit tool.
Callis: Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama (No. 25)
It's probably Prielipp vs. college hitters for the Tigers, who would consider all of the ones I've projected ahead of them and perhaps DeLauter and Arizona catcher Daniel Susac. Neto or Horton could go in the Top 10 and push a bat down. Detroit isn't afraid of high school right-handers -- they popped Jackson Jobe at No. 3 a year ago -- but I don't think they'll take homestate product Porter.
Mayo: Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary’s Prep (No. 11)
Could this be Green’s floor? With him gone at nine, I’m sticking with this being the place where the first pitcher comes off the board.
Callis: Cade Horton, RHP, Oklahoma (No. 24)
Every mock draft in America has the Angels grabbing a pitcher after going all arms in their 2021 Draft. It seems like they'd prefer a college arm such as Prielipp or Horton or discounts with the likes of Oregon State left-hander Cooper Hjerpe, Oklahoma State right-hander Justin Campbell or Gonzaga righty Gabriel Hughes. Brandon Barriera could be the leading prep pitching contender, but I have the Orioles floating him down to an over-slot deal at No. 33.
Mayo: Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. (No. 15)
Barriera has been mentioned quite a bit in this spot, and other teams feel this is a good match. College arms like Cooper Hjerpe and Gabriel Hughes could be backup plans.
Callis: Jett Williams, SS, Rockwall-Heath (Texas) HS (No. 21)
Crawford is another prep position player possibility. If the Mets do want a college bat here, they could get DeLauter, Susac or Neto. This is probably the peak for Georgia high school right-hander Dylan Lesko, who was on course to be the first arm selected before he had Tommy John surgery in April, or Nevada prep left-hander Robby Snelling.
Mayo: Daniel Susac, C, Arizona (No. 12)
I’ve had Susac with the Mets for much of the Draft season. This time, they wait until 14 to get the Arizona catcher, taking him instead of other college hitters, like Chase DeLauter.
Callis: Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas (No. 13)
The Padres could go for upside with Crawford or Lesko. They've also been associated with a lot of shortstops (Williams, Pennsylvania prepster Cole Young, Neto) and left-handers (Prielipp, Barriera, Snelling).
Mayo: Justin Crawford, OF, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas (No. 13)
Crawford at nine to the Royals has been a popular choice, but I did have scouts feeling that it wasn’t a lock. But his tools won’t fall too far.
Callis: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford HS, Ga. (No. 14)
The Guardians have drafted injured teenage arms in the first-round in the recent past (Brady Aiken, Ethan Hankins). Besides Lesko, other possibilities include college bats (DeLauter, Neto, Susac) and perhaps Barriera.
Mayo: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford HS, Ga. (No. 14)
The Guardians have two picks and could get creative. Cade Horton could come into play as another arm option, with bats like Jett Williams and Cole Young (though he’s a bit older) options as well.
Callis: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison (No. 18)
DeLauter's combination of tools, size, performance and patience makes No. 17 feel like more of a floor. This could be the ceiling for former Vanderbilt right-hander Kumar Rocker, the biggest wild card in the first round, or Tennessee outfielder Drew Gilbert. The Phillies' affinity for high school pitchers could lead them to Barriera.
Callis: Zach Neto, SS, Campbell (No. 17)
We're firmly in have-to-see-who-gets-here territory at this point of the Draft. I suspect Neto actually goes before No. 18, which could push Williams or DeLauter to the Reds. Susac, Young or Oklahoma shortstop Peyton Graham also would make some sense.
Mayo: Cade Horton, RHP, Oklahoma (No. 24)
I think the college bats in play could still happen here, like DeLauter or Jordan Beck, and it’s quite possible Horton floats closer to the Top 10.
Callis: Dylan Beavers, OF, California (No. 22)
It's all college names for the A's: Beavers, Gilbert, Susac among the hitters and Horton, Hjerpe and Campbell among the pitchers.
Mayo: Dylan Beavers, OF, California (No. 22)
Sticking with this connection one last time, knowing other college hitters (DeLauter, Peyton Graham, Drew Gilbert) might be in the conversation here.
Callis: Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State (No. 36)
The Braves might pounce on Prielipp or Horton if they last this long. They're on several other college arms, including Hjerpe, Campbell, Hughes, Thomas Harrington (Campbell) and Jake Bennett (Oklahoma).
Mayo: Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga (No. 26)
It’s still mostly college pitchers here, with Hughes still in strong consideration. Justin Campbell is another option.
Callis: Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State (No. 34)
This could be the floor for Horton and Neto. Hjerpe could be another quick-to-the-Majors college starter for the Mariners on the heels of Logan Gilbert and George Kirby. Prep shortstops Williams and Young are two more possibilities.
Mayo: Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State (No. 34)
Teams around here wanting a college hitter are thinking perhaps Jung gets here. With him gone, I’m sticking with the college arm.
Callis: Daniel Susac, C, Arizona (No. 12)
Susac has interest from most clubs in the 11-19 range but I didn't find an earlier home for him in this projection. The Cardinals also could go for DeLauter, Graham, Gilbert or Hjerpe.
Mayo: Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison University (No. 18)
DeLauter still could float upwards some more, with other college hitters getting mentioned here (Gilbert, Beck, Sterlin Thompson).
23. Blue Jays
Callis: Tucker Toman, 3B, Hammond HS, Columbia, S.C. (No. 35)
This is the floor for Crawford and DeLauter, and the Blue Jays would mull Beavers vs. Toman as well.
Mayo: Jett Williams, SS, Rockwall-Heath (Texas) HS (No. 21)
This seems a bit low for Williams, and if he’s gone, the Jays could stick with another high school hitter like Tucker Toman or take a college bat from that group above.
24. Red Sox
Callis: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Tri-City ValleyCats (Frontier League) (No. 38)
Rocker -- whose Draft saga is well-documented -- could go anywhere from the mid-teens to the early second round. The Red Sox probably wouldn't pass on Williams and are mentioned with a slew of college outfielders (Tennessee's Jordan Beck, Beavers, Gilbert, Florida's Sterlin Thompson, Oregon State's Jacob Melton).
Mayo: Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee (No. 32)
Gilbert’s teammate, Beck, is an option, along with Thompson and perhaps Jacob Melton.
Callis: Blade Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee (No. 27)
Depending on the source, the Yankees are locked in on college arms (Hjerpe, Tidwell, Hughes) or college bats (Graham, Beck, Thompson, Vanderbilt outfielder Spencer Jones). Don't rule out Williams, Lesko or Young.
Mayo: Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny HS, Wexford, Pa. (No. 18)
I still like the Kumar Rocker rumor here from a while back, but not with enough strength of conviction. Blade Tidwell is another arm in consideration, but the Yankees do like Young.
26. White Sox
Callis: Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee (No. 32)
It's no secret that the White Sox like Toman. If they miss out on him, they could opt for another of the better pure hitters in the Draft in Gilbert, or another prep infielder in Young.
Mayo: Tucker Toman, 3B, Hammond HS, Columbia, S.C. (No. 35)
Toman is the best prep bat still on the board, one that has entered conversations higher than this.
Callis: Cole Young, SS, North Allegheny HS, Wexford, Pa. (No. 20)
Young is another player in my projection who I suspect I have too low. Most of the Brewers' targets are accomplished college performers: DeLauter, Graham, Thompson, Gilbert and Melton.
Mayo: Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma State (No. 36)
I think the Brewers have preferred to get a college arm here if possible, but it was unclear if there was a fit.
Callis: Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee (No. 23)
The Astros are another club that could dip into the deep college outfielder pool with Beck, Thompson, Spencer Jones, Melton or Stanford's Brock Jones. They also could shop in the Tommy John surgery bin (Lesko, Mississippi State right-hander Landon Sims) and could consider Tidwell, who missed the first six weeks of the season with shoulder problems.
Mayo: Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida (No. 29)
College bats are still the talk here. Thompson’s name was popping up higher, but he’s the best pure one on the board over Melton or Beck.
Callis: Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen HS, Reno, Nev. (No. 16)
The Rays could grab any of the talented high school arms remaining on the board, including Barriera, Snelling or Ohio right-hander Jacob Miller.
Mayo: Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (No. 19)
Four picks on Day 1 can allow a team to aggressively go after talent, and Ferris is one of the best high school arms in the class.
Callis: Peyton Graham, SS, Oklahoma (No. 28)
With the second-smallest bonus pool ($5.8 million), the Giants probably can't make a run at the many prep pitchers looking for over-slot deals in the 30-50 range. Graham, Gilbert and Arkansas third baseman Cayden Wallace would be college bats who wouldn't break their budget. If San Francisco wants to gamble on upside that comes with risk, they could make a run at Lesko or Rocker.
Mayo: Robby Snelling, LHP, McQueen HS, Nev. (No. 16)
Could this be a home for Rocker? Perhaps, but I like the upside play with the prep lefty instead.