Mock Draft: A first look at the first round
Signs point to Astros taking Oklahoma right-hander Gray, with Appel going to Cubs
It's time to step it up a notch.
In past years, MLB.com has rolled out mock drafts slowly, starting with a projection of the first 10 picks, then 11-20, before finally getting to the entire first round. Those days are over.
While MLB.com's Top 100 Draft prospects is a list that ranks the Draft class according to talent, what's below is a look at who might go where in the first round. That includes the 27 picks of the first-round proper, followed by the six picks awarded to teams for losing qualifying free agents.
Those 33 picks will be just the start of the first night of the First-Year Player Draft on Thursday, June 6. It all starts at 7 p.m. ET, with the top 73 picks being broadcast live on MLB Network and streamed on MLB.com. Rounds 2-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on June 7-8.
MLB.com's coverage will include: the Top 100 Draft Prospects list; Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player; and the Draft itself. You also can keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
This is very much a work in progress, and there will be a few updates leading up to Draft day, with the hope of generating plenty of conversation and debate.
1. Houston Astros: Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
The Astros are still looking carefully at six or seven players, but the signs point to them taking one of the top two college pitchers. Gray has separated himself this year, along with Mark Appel, whom the Astros didn't take a year ago.
2. Chicago Cubs: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Not signing with the Pirates a year ago looks like it will pay off for Appel, a big right-hander. He's been consistently dominant during his senior year.
3. Colorado Rockies: Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego
All the talk has been about the Rockies looking at college hitters. The top two choices are Bryant, who leads college baseball in home runs with 29 (nearly 10 more than the next-highest figure), and North Carolina's Colin Moran.
4. Minnesota Twins: Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State
This big lefty has scuffled a bit of late, but scouts on hand last weekend believe he's starting to bounce back. If that continues, he could make a lot of sense here.
5. Cleveland Indians: Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
While the Indians did go the high school route in 2011 with Francisco Lindor, they have tended to lean toward college players high in their Drafts. With Bryant gone, Moran is the best college hitter on the board.
6. Miami Marlins: Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X HS (Texas)
The Marlins could go high school bat with either of the Georgia high schoolers, but Stewart has cemented himself as the top high school pitcher, albeit one who will have to be signed away from playing football at Texas A&M.
7. Boston Red Sox: Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (Ga.)
There's been a lot of buzz about the Red Sox hoping Frazier is available for them. His bat, speed and power could play very well at Fenway Park.
8. Kansas City Royals: Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada
Shipley might be the third-best college pitcher in the class, especially if Manaea doesn't right the ship. He'd be a nice complement to Kyle Zimmer, the Royals' top pick a year ago.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates: Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS (Ga.)
This is the pick the Pirates received for not signing Appel, but don't expect them to play it safe. Meadows has a ton of upside and tools aplenty, highlighted by his smooth left-handed swing.
10. Toronto Blue Jays: Trey Ball, LHP/OF, New Castle HS (Ind.)
The Blue Jays have aggressively gone after high-end high school talent of late. General manager Alex Anthopoulos was at Ball's most recent start, and the two-way player has been streaking up the boards all spring.
11. New York Mets: Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (Wash.)
The Mets have taken high school hitters in each the past two years, and if McGuire, the best in a deep crop of high school catchers, is available, it could very well be three in a row.
12. Seattle Mariners: Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
There are a number of hitters who could fit here, and the Mariners do like their hitters, but they did take Danny Hultzen in 2011, so it's not like they're opposed to college pitchers.
13. San Diego Padres: Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno State
There's been talk about the Padres looking for a bat here, and there are a few college hitters to choose from. Judge's size and upside, particularly in the power department, might be too good to pass up.
14. Pittsburgh Pirates: D.J. Peterson, 3B/1B, New Mexico
If the Bucs get a high-upside high school hitter at No. 9, as projected above, going with perhaps the best pure college hitter after Moran could make sense.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks: J.P. Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS (Calif.)
The D-backs took a high school position player last year in the first round. Taking Crawford, the rare prep shortstop who will be able to stay at the premium position, would make it 2-for-2.
16. Philadelphia Phillies: Dominic Smith, 1B, Serra HS (Calif.)
The Phillies haven't had a pick in the regular first round since 2010, but they've shown that they like to take high school talent early. There are some prep arms they could like, but many believe Smith is the best high school hitter in the class.
17. Chicago White Sox: Hunter Renfroe, OF, Mississippi State
This college outfielder has been moving up the charts of late, so he might not be around when this spot comes up, but he fits the profile of the toolsy kind of player the White Sox seem to covet.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers: Phil Bickford, RHP, Oaks Christian HS (Calif.)
The Dodgers have a history of taking high school pitchers, though they haven't done so in the first round since Zach Lee in 2010. Bickford is a late riser and a projectable right-hander with a chance to throw three good pitches.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville
The Cardinals have gone the college route in the first round in each of the past three Drafts. Anderson was a hot commodity early, but recent struggles have led to a fade. He could be this year's Michael Wacha, who was in early 1-1 conversations last year but fell to St. Louis at No. 19.
20. Detroit Tigers: Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Florida
The last time the Tigers had a non-supplemental first-round pick, in 2009, they took Jacob Turner. Crawford is a bit like Anderson in that his stock has taken a hit, but the Tigers like pitchers with the kind of big stuff Crawford has.
21. Tampa Bay Rays: Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
Wilson is a bit of a wild card. He's armed with tools aplenty but has had inconsistent performances, not to mention an injury that forced him to miss a good chunk of his junior season. The Rays have taken a college hitter in the first round in each of the past two Drafts.
22. Baltimore Orioles: Marco Gonzales, LHP, Gonzaga
Gonzales is more about pitchability than pure stuff, but he's had results and is the kind of pitcher who could help Baltimore's rotation in a hurry.
23. Texas Rangers: Nick Ciuffo, C, Lexington HS (S.C.)
Ciuffo is a left-hander hitter and has the potential to hit for average and power. He has plenty of arm strength, though the rest of his catching game needs some development. The Rangers are good at being patient with prospects.
24. Oakland Athletics: Phillip Ervin, OF, Samford
In the past, it might have been cliché to have the A's taking a college player, but they did go to the high schools for their first three picks last year. Ervin can do a little bit of everything on the field, especially hit.
25. San Francisco Giants: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Bandys HS (N.C.)
The son of former big league pitcher Bryan Harvey has size and stuff, and it's clear he wants to enter pro ball. That could add up to him going before the Giants pick, but San Francisco knows how to develop young pitching.
26. New York Yankees: Jon Denney, C, Yukon HS (Okla.)
Denney had an outstanding summer but hasn't been as consistent this spring, particularly behind the plate. He can really hit and is the kind of physical backstop teams like. Good private workouts with teams could help his stock.
27. Cincinnati Reds: Tom Windle, LHP, Minnesota
The Reds have taken high school right-handers in the first round in each of the past two Drafts, and they could go that route again, but they have been scouting Windle, a lefty with some good stuff, very carefully.
28. St. Louis Cardinals: Eric Jagielo, 3B, Notre Dame
Jagielo would give the Cardinals a college bat to go along with the college arm taken at No. 19. They've taken college hitters in the first round three years running.
29. Tampa Bay Rays: Ian Clarkin, LHP, James Madison HS (Calif.)
If the Rays get a college hitter with their first-round selection, they can go after some high school pitching, creating a nice mirror of the 2011 first round, during which they selected high school pitcher Taylor Guerrieri and college hitter Mikie Mahtook.
30. Texas Rangers: Billy McKinney, OF, Plano West HS (Texas)
Getting Ciuffo at No. 23 and McKinney at No. 30 would give the Rangers two of the better high school bats in the class. McKinney, a local Texas kid, has the chance to hit for average and power.
31. Atlanta Braves: Travis Demeritte, 3B, Winder Barrow HS (Ga.)
Frazier and Meadows have stolen most of the Georgia high school thunder, but Demeritte has been quietly on the rise, giving the Braves a chance to take an exciting bat from their own backyard.
32. New York Yankees: Rob Kaminsky, LHP, St. Joseph Regional HS (N.J.)
With the second of their three first-round picks, the Yankees can stay local and take this fairly polished New Jersey high school southpaw.
33. New York Yankees: Tim Anderson, SS, East Central CC
Anderson shot up Draft boards this spring as a very toolsy shortstop in the junior college ranks. The team taking him can send him out as a shortstop, knowing he has the athleticism to handle a position switch in the future if needed.