Draft: Pick-by-pick, first-round analysis
The 2015 Draft got underway on Monday night in Secaucus, N.J., as the D-backs selected Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson with the first overall pick.
MLB.com Draft and prospect expert Jim Callis analyzes every pick from the first round.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks: SS Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt
Jim Callis: I like this pick. There was some talk that the D-backs might try to get a deep discount here and get cute in later rounds, but you've got to take who you think is the best player available, and they did that. Swanson has the tools to be an All-Star.
2. Houston Astros (compensation for not signing 2014 No. 1 pick Brady Aiken): SS Alex Bregman, LSU
Callis: Two SEC shortstops with the first two picks. They were teammates on Team USA last summer and get compared a lot. Swanson is the better athlete, but Bregman might have a little more impact at the plate. Bregman gets compared to Dustin Pedroia and some say he might have to move second base, but the scouts I've talked to give him a better chance to stick at shortstop than in the past.
3. Colorado Rockies: SS Brendan Rodgers, Lake Mary (Fla.) HS
Callis: He's the No. 1 player on MLB Pipeline's Draft board and has the highest ceiling in the Draft. Rodgers has a chance to stay at shortstop and has unusual power for the position. He can give you five solid tools across the board and he has to be considered the heir apparent to Troy Tulowitzki.
4. Texas Rangers: RHP Dillon Tate, UC Santa Barbara
Callis: I was curious to see who would be first pitcher taken. Clubs had Tate, Carson Fulmer and Tyler Jay in different orders, but Tate was the front-runner earlier in the season when he had two well-above average pitches in his fastball and slider. He faded a bit down the stretch, but that's expected in his first full season as a college starter.
5. Houston Astros: OF Kyle Tucker, H.B. Plant HS (Tampa, Fla.)
Callis: He's one of the best pure hitters in this Draft and also the first "bloodlines" player taken, which makes for a neat story with his brother Preston already in the big leagues with Houston. Kyle is a more well-rounded player, who has a chance to be average or better across the board.
6. Minnesota Twins: LHP Tyler Jay, Illinois
Callis: He's not the biggest guy in the world and has made just two college starts, but he can be a big league starter because everything else is there. The Twins could try to expedite Jay to the big leagues since they're contending -- maybe he's this year's Brandon Finnegan -- and then they could turn him into a starter next year.
7. Boston Red Sox: OF Andrew Benintendi, Arkansas
Callis: He might have the best all-around tools among the college players in this Draft. The Red Sox targeted Benintendi early and there was a chance he could have gone a bit higher, so I'm sure they're thrilled they got him.
8. Chicago White Sox: RHP Carson Fulmer, Vanderbilt
Callis: The White Sox have to be thrilled to get the best pitcher in the Draft, according to the MLB Pipeline board, and they were really hoping to get him, Tate or Jay. You wish Fulmer was a little bigger and threw more strikes, but you have to give him credit that he's brought quality stuff ever since he became a starter in the middle of last season.
9. Chicago Cubs: OF Ian Happ, Cincinnati
Callis: Teams are always looking for college position players, and he was next on most boards behind Swanson, Bregman and Benentendi. I don't know if the Cubs are going to try Happ at second base -- he fits better at a corner outfield spot -- but he's been one of the best performers in college baseball and the Cape Cod League the past two years.
10. Philadelphia Phillies: SS Cornelius Randolph, Griffin (Ga.) HS
Callis: It would be easy to think the Phils would take someone who can help them quickly because the franchise hasn't done as well in recent years, but they took the best player on the board. Randolph might take a little longer to develop than a college player, but you could argue that he's the best all-around high school hitter in the Draft.
11. Cincinnati Reds: C Tyler Stephenson, Kennesaw Mountain HS (Kennesaw, Ga.)
Callis: It's not a deep Draft for catchers, and the Reds got the best one by far. Long arms equal a long swing, so Stephenson is going to have to prove that he can hit advanced pitching, but he has the tools to be an All-Star.
12. Miami Marlins: 1B Josh Naylor, St. Joan of Arc Catholic SS (Mississauga, Ontario)
Callis: Naylor's No. 59 ranking on the Pipeline board might make him seem like a reach, but he had as much late helium as anyone before the Draft. He put on a show with Team Canada in a tour of the Dominican Republic, facing professional pitchers. Naylor hit five home runs in 12 games, similar to the run that Brett Lawrie went on that made him a first-round pick in 2008.
13. Tampa Bay Rays: OF Garrett Whitley, Niskayuna (N.Y.) HS
Callis: I love this pick, as Whitley might have a higher ceiling than any player in this Draft. A New York high school product, he doesn't face the top competition that some of these other guys do, but I think he's the most athletic of the deep group of high school outfielders.
14. Atlanta Braves: LHP Kolby Allard, San Clemente (Calif.) HS
Callis: If Allard didn't have a stress reaction in his back that knocked him out in mid-March, he wouldn't have come close to getting to the 14th pick. He's an athletic kid with a quality repertoire, who throws strikes and is a potential frontline starter. If the back isn't a long-term issue, this could be a steal.
15. Milwaukee Brewers: OF Trent Clark, Richland (Texas) HS
Callis: He has an unusual grip on the bat -- it looks more like a golf grip -- but you can't argue with the results, as he has a track record of producing with Team USA. I thought the Brewers might go for a college arm, but they decided they couldn't pass up Clark's all-around potential.
16. New York Yankees: RHP James Kaprielian, UCLA
Callis: He was on Team USA last summer on a loaded pitching staff with the likes of Fulmer, Jay and Tate. Kaprielian doesn't have their overpowering stuff, but he's the most polished of them all. He's the type of starter who could be in New York in two years. Kaprielian probably projects as a No. 3, but you feel good about his chances of getting there.
17. Cleveland Indians: LHP Brady Aiken, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Callis: I say this every time I get asked about injured pitchers: We don't know who is going to take them. Cleveland laid low and got the guy who was clearly the top prospect in last year's Draft and would have perhaps been the top prospect in this year's Draft had he not needed Tommy John surgery. It's a high-risk, high-reward pick, but it could really pay off.
18. San Francisco Giants: RHP Phil Bickford, College of Southern Nevada
Callis: A lot of discussion among clubs whether Bickford is a starter or reliever. He had his best success as a collegian as a reliever in the Cape Cod League last summer, where the scouts rated him the top prospect. The thing you have to feel good about is the Giants certainly know how to develop pitchers, so if anyone can turn Bickford into a starter, it's them.
19. Pittsburgh Pirates: SS Kevin Newman, Arizona
Callis: We've talked about how shortstop is one of the deepest positions in this Draft, and here's another one off the board. Newman is that he's one of the better pure hitters in college baseball. He won back-to-back Cape Cod League batting titles, which had never been done. I'm not sure there's really another plus tool and Newman might be more of a second baseman, but he can hit his way to the big leagues.
20. Oakland Athletics: SS Richie Martin, Florida
Callis: Yet another shortstop off the board. Martin hasn't really been a profilic hitter in his three years at Florida, but he really swung the bat nicely in the Cape Cod League last year. If he can hit like that, then you're talking about a high-upside shortstop. Martin fits the A's profile, and he's a proven college performer who should advance quickly.
21. Kansas City Royals: RHP Ashe Russell, Cathedral HS (Indianpolis)
Callis: Russell is the top-rated high school pitching prospect on MLB Pipeline's board. He might have the most consistent two plus pitches of any high schooler in this Draft with his fastball and wipeout slider when it's on. Russell also has a lanky body with a difficult arm slot to pick up.
22. Detroit Tigers: RHP Beau Burrows, Weatherford (Texas) HS
Callis: One of the easiest things to do when you do a mock draft is, if you don't know who to give the Tigers, you give them a power arm, and they got one here. Burrows is not the most projectable guy, but he sits at 94 mph with his fastball, he's got a power curveball and I like the feel for the changeup, too. As with a lot of kids, you wonder if he's a reliever, but I don't think you take him here if you think he's a reliever.
23. St. Louis Cardinals: OF Nick Plummer, Brother Rice HS (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)
Callis: Plummer burst onto the scene last year at the East Coast Professional Showcase. I had some scouts tell me that he may have made the biggest first impression of anybody they can remember there. At that point, you thought Plummer could maybe the No. 1 overall pick in the entire Draft, that's how good he was. He doesn't throw particularly well, but he can do everything else as a potential center fielder. Plummer slumped a little bit this spring, which is why he's going here.
24. Los Angeles Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler, Vanderbilt
Callis: This looks like a nice value for the Dodgers. I thought Buehler had a chance to go in the top 10, and I really didn't think he'd get past the 15th pick or so. To compare and contrast him to Vanerbilt teammate Carson Fulmer, he doesn't have that kind of power, but there's more polish, more control and command.
25. Baltimore Orioles: OF D.J. Stewart, Florida State
Callis: We were hearing a lot of college position players as options for the O's in this spot, including a lot of infielders, but some of those guys went right ahead of them. Stewart is one of the best hitters in college baseball, but there are questions regarding how much power is he going to unlock as a big leaguer. He hits from a deep crouch, which compromises his pop
26. Los Angeles Angels: C Taylor Ward, Fresno State
Callis: Ward is the lowest-ranked player picked so far, checking in at No. 99 on the MLB Pipeline rankings, but he stands out with his defense. He showed a cannon arm with Team USA last year, and showed more power at the plate and more offensive potential this spring at Fresno State. Defensively, there's no question Ward is a big leaguer, but I think what he can do offensively will determine whether he's a starter or a backup.
Teams receive a compensation pick if a free agent to whom they made a qualifying offer signs with another team. The signing team forfeits its first pick, unless it has one of the first 11 picks in the first round, in which case, it forfeits its second pick. If a team signs multiple free agents who were extended qualifying offers, it keeps relinquishing its next-highest Draft pick.
The teams below received compensation picks, with the player lost and the team that signed him listed in parentheses.
27. Colorado Rockies (Michael Cuddyer, NYM): RHP Mike Nikorak, Stroudsburg (Pa.) HS
Callis: A super athletic former quarterback, Nikorak looked like the best prep pitcher in the country at the start of the showcase circuit last summer and looked like the best high school pitcher again early this spring. He faded a little bit at both the end of this season, but he just needs to get stronger and you could be looking at a front-line pitcher. I really like what the Rockies have done here, getting arguably the high school bat with the highest ceiling in Rodgers and arguably the high school pitcher with the highest ceiling in Nikorak.
28. Atlanta Braves (Ervin Santana, MIN): RHP Michael Soroka, Bishop Carroll HS (Calgary, Alberta)
Callis: It's a good night for Canadians here at the Draft. We heard that Naylor had some late helium, but Soroka had a lot of helium as the Draft approached as well. The Braves are obviously not afraid of high school pitching, as they got Allard earlier and now get Soroka. That really beefs up the future rotation in Atlanta.
29. Toronto Blue Jays (Melky Cabrera, CWS): RHP Jon Harris, Missouri State
Callis: When your first pick comes at No. 29 like it does here for the Blue Jays, you've got to let the Draft come to you, and boy did the Draft come to Toronto. Harris is one of my favorite pitchers in this Draft. I thought he was the fourth-best college pitcher available and has a higher floor as a starter than the three guys we had ranked ahead of him in Fulmer, Jay and Tate. Missouri State has produced nine big league pitchers in the past 10 seasons, and here's another one on the way.
30. New York Yankees (David Robertson, CWS): SS Kyle Holder, University of San Diego
Callis: This is the Draft of the shortstop. This is the seventh shortstop taken and, although Randolph is definitely going to move, the other six could all stick there. Holder is definitely going to stick there as the best defensive shortstop in this Draft and potentially the best overall defensive player period. There are mixed reports on his bat, but I think his glove alone could make him a big league regular.
31. San Francisco Giants (Pablo Sandoval, SF): 1B Chris Shaw, Boston College
Callis: Shaw is No. 46 on the Pipeline board, but he has the tool that this Draft is probably the shortest on: power. He was the Cape Cod League home run leader last year and has as much raw power as just about anyone in this Draft. Shaw has shown the ability to make some adjustments at the plate, so maybe he can hit for average, too. He was an outfielder in college, but probably he will probably wind up at first base
32. Pittsburgh Pirates (Russell Martin, TOR): 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes, Concordia Lutheran HS (Tomball, Texas)
Callis: Hayes is another guy who was making a late push into the first round, and it comes to fruition here. He's another bloodlines guy as the son of Charlie Hayes, and you can tell when you watch him, especially with his approach at the plate. Hayes doesn't try to yank everything out of the park, focusing on hitting line drives gap-to-gap. I'm very impressed with how much better defensively he's looked this spring compared to last summer. I really like this pick.
33. Kansas City Royals (James Shields, SD): RHP Nolan Watson, Lawrence North HS (Indianapolis)
Callis: Watson is committed to Vanderbilt, so there was some concern about his signability if he wasn't picked early, but teams usually do their homework on that, so Kansas City is presumably confident it can sign him. He has four solid pitches and made a nice push to get into the first round, so between him and Russell, it's a nice daily double of Indianapolis prep hurlers for the Royals here in the first round.
34. Detroit Tigers (Max Scherzer, WAS): IF Christin Stewart, Tennessee
Callis: If you saw Stewart last summer with Team USA, he stood out as a hitter for average. Then this spring, he had a big power year at Tennessee and looked like more of a slugger. Maybe there's a happy medium in there and, if you can find it, you might have a .270 hitter with 20 home runs. Stewart is an all-bat guy -- he won't offer a team much on the basepaths or in the field -- so his bat is going to have to carry him if it's going to work.
35. Los Angeles Dodgers (Hanley Ramirez, BOS): RHP Kyle Funkhouser, Louisville
Callis: Talk about another value pick with a college starter here. At the beginning of the year, Funkhouser looked like a top-five starter before he slumped. I still thought he was going to go in the late teens, especially the way he pitched the last two weeks in the NCAA playoffs. I don't know if Funkhouser profiles as a front-line guy, but he looks like a No. 3 starter to me.
36: Baltimore Orioles (Nelson Cruz, SEA): Ryan Mountcastle, Hagerty HS (Oviedo, Fla.)
Callis: Mountcastle is an offensive-minded infielder, whose power and arm strength are his two best tools. I don't think he sticks at shortstop. Mountcastle profiles more at third base, or maybe he will wind up at an outfield corner, but you draft him here because of his offense. The O's obviously went offense with their first two picks, as both Stewart and Mountcastle carry their value primarily in their bats.
Lottery Round A
The Astros' Daz Cameron gambit worked, as the Eagle's Landing Christian Academy (McDonough, Ga.) outfielder fell to No. 37. Ranked No. 6 on the MLBPipeline.com Draft Top 200, Cameron profiles as a center fielder with average or better tools across the board. If Houston can sign its top three picks, it will have landed three of the seven best prospects in Bregman (No. 4), Cameron and Tucker (No. 7).
Cameron is the son of former All-Star and Gold Glover Mike Cameron, and the bloodlines continued at No. 38 when the Rockies selected Poway (Calif.) High third baseman Tyler Nevin. The son of former No. 1 overall pick (Astros, 1992) and All-Star Phil Nevin, he has the chance to hit for some average and power while sticking at the hot corner.
Virginia left-hander Nathan Kirby became the third of four injured pitchers once projected as top 10 picks to get taken, going No. 40 overall to the Brewers. Kirby's stuff and command were off before a lat strain sidelined him in April, but he showed three solid-or-better pitchers and threw strikes throughout his sophomore season.
Second Round and Lottery Round B
The highest-ranked prospect selected in the second round was Wilson High (Long Beach, Calif.) catcher Chris Betts, taken 52nd by the Rays. No. 25 on the Draft Top 200, Betts has impressive power and raw arm strength, though he needs to polish his defense. He has an elbow injury that limited him to DH duty in the weeks before the Draft.
The Cubs landed one of college baseball's top performers this spring in North Florida outfielder Donnie Dewees (No. 35 on the Top 200), who hit .422 and led NCAA Division I in runs (88), hits (106), total bases (188) and slugging (.749) entering Super Regional play. He combines an advanced approach at the plate with solid power and plus speed.
Texas Christian left-hander Alex Young (No. 37 on the Top 200) was the best pitcher selected in the second round. Nabbed by the D-backs with the top choice in the round, he has good feel for his fastball, slider and changeup, and while he lacks a true out pitch, his polish could help him advance quickly.
Kentucky right-hander Kyle Cody (No. 40 on the Top 200) stood out the most among the Lottery B selections. The Twins' second choice of the evening, he entered the spring projected as a possible first-round but struggled before a strong finish. He's had a physical 6-foot-7 frame and a fastball that reaches 97 mph.
MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 of the Draft begins with a live show at 12:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
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