Mock Draft: Top 4 unchanged but uncertain

Puk, Senzel, Lewis, Moniak stay put, but much can change in final week

June 2nd, 2016

The first four selections in this first-round projection match those from my mock Draft two weeks ago. Those picks aren't locked in, however.

With less than a week to go before the 2016 MLB Draft, there's still time for change as teams work to finalize their boards and explore the financial parameters of signing players. Many college prospects will participate in NCAA regional tournaments this weekend, and some prominent high schoolers are still active in their playoffs as well.

Complete 2016 Draft coverage

The three teams at the top of the Draft -- the Phillies, Reds and Braves -- have the three largest bonus pools for the first 10 rounds, and they figure to save $2 million or more on the bonus for their first-rounders versus those assigned pick values. All of them have choices soon after the first round (Cincinnati at Nos. 35 and 43, Atlanta at Nos. 40 and 44, Philadelphia at No. 42) and will be in position to spend handsomely on any talented players who slide.

First-round prospects with signability questions include California high school right-hander Matt Manning, Kansas prep lefty Joey Wentz and Florida high school third baseman Drew Mendoza.

The Draft runs June 9-11, with Day 1 broadcast coverage on MLB Network and, and Days 2 and 3 on Scouting reports for all players mentioned below can be found at's Prospect Watch:

Mock Drafts

1. Phillies: A.J. Puk, LHP, Florida

Puk's most recent outing was one of this best, as he displayed a mid-90s fastball, wipeout slider and atypical command at the Southeastern Conference tournament last Wednesday in front of a huge audience of scouts. That performance reinforced the notion that Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Atlanta all would take him with their first selection. The Phillies also have been out in force to see California high school outfielder Mickey Moniak, and Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis looks like their third option.

2. Reds: Nick Senzel, 3B, Tennessee

Unless Philadelphia passes on Puk, Cincinnati will take Senzel. Puerto Rico shortstop Delvin Perez and Lewis also are in the running.

3. Braves: Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer

High school arms are the strength of this Draft, and Atlanta is enamored of several, particularly Kansas right-hander Riley Pint. He might have the highest ceiling of any player available, but he also comes with some risk, so the Braves are more inclined to go for a college bat here (Senzel or Lewis) and spend on a prep pitcher at 40 or 44.

4. Rockies: Mickey Moniak, OF, La Costa Canyon HS (Carlsbad, Calif.)

Colorado also could pick Pint or New Jersey high school left-hander Jason Groome, MLBPipeline's top-rated prospect. The Rockies are believed to want a college arm, though there isn't one besides Puk who the industry consensus believes belongs this high in the Draft. They likely will take an outfielder, either Moniak or Lewis.

5. Brewers: Delvin Perez, SS, International Baseball Academy (Ceiba, P.R.)

Milwaukee has worked out most of the toolsiest first-round candidates and has been linked for a long time to Perez. The Brewers also could be the first team to dip into the deep high school pitching pool with Pint or Groome.

6. Athletics: Jason Groome, LHP, Barnegat (N.J.) HS

Oakland is all over four players: Groome, Lewis, Moniak and Senzel. The order is unclear, but only Groome would be available in this scenario.

7. Marlins: Braxton Garrett, LHP, Florence (Ala.) HS

Garrett has the highest floor among the prep pitchers, not to mention a lofty ceiling, and could be a better bet for long-term success as a starter than Puk or Groome. Pint and Perez also would be in play if they're still on the board.

8. Padres: Riley Pint, RHP, St. Thomas Aquinas HS (Overland Park, Kan.)

Less risk averse than other clubs, San Diego strongly will consider all of the top prep arms, and Pint could be its preference if all of them were available. Perez is another possibility. The Padres are on Stanford right-hander Cal Quantrill, a top 10 talent who missed this season recovering from Tommy John surgery, and probably will have to take him here if they want him because it's increasingly unlikely that he gets to them at Nos. 24 or 25.

9. Tigers: Matt Manning, RHP, Sheldon HS (Sacramento, Calif.)

There's no way Pint gets past Detroit. The consolation prize could be Manning, another flamethrowing high school right-hander. Don't rule out Mississippi State's Dakota Hudson, the consensus second-best college pitcher, or two more college righties with as much first-round helium as anyone right now, Boston College's Justin Dunn and Louisville's Zack Burdi.

10. White Sox: Corey Ray, OF, Louisville

Part of the first tier of college position players with Lewis and Senzel, Ray seems to be sliding a bit. He'd be a great fit for Chicago because he's from the city and participated in the club's Amateur City Elite program that promotes baseball in the inner city, not to mention a great value at No. 10. The White Sox have cooled on Miami catcher Zack Collins and could decide between Hudson and fast-rising Wisconsin shortstop Gavin Lux if Ray doesn't get here.

11. Mariners: Justin Dunn, RHP, Boston College

The hottest Draft rumor right now is that Seattle is going to take Dunn, and we'll play along. If not Dunn, it could be Burdi or California high school outfielder Blake Rutherford, whose stock has dipped slightly since he entered the year as the top-ranked prep position player.

12. Red Sox: Ian Anderson, RHP, Shenendehowa HS (Clifton Park, N.Y.)

Given the opportunity, Boston would pounce on Garrett (the next few teams would love him as well) or Ray. Barring that, the Red Sox would have interest in Anderson; college arms Hudson, Burdi and Quantrill; Rutherford and Pennsylvania high school third baseman Nolan Jones.

13. Rays: Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade Prep (Canoga Park, Calif.)

Tampa Bay appears to be the floor for Rutherford and the ceiling for Georgia third baseman/right-hander Josh Lowe, the Draft's best two-way talent. If the Rays go the college route, Hudson is a leading candidate.

14. Indians: Zack Collins, C, Miami

Unless Garrett somehow lasts this long, which is virtually impossible, Cleveland will sort through bats such as Rutherford, Collins and Pennsylvania high schoolers Alex Kirilloff and Jones.

15. Twins: Alex Kirilloff, OF, Plum HS (Pittsburgh)

Another team that covets Garrett, Minnesota likely will wind up opting for a hitter over a college arm. Kirilloff projects as the best bat available if the Draft plays out this way.

16. Angels: Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State

Los Angeles is expected to decide between college arms such as Hudson, Dunn and Vanderbilt right-hander Jordan Sheffield, and high school position players concentrated in Pennsylvania (Kirilloff, Jones) and Georgia (Lowe, outfielder Will Benson and Taylor Trammell). Even in a Draft thin on college starters, it's hard to imagine that the third one wouldn't get picked before No. 16.

17. Astros: Cody Sedlock, RHP, Illinois

Houston is tied mostly to college arms such as Hudson, Sedlock, Burdi, Pittsburgh right-hander T.J. Zeuch and Kent State lefty Eric Lauer. The Astros are exploring all of the demographics, however, with college position players (Wake Forest third baseman Will Craig), high school bats (Kirilloff, Jones) and high school pitchers (homestate righty Forrest Whitley) all possibilities.

18. Yankees: Forrest Whitley, RHP, Alamo Heights HS (San Antonio, Texas)

There are mixed signals coming out of New York, which has interest in prep right-handers Anderson, Whitley and Kevin Gowdy from California. Other indications are that the Yankees may want a college bat such as Craig or Virginia catcher Matt Thaiss. Trammell is a dark horse here.

19. Mets: Will Craig, 3B, Wake Forest

New York's interest in Craig is no secret, and there's little chance one of college baseball's most productive hitters will get to the club's second selection at No. 31. Manning would tempt the Mets if his reported $5 million price tag causes him to fall, and Anderson could, too.

20. Dodgers: Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Vanderbilt

The thinking is that Los Angeles will pursue a high school position player and a college pitcher with its two first-rounders. If the Dodgers go for the latter here, Sheffield has the best pure stuff among the candidates. The better value might be to take Jones or Lux here -- neither will make it to No. 32 -- and wait on the college arm.

21. Blue Jays: Cal Quantrill, RHP, Stanford

After trading several pitchers last summer, Toronto can start replenishing its stock of arms with this choice. The Blue Jays wouldn't mind having one of the high school arms fall and also have Quantrill (whose father Paul pitched 14 seasons in the big leagues, six with Toronto) and Sheffield in their sights. If there's a massive run on pitching ahead of them, the Jays could go for Trammell, Lux or Jones.

22. Pirates: Zack Burdi, RHP, Louisville

Burdi could help Pittsburgh's bullpen as soon as this summer and be developed as a starter in the Minors next season if desired. Local products Kirilloff (unlikely to get here) and Zeuch also are on the Pirates' radar, as is fellow Pennsylvanian Jones.

23. Cardinals: T.J. Zeuch, RHP, Pittsburgh

Joining San Diego as the only teams with three first-rounders, St. Louis is connected mostly to collegians. Zeuch, Lauer and Georgia right-hander Robert Tyler are mound possibilities, with Craig, Thaiss and Vanderbilt outfielder Bryan Reynolds the most attractive bats.

24. Padres: Nolan Jones, 3B, Holy Ghost Prep (Bensalem, Pa.)

These next two selections are the floor for Quantrill and Jones.

25. Padres: Joshua Lowe, 3B, Pope HS (Marietta, Ga.)

Though multiple teams in the top 10 have scouted Lowe heavily, the consensus is that he's going in the 20s. Lux, Sedlock, Gowdy and Benson also could fit here. If San Diego needs to save money to accommodate over-slot signings, it could cut a deal with someone like Florida right-hander Dane Dunning, Georgia high school outfielder Brandon Marsh or Tennessee prep left-hander Ryan Rolison.

26. White Sox: Gavin Lux, SS, Indian Trail Academy (Kenosha, Wis.)

If the White Sox wind up with Ray at 10 and Lux at 26, they'd be ecstatic. If that proves to be wishful thinking, a college pitcher such as Zeuch, Sedlock, Lauer or Tyler could be the backup plan here.

27. Orioles: Will Benson, OF, The Westminster Schools (Atlanta)

Burdi wouldn't get past Baltimore but is probably a pipe dream at No. 27. Barring someone else unexpectedly dropping, this could come down to Benson versus Thaiss or perhaps a college arm.

28. Nationals: Drew Mendoza, 3B, Lake Minneola (Fla.) HS

Mendoza is going to be the toughest first-round talent to sign, as even $3 million might not be enough to divert him from Florida State. If any club makes a run at him, it could be Washington.

29. Nationals: Bryan Reynolds, OF, Vanderbilt

There are some swing-and-miss concerns, but Reynolds is a switch-hitter with four average-or-better tools, a chance to play center field and the highest OPS (1.067) in the Southeastern Conference. He's not generating a ton of first-round buzz but belongs in here somewhere.

30. Rangers: Taylor Trammell, OF, Mount Paran Christian School (Kennesaw, Ga.)

It's always a safe guess to give Texas a high-ceiling athlete, and Trammell certainly fits the bill as the Georgia Class A football player of the year. Other possibilities in that vein include Lowe, Benson and Florida outfielder Buddy Reed.

31. Mets: Eric Lauer, LHP, Kent State

New York probably winds up with another college performer here, and Lauer just posted the lowest ERA (0.69) by an NCAA Division I starter since 1979. Collins is going to wind up at first base, so the Mets could make Clemson's Chris Okey the first true catcher selected.

32. Dodgers: Kyle Muller, LHP, Jesuit College Prep (Dallas)

Los Angeles' plan to get a high school position player here could be foiled if there's a run on them between Nos. 20 and 32. No prepster has had a more impressive two-way season than Muller, and the Dodgers did pretty well the last time they signed a high school lefty from the Dallas area. You may have heard of Clayton Kershaw.

33. Cardinals: Robert Tyler, RHP, Georgia

Some of the players St. Louis will consider at No. 23 will be available 10 picks later. Additional college pitching candidates include right-handers Connor Jones (Virginia), Logan Shore (Florida) and Jon Duplantier (Rice) and lefty Anthony Kay (Connecticut).

34. Cardinals: Matt Thaiss, C, Virginia

Other position players St. Louis could look at are high school third baseman Carter Kieboom (Georgia) and Cole Stobbe (Nebraska), Okey, Oklahoma shortstop Sheldon Neuse and Auburn outfielder Anfernee Grier.