In MLB Pipeline's last two mock drafts, both I (June 23) and Jonathan Mayo (June 30) projected that the Pirates would select California high school shortstop Marcelo Mayer with the No. 1 overall pick, the Rangers would follow with Vanderbilt right-hander Jack Leiter at No. 2 and the Tigers would choose Oklahoma prep right-hander Jackson Jobe at No. 3.
Our next full effort will include dueling predictions side by side and post on our website on July 11, the day the Draft begins as part of the All-Star Game festivities in Denver. Because we know there never can be enough first-round projections, we used the latest edition of the Pipeline Podcast to identify whom we believe each club will take with the top 10 picks. I surmised the odd-numbered choices and Jonathan forecasted the even-numbered selections.
Detailed scouting reports and grades are available for all of these prospects at MLB Pipeline's Draft Top 250 list (rankings in parentheses).
1. Pirates: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, Calif.)
The best hitter and the best defender in the Draft, Mayer remains the strong favorite at No. 1.
2. Rangers: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
Leiter would continue the Rangers' recent trend of taking polished college performers with their top choice.
3. Tigers: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (Winder, Ga.)
The Tigers would love Mayer but the best power hitter in the Draft would be a nice backup plan.
4. Red Sox: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (Dallas)
The Red Sox may covet Leiter, but Lawlar gives them the highest ceiling among the four elite prep shortstops.
5. Orioles: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
Clearly the best college position player available, Davis could shift to another position to fit in the same lineup with 2019 No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman.
6. D-backs: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
The NCAA Division I co-strikeout leader (179 in 122 innings) along with teammate Leiter, Rocker stands out with his physicality and track record of big-game performance.
7. Royals: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (N.C.) HS
With well-above-average speed and the potential for solid tools across the board, Watson could form a dynamic double-play combination with 2019 No. 2 overall choice Bobby Witt Jr.
8. Rockies: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (Lewisberry, Pa.)
Montgomery might have the best all-around physical tools in the Draft and will be in play for virtually every club from here on down.
9. Angels: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma City)
High school right-handers are a risky demographic but Jobe's combination of pitches and command grade out better than those of Leiter and Rocker.
10. Mets: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
A center fielder, Frelick offers some of the best hitting ability and speed in the college class.