I really wanted to come in and shake things up with this week’s mock draft, especially at the top. Let’s be honest here: It would make things more interesting after having the same five players in the first five spots week after week.
But, in the end, I just couldn’t do it.
The top five are still very much the top five and no one is breaking in based on talent. Sure, something could go awry and one of the teams could cut a deal up top to force one of the quintet down to No. 6. And yes, we’ve heard the talk about the Pirates doing something to save more money (though it would be with someone else in the top five, with Max Clark’s name mentioned the most). But it’s way too early to know anything for certain and there’s still strong belief that the top five will go in those first five selections, starting with keeping the LSU duo of Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes in the top two spots.
After that, it opens up a bit more. And while there still isn’t firm information, one thing that’s filtered in a bit is which players are of interest to which teams. With seasons over for all other than those heading to super regionals this weekend, many players are heading to workouts for teams and some info on those meetups is being brought to our attention. As a result, we can at least continue to give a smattering of feasible names in as many spots as possible.
Following Jim Callis’ lead, I’ve included the Mets’ pick at 32 and the Dodgers at 36 to provide all 30 teams’ first selections. Detailed scouting reports for all players mentioned below can be found with our Draft Top 200 (rankings in parentheses).
1. Pirates: Dylan Crews, OF, Louisiana State (No. 1)
The Pirates will undoubtedly go down to the wire in making a choice and have done due diligence in scouting all of the top five. After his strong regional, Crews is now up to .432/.573/.736 for the year and still feels like the best bet to go in the top spot.
2. Nationals: Paul Skenes, RHP, Louisiana State (No. 2)
Skenes wasn’t as sharp as usual, but still struck out 12 and walked none in his complete game victory over Tulane in regional play, which actually lowered his K rate to 16.2 per nine for the year. The Skenes-to-the-Nats connection continues to be the strongest one at the top of the round.
3. Tigers: Wyatt Langford, OF, Florida (No. 3)
If the LSU duo goes 1-2, the Tigers can pick the best bat available, with a choice of the college bat in Langford and the two high school outfielders in Clark and Walker Jenkins. Most of the buzz is that they’ll prefer the advanced college guy and take Langford, who heads into super regional play with the same OPS (1.310) as Crews.
4. Rangers: Walker Jenkins, OF, South Brunswick HS, Southport, N.C. (No. 4)
There’s interest in the two prep outfielders here, with the edge seemingly belonging to Jenkins at the moment. Could this be the place where a non-top 5 deal takes place? This is the team, after all, that surprised a lot of people by taking Kumar Rocker No. 3 last year.
5. Twins: Max Clark, OF, Franklin (Ind.) HS (No. 5)
Clark is the best fit here, though the Twins will continue to contemplate a number of the college names in the next set of projected picks, along with top high school arm Noble Meyer. And, of course, they could be the beneficiary of getting one of the other top five if something goes sideways above them.
6. Athletics: Kyle Teel, C, Virginia (No. 10)
Teel is hitting .423/.487/.690 entering super regional play and can stick behind the plate defensively. What’s not to like? The A’s also will continue to explore the college arms up next and the next set of college bats with Teel.
7. Reds: Chase Dollander, RHP, Tennessee (No. 6)
There’s interest in a college arm here and it still seems up in the air if it’s Dollander and his superior pure stuff or Rhett Lowder with the more consistent performance this year. I’ll go Dollander this week, while this is also a spot where both Meyer and shortstop Arjun Nimmala from the high school crop are mentioned.
8. Royals: Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest (No. 8)
If the Royals don’t opt to go with whichever college arm the Reds don’t take, it’s believed they have interest in Meyer on the mound and Nimmala if they want to go high school hitter, with Jacob Gonzalez and Jacob Wilson the college bats in play.
9. Rockies: Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS, Portland, Ore. (No. 11)
The Rockies are always trying to find arms they can develop to pitch in Coors Field, and with both Dollander and Lowder off the board here, they could turn to the top arm available, albeit a high school one, in Meyer.
10. Marlins: Arjun Nimmala, SS, Strawberry Crest HS, Dover, Fla. (No. 9)
Nimmala’s name is all over the back half of the top 10 and the talented high school shortstop shouldn’t go too much further than this. Aidan Miller could be a good consideration here as well.
11. Angels: Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon (No. 7)
This could be a landing spot for Nimmala if he makes it out of the top 10, but if he’s gone, the Angels have some college bats to choose from, including Wilson, Gonzalez and Enrique Bradfield.
12. D-backs: Colin Houck, SS, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga. (No. 14)
The D-backs certainly don’t shy away from taking high school bats (Druw Jones, Jordan Lawlar, Corbin Carroll) at the top, so why should this year be any different? This is another player-team connection that seems pretty tight right now.
13. Cubs: Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Mississippi (No. 15)
It’s mostly college names here right now, with Gonzalez, Bradfield and Matt Shaw coming up among the hitters. Florida’s Hursten Waldrep has been pitching better of late, so don’t be shocked if he starts floating up to around this part and there was a little buzz that should the Cubs turn to the high school ranks, they do like Colt Emerson.
14. Red Sox: Aidan Miller, 3B, Mitchell HS, New Port Richey, Fla. (No. 12)
Miller could have very well been a Top 10 pick if he hadn’t missed much of his senior year with a hamate injury (though he still could float up to the back end of that 10). The Red Sox have no problem taking high school hitters, so this checks off that box. Bradfield could land in this spot, as could Shaw should they go the college hitter route and while I didn’t work Arizona’s Chase Davis into this mock, his name has come up in the middle of the first round some.
15. White Sox: Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland (No. 18)
It still seems like a college hitter is the best bet here, and Shaw’s been a good one with Maryland. Bradfield and Florida Atlantic’s Nolan Schanuel are possibilities, though the White Sox are looking at the top prep hitters available still.
16. Giants: Tommy Troy, SS, Stanford (No. 19)
This could be a good landing spot for Bradfield, but the Giants could stay in their own backyard and take Troy, who heads into super regional play with a .411/.489/.738 line that includes 17 homers and steals. They like high school slugger Bryce Eldridge as well and there was some buzz about Colorado prep shortstop Walker Martin, but they haven’t taken a high school player with their top pick since 2017.
17. Orioles: Bryce Eldridge, 1B/RHP, Madison HS, Vienna, Va. (No. 21)
The O’s could be looking at arms, with Waldrep perhaps being in their sights, though he could soar past if he continues his postseason resurgence. But they are good at developing young hitters and aren’t afraid of taking them from the high school ranks and an argument could be made that with the talent they have amassed at the upper levels, they could go upside like this and afford to be patient.
18. Brewers: Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF, Vanderbilt (No. 16)
Bradfield would likely top a list of college bats in play here, in front of Brayden Taylor, Schanuel and Yohandy Morales. A lot of people I reached out to this week felt Bradfield goes earlier than this.
19. Rays: Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida (No. 20)
There are bats to be had here, with guys like Taylor, who is trending up, and Schanuel on the college side, Blake Mitchell and Kevin McGonigle on the high school side. But Waldrep’s pure stuff might be hard to pass up here, with his last few outings perhaps giving teams more confidence he can start long-term.
20. Blue Jays: Brayden Taylor, 3B, Texas Christian (No. 30)
As mentioned above, Taylor’s name is trending up as he’s swung the bat very well in NCAA postseason play. If he goes earlier, someone like Schanuel could fit and someone like Emerson could come into play if they go the prep bat route.
21. Cardinals: Nolan Schanuel, 1B/OF, Florida Atlantic (No. 29)
Schanuel’s name gets hotter when you bring him up in this part of the Draft. The Cardinals have taken a college pitcher in the first round in three of the past four Drafts, but if Waldrep is gone, there isn’t really a great option here.
22. Mariners: Blake Mitchell, C, Sinton (Texas) HS (No. 13)
My gut says Mitchell and his tremendous tools go higher than this, but conversations about him also bring up talk over the high school catcher risk. Emerson could be a fit should he make it to the Mariners on the high school bat side and they could be looking at prep lefty Thomas White as well. They’d certainly consider the college bats projected to go in the teens should one get there.
23. Guardians: Colt Emerson, SS/3B, Glenn HS, New Concord, Ohio (No. 27)
Though there’s buzz around Emerson and him going higher than this, having him stay home in Ohio could work well and the Guardians do like guys who really know how to hit. The fact Emerson is still 17 certainly doesn’t hurt in terms of what he looks like in teams’ models.
24. Braves: George Lombard Jr., SS, Gulliver Prep, Pinecrest, Fla. (No. 38)
High school bats are mentioned here more than anything else and some evaluators felt there has been a strong link between the Braves and Lombard. McGonigle, Martin and Sammy Stafura are other prep shortstops who come up here.
25. Padres: Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass. (No. 23)
The two names coming up a lot in this spot are Dillon Head, the speedy high school outfielder, and White, the top lefty pitcher (of any kind) in the class, as the Padres have never shied away from upside.
26. Yankees: Dillon Head, OF, Homewood-Flossmoor HS, Flossmoor, Ill. (No. 22)
The Yankees might love a chance to draft White, but Head would be in the mix if he goes ahead of the Yankees. So would other high school bats like Stafura and McGonigle.
27. Phillies: Charlee Soto, RHP, Reborn Christian Academy, Kissimmee, Fla. (No. 25)
There are those who feel Soto is a strong candidate here, and he is definitely in their mix.
28. Astros: Yohandy Morales, 3B, Miami (No. 17)
It’s almost all hitters that get brought up here, with college ones getting more buzz. Morales is the kind of college performer who could fit after hitting .408/.475/.713 with 20 homers for the Hurricanes this year.
32. Mets: Walker Martin, SS, Eaton (Col.) HS (No. 28)
There are several bats who could be around for the Mets to consider and if Martin goes earlier, they might prefer someone like McGonigle over other high school middle infielders like Stafura or Adrian Santana.
36. Dodgers: Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest (No. 24)
Wilken is another name that many people expect to go higher than this, with his 27 homers and .805 SLG entering super regional play, so the Dodgers might be thrilled if he’s here.