Mock Draft: Aiken gets nod at No. 1 over Rodon
High school lefty regarded by many to be best talent available in next week's event
With less than a week to go before the First-Year Player Draft begins, it would be great to report there is clarity in the first-round picture.
But would be erroneous, with much still up in the air as the 2014 Draft, to be held June 5-7, approaches. It all starts with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. ET on June 6.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
We've already run two first-round projections, one from me and one from Jim Callis. Here is version No. 3, with a few more to come between now and Draft day.
1. Houston Astros: Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (Calif.)
I still think there's a good chance Carlos Rodon is the guy here, but there's been enough talk about Aiken being the best talent in the Draft to make me switch it up this time.
Mayo's last pick: Rodon | Callis' last pick: Aiken
2. Miami Marlins: Alex Jackson, C/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS (Calif.)
Tyler Kolek is still a strong possibility, but the buzz surrounding the Marlins and Jackson is too strong to ignore.
Mayo's last pick: Kolek | Callis' last pick: Jackson
3. Chicago White Sox: Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
It's still the same deal for the White Sox: They'll take the best arm on the board. Kolek should still be in the mix but if things blow up, they could look at Aaron Nola.
Mayo's last pick: Aiken | Callis' last pick: Rodon
4. Chicago Cubs: Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (Texas)
Rodon's a consideration if he gets by the White Sox, but with him off the board, the Cubs go for the hard-throwing Texas high school product.
Mayo's last pick: Jackson | Callis' last pick: Gordon
5. Minnesota Twins: Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS (Fla.)
This has been an oft-reported connection and there's no reason to ignore it.
Mayo's last pick: Gordon | Callis' last pick: Kolek
6. Seattle Mariners: Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU
College arms the Mariners could look at include Tyler Beede and Sean Newcomb, or they could look at the top college hitters. Nola's ability to get to the big leagues fast could be of interest.
Mayo's last pick: Beede | Callis' last pick: Newcomb
7. Philadelphia Phillies: Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
The best all-around backstop in the class, Pentecost's name has climbed into top-10 consideration, perhaps as high as No. 4.
Mayo's last pick: Freeland | Callis' last pick: Nola
8. Colorado Rockies: Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
Freeland is in the mix all over the top 10, especially with teams that are really looking at college pitchers. He's a Colorado kid, so this would be a nice homecoming.
Mayo's last pick: Nola | Callis' last pick: Freeland
9. Toronto Blue Jays: Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
This is just a flip-flop of the two projected Blue Jays picks from my first mock Draft two weeks ago.
Mayo's last pick: Toussaint | Callis' last pick: Turner
10. New York Mets: Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
There's a chance the Hartford lefty could go before the Mets pick, in which case they could look at one of the arms that filters down or the top college bats still on the board.
Mayo's last pick: Newcomb | Callis' last pick: Conforto
11. Toronto Blue Jays: Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian Academy (Fla.)
If ever there was a stronger connection between a player and a team, I haven't seen it. That always makes a prognosticator nervous.
Mayo's last pick: Turner | Callis' last pick: Toussaint
12. Milwaukee Brewers: Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
Beede is still one of the more difficult players to place due to what was a fairly inconsistent season. Still, the raw stuff is excellent and a team in the top 10 that believes he just needs mechanical adjustments could take him. Milwaukee could also be looking at college hitters or high school pitchers like Grant Holmes or Kodi Medeiros.
Mayo's last pick: Conforto | Callis' last pick: Pentecost
13. San Diego Padres: Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
Signs have been pointing to the Padres looking at college bats, with Conforto and Kyle Schwarber being the two top choices at this point.
Mayo's last pick: Pentecost | Callis' last pick: Zimmer
14. San Francisco Giants: Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (S.C.)
This is another one of those consensus picks that make you nervous, and there's a chance Holmes goes above to a team like the Blue Jays or the Brewers.
Mayo's last pick: Holmes | Callis' last pick: Holmes
15. Los Angeles Angels: Kyle Schwarber, C, Indiana
Many regard Schwarber to be the best college hitter and his name has been mentioned as high as No. 8. The Angels could look at other advanced hitters should they still be on the board.
Mayo's last pick: Schwarber | Callis' last pick: Schwarber
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
Early signs were pointing toward a college arm, and if Brandon Finnegan is healthy, he could still land here. But the D-backs do like Zimmer, an athletic college outfielder. They also might have interest in prep pitchers like Medeiros or Luis Ortiz.
Mayo's last pick: Finnegan | Callis' last pick: Beede
17. Kansas City Royals: Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS (Calif.)
There may not be any Draft prospect with more helium right now than Hill, a toolsy high school outfielder and the son of Dodgers scout Orsino Hill. It isn't out of the question that a team above this spot bites on his potential.
Mayo's last pick: Zimmer | Callis' last pick: Gatewood
18. Washington Nationals: Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
Where Hoffman lands could come down to financials. If he believes he should get a bonus that matches his former top-of-the-Draft status, before he had Tommy John elbow surgery, the field of suitors could shrink.
Mayo's last pick: Hoffman | Callis' last pick: Hoffman
19. Cincinnati Reds: Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS (Fla.)
If Derek Hill gets to this point, I'd be tempted to revert back to my first projection. If not, the top prep arm still on the board could be Cincy-bound.
Mayo's last pick: Hill | Callis' last pick: Reid-Foley
20. Tampa Bay Rays: Monte Harrison, OF, Lee's Summit West HS (Mo.)
There are some college hitters who could come into play here, but that hasn't worked out as well for the Rays lately. They went back to high school in the first round last year and could again to get the extremely athletic Harrison, a three-sport standout.
Mayo's last pick: Reid-Foley | Callis' last pick: Gillaspie
21. Cleveland Indians: Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Waiakea HS (Hawaii)
It's possible Medeiros will be gone by now, with the Indians perhaps turning to some of the college bats, especially if there's one they like that they don't think will get to their second pick at No. 31.
Mayo's last pick: Medeiros | Callis' last pick: Finnegan
22. Los Angeles Dodgers: Nick Howard, RHP, Virginia
The two high school hitters Jim and I picked in our past two mocks are certainly possibilities, especially given the Hill family tie to the organization. But the Dodgers went for a college arm a year ago and Howard's stock is on the rise.
Mayo's last pick: Gatewood | Callis' last pick: Hill
23. Detroit Tigers: Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
The Tigers often target power pitchers, making Burdi and Howard, if available, possibilities. If Finnegan shows he's healthy, he could be gone. If not, the Tigers could take him and even get him to the big leagues in a hurry to help out in the bullpen.
Mayo's last pick: Burdi | Callis' last pick: Howard
24. Pittsburgh Pirates: Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State
The Pirates haven't gone the college-hitter route in the first round in a while. Then again, they haven't picked this late in a really long time. Gillaspie might be the best player on the board at this point.
Mayo's last pick: Gillaspie | Callis' last pick: Harrison
25. Oakland A's: Michael Chavis, SS, Sprayberry HS (Ga.)
The A's certainly haven't shied away from high school bats and Chavis is one who can really hit, albeit without a true defensive home. Perhaps a move behind the plate is in his future.
Mayo's last pick: Chavis | Callis' last pick: Forbes
26. Boston Red Sox: Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS (Calif.)
Ortiz was pegged as Boston's No. 33 overall pick in our first mock Draft, but he threw well after his return from a forearm issue, and the Red Sox could pluck him with their first first-round pick.
Mayo's last pick: Fisher | Callis' last pick: Fedde
27. St. Louis Cardinals: Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS (Calif.)
The Cardinals will keep looking at high school pitchers who have been mentioned in this spot, but Gatewood's ridiculous raw power should land somewhere in the first round, perhaps above this point.
Mayo's last pick: Griffin | Callis' last pick: Ortiz
28. Kansas City Royals: Spencer Adams, RHP, White County HS (Ga.)
A high school athlete at 17 and a projectable (and also very athletic) prep right-hander here? The Royals could split it up and go for an advanced college player, but Adams' upside intrigues them.
Mayo's last pick: Harrison | Callis' last pick: Medeiros
29. Cincinnati Reds: Foster Griffin, LHP, The First Academy (Fla.)
Two Florida high school pitchers in the first round for the Reds? It isn't unreasonable given their track record for drafting young pitchers. Griffin has some helium as the Draft approaches.
Mayo's last pick: Adams | Callis' last pick: Adams
30. Texas Rangers: Forrest Wall, 2B, Orangewood Christian HS (Fla.)
The Rangers could be interested if a lefty such as Griffin is available, but Wall's speed and bat might be too good to pass up.
Mayo's last pick: Wall | Callis' last pick: Wall
31. Cleveland Indians: Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
After taking a high school arm like Medeiros at 21, nabbing an advanced college bat like Fisher, who missed a chunk of time this year with a hamate injury, would balance things out nicely.
Mayo's last pick: Howard | Callis' last pick: Fisher
32. Atlanta Braves: Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV
It is tempting to give the Braves someone from their own backyard (see our previous picks), but Fedde was a top-10 candidate before surgery and could be a steal.
Mayo's last pick: Gettys | Callis' last pick: Chavis
33. Boston Red Sox: Michael Kopech, RHP, Mt. Pleasant HS (Texas)
Kopech's name is starting to pop up in first-round conversations now and with a deep farm system, the Red Sox can afford to take two high upside high school arms in the first round and wait for them to develop.
Mayo's last pick: Ortiz | Callis' last pick: Reed
34. St. Louis Cardinals: A.J. Reed, 1B, Kentucky
Reed leads the nation in home runs (he's also been a very good starter for Kentucky) and his left-handed power bat could be a nice addition to the Cards' already strong system.
Mayo's last pick: Fedde | Callis' last pick: Weaver