Mock Draft: Pitchers aplenty in first round
Rodon, Kolek, Aiken projected to go 1-2-3 to Astros, Marlins, White Sox
The clock is ticking. The 2014 First-Year Player Draft is just three weeks away and scouting staffs are crisscrossing the country to get in as many looks at amateur talent as possible before things get going on June 5.
The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, 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 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
With not much time remaining before the Astros make the No. 1 pick in the Draft, it was high time to work out MLBPipeline.com's initial projection of the first round. Some injuries, namely to college right-handers Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde, have thrown things up in the air more than usual. There will be many more iterations to come, so stay tuned. But here's a first crack at it:
1. Astros: Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
A slow start left Rodon's status as the top pick in question, and one of the big high school pitchers below could still be Houston's choice, but here's saying the N.C. State lefty has done enough to reclaim the spot.
2. Marlins: Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (Texas)
Miami loves left-handed pitching, and there'd be nothing wrong with Brady Aiken here, but the size and pure stuff of Kolek is too hard to pass up.
3. White Sox: Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (Calif.)
The White Sox might be in the best spot. They can just take whichever of the top three arms is available.
4. Cubs: Alex Jackson, C/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS (Calif.)
This might be the first place where the injury to Hoffman is really felt. Jackson is considered by many to be the best all-around hitter in the class.
5. Twins: Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS (Fla.)
Dee's brother and Flash's son will be able to stay at shortstop and has added strength, making him a better all-around prospect.
6. Mariners: Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
There's a general consensus about the top five names, if not the order. This is where it starts getting iffy. Beede is one of many in the mix.
7. Phillies: Kyle Freeland, RHP, Evansville
Philadelphia would probably love for Gordon to be available, and the Phils might look at the top college hitters, but that might be too much of a stretch. There's a lot of buzz about Freeland climbing into the top 10.
8. Rockies: Aaron Nola, RHP, Louisiana State
There hasn't been a better performer among the college pitchers, and it's quite possible that Nola goes a few spots higher as a result.
9. Blue Jays: Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian Academy (Fla.)
Putting a high school arm with Toronto is almost expected, right? Toussaint and Sean Reid-Foley are the ones most often mentioned.
10. Mets: Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
The Mets have been on the southpaw from the get-go, and he's done nothing to sway them away.
11. Blue Jays: Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
After a slow start, Turner has turned it up, and his plus speed at a premium position will be of interest to a number of teams.
12. Brewers: Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
Conforto can hit for average and power, and some believe he's the best college hitter in the class.
13. Padres: Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
There are other hitters who currently catch but who might not stay behind the plate. Pentecost is the best all-around backstop available, and he will stay at the position.
14. Giants: Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (S.C.)
Holmes isn't as projectable as some of the other top high school arms, but his current stuff is pretty darn good.
15. Angels: Kyle Schwarber, C, Indiana
Schwarber's ability to stay behind the plate isn't universally agreed upon like it is with Pentecost. The good news is that he can handle an outfield corner and has the offensive profile to match.
16. Diamondbacks: Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Texas Christian
Finnegan returned to the mound for the second time in a few weeks on Thursday. If he can prove he's healthy, he might not be available at No. 16. If he doesn't, will the D-backs want to take the risk?
17. Royals: Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
There's been some talk of local high school athlete Monte Harrison, but who can resist bringing the Zimmer brothers together? (Kyle was their first-round pick in 2012.)
18. Nationals: Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
Things worked out pretty well with Lucas Giolito in 2012, and the Nats are not afraid to take risks in the Draft.
19. Reds: Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS (Calif.)
In an ideal world, one of the college hitters mentioned above will fall to here, but if not, Cincinnati has interest in this NoCal high school talent, whose father scouts for the Dodgers.
20. Rays: Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS (Fla.)
Reid-Foley has had a solid spring, so it's quite possible he'll be off the board by this point. Tampa Bay wouldn't complain if he wasn't.
21. Indians: Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Waiakea HS (Hawaii)
Medeiros is a bit polarizing in that he's not as big as some would like -- though he's bigger than listed -- and he has a slightly unorthodox delivery, but it's hard to argue with his stuff: He was up to 95 mph with a killer slider in his last start of the season.
22. Dodgers: Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS (Calif.)
It hasn't been the spring many hoped for, as there are questions about his bat, but Gatewood's raw power is unsurpassed in this class, and a team that believes he'll hit enough will take him.
23. Tigers: Nick Burdi, RHP, Louisville
Like putting high school arms with Toronto, the tendency is to put the power arm with Detroit. Burdi has the stuff to close at the highest level and could get there in a hurry.
24. Pirates: Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State
College performers typically move up the boards, and Gillaspie has been impressive. He can hit for average and power from both sides of the plate.
25. A's: Michael Chavis, SS, Sprayberry HS (Ga.)
Chavis likely will move to third, or maybe even behind the plate, at the next level, but many teams like his bat. Oakland has taken a high school position player in the first round in each of the past two Drafts.
26. Red Sox: Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
Fisher missed a good chunk of time recovering from a broken hamate, but he profiles as a corner outfielder who can hit for average and power.
27. Cardinals: Foster Griffin, LHP, First Academy HS (Fla.)
The southpaw has some helium with a combination of pitchability and projectability. It's extremely possible he goes ahead of this pick.
28. Royals: Monte Harrison, OF, Lee's Summit West HS (Mo.)
Kansas City will be thrilled if the local athlete the club considered at No. 17 is still on the board.
29. Reds: Spencer Adams, RHP, White County HS (Ga.)
Adams jumped up the boards with a big spring, showing sharper stuff coming from a very athletic frame. Cincinnati took high school pitchers in the first round in 2011 and '12.
30. Rangers: Forrest Wall, 2B, Orangewood Christian HS (Fla.)
Wall can hit and run. The question is where he'll play defensively. But he could be a leadoff type at second base or even the outfield if a team believes his arm will play out there.
31. Indians: Nick Howard, RHP, Virginia
Howard closed for the University of Virginia, but many teams believe he has the stuff to start. Knowing he could help out of a bullpen quickly is a nice backup plan.
32. Braves: Michael Gettys, OF, Gainesville HS (Ga.)
Gettys might be the only player more enigmatic than Gatewood, but the raw tools are very much there. Atlanta always knows the players in its backyard well.
33. Red Sox: Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS (Calif.)
A forearm issue kept Ortiz off the mound for a while, knocking him down a peg. He was throwing well after his return and could move back up the boards with a strong finish.
34. Cardinals: Erick Fedde, RHP, Nevada-Las Vegas
The other Tommy John surgery recipient (Hoffman being the other), Fedde had a chance to crack the top 10 if it hadn't been for the elbow injury.