3 best picks, 3 biggest surprises of Day 1
Outfielder Cameron, son of former big leaguer, falls to Astros with pick No. 37
Shortstops dominated the first round of the 2015 Draft on Monday night. Vanderbilt's Dansby Swanson, Louisiana State's Alex Bregman and Lake Mary (Fla.) High's Brendan Rodgers went 1-2-3 to the D-backs, Astros and Rockies, respectively, marking the first time in the Draft's history that shortstops comprised the first three selections. A total of eight were selected in the first round, tying a record set in 1971 and 2002.
Beyond the shortstops, here are some of the top Draft stories from Day 1:
Three best picks
1. Daz Cameron, OF, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy, McDonough, Ga. (Astros, No. 37). Houston was already lined up for a banner Draft with the highest pair of picks in history at No. 2 (Bregman) and No. 5 (outfielder Kyle Tucker from Plant High, Tampa, Fla.). It got even better when Cameron lasted until the first Competitive Balance Round as a result of a reported $5 million price tag that scared off clubs. If the Astros sign all three, they will have landed three of the top seven prospects on the MLBPipeline.com Draft Top 200 list.
2. Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State (Blue Jays, No. 29). An expected run on college pitchers in the teens never materialized, and Harris waited much longer than expected to hear his name called. The fourth-best college arm available has a higher floor as a starter than the three guys rated ahead of him, and Toronto never expected him to be undrafted at the pick it received as compensation for the loss of free-agent outfielder Melky Cabrera. Harris has a lively 92- to 94-mph fastball, three secondary pitches that flash plus at their best and an athletic 6-foot-4 frame.
3. Mike Nikorak, RHP, Stroudsburg (Pa.) High (Rockies, No. 27). Colorado got the high school position player with the highest ceiling in Rodgers and paired him with the prep pitcher with the highest ceiling in Nikorak. The right-hander still needs to add strength so he can maintain his stuff and command deeper into games and seasons, but he's an athletic 6-foot-5, 205-pounder who can reach 97 mph and snap off an impressive curveball.
Three biggest surprises
1. Josh Naylor, 1B, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario (Marlins, No. 12). An impressive power performance on a Team Canada jaunt to the Dominican Republic propelled Brett Lawrie into the first round in 2008, and it did the same for Naylor this spring. He had as much late helium as anyone in the Draft and as much power, too, in a talent pool short on that commodity. Naylor is a bat-only guy limited to first base, but that power could play very big.
2. Taylor Ward, C, Fresno State (Angels, No. 26). Catching was in short supply, and Ward has the best arm among the Draft's backstops, but he wasn't considered a lock to go on the first day, let alone in the first round. Though he's athletic for his position and exhibits some pull power, there are questions as to whether he can hit enough to become a big league regular.
3. Ryan Mountcastle, SS, Hagerty High, Oviedo, Fla. (Orioles, No. 36). The last pick of the first round was also the lowest-rated player in the round, checking in at No. 110 on the MLBPipeline Top 200. Mountcastle has impressive bat speed, but there are questions about his ability to make consistent contact and remain in the infield.
MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 of the Draft begins with a live show at 12:30 p.m. ET today, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
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 over 1,700 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.