Day 1 Draft Recap, National League

Also see: American League.

Below are brief summaries of each National League team’s draft class following the end of the event’s first day. The numbers in parentheses beside each name indicate where the prospect was ranked on my top-100 list, which is also where players’ scouting reports can be found. Players who were not on my top 100 and were drafted yesterday have brief reports in this post.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Round 1, Pick 7 — Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia (20)
Round 2, Pick 44 — Drew Ellis, 1B/3B, Louisville (84)
Comp B, Pick 68 — Daulton Varsho, C, UW-Milwaukee (NR)
Varsho’s a stocky, plus-running catcher with high-effort, above-average bat speed. He has some catcher’s traits but his arm strength might not fit behind the plate. Some have concerns about strikeouts.

Thoughts
Three college performers, two whose futures likely lie at first base.

Atlanta Braves

Round 1, Pick 5 — Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt (1)
Round 2, Pick 41 — Drew Waters, OF, Etowah HS (GA) (42)

Thoughts
Wright topped my board, so naturally I think he was great value at No. 5. Waters was drafted right where I had him ranked, I think he has a chance to hit from both sides of the plate.

Chicago Cubs

Round 1, Pick 27 — Brendon Little, LHP, State College of Florida (46)
Round 1, Pick 30 — Alex Lange, RHP, LSU (39)
Round 2, Pick 67 — Cory Abbott, RHP, Loyola Marymount (NR)
Abbott sits 89-93. It plays up due to extension and deception, as does his hard, upper-80s slider. They’re arguably both above-average pitches and Abbott carved up West Coast Conference hitters with them, allowing just two earned runs in 67 conference innings. There’s little else of note about the repertoire, so he may just be a reliever, but he’s one of the more intriguing college performers in the draft.

Thoughts
All three of the college arms Chicago picked fell due to some amount of relief risk, but both Lange and Little could be dominant bullpen pieces based on their abilities to spin a mean breaking ball.

Cincinnati Reds

Round 1, Pick 2 — Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS (CA) (2)
Comp A, Pick 32 — Jeter Downs, SS, Pace HS (FL) (62)
Round 2, Pick 38 — Stuart Fairchild, CF, Wake Forest (38)

Thoughts
Exclusively athletic, up-the-middle players who have carrying tools? A terrific start for Cincinnati.

Colorado Rockies

Round 2, Pick 48 — Ryan Vilade, 3B, Stillwater HS (OK) (37)
Comp B, Pick 70 — Tommy Doyle, RHP, Virginia (NR)
Doyle has a low to mid-90s fastball and above-average slider. Pure relief look, chance to be a seventh- or eighth- inning arm.

Thoughts
The Rockies suddenly have lots of right-handed power bats in the lower minors. I like Doyle as a relief prospect but think comparable players can be found in rounds four through six, and the Ben Bowden conversion from college reliever to pro starter has been slow to get going.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Round 1, Pick 23 — Jeren Kendall, CF, Vanderbilt (16)
Round 2, Pick 62 — Morgan Cooper, RHP, Texas (76)

Thoughts
Getting a college performer with Kendall’s tools, even if the profile is incomplete, all the way down at pick 23 surprised me. Cooper was underdrafted if he can stay healthy. The Dodgers are starting to get a reputation for selecting pitchers who have fallen due to injury.

Miami Marlins

Round 1, Pick 13 — Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad HS (NM) (22)
Comp A, Pick 36 — Brian Miller, CF, North Carolina (51)
Round 2, Pick 51 — Joe Dunand, 3B, North Carolina State (94)

Thoughts
One could argue all three players Miami drafted tonight are top-10 prospects in their system, even though each has a question mark or two. This is a fair start for the Marlins

Milwaukee Brewers

Round 1, Pick 9 — Keston Hiura, 2B, UC Irvine (15)
Comp A, Pick 34 — Tristen Lutz, OF, Martin HS (TX) (61)
Round 2, Pick 46 — Caden Lemons, RHP, Vestavia Hills HS (AL) (67)

Thoughts
Two advanced bats and a very projectable pitcher is a nice mix, even if Hiura’s arm injury slows his development.

New York Mets

Round 1, Pick 20 — David Peterson, LHP, Oregon (20)
Round 2, Pick 59 — Mark Vientos, 3B, American Heritage HS (FL) (34)

Thoughts
I think the Peterson pick was one of Day 1’s best selections, and Vientos has big upside if the body develops as everyone thinks it will.

Philadelphia Phillies

Round 1, Pick 8 — Adam Haseley, CF, Virginia (8)
Round 2, Pick 45 — Spencer Howard, RHP, Cal Poly (NR)
Howard was one of my last cuts from the draft top 100. He sits 90-94 and has flashed slider and changeup feel, with some scouts projecting heavily on both because he’s spent much of his collegiate career as a reliever. Howard has trouble timing the components of his delivery at times and his control wavers.

Thoughts
Haseley was picked where I had him ranked. Howard has second-round stuff but fourth-round command.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Round 1, Pick 12 — Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX) (11)
Round 2, Pick 42 — Steven Jennings, RHP, DeKalb County HS (TN) (45)
Round 2, Pick 50 — Cal Mitchell, OF, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA) (72)
Comp B, Pick 72 — Conner Uselton, OF, Southmoore HS (OK)

Thoughts
Perhaps the group with the most collective upside on the draft’s first day. Baz has top-10 stuff, Mitchell and Uselton have special hitting traits, and Jennings is the best of a group of above-average athletes.

San Diego Padres

Round 1, Pick 3 — MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville hS (NC) (3)
Round 2, Pick 39 — Luis Campusano-Bracero, C, Cross Creek HS (GA) (31)
Comp B, Pick 69 — Blake Hunt, C, Mater Dei HS (CA) (NR)
A catch-and-throw prospect with a good baseball body, Hunt performed well in front of lots of eyes at the Boras South Classic in California. He’s not expected to make much of an impact with his bat and he projects as a backup for many scouts, but he could make enough contact to profile as a bit more than that.

Thoughts
I wouldn’t read too much into the multiple catcher selections. The Padres have two AZL teams and plenty of reps to go around.

San Francisco Giants

Round 1, Pick 19 — Heliot Ramos, CF, Leadership Christian (Puerto Rico) (26)
Round 2, Pick 58 — Jacob Gonzalez, 3B, Chaparral HS (AZ) (NR)
Gonzalez oozes raw power projection, as he already arguably has plus raw power and a frame that should add more weight as he ages. He’s not likely to stay at third base, though, and area scouts are mixed on whether or not he’ll make enough contact to profile at first.

Thoughts
All the names I had attached to the Giants were off the board when they picked.

Washington Nationals

Round 1, Pick 25 — Seth Romero, LHP, (ex-)Houston (36)
Round 2, Pick 65 — Wil Crowe, RHP, South Carolina (38)

Thoughts
Both have red flags (Romero’s behavioral, Crowe’s medical) but are far more talented than where they both ended up being selected.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

10 Comments
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grandbranyanmember
5 years ago

I think someone maybe hacked your mainframe & deleted the section on the Cardinals picks.

Spa City
5 years ago
Reply to  grandbranyan

Russians, no doubt.

MadMonkmember
5 years ago
Reply to  grandbranyan

Cardinals doesn’t have 1st and 2nd round pick.

Larry Faria
5 years ago
Reply to  MadMonk

Wow, those Russians are sneaky!

Francoeursteinmember
5 years ago
Reply to  MadMonk

Whoosh!