Teams’ boards are entirely built now, and the focus of orgs and scouts has shifted toward assessing the signability of individual prospects so there aren’t high stakes mathematical puzzle pieces being smashed together on the fly on Wednesday. The higher a player is ranked, the more likely it is that someone higher up on a team’s organizational ladder is the one talking to the advisor. Some medical reviews are also underway.
I’ll do one more mock for Wednesday morning and, if necessary, a mock of just names with teams just ahead of the draft.
1. Detroit Tigers- Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
No change up top, as the overwhelming industry sense remains that Tork goes here. If something unexpected occurs and negotiations break down, I’d have Lacy the favorite to go based on Detroit’s tendencies.
2. Baltimore Orioles- Austin Martin, CF, Vanderbilt
There’s a pretty significant fork in the road here. Teams picking behind Baltimore still think this situation is fluid, that the Orioles have been shopping around (initially Nick Gonzales, who has realistic homes at four through six) looking to cut a deal as they try for an optimal quality/quantity combination for their class as a whole. Sources think the team has explored getting a deal done for between $4 million and $4.5 million, which is the slot amount between picks 11 and 14. It’s logical for Baltimore to explore this with Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad and North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey, as they’re two pretty stable college bats generally ranked in the eight to 11 range on most teams’ boards. They’re both in the mix between picks seven and 11, and are likely to get something close to slot there, which is more than the $4.5 million mark teams think Baltimore might be shooting for. In short, I think Martin is the most likely one (which is why I have him mocked, duh), with Gonzales next, and then some wild card deep cut.
3. Miami Marlins- Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
If Martin doesn’t go at two, I still think Lacy is the guy here. Teams selecting in the next couple of picks have been doing work on Lacy’s medical, which is either a symptom of the possibility that Baltimore cuts a deal at two and Martin goes to Miami (which, again, I don’t think is true), or them thinking he might fall due to something related to the medical. Team sources told me Lacy was the lone prospect of the top few pitchers who submitted to MLB’s MRI submission program. Team reviews of the medicals I’m aware of have ranged from “unconcerned, very typical” to “slightly above-average concern.”
4. Kansas City Royals- Zach Veen, OF, Spruce Creek HS (FL)
I’m not sure what they’d do if Martin were staring them in the face (if Lacy were, I think they’d take him), but otherwise it sounds like the mix is Veen and Gonzales.
5. Toronto Blue Jays- Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota
I have Meyer as the heavy favorite for Toronto with Veen strong in the mix. Gonzales, too, but to a lesser degree.
6. Seattle Mariners- Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico State
This feels like Gonzales’ floor, with Veen and Georgia righty Emerson Hancock in the mix, but it would take Gonzales at four and Veen at five for things to fall in such a way that Hancock moves to the front of this line.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates- Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia
Pittsburgh has the least-defined interests of anyone in the top 10, which makes sense considering that this six to eight area is where the line between the top tier of post-Tork talent starts to blur. This is where Bailey and Kjerstad first get mentioned without a big underslot deal in mind, and sources have speculated Oregon high school righty Mick Abel (based on the club taking a first round prep arm last year) and Western Pennsylvania outfielder Austin Hendrick. I’ve also heard Mississippi State second baseman Justin Foscue as a potential underslot target as early as this pick, but I think Hancock is just great value here.
8. San Diego Padres- Robert Hassell, CF, Independence HS (TN)
Veen, Hassell, and Meyer are in the mix, and I think they’d have to consider Hancock here were Pittsburgh to do something cheeky.
9. Colorado Rockies – Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas
10. Los Angeles Angels- Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville
11. Chicago White Sox- Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
Nothing sexy here, just strong value. Colorado has a robust recent history of taking corner thumpers and hasn’t touched the hot prep arm stove since Riley Pint, but I do think NorCal prep catcher Tyler Soderstrom is a possibility under slot here if the Rockies think a lot of college pitching they like will spill over into the comp round. Robert Hassell is a great fit with this org, too. Detmers gives the Angels quick-moving pitching, which they need, though I also have them on Illinois high school shortstop Ed Howard. Bailey is the best catching prospect in the class.
12. Cincinnati Reds- Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny HS (PA)
The Reds haven’t been scared off by older hitters (Rece Hinds and Tyler Callihan were both 19, so is Hendrick), and this is the last of the high school bats who are generally seen as top 15 picks.
13. San Francisco Giants- Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi State
I think part of the reason so many high schoolers get mentioned on the phone in connection with the Giants is because they’re assessing signability in case someone falls to their next pick. Foscue is a model darling (he’s barely 21 and performed in the SEC for three years) similar to Will Wilson, who the club liked enough to trade for in the offseason.
14. Texas Rangers- Nick Loftin, SS, Baylor
This one’s based on intel from an industry source as well as general sentiment that Texas will be a little more conservative this year. That fits with Loftin, a shortstop with a lengthy performance track record. Foscue is off the board in this scenario.
15. Philadelphia Phillies- Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma
16. Chicago Cubs- Garrett Mitchell, CF, UCLA
Again, two value college picks. Some of the industry think Cavalli is in a college pitching tier of his own after Detmers. I think Soderstrom is also a possibility at either of these picks.
17. Boston Red Sox- Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee
Crochet is falling because of injury and makeup concerns but his stuff is incredible, a line I copied and pasted from Jay Groome’s 2016 report.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks- Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East HS (PA)
I think Bitsko is probably signable at slot here and he’s one of few remaining pitchers with the fastball traits the D-backs clearly covet (Abel and Duke righty Bryce Jarvis are the others).
19. New York Mets- Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock HS (CA)
Soderstrom belongs ahead of this on talent but high school catchers are risky and tend to fall.
20. Milwaukee Brewers – Clayton Beeter, RHP, Texas Tech
Milwaukee’s past Alex Claudio acquisition (they traded a comp pick for him) tells us a lot about how they value ready-made relief contributors, and Beeter’s stuff could get big leaguers out tomorrow assuming he throws strikes.
21. St. Louis Cardinals- Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit High School (OR)
There’s no way Abel should get here based purely on talent, but he’s one of the players who might fall unexpectedly if there’s a stretch of teams that either a) are disinclined to take high school pitching or b) aren’t comfortable taking a player they haven’t seen in several months, or both. Lest ye think this is unreasonable, I need only point you to Nolan Gorman and Zack Thompson falling to the soul-selling Redbirds the last two years. (Right? There’s gotta a pact with Satan, who is no doubt also responsible for Busch beer.)
22. Washington Nationals- Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia
This might be Crochet’s floor.
23. Cleveland Indians- Peter Crow-Armstrong, CF, Harvard Westlake HS (CA)
Cleveland hops on players who’ve fallen a bit further than expected (Brady Aiken, Ethan Hankins) and younger high schoolers. PCA is both.
24. Tampa Bay Rays- Slade Cecconi, RHP, Miami
The Rays don’t really have a type — their only real tendency is to diversify. Cecconi belongs in this range. They pick again at 37 and 57, and a college arm here probably gives them some flexibility later rather than committing overslot dollars to a high schooler here.
25. Atlanta Braves- Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke
Jarvis’ stuff is tailored to modern specifications. I have them attached to Cole Henry with their next pick.
26. Oakland A’s- Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina
27. Minnesota Twins- Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS (AZ)
I still have dope that says Tucker goes on Day 1 for something close to $1.5 million, which would be $1 million below slot here.
28. New York Yankees- Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville
29. Los Angeles Dodgers – Tanner Witt, RHP, Episcopal HS (TX)
This draft environment is made for LA, which has had no issues taking players who haven’t pitched in over a year due to surgery, or who have short track records of performance because they transferred. Witt has premium raw materials to work with (frame, athleticism, breaking ball) and the Dodgers have arguably the best player dev group in baseball.
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.