With the MLB draft set to kickoff this evening, here is our latest mock, compiled using industry chatter from team personnel and player reps, our own in-person scouting, and educated guesses informed by how we believe individual teams have operated recently. For more information on the players mentioned below, head over to The BOARD, which we’ll continue to flood with player info over the next few days, as well as our first three mocks.
We’ll do one more names-only mock tonight just before the draft kicks off, and based on how we characterize the process surrounding a few of the picks, we expect some behind-the-scenes fireworks just before dinner time on the East Coast tonight.
1. Orioles – Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Clubs still think there’s a real chance for a cut-rate option here, with Vaughn and Bleday the two leading candidates and Witt less likely. This crew keeps a tight lid on things, and may not call someone’s adviser to really get down to brass tacks until sometime late this afternoon. Even the advisers of those potential backup options don’t yet know if they’re going 1-1, or how to handicap it. Contact hasn’t been made with Rutschman’s reps for weeks, which is also to be expected to maximize leverage. We think a lot of the buzz here is being mentioned as posturing, and that the odds are high the pick is just Rutschman; it’s something like an 80% chance, but by no means a slam dunk. It’s worth noting that some of the concerns on Rutschman’s medical are more likely to be flagged by Baltimore given their specific medical staff.
2. Royals – Bobby Witt, Jr., SS, Colleyville Heritage HS (TX)
Witt still seems very likely to go here, with Rutschman rumored both to be a slam dunk choice if he slides and to not be in consideration anymore at all. The Royals have quietly done their due diligence on Vanderbilt RF J.J. Bleday, and insiders believe he’s the backup option at this pick if they opt to go college late like they did last year.
3. White Sox – Andrew Vaughn, 1B, Cal
In the event Vaughn/Bleday goes first and Witt goes at two, this is Rutschman’s floor, however unlikely that scenario is. The tide has shifted again at this pick and Vaughn now looks to be the favorite with Georgia prep SS C.J. Abrams fading, possibly far. Texas prep 3B Brett Baty is the cut-rate option, but appears to be a long shot. Particularly if they can cut here, the White Sox are looking to float an overpay prep arm to their second pick, but that may be tough sledding.
4. Marlins – J.J. Bleday, RF, Vanderbilt
Bleday is still the likely pick in this scenario, but it’s unclear who Miami would pick if Baty goes third and both Vaughn and Bleday are on the board. There also exists a chance Derek Jeter pounds the table and they take Abrams, but that’s very unlikely. LSU SS Josh Smith and surging Southern Miss RF Matt Wallner are among the targets at their later picks.
5. Tigers – Riley Greene, RF, Hagerty HS (FL)
Greene’s market now looks to be either five or six without a condition tied to it. If Vaughn or Bleday somehow got here, they’d be heavily considered, but the likely mix is Greene and TCU lefty Nick Lodolo.
6. Padres – Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU
San Diego has been tied to Abrams all spring but it sounds like they prefer Greene if he gets here, then Lodolo ahead of Abrams.
7. Reds – Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
This is the third straight pick that comprises Lodolo’s sweet spot. Langeliers has been scorching hot lately and has lots of suitors in this area, as he’s Cincy’s backup plan to Lodolo and Greene. Elon RHP George Kirby had some momentum here, but it sounds like he’s out of the mix.
8. Rangers – Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
It’s unclear what Jung’s price would be here, but if it’s slot or just below, he’ll be the pick as he appears to be the preference. Baty and Hoese are the cut-rate options, and there’s some dispute as to which the Rangers prefer or if it just comes down to the price that gets quoted today. With the recent heat at higher picks, Hoese sounds like he may be cheaper. It sounds like Arizona State CF Hunter Bishop is no longer in the mix, and Manoah and Carroll are both outside looking in.
9. Braves – Corbin Carroll, CF, Lakeside HS (WA)
Bishop, Manoah, and Rutledge are also in the mix. The Braves are the first team to have a second pick, which perhaps gives them incentive to cut an underslot deal here, but the uncertainty ahead of them and Arizona’s presence at 16 makes it tough to have a narrow, player-specific plan for nine and 21.
10. Giants – C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity HS (GA)
Picks seven to nine are all believed to be out on Abrams, so 10 is the next landing spot if he doesn’t go third or sixth. It’s somewhat baffling for this talented of a player to be slipping this late, but it was the number one topic every team and agent wanted to discuss while researching this mock. Bishop is believed to be the favorite here if Abrams doesn’t make it, with Rutledge (who may also be sliding like Abrams), Stott, and Manoah also in the mix. The Giants cast a wide net and almost 10 players still on the board have been tied to this pick, like Cavaco and Busch.
11. Blue Jays – Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia
Rutledge, Stott and Bishop have all been mentioned here as well.
12. Mets – Hunter Bishop, CF, Arizona State
Stott and Kentucky LHP Zack Thompson are also in the mix.
13. Twins – Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV
SoCal prep 3B Keoni Cavaco and Jung are also in the mix, but this sounds like the floor for Stott, and possibly Langeliers.
14. Phillies – Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto JC (TX)
Langeliers and Rutledge both have backstops here, Elon strike-thrower George Kirby’s range starts here, and we’ve also heard Carroll mentioned.
15. Angels – Keoni Cavaco, 3B, Eastlake HS (CA)
Jung or whichever college pitcher gets here would be great value and are on the shortlist. The Angels are a dark horse for Florida prep RHP Matthew Allan.
16. D’Backs – Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis HS (TX)
This could go a lot of ways, with a falling college prospect (Hoese, Kirby), or a higher floor prep prospect who they overpay to slide (Baty, Carroll), or a high ceiling/price target for a later who they find out may not get that far (Allan). They’ve also been tied to Matthew Lugo, Brooks Lee, Blake Walston, Tyler Callihan, Nick Quintana, Sammy Siani, and Spencer Jones with their multitude of picks/options.
17. Nationals – Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (FL)
Langeliers was a dream here but he won’t make it. Allan has a $4 million price tag and only a few landing spots, but this is one.
18. Pirates – Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove HS (IL)
We also have them tied to Alabama prep SS Gunnar Henderson, but this Priester pick has made sense for awhile and it looks like he has a real chance to get here. They also recently worked out Florida prep 3B Tyler Callihan.
19. Cardinals – Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky
We also have them with Puerto Rican prep SS Matthew Lugo, who they’d need to take here if they want him, since he likely goes in the middle-30’s. Priester, Wilson, Busch, Thompson, and Hampton are all in consideration in that order here.
20. Mariners – George Kirby, RHP, Elon
We’ve heard Seattle on prep infielders Volpe, Cavaco, and Nunez in that order, but also the falling college pitching (Thompson/Kirby). They could be a landing spot for Duke LHP Graeme Stinson at a later pick. It sounds like they’re hoping for Carroll to get here. Kirby’s sweet spot is this 17-20 range, so he likely lands somewhere in here.
21. Braves – Will Wilson, SS, North Carolina State
We’ve heard them with Priester if he makes it this far and Florida prep RHP Brennan Malone.
22. Rays – J.J. Goss, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (TX)
Goss has some homes in the middle 20s, but probably doesn’t get well into the 30s if he slips. Cavaco and Wilson both didn’t make it here in this scenario. Gunnar Henderson could go here, and LSU SS Josh Smith, Campbell RHP Seth Johnson, and New Mexico State SS Joey Ortiz are targets at later picks.
23. Rockies – Greg Jones, SS, UNC Wilmington
Heat has been in to see Missouri RF Kameron Misner and Jones, with Jones believed to be the preference. North Carolina 1B Michael Busch is also in play.
24. Indians – Maurice Hampton, CF, Memphis University HS (TN)
South Florida prep SS Yordys Valdes is a target for their second pick, while Busch, NorCal prep SS Kyren Paris, and Will Wilson also fit.
25. Dodgers – Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane
This pick and the next few would be the lower bound for Hoese, who has a chance to go as high as eighth, so there’s still some uncertainty around his landing spot. The Dodgers have worked out Espino, like Malone, Henderson, and Wilson, and really like Stowers. We’ve heard they’re one of a few teams willing to cut money up top to set up an overpay of Spencer Jones at their second round pick, and UC Irvine 1B Brandon Lewis after that.
26. D’Backs – Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy HS (FL)
27. Cubs – Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson
This is probably Hoese’s floor as Theo Epstein saw him recently and he went to Chicago for a workout. We have them mostly on college players here.
28. Brewers – Michael Busch, 1B, North Carolina
Busch is a great value here and has performed. Paris is also model-friendly, and Florida prep LHP Hunter Barco and Iowa Juco LHP Antoine Kelly have both been tied here, while Henderson also makes sense.
29. A’s – Kameron Misner, RF, Missouri
Greg Jones is a target if he gets here, and Misner and Davidson both make sense as Oakland has been looking for ceiling of late with their first pick.
30. Yankees – Anthony Volpe, SS, Delbarton HS (NJ)
The Yankees have also been tied to Lugo, Misner, and Drey Jameson at their next pick, and Rece Hinds at the pick after that. New Jersey prep RHP Jack Leiter (Volpe’s teammate) could also fit here among very few other spots, though he’s the most likely top talent to go to college based on his $4 million-plus asking price.
31. Dodgers – Kyle Stowers, RF, Stanford
32. Astros – Daniel Espino, RHP, Premier Academy HS (GA)
Early on, Houston looked like the floor for Hoese, but that distinction now looks to be about a half dozen picks north of them. They had late heat into see Greg Jones, who likely doesn’t get here, and they’ve been tied to the prep pitching that fits their style, with Espino arguably the best fit.