Here's Espns Insider mock Draft
(Hey, it's a day off).
We're three weeks away from the start of the Rule 4 draft, and it can't come soon enough for all of the pitchers hoping to be selected -- they've been going down with injuries just as often as pro pitchers have this spring, with UNLV's Erick Fedde and East Carolina's Jeff Hoffman both needing Tommy John surgery. There's a little crystallization near the top of the draft, and it's still a fairly pitching-heavy draft overall, but after the first four or five picks there's very little clarity.
Two names you won't see listed with any teams here: Brandon Finnegan and Scott Blewett, both of whom are dealing with shoulder soreness and will have to get cleared by team doctors before they get strong consideration in the first round. Neither is expected to need surgery, and Finnegan pitched Friday, although TCU has some history of sending pitchers back out to the mound before they're fully recovered.
Please note that this only covers the first round, which is just 27 picks, because the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles forfeited their first-round selections by signing free agents from others teams who had received qualifying offers. (The Toronto Blue Jays have two first-round picks.)
For a look at my top 100 draft prospects, click here.
1Brady AikenSCHOOL: Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego, Calif.HT: 6-4WT: 200POS: LHP
Analysis: I keep hearing the Astros are down to three names: Aiken, Carlos Rodon, and Alex Jackson, with local product Tyler Kolek likely on the outside of that final set. The decision may come down to money -- they'd like to repeat their successful 2012 strategy, where they save $2 million or so on the top pick and reallocate the money to later picks (they have No. 37 and No. 42 this year) to acquire more first-round talents who slid into the sandwich/second because of their bonus demands.
2Alex JacksonSCHOOL: Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego, Calif.HT: 6-2WT: 210POS: C
Analysis: The Marlins are on the same three names as Houston, plus Tyler Kolek, but the word around town is that Miami is focusing heavily on bats throughout the draft. The Fish have the most money in their draft pool of any team this year, with extra picks at 36 and 39 as well as their regular pick at 43, and could do just what Houston wants to do, cleaning up with as many as four first-round talents if they play their money right.
I've also heard them with Bradley Zimmer, but I think he's a tweener for them -- probably not as good as their best options at No. 2, and clearly long gone before they pick again.
3Tyler KolekSCHOOL: Shepherd (Texas) HSHT: 6-5WT: 250POS: RHP
Analysis: The White Sox want one of the big three arms, so even though early favorite Jeff Hoffman is on the shelf after Tommy John surgery, they'll still get someone they really like. The bet here is that they'd do better financially with Kolek than with Carlos Rodon, but I wouldn't rule out the latter. Everything I'm projecting here is about probabilities, or possibilities, not certainties.
4Carlos RodonSCHOOL: N.C. StateHT: 6-4WT: 235POS: LHP
Analysis: This is close to a dream scenario for the Cubs, who'd love Rodon or Brady Aiken, would like Tyler Kolek, and will otherwise have to choose from the next tier; Jeff Hoffman's injury hurt them more than it hurt any other club, and that was just driven home further when Erick Fedde blew out his arm. (The Tommy John epidemic has crept into college baseball, too. Potential 2016 first-rounder Matt Krook saw his elbow spontaneously combust this spring.)
If all three of the top arms go before the Cubs pick, their mix will include Alex Jackson, Michael Conforto, Aaron Nola, and at least a half-dozen other possibilities, with even a rumor about Max Pentecost on a huge under-slot deal.
5Nick GordonSCHOOL: Olympia HS, Orlando, Fla.HT: 6-1WT: 170POS: SS
Analysis: The Twins have been heavy on Gordon, Alex Jackson and Aaron Nola this spring, with Gordon considered the most likely choice. He would add some needed middle-infield strength to a system that's long been stronger in the outfield. There's also a rumor they'd like Jacob Gatewood on a discount, but it's not out of the question they could try to grab him on an over-slot deal at No. 46.
6Michael ConfortoSCHOOL: Oregon StateHT: 6-1WT: 215POS: OF
Analysis: The Mariners, along with the Brewers, are among the most secretive clubs around the draft, and have been linked to a lot of names, including Conforto, Alex Jackson, Aaron Nola, Nick Gordon, Casey Gillaspie, Kyle Freeland and Grant Holmes. I take that to mean most of us don't really know who they truly want, other than a general feeling that Jackson won't get past them.
7Aaron NolaSCHOOL: LSUHT: 6-1WT: 180POS: RHP
Analysis: The Phillies have been all over Jacob Gatewood and were heavy on Casey Gillaspie last weekend, but there's apparently a push there to take someone who's closer to helping the major league club -- a dangerous shift for a scouting staff that's long gone after higher-ceiling guys and seems to have hit on last year's top pick, athletic prep shortstop J.P. Crawford.
8Kyle FreelandSCHOOL: EvansvilleHT: 6-4WT: 185POS: LHP
Analysis: The Rockies could go in a lot of directions, and I've also heard them connected to Nick Gordon, Aaron Nola and Trea Turner.
9Touki ToussaintSCHOOL: Coral Springs (Fla.) Christian Acad.HT: 6-2WT: 195POS: RHP
Analysis: The Jays would love Nick Gordon, but there seems to be no way he runs the gauntlet from Minnesota to Colorado without someone taking him. They're clearly the high team on Toussaint and have been rumored all spring to be on prep arms.
10Sean NewcombSCHOOL: HartfordHT: 6-4WT: 240POS: LHP
Analysis: The Mets are just on the best player available, whoever that turns out to be, which could include Newcomb, Bradley Zimmer, Aaron Nola (although I can't see him getting here) or Michael Conforto. I've heard them on all of the college arms, but again I don't think that implies they're not looking at bats.
11Jeff HoffmanSCHOOL: East CarolinaHT: 6-3WT: 190POS: RHP
Analysis: This is a compensation pick for failing to sign 2013 first-rounder Phil Bickford, which also allows the Jays to get creative.
Hoffman was one of the top three arms in the draft until he underwent Tommy John surgery recently. The hot rumor of the week has the Jays using their second first-rounder on Hoffman, signing him for a little less than the recommended bonus for this draft slot (he can't exactly go back into next year's draft, as he would barely be back on a mound by next May), and use the savings on their next pick at 50.
In addition to prep arms, I've also heard them on Sean Newcomb and Brandon Finnegan before his shoulder barked recently.
12Max PentecostSCHOOL: Kennesaw State UniversityHT: 6-1WT: 190POS: C
Analysis: The Brewers win the prize for the most "so-and-so doesn't get past their pick" comments this past week -- I've heard that with Kyle Freeland, Tyler Beede, Touki Toussaint and Grant Holmes, at the very least. Although those are all pitchers, I don't think they're looking exclusively at arms, with Pentecost the most common name for bats.
13Trea TurnerSCHOOL: N.C. StateHT: 6-1WT: 171POS: SS
Analysis: The Padres are also on Michael Chavis and Kyle Freeland; I'd expect them to aim high with their first pick and pass on seemingly lower-ceiling guys such as Grant Holmes or Kyle Schwarber.
14Grant HolmesSCHOOL: Conway (S.C.) HSHT: 6-2WT: 200POS: RHP
Analysis: I've also heard Jeff Hoffman doesn't get past them, and that they're the high team on Monte Harrison. One of the few real knocks on Holmes is his lack of height, but this is the team that picked and scored with Tim Lincecum, so I don't think they're fazed by a 6-foot right-hander if he has hit 98 mph before.
15Kyle SchwarberSCHOOL: IndianaHT: 6-0WT: 240POS: 1B
Analysis: I'm also hearing them on Michael Chavis and on college arms, possibly Nick Burdi on a below-slot deal where he'd probably see the majors in August as a potential setup man.
16Bradley ZimmerSCHOOL: San FranciscoHT: 6-5WT: 205POS: OF
Analysis: I've also heard Arizona connected to Grant Holmes, Monte Harrison, Casey Gillaspie and Alex Blandino (who might be a tweener for them, as they don't pick again until 55).
17Derek FisherSCHOOL: VirginiaHT: 6-3WT: 215POS: OF
Analysis: The Royals are on a different mix of guys from the teams around them -- not necessarily a bad thing -- and I've also heard them on Monte Harrison, Michael Gettys and Kodi Medeiros, although with picks at 28 and 40, they could get very creative and end up with three guys they'd consider here at 17.
18Erik FeddeSCHOOL: UNLVHT: 6-4WT: 165POS: RHP
Analysis: I've also heard them with a bunch of high school names, but since Mike Rizzo took over as general manager, the Nats have taken only one prep guy in the first round -- Lucas Giolito, who fell on concerns over an elbow injury and ended up needing Tommy John surgery, as Fedde does.
19Sean Reid-FoleySCHOOL: Sandalwood HS, Jacksonville, Fla.HT: 6-3WT: 205POS: RHP
Analysis: I've heard them on a pretty broad mix of guys, mostly prep, including Monte Harrison, who is one of the fastest risers late in the spring.
20Casey GillaspieSCHOOL: Wichita StateHT: 6-4WT: 238POS: 1B
Analysis: Conor's switch-hitting brother is in a lot of teams' mixes from the midpoint of the first round onward; I've also heard Tampa Bay with Braxton Davidson and Kyle Schwarber, and I have to think they'd consider Tyler Beede, as they've shown they're willing to bet on talent even where there's a question about makeup.
21Monte HarrisonSCHOOL: Lee's Summit (Mo.) West HSHT: 6-2WT: 200POS: OF
Analysis: I'm also hearing them on Michael Chavis here, two-way threat Alex Verdugo (as a pitcher), although that could be for No. 31, and Max Pentecost, who wouldn't get to their next pick.
22Derek HillSCHOOL: Elk Grove (Calif.) HSHT: 6-2WT: 170POS: OF
Analysis: As you might expect, I've also heard the Dodgers with a bunch of prep arms, including Sean Reid-Foley, Luis Ortiz and Justus Sheffield, although last year they took college guys in the first three rounds and took just one high school player in their top 12 picks.
23A.J. ReedSCHOOL: KentuckyHT: 6-4WT: 245POS: 1B
Analysis: There's a running story in scouting circles -- part serious, part humorous -- that the Tigers and RHP Nick Burdi are as big a lock as you'll find in the draft, because they love to take hard-throwing guys, especially college arms, but the system is light on bats and they've been linked to a couple of the big conference position players.
24Tyler BeedeSCHOOL: VanderbiltHT: 6-4WT: 215POS: RHP
Analysis: This is pure speculation by me -- the Pirates wouldn't shy away from a player with this ability even with some small makeup questions, and I believe they'd do this rather than take one of the high-upside prep players they're otherwise linked to.
25Ti'Quan ForbesSCHOOL: Columbia (Miss.) HSHT: 6-4WT: 175POS: SS
Analysis: They're heavy on Forbes, sending most of the front office through there to see him (and it's not as though they were in Mississippi for other reasons), as well as Monte Harrison, who might be their first choice.
26Marcus WilsonSCHOOL: Junipero Serra HS, Gardena, Calif.HT: 6-3WT: 175POS: OF
Analysis: The Red Sox are a good bet to grab any higher talent who falls because of concerns such as a high price tag or Tommy John surgery; I've also heard them with Chase Vallot, more likely for their compensatory pick at 33.
27Foster GriffinSCHOOL: The First Academy, Orlando, Fla.HT: 6-5WT: 195POS: LHP
Analysis: They seem to be on college bats and prep arms here, from Luis Ortiz and Sean Reid-Foley to the various college bats I've got going ahead of them.
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