actually it is out today already.
In our third mock draft, Baseball America is no longer projecting North Carolina State lefthander Carlos Rodon to go No. 1 overall.
Rodon’s last home start, May 9 against Wake Forest, was a seven-inning effort that he finished after a 1 hour, 15-minute rain delay. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and Marlins GM Dan Jennings attended the game, along with Rodon’s adviser, Scott Boras.
There was concern when Rodon re-entered the game after the delay, though multiple sources on hand have confirmed that while his stuff was crisper before the delay, his command and feel for pitching were better after. Rodon pitched just five innings the following Thursday at Virginia Tech, lacking his usual go-to power slider, though he sat in the 91-93 mph range.
N.C. State did not use Rodon on three days’ rest in its Atlantic Coast Conference play-in game against rival North Carolina, and the 4-3 loss likely ended the team’s season and Rodon’s college career. N.C. State sources have said that Rodon was physically ready to pitch, and coach Elliott Avent said afterward that Rodon had meant too much to the university over his career to risk using him on short rest.
Rodon’s 6-7, 2.01 season (with 117 strikeouts in 98.2 innings) compares favorably to the junior season of righthander Gerrit Cole in 2011, when Cole went No. 1 overall despite an iffy junior year for UCLA (6-8, 3.31, 114 IP/119 SO). But Cole was touching 100 mph that season, still bringing his best stuff to the mound regularly.
“The $6 million question is whether or not he is athletic enough to start long-term,” one executive said this week. “Some guys think he is, but other guys aren’t so sure and think he may wind up a reliever. It just seems like there isn’t a $6 million player in this draft.”
If the Astros agree with that assessment, then they won’t be selecting Rodon No. 1 overall.
If all of that is true, then Houston likely will select San Diego prep lefty Brady Aiken, who has an easier delivery and better body than Rodon.
Projected Pick: LHP Brady Aiken
2. MARLINS: One Marlins source insists owner Jeffrey Loria will not step in and dictate that the club select Rodon, a Cuban-American who was born in Miami, if he is available at No. 2 overall. Industry sources continue to point toward San Diego prep catcher Alex Jackson, even if they think he’ll have to move from behind the plate.
Projected Pick: C/OF Alex Jackson
3. WHITE SOX: Rodon and slender South Side ace Chris Sale would make an interesting odd couple as well as a potentially formidable rotation duo.
Projected Pick: LHP Carlos Rodon
4. CUBS: The Cubs would love for Rodon to fall here and would like a college pitcher. But injuries to East Carolina righthander Jeff Hoffman and UNLV righthander Erick Fedde and Texas Christian lefthander Brandon Finnegan’s recent slide have thinned that crop. Team president Theo Epstein was part of a Cubs contingent checking out Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost at the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament this week in Fort Myers, Fla. If the Cubs aren’t comfortable with Texas prep fireballer Tyler Kolek or Louisiana State righthander Aaron Nola, they appear poised to take Pentecost, who could sign a money-saving deal that would allow the Cubs flexibility later in the draft.
Projected Pick: C Max Pentecost
5. TWINS: Minnesota’s concerted effort to get more power arms in recent years synchronizes well with Kolek’s availability in this scenario.
Projected Pick: RHP Tyler Kolek
6. MARINERS: Mariners officials, including GM Jack Zduriencik, have been in hard of late to evaluate Hartford lefthander Sean Newcomb and N.C. State shortstop Trea Turner. If the Mariners are under pressure to take a college player, either would make sense, but so would Florida high school shortstop Nick Gordon, generally considered a better prospect and a Seattle target for much of the spring.
Projected Pick: SS Nick Gordon