The 2016 MLB Draft is only seven days away and to begin our coverage of this year’s festivities, today I wanted to publish our first mock draft of the season. Let’s get started!
#1 Phillies – A.J. Puk LHP University of Florida
Philadelphia is expected to choose a college player, likely one of Puk, Nick Senzel or Kyle Lewis. The recent success and the impressive physical tools of Puk will likely make him their pick.
#2 Reds – Nick Senzel 3B University of Tennessee
Also expect Cincinnati to choose a college player, with my bet being they select the higher floor of Senzel over the ceiling of Lewis.
#3 Braves – Kyle Lewis OF Mercer University
Atlanta could look at the two top high school pitchers Jason Groome and Riley Pint, but the local appeal and potential of Lewis could be too enticing for the Braves to pass on.
#4 Rockies – Jason Groome LHP HS
Perhaps the top prospect in this year’s crop, the Rockies should bounce on the opportunity to draft a potential top-of-the-rotation starter in Jason Groome.
#5 Brewers – Delvin Perez SS Puerto Rico
Perez has been heavily linked to Milwaukee much of the spring and this fit makes a lot of sense.
#6 Athletics – Corey Ray OF University of Louisville
Oakland is likely hoping one of the perceived top-3 college hitters in this class (Senzel, Lewis or Ray) fall to them at #6 and in this scenario, the Athletics would likely bounce on Ray.
#7 Marlins – Riley Pint RHP HS
Miami has not shied away from high school players in recent years, and the opportunity to add Pint’s immense talent makes him a nice fit here for the Marlins.
#8 Padres – Mickey Moniak OF HS
This feels low for Moniak, perhaps the top rated high school player in this class, and the Padres would be delighted to add this talented California teenager to their farm system.
#9 Tigers – Zack Collins Catcher University of Miami
Detroit typically leans college players at the top of the draft and will likely be choosing between the best college bat left (Collins) or the best college arm (Dakota Hudson) – here’s guessing they lean toward the perceived safety of a hitter.
#10 White Sox – Dakota Hudson RHP Mississippi State University
Chicago likely would choose Collins if available, but if not, the 2nd best college pitcher in the draft is a nice consolation prize for the White Sox here at #10.
#11 Mariners – Blake Rutherford OF HS
Seattle is always seeking impact hitters and could seize the opportunity to add perhaps the best high school hitter in this crop in Rutherford.
#12 Red Sox – Jordan Sheffield RHP Vanderbilt University
Boston College’s Justin Dunn could be a fit here also. I expect Boston to lean toward college pitchers here at #12, as there are several comparable talented arms still available.
#13 Rays – Braxton Garrett LHP HS
Tampa would probably prefer a college player but the opportunity to add the 2nd best high school lefty Braxton Garrett might trump that desire.
#14 Indians – Matt Manning RHP HS
Cleveland has not shied away from difficult to sign high school players in recent years and Manning has the most potential of any player left on the board.
#15 Twins – Justin Dunn RHP Boston College
Minnesota has plenty of hitting prospects, but have struggled to develop pitching in the past several years. Dunn has a fresh arm and electric stuff, making him a nice value in the middle of the 1st.
#16 Angels – T.J. Zeuch RHP University of Pittsburgh
Zeuch has flown up draft boards this season and I think the Angels will be tempted to choose from several talented college arms still on the board in an effort to bolster their floundering farm system.
#17 Astros – Matt Thaiss Catcher University of Virginia
Probably the best hitter still available, Thaiss is a nice value outside the top-15 picks and feels like a good fit here with Houston.
#18 Yankees – Ian Anderson RHP HS
A talented New York high school pitcher, I expect the Yankees (or the Mets) to quickly gobble up this local product here at #18 or #19.
#19 Mets – Will Craig 3B Wake Forest University
If the Yankees select Anderson, Craig has been linked to the Mets all spring and feels like a good fit for a team who prioritizes college performance.
#20 Dodgers – Taylor Trammell OF HS
The Dodgers tend to pick “best player available” in the early rounds of the draft and the uniquely talented Trammell could be the top player on their board when their turn arrives.
#21 Blue Jays – Zack Burdi RHP University of Louisville
Toronto has not shied away from converted college relievers in the draft and might be tempted to select Burdi, with the idea of moving him quickly to bolster their struggling bullpen. Burdi has three quality pitches and a chance to start, but his fastball/slider combination make him a natural fit as a closer.
#22 Pirates – Alex Kirilloff OF HS
A local product from Pittsburgh and likely the top player still available, Kirilloff feels like a natural fit to the Pirates here at #22.
#23 Cardinals – Forest Whitley RHP HS
St. Louis has three picks in the top-35 selections, so I expect them to take the top player available here, likely a high school prospect who has fallen. Whitley has outstanding pure stuff and fits well here in the early 20s.
#24 Padres – Cal Quantrill RHP Stanford University
Quantrill has been heavily linked to San Diego, although most expect he will not last this long. Strangely in this exercise, Quantrill is still available and I would expect the Padres to bounce if so.
#25 Padres – Bryan Reynolds OF Vanderbilt University
Assuming the Padres have the good fortune to select Moniak at #8 and Quantrill at #24, expect San Diego to select an “easy-to-sign” college player at this pick to help keep their bonus demands within their allotment. Reynolds has performed well in the SEC, is a switch-hitter and can possibly stay in center field, making him a good value here.
#26 White Sox – Gavin Lux SS HS
Lux has been flying up draft boards this spring as one of the few middle infield prospects expected to stay at shortstop in professional baseball. Lux could go higher than this, but the Wisconsin product feels like a good gamble for the White Sox at #26.
#27 Orioles – Nolan Jones SS HS
Baltimore has been rumored with high school bats this spring, and talented Pennsylvania infielder Nolan Jones is somewhat surprisingly still available.
#28 Nationals – Eric Lauer LHP Kent State
Washington has drafted pitching quite often with their top picks in the draft, and considering the depth of college pitching available, the Nationals will likely choose an arm with one of these two picks. Lauer has a strong track record of performance, and as a lefty, would offer something the farm system currently lacks.
#29 Nationals – Buddy Reed CF University of Florida
After taking a pitcher, I would expect the Nationals to look to choose a hitter with this pick. There are several college outfielders still available, but I will wager the Nationals gamble on Reed’s incredible physical gifts and dream on their ability to teach him to hit consistently. Reed has plenty of boom-or-bust, but would be a terrific value at #29.