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that the 2014 MLB Draft is in the books, and before we turn our
attention to talent that will populate the 2015 MLB Draft and beyond,
below is a list of six teams that really stood out for their draft
efforts, six teams that left a strong first impression, and six teams
whose efforts will need to be followed for a few years to get a
better grasp of their effectiveness.
to getting University of Nevada righthander Braden Shipley where they
did in the 2013 Draft, the D-Backs draft stands out by the simple
fact that they were able to land one of the best righthanded pitchers
available in this year's draft, Touki Toussaint, with the 16th overall pick.
put their drafting efforts over the top were the additions of several
other impact players with lofty upsides including prep lefthander
Cody Reed in the second round, PG All-American outfielder Marcus
Wilson and sweet swinging infield Isan Diaz in the competitive
balance round after round 2, as well as athletic outfielder Matt
Railey (3rd round) and well as hard throwing righthanders
Brent Jones (4th) and Mason McCullough (5th).
seventh rounder, Tyler Humphreys, offered one of the best bats from
the junior college ranks, and Jared Miller (11th round)
could be one of the safer bets to make it to and enjoy a productive
big-league career as a lefty specialist.
Bukaukas, who they took in the 20th round, is unlikely to
sign, but if they can figure out a way to sign any combination of
hard-hitting outfielder Gerard Hernandez (21st round)
and/or prep lefthanders Willie Rios (26th) and Cameron
Bishop (32nd), their 2014 draft could be an extremely
to most rumors that circulated prior to the draft regarding the Red
Sox had them locked in on a college bat with their first pick, the
26th overall selection, before turning their attention to
the impressive depth of high school arms. When infielder Michael
Chavis fell to their laps they made sure he didn't fall any further.
Chavis, who won the Rawlings Home Run Challenge as part of the
festivities at last year's PG All-American Classic, offers one of the
most polished bats of any hitter eligible this year, and his intense
style of player could make him an instant favorite in Boston.
did indeed turn their attention to the deep prep ranks with their
next pick by taking fellow PG All-American righthander Michael
Kopech, who was connected to several teams in the second half of the
first round. They added a few more high powered arms in Jake Cosart
(3rd round) and Kevin McAvoy (4th), while also
getting a productive college bat in Indiana's Sam Travis.
names kept piling in for the Red Sox as they continue to employ one
of the more aggressive drafting styles of any team in baseball.
Former first-round pick Karsten Whitson was their selection in the
11th round, with polished college righthander Chandler
Shepherd (13th) and PG All-American outfielder Trenton
Kemp (15th) coming shortly thereafter.
the Red Sox could really make some noise is if they're able to sign
several of their later picks, such as catcher Devon Fisher (20th round), infielder J.J. Matijevic (22nd), PGAll-American
leftander David Peterson (28th), projectable righty Josh
Pennington (29th) and speedy outfielder Jeren Kendall
Carlos Rodon is obviously the big-name score for the White Sox, a
player not typically associated with the team prior to the draft
since they were believed to be locked in on prep righthander Tyler
Kolek. When Kolek went to the Marlins one spot ahead of the White
Sox, the big, powerful lefthander heard his name called at No. 3.
makes their draft the most impressive however is their next two
selections, prep righthander Spencer Adams, who is very projectable
and enjoyed a big spike in velocity this spring, and Oregon State
lefthander, who continually exhibits the ability to command a very
strong three-pitch repertoire and may be one of the safer bets to
enjoy a long, productive career as a big league starter.
varied in the scouting world on their fourth round selection, Brett
Austin, Rodon's college teammate at N.C. State, however those that
seemed to like Austin seemed to really believe that his bat would
turn around as a pro and start living up to the lofty expectations he
carried with him coming out of high school.
the top 10, Bryce Montes de Oca stands out, mostly due to his huge
stature. He missed most of his junior year due to Tommy John surgery,
but picked up where he left off this spring throwing his usual, hard
94-97 mph fastball.
the No. 1 pick in the draft, for the third consecutive year, the
Astros should, by default, be listed here. PG All-American Brady
Aiken, who started the Classic for the West squad last August, was
the pick, as expected if not known. Aiken adds rare polish and high
marks for his character with an improving fastball and sharp overhand
fact that Aiken signed for $1.4 million less than slot gives the
Astros a big chunk of change to play with, similar to when they
signed Carlos Correa to an under slot deal two years ago that allowed
them to pursue other impact players including Lance McCullers and Rio
round pick Jacob Nix is most likely going to be the main beneficiary
of that savings, a high-upside prep righthander that wasn't expected
to fall as far as he did. And don't rule out 21st-round pick, another
PG All-American lefty, Mac Marshall, who has made his intentions
known to attend Louisiana State, but the Astros have pulled off
similar surprises in recent years.
outfielder Derek Fisher and powerful first baseball A.J. Reed also
represented good value in the supplemental first and second rounds,
while J.D. Davis and Daniel Mengden also enjoy productive college
careers as two-way talents.
Brewers made arguably the biggest splash on the first day of the
draft by taking three PG All-Americans with their first three picks.
And based on the pre-draft rankings of all three players – Kodi
Medeiros, Jacob Gatewood and Monte Harrison – it was clear that
they would have to be creative with their allotted signing bonus pool
to get all three in the fold.
process has already occurred, with both Gatewood and Harrison coming
to terms for bonsues worth several hundred thousand dollars more than
their assigned slot values. Medeiros is expected to come to terms for
right around $2 million, with a few other of their other pick in the
top 10 rounds also signing quickly.
picks include Troy Stokes, a speedy prep outfielder that profiles as
a prototypical leadoff option with good on-base skills; Dustin
DeMuth, a third baseman from Indiana Unviersity who has consistently
put up big offensive numbers in a loaded Hoosiers lineups; David
Burkhalter, a projectable prep righthander that sits in the 88-90 mph
range now with room for improvement.
righthander Jordan Yamamoto, who like Medeiros hails from Hawaii, has
also reportedly come to terms. High upside picks in the late rounds
that may prove to be difficult signs including J.J. Schwarz (17th round), Tate Blackman (20th), Patrick Weigel (22nd),
Cre Finfrock (26th), Turner Larkins (28th) and
Carl Chester (38th). While none of them are expected to
sign, if any of them do it will help make an already strong draft
look even better.
easy to make a strong impression on draft day when you have two early
picks to play with, and they took a calculated gamble with their
first such pick, the ninth overall selection, by taking East Carolina
righthander Jeff Hoffman. Hoffman of course was lost mid-season after
undergoing Tommy John surgery, but prior to that he was making a
strong case for the No. 1 overall selection, and he may not miss that
much development time considering he likely was going to be used
sparingly this summer, if healthy, due to his heavy spring workload.
State catcher Max Pentecost was their second first rounder, a
compensation pick after not signing Phil Bickford a year ago.
Pentecost had a great season at and behind the plate this year after
being named the Cape League MVP and PG Summer Collegiate Player of
the Year last summer.
All-American Sean Reid-Foley wasn't expected to slide to the second
round, giving the team another aggressive selection early in the
draft. Prep lefthander Nick Wells (3rd round), catcher
Matt Morgan (4th) and outfielder Lane Thomas (5th)
all offer considerable promise.
trio of Illinois high school products, righthander Lake Latz (11th round) and Tanner Houck (12th) as well as athletic catcher
Mike Papierski (16th) all offer very strong value where
they were drafted if the team can find a way to sign any of them.
Indians had two extra, early picks to play with in this year's draft,
thanks to compensation for losing Ubaldo Jimenez and the competitive
balance lottery, so like the Blue Jays, it should be expected that
they walk away from the draft with a strong impression. All of their
picks in the top three rounds offered very good value for where they
were selected, starting with their first selection, University of San
Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer, who was considered to have one
of the best pure bats in this year's class.
Sheffield was the team's next pick, a polished PG All-American
lefthander with an improving four-pitch mix and a fastball that can
creep toward the mid-90s regularly. Mike Papi was another one of the
draft's better bats, with arguably the most patient approach of any
player available which could allow him to advance quickly. Prep
righthander Grant Hockin move up draft boards quickly this spring
with improved stuff, while hard-hitting corner infielder Bobby
Bradley also saw his name move up boards with a strong spring.
Sam Hentges (4th round) made a strong early impression
this spring before tapering off, but he let it be known there's more
on the way as he continues to get stronger, while athletic catcher
Simeon Lucas (7th), prep righthander Micah Miniard (8th)
and Puerto Rican shortstop Alexis Pantojas (9th) all offer
considerable promise. As does San Diego State outfielder Greg Allen,
who surprisingly fell to the team's pick in the sixth round.
Freeland's hometown Rockies made sure he didn't fall past their first
pick, the eighth overall selection, and reports of the Rockies
doctors being familiar with Freeland's somewhat concerning health
status makes it easy to feel better about the promising lefthander's
Wall, one of the best pure bats available in the draft, was the
team's supplemental first round pick, and they added another big prep
bat in third baseman Kevin Padlo in the fifth.
Castellani (2nd round) continued to put the pieces
together to become a more complete pitcher this spring, while Georgia
Southern lefthander Sam Howard (3rd round) also moved up
draft boards with a strong spring.
George (6th round), Harrison Musgrave (8th) and
Richard Prigatano (11th) all offered excellent value for
their slots and have the tools and skills to make a steady
progression to the big leagues.
Royals were one of the teams in consideration to be listed in the
above category of making a great first impression, as they loaded up
on some very high potential and known commodities on the days of the
draft. Texas Christian lefthander Brandon Finnegan was the first of
these picks, who has returned after being shut down for precautionary
measure late in the college season to record back-to-back dominant
outings in Regional and Super Regional play.
lefty, PG All-American Foster Griffin, was the team's second pick.
Griffin came out early in the spring and looked considerably better
than what he had shown in the past adding to what was already a
strong pitching class. One more lefty, UCF's Eric Skoglund, was added
in the third round, with projectable and hard-throwing prep
righthander going in the second.
Vallot, a hard hitting catcher from the Louisiana prep ranks that
also participated in last summer's Classic, was the Royals selection
in the first competitive balance round. Virginia outfielder Brandon
Downes offers great value as a sixth-round pick with a handful of
other players that offer promise among their selections in the top 10
to the Chicago White Sox, the Angels draft stands out for the number
of promising arms they selected early. University of Hartford
lefthander Sean Newcomb, who previously wasn't believed to make it
out of the top 10 picks, was their first selection at No. 15 overall,
and was followed by PG All-American righthander Joe Gatto (2nd round), polished and projectable Ole Miss ace Chris Ellis (3rd),
the much improved Illinois State righty Jeremy Rhoades (4th)
and one of the best arms from the junior college ranks, righthander
Jake Jewell (5th).
this clear preference early in the draft to load up on high powered
arms, the team switched gears for most of their remaining picks in
the top 20 rounds, taking 10 position prospects with their remaining
15 selections in those rounds.
Rangers deserve extra credit for being place in this category without
the benefit of their original first round pick, which they forfeited
during the offseason for signing outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. They did
gain a pick for losing one of their free agents, Nelson Cruz, and
with that selection they took PG All-American righthander Luis Ortiz.
Ortiz was one of the first high school pitchers to make a strong,
initial impression at this time last year, pitching in his usual
90-94 mph range with his trademark slider.
PG All-American, Ti'Quan Forbes, was their pick in the second round,
a tall and rangy shortstop that is high on tools and also offers a
fair amount of polish, both in the batter's box and on the field.
Josh Morgan can equal Forbes in the tools department and is another
prep shortstop, going to a team with no shortage of them, with
Gonzalez (13th round) is the team's most notable late
round pick after the top 10 rounds, a hard-throwing high school
righthander from Las Vegas who may just be starting to scratch the
surface of his lofty potential.
are already being drawn between the National first-round pick, Erick
Fedde, and the team's first-round pick from two years ago, Lucas
Giolito, since both had known arm injuries they were dealing with at
the time they were drafted. In Fedde's case, he has already had Tommy
John surgery, as Giolito did so later that summer in 2012, and while
Fedde doesn't have quite the upside of Giolito, he was considered to
be a near-lock for the top 10 overall picks, thanks to his mid-90s
fastball and hard slider, prior to injury.
of Miami lefthander Andrew Suarez had a long and winding journey due
to his own injuries that stemmed back to his senior year in high
school, but he finally put the pieces together and enjoyed a very
strong campaign for the Hurricanes.
catcher Jakson Reetz is one of the most versatile players in the
country, and was named the MVP at last summer's PG All-American
Classic, representing great value in the third round. Righthander
Robbie Dickey (4th round) was considered the top prospect
from the junior college ranks to open the season, while Unviersity of
Nevada corner infielder Austin Byler (9th) has significant power
Jury's Still Out
it doesn't sound like we're picking on the Orioles, it's important to
point out that their first selection didn't occur until the third
round after signing free agents Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez last
offseason. However, the players they select early are somewhat
curious, as there isn't much impact talent outside of fourth-round
pick Pat Connaughton. Their eggs may all be in one basket with
Connaughton, who was already believed to be a difficult sign given
his two-sport (basketball) status at Notre Dame, and the Orioles
draft pool was already significantly compromised.
selections just outside the top 10 rounds, lefthanders John Means
(11th round) and Matt Trowbridge (13th), as
well as righthander Nigel Nootbaar (12th) offer very good
value at those spots.
Tigers followed a very similar drafting pattern as they have in
recent years, taking one high upside player with their first pick,
which came in the form of PG All-American outfielder Derek Hill,
prior to loading up on a hefty collection of safe, proven commodities
from the college ranks. Righthanders Spencer Turnbull (2nd round), Adam Ravenelle (4th) and Artie Lewicki (8th),
as well as catchers Grayson Greiner (3rd) and Shane Zeile
(5th) all offer value at the professional level, but there
isn't much collective upside to this group of players.
said, developing big leaguers is what the draft is all about, and
they may be able to procure 2-3 such players among the group.
may not matter if Hill, who speed and overall defensive acumen,
patrols the spacious outfield at Comerica Park and serves a crucial
leadoff role for the Tigers for years to come.
All-American shortstop Nick Gordon, the recipient of the Jackie
Robinson Award as part of the 2013 Classic festivities, is a perfect
match for the Twins who are developing a deep base of promising
position prospects, so his selection alone is notable. He has the
tools, both offensively and defensively, to turn as both a rock up
the middle of the infield and a catalyst atop the order for a long,
the picks after Gordon is where the questions arise. Both Nick Burdi
(2nd round) and Michael Cederoth (3rd) were
among the hardest throwers eligible for this year's draft, but both
carry a profile as short relievers both now and in the future. While
they could help solidify the Twins' bullpen for as many years as
Gordon does, the upside of such picks is more in question given their
to the Tigers, after taking Gordon in the first round they went heavy
with college players, taking such players with their next 13
the team's current bullpen also appeared to be one of the primary
goals of the Yankees, selecting Jacob Lindgren with their first
selection (2nd round) and his Mississippi State bullpen
Jonathan Holder in the sixth round. Lindgren has already been pegged
as the most likely candidate to make it to the big leagues the
fastest of any 2014 draftee thanks to his low-90s fastball and
righthander Austin DeCarr does offer considerable upside and promise
as the team's third round pick, while lefthander Jordan Montgomery
and righthander Jordan Foley enjoyed fine collegiate careers at South
Carolina and Central Michigan respectively. University of Texas
outfielder Mark Payton is viewed as a safe bet to make it to the big
leagues at worst as a fourth outfielder, while Vince Conde improved
his draft standing with a strong spring for College World Series
able to sign some collection of a handful of notable picks after the
top 10 rounds, most notably prep righthander Garrett Cave (17th round), college lefty Porter Clayton (21st) and athletic
college outfielder Dominic Jose (24th) could go a long way
in changing the initial impression left from this effort.
Athletics were rumored to be involved with a handful of dynamic high
school athletes prior to the draft, including PG All-Americans Monte
Harrison and Ti'Quan Forbes. Instead, the A's with the more
predicatble and safe college route with all of their early picks.
State Fullerton's Matt Chapman, their first-round pick, could be a
good player for a long time, an athletic infielder with a very strong
arm and promising power potential. Their next three selections,
Daniel Gossett, Brett Graves, Jordan Schwartz and Heath Fillmyer, all
three righthanders from the college and junior college ranks, have
enjoyed productive careers at their respective levels.
upside in the A's draft comes in the form of their sixth and eighth
round selections, prep shortstop Trace Loehr and prep righthander
Branden Kelliher. Both hail from the Pacific Northwest, and offer
intriguing upsides coming off of strong senior seasons.
a doubt the Pittsburgh Pirates took some talented ballplayers, but
it's the order in which those players that were selected that draw
the most scrutiny. Prep shortstop Cole Tucker was identified as being
high on their board, and they definitely will go well under slot with
both he and their supplemental first-round pick, outfielder Connor
Joe, to be able to free enough money to get their next two selections
in the fold.
next two selections come in the form of prep righthanders Mitch
Keller (2nd round) and Trey Supak (supplemental 2nd),
both of whom made strong pushes up draft boards this spring and give
the Pirates 2014 draft class instant recognition.
next four picks also offer promise from the college ranks in
hard-hitting outfielders Jordan Luplow (3rd round) and
Michael Suchy (5th), switch-hitting catcher Taylor Gushue
(4th) and projectable righthander Tyler Eppler (6th).