If you wanted to use one word to describe the 2015 draft I would pick discombobulated or maybe messy! I couldn’t imagine being a scout this year with so many problems deciding how June 8th will go. Problems include but aren’t limited to injuries, under performance and little playing time. If you haven’t been following the draft before this point RHP Michael Matuella, LHP Brady Aiken, LHP Kolby Allard, LHP Nathan Kirby, and Of/1B Chris Shaw are all top players who were bit by the injury bug this spring. With the top pitching performers being RHP Dillon Tate, LHP Tyler Jay, and RHP Carson Fulmer, it seems that nobody knows if they can start or relieve. OF Andrew Benintendi (Arkansas), Tyler Stephenson (Prep GA), and Garrett Whitley (Prep NY) all seem to have come out of nowhere to be selected in the top 15, but have a little track record.
The only player the has remand consistent through the off season to the draft is Brendan Rodgers. Though he is the best player, word throughout the baseball world is that he will not go first overall because teams want to save money. The strategy of saving money early on in a draft and spending later has been implemented several times and worked. Other times it has failed miserably. In 2012 the Astros took Carlos Correa first overall when he was slated to go somewhere 5-10. In this case an over draft worked where the Astros got a premium talent and where also able to aquire Nolan Fontana Rio Ruiz and Andrew Aplin. The problem with saving is you can possible miss out and a franchise changing talent. The Astros did pass on Byron Buxton who is the number one prospect in baseball now.
Now with out any further adieu, “With the first selection in the First Year Player Draft, the Arizona Diamondbacks selct…”
1. Arizona Diamondbacks- SS Dansby Swanson (Vanderbilt)
The D-backs take him with the first overall pick because he would most likely sign a below slot value contract plus he has been the best offensive/defensive performer this year. This is Dave Stewarts first year as GM and he would like to show ownership he knows what he is doing. Dansby is the best “sure thing” to make the majors in the 2015 draft.
2. Houston Astros (Compensation for Brady Aiken)- SS-Brendan Rodgers (Prep FL)
Some may think that the Astros will try and strike a deal with at least one of the two players they select. What I think will happen is they will take either Swanson or Rodgers then make a deal with a pitcher at the 5th pick. They have the highest draft budget and can spend a lot on one player and save on the other. Rodgers is hands down the best player in the draft and if politics didn’t exist in the baseball industry, we would see him go 1st overall.
3. Colorado Rockies-LHP-Tyler Jay (Illinois)
Recently soaring to the top of draft boards, Jay has the potential to go first overall. Jay is a long relief pitcher for Illinois and quite possibly could make the change to a starter. His fastball sits in the 93-95 and he has a great curveball.
4. Texas Rangers-OF-Kyle Tucker- (Prep FL)
When we think of the Texas Rangers teams that made it to two straight World Series we think power and hitting. Now that the Rangers are a shell of what they used to be they can start developing the next great lone star slugger in Kyle Tucker. Tucker has plus power and plus hit ability and the potential be an all-star.
5. Houston Astros- RHP- Carson Fulmer (Vandebilt)
Here’s where they save their money. On a side note; if the Astros do not sign both of their first round picks this year they risk losing any type of first round pick next year. With that in mind they might decide to over draft someone at 2 or 5 to save money and make sure they sign. Fulmer isn’t that much or an overdraft but he has struggled lately and the fact that he may struggle being a starter, can depreciate his value.
6. Minnesota Twins-RHP Dillion Tate (UC Santa)
Last year they took Flash Gordon’s son Nick Gordon, a stud shortstop that is already a top 100 prospect. If he is available they would love to add a power pitcher that has one of the best fastballs and slider.
7. Boston Red Sox- SS-Alex Bregman (LSU)
Bregman is a mini version of Dustin Pedrioa (no pun intended). This is the type of player that every team wants to be the team leader. He’s a scrappy, baseball rat, who leads on and off the field. I’m sure the Red Sox want to go pitching, but with all of the injuries it’s tough to get a quality pitcher at this spot.
8. Chicago White Sox- OF- Andrew Benintendi (Arkansas)
After coming out of nowhere to enter the top ten, Benintendi has become the premium college bat available. He reminds me a lot of Michael Conforto because they both have the same type of potential. White Sox need some outfield help in the next few years and they will have it here with Benintendi.
9. Chicago Cubs- OF- Garrett Whitley-(Prep NY)
The upstate New Yorker has seen his draft value soar since the beginning of the year because of a great spring. He suddenly sees himself projected to go in the top 15, with great evidence to back that up. Whitley has the ability to stick as a centerfielder and be the Cubs long term leader. His off the field makeup is off the charts. Talking to him makes you realize that he is a humble and smart player, who shows up every day ready to play.
10. Philadelphia Phillies-OF Daz Cameron (Prep GA)
Daz Cameron Mike Cameron’s son, Daz, has the highest ceiling of any player in the draft. His floor is a speedy outfielder who has a chance to win a few gold gloves. At his highest ceiling, a player who hits 15 home runs a year and bats .280 and 25 plus stolen bases.
11. Cincinnati Reds-OF- Trenton Clark (Prep TX)
The reds are all over the map with their draft strategies in the past few years. Trenton Clark would give them solid place to start rebuild, as the Reds have gotten older and expensive. Clark is a plus hitter with blazing speed. The power will eventually be around average and he Clark does have a chance to be an everyday centerfielder.
12. Miami Marlins- John Harris (Missouri State)
With the Marlins needing more pitching in the present future, they would most likely look to add a college pitcher who already has some polish. His stuff isn’t dominate with a fastball that ranges 92-94 and possible a plus curve and slider. Harris won’t be the savior of the marlins rotation, but should be able to hold his own in the majors soon.
13. Tampa Bay Rays-RHP Walker Buehler (Vanderbilt)
If Buehler doesn’t go before this the Rays could have one of the biggest steals this year. Though he struggled this year and is considered to be a “short” pitcher, Buehler has three plus offerings in his curve, slider and change. The thing that separates him from other pitchers is his excellent control of the zone. All in all I think the Cubs will take an extended look at Buelher and so will the Marlins, along with the Rays.
14. Atlanta Braves-C- Tyler Stephenson (Prep GA)
There would be an after draft party if Atlanta is able to pull in Stephenson and believe me it would be a banger! There’s nothing more perfect, for the Braves, than getting a kid who has played in the East Cobb baseball program, which was set up by the Braves. Kept quiet for a while, now it’s known that Stephenson has the best catching ability in the 2015 class. Combined with his catching skills are potential power making of a second coming of Brian Mccann. Theres been rumors of a potential top 10 selection for Stephenson. Maybe the Astros with the 5 pick?
15. Milwaukee Brewers- -Mike Nikorak (Prep PA)
A team that has a chance to set themselves up nicely for a potential rebuild, is in the perfect spot to get a top prep arm. Nikorak may even have more upside then we realize because he doesn’t get to play year round. You could see Everett go here if not for Nikorak.
16. New York Yankees- RHP Donny Everett (Prep TNN)
The Yankees have been connected to several different players, such as Chris Betts and James Kaprielian, but it seems like they will go the pitching route as they have failed to develop a catching prospect successfully. Everett had one of the best springs for a prep arm and improved his value as much as anyone. He touches the upper 90’s and a power slider. The Yankees have done a job developing pitching as of lately so it would make sense for them to keep down that route.
17. Cleveland Indians- RHP James Kaprielian (UCLA)
There’s no telling to who will fall to the Indians, but I think it would be correct to assume that they will take a pitcher. As of lately it seems that the Indians don’t care whether they take a college arm or prep arm. Kaprielian was at first considered to be a late first early second round pick. In 2015 he solidified himself, showing an improved fastball velocity and consistency with his already plus slider.
18. San Francisco Giants- 2B/OF Ian Happ (Cincinnati)
Happ fits perfect for the Giants if he falls this far, because he has had a solid season, just nothing over the top. Hes a switch hitter with a plus hit ability and has the possibility to develop about average power. The big question is where Happ will play because teams are sort of split on if he’s an outfielder or second basemen. If Happ plays outfield professional it seems he will most likely be a left fielder, since he does have an below average arm.
19. Pittsburgh Pirates- RHP- Kyle Funkhouser (Louisville)
Has had somewhat of a disappointing season with Louisville and his draft value has dropped considerably. The Pirates and the rest of baseball have realized his struggle, but Funkhouser is the most polished pitcher besides his control. The Pirates have been able to develop pitching pretty good and should be able to “fix” Funkhouser and get him back on the fast track to the big leagues.
20. Oakland Athletics- OF- DJ Stewart- (Florida State)
No matter who Oakland takes here, I would bet money that they take some type of college player.
21. Kansas City Royals- SS-Cornelius Randolph (Prep GA)
As things look right now Randolph could go a lot higher, but he does have a strong commitment to Clemson, which will make teams pay up. The moneys well worth it because, Randolph could be the best all-around player this year. Though he is a raw player, this gives Kanas City a nice little project to work on and a potential plus shortstop.
22. Detroit Tigers- RHP Mike Matuella (Duke)
Matuella is the biggest risk in the draft because of the back injury and now Tommy John surgery. If he goes pan out they get themselves a top of the rotation stud for the next 10 years. I would like to see either the Dodgers or Tigers take a risk on Matuella, which would give them top 10 talent at the back of the draft.
23. St. Louis Cardinals- LHP- Kolby Allard (Prep TX)
The Cardinals are very good at drafting the players who are underrated or college pitchers that get even better when they turn pro. If Allard is still on the board they just might have found the next big thing for themselves. Otherwise, possibly look for them to take a college arm
24. Los Angeles Dodgers-LHP Brady Aiken (IMG Academy)
All signs have pointed towards the Dodgers taking the biggest risk of the 2015 draft. With all the current talent on the team, they should be fine with taking the risk.
25. Baltimore Orioles- RHP- LHP- Nathan Kirby (Virginia)
No one real seems to know what the Orioles are going to do with their pick. Kirby seems to make sense. All of the sudden they have a hurt Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey. Kirby’s lat injury isn’t that serious and he’s the only pitcher with a long track record of success, making this pick make sense here.
26. Los Angeles Angels-RHP-Cody Ponce (Cal Poly Pomona)
Even though he is a division 2 athlete, Cody Ponce has pitched his way into the first round and has the projection to be a number three starter. The Angles keep trying to take pitching to rebuild an awful farm system. He’s an advanced pitcher with a great feel for pitching and if he makes the transition to facing better talent smoothly, he could be a steal.