Everything You Need to Know about the 2015 Draft and Mock Draft 3.0

It’s finally here, baseball fans. June 8, 2015, the first year player draft. The Rule 4 draft was first started back in 1965, with Rick Monday being the first player ever drafted in baseball history. Over time the draft has changed the way players are admitted into baseball. The draft has become the best way to get baseball players into the farm system as scouts have gotten better and better at finding the right players. Increased use of sabermetrics and other advancements in scouting have made first rounders closer to a “sure thing” major leaguer than ever before.

This year’s draft class is considered to have very few high-upside players, but has good depth with guys that could be average or above-average players. Most of you know that several injuries to top players have caused an absolute mess through the top ten picks. LHP Brady Aiken, LHP Kolby Allard, LHP Nathan Kirby, and OF/1B Chris Shaw are all top players who were bitten by the injury bug this spring. If Aiken wasn’t hurt, he could have had a chance to be the second player ever to be drafted first overall twice (after Danny Goodwin in 1971 and 1975) and the first player ever to be drafted first overall two years in a row.

This year also marks the first year in three where the Astros will not have the first pick in the draft, but the second and fifth. Their second-overall pick is compensation for not signing Aiken after the whole injury fiasco last summer. If they do not sign both picks they lose their first rounder for next year. Another thing I would like to note is that the Braves have six of the first 100 picks this year, which is the highest since the Rays had 11 in 2011.

In 2011, MLB signed a new collective bargaining agreement with the players that ultimately has changed the draft forever. The new rules are very difficult to understand so I will translate them from lawyerisms to something that makes some kind of sense. If a team offers a player who is going to be a free agent a one-year deal at the average salary of the top 125 paid players in baseball, they will receive compensation should that player go somewhere else. In the baseball world this term is called a Qualifying Offer. An example is when the Mets signed Michael Cuddyer. The Rockies gave him a Qualifying Offer, he said no, and the Mets signed him. Therefore the Mets lose their 15th overall pick and the Rockies get a Compensation pick at 27th overall.

Next are the changes to signing draftees. No player drafted can sign a major league contract like Bryce Harper did in 2010. Teams are also now assigned how much money they can spend, which is based on where their picks are in the draft and how many they have. If they go over they can be severely punished by MLB. Anything over the amount will be taxed at the appropriate amount.

Over Spending Punishment
0-5% over: 75% tax
5-10% over: 75% tax and the team loses their first-round pick the next season
10-15% over: 100% tax, loss of first- and second-round picks
More than 15% over: 100% tax, loss of first pick for the next two drafts

There is also a “competitive balance” round between the compensation picks and the second round. The ten clubs with the lowest revenue and the ten clubs with the smallest markets will be entered into a lottery to win one selection in the competitive balance round. The odds of winning are based on winning percentage. There will then be a second drawing for another competitive balance round after the second round. These picks are the only ones in baseball that can be traded.

There are many different ways that the draft could go this year and players could really go anywhere, with no surefire top-ten players. But in my mind, there are certain players who just make absolutely too much sense for them not to go to a team, to the point that it is annoying to see them go other places. Below are three picks that would be perfect fits for the player and team.

  1. Alex Bregman to the Red Sox, seventh overall: With Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz getting older, Boston will be looking for a young leader to take the reins for the young Sox. Bregman is a baseball rat whose whole life is the game. I did an interview with him and it was hard to get answers out of him that weren’t, “We just got to get out there and play.” He is a born natural leader who has been a stabilizer for LSU’s offense. Though he’s not the best player in the draft, he will grind it out through the hard times and will ultimately change a clubhouse atmosphere. Bregman is a scrappy baseball player which seems to define Boston and he’s the perfect fit to be Boston’s next leader.
  2. Andrew Benintendi to Reds, 11th overall: This year Benintendi has seemed to come out of nowhere, hitting 17 home runs and batting over .300. He was a Cincinnati Prep product who worked out with the Reds in high school, but ultimately decided to go to Arkansas. Cincinnati is heard to be looking for an outfielder and this would be the perfect matchup.
  3. Garret Whitley to the Yankees, 16th overall: There hasn’t been a player to come out of upstate New York and make this much noise in a really long time. It got to the point where people thought there was a chance he could be the first selection a couple of weeks ago. Now that he has come back to earth, he’s likely to go somewhere in the top 15. Hopefully, Whitley is still there for the Yankees at 16. This would be a perfect fit, both for PR and talent-wise. They would then have a prep outfielder who could help lead a new young Yankee core. Like Derek Jeter, Whitley leads by example and helps a clubhouse quietly. It sounds like a romance novel if a fellow New Yorker could help take the Yankees back to the promise land.

Final Mock Draft:

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks: SS Dansby Swanson (Vanderbilt)
  2. Minnesota Twins: C Tyler Stephenson (Prep, GA)
  3. Colorado Rockies: LHP Tyler Jay (Illinois)
  4. Texas Rangers: SS Brendan Rodgers (Prep, FL)
  5. Houston Astros: RHP Dillion Tate (UC Santa Barbara)
  6. Minnesota Twins: OF Daz Cameron (Prep, GA)
  7. Boston Red Sox: SS Alex Bregman (LSU)
  8. Chicago White Sox: RHP Carson Fulmer (Vanderbilt)
  9. Chicago Cubs: John Harris (Missouri State)
  10. Philadelphia Phillies: OF Kyle Tucker (Prep, FL)
  11. Cincinnati Reds: OF Andrew Benintendi (Arkansas)
  12. Miami Marlins: OF Garrett Whitley (Prep, NY)
  13. Tampa Bay Rays: Trenton Clark (Prep, TX)
  14. Atlanta Braves: Mike Nikorak (Prep, PA)
  15. Milwaukee Brewers: RHP Walker Buehler (Vanderbilt)
  16. New York Yankees: RHP James Kaprielian (UCLA)
  17. Cleveland Indians: LHP Brady Aiken (IMG Academy)
  18. San Francisco Giants: RHP Ashe Russell (Prep, IN)
  19. Pittsburgh Pirates: LHP Kolby Allard (Prep, TX)
  20. Oakland Athletics: 2B/OF Ian Happ (Cincinnati)
  21. Kansas City Royals: SS Cornelius Randolph (Prep, GA)
  22. Detroit Tigers: RHP Mike Matuella (Duke)
  23. St. Louis Cardinals: RHP Kyle Funkhouser (Louisville)
  24. Los Angeles Dodgers: RHP Donny Everett (Prep, TN)
  25. Baltimore Orioles: OF DJ Stewart (Florida State)
  26. Los Angeles Angels: RHP Cody Ponce (Cal Poly Pomona)

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