When the 2015 First-Year Player Draft begins tomorrow night, the Arizona Diamondbacks will have the honor of making the first pick. As of right now, there is no clear consensus on who the number one pick will be. All that is known right now is that the Diamondbacks already know who they’re taking, as Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reported last night. They reportedly told five players that they were being considered for their pick, so here are five prospects that could potentially be in play for the 1-1 slot.
SS Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt:
While it has been said that there is no consensus for the top pick, Swanson is likely as close as it gets in this year’s crop. Swanson was a 38th-round pick out of high school, but instead decided to take his talents to Nashville and play for Coach Tim Corbin. In his three year tenure with the Commodores, he has excelled, being named Most Outstanding Player of the 2014 College World Series as well as a finalist for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award, which honors the nation’s top amateur player.
According to Keith Law of ESPN, Swanson has above-average speed and the fielding ability to stay at SS in the pros. While he does project as a 10-15 home run hitter in the bigs, there is some concern over his ability to make consistent contact. However, this is not a major concern to teams as he projects to be a fine player.
RHP Carson Fulmer, Vanderbilt:
Another Vanderbilt product, Carson Fulmer is another player in the running for the number one slot. The former 15th-round pick out of high school served as the Commodores’ closer during his freshman season and the first half of his sophomore season before being integrated into the rotation in the latter half of the season and helping lead the team to a College World Series victory. Since then he has not stopped, posting a 12-2 record with a 1.92 ERA so far in 2015 while also being named a Golden Spikes finalist. While he is small at only six-feet tall, his fastball shows a lot of life, sitting 93-97 MPH consistently and topping out at 99 MPH. He also throws an above-average curveball as well as an average changeup and he’s believed by many to be the most big league ready prospect in this class. Although there are concerns over the effort he exerts while pitching, many scouts project him as a front of the rotation arm with a floor of being an elite closer.
SS Brendan Rodgers, Lake Mary HS (Fla.):
While by no means a flashy player, Rodgers is believed by many to be the number one player available in this year’s draft. A senior from the baseball hotbed of Florida, he caught the attention of a number of scouts last year on the showcase circuit. While he did not have exemplary stats in his high school season, he did manage to hit .360 with 8 home runs. As mentioned in many scouting reports, he is a plus hitter who can hit for both average and power with above-average fielding and throwing tools that indicate he can stay at shortstop in the pros. He is currently committed to Florida State, but signability is not believed to be an issue.
SS Alex Bregman, LSU:
In a shortstop heavy 2015 class, Bregman certainly stands out when it comes to what he has accomplished to date. After being a 29th-round pick in 2012 and choosing to attend LSU, he won the awards for both National Freshman of the Year and National Shortstop of the Year as well as receiving first-team All-American recognition in 2013. In 2014 and 2015, he has managed to keep the same level of consistent hitting and has been named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award. While he has considerably great hitting tools, he is an average runner and fielder which lead many to believe he is destined to play second base as a pro. Regardless, he is easily one of the top prospects in this draft for good reason.
C Tyler Stephenson, Kennesaw Mountain HS (Ga.):
Stephenson is the clear-cut leader in an underwhelming class of catchers. In fact, Stephenson is not really high on many prospect boards. However, many experts believe that the D-Backs picking Stephenson makes too much sense. The Georgia Tech commit would help fix a major organizational depth problem at catcher since there is no player in the organization who is expected to hold down the catcher position in years to come. Also, by picking Stephenson, the Diamondbacks should be able to sign Stephenson well under their $8.6 million bonus slot, which would allow them to go after less signable prospects in the later rounds. He has a decent bat and above-average fielding ability behind the plate.
The Draft will begin at 7 p.m. ET tonight on MLB Network.