2016 MLB Mock Draft 1.0

aj puk

If A.J. Puk falls in the draft, he could be a steal for the Rays. (Credit: Des Moines Register)

11. Seattle Mariners- 3B/RHP Josh Lowe, Pope (Ga.) HS

It remains to be seen whether the 18-year old Lowe will be pegged as a pitcher or position player professionally, but he certainly has the potential to be an impact prospect either way. Two-way players of this magnitude are rare at the high school level, and it could be encouraging for teams to have an opportunity to fine tune Lowe on one side or the other and truly tap into his full potential.

12. Boston Red Sox- OF William Benson, The Westminster (Ga.) HS

Given his 6’6″ frame and athletic build, it is easy to see why scouts believe that Benson compares favorably to another Georgia high school product in Jason Heyward. Benson has excellent raw power, a strong throwing arm, and runs well, especially for size. If he is able to develop a consistent approach at the plate, Benson could be a legitimate five-tool player in the future and make teams look foolish for letting him slip this far in the draft.

13. Tampa Bay Rays- LHP AJ Puk, University of Florida

Puk entered the season as one of the most highly-ranked players in the draft, given his build at 6’7″ to go along with a mid-90’s fastball from the left side. Though he still has an opportunity to be drafted very early, some struggles this season have hurt Puk’s draft stock somewhat. The Rays could be an excellent fit for the Iowa native if he is still on the board, especially given their track record for developing pitchers.

14. Cleveland Indians- RHP Alec Hansen, University of Oklahoma

Last season the Indians selected Brady Aiken, who was drafted first overall in 2014, with their first round pick. This year they could have an opportunity to take another high-profile arm in Hansen, who began the season touted as a possible first overall selection, and remedy some of the issues that have plagued him so heavily this season. Hansen’s struggles have progressed to the point that he is no longer in the Oklahoma rotation, but the 6’7″ right-hander still possesses loads of potential and a fastball that can touch 100 MPH.

15. Minnesota Twins- RHP Ian Anderson, Shenendehowa (N.Y.) HS

Though some have questioned his signability, the hard-throwing Anderson may be worth the risk given his upside. Armed with a mid-90’s fastball, above-average changeup, and sharp slider, Anderson already possesses the makings of an explosive repertoire. With a tall, lean build the right-hander still has the potential to add velocity, which should only enhance his effectiveness given his ability to stay around the zone.

16. Los Angeles Angels- OF Bryan Reynolds, Vanderbilt University

Reynolds is not a flashy player, but he has a skill set that should translate well as he transitions to the professional game. Reynolds combines a solid approach, above-average foot speed, and good defense in center field. All of these are traits that should allow him to be consistent, if unspectacular, when he begins his professional career. With an already advanced batting eye, look for Reynolds to be a high on-base, gap-to-gap hitter that could grow into a considerable threat if he adds some home run pop.

17. Houston Astros- LHP Matt Krook, University of Oregon

One of the keys coming into this season for Krook was to prove that he could stay healthy for the entirety of a season. So far Krook has maintained his health but his control has been inconsistent, which could be a product of re-acclimation to a heavy workload. With 33 walks in just 40.1 innings pitched, Krook still has some left to regain the command that put him on the map coming out of high school. Krook is a gamble, but his fastball-curve combination can be lethal when he is healthy, and could entice a team to take a big chance on him early.

18. New York Yankees- RHP Kevin Gowdy, Santa Barbara (Ca.) HS

Gowdy, a UCLA commit, features an impressive three-pitch mix of fastball, changeup, and slider. All of these pitches are considered above-average at worst, and scouts believe that Gowdy could add velocity to a fastball that already sits around 92-93 MPH. The slim right-hander is listed at just 170 lbs., which suggests that some added muscle could help to transform Gowdy from a projectable right-hander to a top prospect in the near future.

19. New York Mets- 3B Nolan Jones, Holy Ghost Prep (Pa.) HS

Jones is a nice prospect across the board, combining a complete offensive skill set with solid defense on the left-side of the infield. Currently playing as a two-way star, Jones will have an opportunity to settle into a role as a position player at the professional level, giving him a good chance of developing an already impressive collection of tools. With a strong throwing arm and sure hands, Jones should should have no problem sticking at third base, especially if he can apply some of his impressive raw power in games.

20. Los Angeles Dodgers- RHP Cal Quantrill, Stanford University

Much like Krook, injuries have greatly impacted Quantrill’s draft stock and may have cost him a shot at being a top-10 pick in this year’s draft. When he is healthy, Quantrill combines four solid offerings to round out a considerable repertoire that is amplified by an advanced feel for pitching . The son of former pitcher Paul Quantrill, the young right-hander has a major league pedigree that is evident by the way he carries himself on the mound. If a team is willing to gamble on his health, Quantrill could pay huge dividends as he could be a candidate to advance very quickly through the minor leagues.

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