MLB Mock Draft 2016
You may not be excited about next Thursday’s MLB Draft and perhaps you didn’t even know it was coming up, but there are plenty of talented young players worth tuning in to learn about. As you’ve seen with Kris Bryant and the Cubs, a young player can blossom from first round draft pick to franchise star in a short time. This year’s class doesn’t have a can’t miss superstar, but does have a handful of guys with the raw ability to eventually become the face of your franchise.
No. 1 – Phillies
A.J. Puk (LHP – Florida)
There is no clear top pick in this season’s draft, but Puk seems like a sure bet to be a reliable big league pitcher and has the ceiling of a true ace. The 6’7″ lefty has a 2.88 ERA this year with 90 Ks in 65 innings thanks to a 99 MPH fastball, a big loopy curveball (think Adam Wainwright) and a good feel for several other off-speed pitches.
No. 2 – Reds
Kyle Lewis (OF – Mercer)
One of the most polished outfielders in recent memory is a similar talent to Ryan Braun. Lewis is near the top of the NCAA leaderboards with a .395 BA, 20 homers and 72 rbi in just 61 games. He could be nestled into the cleanup spot for Cincinnati by opening day of 2018.
No. 3 – Braves
Corey Ray (OF – Louisville)
While Ray might not quite have the power profile of Kyle Lewis, his 39 stolen bases in 59 games makes him the best fantasy hitting prospect of the bunch. His ceiling is somewhat limited, but Ray should be a top-60 prospect going into next off-season and could end up a top-20 guy with time to refine his skills in the minors.
No. 4 – Rockies
Mickey Moniak (OF – High School)
Polish is the name of the game in this year’s draft class, as high-ceiling prospects like Buddy Reed and Will Benson are being passed up for safer and cheaper commodities. Moniak has a stellar hit-tool and is a quality defender. Think Michael Young, but in the outfield.
No. 5 – Brewers
Jason Groome (LHP – High School)
Another big lefty pitcher, but this one has a higher ceiling and requires more development than Puk. Groome was suspended for a transfer issue after pitching a 19-strikeout, 7-inning no-hitter. High school pitching prospects come with loads of risk, but this kid is a special talent than someone in the top five will surely gamble on.
No. 6 – Athletics
Dakota Hudson – (RHP – Mississippi State)
The safest pitcher in the draft has been slowly climbing up draft boards and could find his way into a big league rotation by the fall of 2017. Hudson tore up the Cape Code League last year then carried his success, and 97 MPH heater, right into the NCAA all season.
No. 7 – Marlins
Nick Senzel (3B – Virginia)
If the draft were held three months ago, Senzel would likely have been picked somewhere between No. 20 and No. 35, but Virginia’s third basemen has done a lot to help his stock in that time. There is a chance he could go in the top three, which seems like a reach to me, as he is much more likely to end up like Travis Fryman than Evan Longoria.
No. 8 – Padres
Riley Pint (RHP – High School)
If you pressed me on which prospect I thought would have the best MLB career, I’d say Pint, without hesitation. There is something about a young pitcher that throws 99 and spots an 88 MPH changeup on the corners with unrivaled movement. This 6’5″ righty has yet to grow into his frame and could still add a few more ticks on his fastball.
No. 9 – Tigers
Ian Anderson (RHP – High School)
He does not have the fastball of Pint or Groome, but has plenty of projectability. Having played high school ball in New York, his team had a shortened season, so MLB teams are dreaming on how high his profile might be if Anderson had the same exposure as other high schoolers.
No. 10 – White Sox
Blake Rutherford (OF – High School)
If anyone in this draft class could be considered a potential five-tool player, it would be Rutherford. He may not ever hit 40 homers or bat .320, but we could be talking about another Jason Heyward, who oh by the way, was the No. 1 overall prospect before the Braves called him up.
No. 11 – Mariners – Delvin Perez (SS – High School)
No. 12 – Red Sox – Justin Dunn (RHP – Boston College)
No. 13 – Rays – Josh Lowe (3B – High School)
No. 14 – Indians – Kevin Gowdy (RHP – High School)
No. 15 – Twins – Zack Collins (C – Miami)
No. 16 – Angels – Alex Kirilloff (OF – High School)
No. 17 – Astros – Braxton Garrett (LHP – High School)
No. 18 – Yankees – Forrest Whitley (RHP – High School)
No. 19 – Mets – Anfernee Grier (OF – Auburn)
No. 20 – Dodgers – Zack Burdi (RHP – Louisville)
No. 21 – Blue Jays – Alec Hansen (RHP – Oklahoma)
No. 22 – Pirates – T.J. Zeuch (RHP -Pittsburgh)
No. 23 – Cardinals – Connor Jones (RHP – Virginia)
No. 24 – Padres (comp. for J. Upton) – Buddy Reed (OF – Florida)
No. 25 – Padres (comp. for I. Kennedy) – Will Benson (1B – High School)
No. 26 – White Sox (comp for J. Samardzija) – Matthew Thaiss (C – Virginia)
No. 27 – Orioles (comp for W. Chen) – Robert Tyler (RHP – Georgia)
No. 28 – Nationals (comp for J. Zimmerman) – Matt Manning (RHP – High School)
No. 29 – Nationals (comp for I. Desmond) – Jordan Sheffield (RHP – Vanderbilt)
No. 30 – Rangers (comp for Y. Gallardo) – Logan Shore (RHP – Florida)
No. 31 – Mets (comp for D. Murphy) – Taylor Trammell (OF – High School)
No. 32 – Dodgers (comp for Z. Greinke) – Cal Quantrill (RHP – Stanford)
No. 33 – Cardinals (comp for J. Lackey) – Kyle Muller (LHP – High School)
No. 34 – Cardinals (comp for J. Heyward) – Carter Kieboom (3B – High School)
Others worth mentioning: Nolan Jones (SS), Cody Sedlock (RHP), Drew Mendoza (3B) Joey Wentz (LHP), Alex Speas (RHP), Will Craig (3B)
Next Tuesday, I’ll be publishing a piece to help educate you on the draft class so you can further enjoy draft night, by answering the following questions:
What three players have the highest potential?
Who are the three most polished players?
What surprises could we see in this season’s draft?
What players beyond the first round could end up being stars?
Who are the top prospects for next season’s draft?