As I’m writing this with day two of the draft over, we are through the first ten rounds of the draft. Technically, the draft isn’t over, but the chances of anyone drafted on day three making a major impact at the next level is minimal. Therefore, we practically have a complete grasp of the impact prospects each team has brought in through the draft; now is the perfect time to analyze and grade their final draft hauls. Grades obviously should be taken with a grain of salt, since we won’t really know how each team did until these prospects are developed, but they’re a good visual to looking at the amount of quality prospects each team brought in. Without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at each team’s draft, going in alphabetical order by city.
OF Corbin Carroll, Lakeside HS (Round 1, 16th Overall)
LHP Blake Walston, New Hanover HS (Round 1, 26th Overall)
RHP Brennan Malone, IMG Academy (Round 1C, 33rd Overall)
RHP Drey Jameson, Ball State (Round 1C, 34th Overall)
RHP Ryne Nelson, Oregon (Round 2, 56th Overall)
LHP Tommy Henry, Michigan (CBB, 74th Overall)
OF Dominic Fletcher, Arkansas (CBB, 75th Overall)
1B Tristin English, Georgia Tech (Round 3, 93rd Overall)
SS Glenallen Hill, Santa Cruz HS (Round 4, 122nd Overall)
RHP Connor Grammes (Round 5, 152nd Overall)
1B Spencer Brickhouse (Round 7, 212th Overall)
RF Dominic Canzone (Round 8, 242nd Overall)
With seven picks inside the top 75, the Diamondbacks were bound to be busy. They put their heavy bonus pool (largest in draft) to work early, selecting three straight high school players to start the draft. High school outfielder Corbin Carroll has the contact skills and gold glove defense to be a very valuable everyday centerfielder, and although he hasn’t produced much power yet, he definitely could grow into it as he develops and matures. Both Blake Walston and Brennan Malone are projects as high-ceiling, unrefined prep pitching prospects, but both have a high ceiling and have the makings of solid major league starters at the very least. Don’t sleep on Ball State pitcher Drey Jameson as well, whose high 90s fastball could thrive in the bullpen, while he also has the makings of a middle of the rotation starter. Ryne Nelson is similar to Jameson in that he may be better off in the bullpen, but he could be a quick mover through Arizona’s system and has a high floor. Tommy Henry and Dominic Fletcher aren’t exciting picks, but both have the potential to be big leaguers and at least help balance out the money. The Diamondbacks continued to go college-heavy on day two, but still managed to come away with more quality and well-known prospects.
Final Verdict: The Diamondbacks were under a lot of pressure heading into the draft, but mixed in high-ceiling players effectively with more polished products. The first four pitchers they drafted all should reach the majors at some point, while Carroll could be a key piece of this franchise’s rebuild if he develops properly. There isn’t much to complain about with this draft class, though I would have liked to see them make a more aggressive run at high school pitcher Matthew Allan.
C Shea Langeliers, Baylor (Round 1, 9th Overall)
2B Braden Shewmake, Texas A&M (Round 1, 21st Overall)
SS Beau Philip, Oregon State (Round 2, 60th Overall)
LHP Michael Harris, Stockbridge HS (Round 3, 98th Overall)
RHP Kasey Kalich, Texas A&M (Round 4, 127th Overall)
RHP Ricky DeVito, Seton Hall (Round 8, 162nd Overall)
Armed with two picks in the first round, the Braves were an interesting team; they were in position for exciting high-ceiling who were either projects or had high monetary demands. In the end, Atlanta played it safe with their two first-round picks and selected two college players in catcher Shea Langeliers and second baseman Braden Shewmake. Langeliers is an incredible defender behind the plate with a great arm and at least average ability, and given the rarity of finding quality catchers, was a terrific selection at the back-end of the top ten. Shewmake, however, has a very limited ceiling due to several flaws with his offensive and defensive profile; it would be a stretch to declare him an everyday starter, which makes this a wasted pick for Atlanta. Beau Phillip comes from a strong program, but like Shewmake, shouldn’t be much more than a decent role player. There weren’t many notables from the draft besides those two picks.
Final Verdict: Although Langeliers was a great pick, Atlanta did disappoint after that. At least they hit with their first selection, but they did definitely waste an opportunity to add impact young talent.
C Adley Rutschman, Oregon State (Round 1, 1st Overall)
SS Gunnar Henderson, John T. Morgan Academy (Round 2, 42nd Overall)
OF Kyle Stowers, Stanford (CBB, 71st Overall)
OF Zach Watson, LSU (Round 3, 79th Overall)
SS Joseph Ortiz, New Mexico State (Round 4, 108th Overall)
RHP Griffin McLarty, College of Charleston (Round 8, 228th Overall)
The Orioles were under the most spotlight heading into the draft, as a result of them possessing the top overall pick. Despite rumors they could go underslot, the Orioles didn’t overthink it and took the player they needed to take: Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. Rutschman may be the greatest catching prospect of all time; he’s polished switch hitter with sneaky power, excellent defense, and tremendous leadership. He’ll be the face of this franchise for years to come and definitely gives this team a positive outlook for the future. Baltimore also did well with the second round pick; Gunnar Henderson was seen as a potential first-round pick and has the makings of a potential everyday shortstop in the future with a ceiling much higher. Meanwhile, Kyle Stowers, Zach Watson, and Joseph Ortiz are all college bats that can possibly come through the system with Rutschman.
Final Verdict: Rutschman was the obvious pick, but Baltimore was able to resist temptations to go underslot and save money for future picks, and still manage to secure a falling high school talent in Henderson. This was a pretty deep draft class with a star headliner; this was a great first draft for general manager Mike Elias.
Boston Red Sox
SS Cameron Cannon, Arizona (Round 2, 43rd Overall)
SS Matthew Lugo, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (Round 2, 69th Overall)
RHP Ryan Zeferjahn, Kansas (Round 3, 107th Overall)
RHP Noah Song, Navy (Round 4, 137th Overall)
C Jaxx Groshans, Kansas (Round 5, 167th Overall)
RHP Cody Scroggins, Arkansas (Round 9, 287th Overall)
OF Stephen Scott, Vanderbilt (Round 10, 317th Overall)
Since they went over the luxury tax last season, the Red Sox did not have the first pick until 43rd overall. With that pick, they selected Arizona middle infielder Cameron Cannon, who was a very limited ceiling but could serve as a utility player for this win-now team very soon. It wasn’t a great pick, but the same cannot be said for the addition of Matthew Lugo in the back-end of the second round, who is a first-round talent and a steal for Boston. Ryan Zeferjahn’s ceiling is high, but he may end of as a reliever, which is fine since this team needs cost-controlled relief talent. Meanwhile, Noah Song is an interesting draft prospect; he is extremely talented, but has a two-year commitment to the Naval Academy, which means he won’t be pitching at any level until age 25.
Final Verdict: I didn’t love the Cannon pick, given how limited his upside is, but drafting Lugo absolutely makes up for it. Zeferjahn and Song both are picks that could completely blow up, but the reward could be high on both, especially if Boston finds a way to get Song pitching for their organization sooner than two years.
RHP Ryan Jensen, Fresno State (Round 1, 27th Overall)
2B Chase Strumpf, UCLA (Round 2, 64th Overall)
RHP Michael McAvene, Louisville (Round 3, 103rd Overall)
RHP Josh Burgmann, Washington (Round 5, 162nd Overall)
C Ethan Hearn, Mobile Christian High School (Round 6, 192nd Overall)
The Cubs needed a good draft to restock a barren farm system. It looked like they would be doing so by taking Matthew Allan, but after pulling back due to signability concerns, Chicago reached for Fresno State pitcher Ryan Jensen. Jensen has a nice high 90s fastball, but doesn’t offer much, and although he could be a useful reliever, that profile has no business being in the first round with other quality prospects available. I do commend Chicago for the addition of Chase Strumpf in round two, as he could be a fast-moving player in their system that can be either a solid role player or everyday second baseman. Michael McAvene and Josh Burgmann are interesting picks since both could end up in the bullpen, meaning the Cubs may have added three relievers in one draft. It’s unclear if high school catcher Ethan Hearn will actually sign with the team, but given he was the best high school catcher in this class and projects to have plus power from the left side, it’s worth a shot.
Final Verdict: Adding Strumpf and hopefully Hearn were two logical decisions for Chicago, but the Jensen pick seemed to be a panic move after failing to come to an agreement with Allan, and there weren’t many other notable picks; this was a very bland and uninspiring draft class.
Chicago White Sox
1B Andrew Vaughn, California (Round 1, 3rd Overall)
RHP Matthew Thompson, Cypress Ranch HS (Round 2, 45th Overall)
RHP Andrew Dalquist, Redondo Union HS (Round 3, 81st Overall)
CF James Beard, Loyd Star HS (Round 4, 110th Overall)
RHP Nate Pawelczyk, Winthrop (Round 10, 290th Overall)
The White Sox were another interesting team to look out for heading into the draft; they were seemingly split between California first baseman Andrew Vaughn and high school shortstop CJ Abrams. Chicago ended up going with the easy decision in my mind, selecting the best overall hitter in this draft class in Vaughn. He could be ready to take over for Jose Abreu as soon as next season and realistically has the potential to consistently have an OPS of 1.000 (.400 OBP, .600 SLG); he’s that good. Matthew Thompson is very inconsistent, but has some upside if he can be developed properly, and the same can be said with Andrew Dahlquist.
Final Verdict: This draft class is all about Vaughn, who could very well be the missing piece with Chicago’s rebuild and adds another college prospect to a farm system rich on them. Thompson and Dahlquist are risks, but if the White Sox believe they can develop them, I don’t fault them for taking them.
LHP Nick Lodolo, TCU (Round 1, 7th Overall)
3B Rece Hinds, IMG Academy (Round 2, 49th Overall)
3B Tyler Calihan, Providence School of Jacksonville (Round 3, 85th Overall)
2B Ivan Johnson, Chipola College (Round 4, 114th Overall)
RHP Graham Ashcroft, Alabama- Birmingham (Round 6, 174th Overall)
OF Quin Cotton, Grand Canyon University (Round 8, 234th Overall)
OF TJ Hopkins, South Carolina (Round 9, 264th Overall)
After six straight position players came off the board to start the MLB draft, the Reds took the first pitcher in Nick Lodolo with the 7th overall selection. Lodolo already has three plus pitches and above average command and should move quickly through the minors en route to being a longtime #2 or #3 starting pitcher; he was a great pick for Cincinnati. After taking the safe pick in Lodolo, the Reds took two gambles in Rece Hinds and Tyler Calihan. I’m lower on Calihan that most, but I’m a fan of Hinds’ power potential, and thought he was great value with the 49th overall pick. The Reds also had a few notable picks from day two, taking a few high-upside college prospects.
Final Verdict: The Reds mixed high-ceiling prospects with a safe, polished prospect in Lodolo. I loved their first two picks, while the rest of their draft was also relatively strong.
RHP Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy (Round 1, 24th Overall)
SS Yordys Valdes, McArthur HS (Round 2, 63rd Overall)
1B Jose Naranjo, Rueben S. Ayala HS (Round 3, 101st Overall)
SS Christian Cairo, Calvary Christian HS (Round 4, 130th Overall)
RHP Hunter Gaddis, Georgia State (Round 5, 160th Overall)
RHP Xzavion Curry, Georgia Tech (Round 7, 220th Overall)
OF Will Brennan, Kansas State (Round 8, 250th Overall)
The Indians are known for liking to add high-upside high school talent, and by selecting four straight high school players, they stayed true to that strategy. The headliner is first-round pick Daniel Espino, who has the makings of a potential front-line starting pitcher in the future; he was a steal at the back-end of round one. There are concerns about his size and arm action, but a 100 MPH fastball and wipeout slider with fine command should erase those concerns. Yordys Valdes looks like a potential glove-first shortstop (Francisco Lindor replacement?), while Jose Naranjo has terrific offensive potential. Meanwhile, Christian Cairo and Hunter Gaddis were both well-regarded prospects that Cleveland should gladly be satisfied with on day two.
Final Verdict: Espino is a great addition for the Indians, who have done a terrific job developing pitchers. They also added more high-ceiling talent after Espino, making this a relatively deep draft class. This is definitely a good haul for them.
1B Mike Toglia, UCLA (Round 1, 23rd Overall)
3B Aaron Schunk, Georgia (Round 2, 62nd Overall)
RHP Karl Kaufmann, Michigan (CBB, 77th Overall)
RHP Jacob Wallace, Connecticut (Round 3, 100th Overall)
RHP Will Ethridge, Ole Miss (Round 5, 159th Overall)
RHP Jacob Kostyshock, Arkansas (Round 8, 249th Overall)
The Rockies went with a surprise with their first-round pick by selecting UCLA first baseman Mike Toglia. However, for me, it was a pleasant surprise; I saw him as a clear first-round talent with excellent raw power and gold glove caliber defense. The Rockies do have some corner infield prospects, but Togila should be a fast mover through their system and should thrive at Coors Field. Aaron Shunk, another corner infield prospect, is a nice hitter with above average defense, but he’ll need to develop more power. Karl Kaufmann, Jacob Wallace, and Will Ethridge, meanwhile, should all be quick movers through the system, with Wallace and potentially Kaufmann standing out as potential bullpen arms.
Final Verdict: The Rockies went extremely college heavy, which is fine considering that they are trying to build a winner around the core of Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and German Marquez. Toglia was great value in the first round, while it was also smart to add some pitching depth. An overall solid draft class.
OF Riley Greene, Hagerty HS (Round 1, 5th Overall)
3B Nick Quintana, Arizona (Round 2, 47th Overall)
3B Andre Lipcius, Tennessee (Round 3, 83rd Overall)
SS Ryan Kreidler, UCLA (Round 4, 112th Overall)
LF Bryan Packard, East Carolina (Round 5, 142nd Overall)
C Cooper Johnson, Ole Miss (Round 6, 172nd Overall)
RHP Zack Hess, LSU (Round 7, 202nd Overall)
SS Jack Kenley, Arkansas (Round 8, 232nd Overall)
Since the beginning of the spring, the Tigers had been linked heavily to high school outfielder Riley Greene. They made good of that connection, selecting Greene with the 5th overall pick. He’s a rather polished hitter for a high school prospect who also should develop 25 home run power, but he’s definitely more of a complementary piece than a superstar given his limited athletic and defensive profile. Nick Quintana is an interesting prospect power and plus defense, but he definitely will need to refine his approach to adjust to the next level. Andre Lipcius, Ryan Kreisler, Bryant Packard, and Cooper Johnson are all college bats that are safe picks, and Zack Hess is a very interesting addition as a potential future closer who can possibly be at the back-end of a major league rotation.
Final Verdict: The Tigers mostly went with safe picks, so there isn’t a lot of upside with this draft class. Still, Greene should be a key piece of their rebuild, while a couple of the college bats should make an impact, as should Hess. Detroit mostly knows what they’re getting from this draft class, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it gives them a default grade.
C Corey Lee, California (Round 1, 32nd Overall)
SS Grae Kessinger, Ole Miss (Round 2, 68th Overall)
OF Jordan Brewer, Michigan (Round 3, 106th Overall)
OF Colin Barber, Pleasant Valley HS (Round 4, 136th Overall)
RHP Hunter Brown, Wayne State (Round 5, 166th Overall)
OF Matthew Barefoot, Campbell (Round 6, 196th Overall)
RHP Blair Henley, Texas (Round 7, 226nd Overall)
The Astros are a team notorious for drafting well by going with unexpected picks (Carlos Correa, 2012). They had a very similar strategy in this draft; they selected catcher Corey Lee in the first round, despite many seeing him as a second or third round caliber prospect. Lee has some power and a nice arm, but he’s a flawed hitter with unrefined defense, and projects to be a Robinson Chirinos type player at best, but most likely a backup catcher. That’s not ideal for a first-round pick, and with some interesting prospects falling to their pick, I’m sure why Houston took a player they likely could have gotten with their second selection. With that selection, they drafted Ole Miss middle infielder Grae Kissinger, who has limited ceiling, but a nice, controlled swing that should make him an effective utility player in the future. Meanwhile, Jordan Brewer and Colin Barber are unrefined prospects with decent upsides, and Hunter Brown was seen as a top 100 draft prospect by MLB.Com.
Final Verdict: I wasn’t a fan of this draft for the Astros. They’ve had so much success with bringing in pitchers in recent years, and prep righty JJ Goss still on the board, I’m very surprised they passed on him. For a team with such a deep track record for player development, it was uninspiring to see them go for limited upside prospects.
Kansas City Royals
SS Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville Heritage HS (Round 1, 2nd Overall)
SS Brady McConnell, Flordia (Round 2, 44th Overall)
RHP Alec Marsh, Arizona State (CBB, 70th Overall)
RHP Grant Grambell, Oregon State (Round 3, 101st Overall)
2B Michael Massey, University of Illinois (Round 4, 109th Overall)
OF John Rave, Illinois State (Round 5, 139th Overall)
LHP Dante Biasi, Penn State (Round 6, 169th Overall)
LHP Anthony Veneziano, Coastal Carolina (Round 10, 289th Overall)
Assuming Aldey Rutschman went #1, it always seemed like a guarantee that the Royals would select high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.; they had at least one scout attend every single one of his games this season. Therefore, it was no surprise that after the Orioles picked Rutschman, general manager Dayton Moore made Witt Jr. a Royal. Witt Jr. has rare five-tool potential and has been on the radar of scouts for years. He has clear superstar upside, but he’s no slam dunk given how unpolished his hit tool is; it may have been wise for Kansas City to have given Andrew Vaughn more consideration for this pick, especially since most of their top prospects are former college pitchers. From there, the Royals targeted college players; Brady McConnell has a chance to be a plus hitter with solid athleticism, though he may need to move off of shortstop, Alec Marsh has a low ceiling but should be at least a back-end starting pitcher, and the same can be said about Grant Grambell.
Final Verdict: I have no issue with Kansas City selecting Witt Jr., as they really needed a face of their rebuild, which he’ll be. There is some logic for them targeting college players, but for a farm system that already has too many prospects with very low upsides, it would have been nice to see target some more high-ceiling players in this draft.
Los Angeles Angels
2B/SS Will Wilson, NC State (Round 1, 15th Overall)
SS Karen Paris, Freedom HS (Round 2, 55th Overall)
RHP Jack Kochanowicz, Harriton HS (Round 3, 92nd Overall)
LHP Erik Rivera, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (Round 4, 121st Overall)
RHP Garrett Stallings, Tennessee (Round 5, 151st Overall)
RHP Zach Peek, Winthrop (Round 6, 181st Overall)
RHP Daniel Davis, Auburn (Round 7, 211st Overall)
RHP Kyle Brnovich, Elon University (Round 8, 241st Overall)
RHP Zach Linginfelter, Tennessee (Round 9, 271st Overall)
Heading into the draft, the Angels had been rumored to be targeting either a college pitcher or high-upside high school prospect with their first-round pick. To the surprise of many, they didn’t go with either option; they selected NC State infielder Will Wilson. Wilson is a decent prospect as a result of his polished offensive profile, but the rest of his traits are average at best, and his offense probably isn’t strong enough to make up for that. He also will likely have to move up off shortstop; he’ll likely either be a serviceable second baseman or a utility player, which is not worth a first-round pick at all. With Zack Thompson and George Kirby available, amongst other pitchers, it’s unclear why Los Angeles needed to reach for Wilson. Kyren Parris is an intriguing prospect based on the fact that he won’t turn 18 until November and is very athletic, but it’s currently unknown what he’ll become. Though it was nice to see them target pitching in the middle rounds, it still doesn’t make up for not taking one with their first selection.
Final Verdict: The Angels needed to do well in this draft and needed a polished college pitcher in the worst way. Yet, they passed on two talented pitchers for Wilson, who is already near reaching his ceiling. Parris is a nice addition, but he’s way too early in his development to project a future for him, while there isn’t much to write about for now regarding the pitchers they selected.
Los Angeles Dodgers
3B Kody Hoese, Tulane (Round 1, 25th Overall)
1B/2B/LF Michael Busch, North Carolina (Round 1, 31st Overall)
RHP Jimmy Lewis, Lake Travis HS (Round 2C, 78th Overall)
RHP Ryan Pepoit, Butler (Round 3, 72nd Overall)
3B Brandon Lewis, University of California (Round 4, 131st Overall)
RHP Jack Little, Stanford (Round 5, 161st Overall)
RHP Aaron Ochsenbein (Round 6, 191st Overall)
One of three teams with two first-round picks, the Dodgers were in a terrific position, with the ability to adjust their strategy based on how the draft played out. When two college position players surprisingly fell to them, they didn’t hesitate to ask, adding Kody Hoese and Michael Busch. Hoese has the potential to be a tremendous all-around hitter with solid defense and definitely should be the heir to Justin Turner once Turner’s contract runs out; he’s a terrific addition. So was Busch, who mostly played first base and left field, but was announced as a second baseman. His tremendous plate discipline and overall offensive profile make him a valuable asset, but his potential versatility is also key for a team that shuffles around their players more than any other team; Busch could fill a Max Muncy type role in the future. Meanwhile, Jimmy Lewis has the upside to be in a major league rotation, while Ryan Pepoit, with his excellent changeup, was a steal in the third round.
Final Verdict: Another year, another amazing draft haul for the Dodgers. They landed two college position players that should fly through their system, while they also drafted two pitchers that could be in their rotation in the future. They played this draft to near perfection.
OF JJ Bleday, Vanderbilt (Round 1, 4th Overall)
OF Kameron Misner, Missouri (CBA, 35th Overall)
SS Nasim Nunez, Collins Hill HS (Round 2, 46th Overall)
RHP Evan Fitterer, Aliso Niguel HS (Round 5, 141st Overall)
RHP Bryan Hoeing, Louisville (Round 7, 201st Overall)
The Marlins were another team that needed to have a very strong draft; despite exercising a complete teardown, they were still thin on impact prospects. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise to see Miami, given its recent shaky draft history, to take one of the safest players in the entire draft in Vanderbilt outfielder JJ Bleday. Bleday’s plate discipline, power, and above average hit tool give him a complete offensive profile, and although his defensive profile is limited, he’s a shoe-in to at least be an everyday starter in the outfield and with the potential to be much more. Ironically, I actually believe the 35th overall selection, Kameron Misner, is a better all-around prospect than Bleday. Misner is extremely athletic, has a lot of raw power in his 6’4” frame, walks a lot, and actually has a nice swing. He struggled versus SEC play, but he has superstar upside with the floor of an outfielder with a power-speed combo and a high on-base percentage. Nasim Nunez was another very notable addition for the team; he’s a gold-glove caliber defender that is athletic, has a pure swing as a switch hitter, and has the chance to grow into an Ozzie Albies type of middle infielder. Miami didn’t have many noteworthy picks besides that, but it doesn’t matter; the first three picks are more than enough.
Final Verdict: Selecting Bleday fourth overall was a very safe pick that wasn’t great nor poor, but adding Misner and Nunez complements it tremendously, given both of those prospects’ upside. For a team that needed a positive draft, this was huge for them.
LHP Ethan Small, Mississippi State (Round 1, 28th Overall)
LHP Antoine Kelly, Wabash Valley College (Round 2, 65th Overall)
C Nick Kahle, Washington (Round 4, 133rd Overall)
C Thomas Dillard, Ole Miss (Round 5, 163rd Overall)
LHP Nick Bennett, Louisville (Round 6, 193rd Overall)
OF Gabe Holt, Texas Tech (Round 7, 223rd Overall)
The Brewers have generally gone for high-upside players in the draft and had been liked to several high school prospects heading into the draft. Therefore, it was certainly a surprise to see them go with a low-ceiling college arm in Ethan Small. Small’s velocity has dipped after undergoing Tommy John surgery, which has forced him to rely on deception for success. He’ll likely end up as a back-end starting pitcher, which I don’t think is worth a first-round pick, especially since there were better prospects still on the board. Antione Kelly is the opposite of Small; he’s a junior college product who has a 6’6” frame and can reach 100 MPH but needs a lot of further refinement. Additionally, Nick Kahle should develop into a backup catcher, while Thomas Dillard has a nice offensive profile but with no clear defensive position.
Final Verdict: To be honest, I’m not super impressed with this draft class for the Brewers. Obviously, not having a third-round pick due to signing Yasmani Grandal was going to hurt their overall haul, but Small has more of a second round prospect at best, while there isn’t anything else from this group that intrigues me.
3B Keoni Cavaco, Eastlake HS (Round 1, 13th Overall)
OF Matt Wallner, Southern Mississippi (Round CBA, 39th Overall)
RHP Matt Canterino, Rice (Round 2, 54th Overall)
3B Seth Gray, Wright State University (Round 4, 119th Overall)
SS Will Holland, Auburn (Round 5, 149th Overall)
RHP Sawyer Gipson, Mercer (Round 6, 179th Overall)
LHP Brent Headrick, Illinois State (Round 9, 269th Overall)
Heading into the draft, one of the most polarizing prospects was high school infielder Keoni Cavaco. Cavaco wasn’t apart of any of the major showcases last summer, but continued to see his stock rise all the way into the first round as a result of impressive workouts. His power and athleticism are undeniable, but his overall approach is flawed, he needs to make several adjustments to his swing, and he’s not super big for a power third baseman at just 6’2”. Some scouts compare him to Matt Chapman, but I see him more as a Brandon Drury type utility player. Sticking with upside, Matt Wallner also has a lot of raw power and was very productive this season, though he does come with consistency and approach concerns. Matt Canterino is an intriguing addition in the second round; scouts question his high-effort delivery, but he repeats it well and has excellent command and a solid overall pitching arsenal. Also, Will Holland was once seen as a potential first-round prospect with excellent power at shortstop, but his stock fell significantly following a rough season for Auburn.
Final Verdict: I liked a few of Minnesota’s later round selections, but 13th overall was too high for a relatively unknown prospect with a lot of flaws in Cavaco, while the Wallner selection was fine, but not particularly inspiring, which describes this draft haul for the team.
New York Mets
3B Brett Baty, Lake Travis HS (Round 1, 12th Overall)
RHP Josh Wolf, St. Thomas HS (Round 2, 53rd Overall)
RHP Matthew Allan, Seminole HS (Round 3, 89th Overall)*
OF Jake Magnum, Mississippi State (Round 4, 118th Overall)
RHP Luke Ritter, Wichita State (Round 7, 208th Overall)
OF Scott Ota, University of Illinois (Round 10, 298th Overall)
The Mets were yet another team that needed an infusion of young talent, as a result of some win-now oriented decisions that cut into their already thin farm system. With the selection of three well regarded high school prospects, they may be on their way to doing so. Brett Baty may be old for his class, but he’s already extremely polished as a hitter, with the potential to be both a plus pure hitter and slugger while also playing decent defense at third base. They’re also rumored to be getting him for a well below slot deal, adding to the value of this selection. Josh Wolf is more of a projection-type pitcher than one with a polished arsenal, but if he can put on more weight and learn to control his heavy moving fastball, he may have a future in a big league rotation, though not at the front of one. Matthew Allan, on the other hand, is a potential front-line starting pitcher and was the best high school pitcher in this class. It’s unclear if he’ll sign, given his reported $4 million asking price, but if New York can sign him, they’ll have played their bonus pool to perfection, even if it meant sacrificing some of their later selections to low-upside seniors to make the money work.
Final Verdict: Assuming Allan signs, the Mets will have added two of the better and most polished high school prospects in this class, as well as another intriguing prospect in Wolf. They went top-heavy in the draft for a farm system that needed blue-chip/premier prospects, which was the right approach.
New York Yankees
SS Anthony Volpe, Delbarton High School (Round 1, 30th Overall)
LHP TJ Sikkema, Missouri (Round CBA, 38th Overall)
2B Josh Smith, LSU (Round 2, 67th Overall)
OF Jacob Sanford, Western Kentucky (Round 3, 105th Overall)
LHP Jake Agnos, East Carolina (Round 4, 135th Overall)
RHP Hayden Wesneski, Sam Houston State (Round 6, 195th Overall)
RHP Nick Paciorek, Northwestern (Round 7, 225th Overall)
RHP Zach Greene, University of South Alabama (Round 8, 255th Overall)
RHP Mitch Spence, USC Aiken (Round 10, 315th Overall)
Delbarton High School had two premier draft-eligible prospects in this draft: shortstop Anthony Volpe and prep righty Jack Leiter, both of whom had heavy commitments to Vanderbilt. The latter seemed to have been unsignable (although the Yankees picked him in the 20th round), but apparently the former was; New York selected Volpe with the 30th overall pick and will likely give him a deal worth more than slot value. Volpe is a plus defensive shortstop with good contact skills, though his limited power and upside make it unclear if he was worth the high financial commitment or a first-round commitment at all. The Yankees also passed on Kameron Misner, which is disappointing since they had been linked to him, but after he went to Miami, took a different Missouri product in TJ Sikkema. Sikkema broke out this year with a velocity increase, which now gives him the floor of a reliever if he can’t become a starter. Either way, his high floor is a nice complement to the many boom or bust pitching prospects in New York’s system. Meanwhile, Josh Smith is a jack of all trades master that will likely be a utility player and Jake Sanford could be a big leaguer with his power-speed combination.
Final Verdict: I’m not as high on the selection as others might be, while Smith feels like a wasted pick since this team has a lot of players with that same profile. Sikkema could be a nice addition though, and Sanford is a sneaky addition. Altogether, this is an alright but certainly not great draft haul.
SS Logan Davidson, Clemson (Round 1, 29th Overall)
RHP Tyler Baum, North Carolina (Round 2, 66th Overall)
C Kyle McCann, Georgia Tech (Round 4, 134th Overall)
SS Jalen Greer, St. Rita HS (Round 5, 164th Overall)
RHP Seth Shuman, Georgia Southern (Round 6, 194th Overall)
C Drew Millas, Missouri State (Round 7, 224th Overall)
The A’s are a fun team to watch draft every year; they are known for making risky selections on high-ceiling talents, evidenced by their previous selections of Kyler Murray and Austin Beck. They got a mixture of both a high upside pick and a safe pick when they selected Clemson shortstop Logan Davidson in the first round. Davidson is an intriguing prospect with power and athleticism combination to go along with the fact that he’s a very capable defender at shortstop. However, his very long swing and wood bat struggles dropped him down draft boards, so Davidson’s enticement is more about projection than what he currently is, though he’s still a valuable asset even if his hit tool doesn’t develop. Tyler Baum could be a back-end starting pitcher or could make a quick impact in the bullpen for Oakland, considering that his fastball is significantly better in a relief role. Both Kyle McCann and Drew Millas fell further than expected but offer power at the catcher position, so it was smart for the A’s to stop their fall.
Final Verdict: There isn’t much to write about this draft haul for the A’s. Davidson should develop into at least an everyday shortstop for them, while Baum could be a versatile pitcher for them. Additionally, McCann and Millas add catching depth to the farm system. This wasn’t a spectacular draft class, but it was certainly a decent one with the potential to be even better.
SS Bryson Stott, UNLV (Round 1, 14th Overall)
SS Jamari Baylor, Benedictine School (Round 3, 91st Overall)
LHP Erik Miller, Stanford (Round 4, 120th Overall)
RHP Andrew Schultz, Tennessee (Round 6, 180th Overall)
RHP Brett Schulze, Minnesota (Round 7, 210th Overall)
Since they were without their second-round pick for signing Bryce Harper, the Phillies likely knew that they needed to do well with their first-round selection. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise that they opted for one of the safest players in this entire draft class: shortstop Bryson Stott. Stott doesn’t have a particular eye-opening strength, which limits his overall ceiling, though he also doesn’t have a specific weakness and should be an everyday shortstop. I saw him being more of a value pick in the latter half of the first round, and I wish Philadelphia would’ve looked harder into pitchers Zack Thompson and George Kirby, though Stott wasn’t a bad pick by any stretch. Jamari Baylor is more of a risk as a prospect who flashes five tools but is a long way from putting it together, but the third round is an appropriate time to task the risk. Don’t sleep on fourth-round pick Erik Miller as well, who could flourish in the bullpen as a multi-inning reliever with his excellent fastball-slider combination. The same can be said about Andrew Schultz, with a fastball that can go over 100 MPH.
Final Verdict: This isn’t a flashy draft class for the Phillies, but they did well with their limited picks. I’m not in love with the selection of Stott, but it’s understandable given the need to get this draft right due to their surprisingly thin farm system
RHP Quinn Priester, Cary Grove HS (Round 1, 18th Overall)
OF Sammy Siani, William Penn Charter HS (Round CBA, 37th Overall)
OF Matt Gorski, Indiana (Round 2, 57th Overall)
3B Jared Triolo, Houston (CBB, 72nd Overall)
3B Ethan Paul, Vanderbilt (Round 9, 274th Overall)
RHP Cameron Junker, Notre Dame (Round 10, 304th Overall)
The Pirates are known for drafting athletic and projectable pitchers, and had been linked to prep pitcher Quinn Priester on numerous occasions. They made good on those rumors when they selected Priester in the first round, to the shock of no one. Priester has many supporters that cite him as the best high school pitching prospect in this draft, but I heavily disagree. He’s all projection, which is fine for a compensatory or competitive balance round A pick, but not for the 18th selection. Sure, he’ll likely develop into a middle of the rotation starter, but is that worth the time it’ll take to do so when both Zack Thompson and George Kirby are on the board, as well as several impact hitters? I don’t think so. I also was not a fan of their selection of Sammy Siani, whose upside is unclear given his lack of consistency and lack of an exciting trait. Matt Gorski does have intriguing power and speed, but he’s very unpolished for a college product, which certainly lowers his value. Jared Triolo, meanwhile, doesn’t have the power to play third base, but at least is a solid hitter with good defense.
Final Verdict: The key pieces of this draft class for the Pirates are the first three players. Unfortunately, these three picks all warrant criticism with them passing on far superior players, and it doesn’t seem like they adjusted their draft board to how the draft played out at all.
San Diego Padres
SS CJ Abrams, Blessed Trinity HS (Round 1, 6th Overall)
OF Joshua Mears, Federal Way HS (Round 2, 48th Overall)
C Logan Driscoll, George Mason (CBB, 73rd Overall)
OF Hudson Heed, Winston Churchill HS (Round 3, 84th Overall)
RHP Drake Fellows, Vanderbilt (Round 6, 173rd Overall)
LHP Ethan Elliott, Lincoln Memorial University (Round 10, 293rd Overall)
The Padres were always going to select the position player out of the “top six” amongst most experts, and with CJ Abrams falling to their pick, they moved quickly to stop the high school shortstop’s fall. Abrams as seen as a high-upside prospect with incredible speed, but outside of the speed, I’m not sure what else he currently brings to the table. Yes, he occasionally flashes alright power and hit tools, but he’s a work in progress that may have to move off of shortstop. He has a Ketel Marte-type ceiling, and that ceiling is not worth the risk of this selection, though if any team can afford to gamble on him with the potential he breaks out, it’s the Padres with their loaded farm system. San Diego continued to take risks, selecting outfielder Joshua Mears in the second round. Mears’ power is undeniable, and if he can develop a couple of tools to go along with it, he could be a valuable asset. Logan Driscoll has the contact skills to be an above average offensive producer at the catcher position, but he needs to work on his defense and offensive approach. Also, Hudson Head has tremendous offensive potential despite his lack of a track record, and Drake Fellows was very productive in college, but his overall pitching arsenal and command have declined.
Final Verdict: The Padres took a lot of gambles with this draft class, which is very justifiable considering how strong their farm system is. I don’t believe Abrams was worth a top ten, or even a top fifteen selection, but at least they were in a position to take that risk, and I liked some of the high-upside picks with Mears and Head, even though there’s a chance that they are wasted selections.
San Francisco Giants
OF Hunter Bishop, Arizona State (Round 1, 10th Overall)
1B Logan Wyatt, Louisville (Round 2, 51st Overall)
SS Tyler Fitzgerald, Louisville (Round 4, 116th Overall)
1B Grant Frechette, Orange Lutheran HS (Round 5, 146th Overall)
SS Dilan Rosario, Colegio Marista HS (Round 6, 176th Overall)
RHP Caleb Killian, Texas Tech (Round 8, 236th Overall)
In his first draft with team, new President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi needed a positive draft to infuse young talent into one of the league’s worst farm systems. His first selection, Hunter Bishop, has the potential to be one of the cornerstones of the franchise’s rebuild. Bishop has 70-grade power and tremendous athleticism, while he has also was super productive in college and has the potential to play all three outfield positions. There are swing and miss concerns, while his defense needs further refinement, but assuming his improved approach maintains, he’s a valuable player no matter what, with the potential to be a superstar. It was a little disappointing to see Zaidi not go for a higher ceiling talent or take a run at Matthew Allan in the second round, but Logan Wyatt certainly isn’t a bad prospect by any means. He has arguably the best approach in this draft class with an advanced hit tool, though he’ll need to develop more power to be an impact first baseman for them, and more than what they currently have in Brandon Belt. Tyler Fitzgerald is a high floor, low ceiling type of prospect, but he’s a nice depth piece for a team with little organizational depth. Additionally, Garrett Frechette lost his exciting raw power once he was diagnosed with mono, so he could either be a wasted pick or a potential steal, while Dilan Rosario is a plus defender that needs to add strength to improve his offensive profile.
Final Verdict: Zaidi has a clear strategy heading into this draft, which was to add as many impact hitters as possible. Bishop could be a major addition for the franchise, while Wyatt and a couple of their day two picks have the potential to possibly be valuable pieces if they can develop into more all-around players. It wasn’t a superb draft class, but it was a really nice haul with the potential to be an excellent haul for an organization that needed any type of young talent.
RHP George Kirby, Elon (Round 1, 20th Overall)
LHP Brandon Williamson, TCU (Round 2, 59th Overall)
RHP Isaiah Campbell, Arkansas (CBB, 76th Overall)
RHP Levi Stoudt, Lehigh (Round 3, 97th Overall)
RHP Tim Elliot, Georgia (Round 4, 126th Overall)
3B Austin Shenton, Florida International (Round 5, 156th Overall)
RHP Michael Limoncelli, Horseheads HS (Round 6, 186th Overall)
RHP Ty Adcock, Elon (Round 8, 246th Overall)
IGeneral manager Jerry Dipoto has established a culture within the Mariners organization, with an “all-in” philosophy. Apparently, college pitching was a need for them, because they used their first five selections on college pitchers. George Kirby was one of most polished prospects in this class and is coming off a season in which he had a 107-6 K-BB ratio. If he can refine his mechanics to add more velocity, he could exceed the expectation that he’ll be a #3 starter, but even if he doesn’t, he was excellent value at this point in the draft. Brandon Williamson is a high-upside prospect with a 6’5” frame who is athletic with a deceptive, downhill delivery. Isaiah Campbell was one of my favorite sleepers in this entire draft with a three-pitch mix and a good feel for pitching and should be another nice member of their future rotation. Their only major position player selection, Austin Shenton, has a solid offensive profile though is limited defensively and needs to tune into his raw power.
Final Verdict: The Mariners are looking to be in contention by 2021 and needed impact pitching prospects. Kirby, Campbell, and possibly Williamson should all be in their rotation at some point, which would make this an excellent haul for them, especially since they only had the 20th overall selection.
St. Louis Cardinals
LHP Zack Thompson, Kentucky (Round 1, 19th Overall)
OF Treyjen Fletcher, Deering HS (Round 2, 58th Overall)
RHP Tony Locey, Georgia (Round 3, 96th Overall)
RHP Andre Pallante, California (Round 4, 125th Overall)
LHP Connor Thomas, Georgia Tech (Round 5, 155th Overall)
RHP Pedro Pages, Florida Atlantic (Round 6, 185th Overall)
RHP Todd Lott, University of Louisiana- Lafayette (Round 9. 275th Overall)
The Cardinals have been known for sitting out in recent drafts and letting highly regarded prospects fall to them. That’s how they drafted third baseman Nolan Gorman last season and that’s how they were able to select Zack Thompson. Thompson should develop into a #2 or #3 starter, with a similar repertoire to Patrick Corbin, and realistically could be in the majors very soon, which is terrific for a Cardinals team that is always in win-now mode. They went outside of their usual conservative draft strategy by selecting high school outfielder Trejyn Fletcher, who has tremendous upside with his power-speed combination, but needs refinement and also wasn’t heavily scouted before reclassifying as a senior for the draft. Tony Locey is an intriguing addition as a possible back-end reliever with his 100 MPH fastball and sharp slider, and Andre Palate likely could become a #4 or #5 starter if developed properly.
Final Verdict: The Cardinals did an excellent job playing the draft and drafting the best player available for them in Thompson, which allowed them to feel comfortable taking a risk with Fletcher. Meanwhile, Locey could possibly be a quick impact reliever for them. This was another solid draft for a team that continues to do an excellent job developing homegrown talents.
Tampa Bay Rays
SS Greg Jones, UNC Wilmington (Round 1, 22nd Overall)
RHP JJ Goss, Cypress Ranch HS (Round CBA, 36th Overall)
RHP Seth Johnson, Campbell (Round CBA, 40th Overall)
LHP John Doxakis, Texas A&M (Round 2, 61st Overall)
LHP Graeme Stenson, Duke (Round 4, 128th Overall)
LHP Ben Brecht, UC Santa Barbara (Round 5, 158th Overall)
RHP Colby White, Mississippi State (Round 6, 188th Overall)
1B Jake Guenther, TCU (Round 7, 218th Overall)
RHP Nathan Wiles, Oklahoma (Round 8, 248th Overall)
RHP Evan McKendry, Miami (Round 9, 278th Overall)
The Rays are always an interesting team to watch in the draft thanks to their track record of finding gems in the draft, the amount of competitive balance picks they always receive, and their overall unique draft classes. That uniqueness started out at the top of the draft, where they drafted the fastest prospect in Greg Jones. The problem with Jones is that he doesn’t bring much else to the table with a weak offensive profile and below average defense at shortstop. I don’t understand the value of his speed when the game continues to shift away from it, but clearly, Tampa has a vision for him, though it’s unclear what that actually is. I did love their next three selections, however. JJ Goss has front-line starting pitcher potential with a deceptive delivery he repeats well and a filthy slider and was one of the top pitchers in this entire draft in my opinion. Seth Johnson, on the other hand, wasn’t productive in college and is unpolished as a converted infielder, but throws a high 90s fastball with a good breaking ball. He could thrive in an opener role, as could John Doxakis with his impressive fastball-slider combination. Meanwhile, Graeme Stinson came into the year regarded as a top ten talent before injuries destroyed his stock, while Ben Brecht is expected to move quickly and become a back-end starting pitcher, though back-end starting pitchers are not something the Rays traditionally value.
Final Verdict: I am incredibly opposed to the selection of Jones in the first round, but I cannot deny that the Rays had an excellent draft class. If Goss was their first pick, Doxakis was their second, and Jones was their fourth, this would be a flawless draft; I cannot critique them heavily in their final grade.
3B Josh Jung, Texas Tech (Round 1, 8th Overall)
3B Davis Wendzel, Baylor (Round CBA, 41st Overall)
RHP Ryan Garcia, UCLA (Round 2, 50th Overall)
LHP Cody Bradford, Baylor (Round 6, 175th Overall)
With rumors that they wanted to sign a prospect to a below-slot deal, the Rangers were a tough team to get a read on heading into the draft. They eventually set their sights on one prospect, selecting third baseman Josh Jung with the eighth overall pick. It’s unlikely this will be a below-slot deal, but it doesn’t matter; Jung is an advanced hitter with 25 home run power and passable defense at third base. He definitely is a potential all-star caliber player, which is worth a back-end top ten pick. They selected another third baseman in Davis Wendzel with the 41st pick, but his versatility and strong approach should allow him to become a high-end utility player, making the selection not redundant. In addition, Ryan Garcia is an accomplished college pitcher who should develop into a #3 or #4 starting pitcher.
Final Verdict: The Rangers didn’t have a flashy draft, opting for more safe selections. However, they got excellent value with their first two selections; both should be key players for them in the future and should move quickly their farm system, which is particularly ideal considering Texas’ desire to contend soon.
Toronto Blue Jays
RHP Alek Manoah, West Virginia (Round 1, 11th Overall)
RHP Kendall Williams, IMG Academy (Round 2, 52nd Overall)
OF Dasan Brown, Albey Park HS (Round 3, 88th Overall)
OF Will Robertson, Creighton (Round 4, 117th Overall)
SS Tanner Morris, Virginia (Round 5, 147th Overall)
2B LJ Talley, Georgia (Round 7, 207th Overall)
C Phillip Clarke, Vanderbilt (Round 9, 267th Overall)
With Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Danny Jansen, and Nate Pearson in the fold, the Blue Jays have a very bright future ahead. They continued to add to that young core, drafting West Virginia pitcher Alek Manoah with the 11th overall pick. Manoah has front-line starting pitcher potential with a mid 90s fastball with movement and a sharp slider, to go along with a positive feel for pitching. He is a major addition to a farm system that needed more pitching depth, and so is Kendall Williams, someone who Toronto presumably cannot wait to develop with his 6’6” frame, solid command, and excellent two-pitch mix. Meanwhile, Dasan Brown is a high-upside outfielder with athleticism and good contact skills, while Will Robertson, Tanner Morris, and Phillip Clarke are all college position players who were drafted later than expected.
Final Verdict: I did like the depth of Toronto’s draft class, but the main takeaway from it has to be the selection of Manoah. He was a premier talent that seemed to have gone under the radar due to his size (6’6”, 260 pounds), and the payoff should be huge for Toronto.
RHP Jackson Rutledge, San Jacinto JC (Round 1, 17th Overall)
3B Drew Mendoza, Florida State (Round 3, 94th Overall)
LHP Matt Cronin, Arkansas (Round 4, 123rd Overall)
RHP Tyler Dyson, Florida (Round 5, 153rd Overall)
RHP Todd Peterson, LSU (Round 7, 213th Overall)
RHP Hunter McMahon, Texas State (Round 9, 273rd Overall)
In recent years, the Nationals have targeted high-upside pitchers that the industry may be down on for whatever reason. They followed their usual strategy in this year’s draft, selecting junior college pitcher Jackson Rutledge with the 17th overall. It’s easy to dream about Rutledge with his 6’8” frame, triple digits fastball, and incredible slider, but questions about his consistency and arm action likely dropped him to this pick. Those concerns are valid, but at this point of the draft, his upside was certainly worth taking a risk on, because it’s clear he has the potential to become an ace of a staff. Drew Mendoza is another player that fell in this draft but should provide Washington with value as a result of his massive power and high walk rates.
Final Verdict: This draft is all about Rutledge, and a little about Mendoza, which means there is a chance that it could blow up. However, there’s a chance they landed a front-line starting pitcher and a potential everyday starter with just the 17th and 94th overall picks, and that cannot be ignored.