Is there a Stephen Strasburg, Mike Leake or Bryce Harper in this draft, meaning players who spend only a year or less in the minors before making a major league debut?
I'm glad you asked. Alongside a full MLB mock draft, I've identified a few players (in Italics) I believe could shoot through the ranks and reach the Show sooner rather than later.
Let's get our mock on.
1. Houston Astros (56-106): Byron Buxton, OF (Appling County High School, Ga.)
He may take a little while to reach the Show, but it's hard to pass up on a player who could become the next Justin Upton. The Astros won't pass up this 5-tool stud in the making.
2. Minnesota Twins (63-99): Mark Appel, RHP (Stanford)
Appel has a solid mid-90s fastball, an excellent slider and an above-average change-up. He projects as a top-of-the-rotation starter, and after three seasons at Stanford, he is a seasoned pitcher and shouldn't need too much time in the minors.
It's a possibility he could go to the Astros if they choose the safer route over Buxton, or Appel could drop down a bit lower than this if teams view him as an underachiever.
However, of all of the players set to be drafted in the Top 10 of this draft, Appel should ascend to the majors before anyone else.
3. Seattle Mariners (67-95): Lucas Giolito, RHP (Harvard-Westlake School, Calif.)
Giolito has electric stuff, make no bones about it, and if the concerns over his elbow are dampened, he'll be one of the first players off the board.
Don't be surprised if he ultimately is the best pitcher out of this class.
4. Baltimore Orioles (69-93): Kevin Gausman, RHP (LSU)
With Matt Wieters only 25 years old and the cornerstone of this franchise's future, I'd be shocked if the O's went after a catcher like Mike Zunino here.
Instead, I think they'll look to add the best pitcher available, with Gausman being that guy.
After two years of college ball, Gausman enters this draft as a pitcher with electric, now-polished stuff. Like Appel, the transition period in the minors should be brief, and Gausman could find his way to the majors sooner rather than later.
5. Kansas City Royals (71-91): Mike Zunino, C (Florida)
It's hard to imagine Zunino would drop past this slot.
Behind the plate, Zunino is the complete package; he's able to field the position, handle a pitching staff and throw out runners.
At the dish, Zunino has good pop and hits for average. He's got some Wieters in him. I wouldn't expect Zunino to be playing minor league ball for long.
6. Chicago Cubs (71-91): Albert Almora, OF (Marion Christian Academy, Fla.)
If Starlin Castro wasn't 22 and clearly marked to be the Cubs' shortstop for the next 10 years, I'd say they'd consider Carlos Correa here.
Instead, I think they'll go for the outfielder with a huge ceiling in Almora.
7. San Diego Padres (71-91): Kyle Zimmer, RHP (San Francisco)
Zimmer's ability to toss fastballs in the upper 90s will get him off the board here.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates (72-90): Carlos Correa, SS (Puerto Rico)
The Pirates have been linked to Deven Marrero as well, but I don't see them passing up Correa. Even if he ends up moving to third, he has too much upside to pass on here.
9. Miami Marlins (72-90): Courtney Hawkins, RF (Carroll High School, Texas)
With his arm strength and power potential, Hawkins slots well as a corner outfielder at the next level.
10. Colorado Rockies (73-89): Max Fried, LHP (Harvard-Westlake School, Calif.)
The Rockies won't be able to pass up the prep pitcher and the best lefty in the draft.
11. Oakland Athletics (74-88): Deven Marrero, SS (Arizona State)
Marrero didn't have a great season, but he's still thought of by some as a 5-tool prospect. If he's here, I think Oakland has a hard time passing him up.
12. New York Mets (77-85): Michael Wacha, RHP (Texas A&M)
Wacha is one of the safer picks in the draft. Plus, his last name makes me think of Fozzie Bear, and that's always a plus.
13. Chicago White Sox (79-83): Richie Shaffer, 3B (Clemson)
Shaffer has a ton of raw power, even if he ends up striking out a lot at the next level.
Hey, the White Sox have Adam Dunn...they're used to that.
14. Cincinnati Reds (79-83): Andrew Heaney, LHP (Oklahoma State)
Heaney is the best lefty coming from the college ranks, and his breaking ball is a legit out pitch.
15. Cleveland Indians (80-82): Marcus Stroman, RHP (Duke)
Stroman is the best reliever off the board, and despite being a little short, he has electric stuff.
16. Washington Nationals (80-81): Chris Stratton, RHP (Mississippi State)
What do Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen, Stephen Strasburg and Ross Detwiler have in common?
They were all college pitchers selected in the first or second round by the Nationals, that's what.
Why mess with a tried-and-true formula?
17. Toronto Blue Jays (81-81): Joey Gallo, 3B/RHP (Bishop Gorman High School, Nev.)
Gallo simply has too much power to pass up here.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers (82-79): Lance McCullers, Jr., RHP (Jesuit High School, Fla.)
He's been climbing up boards and could be long gone by this point. Look for the Dodgers to snatch McCullers up, though.
19. St. Louis Cardinals (90-72): Gavin Cecchini, SS (Barbe High School, La.)*
Look for the Cardinals to add a bat. Cecchini may not stay at short, but he'll hit regardless of where he ends up.
20. San Francisco Giants (86-76): Stephen Piscotty, 3B (Stanford)
If he adds power to his already well-rounded game, Piscotty could be a huge steal here.
21. Atlanta Braves (89-73): Matt Smoral, LHP (Solon High School, Ohio)
Smoral is 6'8", he's a lefty and he's got a potentially huge ceiling. He's worth the risk here.
22. Toronto Blue Jays (81-81): Zach Elfin, RHP (Hagerty High School, Fla.)**
Toronto went for a bat. Now they'll go after an arm.
23. St. Louis Cardinals (90-72): David Dahl, OF (Oak Mountain High School, Ala.)
In the post-Pujols era, the Cardinals will continue looking for bats. Dahl has earned comparisons to Johnny Damon, albeit with less alley power.
24. Boston Red Sox (90-72): Addison Russell, SS (Pace High School, Fla.)
Whether he sticks at short or gets moved is irrelevant—the Sawx will be drafting Russell for his bat. His bat speed and pull power are very appealing.
25. Tampa Bay Rays (91-71): Lucas Sims, RHP (Brookwood High School, Ga.)
He isn't David Price, but Sims is a solid arm available later in this round and is a good find for Tampa Bay.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks (94-68): Stryker Trahan, C (Acadiana High School, La.)
Trahan looks as safe a catcher prospect out of high school as you'll find. His power potential is appealing.
27. Milwaukee Brewers (96-66): Pierce Johnson, RHP (Missouri State)***
If teams are convinced he's healthy, Johnson could be a mid-round pick. If he drops this far, the Brewers will gladly snatch him up.
28. Milwaukee Brewers (96-66): Victor Roach, OF (Georgia Southern)
The Brewers land a pitcher and another bat. He'll never replace Prince Fielder, but Roach has the potential to have some pop.
29. Texas Rangers (96-66): D.J. Davis, OF (Stone County High School, Miss.)
He's arguably the fastest player in this class, and Davis projects as a solid leadoff hitter at the next level.
30. New York Yankees (97-65): Corey Seager, 3B (Northwest Cabarrus High School, N.C.
The younger brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, Corey has been rising up boards this spring. He could end up being better than his older bro.
31. Boston Red Sox (90-72): Carson Kelly, 3B (Westview High School, Ore.)****
Kelly's quick hands at the plate and strong arm make him appealing. He could end up being a pitching prospect for the Red Sox at some point, depending upon his development.
*Compensation from Los Angeles Angels for Albert Pujols
**Compensation for failing to sign 2011 first-round Pick Tyler Beede
***Compensation from Detroit for Prince Fielder
****Compensation from Philadelphia for Jonathan Papelbon
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