No, we won't be yelling about any lottery conspiracies or blowing up Twitter announcing shocking draft-day trades, but that doesn't mean the MLB draft won't be without its excitement.
Essentially, the MLB draft is about pure potential, since you really don't know how a prospect will develop until they hit the minors. And who else provides the ultimate guessing game of potential than the kids being drafted straight from high school?
Here, we'll take a closer look at those prospects and where they may land at this year's draft. To the draft board!
1. Houston Astros: Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma
Jonathan Gray will likely go first overall because he'll be easier for the Astros to sign, but he's no slouch, going 9-2 with a 1.55 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 110 innings for the Sooners this year. If Mark Appel is 1A on boards this year, Gray is rightly 1B.
2. Chicago Cubs: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
The top player on the board won't drop past the Cubs. He went 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 106.1 innings for Stanford this year, showing off with a plus fastball that generates a lot of movement, an above-average slider and changeup. He misses bats, and he'll do so for the Cubs.
3. Colorado Rockies: Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, San Diego
Kris Bryant has the most natural power in this draft class, hitting .340 with 31 home runs and 62 RBI this season. He can flat out rake.
4. Minnesota Twins: Kohl Stewart, RHP/OF/3B, St. Pius X HS (Texas)
Kohl is the biggest risk-reward pick in the entire draft.
The risk? He's already committed to Texas A&M to play football and baseball, as he's one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Even if he's a top-five pick, he may not pass on going to college.
The reward? He's the best high school pitcher in this class and such a good athlete that he would be a big-time prospect if he played the field, meaning he has a nice fall-back plan if pitching doesn't work out. It will be very, very hard for the Twins to pass him up.
5. Cleveland Indians: Austin Meadows, OF/1B, Grayson HS (Georgia)
There isn't a position player with more upside than Austin Meadows. A true five-tool prospect, Meadows stands at 6'3" and swings from the left side of the plate. While he doesn't yet have a ton of power, he runs well, fields his position and should add a lot of strength to his frame.
He projects as a possible center fielder, but will likely settle into a role as a corner outfielder and No. 3 hitter in a big league lineup. Given his impressive frame and overall skill set, it's hard to imagine Meadows dropping out of the top five picks.
6. Miami Marlins: Trey Ball, LHP/OF, New Castle HS (Indiana)
Like Stewart, Ball has a lot of athleticism that he can fall back on if the whole pitching thing doesn't pan out. Luckily for the Marlins, he's a very, very good pitcher.
7. Boston Red Sox: Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (Georgia)
Essentially, Frazier is a smaller version of Meadows that swings from the right side of the plate and generates more power at a young age. He won't turn heads when he enters a room like Meadows does, but he runs well, hits for both power and average and is an above-average fielder.
It's rare to see a player with true five-tool upside who is also already so fundamentally sound and is showing very real power at the high school level. Meadows' more impressive frame will probably see him drafted earlier, but Frazier won't fall far behind.
8. Kansas City Royals: Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina
Moran was the ACC Player of the Year for North Carolina after hitting .357 with 13 home runs and 83 RBI, most in the nation. He shouldn't need too much seasoning in the minors and could join the Royals rather quickly at either third, first or as a corner outfielder.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates: Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada
Braden Shipley use a a plus fastball, solid curve and changeup to go 7-3 with a 2.77 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 107.1 innings this season for Nevada. He's a nice get for the Pirates here.
10. Toronto Blue Jays: Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford
Austin Wilson is somewhat of a project after having a mediocre 2013 season, hitting .288 with five home runs and 26 RBI for Stanford. But he has five-tool potential and an impressive frame, so I don't see him lasting very long.
11. New York Mets: Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno St.
Here's what you need to know—6'7", 255 pounds (yes, you read that right) and hit .369 with 12 home runs and 36 RBI this season. Add in a powerful arm, and you've got yourself an appealing prospect.
12. Seattle Mariners: Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
Ryne Stanek was one of the SEC's best pitchers this season, finishing 9-2 with a 1.40 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 90 innings. With an elite fastball and three other pitches at his disposal, he should have a very long career ahead of him.
13. San Diego Padres: JP Crawford, SS, Lakewood HS (California)
Crawford is a bit of a gamble, as he's an excellent fielder at shortstop—a notoriously hard position to fill—and has plus speed, but needs some serious development behind the plate. I don't see him getting past the Padres.
14. Pittsburgh Pirates: Reese McGuire, C, Kentwood HS (Washington)
In a deep draft for catchers, Reese McGuire still stands out. A left-handed hitter, McGuire has a nice power profile and a cannon for an arm, making him a nice selection here for the Pirates.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks: DJ Peterson, 1B/3B, New Mexico
DJ Peterson gives Bryant a run for his money as the top slugger in this class after hitting .411 with 18 home runs and 70 RBI this year. Unlike a player like Moran, however, Peterson won't be able to stick at third and will need to hit for power to justify a spot at first base or left field.
16. Philadelphia Phillies: Jon Denney, C, Yukon HS (Oklahoma)
The Phillies need an elite catching prospect. Denney is the best one available and a top-15 talent. This pick seems obvious enough.
17. Chicago White Sox: Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State
Sean Manaea is dropping down some boards after going 5-4 with a 1.47 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 73.1 innings, but he's a smooth lefty with a plus fastball and nasty slurve, so he shouldn't drop too far. The White Sox love college arms, so Manaea makes sense here.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers: Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville
Anderson used a fastball that reaches the upper-90s, a four-pitch repertoire and solid control to go 7-5 with a 2.54 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 104.2 innings for Jacksonville this season. The Dodgers will gladly add this future fixture in the rotation at No. 18.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Florida
The Cardinals love stockpiling arms, so adding a slight project like Jonathon Crawford fits the bill. He's not coming off of a great season (3-6 with a 4.03 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 80.1 innings), but he has the sort of nasty stuff to throw a no-hitter along the way.
20. Detroit Tigers: Billy McKinney, OF/1B, Plano West HS (Texas)
He may not have the frame of Meadows or the power of some other prospects, but Billy McKinney just has the look of a ball player. With a smooth swing and top-notch work ethic, he won't disappoint.
21. Tampa Bay Rays: Marco Gonzales, LHP, Gonzaga
With most of the high-ceiling high school players off the board, the Rays will turn to another draft favorite—selecting college pitchers. Marco Gonzales throws an elite changeup, one that led to a 7-3 record with a 2.80 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 106 innings for Gonzaga.
22. Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Eades, RHP, LSU
Ryan Eades has some durability concerns but also has nasty stuff highlighted by a plus fastball. Any time you can go 8-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 71 strikeouts in the tough SEC, you're a pitcher to be reckoned with.
23. Texas Rangers: Ian Clarkin, LHP/1B/OF, James Madison HS
Three-pitch lefties out of high school with Ian Clarkin's ability will always turn heads. However, he's a solid enough athlete that he could transition to the everyday lineup as well.
24. Oakland Athletics: Bobby Wahl, RHP, Ole Miss
The ace of Ole Miss' staff this year, Bobby Wahl went 9-0 with a 1.99 ERA and 76 strikeouts. With an elite fastball and nasty slider, he has the look of a late-innings reliever in the bigs.
25. San Francisco Giants: Dominic Smith, 1B, LHP, OF, Sierra HS (California)
Smith only stands 6'0", a little on the short side for a first basemen, but he fields the position well. He also hasn't grown into his home run power at this point, but he's a gap hitter who will drive in a lot of runs. In other words, he makes up for his deficiencies.
26. New York Yankees: Andrew Thurman, RHP, UC Irvine
With four reliable pitches and a 6-4 with a 3.23 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 100.1 innings for UC Irvine this season, Thurman will be a solid first addition to the Yankees, who I expect to stock the farm system with solid, young arms in the first round.
27. Cincinnati Reds: Hunter Renfroe, OF, Mississippi State
The ex-catcher does a little bit of everything behind the plate, hitting .362 with 48 runs, 15 home runs, 51 RBI and nine stolen bases this season. He has a big arm as well, so right field should be in his future.
28. St. Louis Cardinals: Phillip Ervin, OF, Samford
A player that projects as a lead-off man at the next level, Phillip Ervin hit .337 with 58 runs, 11 home runs, 40 RBI and 11 stolen bases this season. A solid fielder, Ervin shouldn't have a long transition to the next level.
29. Tampa Bay Rays: Tim Anderson, SS/OF, East Central CC
We continue with the Rays drafting stereotypes, as this time the team targets a four-tool prospect at a premium position. Anderson doesn't have a ton of pop, but he does everything else well.
30. Texas Rangers: Ryan Boldt, OF, Red Wing HS (Minnesota)
His upside is huge. We throw the term "five-tool prospect" around quite a bit, but Boldt is another youngster who fits that mold.
31. Atlanta Braves: Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither HS (Florida)
Like Crawford, Oscar Mercado is a slick fielder who can run but will need to improve at the plate. Still, there's a lot to like here.
32. New York Yankees: Phil Bickford, RHP/1B, Oaks Christian HS (California)
Phil Bickford has nice size and three developed pitches. After taking a safer pick in Thurman, the Yanks will gamble on Bickford's upside.
33. New York Yankees: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Bandys HS (North Carolina)
Hunter Harvey's father Brian was an All-Star closer, while his brother Kris is currently in the minors. In other words, there's plenty to suggest to the Yankees that Harvey will make it as a pitcher.
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