2014 MLB Mock Draft: Breaking Down the Biggest Stars in Next Year's Class
With the 2013 MLB draft complete, most people will take a break from looking at prospects for a few weeks.
But not the folks at Bleacher Report.
While there's still some time before we know exactly who is in the 2014 class (due to players who don't sign this year), there's still a lot of talent to look at that we know will be available.
Here's a breakdown of the biggest stars we know will be in next year's draft.
Note: This list is for players who weren't eligible to be drafted this year, or weren't drafted, and will still be eligible next year.
Carlos Rodon, LHP, N.C. State
Had he been draft-eligible this year, Carlos Rodon would have been a top-three pick in this year's draft.
He's dominated ever since he came onto campus.
During his freshman year (2012), Rodon was 9-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 135 strikeouts. This year, he's 9-2 with a 3.19 ERA and 170 strikeouts.
Needless to say, Rodon is a power pitcher. His fastball touches 97-98 mph, and, according to Crawfish Boxes, he's the clear front-runner to be the top pick in next year's draft:
His thick, muscular frame has allowed him to hold his velocity deep into games, and he pairs his four seamer with an 90-91 MPH cutter that keeps hitters honest. Though he possesses premium velocity, especially for a lefty, Rodon is not a one-dimensional pitcher. His slider is rated by some as a plus pitch, and he's developing a splitter to act as an offspeed offering. His mechanics are clean an easy- he repeats his delivery well and generates easy velocity.
As long as the 2014 season goes the way many believes it will, Rodon will be the No. 1 pick.
Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
Tyler Beede was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays at No. 21 overall in 2011. However, he chose to attend Vanderbilt and has been even better there than he was in high school.
According to Scout.com, Beede hits 94 mph with his fastball. But that's not his only plus pitch:
He's slowly made progress for the Commodores, where he works 91-93, hitting 94 mph with a changeup that flashes plus at 79-82 mph and a slider he's added since he got to campus that also flashes plus at times, better than his average loopier curveball he used as a freshman.
Beede should contend with Rodon for the top selection.
The biggest question might be if the Houston Astros need a righty or lefty.
Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
Scout.com compares Sean Newcomb to Jon Lester:
The 6'5, 240 pound lefty hit 95 last summer in a very short stint on the Cape and has hit 97 this spring with comparisons to Jon Lester, if you're into that sort of thing. His upside is right there with Rodon and if he can show it with positive results over the summer, he could easily enter the spring as my top college pitcher, which is exactly what (Sean) Manaea did before his current troubles.
Newcomb isn't going to face the tough competition others will in his junior year at Hartford.
Where he can make the biggest difference is with his stint on Team USA this summer when it plays against teams from Japan and Cuba.
Michael Cederoth, RHP, San Diego State
As San Diego State's Friday starter, Michael Cederoth has had success during his career.
Cederoth did have a 4.25 ERA, but also struck out 109 batters.
Patrick Ebert of Perfect Game was impressed by his work:
He uses his size well, throwing downhill to the plate with long limbs and very good extension off the mound. That make his low-90s fastball, that can touch the mid-90s, appear that much harder, and he started his 3 inning outing by doing a good job keeping the ball down in the zone. Similar to Mark Appel, when he does so, his fastball gets some nice sinking life to it.
Cederoth won't be the top pick, but he's an intriguing prospect for the 2014 draft.
Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian HS (FL)
Touki Toussaint is the top prep pitcher for the 2014 draft class.
Walter Villa of the Miami Herald wrote about Toussaint prior to the start of the season:
With his added strength, the velocity on Toussaint’s fastball has jumped from 88 to 91 mph in the fall of his sophomore year to his current range, which sits at 91 to 94 and climbs as high as 97.
His nasty curveball, which comes in at about 70 mph, ties up batters in knots. And if he can improve his command, he will be nearly unhittable.
He'll get to show what he's made of in the Under Armour All-American Game this summer.
Trea Turner, SS, N.C. State
Trea Turner has the possibility of joining Rodon as a top-five pick in the 2014 draft. He has the ability to hit to all fields and steal bases.
In 2012, Turner stole 57 bases to lead the nation. This year, his stolen-base numbers dropped to 27. But he did bat .378 with seven home runs and 41 RBI.
According to Scout.com, he has made a big change this year:
The difference is this year Turner has been playing shortstop and he's gotten stronger and smoother as an athlete. He's an 80 runner that even coming off an ankle injury has the actions and lateral quickness to stick at shortstop long-term where his above average to plus arm plays. He's a fluid athlete with a smooth swing and a good sense of the strike zone, leaving his only weakness being his lack of raw power.
If he continues to improve, Turner will most definitely be picked in the top of the first round.
Derek Fisher, LF, Virginia
Derek Fisher made huge strides in his sophomore year at Virginia.
BeforeItsNews.com projects him to go later in the first round:
A great athlete, the 6’-3”, 210 pound left-hander greatly improved his approach this season cutting down his strikeouts from 61 to 38 over roughly the same number of plate appearances while upping his walks from 22 to 28. Over 53 games, he hit .306 with 12 doubles, seven home runs, stole eight bases and had a .420 OBP/.505 SLG. His size suggests more power will come and, if it does, he will be one of the better all-around college bats available in the 2014 MLB draft.
However, I'm not so sure they're giving him enough credit.
Fisher does need to show a little more power, but he's shown he has all the tools to succeed at the next level.
Kyle Schwarber, C/1B, Indiana
Kyle Schwarber is a big reason why Indiana is going to its first College World Series in school history.
He's batting .376 with 18 home runs and 54 RBI.
BeforeItsNews.com believes Schwarber won't stick behind the plate:
While he may not have enough to stick behind the plate, the 6’-0”, 230 pound left-handed hitter does have a strong arm and makes for a big target. His footwork needs work, however, and most think he will eventually end up at first base. That shouldn’t hurt his stock that much because the kid can flat out destroy a baseball.
One of the reasons he's projected to move is because he's struggled to throw out runners. Schwarber allowed 82.5 percent of runners to safely steal a base.
Still, his bat is the real deal.
Justin Bellinger, 1B, Saint Sebastian School (MA)
Justin Bellinger is one of the top prep hitters in the 2014 class.
He's a dominant pitcher and dominant as a hitter.
The Boston Globe ran a story on Bellinger earlier in the year, profiling him:
The 17-year-old Bellinger is a 6-foot-6, 240-pound junior first baseman and pitcher with a powerful left-handed swing and 90 mile-per-hour fastball from the left side that make him one of the top high school prospects in the country.
Throw in the fact that he opts to use wooden bats over metal bats and you can see he knows where his future is.
Liam Sabino, SS, Blair Academy (PA)
Liam Sabino is an outstanding defensive shortstop with an even better bat.
BeforeItsNews.com thinks he may be the best shortstop in next year's class:
A very good defensive shortstop — maybe the best in the draft — the 6’-1” right-hander has a strong arm (90 mph), soft hands and makes it look effortless in the field. His bat is behind the defense but his bat speed and approach project well. More power should come as he matures but he profiles as more of a top-of-the-order hitter.
Depending on how his bat comes along during his senior year, Sabino could play himself into being a top-five pick.
With his range at shortstop, there's no question he has the defensive ability.