2014 MLB Mock Draft: Recapping the Latest Predictions from Around the Web

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

2014 MLB Mock Draft: Recapping the Latest Predictions from Around the Web

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    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    With just over two weeks to go before MLB's 2014 First-Year Player draft gets underway, mock drafts are popping up everywhere.

    Unlike in the NBA, NFL and NHL drafts, the top players in the MLB draft are relative unknowns, and quite often, these mock drafts serve as our introduction to them. That only serves to make keeping track of which player which mock has your favorite team taking, well, nearly impossible.

    So think of this as your mock draft clearinghouse.

    We'll look at the latest mock drafts from five of the best in the business—Baseball America's John Manuel, MLB.com's Jonathan MayoSporting News' Ryan Fagan, ESPN's Keith Law and Bleacher Report's Mike Rosenbaum—and see if we can't find a consensus as to which player winds up where.

    We'll run this as if it was a mock draft being conducted by the five experts—once a player comes off the board, while he can be "under consideration" for a team, he cannot be selected. It's the mock draft of mock drafts, I suppose.

    In cases where there is no consensus, I'll cast the deciding vote based on what I believe to be a team's need or the talent of a specific player when compared to the others that are under consideration with that particular pick.

    Let's get to it.

    *Only 26 teams have first-round picks. The Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers all forfeited their first-round selections by signing free agents with draft-pick compensation attached to them over the winter.

    *Additionally, the Toronto Blue Jays have two first-round picks, the second coming due to the team's inability to sign last year's first-round selection, Phil Bickford.

    *All ESPN links require an Insider subscription. Most Baseball America links require a subscription as well.

1. Houston Astros

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    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    Projected Picks

    LHP Carlos Rodon, North Carolina State (4): Fagan, Manuel, Mayo, Rosenbaum

    LHP Brady Aiken, Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego, California (1): Law


    Blessed with an explosive mid-90s fastball and a slider that B/R's Mike Rosenbaum calls "the best secondary offering among his peers," nobody questions Carlos Rodon's credentials when it comes to being the top overall pick.

    But there are a pair of high school arms, Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek, along with catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson, who could all make equally strong cases for the top spot.

    ESPN's Keith Law, the only one not to have the Houston Astos taking Rodon, explains that talent may not be the ultimate deciding factor:

    The decision may come down to money -- they'd like to repeat their successful 2012 strategy, where they save $2 million or so on the top pick and reallocate the money to later picks (they have No. 37 and No. 42 this year) to acquire more first-round talents who slid into the sandwich/second because of their bonus demands.

    That strategy, if you recall, saw Houston pass on the likes of Mark Appel and Byron Buxton to select Carlos Correa, a decision that freed up enough money for the Astros to select (and sign) Lance McCullers Jr. with the 41st overall pick after he dropped due to signability concerns.

    Ultimately, the Astros will go with Rodon, who projects to be a front-line starter, one who will need less minor league development than his high school counterparts.

2. Miami Marlins

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    Projected Picks

    LHP Brady Aiken, Cathedral Catholic (California) HS (1): Rosenbaum

    RHP Tyler Kolek, Shepherd (Texas) HS (2): Fagan, Mayo

    C/OF Alex Jackson, Rancho Bernardo (California) HS (2): Law, Manuel


    Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek are the best talents left on the board for the Miami Marlins, but if there's one thing the Marlins have, it's a ton of young pitching.

    Seven of the team's top 10 prospects (per MLB.com) are pitchers, and aside from third baseman Colin Moran, the Marlins don't have a big-time power prospect working his way through the system. It comes as no surprise then that ESPN's Keith Law says the Marlins are focusing on a bat over a pitcher with the No. 2 pick. 

    The top bat in this year's draft (though his future position remains a question), Alex Jackson has impressive natural power and an advanced approach at the plate, as noted by Baseball America's John Manuel:

    Several scouting directors have said they believe Jackson’s likely position switch would drive him down the board, but he also has the draft’s best bat. He has the most usable power in the class as well as one of its best hit tools, and he has enough experience in the outfield to move quickly.

    Even if the Marlins have Aiken or Kolek ahead of Jackson on their draft boards, it doesn't make much sense for the club to take another live arm given the lack of impact position players in the system.

    Because of that, I'll cast the tie-breaking vote for Jackson.

    Video courtesy of BullpenBanter.com

3. Chicago White Sox

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    Projected Picks

    LHP Brady Aiken, Cathedral Catholic (California) HS (3): Fagan, Manuel, Mayo

    RHP Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt University (1): Rosenbaum

    RHP Tyler Kolek, Shepherd (Texas) HS (1): Law


    MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo makes an excellent point when he writes that "the White Sox might be in the best spot. They can just take whichever of the top three arms is available."

    With the way things have played out, GM Rick Hahn has his choice of two potentially elite prep arms in Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek, along with Tyler Beede, one of the more intriguing college arms available.

    "Aiken doesn’t quite reach Kolek levels of velocity, Sporting News' Ryan Fagen writes, "but he’s pouring it in around the 95-mph range, too, and he’s the third member of what most people consider the clear-cut top three prospects in the draft."

    Armed with quality secondary pitches (curveball, changeup) and with a projectable 6'4", 200-pound frame, the hard-throwing Aiken immediately becomes Chicago's top pitching prospect.

    Video courtesy of StudentSports.com

4. Chicago Cubs

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    Projected Picks

    RHP Tyler Kolek, Shepherd (Texas) HS (2): Law, Rosenbaum

    LHP Kyle Freeland, Evansville (Indiana) University (1): Manuel

    C/OF Alex Jackson, Rancho Bernardo (California) HS (2): Fagan, Mayo


    According to Baseball America's John Manuel, the Chicago Cubs would prefer to take a college arm over a high school pitcher with this pick. It makes sense given the state of the team's rebuilding process and potential looming loss of Jeff Samardzija from the rotation.

    But Tyler Kolek is the kind of prospect who's nearly impossible to pass on. Via B/R's Mike Rosenbaum:

    Right-hander Tyler Kolek is a physical presence on the mound at 6’6”, 240 pounds, and possesses arguably the best fastball velocity in the class. Working on a downhill plane with a tough three-quarters arm slot, Kolek sits comfortably in the mid-90s, at times flirting with triple digits. He also holds velocity deep into games. In addition, he throws a slider that flashes plus potential, as well as an average curveball and undeveloped changeup. 

    Kolek has proven that he can not only hold his mid-90s velocity deep into games, but that he can reach back and hit triple digits with relative ease. 

    Video courtesy of NewVistaVideo.com

5. Minnesota Twins

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    Projected Picks

    IF Nick Gordon, Olympia (Florida) HS (4): Fagan, Law, Manuel, Mayo

    RHP Jeff Hoffman, East Carolina University (1): Rosenbaum


    If one of the "big three" arms falls to the Minnesota Twins here, they would take him. But with all three off the board, the Twins look to solidify the middle of their infield with Nick Gordon, arguably the best all-around position player in the draft.

    The son of three-time All-Star Tom Gordon and brother of current Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon, he's certainly got the genetic makeup to succeed. But, as Sporting News' Ryan Fagan writes, don't be so quick to label him a clone of his brother:

    Nick is a left-handed hitting shortstop—yep, a relative rarity—with a bit more power and a touch less speed than Dee, but he’s considered one of the most well-rounded position prospects in this draft and would be a good get for the Twins.

    Even with middle infield prospects like Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario already down on the farm, it can never hurt to add a player with Gordon's pedigree—and athletic ability—to the mix.

    As for Jeff Hoffman, it's important to remember that some of these picks were made over a month ago. A lot can change in a month, as B/R's Mike Rosenbaum notes in his latest draft rankings:

    And then there’s RHP Jeff Hoffman (18), the East Carolina right-hander who was a candidate to go No. 1 overall before last week’s announcement that he needs Tommy John surgery. In spite of the injury, Hoffman still is likely to be drafted at some point in the first round.

    Video courtesy of BaseballFactory.com

6. Seattle Mariners

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Picks

    RHP Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt University (1): Mayo

    OF Michael Conforto, Oregon State University (1): Law

    C/OF Alex Jackson, Rancho Bernardo (California) HS (1): Rosenbaum

    RHP Aaron Nola, LSU (2): Fagan, Manuel


    There's always something cool about seeing a hometown kid get drafted by his hometown team, and that would be the case here if the Seattle Mariners draft Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto, who grew up in Woodinville, Washington, roughly 20 miles northeast of Safeco Field.

    While Seattle can certainly use some reinforcements in the outfield, the consensus has the Mariners adding more pitching to the mix in the first round.

    Originally drafted in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft by Toronto, Nola has established himself as one of the more consistent and reliable college arms in this year's draft class.

    Per Baseball America:

    Nola arrived at LSU with a plus changeup with sink that looked like his fastball out of his hand, but he has lost feel for his change while improving his slider, which was once below-average. Scouts give his slider average or better grades as he has added power to the pitch, but they would like to see a return of his plus change. Nola gets swings and misses in the zone with his fastball, the mark of a starting pitcher, and is one of the safest bets in the class. His command should help the 6-foot-1, 196-pounder move quickly.

7. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Projected Picks

    LHP Kyle Freeland, Evansville (Indiana) University (2): Fagan, Mayo

    RHP Grant Holmes, Conway (South Carolina) HS (1): Rosenbaum

    RHP Tyler Kolek, Shepherd (Texas) HS (1): Manuel

    RHP Aaron Nola, LSU (1): Law


    There would be something fitting about having Kyle Freeland wind up in the city where the "land of the free" was born, wouldn't there?

    Few teams are as familiar with the Evansville southpaw as Philadelphia is, having originally drafted Freeland in the 35th round of the 2011 draft out of...wait for it...Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver.

    I mean, really, it's a sign at this point that Freeland belongs in Philadelphia, right?

    Aside from a historical connection, Freeland has top-10 talent and could develop into a top-flight starter. Per ESPN's Keith Law

    Freeland has video-game numbers -- seven walks and 106 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings -- with a tough fastball-slider combination that reminds some scouts of the major league version of Chris Sale. Freeland hasn't faced great competition, however, and he's used the slider heavily, so he may have to overhaul his approach to be a pro starter.

    Regardless of the level of competition, a pitcher with that kind of control and ability to miss bats is worthy of a top-10 selection.

8. Colorado Rockies

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Projected Picks

    RHP Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt University (1): Fagan

    LHP Kyle Freeland, Evansville (Indiana) University (1): Law

    LHP Sean Newcomb, University of Hartford (1): Manuel

    RHP Aaron Nola, LSU (1): Mayo

    OF Bradley Zimmer, University of San Francisco (1): Rosenbaum


    While there's no consensus on who the Colorado Rockies will take in the first round, all but one of the experts have the Rockies targeting a college pitcher, one who could move quickly through the minor leagues.

    Tyler Beede hasn't been quite as dominant in college as some expected he would be after he turned down the Toronto Blue Jays, who drafted him 21st overall in 2011. But the Vanderbilt standout has all the makings of a solid pro at the next level, as noted by Baseball America:

    He has thrown more strikes this spring (3.3 BB/9) but has been more hittable, and scouts give him average control grades with below-average command. Nevertheless, Beede looks the part of a first-rounder at an athletic, powerful 6-foot-4, 215 pounds with a clean arm, and he flashes plus with three pitches. At times he pitches with a well above-average fastball, reaching 97 mph and sitting 92-94. His changeup has been his best secondary offering this spring, earning plus grades, and he throws one of the hardest curveballs in the draft at 80-81 mph, giving him a third plus pitch.

    A future rotation in Colorado that features Nola, Eddie Butler and Jonathan Gray has the potential to be the best in team history.

9. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Projected Picks

    IF Nick Gordon, Olympia (Florida) HS (1): Rosenbaum

    RHP Touki Toussaint, Coral Springs (Florida) Christian Academy (2): Law, Mayo

    SS Trea Turner, North Carolina State University (1): Manuel

    OF Bradley Zimmer, University of San Francisco (1): Fagan


    Both ESPN's Keith Law and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo say that Touki Toussaint has been high on Toronto's draft board for quite some time.

    Given the team's past draft history, it's a near certainty that it will target a high school arm with at least one of its two first round picks. Few of those arms are as intriguing as Toussaint's, per Baseball America:

    Toussaint might have the least baseball experience of any top draft prospect, yet arguably the highest ceiling of any high school pitcher. He’s of Haitian descent and was a soccer player who began playing baseball as a teenager. He gained note in scouting circles as an underclassman by running his fastball up to 97 mph with a hammer breaking ball.

    Toussaint also has a great pitcher’s body at 6-foot-2, 198 pounds with a high waist, long extremities and large hands. He is also young for the class and won’t turn 18 until after the draft.

    Video courtesy of BigLeagueFutures.net

10. New York Mets

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    Eric Francis/Associated Press

    Projected Picks

    SS Trea Turner, North Carolina State (1): Rosenbaum

    OF Michael Conforto, Oregon State University (2): Fagan, Manuel

    LHP Sean Newcomb, University of Hartford (2): Law, Mayo


    The New York Mets have a ton of young pitching both in the major leagues and down on the farm, but the organization lacks a plethora of position players that project to make an impact at the next level, especially in the outfield.

    Arguably the draft's best outfield prospect (especially if you count Alex Jackson as a catcher), Michael Conforto doesn't project to be a game-changer, but rather a solid role player. Per ESPN's Keith Law (subscription required):

    Conforto is the Aaron Nola of college position players this year -- safe, unexciting, but with a lot of probability of playing in the big leagues for a long time. He's a polished hitter for average, with the highest batting average of any player in the big four conferences of college baseball (SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12), and leads all of Division I in OBP at .558. He's limited to left field and may not have the power to profile as more than a solid regular there. 

11. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Projected Picks

    RHP Jeff Hoffman, East Carolina University (2): Fagan, Law

    RHP Aaron Nola, LSU (1): Rosenbaum

    RHP Touki Toussaint, Coral Springs (Florida) Christian Academy (1): Manuel

    SS Trea Turner, North Carolina State University (1): Mayo


    Don't think for a second that the Tommy John epidemic that is sweeping through baseball is limited only to professionals.

    Jeff Hoffman, who has front-of-the-rotation stuff and was at one point considered a potential No. 1 pick, drops into Toronto's lap after recently undergoing the procedure. As ESPN's Keith Law writes, Hoffman's injury plays a part in shaping the Blue Jays' thinking here:

    Hoffman was one of the top three arms in the draft until he underwent Tommy John surgery recently. The hot rumor of the week has the Jays using their second first-rounder on Hoffman, signing him for a little less than the recommended bonus for this draft slot (he can't exactly go back into next year's draft, as he would barely be back on a mound by next May), and use the savings on their next pick at 50.

    While taking an injured player may seem insane, when that player has drawn comparisons to Justin Verlander (h/t Baseball America), it's a risk worth taking.

    Video courtesy of BaseballAmerica.com

12. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Projected Picks

    RHP Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt University (1): Manuel

    OF Michael Conforto, Oregon State University (1): Mayo

    LHP Brandon Finnegan, TCU (1): Fagan

    C Max Pentecost, Kennesaw State University (1): Law

    RHP Luke Weaver, Florida State University (1): Rosenbaum

    The Milwaukee Brewers farm system is in rough shape and in need of reinforcements at every position, so this pick is more about taking the best player available than drafting for a specific need.

    While the shine has come off of Florida State's Luke Weaver a bit since B/R's Mike Rosenbaum debuted his original mock draft, he still grades out as one of the better right-handed college starters in this year's draft class.

    Per Baseball America:

    His fastball has some sink from a three-quarters slot, and his changeup has good deception and sinking action. Weaver’s slider remains a fringy pitch, as it was when scouts saw him last summer with USA Baseball, and his strikeout rate has plummeted from 10.89 per nine (11th in the country last year) to 7.2 this season. However, he has mound presence, above-average control and the competitiveness demanded of a Friday starter for a top program.

    Video courtesy of BaseballAmerica.com

13. San Diego Padres

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    Projected Picks

    RHP Grant Holmes, Conway (Souoth Carolina) HS (1): Fagan

    RHP Luis Ortiz, Sanger (California) HS (1): Rosenbaum

    C Max Pentecost, Kennesaw State University (1): Mayo

    SS Trea Turner, North Carolina State University (1): Law

    OF Bradley Zimmer, University of San Francisco (1): Manuel

    Whether he'll stay in center field or eventually have to move to a corner outfield spot remains to be seen, but Bradley Zimmer has the kind of speed and athleticism that should play well in spacious Petco Park.

    Per ESPN (subscription required):

    Zimmer has plus bat speed and will show plus power to right field from the left side during batting practice, but during games his swing can get linear and his bat speed is negated by a late transfer of weight. He has shown the ability to take pitches and draw walks, but there is some swing and miss in his game as well.

    You don't see many center fielders as tall as Zimmer, but there's a chance he could play the position at the next level as he has above-average speed and gets good jumps in the outfield. Zimmer also has a strong, accurate arm that has been clocked in the 90s from the mound and can keep base-runners at bay. At some point he likely will have to move over to a corner position, but he should be plus in right or left field. If he can stick in the middle of the outfield, he's a potential all-star. He could still be an above-average regular if he was forced to play a corner.

    That he's a local product, having grown up in nearby La Jolla, California, only makes his selection all the more intriguing.

    Video courtesy of USFDons.com

14. San Francisco Giants

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    Projected Picks

    RHP Dylan Cease, Milton (Georgia) HS (1): Rosenbaum

    RHP Grant Holmes, Conway (South Carolina) HS (3): Law, Manuel, Mayo

    RHP Touki Toussaint, Coral Springs (Florida) Christian Academy (1): Fagan


    There's no question as to whether or not the San Francisco Giants are going to target a high school pitcher with this pick, only which prep arm the team has highest on its board.

    While he's not quite as projectable as others due to his size (6'2", 200 pounds), Grant Holmes is the overwhelming choice for the Giants, who have had some success with undersized right-handed pitchers before (see Lincecum, Tim).

    Per Baseball America (subscription required):

    Holmes has some of the best present stuff in the class. He came out sitting 93-96 mph, touching 98 early in the season and then 91-94 in some later starts. His power curveball is one of the top breaking balls in the country, a plus pitch that flashes better. On the showcase circuit, Holmes was primarily a two-pitch pitcher with a seldom-used changeup. But the offering has become a legitimate above-average weapon that could become plus. 


    Video courtesy of BaseballAmerica.com

15. Los Angeles Angels

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    Projected Picks

    SS Jacob Gatewood, Clovis (California) HS (1): Rosenbaum

    C Max Pentecost, Kennesaw State University (1): Manuel

    C/1B Kyle Schwarber, Indiana University (2): Law, Mayo

    SS Trea Turner, North Carolina State University (1): Fagan


    Nobody's quite sure where Kyle Schwarber will wind up playing, as he's not great behind the plate and doesn't have elite athleticism, but what he lacks with the glove he more than makes up for with his bat.

    "Kyle Schwarber is loaded with strength at 6’0”, 235 pounds and possesses arguably the best raw power in the class," B/R's Mike Rosenbaum writes. "The 21-year-old also projects to hit for a decent average at the highest level, as he has a relatively flat bat path and keeps the barrel in the zone for an extended period of time."

    Whether he winds up at first base or in a corner outfield spot, the Los Angeles Angels will be getting a rather polished, powerful hitter who could become a game-changer as he progresses through the minor leagues.


    Video courtesy of BaseballAmerica.com

16. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Projected Picks

    LHP Brandon Finnegan, TCU (2): Manuel, Mayo

    LHP Sean Newcomb, University of Hartford (1): Fagan

    C Max Pentecost, Kennesaw State University (1): Rosenbaum

    OF Bradley Zimmer, University of San Francisco (1): Law


    With Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers trading away a number of the team's best pitching prospects over the past few years—namely Trevor Bauer, David Holmberg and Tyler Skaggs—the team needs to begin restocking the farm with some live arms.

    Brandon Finnegan has top-10 talent, but his lack of size (5'11", 184 pounds) and a sore shoulder during the season have seen his stock fall slightly into the mid-teens, where the Diamondbacks will be more than happy to scoop him up.

    Per Baseball America (subscription required):

    Finnegan hasn’t quite had the same power he showed last summer, pitching more in the 90-95 mph range this spring, but his slider has power and late action. He still has his solid-average changeup and much more confidence now with his breaking ball. Scouts also point to improved pitchability as he has settled into the Friday starter routine as well. 


    Video courtesy of BullpenBanter.com

17. Kansas City Royals

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    Projected Picks

    OF Michael Conforto, Oregon State University (1): Rosenbaum

    OF Derek Fisher, University of Virginia (1): Law

    RHP Sean Reid-Foley, Sandalwood (Florida) HS (1): Fagan

    C/1B Kyle Schwarber, Indiana University (1): Manuel

    OF Bradley Zimmer, University of San Francisco (1): Mayo


    After waiting until the fifth round to take an outfielder in last year's draft, I break the five-way tie and agree with ESPN's Keith Law, who has Kansas City taking a chance on a supremely talented player who hasn't developed as expected in Virginia's Derek Fisher.

    A sixth-round pick by Texas in 2011, Fisher is a mediocre fielder at best and a liability at worst, but his bat has a chance to be one of the best in this year's draft class.

    Per ESPN (subscription required);

    There's a ton of upside in Fisher's left-handed bat and at his best he's a potential middle of the order hitter who can provide 30-plus homers; but there's also a chance he's strictly a platoon guy who adds very little value in the field or none the bases.

    Video courtesy of BullpenBanter.com

18. Washington Nationals

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Projected Picks

    RHP Erick Fedde, UNLV (2): Law, Rosenbaum

    SS Jacob Gatewood, Clovis (California) HS (1): Fagan

    1B Casey Gillaspie, Wichita State University (1): Manuel

    RHP Jeff Hoffman, East Carolina University (1): Mayo


    Under the watchful eye of GM Mike Rizzo, the Washington Nationals have only taken one high school pitcher in the first round—Lucas Giolito—who fell to them last year because he needed Tommy John surgery.

    Clearly, the procedure isn't enough to scare the Nationals away from a pitcher that they like, and that's why they'll wind up with UNLV's Erick Fedde, who went 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA in 11 starts for UNLV before the news broke that he too needs Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow.

    Per B/R's Mike Rosenbaum: "The 21-year-old works comfortably in the mid-90s with his fastball, and he has a pair of secondary pitches (changeup, curveball) that should receive at least average grades at maturity." 

19. Cincinnati Reds

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    Projected Picks

    RHP Erick Fedde, UNLV (2): Fagan

    OF Derek Hill, Elk Grove (California) HS (1): Mayo

    LHP Sean Newcomb, University of Hartford (1): Rosenbaum

    RHP Sean Reid-Foley, Sandalwood (Florida) HS (2): Law, Manuel


    Taking Florida prep star Sean Reid-Foley would mark the third time in the past four years that the Cincinnati Reds have taken a right-handed pitcher from the high school ranks with their first pick in the draft, having selected Robert Stephenson in 2011 and Nick Travieso in 2012.

    While neither one has made it to the major leagues yet, the pair has quickly become two of the team's most intriguing prospects, with MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranking Stephenson the best in the organization and Travieso seventh.

    After this pick, the Reds will have three recently selected right-handed arms in their organizational top 10.

    Via ESPN (subscription required):

    His fastball has late life and will sit 91-93 mph, occasionally getting up to 95. His breaking ball is inconsistent and there's some noticeable arm angle changes, but at its best it offers plus spin and late bite, and he has good feel for the pitch.

    What keeps Reid-Foley below some of the other arms in the class, however, is a lack of a quality third pitch. He will occasionally throw a change, but there's noticeable arm speed difference and it's clear he's not comfortable throwing it yet. He pounds the strike zone from a clean arm action with minimal effort, so if the pitch improves he has a chance to be a No.3 starter, with a quality high-leverage bullpen arm as a floor.


    Video courtesy of BigLeagueFutures.net

20. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Projected Picks

    OF Michael Gettys, Gainesville (Georgia) HS (1): Rosenbaum

    1B Casey Gillaspie, Wichita State University (1): Law

    OF Monte Harrison, Lee's Summit (Missouri) West HS (1): Fagan

    OF Derek Hill, Elk Grove (California) HS (1): Manuel

    RHP Sean Reid-Foley, Sandlewood (Florida) HS (1): Mayo


    The Tampa Bay Rays could go in multiple directions with this pick, but they wind up taking a player whose older brother, Connor, is enjoying the best season of his five-year career with the Chicago White Sox.

    Ranked as the top first base prospect in this year's draft class by Baseball America, Casey Gillaspie may not be as versatile as his brother, who can play both corner infield positions, as he's limited to first base as a left-handed thrower:

    Like his older brother, Gillaspie’s value is in his bat, with power from both sides of the plate, and though he’s a bit more comfortable from the left side, the swings work from both sides of the plate. Gillaspie controls the strike zone and ranked among the nation’s walks and on-base percentage leagers. When he gets himself into hitter’s counts, he has the above-average bat speed and strength to take advantage, with above-average raw power that he gets to consistently.

    Tampa Bay doesn't have a big-time first base prospect in the organization, and Casey's bat is too intriguing to pass up here.

    Video courtesy of BullpenBanter.com

21. Cleveland Indians

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    Projected Picks

    3B Matt Chapman, Cal State Fullerton (1): Rosenbaum

    OF Monte Harrison, Lee's Summit (Missouri) West HS (1): Law

    RHP Jeff Hoffman, East Carolina University (1): Manuel

    LHP Kodi Medeiros, Waiakea (Hawaii) HS (1): Mayo

    C/1B Kyle Schwarber, Indiana University (1): Fagan


    He's far from a household name in this year's draft class (partially due to a lack of exposure in Hawaii), but Kodi Medeiros is one of the better left-handed pitchers available.

    "Medeiros is a bit polarizing in that he's not as big as some would like -- though he's bigger than listed -- and he has a slightly unorthodox delivery," MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo writes, "but it's hard to argue with his stuff: He was up to 95 mph with a killer slider in his last start of the season."

    Some believe that unorthodox delivery will ultimately force Medeiros to the bullpen, but the Cleveland Indians could do far worse with this pick than taking a chance on the hard-throwing southpaw.

    Video courtesy of PerfectGame.org

22. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Projected Picks

    RHP Spencer Adams, White County (Georgia) HS (2): Fagan, Manuel

    SS Jacob Gatewood, Clovis (California) HS (1): Mayo

    OF Derek Hill, Elk Grove (California) HS (1): Law

    OF Cobi Johnson, Mitchell HS (Florida) (1): Rosenbaum


    Spencer Adams seems destined for the Los Angeles Dodgers, especially after reading what Baseball America's John Manuel had to say about the Dodgers' first-round selection:

    Two strong tendencies figure into this pick. Assistant GM Logan White has a particular affinity for athletic high school pitchers, and new national crosschecker Roy Clark knows Georgia talent like no one else. Fast-rising Peach State prep righthander Spencer Adams fits both tastes.

    A natural strike-thrower who can attack both sides of the plate, command of his arsenal may be the biggest hurdle that Adams has to overcome to live up to his first-round status. 

    Video courtesy of BullpenBanter.com

23. Detroit Tigers

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Projected Picks

    RHP Nick Burdi, University of Louisville (2): Fagan, Mayo

    RHP Erick Fedde, UNLV (1): Manuel

    1B A.J. Reed, University of Kentucky (1): Law

    C/1B Kyle Schwarber, Indiana University (1): Rosenbaum


    The Detroit Tigers are built to win now, and as such, they are likely to target a power college arm that won't need much in the way of minor league development before making an impact at the major league level.

    That's Louisville's Nick Burdi who, as MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo notes, "has the stuff to close at the highest level and could get there in a hurry."

    His fastball consistently sits in the mid- to high-90s and can be dialed up to triple digits when needed, while his low-90s slider gives him a second plus offering with which he can keep batters off-balance.

    Burdi should be the first player from the 2014 draft to make his major league debut, which could come shortly after he's drafted. He's as close to major league-ready as any player in the draft.

24. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Projected Picks

    RHP Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt University (1): Law

    SS Michael Chavis, Sprayberry (Georgia) HS (1): Fagan 

    LHP Brandon Finnegan, TCU (1): Rosenbaum

    1B Casey Gillaspie, Wichita State University (1): Mayo

    OF Monte Harrison, Lee's Summit (Mo.) West HS (1): Manuel


    There may not be a better athlete in the country, much less the draft, than Monte Harrison. A five-tool player with talent worthy of a much higher selection, questions about his signability (he's committed to play wide receiver at the University of Nebraska) figure to see him drop in the draft.

    But those tools are impressive, as ESPN (subscription required) notes: "There's a lot to like about Harrison, and with some adjustments to his swing he's a high upside offensive player who can steal 30 bases and provide plus defense in the outfield."

    Even if the Pirates ultimately can't sign him, there's no way they could pass him up here. 

    Video courtesy of BaseballAmerica.com

25. Oakland Athletics

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    Projected Picks

    2B/3B Michael Chavis, Sprayberry (Ga.) HS (2): Manuel, Mayo

    SS Ti'Quan Forbes, Columbia (Mississippi) HS (1): Law

    C Max Pentecost, Kennesaw State University (1): Fagan

    RHP Sean Reid-Foley, Sandalwood (Florida) HS (1): Rosenbaum


    There's a trend forming in Oakland, one that has seen the A's select high school position players with their first round picks. In 2012, they took shortstop Addison Russell. In 2013, they took outfielder Billy McKinney.

    In 2014, they'll take infielder Michael Chavis, who could wind up at second base, third base or shortstop, though the latter is highly unlikely given Russell's presence in the organization. Per Baseball America:

    Chavis has tremendous strength through his hands and wrists and produces plus bat speed from a short, compact stroke. He hit consistently on the showcase circuit, including sending a 94 mph fastball from Touki Toussaint right back up the box at East Coast Pro. He has plus raw power that translates to game action.


    Video courtesy of BaseballProspectus.com

26. Boston Red Sox

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    Projected Picks

    OF Derek Fisher, University of Virginia (2): Manuel, Mayo

    1B Casey Gillaspie, Wichita State University (1): Fagan

    OF Marcus Wilson, Junipero Serra (California) HS (2): Law, Rosenbaum


    B/R's Mike Rosenbaum called Marcus Wilson one of the "better under-the-radar prospects," but I'm afraid that the athletic high school senior is no longer able to avoid detection.

    ESPN's Keith Law joins Rosenbaum in placing Wilson with the Boston Red Sox, and he's cracked the top 50 on Baseball America's top 100 draft prospects list. People are taking notice, and for good reason, as Rosenbaum explains:

    Wilson, 17, is one of the youngest players in this year’s class, which could make him an intriguing Day 1 upside pick for any team drafting at the back end of the first round. He’s an excellent athlete with a projectable 6’3”, 180-pound frame, and there’s reason to believe he’ll develop big-time power—the raw is already impressive—with physical maturation.

    Video courtesy of BigLeagueFutures.net

27. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Projected Picks

    OF Derek Fisher, University of Virginia (1): Rosenbaum

    LHP Foster Griffin, The First Academy (Florida) HS (2): Law, Mayo

    LHP Kodi Medeiros, Waiakea (Hawaii) HS (1): Fagan

    RHP Luis Ortiz, Sanger (California) HS (1): Manuel


    Maybe it's just me, but "Foster Griffin" sounds right when followed by "pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals." It doesn't have the same ring when you put another team in the Redbirds place.

    A strike-throwing machine who attacks both sides of the plate, it wouldn't be surprising to see him go earlier in the draft, something that MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo believes is quite possible.

    But assuming things play out as they have here, what are the Cardinals getting? Per Baseball America:

    The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has an ideal pitcher’s build that is made to handle innings and has drawn physical comparisons to Cole Hamels. His fastball sits 88-92 mph, touching 94 with glove-side run and downhill plane, and he’s capable of getting his fastball under the hands of righthanded hitters. He has advanced feel for an above-average changeup. His curveball has improved and shows enough spin to project as at least an average offering.

    Video coutresy of MaxPreps.com

First-Round Recap

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    1.HOUCarlos Rodon LHPC
    2.MIAAlex JacksonC/OFHS
    3.CHWBrady AikenLHPHS
    4.CHCTyler Kolek LHPHS
    5.MINNick GordonIFHS
    6.SEAAaron NolaRHPC
    7.PHIKyle FreelandLHPC
    8.COLTyler Beede RHPC
    9.TOR Touki Toussaint RHPHS
    10.NYMMichael Conforto OFC
    11.TORJeff HoffmanRHPC
    12.MILLuke WeaverRHPC
    13.SDBradley Zimmer OFC
    14.SFGrant HolmesRHPHS
    15.LAAKyle Schwarber C/1BC
    16.ARZBrandon FinneganLHPC
    17.KCDerek FisherOFC
    18.WASErick Fedde RHPC
    19.CINSean Reid-FoleyRHPHS
    20.TBCasey Gillaspie 1BC
    21.CLE Kodi Medeiros LHPHS
    22.LADSpencer AdamsRHPHS
    23.DETNick Burdi RHPC
    24.PITMonte HarrisonOFHS
    25.OAKMichael Chavis IFHS
    26.BOSMarcus WilsonOFHS
    27.STLFoster GriffinLHPHS

    First Round By the Numbers

    • Seven left-handed pitchers taken
    • 10 right-handed pitchers and position players taken
    • 13 college players taken
    • 14 high school players taken