Perhaps the MLB First-Year Player draft hasn't quite caught up with the NFL or NBA drafts in terms of overall hype and interest, but there is no doubt that it is trending in an upward direction.
Finding draft information used to be an exercise in futility, but thanks to MLB Network and MLB.com, baseball fans can see every single selection in 2014 over the course of three days. It takes a true diehard to sit through that much coverage, but the option is now available.
With the draft set to kick off on Thursday night, here is a full television and live stream listing for the event, along with a closer look at a few players who figure to play a vital role.
Where: MLB Network Studio 42 in Secaucus, New Jersey
When: Thursday, June 5 through Saturday, June 7
TV and Live Stream Schedule
|2014 MLB Draft TV and Live Stream Schedule|
|Draft Day||Rounds||Date||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Day 1||1-Comp. B||Thursday, June 5||7 p.m.||MLB Network||MLB.com|
|Day 2||3-10||Friday, June 6||1 p.m.||N/A||MLB.com|
|Day 3||11-40||Friday, June 7||1 p.m.||N/A||MLB.com|
MLB Draft Order
|3||Chicago White Sox|
|9||Toronto Blue Jays|
|10||New York Mets|
|11||Toronto Blue Jays|
|13||San Diego Padres|
|14||San Francisco Giants|
|15||Los Angeles Angels|
|17||Kansas City Royals|
|20||Tampa Bay Rays|
|22||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|26||Boston Red Sox|
|27||St. Louis Cardinals|
Prospects to Watch
After three dominant seasons at NC State, left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon is ready to make the jump to the professional ranks. There are varying opinions regarding where he will ultimately land in the first round, but it seems like a virtual guarantee that he won't last beyond the top four.
Rodon is very much in the discussion to go No. 1 overall to the Houston Astros, as are high school pitchers Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek. Rodon is the most polished of the bunch, but his ceiling may not be quite as high. Because of that, it will come down to which attribute the Astros value most.
An underrated aspect of Rodon's game is his composure. His record in 2014 was a disappointing 6-7 despite boasting an excellent 2.01 ERA. Poor run support and defensive issues behind him contributed to that, but NC State shortstop and prospective first-round pick Trea Turner doesn't believe Rodon ever let it bother him, according to Aaron Beard of The Associated Press.
"I've talked to him about that in the past — control what you can control," Turner said. "And I think he has gotten a lot better at that. ... But it's also fun to play behind a guy that doesn’t really care if you make an error behind him because he's going to go right after the next hitter."
That type of mentality is something that all aces have in the big leagues, so perhaps his makeup will appeal to certain organizations. Whatever the case, Rodon won't last long on the board as he has all the makings of a top-of-the-rotation pitcher at the next level.
There seems to be a firm belief that pitchers will dominate the top of the draft with Rodon, Aiken and Kolek possibly going off the board in the first three picks. If that is the case, then a handful of hitters will be in competition to see which offensive player will come off the board first. Among them is intriguing high school shortstop Nick Gordon.
The younger brother of Los Angeles Dodgers middle infielder Dee Gordon, Nick has all the tools that teams are looking for. In addition to an excellent bat, he has speed to burn as well as a smooth glove. Gordon may be in direct competition with catcher Alex Jackson, as Jim Callis of MLB.com views both as potential selections for the Chicago Cubs at No. 4:
The Cubbies would probably love for one of the Big Three pitchers to fall to them, but that may not be a realistic expectation. Getting a potential top-of-the-order hitter like Gordon would be huge for the rebuild, especially after getting a massive power threat in the form of Kris Bryant last year.
Even if Chicago passes on Gordon, he shouldn't last much longer. He has definitely surpassed Turner as the No. 1 middle infielder in the draft, which will inevitably make him highly sought after. He is a young player who still has a lot of developing to do, but fans of whichever team selects him will have reason to get excited about such a dynamic player.
Despite his dominant performances over the past two seasons at LSU, pitcher Aaron Nola wasn't being talked about as a potential top-five pick until recently. Nola has done everything to deserve entering that conversation, though, and interest seems to be heating up.
Nola's combined 2013 and 2014 stats are something to behold with a 22-2 overall record and an ERA of just over 1.50, he has been basically unhittable. Nola's stuff has also experienced an uptick since 2013 as he boasts a career-best mark of nearly 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
If anyone is going to overtake Rodon, Aiken and Kolek in the top three, it could possibly be Nola. According to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com, Rodon is the Chicago White Sox's top target at No. 3, but they could look to Nola if Rodon is gone:
In many ways, Nola is the biggest wild card in the first round of this draft. He could go as high as No. 3, but he could even fall outside the top 10. It is unclear how teams feel about him, but his production suggests that he is one of the top prospects in this draft.
He will definitely be an interesting name to follow in the coming years, regardless of where he ends up.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter