The 2014 MLB draft is quickly approaching, and with 27 selections in this year's first round, a bevy of diverse talent is available for each team involved.
Each team certainly has needs at various positions; however, this early in the draft, it's important to select the best player available. Although we don't know exactly how each franchise's big board looks right now, we can always speculate.
Some teams will draft players who have potential to become immediate contributors, while others will patiently wait for their selected prospects to develop.
It all comes down to how the board falls.
Based on what we know about available prospects, and taking team's tendencies into consideration, let's take a shot at predicting how the first round of this year's draft could unfold.
1. Houston Astros: Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS
The Astros select Aiken here based on pure potential and upside.
No, he won't be taking the mound in Houston any time soon, but with a vast array of pitches at his disposal and a good amount of control, he has all the makings of becoming a long-term ace for the club.
2. Miami Marlins: Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS
Kolek is an absolute beast on the mound. At just 18 years of age, he already stands at 6'5" and throws with a great amount of velocity. He will need to develop some off-speed pitches and work on his control, but he comes with great upside for the future.
3. Chicago White Sox: Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
The White Sox will be looking to take the best arm on the board here, and that will lead to the selection of Rodon. Although his performance dropped off slightly this past season, there's no denying his velocity and control. Rodon has a chance to contribute sooner rather than later.
4. Chicago Cubs: Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS
Chicago could be looking for a pitcher here; however, there may not be one suitable for the No. 4 pick. If that's the team's thinking, it will go for the best available player. Jackson is a powerful hitter and has nice arm strength when fielding.
5. Minnesota Twins: Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS
Not only is Gordon the best available player here, but he also fills a big team need at shortstop for the Twins. A solid defender with a cannon for an arm, as well as some power as a hitter, Gordon appears to be a great fit in Minnesota.
6. Seattle Mariners: Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU
Nola may be one of the safest players in the draft. He flourished in 2014 with LSU, dominating the SEC with a 1.49 ERA. He doesn't have overwhelming velocity, but he's extremely consistent. His ability to contribute quickly should intrigue the Mariners here.
7. Philadelphia Phillies: Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
Pentecost is a true catcher with solid attributes across the board. He'll be a great addition in Philadelphia's farm system and has the upside to become a future long-term starter.
8. Colorado Rockies: Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
Newcomb's athleticism and consistency could allow him to become of the first players to start in the big leagues from this draft class. He can handle a large workload and has enough control over off-speed pitches to flourish soon in Colorado.
9. Toronto Blue Jays: Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian Academy
The Blue Jays love powerful right-handed pitchers, and they'll go ahead and grab yet another one here. He's improved the control of his off-speed pitches recently, which complements a nice mid-90s fastball.
10. New York Mets: Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
At 6'4" with a good frame, Freeland has the tools to become a workhorse for the Mets. He has some nice off-speed pitches, but his fastball has some great movement and will be a big reason why he lands in the top 10.
11. Toronto Blue Jays: Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
Turner is a defensively sound shortstop with an above-average arm. Although, it's his athleticism and speed that makes him extremely valuable. He may not be a powerful hitter, but he's as solid of a baserunner as any prospect in this class.
12. Milwaukee Brewers: Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS
Standing at 6'2", Holmes possibly doesn't have the measurables to become an ace, but his stellar curveball and high-90s fastball will absolutely allow him to become a solid rotational piece for the Brewers.
13. San Diego Padres: Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
The Padres could certainly go with a pitcher here; although, they may be more inclined to snag a hitter. Zimmer isn't the most powerful hitter, but he has enough natural strength to make an impact. He doubles as a solid defender with nice arm strength.
14. San Francisco Giants: Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS
The Giants would have loved to grab Holmes' big arm here, but going with the controlled pitching of Reid-Foley isn't a bad consolation. He has a few different pitches at his disposal, all of which are above average.
15. Los Angeles Angels: Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
Conforto is the purest hitter in this year's draft class. His great bat speed and consistent swing will allow him to continue to excel in the big leagues. He doesn't have great speed defensively and will most likely be moved to left field.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS
The Diamondbacks take Hill here based on a huge amount of potential and upside. The outfielder has plenty of defensive tools at his disposal. He's highly athletic with an above-average arm and can make highlight-reel plays.
17. Kansas City Royals: Monte Harrison, OF, Lee's Summit West HS
Harrison is extremely athletic with the soft hands and speed necessary to play center field. Defensively, he has a very high ceiling, but he will need some time to develop as a hitter.
18. Washington Nationals: Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
Hoffman is recovering from elbow surgery, but that shouldn't stop the Nationals from gambling on his big upside here. He has a great fastball and curveball, and at 6'4", he could become a workhorse for this team in the future.
19. Cincinnati Reds: Kyle Schwarber, C, Indiana
Schwarber has a plethora of hitting power at his disposal. That's something sure to intrigue the Reds. He's not overly athletic and may have to play first base in the big leagues, but passing up on his raw talent may be too difficult here.
20. Tampa Bay Rays: Michael Chavis, SS, Sprayberry HS
Tampa Bay has a good shot at increasing its hitting depth here. Chavis has a solid, compact swing but generates plenty of power. He doesn't have the agility to play shortstop at the next level and could move to either third base or possibly behind the plate.
21. Cleveland Indians: Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Waiakea HS
Medeiros is a strong left-hander with a fastball ranging in the low 90s and a solid slider. He only stands at 6'1", but the velocity he generates projects him to possibly become a mid-rotation starter.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers: Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
Beede has plenty of upside due to his mid-90s fastball; however, he's been wildly inconsistent and needs to work on his control. Pitching three years in the SEC, he has a fair level of experience, which will help his cause to go in the first round.
23. Detroit Tigers: Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV
Fedde is coming off Tommy John surgery, but before his injury, he may have been a top-10 selection. The Tigers can take a gamble on upside here in hopes he can recover his mid-90s fastball and solid slider.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates: Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State
With an unusual late pick in the draft's first round, the Pirates can look to grab a hitter with upside. One of the top hitters in college with tremendous power, he may be the best player available at this point in the draft.
25. Oakland Athletics: Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
Fisher is one of the best remaining bats in the draft. His raw power and polished mechanics severely lowered his strikeout percentage last season. He's a bit limited defensively, but his prowess at the plate can't be ignored.
26. Boston Red Sox: Foster Griffin, LHP, The First Academy
Griffin is a towering presence at 6'5"; however, he needs to add some bulk to his frame. Currently, he's throwing a low-90s fastball, but adding a bit of muscle could increase his velocity. Griffin already has some nice off-speed stuff, relying on a curveball and changeup.
27. St. Louis Cardinals: Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS
At 6'5" and bordering on 200 pounds, Gatewood has some serious ability to become a reliable power hitter in the big leagues. His raw strength gives him major upside as a hitter, but he will more than likely switch positions due to a lack of lateral agility to play shortstop.
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