The 2014 MLB draft will run from June 5 to June 7, and the next wave of big league talent will go off the board early.
Round 1 of the draft is the place for teams to get the most MLB-ready talent. Arms tend to develop faster than bats, but hitters sometimes make their debuts rather early if they are deemed worthy of first-round credentials.
With 40 rounds, the MLB draft is one of the most extensive drafts scouting-wise in all of professional sports. While first-rounders are the ones you'll probably see in the bigs first, players that get taken in the very late rounds have just as good a shot of making it to The Show.
Some draft picks will become All-Stars. Some will only get to enjoy a cup of coffee in the bigs. Heck, a few could even become Hall of Famers.
The players selected in Round 1 have the talent and ceiling to become great. Here's how Round 1 will go down.
1. Houston Astros: Brady Aiken, LHP
The Houston Astros are on the right track as an organization. This season is evidence of the type of talent this team holds in its system, as George Springer's powerful bat has taken the league by storm.
There's also no shortage of pitching in the system, but the Astros will add to that bevy of young arms by taking left-hander Brady Aiken at No. 1. He throws hard, has a plus-curve and even an above-average changeup.
With a full three-pitch arsenal as a left-hander, Aiken has a bright future.
2. Miami Marlins: Carlos Rodon, LHP
Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich are two of the more notable draft picks in Miami Marlins history. Fernandez is, of course, one of the top young pitchers in baseball. Yelich is an up-and-coming outfielder that is cementing himself as a regular in the Marlins lineup.
The newest addition to the bunch of potentially great stars will be Carlos Rodon. The lefty can touch 97 mph on the gun and has the ideal pitcher's frame at 6'3", 235 pounds.
3. Chicago White Sox: Alex Jackson, C/OF
It's interesting to see a catcher-outfielder hybrid, but Alex Jackson is the real deal at both positions. Unfortunately, the rigors of catching could lead teams to move him to the outfield full time. This will allow his bat to progress faster, as he'll need fewer days off to rest his legs.
The high schooler has a quick bat and the swing fluidity to spray the ball all over the field with power.
4. Chicago Cubs: Tyler Kolek, RHP
The Chicago Cubs have a farm system loaded with bats, but they could definitely use a high-ceiling pitcher or two. Tyler Kolek will be that guy at No. 4.
At 6'5", 230 pounds, Kolek is a physical specimen who can touch triple digits on the gun. If he's still here at No. 4, don't expect the Cubs to pass.
5. Minnesota Twins: Nick Gordon, SS
Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario are the crown jewels of the Minnesota Twins organization. Minnesota can add to that wealth of high-end talent by taking Nick Gordon at No. 5.
The shortstop is an excellent defender with a strong arm and blazing speed. His bat speed also allows him to hit for a surprising amount of power. Gordon is a potential five-tool player.
6. Seattle Mariners: Aaron Nola, RHP
Aaron Nola reminds me a lot of Michael Wacha. He has command of all his pitches—a low-90s fastball, plus-changeup and sharp slider—and has the potential to fly through the Seattle Mariners system.
James Paxton and Taijuan Walker are the top young pitchers in Seattle, and Nola could easily join that group quickly. Remember how quickly Wacha rose through St. Louis' system? Nola might do the same.
7. Philadelphia Phillies: Sean Newcomb, LHP
A very lazy delivery makes it seem like Sean Newcomb isn't trying on the hill, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. The left-hander can touch the mid-90s on the gun and also possesses a quality slider that will develop into an effective out pitch.
8. Colorado Rockies: Casey Gillaspie, 1B
The Colorado Rockies have always been able to hit. Coors Field caters to power bats, so they'll adhere to that strategy by grabbing first baseman Casey Gillaspie.
The Wichita State switch-hitter has more power from the left side than he does from the right. That said, he can generate pop from either side of the plate. He also has a fantastic eye, evidenced by his .520 on-base percentage with the Shockers this year.
9. Toronto Blue Jays: Touki Toussaint, RHP
Touki Toussaint is a prospect that could end up being the top pitcher in this class. He has a fastball that touches the upper-90s with a curveball that can buckle hitters' knees. He'll need to work on repeating his delivery and staying compact to the plate, but Toussaint is a quality prospect.
10. New York Mets: Kyle Freeland, LHP
Kyle Freeland relies on movement more than speed, though he does throw in the low-90s from the three-quarter arm slot. It's that arm slot that generates movement on all his pitches.
This arm slot is what makes his slider so effective, as it allows him to generate more spin and get a sweeping action on it. It's a headache to lefties and righties alike.
11. Toronto Blue Jays: Grant Holmes, RHP
A compensation pick for failing to sign 2013 first-rounder Phil Bickford, the No. 11 pick will be used by the Blue Jays to bring in yet another pitcher.
Grant Holmes, a high schooler, is known for his outstanding curve. Despite being so young, Holmes will progress quickly through the minors because of his ability to get hitters out with his curve.
12. Milwaukee Brewers: Max Pentecost, C
Max Pentecost is a defense-first catcher that should develop into an average hitter in the bigs. He's not a sexy pick at No. 12, but he's the type of steady prospect that the Milwaukee Brewers need given the poor state of their farm system.
13. San Diego Padres: Trea Turner, SS
Talented shortstops come at a premium in today's game, so Trea Turner's value increases because of the fact he plays the position. He doesn't hit particularly well, however, as he has a long swing that doesn't help him get to pitches on the inside portion of the plate.
14. San Francisco Giants: Sean Reid-Foley, RHP
High schooler Sean Reid-Foley can dial it up and command his fastball at the same time. He is polished and capable of throwing strikes with all of his pitches. He also has a smooth delivery that he has shown the ability to repeat.
15. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Michael Conforto, OF
Michael Conforto is not a good defender at all. He has poor speed and arm strength that will likely keep him in left field. That's okay, though, because he has incredible power. He knows how to work pitchers and can work counts in order to get his pitch.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Bradley Zimmer, OF
Bradley Zimmer is a center fielder that boasts quality talents in all five categories. As a potential five-tooler, Zimmer represents a steal for the Arizona Diamondbacks if he's still available at No. 16. Developing youngsters has been an issue for the D-Backs in the past, but Zimmer is a guy that is close to can't-miss.
17. Kansas City Royals: Derek Fisher, OF
Hitting the baseball has been a big, big problem in Kansas City this season. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have had problems driving in runs and staying consistent, and that could drive the Royals to take a position player at No. 17.
Derek Fisher has a solid swing as a left-hander and might generate some power as a professional if he gets better at recognizing pitches early.
18. Washington Nationals: Jeff Hoffman, RHP
Lucas Giolito is an example of how the Washington Nationals aren't afraid to take an injury risk in the first round. He was selected in 2012 but needed Tommy John surgery right after being selected.
Jeff Hoffman received T.J. surgery in early May. He dropped out of the top five because of the injury, so the Nats could be getting a steal at No. 18 if he comes back strong.
19. Cincinnati Reds: Kyle Schwarber, 1B
Kyle Schwarber can hit the ball a long way because of his raw power and bat speed. The Cincinnati Reds have Joey Votto in the fold at first, but it might be some time before Schwarber makes his way to the bigs anyway.
20. Tampa Bay Rays: Derek Hill, OF
Derek Hill is an elite defender in center field because of his instincts and speed. He is one of the fastest runners in the class, and that will help him steal bases in the bigs. Without a ton of power, Hill could easily fail in the minors. That said, his speed gives him the chance to be something special.
21. Cleveland Indians: Monte Harrison, OF
Francisco Lindor and Clint Frazier are the top talents in the Cleveland Indians system, and they'll add to that group by taking outfielder Monte Harrison.
He has great speed and range in the outfield, though that should be expected. Harrison also has a commitment to play wide receiver at Nebraska. That makes him a risky pick at No. 21, but the Indians don't have a particularly deep system. This will help him climb the ranks quickly.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers: Nick Burdi, RHP
Nick Burdi is going to be a reliever in the bigs. He can touch triple digits with a slider that makes hitters look silly. That's it, though. Burdi doesn't have a third pitch and has an abrupt delivery that will work well in relief.
23. Detroit Tigers: Spencer Adams, RHP
Spencer Adams lives off his fastball. He attacks the zone with the pitch before using his changeup or work-in-progress slider to get hitters out. He doesn't throw very hard (low-90s), but with the way he throws strikes and controls the tempo of games, that's OK.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates: Michael Chavis, 3B
Michael Chavis can pick it over at the hot corner. He takes a great first step toward the ball and isn't afraid to get dirty if the ball is down the line. He also pops up well in order to show off his great arm strength.
At the plate, Chavis is average. He makes good contact and doesn't hit for a ton of power. That said, he projects as a starting third baseman in the future.
25. Oakland Athletics: Luis Ortiz, RHP
Luis Ortiz has great mechanics and consistency. He can repeat his delivery pitch after pitch, allowing him to pound the strike zone with all of his pitches.
His fastball is good in the low-90s, but it's his slider that will make him effective. The pitch dives toward the feet of lefties, making it almost impossible to hit. The Oakland Athletics love young, quality pitchers. Add Ortiz to the bunch.
26. Boston Red Sox: Erick Fedde, RHP
Tommy John surgery ended Erick Fedde's season, hence why his draft stock has plummeted. Once considered a top-10 pick, Fedde might fall all the way to the compensation picks of Round 1. I don't think the Boston Red Sox will let him fall that far, however.
He has a middle-of-the-rotation makeup. He has just above-average stuff with the ability to throw strikes. That said, he's inconsistent in his release and struggles to repeat his delivery.
27. St. Louis Cardinals: Luke Weaver, RHP
Luke Weaver couldn't fall in a better position. The St. Louis Cardinals simply know how to get the best out of every prospect they have. As a starting pitcher, Weaver lives off his fastball and changeup. He'll need to work on a third pitch in order to make his case as a starter stronger.
If all else fails, he has a future as a reliever.
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