June 5 marks the beginning of a two-day affair known as the MLB draft, where an influx of young talent from various levels will take the league by storm.
The 2014 class is particularly impressive in the depth category. Countless pro-ready arms are sure to fly off the board early, although young, massive-upside potential fielders will shock more than a few fans as clubs agree the gamble is worth the payoff down the line.
Like any draft, the first round will be the focal point. For those organizations with a selection (or two), the future is now, as talent simply awaits its chance to flourish given the proper blend of need and value.
Here is how each organization should perform on draft day.
1. Houston Astros: Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS
The Houston Astros, in the humble beginnings of general manager Jeff Luhnow's rebuild attempt, have no other choice than to take the best player available.
That would be Brady Aiken by a nosehair. Or two. Depending on who is asked.
Alas, the Astros can add to an already promising crop of arms in the system with a pitcher in Aiken who is both pro-ready and has plenty of potential to be one of the best in the majors when all is said and done.
2. Miami Marlins: Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
It is always tough to get a read on Miami, but one can presume the No. 1 overall pick in this scenario, Carlos Rodon and Alex Jackson are in play for the Marlins.
If the Marlins are smart, they'll add the elite arm of NC State's Rodon, who can sling fastballs with the best of them and eventually develop into a surefire No. 2—or better.
3. Chicago White Sox: Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS
Don't be fooled by the position—Alex Jackson is destined for the outfield as a pro. Not to say Jackson projects badly behind the plate, but teams will focus more on his offensive skill set.
That team will be the Chicago White Sox, who narrowly miss out on the top two pitchers in this scenario.
It's hard to complain, though, as Jackson is a beast at the plate who can put up lofty deep-ball numbers once fully developed.
4. Chicago Cubs: Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS
This is a dream scenario in a couple of ways.
For Tyler Kolek, he should be thanking his lucky stars Jeff Hoffman succumbed to Tommy John surgery recently.
For the Chicago Cubs, a project player with unlimited upside is exactly what their farm system needs. To that end, it is hard to find a better marriage in the draft.
5. Minnesota Twins: Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS
It has been tough sledding for the likes of Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario in Minnesota, but the next wave of Twins talent to take the league by storm can get a major boost with Nick Gordon.
Gordon is far and away the best shortstop in the draft both now and into the future thanks to surprising power in the box and great range to both sides of the bag. Were it not for the elite talent on the mound this year, Gordon may have gone a lot higher.
6. Seattle Mariners: Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU
Thanks to pro-ready pitches like a fastball, a plus changeup and a movement-happy slider, Aaron Nola will have no issues making an impact in the majors in a hurry.
That's exactly what the doctor ordered for the Seattle Mariners, a club with a rather weak overall system that needs a jolt of talent to get things back on the right course.
7. Philadelphia Phillies: Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
Believe it or not, Max Pentecost was likely in play at No. 4 overall, although his position limits where he can be selected on draft day.
Call it a gift and a curse.
Pentecost can play catcher in the majors, which makes him the No. 1 at the position, all things considered. Philadelphia cannot be unhappy with the selection.
8. Colorado Rockies: Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
It seems readily apparent that Colorado is ready to add to the talent on the mound in the system, so nabbing a college-proven arm like Sean Newcomb is an obvious pick.
Like Nola, Newcomb comes equipped with pro-ready fastballs and sliders that will allow him to rise up through the system rather quickly, similar to his stock over the past few months.
9. Toronto Blue Jays: Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
Trea Turner is a great investment for a team like Toronto thanks to his blazing speed, ability to steal bases at a high rate and plus range to both sides that will allow him to remain at shortstop in the majors.
Give it time, but Turner can be an everyday starter thanks to a great overall package.
10. New York Mets: Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian Academy
Keeping alive the trend that is riskier picks than usual as of late, the New York Mets will be content to roll with Touki Toussaint.
Toussaint touts an elite curveball and a decent fastball, meaning he has the propensity to be molded into a sound majors starter given time.
11. Toronto Blue Jays: Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
The Blue Jays are no stranger to taking risks, either.
Hoffman is considered a major one given his recent injury, but Tommy John surgery is more the norm now than anything. If he was healthy, Hoffman would have been the second pitcher off the board.
12. Milwaukee Brewers: Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
Already a first-round pick before hitting the collegiate level, Tyler Beede has the potential to develop three strong pitches by the time all is said and done.
Not only that, Beede has gained considerable experience and is one of the safer arms in the draft. Milwaukee will not hesitate to pull the trigger.
13. San Diego Padres: Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
The brother of Kyle Zimmer, who takes the mound for Kansas City, Bradley is one of this year's best pure athletes.
That does not mean he is a project, either.
Zimmer has a wicked swing at the plate that will provide a spark to any system and eventually to a team in the majors. In San Diego, Zimmer will surely have a place in the lineup near the top.
14. San Francisco Giants: Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS
Armed with a great fastball, curveball and exceptional command out of high school, Grant Holmes has the look of a player who will develop into a monster in a few years.
San Francisco could use an arm like that in the system. While already a deep system with plenty of arms, there is no sense in passing on Holmes given the value for the slot.
15. Los Angeles Angels: Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
The Los Angeles Angels know what they are getting themselves into with a prospect like Michael Conforto.
The Oregon State product will never leave the outfield thanks to his poor defense, but his power and control at the plate is astounding at this stage of his career. If that continues to develop at a quick pace, watch out.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS
It's usually bad news for a prospect selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks, but Derek Hill's sheer upside may save him from a similar fate to those who have come before him.
Hill is the best defensive outfielder in the class by a long shot and comes equipped with a solid game at the plate that is only going to improve.
17. Kansas City Royals: Monte Harrison, OF, Lee's Summit West HS
A Nebraska wide receiver commit, Monte Harrison is an oft-cited first-round pick thanks to his extreme athleticism and upside.
Kansas City loves upside and will also be enamored with Harrison's power at the plate. In other words, his game is raw but scary upon further refinement.
18. Washington Nationals: Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
Washington will in no way be intimidated by Kyle Freeland's injury history, an unfortunate aspect of his game that paired with a deep class to drop him this far.
The Nationals are accustomed to halting free-falling prospects during their tumble, and this one will work out just fine if Freeland can add more bulk and better his command.
19. Cincinnati Reds: Kyle Schwarber, C, Indiana
The Cincinnati Reds are known for taking upside players of the prep variety, but every now and then they dabble in the collegiate scene with a guy like Mike Leake.
Kyle Schwarber is another dabble whose final position is unknown, but one thing is clear in the Queen City—the Reds need hitting. Schwarber has plenty of that.
20. Tampa Bay Rays: Michael Chavis, SS, Sprayberry HS
Advanced bats are the name of the game in the farm system for the Tampa Bay Rays. To that end, Michael Chavis is an easy choice.
The jury is out on whether or not Chavis will remain at shortstop, but regardless, his control and fluid swing ensure he will be in the majors sooner rather than later.
21. Cleveland Indians: Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS
Sean Reid-Foley offers plenty of upside out of high school, which seems to be the consistent course of action for Cleveland over the past few years.
Two sound off-speed pitches and a hard-to-discern upside make Reid-Foley a bit of a risk, but the positives certainly outweigh the negatives at this point in time.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers: Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Waiakea HS
Kodi Medeiros is another high-upside guy at 6'1" who expects to be a middle guy in a rotation once fully developed.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have used plenty of picks in past years to grab righties, so now feels about right for the club to go the opposite direction in the system.
23. Detroit Tigers: Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV
Thanks to the dreaded Tommy John operation earlier in the year, Erick Fedde's stock has taken a tumble.
Detroit will not be scared of an operation that prevails the majority of the time.
Fedde has plenty of growing to do, but his sound command and amount of pitches is something the team can mold into a starter.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates: Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS
The Pittsburgh Pirates always seemingly hit on their gambles.
This time it is the ultra-talented Jacob Gatewood, who could easily be the shock of the draft by climbing into the top 10.
That will not happen given this scenario, but Gatewood's athleticism will have Pittsburgh fans calling for a call-up sooner rather than later.
25. Oakland Athletics: Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
No shocks this year—the Oakland Athletics will go back to nabbing collegiate players thanks to the experienced bat of Derek Fisher.
Fisher has sound power that can only improve through better recognizing pitches, meaning he is a welcome addition in any farm system.
26. Boston Red Sox: Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State
The Boston Red Sox have two picks in the top 35, so expect one to be safe and another to be a high-upside gamble.
Well, then let's call Casey Gillaspie a bit of a tweener between those two mediums.
A switch-hitter, Gillaspie has outstanding power and discipline at the plate and recognizes pitches early.
27. St. Louis Cardinals: Foster Griffin, LHP, The First Academy
At 6'5", Foster Griffin is that projectable left-handed hurler who can eventually rise up through a farm system to have an impact in the majors.
Thanks to a wicked changeup, the St. Louis Cardinals will have Griffin in the majors in some capacity sooner than most would expect. That is great value to close out the round.
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