2014 MLB Draft: Grades for Each Franchise After Round 1 Results

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
2014 MLB Draft: Grades for Each Franchise After Round 1 Results
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Surprises filled the first day of the 2014 MLB Draft.

There were reaches galore. And when there are reaches, smart franchises reap the rewards, cleaning up the mess by selecting steals.

Here are all of the players drafted in the first round and grades for each team.

 

Houston Astros

1. LHP Brady Aiken, Cathedral Catholic HS

Grade: A

While a prep pitcher hadn't heard his name called first overall since 1991, Aiken was the consensus first overall pick. 

His fastball reaches 97 mph. And few pitchers as young as Aiken already have three quality pitches. He utilized those gifts to record an ERA of 1.06 this season.

Not only did the Astros select the best player available, but their farm system had a need for left-handed pitching.

 

Miami Marlins

2. RHP Tyler Kolek, Shepherd HS

Grade: A

Pitching was already the strength of the Marlins farm system. If they weren't elite in that department before, they sure are now.

Kolek definitely passes the eyeball test. He stands at 6'5", 230 pounds. His fastball eclipses the century mark, which isn't exactly a surprise for a man his size.

He terrified high school hitters (just a hunch) en route to recording a 0.35 ERA this season.

 

Chicago White Sox

3. LHP Carlos Rodon, North Carolina State

Grade: A

The White Sox hadn't spent a first-rounder on a prospect over 20 years old since 2010. Rodon was worth bucking that trend, though.

He probably had the best chance to beat out Aiken for the No. 1 pick, so adding him at No. 3 could ultimately turn out to be a steal.

His fastball, like Aiken's, can touch 97 mph. Few prospects also have a better slider than Rodon. He's built well at 6'3" and 235 pounds. He demanded first overall pick consideration with a 2.01 ERA and 117 strikeouts this season.

 

Chicago Cubs

4. C/1B Kyle Schwarber, Indiana

Grade: C-

MLB.com didn't rank Schwarber in its top 15 prospects. ESPN's Keith Law (subscription required) didn't have him in his top 25 prospects.

Chicago selected him because it believes he's the best hitter. The 6'0", 240-pounder hit .358, 14 home runs and 48 RBI this season, so he may be just that. However, he wasn't the fourth best prospect in the 2014 draft class.

 

Minnesota Twins

5. SS Nick Gordon, Olympia HS

Grade: A

Minnesota breathed a sigh of relief when the Cubs selected Schwarber, because Gordon is the superior prospect.

Gordon batted .494 his senior season, and he's just as gifted defensively. Alex Jackson and Michael Conforto are the only offensive players whom teams would have been justified drafting ahead of him.

 

Seattle Mariners

6. C/OF Alex Jackson, Rancho Bernardo HS

Grade: A

With one of the worst farm systems in the league, Seattle desperately needed to nail its sixth overall pick. It did just that, selecting arguably the top offensive prospect in the draft.

Jackson could have gone higher. The uncertainty surrounding his position may have caused him to slip, but his bat will remind Mariners why they picked him. The senior hit .385 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI. 

 

Philadelphia Phillies

7. RHP Aaron Nola, LSU

Grade: A

Philadelphia went against its norm and selected a college prospect in Nola. It's safe to say its need for pitching outweighed its preference for youth.

Nola dominated this year at LSU. He earned a record of 11-1, a 1.47 ERA and 134 strikeouts. He'll be one of the fastest pitchers in this draft to make the majors.

 

Colorado Rockies

8. LHP Kyle Freeland, Evansville

Grade: A

Teams continue to benefit from the Cubs' gaffe. Freeland could have gone earlier.

The Colorado native's fastball reaches 96 mph. It isn't as eye-popping as some of the pitchers' selected before him, but his performance statistics speak for themselves. Freeland not only finished with 10 wins, a 1.90 ERA and 128 strikeouts this season, but he didn't even allow a home run.

 

Toronto Blue Jays

9. RHP Jeff Hoffman, East Carolina

11. C Max Pentecost, Kennesaw State

Grade: B

The Hoffman selection earns a B. The Pentecost selection earns a B. Together, they average out to a B.

Hoffman's fastball reaches 98 mph. Or at least it did. He sat out most of the season because he needed Tommy John surgery.

He is a major gamble even if he would have earned an A grade when healthy. Toronto's pair of first-round picks may have given it the confidence to roll the dice.

The Blue Jays' other selection, Pentecost, was only ranked the No. 19 prospect in the class on MLB.com. Keith Law ranked him No. 22. While he batted an impressive .423 this season, this is a slight reach.

 

New York Mets 

10. OF Michael Conforto, Oregon State

Grade: A+

Keith Law and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis all expected Conforto to go fourth overall. This is a steal, a major one for the Mets at that.

He is one of the best hitters in the draft class. He finished this season with a batting average of .345 and launched seven home runs and 57 RBI.

 

Milwaukee Brewers

12. LHP Kodi MedeirosWaiakea HS 

Grade: C-

Medeiros is Keith Law's 50th best prospect. While his fastball can reach 97 mph, this is even more of a reach than Schwarber at No. 4.

Milwaukee must have been desperate for a pitcher...a Hawaiian one.

 

San Diego Padres

13. SS Trea Turner, North Carolina State

Grade: A

Turner is not only one of the best players available, but he fills a major need for the Padres. They had little infield talent in their farm system.

He boasts blazing speed. He stole 26 bases this season and attempted just 30. He also batted .321.

 

San Francisco Giants

14. RHP Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt

Grade: A

This is the second time Beede has been selected in the first round. He opted for Vanderbilt instead of entering the minors when he was drafted in 2011. And he dominated in college.

The 6'5", 215-pounder used his 97 mph fastball to strike out 106 batters in 2014.

 

Los Angeles Angels

15. LHP Sean Newcomb, Hartford

Grade: A

When prospects are reached for, other, more talented ones fall. Newcomb is one of those more talented ones.

He is MLB.com's ninth best prospect. Keith Law ranked him seventh overall. Newcomb recorded an ERA of 1.25 and 106 strikeouts this year to earn that praise.

 

Arizona Diamondbacks 

16. RHP Touki Toussaint, Coral Springs Christian Academy

Grade: A

Toussaint brings as much value this late in the first round as Newcomb does. He also could have been a top-10 pick.

His fastball reaches 97 mph, and his best pitch could be his curveball. One can imagine those tools would abuse hitters at the high school level. He finished this season with a 1.22 ERA and 104 strikeouts.

 

Kansas City Royals

17. LHP Brandon Finnegan, TCU

Grade: A

Kansas City has now used five out of its past six first-round picks on college prospects. 

At 5'11", 185 pounds, Finnegan doesn't compare physically to the pitchers who were drafted earlier than him. His skills make up for his lack of size, though. In just 91.1 innings, he struck out 122 hitters this season and had a 2.07 ERA.

 

Washington Nationals

18. RHP Erick Fedde, UNLV

Grade: C+

MLB.com rated Fedde the 33rd best prospect in the class. That's because he also just had Tommy John surgery. 

Washington is gambling even more than the Blue Jays because it doesn't have multiple first-round picks. In a class this deep, gambling isn't wise. A healthy Fedde is talented, though, as he recorded a 1.76 ERA and 82 strikeouts this year.

 

Cincinnati Reds

19. RHP Nick Howard, Virginia

Grade: B-

Keith Law rated Howard just the 63rd best prospect in the draft.

At 6'3", 215 pounds with a 98 mph fastball, he has top-notch physical tools. He's only pitched 29.1 innings this year, though.

 

Tampa Bay Rays

20. 1B Casey Gillaspie, Wichita State

Grade: A

Gillaspie fills a gaping hole that the Rays had for offense in their farm system. 

The 6'4", 230-pounder hit 15 home runs and 50 RBI this season. And he's more than a power hitter. He also batted .389.

 

Cleveland Indians

21. OF Bradley Zimmer, San Francisco

Grade: A+

Zimmer shouldn't have lasted this long.

He has elite speed, arm strength and length at 6'4". He has major defensive potential, and he batted .368 this season for the Dons.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

22. RHP Grant Holmes, Conway HS

Grade: A+

Holy steal. Holmes shouldn't have lasted this long either. 

Keith Law rated him the sixth best prospect in the class. MLB.com rated him 11th.

Holmes can throw 100 mph. And his curveball rivals his fastball. He fell in the draft because of a lack of length, which shouldn't have outweighed his ability.

 

Detroit Tigers

23. OF Derek Hill, Elk Grove HS

Grade: A

Hill is one of the best athletes in the draft. As a result, he's a monster defensively and stole 21 bases this season.

He's not bad with a bat in his hands either. He hit .500 as a senior.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

24. SS Cole Tucker, Pointe HS

Grade: C

Neither Keith Law, Jonathan Mayo nor Jim Callis had Tucker anywhere in their mocks, not even in Compensation Round A. MLB.com ranked him the No. 67 prospect.

Pittsburgh's farm needed infield help, but this is the biggest reach yet.

 

Oakland Athletics

25. 3B Matt Chapman, Cal State Fullerton

Grade: C-

The Pirates didn't hold onto the title of the biggest reach for long. Chapman is the 82nd-rated prospect on MLB.com. The aforementioned experts did not predict he'd hear his name called in Round 1.

He only batted .312 this season, which isn't nearly as impressive in college as it is in the majors.

 

Boston Red Sox

26. 3B Michael ChavisSprayberry HS

Grade: A

Third basemen go back-to-back. And the Red Sox got the better one despite having the later pick.

Chavis hit .580, 13 home runs and 37 RBI this season. But apparently, he didn't hit well enough for the Athletics.

 

St. Louis Cardinals

27. RHP Luke Weaver, Florida State

Grade: A-

Weaver is a solid pick to finish the first round. He's on the thin side at 6'2", 170 pounds, but he throws 97 mph.

That speed, coupled with a 2.62 ERA, made the Cardinals forget he only struck out 85 batters this year in 106.1 innings.

 

All high school statistics courtesy of MaxPreps.com.

David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.

Load More Stories

Follow B/R on Facebook

Out of Bounds

MLB

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.