Grading the MLB draft can be a tricky process.
You can't really judge a team on how it addresses perceived weaknesses because, unlike the NBA or NFL, teams don't often make selections based on their current rosters due to the long developmental process for most prospects.
Conversely, a very tiny fraction of top prospects will make an immediate impact, while a majority of the youngsters will take three years (or more) to make it to The Show. There are even some who will toil around in the minors forever.
Things will inevitably change, but it's still intriguing to take an early look at where players were selected versus where many had them ranked before the draft.
So, with that in mind, let's take a look at each team's grade for the first round along with some analysis of the best selections from the first 34 picks.
Round 1 Results and Grades
|1||Houston Astros||LHP Brady Aiken||Central Cathedral HS (FL)||A|
|2||Miami Marlins||RHP Tyler Kolek||Shepherd HS (TX)||A|
|3||Chicago White Sox||LHP Carlos Rodon||N.C. State||A|
|4||Chicago Cubs||C/1B Kyle Schwarber||Indiana||B|
|5||Minnesota Twins||SS Nick Gordon||Olympia HS (FL)||A|
|6||Seattle Mariners||C/OF Alex Jackson||Rancho Bernardo HS (CA)||A|
|7||Philadelphia Phillies||RHP Aaron Nola||LSU||A-|
|8||Colorado Rockies||LHP Kyle Freeland||Evansville||A-|
|9||Toronto Blue Jays||RHP Jeff Hoffman||ECU||B|
|10||New York Mets||OF Michael Conforto||Oregon State||A-|
|11||Toronto Blue Jays||C Max Pentecost||Kennesaw State||B+|
|12||Milwaukee Brewers||LHP Kodi Medeiros||Waiakea HS (HI)||B|
|13||San Diego Padres||SS Trea Turner||N.C. State||A-|
|14||San Francisco Giants||RHP Tyler Beede||Vanderbilt||A-|
|15||Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||LHP Sean Newcomb||Hartford||A|
|16||Arizona Diamondbacks||RHP Touki Toussaint||Coral Springs Christian HS (FL)||A|
|17||Kansas City Royals||LHP Brandon Finnegan||TCU||B+|
|18||Washington Nationals||RHP Erick Fedde||UNLV||B|
|19||Cincinnati Reds||3B/RHP Nick Howard||Virginia||B|
|20||Tampa Bay Rays||1B Casey Gillaspie||Wichita State||B+|
|21||Cleveland Indians||OF Bradley Zimmer||San Francisco||A|
|22||Los Angeles Dodgers||RHP Grant Holmes||Conway HW (SC)||A|
|23||Detroit Tigers||OF Derek Hill||Elk Grove HS (CA)||A-|
|24||Pittsburgh Pirates||SS Cole Tucker||Mountain Pointe HS (AZ)||C+|
|25||Oakland Athletics||3B/RHP Matt Chapman||Cal State Fullerton||B-|
|26||Boston Red Sox||IF Michael Chavis||Sprayberry HS (GA)||A-|
|27||St. Louis Cardinals||RHP Luke Weaver||Florida State||A-|
|28||Kansas City Royals||LHP Foster Griffin||The First Academy (FL)||A|
|29||Cincinnati Reds||3B Alex Blandino||Stanford||A-|
|30||Texas Rangers||RHP Luis Ortiz||Sanger HS (NV)||A-|
|31||Cleveland Indians||LHP Justus Sheffield||Tullahoma HS (TN)||B|
|32||Atlanta Braves||OF Braxton Davidson||T.C. Roberson HS (NC)||A|
|33||Boston Red Sox||RHP Michael Kopech||Mt. Pleasant HS (TX)||B+|
|34||St. Louis Cardinals||RHP Jack Flaherty||Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)||B+|
Chicago White Sox (No. 3 overall): Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
It's difficult to call this a "value" pick at No. 3, but that's the kind of player Carlos Rodon can be. And that's meant as zero disrespect to the top-two picks—Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek—who are both plenty deserving of high selections themselves.
Still, if a year ago you said the Chicago White Sox were going to land Rodon with the third overall pick, Robin Ventura, Rick Hahn and Co. would have gone streaking through the quad.
Where should Rodon have been drafted?
After a freshman season in which he posted a 1.57 ERA and 0.98 WHIP and won the ACC Pitcher of the Year award, Rodon was a candidate to become the No. 1 pick in the draft some day. After a sophomore season in which he had a 2.99 ERA and a school-record 184 strikeouts (with a silly 12.51 K/9), he was still the front-runner to be the No. 1 pick when he became eligible.
But his stock dipped slightly this year, not because of his numbers—he had a 2.01 ERA—but because of his heavy workload.
That's understandable, but this is one of the best collegiate lefties we've seen in quite some time, who throws an explosive fastball and devastating slider. A dominant force with a short road to the majors, he's not the kind of guy you want to pass on.
“We’re excited because No. 1, we know how competitive this kid is, how important it is to be comfortable with an organization,” White Sox director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann said, via ESPN.com's Doug Padilla.
As Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan added, the Sox now have an enviable future lefty duo at top of the rotation:
Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon. American League Central teams better load up on right-handed hitters. That is going to be a stacked rotation.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 5, 2014
Rodon was a no-brainer for Hahn and his staff, but it was still a job well-done not to let the fact that Rodon may want No. 1 money sway them from making the pick.
Cleveland Indians (No. 21 overall): Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
It wasn't exactly difficult to see why, either.
In his junior season with the Dons, the big (6'4", 185 lbs) left-handed hitter had a slash line of .368/.461/.573 with 24 extra-base hits (seven home runs) and 21 stolen bases in 54 games. As MLB Network noted, via T.J. Zuppe of 92.3 The Fan, he is a legitimate five-tool prospect:
Not only does he have one of the best all-around skill sets in the league, but he turns 22 in November and should move through the minors at a fairly quick pace. The Cleveland Indians couldn't pass him up.
Arizona Diamondbacks (No. 16 overall): Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian Academy
"First of all, you're looking at an athlete," an American League scout said of Toussaint, per Ryan S. Clark of the Sun Sentinel. "Physically, he is just so much different than everybody else. The physical attributes he has are that of a premium athlete."
Longenecker added to the praise:
Touki has some of the biggest and strongest hands I have ever had the privileged of shaking. #manstrength— Clint Longenecker (@Clint_BA) June 6, 2014
Toussaint, like many players his age, is still working on his control, but his physical gifts allow him to throw a fastball that reaches the high-90s along with a curve that "has so much downward break that his catchers have trouble holding onto it," according to MLB.com.
Still not 18, Toussaint is certainly a long-term project, but he has the potential to be downright electric at the next level. Adding another future star to a Diamondbacks farm system that already includes Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley? That's scary.