Day 1 of the 2014 MLB draft saw 74 prospective big-leaguers taken, leaving teams with plenty of upside and intrigue. With compensation and competitive-balance rounds thrown in, many organizations have infused their farm systems with some of the most exciting young talent in the game.
While not everyone selected on Thursday night will turn into a star, a few teams may have secured important building blocks to shape the next era of their team. The baseball draft is more difficult to predict than any other sport, so for now these grades and evaluations are based strictly on value.
With that, let's take a look at how each team fared through the first two rounds while also looking at a few of the most noteworthy teams from Day 1's action.
|Round 1 Picks and Grades|
|1||Houston Astros||Brady Aiken||LHP||Cathedral Catholic HS||A|
|2||Miami Marlins||Tyler Kolek||RHP||Shepherd HS||B+|
|3||Chicago White Sox||Carlos Rodon||LHP||N.C. State||A|
|4||Chicago Cubs||Kyle Schwarber||C||Indiana||B|
|5||Minnesota Twins||Nick Gordon||SS||Olympia HS||B+|
|6||Seattle Mariners||Alex Jackson||C/OF||Rancho Bernardo HS||A|
|7||Philadelphia Phillies||Aaron Nola||RHP||LSU||A|
|8||Colorado Rockies||Kyle Freeland||LHP||Evansville||A-|
|9||Toronto Blue Jays||Jeff Hoffman||RHP||East Carolina||A-|
|10||New York Mets||Michael Conforto||OF||Oregon State||A|
|11||Toronto Blue Jays||Max Pentecost||C||Kennesaw State||A-|
|12||Milwaukee Brewers||Kodi Medeiros||LHP||Waiakea HS||B|
|13||San Diego Padres||Trea Turner||SS||N.C. State||B+|
|14||San Francisco Giants||Tyler Beede||RHP||Vanderbilt||B|
|15||Los Angeles Angels||Sean Newcomb||LHP||Hartford||B+|
|16||Arizona Diamondbacks||Touki Toussaint||RHP||Coral Springs Christian Academy||A-|
|17||Kansas City Royals||Brandon Finnegan||LHP||TCU||B+|
|18||Washington Nationals||Erick Fedde||RHP||UNLV||B|
|19||Cincinnati Reds||Nick Howard||RHP||Virginia||A-|
|20||Tampa Bay Rays||Casey Gillaspie||1B||Wichita State||A-|
|21||Cleveland Indians||Bradley Zimmer||OF||San Francisco||A-|
|22||Los Angeles Dodgers||Grant Holmes||RHP||Conway HS||B+|
|23||Detroit Tigers||Derek Hill||OF||Elk Grove HS||A|
|24||Pittsburgh Pirates||Cole Tucker||SS||Mountain Pointe HS||B-|
|25||Oakland Athletics||Matt Chapman||3B||Cal State Fullerton||B|
|26||Boston Red Sox||Michael Chavis||SS||Sprayberry HS||A-|
|27||St. Louis Cardinals||Luke Weaver||RHP||Florida State||B|
|28||Kansas City Royals||Foster Griffin||LHP||The First Academy||B|
|29||Cincinnati Reds||Alex Blandino||SS||Stanford||A|
|30||Texas Rangers||Luis Ortiz||RHP||Sanger HS||A-|
|31||Cleveland Indians||Justus Sheffield||LHP||Tullahoma HS||B|
|32||Atlanta Braves||Braxton Davidson||OF||T.C. Roberson HS||A|
|33||Boston Red Sox||Michael Kopech||RHP||Pleasant HS||B|
|34||St. Louis Cardinals||Jack Flaherty||RHP||Harvard-Westlake HS||B-|
|35||Colorado Rockies||Forrest Wall||2B||Orangewood Christian HS||A|
|36||Miami Marlins||Blake Anderson||C||West Lauderdale HS||B+|
|37||Houston Astros||Derek Fisher||OF||Virginia||A|
|38||Cleveland Indians||Mike Papi||OF||Virginia||A-|
|39||Pittsburgh Pirates||Connor Joe||OF||San Diego||C+|
|40||Kansas City Royals||Chase Vallot||C||St. Thomas More HS||A-|
|41||Milwaukee Brewers||Jacob Gatewood||SS||Clovis HS||B+|
|Order via CBSSports.com|
|Round 2 Picks and Grades|
|42||Houston Astros||A.J. Reed||1B||Kentucky||A|
|43||Miami Marlins||Justin Twine||SS||Falls City HS||B-|
|44||Chicago White Sox||Spencer Adams||RHP||White County HS||A-|
|45||Chicago Cubs||Jake Stinnett||RHP||Maryland||A-|
|46||Minnesota Twins||Nick Burdi||RHP||Louisville||A-|
|47||Philadelphia Phillies||Matt Imhof||LHP||Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo||B|
|48||Colorado Rockies||Ryan Castellani||RHP||Brophy Jesuit Prep School||B+|
|49||Toronto Blue Jays||Sean Reid-Foley||RHP||Sandalwood HS||A|
|50||Milwaukee Brewers||Monte Harrison||OF||Lee's Summit West HS||B+|
|51||San Diego Padres||Michael Gettys||OF||Gainesville HS||A-|
|52||San Francisco Giants||Aramis Garcia||C||Florida International||B+|
|53||Los Angeles Angels||Joe Gatto||RHP||St. Augustine Prep||C+|
|54||Arizona Diamondbacks||Cody Reed||LHP||Ardmore HS||A-|
|55||New York Yankees||Jacob Lindgren||LHP||Mississippi State||B|
|56||Kansas City Royals||Scott Blewett||RHP||Baker HS||B-|
|57||Washington Nationals||Andrew Suarez||LHP||Miami||B|
|58||Cincinnati Reds||Taylor Sparks||3B||UC Irvine||B-|
|59||Texas Rangers||Tiquan Forbes||SS||Columbia HS||A-|
|60||Tampa Bay Rays||Cameron Varga||RHP||Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy||B|
|61||Cleveland Indians||Grant Hockin||RHP||Damien HS||C+|
|62||Los Angeles Dodgers||Alex Verdugo||OF||Sahuaruo HS||B+|
|63||Detroit Tigers||Spencer Turnbull||RHP||Alabama||B|
|64||Pittsburgh Pirates||Mitch Keller||RHP||Xavier HS||A-|
|65||Oakland Athletics||Daniel Gossett||RHP||Clemson||B+|
|66||Atlanta Braves||Garrett Fulenchek||RHP||Howe HS||B+|
|67||Boston Red Sox||Sam Travis||1B||Indiana||B+|
|68||St. Louis Cardinals||Ronnie Williams||RHP||American Senior HS||B+|
|69||Arizona Diamondbacks||Marcus Wilson||OF||Junipero Serra HS||B|
|70||Arizona Diamondbacks||Isan Diaz||SS||Springfield Central HS||B-|
|71||St. Louis Cardinals||Andrew Morales||RHP||UC Irvine||B-|
|72||Tampa Bay Rays||Brent Honeywell||RHP||Walters State CC||B-|
|73||Pittsburgh Pirates||Trey Supak||RHP||La Grange HS||B|
|74||Seattle Mariners||Gareth Morgan||OF||Blyth Academy||B|
|Order via CBSSports.com|
Holding the top overall pick for the third consecutive season, the Astros added one of the highest-upside arms in recent years in prep school lefty Brady Aiken. It was not entirely surprising to see the Astros opt for Aiken, who many scouts see as one of the surest things in the draft, per ESPN's Jayson Stark:
Indeed, despite the shaky reputation that dogs high school prospects (especially arms), Aiken is far from the typical type of prospect. As ESPN's Tim Keown relays, amateur scouts are more comfortable with Aiken not only because of his makeup but because he has already been on the radar for several years:
'Teams have probably seen him 100 times,' said John Manuel, who has covered amateur baseball for Baseball America for 17 years. 'They've had national crosscheckers and area scouts and even international scouts on him. There's an extensive track record, more in line with a college player.'
Apart from the first overall pick, Houston also received excellent value with the next two picks, a pair of bats in Derek Fisher and A.J. Reed. Fisher, a prep school prospect, broke his hamate bone after a hot start to his season, but he returned to post a .281/.340/.415 slash line. Reed led all Division I hitters with 23 home runs while at Kentucky, and he could eventually join George Springer and Jonathan Singleton to form a powerful middle of the order in Houston.
Alex Jackson falling to No. 6 was a dream scenario for the Mariners, who continue their perpetual search for power bats. Interestingly, Bud Selig announced the class' top prep bat as an outfielder rather than a catcher, a distinction that could move his ETA up a year or two if it sticks.
Regardless, while Seattle's farm system is chock-full of high-upside arms, the Mariners do not have much in the way of future power potential apart from Austin Wilson and D.J. Peterson. Therefore, according to the Seattle Times' Larry Stone, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik believes Jackson's right-handed upside is an invaluable commodity:
Yeah, you’ve noticed. It’s difficult. It really is. Especially a right-handed bat. We’ve talked about that a lot. We’re talking about it now. It’s funny, I remember years ago it was left-handed bats, trying to find a really good left-handed hitter. Now it just seems it’s the right-handed bat that’s at a premium.
Seattle's second-round pick is not as well-rounded or projectable a hitter as Jackson, but he offers even more power potential than the sixth overall pick, per Greg Johns of MLB.com:
Gareth Morgan has the profile to project as a right fielder at some point, so Jackson's versatility could come in handy if both picks work out. Morgan possesses one of the top power bats in the draft, so he represents excellent value in the competitive-balance stages of the second round.
Toronto Blue Jays
Arguably no team received better Day 1 value than the surprise AL East leaders, who continue the early summer's good vibes.
The Blue Jays' first selection, Jeff Hoffman, will need a year off due to Tommy John surgery. Using the ninth overall pick on such a prospect naturally carries risk, but as ESPN's Christopher Crawford opines (subscription required), Toronto may have received a top-four talent:
If Hoffman were healthy, he would have been a lock for the top four, as some compared him to a poor man's Adam Wainwright. Taking a pitcher who won't be able to throw for your organization for close to a year is a risk, but the Blue Jays have been known to take chances such as this, as seen in the fact that they didn't sign two of their top three first-round picks.
Even if Hoffman does not pan out as expected, the Blue Jays backed up their top pick with two more high-upside prospects:
Max Pentecost is arguably the best pure catcher in this class, as his eye-popping .423/.483/.631 batting line carried Kennesaw State into the NCAA tournament. With above-average tools across the board, Pentecost has a good chance to develop into a major league regular at a scarce position.
At the beginning of the second round, the Jays received first-round talent in Sandalwood's Sean Reid-Foley. The tall righty was one of the most polished prep pitchers available, as his four-pitch arsenal and advanced feel suggest a high-floor prospect.
Hoffman and Reid-Foley could soon join Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman to form a quartet of intriguing rotation arms.