It's only been a few days since the 2014 MLB draft took place, but it's already time to speculate about next year's crop of top prospects.
Pitcher's dominated the first round this year. A record-tying 20 hurlers had their names called within the first 30 picks.
The 2015 class seems to have more position players ready to shine at or near the top of draft boards. Shortstop seems to be one of the deepest spots in this year's crop.
In this very early look at the 2015 draft, the teams are ordered based on standings as of Friday, June 6.
With that said, the Tampa Bay Rays are on the clock.
1. Tampa Bay Rays—Daz Cameron, OF, Eagles Landing HS in McDonough, Georgia
The son of longtime major leaguer Mike Cameron, Daz is considered the top overall prospect in the draft by the Perfect Game's Allan Simpson. Simpson writes:
"The younger Cameron possesses a lot of his father’s natural talent and may actually have more raw power potential with his exceptional bat speed, though may also be a step slower on the bases."
That's an exciting base to build upon, especially if he can be taught a little plate discipline.
2. Chicago Cubs—Riley Ferrell, RHP, TCU
The Cubs have tons of young hitters on the way to the major league roster, but young arms aren't plentiful in the farm system.
Ferrell has emerged as the the top pitching prospect in the 2015 class. The 6'1", 200-pound sophomore has a blazing fastball that makes him look like a potentially dominant power pitcher on the next level.
3. Philadelphia Phillies—Nathan Kirby, LHP, Virginia
The Phils should pass on the two hot shortstop prospects who'll be on the board here. With Roman Quinn and J.P. Crawford already in the organization, there's already enough talent at that position.
You can never have enough studly left-handed pitching, though.
Kirby has the potential to be unhittable. Just ask the Pittsburgh Panthers whom Kirby no-hit on April 4. He struck out 18 in this process.
After the game, Kirby was modest and implied he might have gotten a few favorable calls. Per VirginiaSports.com, Kirby said:
"It was one of those nights where the umpire and I were on the same page. I got a couple of close calls. Everything was working. I wanted to let the hitters hit it and let our defense play."
The 12 swinging strikeouts says something about the stuff he has.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks—Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary HS in Longwood, Florida
With excellent upside as a hitter and the ability to play both infield positions, Rodgers could be a huge get for the Diamondbacks.
If Didi Gregorius continues to hit the ball in the majors, he and Rodgers could form a dynamic and offensively capable double-play combination. If Rodgers stays at shortstop, he or Gregorius could become attractive trade bait.
5. Houston Astros—Ryan Burr, RHP, Arizona State
With the hugely talented Carlos Correa on pace to join the big club in the near future, the Astros can also pass on the top prospects at shortstop.
Burr is a strong 6'4", 215-pound hurler who was drafted originally by the Texas Rangers in 2012. With two years of "seasoning," he's more prepared to make an impact.
6. San Diego Padres—Cole Irvin, LHP, Oregon
Another of those stud lefties could find a home in the Padres organization. The long and lean Irvin does have some injury concerns, considering he underwent Tommy John surgery in February, but because he's more of a pitcher than a thrower, there's reason to believe he'll rebound nicely.
7. Boston Red Sox—Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville
The left side of the infield looks to be solidified for the near future with Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks. Funkhouser would give the Red Sox farm system another strong young arm to look forward to.
8. Cincinnati Reds—Alex Bregman, SS, LSU
Orignally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2012, Bregman has had two solid years with the LSU Tigers. He is a winner who helped lead the Tigers to a second straight SEC title.
He hit .316 with six home runs and 47 RBI this season. The Reds have no one of note to stand in his way as he heads toward ultimately becoming the team's No. 1 shortstop.
9. New York Mets—Kyle Molnar, RHP, Aliso Niguel HS in Aliso Viejo, California
With Wilmer Flores trying to find his bearings in the majors, the Mets can also afford to shore up their pitching depth in the draft.
Molnar has shined as a hurler in high school, but he's also shown he can hit the ball as well. Here's how Perfect Game describes his hitting prowess:
"[Molnar] swung the bat like a Division I outfield prospect as well, good bat speed, ball carries well, low effort swing. Arm plays well in the outfield."
10. Colorado Rockies—Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt
Having been clocked at 98 mph in college, there's no question Fulmer has a live arm. Strikeout pitchers can be especially effective in Colorado's thin air if they can also keep the ball down.
Fulmer could be a great addition to the Rockies organization.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates—Jahmai Jones, SS, Wesleyan HS in Roswell, Georgia
Because he's already 6'0", 205 pounds in high school, there's good reason to believe Jones will fill out more and potentially be moved to third base or the outfield.
His powerful build suggests he could develop some pop in his bat down the road. As a pure prospect, he stands out. It would be hard for the Pirates to pass on him if the order remains similar by this time next year.
12. Minnesota Twins—John Aiello, SS, Germantown Academy in Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Eduardo Escobar is playing well this season, but there's no reason for the Twins to turn down an opportunity to add quality middle infielders.
At 6'2", 200 pounds, Aiello could also get stronger and broader across the shoulders soon. Because he's a bit taller than Jones, staying at shortstop might be more practical.
He has a great on-field demeanor and overall athleticism. He looks like a future major leaguer and leader.
13. Kansas City Royals—Jameis Winston, OF/RHP, Florida State
The Heisman trophy winner has a great arm, and he's shown some flashes as a hitter. As an athlete, he shines with better-than-average speed, but his power potential as a hitter is perhaps the most exciting.
He didn't go deep last season, but he didn't get an opportunity to concentrate solely on hitting. There's always the chance that he chooses football, which is something any potential suitor will have to consider before taking him.
14. Cleveland Indians—Chris Betts, C, Woodrow Wilson HS in Long Beach, California
Betts is an awesome looking, left-handed catching prospect with great quickness behind the plate. He also possesses a nice, easy power swing in the batter's box. He's reminiscent of the Boston Red Sox's A.J. Pierzynski.
15. Texas Rangers—Skye Bolt, OF, North Carolina
Aside from having one of the coolest names ever created, Bolt is a multi-tooled player with excellent upside as a quality defensive outfielder and run-producer at the plate.
He struggled a bit with the bat in 2014, but he still projects as a good hitter long term.
16. Chicago White Sox—Ryan Johnson, OF/1B, College Station HS in College Station, Texas
Johnson is a sturdily built 6'3", 200-pound prospect. The ball seems to really jump off his bat. Whether he settles in at first base or at a corner outfield position, he looks to have a good future as a power hitter.
Think he's not looking forward to the 2015 MLB draft? Check out what he retweeted from fellow prospect Nick Shumpert.
17. Los Angeles Dodgers—Ian Happ, OF/2B, Cincinnati
As a middle infielder or center fielder, the scrappy Happ has the type of energizing presence that helps teams win.
Happ has shown the penchant for clutch, game-winning performances. This walk-off home run against Toledo in April 2013 is just one example.
18. St. Louis Cardinals—Nick Shumpert, SS, Highlands Ranch HS in Lone Tree, Colorado
Taking the best players available is the best bet for teams at this juncture of the first round. Nick is the son of former major leaguer Terry Shumpert. The younger Shumpert has a great understanding of the game, and he's a smooth infielder.
He needs to improve his plate discipline, but he also projects as a very solid defensive player. Here's a great feature from Xfinity CET Sports on Nick and his dad.
19. New York Yankees—Grayson Long, RHP, Texas A&M
It's all about potential with Long. His last season in College Station was a bit up-and-down. He did have a 6-2 record and a respectable 3.12 ERA, but he didn't miss enough bats.
He allowed 98 hits in just 89.1 innings pitched, and opponents hit .284 against him. Still, at 6'5", 215 pounds with a very live fastball and other developing pitches, he could still blossom into a good pitcher in the majors.
He may ultimately wind up as a reliever, though.
20. Baltimore Orioles—Justin Looper, LHP/1B, De la Salle HS in San Ramon, California
At 6'6", Hooper is a towering presence on the mound. As a left-hander with decent command of two pitches already, Looper could ultimately become a legit starting pitching prospect if he can add another.
He still needs to add strength, but he has more than enough time to do that. Looper is a potential steal at No. 20.
21. Washington Nationals—Brett Lilek, LHP, Arizona State
Though he's had some injury concerns this season, Lilek still has the attention of most major league scouts. He was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2012, but he has vastly improved since then.
The 6'4" lefty held hitters to a .203 average against him, despite only tallying a 4-5 record. He could ultimately become a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen in the majors, but he definitely has a professional future on the mound.
22. Seattle Mariners—A.J. Simcox, SS, Tennessee
Simcox hasn't developed much power yet, but he's a smooth fielder with enough pop to reach the gaps. He's also a solid athlete who can wreak some havoc on the basepaths as well.
He stole 13 bases for the Tennessee Volunteers this season. Once he reaches his potential, Simcox could be a prototypical No. 2 hitter.
23. Los Angeles Angels—Colin Poche, LHP, Arkansas
Poche is another hurler whose future could ultimately be as a specialist out of the bullpen. Of his 18 appearances this season at Arkansas, 10 of them were in a relief role.
He's not an overpowering pitcher but one who knows how to work the corners with a good command of the strike zone. If he continues to develop, he could be a third to fifth starter in the majors, depending on the team he lands with.
24. Miami Marlins—James Kaprielian, RHP, UCLA
If a team is looking for an absolute gamer on the mound, Kaprelian is the guy. His above-average fastball allows him to reach back for something extra to blow guys out of the batter's box.
Last season, he struck out 108 hitters in 106 innings pitched. Low run support kept his record at just 7-6, but he's an underrated prospect who could progress quickly through a farm system because of his competitiveness and drive.
He's another potential steal.
25. Atlanta Braves—Thomas Szapucki, LHP, William T. Dwyer HS in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
The Braves can continue their seemingly never-ending flow of quality young arms by selecting Szapucki. The high school senior has had his fastball clocked up to 94 mph already.
Once he adds more strength, his velocity could improve even more. There's something about the Braves organization that seems to breed top-notch arms.
26. Detroit Tigers—Nolan Kingham, RHP, Sierra Vista HS in Las Vegas, Nevada
The hard-throwing young right-hander has already committed to play college baseball at Texas, but it's clear if he is selected in the first round, there's a good chance he'd be headed to the pros.
Considered an elite arm, he could give the Tigers another powerful right-hander in the rotation down the road.
27. Milwaukee Brewers—Eric Hanhold, RHP, Florida
Hanhold will need some time to develop, but scouts seem to love his upside. His control is the biggest issue. In 49.1 innings, he walked 18, had seven wild pitches and hit 10 batters.
If he can get command of his pitches, he could be a good addition to a major league staff.
28. Toronto Blue Jays—Michael Hickman, C, Seven Lakes HS in Katy, Texas
It's been a while since the Blue Jays had a really good prospect behind the plate. If the team takes Michael Hickman in 2015, it might have a future all-star on board.
Perfect Game says Hickman has "huge power potential that adjustments will allow to become more consistent."
Though he's solid defensively, his hitting prowess might force a position change in the future.
29. Oakland A's—Justin Garza, RHP, Cal State Fullerton
Garza tossed a no-hitter against Cal-State Northridge late last month, so he is punctuating his collegiate career nicely. He could be another steal if he's available this late in the first round.
30. San Francisco Giants—Kyle Dean, OF, Poway HS in Poway, California
Dean is a powerfully built young outfielder who has progressed well since his freshman year at Poway. He shows some signs of developing into a solid corner outfielder with an average arm but above-average power potential.
Staying relatively close to home would also seem to be a major plus for him coming out of high school.
All height references and school affiliations per Perfect Game.
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