With a whopping 40 rounds in the rearview mirror, the 2014 MLB draft is finally complete.
Unlike most of its American counterparts, the MLB draft doesn't typically produce talent that makes a big impact early on in their careers. Even some of the most highly touted players at the top of the class have a few years of development ahead of them before we can tell how they'll fare in the majors.
With that said, some teams made smart moves at the top of the draft and got important pieces to help shape their franchise moving forward, and others reached for some less popular picks.
Let's break down grades for every team's performance at the draft over the weekend.
|2014 MLB Draft: Final Grades|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||RHP Touki Toussaint, LHP Cody Reed||B+|
|Atlanta Braves||OF Braxton Davidson, RHP Garrett Fulenchek, RHP Max Povse||A-|
|Baltimore Orioles||LHP Brian Gonzalez, RHP Pat Connaughton||B+|
|Boston Red Sox||SS Michael Chavis, RHP Michael Kopech||B|
|Chicago Cubs||C Kyle Schwarber, RHP Jake Stinnett, C Mark Zagunis||B-|
|Chicago White Sox||LHP Carlos Rodon, RHP Spencer Adams, LHP Jace Fry||A-|
|Cincinnati Reds||RHP Nick Howard, SS Alex Blandino, 3B Taylor Sparks||B|
|Cleveland Indians||OF Bradley Zimmer, LHP Justus Sheffield, OF Mike Papi, RHP Grant Hockin||B+|
|Colorado Rockies||LHP Kyle Freeland, 2B Forrest Wall||B+|
|Detroit Tigers||OF Derek Hill, RHP Spencer Turnbull||B|
|Houston Astros||LHP Brady Aiken, OF Derek Fisher, 1B A.J. Reed||A-|
|Kansas City Royals||LHP Brandon Finnegan, LHP Foster Griffin, C Chase Vallot, RHP Scott Blewett||B+|
|Los Angeles Angels||LHP Sean Newcomb, RHP Joe Gatto, RHP Chris Ellis||B+|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||RHP Grant Holmes, OF Alex Verdugo||B+|
|Miami Marlins||RHP Tyler Kolek, C Blake Anderson, SS Justin Twine||B|
|Milwaukee Brewers||LHP Kodi Medeiros, SS Jacob Gatewood, OF Monte Harrison, RHP Cy Sneed||B+|
|Minnesota Twins||SS Nick Gordon, RHP Nick Burdi, RHP Michael Cederoth||A-|
|New York Mets||OF Michael Conforto, SS Milton Ramos||A-|
|New York Yankees||LHP Jacob Lindgren, RHP Austin DeCarr||B-|
|Oakland Athletics||3B Matt Chapman, RHP Daniel Gossett||B-|
|Philadelphia Phillies||RHP Aaron Nola, LHP Matt Imhof||B+|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||SS Cole Tucker, OF Connor Joe, RHP Mitch Keller||C+|
|San Diego Padres||SS Trea Turner, OF Michael Gettys, RHP Zech Lemond||B|
|San Francisco Giants||RHP Tyler Beede, C Aramis Garcia||B+|
|Seattle Mariners||OF Alex Jackson, OF Gareth Morgan, CF Austin Cousino||B+|
|St. Louis Cardinals||RHP Luke Weaver, RHP Jack Flaherty, RHP Ronnie Williams||B+|
|Tampa Bay Rays||1B Casey Gillaspie, RHP Cameron Varga, RHP Brent Honeywell||B+|
|Texas Rangers||RHP Luis Ortiz, SS Ti'Quan Forbes, SS Joshua Morgan||B|
|Toronto Blue Jays||RHP Jeff Hoffman, C Max Pentecost, RHP Sean Reid-Foley, LHP Nick Wells||B+|
|Washington Nationals||RHP Erick Fedde, LHP Andrew Suarez, C Jakson Reetz||C+|
|MLB.com/Steven Cook's grades|
Visit MLB.com for an interactive list of 2014 MLB draft picks.
Aaron Nola, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Much of the talk from Thursday's opening rounds of the draft was centered around the young pitchers who went No. 1 and 2 overall, but few pitchers at the top of the board will have an earlier impact than Aaron Nola.
Out of LSU, Nola showed his worth in that time with a 30-6 record, a 2.09 ERA and 345 strikeouts as the undoubted ace of a weekend rotation that won the SEC tournament this year.
But it's Nola's pitching arsenal that has wowed scouts and caused him to be picked seventh overall. With a dominating fastball that can reach 97 mph but sits around 94, he can command it well on both sides of the plate in order to keep hitters off-guard.
On top of that, he's more prepared than most heading into the minor league system, as Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever told CSN Philly's John Finger the following:
“There is something to say about having now stuff and that’s what Aaron Nola has,” Wolever said. “Aaron Nola has now stuff. We don’t really have to project a lot because it’s already here.”
Nola has shown his stuff for some time as a can't-miss early first-round prospect, but he truly exploded last season with a 12-1 record, leading LSU to the College World Series. He's been just as good in 2014, and that has led him to being one of the first names off the board.
Nick Gordon, SS, Minnesota Twins
He ended up not being the first position player off the board as the Chicago Cubs made a surprise move for Kyle Schwarber at No. 4, but Nick Gordon should have been just that and will prove why in no time.
The shortstop out of Olympia High School (Florida) can do it all. His swing at the plate is strong enough to drive the ball anywhere on the field, and the Florida State commit figures to be a productive hitter early in the lineup or even in the leadoff position.
What makes him truly special is his ability to impact the game in other ways. As an exceptional athlete, at 6'2" and 175 pounds, Gordon can cover the infield particularly well, and he uses his speed to wreak havoc on the basepaths.
And as ESPN's Jerry Crasnick noticed, it's a good sign that he emulates the typical legendary shortstop:
Heck, he can even pitch. Gordon's fastball has been able to get into the 90 mph range, which means there's always the fallback option.
If his family lines are any indication, Gordon will be one of the league's more relevant players in no time. His father Tom "Flash" Gordon was an All-Star pitcher, and his brother Dee Gordon is making a name for himself with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Soon, though, Nick Gordon will be known for his own accomplishments more than that of his family.
Brady Aiken, LHP, Houston Astros
There are spectacular position players and college pitchers at the top, but it was Aiken's day on Thursday during the opening rounds of the MLB draft.
The 17-year-old from Cathedral Cathloic High School (San Diego, California) won't make his MLB debut for at least a few years, but when he does, he'll have worlds of expectations on him to be the Astros' next-generation ace.
Despite his young age, Aiken can already hit 97 mph with his fastball and has developed his secondary pitches better than most pitchers even at the collegiate level. At 6'4" and 210 pounds, he's the prototypical size for an elite pitcher and has drawn comparisons to Clayton Kershaw.
Per MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, the Astros see him as an important piece to the future:
"The tools are in place to get a front-line starter, a big left-hander in our rotation for a long time," scouting director Mike Elias said. "We think he can log innings, with the way he's thrown the ball and the way he's built."
It's not surprising to see Houston putting so much into Aiken's future. After all, he's the second straight pitcher they've taken with the No. 1 overall pick; last year's selection Mark Appel struggled in year one.
It will be some time before Aiken makes his impact felt, but when he does, he'll become one of the game's best.