2014 MLB Draft Grades: Final Report Cards for All 30 Teams
The 2014 MLB first-year player draft came to an end Saturday with Rounds 11 through 40, as teams made one final attempt to either build on or improve their hauls from the opening rounds.
Having already analyzed the selections from Days 1 and 2, in this slideshow we'll take a step back and evaluate each team's overall draft, breaking down some of the potential steals and questionable picks.
Each team was graded on a combination of factors, ranging from organizational needs and potential impact to value at the draft slot and signability of the draftee.
After three days and 1,215 picks, here's a look at how each team fared in this year's draft.
Note: Clicking on a player's link will take you to his corresponding draft profile/scouting report in a new window.
After drafting four high-ceiling prep players on Day 1 of the draft, including highly touted pitchers RHP Touki Toussaint (No. 16) and LHP Cody Reed (No. 54), as well as up-the-middle preps in outfielder Marcus Wilson (No. 69) and shortstop Isan Diaz (No. 70), the Arizona Diamondbacks continued that trend to begin Day 2 by selecting OF Matt Railey in the third round.
Arizona snagged several interesting arms over the next three rounds, including Brent Jones (fourth round), a right-hander with a mid-90s fastball and sharp curveball; RHP Mason McCullough (fifth), a former UNC pitcher who ended up at Division II Lander and is now pumping mid-90s with minimal control; and Middle Tennessee State LHP Zac Curtis (sixth), who led all NCAA hurlers with 136 strikeouts this year.
The D-backs used their next two picks on a pair of junior college players in 3B Tyler Humphreys, who dropped 18 bombs this spring, and OF Grant Heyman, one of the best under-the-radar sluggers in the class; Heyman is also committed to Oregon State next year.
The organization grabbed a few more notable prospects on the draft's final day, such as Vanderbilt LHP Justin Miller (11th) and TCU 1B Kevin Cron (14th), the younger brother of the Los Angeles Angels' C.J. Cron.
The Diamondbacks also took a flier in the 20th round on prep RHP J.B. Bukauskas, who owns some of the best arm strength in the class but told teams well before the draft that he plans on honoring his commitment to North Carolina next season.
The Atlanta Braves used their first- and second-round picks on a pair of promising high school players in outfielder Braxton Davidson (No. 32) and RHP Garrett Fulenchek (No. 66), with the latter having already agreed to an above-slot, $1 million bonus, per MLB.com's Jim Callis.
They began Day 2 by grabbing a pair of physically imposing college right-handers in Max Povse (third round) and Chad Sobotka (fourth), with the latter offering tremendous value if he fully recovers from a back injury that held him out of action for most of the spring. They'd later draft RHP Bradley Roney, an athletic right-hander with a quick arm who produces low-90s velocity, in the eighth round.
In terms of positional talent, the Braves' best pick on Day 2 was 2B Luke Dykstra (yes, the poor kid is Lenny's son), a "sum of all parts" player who gets the most of his average tools.
The Braves targeted pitching on the draft's final day, grabbing notable prospects such as Liberty RHP Ashton Perritt (17th), RHP Jake Godfrey (21st), who was viewed as a potential Day 1 guy headed into the spring, and LHP Tucker Baca (32nd).
Day 1 was an off day for the Baltimore Orioles, as they were the only team without a pick in the first two rounds after signing Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz during the offseason.
On Day 2 the Orioles drafted college pitchers with four consecutive picks, with the highlights including RHP Pat Connaughton, a two-sport star (basketball) out of Notre Dame, and junior college LHP Tanner Scott, who pumps mid-90s gas but struggles to find the zone.
The organization's focus shifted to college infielders toward the end of Day 2, as it grabbed senior infielders Steve Wilkerson and Austin Anderson in the eighth and ninth rounds, respectively.
On the draft's final day, the Orioles used 22 of their 30 picks on pitchers, including Grand Canyon University LHP Brandon Bonilla, the son of Bobby Bonilla and godson of Barry Bonds.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox had one of the better Day 1 drafts, as they found excellent value with each of their first three picks, shortstop Michael Chavis, RHP Michael Kopech and first baseman Sam Travis, despite not making their first selection until the No. 26 overall pick in the first round.
Day 2 of the draft saw the Red Sox grab several high-upside college pitchers, with the most notable being RHP Jake Cosart (third round), the younger brother of Houston Astros starter Jarred Cosart, who moved from the outfield to the mound about a year ago and features an explosive fastball in the mid- to upper-90s.
They would later select RHP Kevin McAvoy (fourth), a main component of Bryant's success over the last two years, and RHP Reed Reilly (seventh), who saved 11 games and posted a 1.62 ERA and 10.56 K/9 this season as Cal Poly's closer.
The Red Sox also grabbed a pair of high-floor college hitters toward the end of Day 2 in OF Danny Mars (sixth), a junior college product with plus speed and strong on-base skills, and catcher Ben Moore, who showed good contact skills while also working in the outfield for Alabama.
As is the case every year, the Red Sox spent Day 3 of the draft taking fliers on potential above-slot candidates, but not before they grabbed Florida RHP Karsten Whitson (11th), a 2010 first-rounder who turned down $2.1 million out of high school.
The Chicago Cubs had an interesting Day 1 of the draft, shocking the baseball world by selecting Indiana catcher Kyle Schwarber at No. 4 overall rather than one of the many impact arms still on the board. In addition, it doesn't appear as though Schwarber can stay behind the plate as he climbs toward the MLB level, as ESPN's Keith Law noted.
However, they found good value in Maryland senior RHP Jake Stinnett in the second round.
It was a foregone conclusion headed into Day 2 that, with the money saved on their initial picks, the Cubs would target some of the high-end arms who went unselected in the opening rounds due to either injury or signability concerns. After grabbing athletic, bat-first catcher Mark Zagunis in the third round, that's exactly what happened.
The Cubs drafted three notable prep arms with their next three picks in LHP Carson Sands (fourth), LHP Justin Steele (fifth) and RHP Dylan Cease (sixth). All three players are perceived to have signability issues, especially Sands, a Florida State commit, and Cease, who avoided surgery this spring for a partial UCL tear and is committed to Vanderbilt next season.
The organization's final four picks on Day 2 were college pitchers, with the notable selections being Saint Louis RHP James Norwood (seventh), whom I had ranked in the top 100 prospects headed into the draft, and RHP James Farris, a senior with good pitchability and command.
The Cubs opened Day 3 by selecting Fresno State RHP Jordan Brink (11th), who has plenty of untapped potential having moved from the outfield to the mound. They'd later take a flier on a pair of above-slot candidates in prep OF Isiah Gilliam (23rd) and catcher Michael Cantu (30th).
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox made a haul on Day 1 of the draft, despite having only two picks, as they popped LHP Carlos Rodon with the No. 3 pick and walked away with an absolute steal in the second round (No. 44 overall) with high-upside prep RHP Spencer Adams.
The Southsiders' draft picks on Day 2 can be broken down into two groups: college pitchers and up-the-middle players.
In terms of arms, they found good value in the third round with LHP Jace Fry, who's excelled this season in Oregon State's rotation and profiles as a back-end starter with good command of a four-pitch mix. They also grabbed 6'6" RHP Zach Thompson (fifth round) out of UT-Arlington and later LHP Brian Clark (ninth), who had an an uptick in velocity this spring at Kent State.
As for position players, the White Sox landed N.C. State backstop Brett Austin (the No. 54 overall pick in the 2011 draft) in the fourth round. The junior batted .344/.414/.516 with 22 extra-base hits this season, but he probably won't stick behind the plate long-term.
The White Sox also drafted athletic outfielder Louie Lechich (sixth), who batted .342/.396/.542 with seven homers this spring for San Diego, as well as shortstops Jake Peter (seventh) and John Ziznewski (eighth) and prep second baseman Jake Jarvis (10th).
Though the organization targeted mostly college seniors on Day 3 of the draft, it did make one notable upside selection in 6'8" prep RHP Bryce Montes de Oca (14th), who was pitching in the mid-90s this spring exactly one year removed from Tommy John surgery.
As they were last year, the Cincinnati Reds were all-in on college players on Day 1 of the draft, selecting Virginia closer Nick Howard (who they will likely develop as a starter, a la Tony Cingrani and Michael Lorenzen) with their first-round pick, followed by a pair of high-floor college infielders in Alex Blandino and Taylor Sparks with subsequent selections.
The Reds landed several power arms on Day 2 of the draft, including USC RHP Wyatt Strahan (third), junior college RHP Tejay Antone (fifth) and, interestingly, Seton Hall RHP Jose Lopez (sixth), who missed the entire season with an injury.
The Reds also found great value with their fourth-round pick, prep third baseman Gavin LaValley, who was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Oklahoma after batting .554 with 18 bombs.
The Reds' final day of the draft was relatively quiet, though they did make a few interesting upside picks in prep third basemen Montrell Marshall (12th) and Robert Byckowski (22nd), as well as catcher Jose Lopez (33rd) and CF Brandon Vicens (35th).
The Cleveland Indians reaped the benefits of having four Day 1 picks, grabbing a pair of impact college hitters in outfielders Bradley Zimmer (No. 21) and Mike Papi (No. 38), as well as two high-upside prep arms in LHP Justus Sheffield (No. 31) and RHP Grant Hockin (No. 61).
Sheffield was thought to have signability issues, given his commitment to Vanderbilt, but the Tribe put that issue to rest late Thursday night by inking him with a $1.6 million bonus, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis, via Jordan Bastian and Alec Shirkey of MLB.com. However, there have since been conflicting reports, as Justus' father Travis Sheffield says no deal has been reached yet.
Day 2 of the draft saw the Indians grab several impressive hitters. Mississippi prep first baseman Bobby Bradley (third round) flat-out mashes and projects as at least an average hitter with above-average power.
San Diego State outfielder Greg Allen, selected in the sixth round, offers good value given his potential as a top-of-the-order switch-hitter. I also like the selection of Puerto Rican shortstop Alexis Pantojas in the ninth round, as he's already a standout defender in a draft class that's thin at the position.
Like most other teams, the Tribe spent Day 3 of the draft targeting college senior and junior college pitchers, though they did make a couple of interesting selections from the prep ranks in catcher K.J. Harrison (25th), OF Reese Cooley (26th) and RHP Ryder Ryan (40th).
However, with a good chunk of their spending pool likely allotted for the aforementioned players, the Rockies drafted more conservatively on Day 2.
That being said, they did grab a few solid arms from the college ranks in LHP Sam Howard (third round), LHP Harrison Musgrave (eighth) and RHP Andrew Rohrbach (ninth), with the latter two hurlers offering value in their respective rounds. Their one notable upside play was third baseman Kevin Padlo in the fifth round, as the California prep has the potential for above-average power and a decent hit tool.
Day 3 of the draft saw the Rockies select mostly college players (especially pitchers), though they did take a flier on two notable prep prospects in 1B Pavin Smith (32nd) and RHP Griffin Canning (38th).
The baseball world expected the Detroit Tigers to grab a powerful bullpen arm with their first-round pick, but Dave Dombrowski and Co. essentially took the exact opposite route, adding much-needed upside to their system in prep CF Derek Hill (No. 23).
In the second round, they selected college RHP Spencer Turnbull, who has power stuff but will need to develop better control and command to remain a starter.
The Tigers quietly found value on Day 2 by using each of their eight picks on college players, such as well-known catchers Grayson Greiner (third round) and Shane Zeile (fifth), the nephew of former MLB veteran Todd Zeile, CF Ross Kivett (sixth) and 3B Joey Pankake (seventh).
They also added a potential impact bullpen arm in Vanderbilt RHP Adam Ravenelle (fourth), who could get to the majors quickly on the merits of his heavy mid-90s fastball.
Detroit grabbed several intriguing prospects from the college ranks on Day 3, highlighted by Georgia Tech RHP Josh Heddinger (14th), Creighton OF Mike Gerber (15th) and Rice RHP Parker French (19th).
After selecting prep LHP Brady Aiken with the No. 1 overall pick, the Astros spent the remainder of Day 1 targeting high-floor college hitters and ultimately found good value with OF Derek Fisher (No. 37) and slugging 1B A.J. Reed (No. 42).
The Astros opened Day 2 by grabbing another power bat in Cal State Fullerton's J.D. Davis (third round), whom they surprisingly listed as a third baseman.
However, their run on college mashers ended there, as the Astros used six of their remaining seven picks on Day 2 on pitchers, with the highlights being Texas A&M RHP Daniel Mengden (fourth), hard-throwing prep RHP Jacob Nix (fifth) and Fresno State RHP Derick Velazquez (seventh), who is only now coming into his own and shows plenty of untapped potential.
Houston would go on to grab several promising arms on the draft's final day, selecting Tommy John survivor RHP Dean Deetz (11th), Coastal Carolina LHP Ben Smith (17th) and prep LHP Mac Marshall (21st), though the latter stated himself that he will honor his commitment to LSU.
Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals made a questionable first-round pick in LHP Brandon Finnegan (No. 17), who has excellent stuff but comes with legitimate injury concerns, but they made up for it with a trio of high-upside picks in high schoolers LHP Foster Griffin (No. 28), catcher Chase Vallot (No. 40) and RHP Scott Blewett (No. 56).
The organization's strategy on Day 2 was a reflection of its desire to sign the trio of high school picks from Day 1. The Royals targeted mostly cost-efficient college players with some upside, such as LHP Eric Skoglund (third round), toolsy Virginia outfielder Brandon Downes (seventh) and outfielder Brandon Thomasson (ninth).
The Royals had a quiet final day of the draft, though that was expected given the presumed financial commitments that will be necessary to sign Griffin, Vallot and/or Blewett. However, they still managed to grab several notable college hitters in 1B Robert Pehl (11th), SS Corey Toups (15th) and Oregon OF Scott Heineman (19th).
Los Angeles Angels
The organization continued to add projectable, high-upside arms on Day 2.
It began the the day with selections of Ole Miss RHP Chris Ellis (third round), a potential mid-rotation starter with an arsenal of three average-or-better pitches; RHP Jeremy Rhoades (fourth), who will be developed as a starter but likely end up in the bullpen, thanks to a nasty plus fastball/slider combination; and RHP Jake Jewell (fifth), another hard thrower who's headed to Oklahoma next season if he doesn't sign.
The Angels continued to find value from the college ranks on Day 3, as they were able to land San Diego 3B Andrew Daniel (11th), Louisville RHP Jared Ruxer (12th), Liberty 1B Ryan Seiz (17th) and Louisiana-Lafayette RHP Austin Robichaux (18th).
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers arguably had the biggest steal on Day 1 of the draft.
Highly touted prep RHP Grant Holmes, who was considered a potential top-10 pick headed into the day, fell into their lap at No. 22, which is ridiculous value given his front-of-the-rotation ceiling.
Plus, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that they have an agreement in place with second-round pick Alex Verdugo (No. 62), who initially will be deployed to the outfield, with pitching representing a fallback option.
With Holmes and Verdugo expected to receive above-slot money, the Dodgers had to be creative with their Day 2 picks.
After pushing UNLV RHP John Richy (who stepped up as the team's ace in the wake of Erick Fedde's season-ending surgery) up the board to the third round, they grabbed a pair of former Tommy John guys in Washington RHP Jeff Brigham (fourth round) and California Baptist RHP Trevor Oaks (seventh).
However, they did make a intriguing upside play in the fifth round with Georgia prep 3B Jared Walker, a 6'3" left-handed hitter with above-average raw power.
While the Dodgers didn't have a particularly strong Day 3 of the draft, they still were able to find solid value in East Tennessee State 1B Clint Freeman (18th) and Cal Poly 2B Jimmy Allen (24th).
The Miami Marlins were happy to grab RHP Tyler Kolek, the draft's hardest thrower, with the second overall pick on Day 1, but they followed the pickup with a pair of questionable selections in defense-oriented catcher Blake Anderson (No. 36) and ultra-athletic SS Justin Twine (No. 43).
Miami continued to grab high-end athletes on Day 2 of the draft, including Arkansas 2B Brian Anderson (third round), California prep CF Casey Soltis (fifth) and a potential steal in OF Stone Garrett (eighth).
They also snuck in a pair of potential back-end starters at the end of the day, selecting Oregon State LHP Ben Wetzler in the ninth round followed by Texas LHP Dillon Peters in the 10th.
Day 3 of the draft saw the Marlins take a flier on several notable prep prospects in RHP Nick White (11th), Puerto Rican catcher Roy Morales (12th), SS Zach Sullivan (14th) and RHP Jordan Holloway (20th).
The Milwaukee Brewers entered Day 1 of the draft with the goal of adding high-ceiling talent to their lackluster system.
That's exactly what they did by grabbing three of the more high-risk, high-reward prep talents in the class in LHP Kodi Medeiros (No. 12), SS Jacob Gatewood (No. 41) and OF Monte Harrison (No. 50), who has already agreed to an above-slot bonus of $1.8 million, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis.
With most of their pool money locked up in their Day 1 picks, the Brewers had no choice but to force some names up their board early on Day 2, which led to the selections of Dallas Baptist RHP Cy Sneed (third round) and Maryland prep CF Troy Stokes (fourth). After that, it was all about saving money, as the Brewers selected four college seniors with their final six Day 2 picks.
The Brewers shifted their focus back to upside on Day 3, presumably as a fallback option in case either Medeiros or Gatewood doesn't sign, as they took fliers on several well-known prep commodities in catcher J.J. Schwarz (17th), SS Tate Blackman (20th) and RHP Turner Larkins (28th).
The Minnesota Twins' Day 1 unfolded as expected, as they selected SS Nick Gordon, the top shortstop in this year's class, with the fifth overall pick, followed by Louisville closer RHP Nick Burdi in the second round.
The Twins continued to grab hard-throwing bullpen arms on Day 2.
They started with San Diego State closer RHP Michael Cederoth (third round) and then moved on to Georgia Tech LHP Sam Clay (fourth), Oregon RHP Jake Reed (fifth), Texas RHP John Curtiss (sixth) and Missouri RHP Keaton Steele (eighth). They will likely give some (maybe even all) of those guys a chance to start in the minor leagues, with a bullpen role serving as a promising fallback option.
The organization didn't find much value with its Day 3 picks, though it did grab a few notable college bats in South Carolina OF Tanner English (11th), UC Santa Barbara 1B Tyler Kuresa (16th) and UNLV 3B T.J. White (18th).
New York Mets
The New York Mets had only one pick on Day 1 of the draft, but they got the player they wanted in OF Michael Conforto (No. 10), who was arguably the most advanced college hitter in the class.
Though they made a great pick in the third round with SS Milton Ramos, the best defensive shortstop in the class, the Mets' lack of pool money prevented them from making an impact on Day 2. They went off the board to grab hitters such as JUCO third baseman Eudor Garcia-Pacheco (fourth round), LSU catcher Tyler Moore (sixth) and Florida prep first baseman Dash Winningham (eighth).
After their lackluster Day 2, the Mets bounced back Saturday by targeting upside from the high school ranks, selecting RHP Erik Manoah (13th), RHP Gabriel Llanes (15th), OF Ralph Ramirez (18th) and OF Luke Bonfield (21st), with the two latter players having the potential to be late-round steals should they ultimately sign.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees had only one pick on Day 1 of the draft due to offseason signings, but they were able to land Mississippi State strikeout artist LHP Jacob Lindgren (No. 55), a player who fits their immediate and long-term bullpen needs (assuming they don't develop him as a starter) and has the potential to reach the majors in short order.
Though they had little pool money available to spend on Day 2, the Yankees still managed to add quality arms to their system in Connecticut prep RHP Austin DeCarr (third round), who works in the 92-94 mph range with his fastball and flashes plus with his curveball, and Central Michigan RHP Jordan Foley (fifth), whose control improved considerably this spring while bumping 94-95 mph with his heater.
Day 3 of the draft saw the Yankees cast a wide net for arms by targeting more college pitching, and they were able to find decent value with several picks, including West Virginia RHP Sean Carley, Pittsburgh RHP Joseph Harvey and Indiana RHP Jake Kelzer.
The Oakland A's selection of Cal State Fullerton 3B Matt Chapman (No. 25) ended their two-year run of drafting high school players in the first round, but they found good value in the second round with Clemson RHP Daniel Gossett (No. 65).
The organization continued to target value in college pitchers who fell down the board on Day 2, grabbing Missouri RHP Brett Graves (third round), Niagara RHP Jordan Schwartz (fourth) and junior college RHP Heath Fillmyer (sixth).
I really like Oakland's selection of Oregon prep SS Trace Loehr in the sixth round, and it probably has a decent shot at signing him away from Oregon State next year after selecting college players in the first five rounds.
Day 3 of the draft was pretty uneventful for the A's, though they did take several interesting late-round fliers on preps RHP Tyler Schimpf (31st), OF Denz'l Chapman (32nd) and catcher Michael Rivera (33rd).
The Philadelphia Phillies had a very successful Day 1 of the draft, as they landed a pair of college pitchers in RHP Aaron Nola (No. 7) and LHP Matt Imhof (No. 47) who should quickly get to the majors and who are excellent additions to the team's starting rotation.
Day 2 saw the Phillies continue to draft college players almost exclusively, but they were able to find value with a number of picks, especially in the fourth round, when they took highly projectable Arkansas RHP Chris Oliver.
I also like their decision to draft Pepperdine's Aaron Brown as a center fielder, as most teams were likely considering him a left-handed pitcher. However, based on that reasoning, they probably could have grabbed him a round or two later.
Furthermore, Sacramento State 1B Rhys Hoskins offers decent value in the fifth round, as the 6'4", 225-pounder has big raw power that plays well in games along with a mature approach.
The Phillies' Day 3 strategy saw them target primarily college players, as they drafted Arizona State SS Drew Stankiewicz (11th), Cal State Bakersfield LHP Austin Davis (12th), Texas RHP Nathan Thornhill (13th) and New Mexico OF Chase Harris (14th) to begin the day.
With Pittsburgh's four picks on Day 1 of the draft, the Pirates likely saved considerable pool money (without necessarily settling for lesser talents) with their first two selections, as they grabbed switch-hitting prep SS Cole Tucker (No. 24) and underrated college OF Connor Joe (No. 39).
That extra money should help them sign their subsequent picks, prep right-handers Mitch Keller (No. 64) and Trey Supak (No. 73), which would make for a really nice haul on Day 1.
The Pirates continued to find value from the college ranks Friday, as they began the day by grabbing one of this year's more underrated hitters in Fresno State OF Jordan Luplow (third round) and later adding Sam Houston State RHP Tyler Eppler, a 6'5", 215-pounder with a solid feel for a four-pitch mix.
The final day of the draft was quiet for the Pirates, though they did grab a few notable high school prospects in RHP Gage Hinsz (11th) and OF Eric Thomas (21st).
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres landed two of the better athletes in the draft class on Day 1, using their first-round pick on N.C. State SS Trea Turner (No. 13) and then grabbing OF Michael Gettys (No. 51)—who has enormous upside, if the bat comes around, but comes with signability concerns—in the second round.
The Padres targeted mostly college players Friday, hoping to save money for their aforementioned Day 1 picks, though they still managed to land several players with untapped potential in Rice RHP Zech Lemond (third round), Cal Poly OF Nick Torres (fourth) and later Charlotte RHP Ryan Butler (seventh), who could put things together quickly with the right guidance.
While the Padres' Day 3 will be forever remembered for their selection of Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel in the 28th round, they did manage to grab quality players in OF Yale Rosen (11th), 3B Joey Epperson (13th) and RHP Logan Jernigan (15th). They also took late-round fliers on preps OF Logan Sowers (31st) and RHP Cobi Johnson (35th).
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants, whose prospect pool is currently comprised of mostly young arms, quietly had an impressive Day 1 of the draft, as they added a pair of probable big leaguers in RHP Tyler Beede (No. 14) and well-rounded catcher Aramis Garcia (No. 52).
On Thursday, they added a few more college players with big league upside, as they grabbed Oregon State OF Dylan Davis in the third round and then Southern Illinois RHP Sam Coonrod, who has the potential to blossom in that organization, in the fifth. They also drafted Stanford OF Austin Slater in the eighth round, which is good value if he can stick in center field.
Day 3 of the draft saw the Giants continue to find value in college players LHP Caleb Smith (17th) and 3B Hunter Cole (26th), while also taking late-round fliers on catchers Tim Susnara (34th) and Benito Santiago (38th) and RHP Mitch Hart (35th).
The Seattle Mariners wanted power on Day 1 of the draft, and that's precisely what they got in outfielders Alex Jackson (No. 6), one of the premier hitters in the class, and Gareth Morgan (No. 74), who has some serious thump in his bat.
However, the signability concerns tied to Jackson and Morgan resulted in a quiet Day 2 for Seattle, as it used each of its eight picks on college players, including six pitchers. One of those non-pitcher selections, Kentucky OF Austin Cousino, could turn out to be a steal in the third round if he can return to his 2012 form.
Day 3 of the draft saw the Mariners select a few more valuable college prospects in Georgia SS Nelson Ward (12th), Fresno State SS Chris Mariscal (14th) and Stanford catcher Wayne Taylor (16th).
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals seemingly based their entire Day 1 draft around RHP Jack Flaherty (No. 34), who has signability concerns as a North Carolina commit. That explains why they targeted cost-cutting options in the first round with RHP Luke Weaver (No. 27) and later saved even more money with right-handers Ronnie Williams (No. 68) and UC Irvine ace Andrew Morales (No. 71).
The savings continued for St. Louis on Day 2 as it, like many other teams, strictly targeted college players. Yet the Cardinals' haul was unimpressive comparatively, with their only notable selections being Florida Atlantic LHP Austin Gomber (fourth round) and Saint Joseph's catcher Brian O'Keefe (seventh).
As expected, the Cardinals continued to target pitching on Day 3 of the draft, as the organization took fliers on prep right-handers Derek Casey (22nd) and Bryan Dobzanski (29th), as well as prep 3B Joe Gillette (23rd).
In spite of their "C+" grade, the Cardinals identify talent better than any other team, so expect them to produce numerous big leaguers from this draft class.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays' Day 1 began with the selection of switch-hitting 1B Casey Gillaspie (No. 20), as they pushed him up the board in order to save money for prep RHP Cameron Varga (No. 60) in the second round. Along those same lines, the Rays ended the night by grabbing RHP Brent Honeywell (No. 72), whom I assume they will sign to a well-below-slot deal.
The Rays, much like the Cardinals, had a rather disappointing Day 2 of the draft, though they were able to land prep RHP Blake Bivens in the fourth round followed by well-rounded UNC shortstop Michael Russell in the fifth.
Day 3 of the draft saw the Rays target relatively cheap, off-the-board prospects, though they did make a nice pick with prep RHP Spencer Moran in the 11th round.
The Texas Rangers targeted high-ceiling prep players on Day 1 of the draft, which has been their M.O. for the past few years, and they potentially landed two big-time steals in RHP Luis Ortiz (No. 30) and SS Ti'Quan Forbes (No. 59).
Texas opened Day 2 by selecting SS Josh Morgan, another high-ceiling prep shortstop (go figure), in the third round. After that, however, the organization had to enter cost-saving mode due to the signability concerns it faces with both Forbes, a Mississippi commit, and Morgan, who is committed to play for UCLA next year.
That being said, the Rangers have a strong track record of signing their early-round prep draft picks, and this year should be no different.
The Rangers would make a few more upside players on the draft's final day, as they grabbed junior college right-handers Scott Williams (11th) and J.T. Phillips (18th), as well as preps RHP Gabe Gonzalez (13th), RHP Jayce Vancena (26th) and OF Travis Jones (39th).
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays enjoyed a really solid Day 1 of the draft, landing three of the best players in the class within the first two rounds in RHP Jeff Hoffman (No. 9), catcher Max Pentecost (No. 11) and RHP Sean Reid-Foley (No. 49), who surprisingly fell into their lap in the second round.
Toronto continued to add talent at premium positions on Day 2, as it began the day by selecting a trio of high-upside preps in 6'5" LHP Nick Wells (third round), catcher Matt Morgan (fourth) and toolsy OF Lane Thomas (fifth). I also like the team's seventh-round pick, Cal Poly OF Zach Zehner, a 6'4", 215-pounder with untapped potential at the dish.
The Blue Jays made a run at several high-upside high school prospects on Day 3, as they selected RHP Jake Latz (11th), catcher Mike Papierski (16th), OF Todd Isaacs (22nd) and RHP Keith Weisenberg (38th), who will need well-above-slot money to pass on his commitment to Stanford.
Few teams, if any, had a better Day 2 than Washington, which landed a variety of promising players from both the prep and college ranks. The Nats began the day by selecting catcher Jakson Reetz, one of the more impressive high school players in the class, in the third round, and then grabbed one of this year's top junior college arms, hard-throwing RHP Robert Dickey, in the fourth.
"Very excited," Nationals vice president of scouting operations Kris Kline said about the selection of Reetz, via MLB.com's Daniel Popper. "This is a high school catcher that we love. ... He's got a really good feel to hit. You're looking at an offensive catcher at the big league level down the road."
The Nationals landed one of college baseball's premier athletes in the seventh round in CF D.K. Carey, who finally put things together this spring at Miami to bat .305 with a career-high seven home runs. They also added a pair of college sluggers before the day was done in Louisville OF Jeff Gardner (eighth round) and Nevada 1B Austin Byler (ninth), who batted .326 with 14 doubles and 14 home runs this spring.
Like the Blue Jays, Washington's Day 3 saw it take fliers on several prep players who had fallen down the board due to signability concerns. The Nats ultimately selected outfielders Elliot Cary (32nd) and Clay Casey (33rd), catcher Evan Skoug (34th), LHP Quinn Brodey (37th) and OF Jon Littell (39th).
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