2015 MLB Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Projections for Top Prospects

Justin Hussong@@HeatChecksHussContributor IIIMay 31, 2015

Vanderbilt's Dansby Swanson has rocketed up draft boards in recent months. Could he go first overall?
Vanderbilt's Dansby Swanson has rocketed up draft boards in recent months. Could he go first overall?Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

The 2015 MLB draft is set to kick off on June 8 in Secaucus, New Jersey. While there are certainly no Stephen Strasburgs, Bryce Harpers or Gerrit Coles this year, there are storylines aplenty even without a consensus No. 1 pick.

The crop this year features a bevy of right-handed pitching and shortstops all being slotted inside the top 10, as well as plenty of Vanderbilt Commodores. Let's not forget last draft's top pick Brady Aiken is once again available after undergoing Tommy John surgery and failing to reach an agreement with the Houston Astros.

Certain players are free-falling, while others are skyrocketing. Pretty soon, we won't have to speculate any longer. Here is your updated 2015 mock featuring projections for some of the top polarizing prospects.

2015 MLB Mock Draft
1.Arizona DiamondbacksDansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt
2.Houston AstrosBrendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary HS (FL)
3.Colorado RockiesTyler Jay, LHP, Illinois
4.Texas RangersAlex Bregman, SS, LSU
5.Houston AstrosDillon Tate, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
6.Minnesota TwinsKyle Tucker, OF, Plant HS (FL)
7.Boston Red SoxCarson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt
8.Chicago White SoxDaz Cameron, OF, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy (GA)
9.Chicago CubsJon Harris, RHP, Missouri State
10.Philadelphia PhilliesTyler Stephenson, C, Kennesaw Mountain High (GA)
11.Cincinnati RedsAndrew Benintendi, CF, Arkansas
12.Miami MarlinsTrenton Clark, OF, Richland HS (TX)
13.Tampa Bay RaysJames Kaprielian, RHP, UCLA
14.Atlanta BravesBrady Aiken, LHP, IMG Academy (FL)
15.Milwaukee BrewersPhil Bickford, RHP, College of Southern Nevada
16.New York YankeesGarrett Whitley, OF, Niskayuna HS (NY)
17.Cleveland IndiansIan Happ, OF, Cincinnati
18.San Francisco GiantsMike Nikorak, RHP, Stroudsburg HS (PA)
19.Pittsburgh PiratesKolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente High (CA)
20.Oakland AthleticsKyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville
21.Kansas City RoyalsWalker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt
22.Detroit TigersCornelius Randolph, SS, Griffin High (GA)
23.St. Louis CardinalsCody Ponce, RHP, Cal-Poly Pomona
24.Los Angeles DodgersJustin Hooper, LHP, De La Salle High (CA)
25.Baltimore OriolesDonny Everett, RHP, Clarksville High (TN)
26.Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimKevin Newman, SS, Arizona
27.Colorado RockiesChris Betts, C, Wilson High (CA)
28.Atlanta BravesAshe Russell, RHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (IN)
29.Toronto Blue JaysMike White, SS, Alabama
30.New York YankeesRichie Martin, SS, Florida
31.San Francisco GiantsBeau Burroughs, RHP, Weatherford High (TX)
32.Pittsburgh PiratesTriston McKenzie, RHP, Royal Palm Beach HS (FL)
33.Kansas City RoyalsScott Kingery, 2B, Arizona
34.Detroit TigersTyler Nevin, 3B, Poway High (CA)
35.Los Angeles DodgersKyle Holder, SS, San Diego
36.Baltimore OriolesJake Woodford, RHP, Plant HS (FL)
Author's picks

Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt

No one has much of a clue what the Diamondbacks want to do with the No. 1 pick, but Dansby Swanson has begun to separate himself from the pack of late. His play in the SEC tournament was outstanding, going 8-for-21 with four homers.

The icing on the cake for his case as the No. 1 overall pick may have come on Friday, May 30. In the top of the ninth and tied 4-4 against Indiana in a Super Regional game, Swanson went deep for a two-run shot that turned out to be the game-winner.

He followed that up with a stunning play deep in the hole at shortstop that drew loud chants of "Dans-by!" from the crowd. Take a look, per NCAA Baseball:


Really Dansby??? This gem after the go-ahead HR! #RoadToOmaha #SCTop10 http://t.co/u9ncJiBdgM

According to Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com, at least one scout thinks the D-backs couldn't go wrong with Dansby.

"If he has solid to solid-average grades in every tool and plays shortstop? That's a very, very valuable player," a scout with an NL club said. "People didn't give Stephen Drew very much credit for the four or so solid years he had, but those were very valuable years."

Swanson doesn't have the same aura that former No. 1 pick Bryce Harper had, but he has the "it" factor you look for in a top pick. He has burst onto the scene since being named College World Series MVP last year, and he will prove to be much more than a Stephen Drew for the Diamondbacks.

Brady Aiken, LHP, IMG Academy (FL)

So, we meet again.

Last year's No. 1 pick is back in the field after failing to sign his contract last year and undergoing Tommy John surgery. Where he winds up is anybody's guess. Aiken is likely the hardest player to peg in this year's draft.

The only thing we can probably set in stone is that the Houston Astros likely won't be picking him again.

Tommy John surgery is nothing like it used to be. While it is not a career death sentence, it still signals a red flag on a young pitcher's ability to stay healthy for the long term. We don't know who is turned off and who isn't, but he could be in play as high as No. 9 for the Chicago Cubs, according to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com after a conversation with amateur scouting director Matt Dorey.

Dorey talked about the value of the team's top-10 pick:

We’ve had a lot of discussion about: Hopefully we’re not picking this high ever again. This might be one of our last opportunities to really like go and shoot for the best player, the best impact, because as you start to win, you start to fall down the first round. We (might) not be looking at this quality a player in a long time, from the draft perspective.

In a draft that lacks a ton of high-end talent, some team will take a big swing on Aiken in the top 20. It would be shocking if he went to the Cubs at No. 9, but don't be surprised to see him go around pick No. 15 or so.

Kolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente High (CA)

Kolby Allard is another example of how polarizing prep pitchers can be. Like Aiken, he was also in the conversation of being the top pick before injuries reared their ugly head.

Once considered the top prep pitcher in this draft, a stress reaction in his back has derailed his season. Allard was supposed to be out for two months, but he still hasn't thrown off a mound since sustaining the injury well over two months ago.

It's tough to evaluate a player with limited experience, and missing this much time at this juncture for a 17-year-old makes Allard a huge unknown. A full summer wielding mid-90s fastballs and devastating breaking balls could have placed him firmly in the top five of this draft, but now his outlook is muddied.

Allard's easy and repeatable delivery should quell most long-term questions about his health, but the fact that his injury came at such an inopportune time will knock him down the draft board. The Pirates are not afraid to take risks, and they will take a long look at him should he fall to No. 19.


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