2016 MLB Mock Draft: Early Predictions for Top 1st-Round Baseball Prospects

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 10, 2015

Florida pitcher A.J. Puk delivers against Arkansas during the first inning of a Southeastern Conference college baseball tournament game, Friday, May 22, 2015, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

With 10 rounds in the books for the 2015 MLB draft, we figured it's as good a time as any to start looking ahead to the 2016 draft class. Obviously, we don't know the exact order of selection, because the current major league season hasn't even hit the July 13-16 All-Star break as of yet.

However, we can reference the standings as a guide. The draft order in this mock is based on the standings as of the close of play on June 9.

The 2016 draft class is expected to be stacked with power arms, and two of them will likely be the first players taken next June. Just below the table is a look at two of the best pitching prospects and one stud outfielder.

2016 MLB Mock Draft
1Philadelphia PhilliesAlec HansenRHP6'7"235Oklahoma
2Milwaukee BrewersRiley PintRHP6'4"195St. Thomas Aquinas High School (KS)
3Oakland AthleticsBlake RutherfordOF6'3"190Chaminade College Preparatory (CA)
4Miami MarlinsRobert TylerRHP6'4"217Georgia
5Seattle MarinersA.J. PukLHP6'7"225Florida
6Cincinnati RedsAustin BergnerRHP6'4"195Windermere Prep (FL)
7Boston Red SoxConnor JonesRHP6'3"200Virginia
8Arizona DiamondbacksNick BanksOF6'0"200Texas A&M
9Baltimore OriolesChris OkeyC5'11"195Clemson
10Colorado RockiesMatt KrookLHP6'3"205Oregon
11Cleveland IndiansJason GroomeLHP6'6"180IMG Academy (FL)
12Chicago White SoxBobby Dalbec3B6'4"219Arizona
13Atlanta BravesBraxton GarrettLHP6'3"190Florence High School (AL)
14San Diego PadresLogan ShoreRHP6'2"215Florida
15Los Angeles AngelsJordan SheffieldRHP6'0"185Vanderbilt
16Toronto Blue JaysDane DunningRHP6'3"190Florida
17Washington NationalsWillie AbreuOF6'4"225Miami (FL)
18New York MetsAlex SpeasRHP6'4"180McEachern High School (GA)
19Detroit TigersMatt CrohanLHP6'4"200Winthrop
20Tampa Bay RaysCorey RayOF5'11"185Louisville
21Texas RangersCal QuantrillRHP6'3"185Stanford
22Pittsburgh PiratesWil CroweRHP6'2"240South Carolina
23Chicago CubsBrad DeboC6'1"210Orange High School (NC)
24San Francisco GiantsJake FraleyOF6'0"183LSU
25Houston AstrosJared PocheLHP6'1"207LSU
26New York YankeesDrew MendozaSS6'4"195Lake Minneola High School (FL)
27Minnesota TwinsRyan BoldtOF6'2"212Nebraska
28Los Angeles DodgersZach JacksonRHP6'4"215Arkansas
29Kansas City RoyalsJeff BelgeLHP6'4"235Henninger High School (NY)
30St. Louis CardinalsNolan WilliamsSS6'1"190Home Schooled (KS)
Picks by Mazique

Alec Hansen: 6'7", 235 pounds, RHP, Oklahoma

Of all the highly touted pitchers set to be selected in 2016, none is more impressive than Alec Hansen. The Oklahoma Sooners standout is a rangy 6'7", and per Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs, Hansen can hit 99 mph with his fastball. McDaniel also compared Hansen to the Texas Rangers' 2015 first-round pick, Dillon Tate.

McDaniel said:

"He basically has the same stuff as Dillon Tate (94-97, touch 99 mph, 65 or so slider, 55 or so changeup) but is 6'7" 235 pounds (Tate is 6'1" 190 pounds) and is getting his first extended look as a starter as a sophomore (Tate made his first collegiate start this spring, as a junior)."

Hansen has shown the ability to be a major strikeout pitcher through two years with the Sooners.

Per the Baseball Cube, Hansen fanned 53 in 37 innings pitched over the past two seasons. His ERA during that time is a bit high at 4.14 and his WHIP is even less efficient at 1.70, but he's just 20 years old and has shown steady improvement since his freshman season.

By this time next year, barring any injury setbacks or unexpected slumps, Hansen should have solidified himself as the top prospect in the 2016 draft.

A.J. Puk: 6'7", 225 pounds, LHP, Florida

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

A.J. Puk isn't just a top-notch pitching prospect—he's also solid with the bat. He's believed to have some pop from the left side of the plate, but his future will likely be on the mound. Puk's fastball can hit 98 mph, per FanGraphs, but he hasn't had as much experience on the mound due to his potential as a hitter.

That could wind up being a good thing, as his arm will have likely undergone less wear and tear. In a day and age when pitcher health is such a big concern, a lesser workload could be a plus. 

Puk does come with some character and maturity concerns. In April, he and a teammate were arrested for climbing a crane at a construction site. Yeah, that happened.

It could easily be dismissed as a silly, young-adult stunt, but he'll undoubtedly have to answer some questions about it once he meets with potential suitors.

Blake Rutherford: 6'3", 190 pounds, OF, Chaminade Prep HS (CA)

Of all the hitters I've seen in the 2016 class, Blake Rutherford is the most impressive. As a high schooler, he's already 6'3", 190 pounds. He'll likely fill out to around 210-215 pounds of muscle by the time he's in a team's organization for two or three years.

Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times raved about Rutherford's hitting prowess earlier this year. Sondheimer wrote: "Pitchers are going to have to figure out how to get out junior outfielder Blake Rutherford of Chaminade. He hits fastballs, he hits curveballs, he hits anything."

Rutherford also runs like the wind. He has stolen 22 bases in just 63 games. He also hit .435 as a junior and played a sparkling centerfield. He only hit four home runs, but with his frame, there's reason to believe he has serious power potential, as well.

Teams that miss out on the top arms or covet a hitter more than a hurler will be locked in on Rutherford.