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|
|1||Philadelphia Phillies||Alec Hansen||RHP||6'7"||235||Oklahoma|
|2||Milwaukee Brewers||Riley Pint||RHP||6'4"||195||St. Thomas Aquinas High School (KS)|
|3||Oakland Athletics||Blake Rutherford||OF||6'3"||190||Chaminade College Preparatory (CA)|
|4||Miami Marlins||Robert Tyler||RHP||6'4"||217||Georgia|
|5||Seattle Mariners||A.J. Puk||LHP||6'7"||225||Florida|
|6||Cincinnati Reds||Austin Bergner||RHP||6'4"||195||Windermere Prep (FL)|
|7||Boston Red Sox||Connor Jones||RHP||6'3"||200||Virginia|
|8||Arizona Diamondbacks||Nick Banks||OF||6'0"||200||Texas A&M|
|9||Baltimore Orioles||Chris Okey||C||5'11"||195||Clemson|
|10||Colorado Rockies||Matt Krook||LHP||6'3"||205||Oregon|
|11||Cleveland Indians||Jason Groome||LHP||6'6"||180||IMG Academy (FL)|
|12||Chicago White Sox||Bobby Dalbec||3B||6'4"||219||Arizona|
|13||Atlanta Braves||Braxton Garrett||LHP||6'3"||190||Florence High School (AL)|
|14||San Diego Padres||Logan Shore||RHP||6'2"||215||Florida|
|15||Los Angeles Angels||Jordan Sheffield||RHP||6'0"||185||Vanderbilt|
|16||Toronto Blue Jays||Dane Dunning||RHP||6'3"||190||Florida|
|17||Washington Nationals||Willie Abreu||OF||6'4"||225||Miami (FL)|
|18||New York Mets||Alex Speas||RHP||6'4"||180||McEachern High School (GA)|
|19||Detroit Tigers||Matt Crohan||LHP||6'4"||200||Winthrop|
|20||Tampa Bay Rays||Corey Ray||OF||5'11"||185||Louisville|
|21||Texas Rangers||Cal Quantrill||RHP||6'3"||185||Stanford|
|22||Pittsburgh Pirates||Wil Crowe||RHP||6'2"||240||South Carolina|
|23||Chicago Cubs||Brad Debo||C||6'1"||210||Orange High School (NC)|
|24||San Francisco Giants||Jake Fraley||OF||6'0"||183||LSU|
|25||Houston Astros||Jared Poche||LHP||6'1"||207||LSU|
|26||New York Yankees||Drew Mendoza||SS||6'4"||195||Lake Minneola High School (FL)|
|27||Minnesota Twins||Ryan Boldt||OF||6'2"||212||Nebraska|
|28||Los Angeles Dodgers||Zach Jackson||RHP||6'4"||215||Arkansas|
|29||Kansas City Royals||Jeff Belge||LHP||6'4"||235||Henninger High School (NY)|
|30||St. Louis Cardinals||Nolan Williams||SS||6'1"||190||Home 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.
"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
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.