2015 MLB Draft Results: Biggest Winners and Losers of the Entire Draft
Three days, 1,215 picks and who knows how many wishful-thinking player comparisons later, the 2015 Major League Baseball draft has come to a close.
We've already discussed winners and losers for Day 1 and Day 2 of the draft individually. Now it's time to do the whole shebang, because obviously we know right this second who made out well and who didn't.
Ahead of you is a list of 10 winners and losers, but here's a spoiler: The list isn't split right down the middle. Rather than feature five winners and five losers, there are six winners and four losers. The draft is, after all, supposed to be an optimistic occasion.
Step into the box whenever you're ready.
Winner: Houston Astros
The Houston Astros came into the 2015 draft looking for redemption of sorts, as their experience with the 2014 draft turned sour when they failed to sign No. 1 pick Brady Aiken and fifth-rounder Jacob Nix.
As it turned out, finding redemption was no problem.
Predictably, the Astros grabbed two elite talents when they drafted star LSU shortstop Alex Bregman with the No. 2 pick and multitalented prep outfielder Kyle Tucker, brother of Preston, with the No. 5 pick. They then landed a massive steal when they drafted prep outfielder Daz Cameron, son of Mike, with the No. 37 pick. MLB.com ranked him as the sixth-best talent of the draft class.
But the Astros didn't stop there. They opened the second day of the draft by selecting TCU right-hander Riley Ferrell with the No. 79 pick. Like that, they had added MLB.com's No. 45-ranked prospect.
The Astros slowed down after that, but the damage was done. Their first three picks netted arguably three top-10 talents, and adding a top-50 talent at No. 79 was icing on the cake.
The Astros' $17.3 million bonus pool should make it easy to sign these guys. Once they do, they'll take a farm system that was starting to lose steam and replenish it in a big way.
Loser: New York Mets
In fairness to the New York Mets, there's probably no way they could have avoided being a loser in this year's draft. They didn't pick until No. 53, and they also have the draft's smallest bonus pool.
Still, you could hold out hope that the Mets would luck into at least one steal. But alas, that didn't happen.
They began by selecting prep outfielder Desmond Lindsay at No. 53. According to ESPN.com's Adam Rubin, they're touting him as an "offensive machine." But according to Baseball America, he's not even a top-100 talent.
According to MLB.com, he's not even a top-200 talent.
The Mets also didn't land one of MLB.com's top 200 guys when they drafted prep left-hander Max Wotell at No. 88. And though they might have found a bunch of steals with subsequent picks, they didn't do so until they selected Nic Enright and Jake Higginbotham on Day 3. And in all likelihood, they're not signing.
In light of all this, it's hard to ignore that the Mets held the No. 14 pick before giving it up to sign Michael Cuddyer. On a related note, it's hard to ignore that he's barely passing as a league-average hitter.
Maybe the Mets had the best draft they could have had. But right now, it sure looks like a forgettable one.
Winner: Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies did not have the No. 1 pick in this year's draft, but they might as well have.
With the No. 3 overall pick, they selected prep shortstop Brendan Rodgers. In doing so, they landed a guy considered to be the top talent in this year's draft class by MLB.com, Baseball America, ESPN.com and pretty much the rest of the known universe.
That was enough of a coup in its own right, but the Rockies had more fist-pump worthy picks in store.
At No. 27, the Rockies grabbed a top-15 talent in prep right-hander Mike Nikorak. At Nos. 38 and No. 44, they scored top-50 prospects in prep third baseman Tyler Nevin, son of Phil, and prep right-hander Peter Lambert. They then found a top-100 talent at No. 107 in USD right-hander David Hill and Baseball America's No. 116-ranked prospect in Jack Wynkoop at No. 167.
That's an excellent run of draft picks, and they're all about to join a farm system that was already looking strong. After checking in at No. 8 on Baseball America's organizational rankings at the start of the year, the Rockies' farm figures to be moving up even higher from here on out.
Loser: Los Angeles Angels
Like the Mets, the Los Angeles Angels began the draft in a tough spot. They didn't pick until No. 26 and also had the fifth-smallest bonus pool to work with.
But knowing their farm system checked in at just No. 28 on Baseball America's radar at the start of the year, they faced pressure to get it right. And they might not have done so.
The Angels raised a lot of eyebrows when they settled on Fresno State catcher Taylor Ward with the No. 26 pick, as he came into the draft ranked as a bottom-100 talent rather than a top-30 prospect.
Angels scouting director Ric Wilson defended the pick of Ward to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times by saying that critics "have no idea what our dynamics are." That, in all fairness, is true. But for now, it looks like a reach.
The Angels could have made up for it by finding steals as the draft went along, but that didn't happen. They picked prep outfielder Jahmai Jones at about where he should have gone at No. 70 and didn't luck into any really big steals on Day 2 or 3.
In all, one senses that the Angels were drafting more with their bonus pool in mind than anything else. That's to say they played it safe, which isn't likely to help their farm system improve.
Winner: Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers began 2015 with Baseball America's No. 11 farm system, but that was mainly due to their bats. Only three of their top 10 prospects were pitchers, so arms were something of a priority.
Which brings us to the good news: The Rangers found some.
With the No. 4 pick, they landed UC Santa Barbara right-hander Dillon Tate. He's widely regarded as one of the draft's top five talents and maybe its best pitcher. The Rangers did well to get him.
But their best work really happened on Day 2 of the draft. That's when the Rangers nabbed Duke right-hander Michael Matuella at No. 78, Houston right-hander Jake Lemoine at No. 108 and Vanderbilt right-hander Tyler Ferguson at No. 168, thereby securing three high-ceiling arms.
In doing so, they earned the praise of Baseball America's Teddy Cahill as the big winners of Day 2: "Matuella, Lemoine and Ferguson all carry risk, but all three ranked in the top half of the BA 500 and, along with No. 4 overall pick Dillon Tate, have the potential to give the Rangers one of the best hauls of pitching in this year’s draft."
In other words, the Rangers may have given their farm system exactly what it needed.
Loser: Miami Marlins
Like the Angels, the Miami Marlins also needed to have a strong draft after coming into the year with Baseball America's No. 26 system. The advantage they had, however, was the No. 12 pick.
They didn't make the most of that.
The Marlins made the first "Wait, who?!" pick of the draft when they selected Canadian prep first baseman Josh Naylor at No. 12. He has lots of power, but it's only going to serve the Marlins well if his other tools develop. And according to almost everyone, that's a big if.
As Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports noted on Twitter, the Naylor pick would make sense if the Marlins went for fallen top talents later in the draft. You know, just like the Mets and Angels might have.
But that didn't happen. You can argue the Marlins reached for Brett Lilek at No. 50, for Isaiah White at No. 85, for Justin Jacome at No. 146, so on and so on.
Of course, all this will be academic if Naylor develops into a lefty power threat to go with Giancarlo Stanton in a few years' time. If not, the Marlins' 2015 draft will look like a missed opportunity.
Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
If you're not a fan of rich-getting-richer storylines, turn away now. If you're a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, however, rejoice! Your team had an excellent draft.
Despite the fact the Dodgers didn't have their first pick until No. 24, they quickly found two of the draft's biggest steals on Day 1. The first was Vanderbilt right-hander Walker Buehler at No. 24, and the second was Louisville right-hander Kyle Funkhouser at No. 35.
"In Buehler and Funkhouser, we feel both are good value picks," said Dodgers scouting director Billy Gasparino, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "We couldn't be more excited to get them."
The Dodgers didn't stop there. At No. 67, they landed a top-50 talent in prep outfielder Mitch Hansen. They then wrapped up Day 1 by getting Josh Sborz, a Virginia right-hander with a big power arm, at No. 74.
As Baseball America's Ben Badler noted, the Dodgers' first-day draft haul had his colleagues buzzing. They didn't generate as much chatter on Day 2 or Day 3, but receiving as much positive attention as they did on Day 1 despite not being in a great position to do so is enough of a victory in its own right.
Loser: Donny Everett
There are always guys who get drafted much later than anticipated. This year, among those who stand out are Daz Cameron at No. 37 and Chris Betts at No. 52.
But nobody stands out like Donny Everett. He didn't just fall. He plummeted.
Instead, the prep right-hander out of Clarksville High School in Tennessee lasted until Day 3. He didn't come off the board until the Milwaukee Brewers selected him in the 29th round at No. 871.
In all likelihood, Everett won't actually be a Brewer. JJ Cooper of Baseball America noted that his fall seemed to be due to his asking price and commitment to Vanderbilt, which he's presumably going to honor rather than take a lesser signing bonus.
That could work out for Everett when he re-enters the draft a couple of years from now. But if injury or ineffectiveness intervenes, he's going to wish he hadn't scared teams off in 2015.
Winner: Vanderbilt University Baseball
Speaking of Vanderbilt, no other institution had a better draft than the Commodores did.
They produced the draft's No. 1 overall pick in shortstop Dansby Swanson, who now has a bright future with the Arizona Diamondbacks. After that, Vanderbilt also produced the No. 8 pick in right-hander Carson Fulmer and the No. 24 pick in Walker Buehler.
And that was just the start. In the end, six Vanderbilt players went in the first six rounds, and there were still three more to go after that.
However, the draft didn't just rob Vanderbilt of talent. It also pushed talent toward the Commodores, as top recruits Donny Everett, Alonzo Jones and Chandler Day should all be bound for Nashville, Tennessee, after lasting until the third day of the draft.
In all, the same program that has produced David Price, Sonny Gray and Pedro Alvarez now has a real chance to produce even more major league stars, and the pipeline is still going strong.
Winner: Major League Baseball Diversity
We're going to end this thing by going off the rails somewhat, but we do so to note something that's much worth noting.
By now, it's far from a secret that African-American players don't have nearly the presence in Major League Baseball that they once did. It's also no secret that MLB doesn't want this to be the case and has actively been trying to do something to rectify that.
Well, the league will like what Jon Heyman of CBS Sports noticed on Monday. By his count, 15 of the first 59 picks of the draft were used on African-American players. That was a continuation of a trend, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today noted in April that drafts in the last four years have seen quite a few African-American prospects get selected with high picks.
Why is this important, you ask?
Practically speaking, it's in MLB's best interests to be drawing from as many talent pools and appealing to as many demographics as possible. Aside from that, it's nice to see a sport with such a rich history of African-American players refusing to let go.
Note: Special thanks to MLB.com for the easy-to-navigate draft tracker.