The MLB Draft is officially underway, and there was some top talent taken at the top.
The Philadelphia Phillies may have taken the next transcending outfielder in baseball, while the Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox both drafted some steals.
Here are some grades and the best and worst from Thursday.
|Arizona Diamondbacks||OF Anfernee Grier (39), C Andrew Yerzy (52)||The D-Backs could use some outfield production. Grier has speed and a strong arm in center.||B|
|Atlanta Braves||RHP Ian Anderson (3), LHP Joey Wentz (40), LHP Kyle Muller (44), C Brett Cumberland (76)||Atlanta addressed pitching often, but Ian Anderson was questionable seeing as he wasn't the first pitcher taken on mocks.||B-|
|Baltimore Orioles||RHP Cody Sedlock (27), LHP Keegan Akin (54), RHP Matthias Dietz (69)||Another team who could use a lot of pitching. Baltimore did well with what was available.||B|
|Boston Red Sox||LHP Jason Groome (12), SS C.J. Chatham (51)||Groome could've gone top-10, so the Red Sox got a huge steal there. Great foundation piece.||A-|
|Chicago Cubs||No picks||N/A||N/A|
|Chicago White Sox||C Zack Collins (10), RHP Zach Burdi (26), RHP Alec Hansen (49)||Collins is a gem. Can move to first base in time, but could be CWS' version of Anthony Rizzo.||B+|
|Cincinnati Reds||3B Nick Senzel (2), OF Taylor Trammell (35), C Chris Okey (43)||Senzel has a smooth right-handed swing and can drive in runs and hit homers. Future of the Reds looks bright.||A|
|Cleveland Indians||OF Will Benson (14), 3B Nolan Jones (55), C Logan Ice (72)||Benson has drawn comparisons to Jason Heyward. The Indians could use someone like that badly.||A-|
|Colorado Rockies||RHP Riley Pint (4), RHP Robert Tyler (38), LHP Ben Bowden (45)||Pint can hit 100 miles per hour. The Rockies need a flamethrower like that. Great size, great potential.||A|
|Detroit Tigers||RHP Matt Manning (9)||Early work in the draft for the Tigers. Manning has a 97 MPH fastball and his 6'6" frame makes him unique.||B+|
|Houston Astros||RHP Forrest Whitley (17), OF Ronnie Dawson (61)||The Astros add to their stellar collection of pitching with the 6'7" Whitley, who has a near-100 mph fastball.||B|
|Kansas City Royals||RHP A.J. Puckett (67)||The defending champs had only one pick, but grabbed a pitcher in Puckett who can work both sides of the plate well.||B|
|Los Angeles Angels||C Matt Thaiss (16), RF Brandon Marsh (60)||Thaiss was the best hitter on one of the best teams in the country. The Angels got a good one.||B+|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||SS Gavin Lux (20), C Will Smith (32), RHP Jordan Sheffield (36), RHP Mitchell White (65)||Lux was the second-best shortstop in high school. He could be an important cog in the Dodgers' infield years from now.||B|
|Miami Marlins||LHP Braxton Garrett (7)||Garrett could be a good No. 2 pitcher if he gets stronger and perfects his changeup.||B+|
|Milwaukee Brewers||OF Corey Ray (5), 3B Lucas Erceg (46), C Mario Feliciano (75)||Behind Mickey Moniak, Ray might be the best position prospect. Athletic and good at the plate.||A-|
|Minnesota Twins||OF Alex Kirilloff (15), C Ben Rortvedt (56), SS Jose Miranda (73), OF Akil Baddoo (74)||The Twins need some more pitching. Kirilloff is a good prospect, but there were more pressing needs.||C+|
|New York Mets||RHP Justin Dunn (19), LHP Anthony Kay (31), 1B Pete Alonso (64)||Dunn and Kay have college experience and could be in line for Triple-A starts soon.||B+|
|New York Yankees||OF Blake Rutherford (18), 2B Nick Solak (62)||The Yankees are preparing for the future. Getting two future impact players will help rush that process.||A-|
|Oakland Athletics||LHP A.J. Puk (6), RHP Daulton Jefferies (37), RHP Logan Shore (47)||The A's had no problem getting Florida's top pitchers on their team. Both of them, especially Puk, are really good.||A|
|Philadelphia Phillies||OF Mickey Moniak (1), RHP Kevin Gowdy (42)||Moniak might be the next Bryce Harper or Mike Trout. Can do everything well. Phillies need a complete player like him||A|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||3B Will Craig (22), LHP Nick Lodolo (41), RHP Travis Macgregor (68)||The Pirates got themselves a fine-tuned third baseman in Craig. Could move to outfield one day.||B+|
|San Diego Padres||RHP Cal Quantrill (4), SS Hudson Sanchez (24), LHP Eric Lauer (25), OF Buddy Reed (48), RHP Reggie Lawson (71)||The Padres wasted no time in replacing James Shields. More importantly, Cal Quantrill might be the best location pitcher of this draft.||A|
|San Francisco Giants||OF Bryan Reynolds (59)||His defensive abilities will improve, but the Giants will always take a guy with smart batting instincts.||B+|
|Seattle Mariners||OF Kyle Lewis (11), 3B Joe Rizzo (50)||Lewis has pop and can be a home run specialist at Safeco Field.||A-|
|St. Louis Cardinals||SS Delvin Perez (23), OF Dylan Carlson (33), RHP Dakota Hudson (34), RHP Connor Jones (70)||Perez is mainly a defensive-minded shortstop and has Gold Glove potential. Getting the pitchers also bolsters the farm system.||B+|
|Tampa Bay Rays||3B Joshua Lowe (13), OF Ryan Boldt (53), OF Jake Fraley (77)||He may not be an Evan Longoria replacement, but Lowe could be a Rays star years to come with his defense and bat.||B|
|Texas Rangers||LHP Cole Ragans (30), RHP Alex Speas (63)||The Rangers needed to improve their farm pitching. Ragans and Speas both throw hard and can be future cogs in the Texas bullpen.||B+|
|Toronto Blue Jays||RHP TJ Zeuch (21), OF J.B. Woodman (57), SS Bo Bichette (66)||Not a flashy draft for the Blue Jays, but Zeuch could be a future closer with No. 1 starter material down the line.||B-|
|Washington Nationals||SS Carter Kieboom (28), RHP Dane Dunning (29), 3B Sheldon Neuse (58)||Kieboom is versatile and can play many positions. It may take a bit to find which position fits him best.||B-|
Best Draft Picks
Mickey Moniak, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Labeling any high school prospect the next best anything is a stretch. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have set the bar for top overall picks, especially in the outfield.
Enter Mickey Moniak, per the Phillies:
The La Costa Canyon outfielder is the kind of player the Phillies need. He's someone who can do it all. He has a great arm, can hit for contact with potential for power while possessing stellar speed to run the bases.
Outfielders going No. 1 are a rarity, especially in this decade, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
Right now, he won't have the power to wow the Phillies. That will come with time. One evaluator told Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly other than that component, there's no downside to taking Moniak No. 1 overall.
“The bat is good," the evaluator told Salisbury. "He’s going to hit and hit for average. He’s a good centerfielder. He can run. The question is how many home runs will he hit? If he ends up getting stronger, he could be a corner bat that’s unbelievable. There’s no negative here. It’s a good pick.”
Moniak just turned 18 years old. There's plenty of room to grow and become that complete player who can be a transcending figure for the Phillies.
Riley Pint, RHP, Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies could use some pitching. Not since the days of Ubaldo Jimenez have the Rockies had a pitcher with so much potential.
Riley Pint might be just a flamethrower now, but in a few years, MLB could be seeing its next Stephen Strasburg. Just don't tell Pint that.
“I feel like I’m my own pitcher,” Pint told MLB Network (per Nick Groke of the Denver Post). “I just want to develop more over the next few years.”
Pint is capable of hitting 102 miles per hour on the gun. While he needs time to develop his command on off-speed pitches, that heat can't be ignored. Even if Pint develops into a closer role in his early days, that's fine. He'll have the David Price treatment.
The highest-drafted player out of the state of Kansas, and LSU commit, is the third high school pitcher the Rockies have ever taken in the top 10, per Groke.
He's got great size at 6'4" and is only 18 years old. The Rockies need a future star in their rotation, and Pint could be that guy after a healthy stint in the minors.
Worst Draft Picks
Ian Anderson, RHP, Atlanta Braves
This isn't necessarily a terrible pick, but it's a stretch.
When Ian Anderson is healthy, he has one of the liveliest arms of any prospect in this class. But he suffered an oblique injury this year and saw his stock drop. But the Atlanta Braves don't see it that way.
The Braves made Anderson the first pitcher taken off the board with the No. 3 pick. His fastball isn't at the clip of a Riley Pint or A.J. Puk. And while his off-speed pitches are his most dangerous weapons, his health and arm strength are a concern.
Puk's off-speed pitches can range from 88-90 miles per hour. He can give more velocity and better control than Anderson can.
At least with Anderson, though, the Braves are saving a considerable amount of money, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
The Braves are in desperate need of immediate impact on the mound. There's a lot of pressure now with Anderson being the top pitcher taken. He'll need to perform well in the next few years to validate him being selected this high.
TJ Zeuch, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays are so talented across the board, that this draft was more of a ho-hum set of affairs.
TJ Zeuch is a tall right-handed pitcher out of Pittsburgh with the ability to be a Chris Young-type of pitcher.
Maybe that's what the Blue Jays need, especially with how Young and the Kansas City Royals bullpen performed in last year's American League Championship Series.
But Zeuch seems like a filler pick for Toronto. Zeuch has a strong command of his release, but scouts are concerned with off-speed pitching, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (via Baseball America):
Zeuch could be an effective ground-ball pitcher, but it feels like Toronto could've addressed other needs like outfielder (especially if Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion leave). Toronto needed pitching, but Zeuch may not be the guy to have in this spot.