2016 MLB Draft Results: Biggest Winners and Losers of Day 1
The MLB draft is always a combination of homework, guesswork and gut feeling.
This year, with ample amateur talent available in the high school and college ranks but no consensus No. 1 overall pick, that's especially true.
In that sense, it's premature to definitively declare anyone a winner or loser after Day 1.
Still, we can survey the landscape after the initial two rounds and 77 picks and identify some teams and players who made out better or worse than expected.
There's homework here, but there's also plenty of guesswork and gut feeling.
Proceed when ready—you're on the clock.
Winner: Mickey Moniak
Going No. 1 overall always carries a mixture of prestige and pressure.
On the one hand, it cements your status as a potential future star and maximizes your possible compensation.
On the other hand, there is the inevitable weight of expectations. Success is assumed; failure is magnified.
Still, an honor is an honor, and Mickey Moniak has every reason to smile after the Philadelphia Phillies grabbed him with the top pick on Thursday.
A high school outfielder out of La Costa Canyon in Southern California, Moniak rose to the top of a crowded, murky draft pool that didn't feature a clear-cut No. 1.
MLB.com ranked him No. 5 among prospective picks but highlighted his strong contact skills and doubles power that could develop as he does. Additionally—and this should tantalize Phils fans—MLB.com noted Moniak's "above-average speed works on both sides of the ball, and some see a future Gold Glove-caliber center fielder."
For now, the 18-year-old can revel in the moment.
"It's indescribable," a composed, yet obviously excited Moniak said on MLB Network moments after the selection was announced. "To be the No. 1 pick, it's insane."
Loser: Jason Groome
The glass-half-full spin would be to declare the Boston Red Sox a winner for using the 12th pick to snag a left-handed starter with ace upside whom MLB.com rated the No. 1 player in the draft.
We're going the other way, though, and declaring Jason Groome a Day 1 loser for tumbling out of the top 10.
An unnamed American League scout told Zach Braziller of the New York Post that Groome's "stock has dropped because of makeup questions centering on his maturity and because high school pitchers always get picked apart because of the high risk involved with drafting them."
Further, Braziller's source noted, "Groome's camp is looking for top-three-pick money, which would be in the $7 million ballpark."
The assigned value for the 12th pick is about $3.2 million, so either Groome will have to lower his demands or Boston will have to blow well past that amount and go bargain hunting with its later picks. (The Red Sox grabbed Florida Atlantic shortstop C.J. Chatham, ranked No. 63 by MLB.com, at No. 51.)
The hard-throwing 17-year-old Groome has options if the Red Sox don't satisfy him financially, as NESN's Pat Bradley outlined:
Groome previously was committed to Vanderbilt University — Red Sox ace David Price’s alma mater — but reportedly decommitted and instead opted for Chipola College, a junior college in Florida. That’s significant because if Groome doesn’t receive the money he wants in a contract, he can go play for Chipola and re-enter the draft next year.
Maybe Groome can put the maturity questions behind him and deliver on the sky-high promise that led one general manager to call him possibly "the best high school pitching prospect since Clayton Kershaw," per Jon Heyman of MLB Network. And if he signs, he'll join an already-loaded Boston system.
For now, however, his diminished draft standing has to feel at least a little deflating.
Winner: Oakland A's
Sometimes, talent falls in your lap.
So it went Thursday for the Oakland A's, who snagged left-hander A.J. Puk—projected by Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter as the top overall pick—with the No. 6 selection.
An imposing specimen at 6'7", Puk throws a high-90s fastball, as well as a plus slider and changeup, and racked up 95 strikeouts in 70 innings in his junior year at Florida.
His 4.0 walks per nine innings hints at lingering command issues, but we're talking about a possible front-line starter who seemed destined to fall off the board within the first few picks.
"Two days ago the A's thought they had no chance [to get Puk]," analyst Jonathan Mayo said during the MLB Network telecast. "They're probably doing cartwheels in that draft room now."
The A's added more pitching later in the day, taking recently injured but promising University of California right-hander Daulton Jefferies (No. 57, per MLB.com) at No. 37 and adding Puk's Gators teammate—right-hander Logan Shore (No. 42, per MLB.com)—at No. 47.
Loser: San Diego Padres
With three picks in the first round, the San Diego Padres had an opportunity to make out like bandits on Thursday.
Instead, the Friars pulled the trigger on a couple of high-risk head-scratchers.
First, San Diego selected right-hander Cal Quantrill, son of former major leaguer Paul Quantrill, with the No. 8 pick.
Quantrill has the talent to be special, but he missed most of his sophomore year and his entire junior season at Stanford after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The Padres followed that roll of the dice with a significant reach, taking shortstop Hudson Sanchez out of Texas' Carroll High School at No. 24.
MLB.com (No. 91) and Baseball America (No. 108) didn't see Sanchez sniffing the first round. And MLB.com's scouting report suggested "he lacks the quickness to be a middle infielder in the big leagues," meaning he may need to boost his power profile to slot into one of the corner-infield spots.
San Diego did better with its final first-rounder, grabbing solid college lefty Eric Lauer out of Kent State at No. 25. And it added speedy, switch-hitting outfielder Buddy Reed at No. 48 and work-in-progress high school right-hander Reggie Lawson at No. 71.
Of course, it's possible these picks will all work out swimmingly. General manager A.J. Preller certainly sounded a confident note.
"We don't think the draft is a crapshoot at all," Preller said Wednesday, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "We think if you have good scouts and a good process and philosophy, you're going to get better players than some of the other organizations."
Maybe Preller will end up looking like the smartest guy in the room. Given his rocky track record since taking the helm in San Diego, however, there's reason for doubt.
Winner: Colorado Rockies
It's no secret the Colorado Rockies are in perpetual need of pitching. And they added one potentially game-changing arm on Thursday.
A high school right-hander who got buzz as a possible No. 1 pick, 18-year-old Riley Pint turned heads with triple-digit heat and a plus curveball, yet he fell to the Rockies at No. 4 overall.
MLB.com noted that Pint "lacks consistency with his mechanics, sometimes finding it difficult to repeat his arm slot and find the strike zone."
But he's an undisputed power arm with sink on his fastball who could overcome the Coors Field curse and give Colorado the true rotation-fronting stud it's perpetually searching for.
"In a best-case scenario, he becomes a Justin Verlander-esque front-line ace," Baseball America opined.
Pint was obviously the day's big prize, but Colorado added two more intriguing arms by taking University of Georgia right-hander Robert Tyler and his plus fastball at No. 38 and Vanderbilt's Ben Bowden, a closer-turned-starter, at No. 45.
Loser: Blake Rutherford
Here's another instance where we could declare the drafting team—in this case, the New York Yankees—a winner.
New York, after all, added another solid bat to its system by grabbing high school outfielder Blake Rutherford at No. 18.
According to Baseball America, the 19-year-old Rutherford "has size, strength, athleticism and power potential for scouts to dream on and would likely be the consensus top prep bat in the class if he had a more consistent spring or if he were a year younger."
That may explain why Rutherford, ranked No. 8 by MLB.com, fell a full 10 spots.
Maybe in a few years when he's raking in the Bronx, this loser label will seem like knee-jerk silliness. For now, Rutherford's lowered draft stock is almost certainly going to cost him some cash.
Winner: Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds grabbed one of the more polished bats in the draft at No. 2 overall by taking Tennessee's Nick Senzel.
An improving defender with a plus arm, Senzel "shows the ability to drive the ball with authority to the opposite field or to his pull-side gap" and has flashed "raw power," according to Baseball America.
The Reds followed that safe pick with a complementary high-upside gamble, taking hyperathletic outfielder Taylor Trammell at No. 35.
A two-sport star who rushed for 2,479 yards and 36 touchdowns at Mount Paran Christian High School in Georgia, Trammell brings game-changing speed and the "tools to be an asset in center field," per MLB.com.
The Reds capped off the day by taking well-rounded Clemson catcher Chris Okey at No. 43, pegged by MLB.com as having the "offensive upside of hitting .260 with 15 homers per season."
A nice haul for a rebuilding team looking for a melange of depth, upside and projectable talent.