With the MLB Draft just on the horizon, everyone is itching to see which new young prospects added to their favorite team's farm system.
Last season saw the Rays pick up Garrett Whitley in the first round, a prep-school outfielder with plenty of upside. The Rays also added other intriguing prospects, including catcher Chris Betts, right-hander Brandon Lowe, outfielder Joe McCarthy, and shortstop Jake Cronenworth.
Without further ado, here is what I expect the first round of the MLB draft to look like.
1. Philadelphia Phillies-LHP A.J. Puk, University of Florida
Almost every indication leads the Phillies to select Puk, who has plenty of upside as a power lefty. Control and consistency will be Puk's biggest issues, but anyone who posts a 12+ K/9 in college is worth picking high.
2. Cincinatti Reds-RHP Riley Pint, St. Thomas Aquinas (KN) High
With a strong minor-league system, the Reds have the freedom to go best available in the draft. My No. 1 draft prospect is Riley Pint, and the Reds will get a hell of pitcher to develop in Pint. He has a upper-90s fastball, plus change, and an above-average breaking ball presently with more to come.
3. Atlanta Braves-OF Kyle Lewis, Mercer
The Braves picking an outfielder almost makes too much sense. The top half of the Braves' Top 30 has few, if any, outfielders, and Lewis has an impact bat that should carry him up the minors quickly.
4. Colorado Rockies-LHP Jason Groome, Barnegat (NJ) HS
Groome was considered a cinch for the No. 1 overall pick a couple months ago, but has slipped since then. Either way, the Rockies will end up with a solid pitcher who has quite the high floor for a high schooler.
5. Milwaukee Brewers-OF Mickey Moniak, La Costa Canyon (CA) HS
Moniak has gotten looks from the Phillies as one of, if not the most, projectable players in the draft. Moniak has plus speed and a solid hit tool with a chance to fill out for some power at the plate.
6. Oakland Athletics-3B Nick Senzel, Tennessee
Unlike the teams before the A's in the draft, they have a middling farm system. However, they have improved in the last year and Senzel would provide a top-tier bat in their system. Senzel would be a top-five prospect in their system and has the profile to back it up.
7. Miami Marlins-OF Corey Ray, Louisville
The Marlins lack a true blue-chip prospect, but Ray could become their best prospect as soon as they select him. Ray is a solid prospect from his fielding and plus speed alone, and his bat has plenty of upside for the Marlins to develop.
8. San Diego Padres-SS Delvin Perez, International Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico
The Padres have started to recuperate after blowing up the farm system in trades before 2015, and a raw, toolsy player like Perez could become a star in the pros. He has a strong arm and is almost a guarantee to stay at short, with enough raw tools at the plate to become a plus hitter in the future.
9. Detroit Tigers-OF Blake Rutherford, Chaminade (CA) College Prep
I was torn between having the Padres picking Perez or Rutherford, but both are solid players. Rutherford is a solid fielder and can flash plus speed, with the upside for above-average power and hit tool.
10. Chicago White Sox-LHP Braxton Garrett, Florence (AL) HS
Garrett provides a lot of upside, which the White Sox desperately need. The projection on Garrett is what will sell teams. He should fill out his frame as he gets older and improve his already above-average stuff.
11. Seattle Mariners-RHP Forrest Whitley, Alamo Heights (TX) HS
The Mariners really can't go wrong, needing more or less any type of prospect. Whitley has two plus pitches in his fastball and curve, with a possible third average pitch in his changeup. His biggest question mark is command, but he has plenty of upside.
12. Boston Red Sox-RHP Dakote Hudon, Mississippi State
Hudson is a great fit for the Red Sox system, which has questionable pitching depth. A solid fastball-cutter/slider combo gives a solid floor, and his command has looked better this year.
13. Tampa Bay Rays-LHP Joey Wentz, Shawnee Mission East (KN) HS
Wentz is a good fit in the Rays system with plenty of upside on his projectable frame. His fastball tops out in the mid-90s (and could get higher with time) with two solid backup offerings. Wentz's delivery is easily repeatable and the club should be able to develop his control over time.
14. Cleveland Indians-C Zack Collins, Miami (FL)
Collins would be a top-ten pick if his catching was a sure thing, but it isn't. However, his bat has more than enough to justify his selection here, with plenty of both patience and power.
15. Minnesota Twins-RHP Matt Manning, Sheldon (CA) HS
Manning has plenty of upside, and could fill in nicely part of the Twins' next wave of prospect. He has plenty of upside on his tall frame and has improved his command over the last year.
16. Los Angeles Angels-OF Bryan Reynolds, Vanderbilt
The Angels desperately need a prospect that has some safety, and Reynolds is that to a T. He has a solid tools across the board and is a polished player across the board. Playing in the SEC, Reynolds could take an aggressive approach and start Reynolds in full-season ball.
17. Houston Astros-RHP Ian Anderson, Shenendehowa (NY) HS
The Astros have had a good history with developing prospects, and Anderson could be the next top Astros pitcher. Anderson could sit in the mid-90s with time and his breaking ball, while inconsistent, could separate into two distinct, above-average pitches.
18. New York Yankees-C Matt Thaiss, Virginia
Baseball America's recent rumors seem to point to the Yankees wanting a college bat, and Thaiss is the best one left on the board. His bat speed allows him to tap into his raw power, but his catching is a bit questionable.
19. New York Mets-3B Will Craig, Wake Forest
The Mets have had their eyes on Craig for the past few months, and he is very similar to their own Lucas Duda. Craig sports a solid hit tool and plus arm, but has a questionable glove which may necessitate a move to first.
20. Los Angeles Dodgers-SS/3B Nolan Jones-Holy Ghost (PA) Prep
Jones has solid tools across the board, but he has lost a step as he put on weight. However, he can still be a solid defender at third and has plenty of offensive upside.
21. Toronto Blue Jays-RHP Jordan Sheffield, Vanderbilt
The Commodore has an explosive fastball as well as a solid breaking ball, but size and command questions could cause Sheffield trouble being drafted. However, the Jays seem to be looking for a college player and Sheffield fits the bill as a high-floor college arm.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates-OF Alex Kirilloff, Plum (PA) HS
Kirilloff is a local product for the Pirates and provides a solid hit tool from which to build off of. His above-average raw power will justify an ultimately necessary move to a corner.
23. St. Louis Cardinals-3B Josh Lowe, Pope (GA) HS
Lowe is a lot of projection as a pitcher, and he seems like a much safer bet as a third baseman. His strong fastball from pitching translates to an above-average to plus arm from the hot corner, and Lowe's swing is quick, controlled, and produces plenty of leverage.
24. San Diego Padres-OF Taylor Trammell, Mount Paran Christian (GA) School
Tramell is quite the athlete, splitting time between football and baseball in high school. This translates to plus-plus speed but also inconsistency at the plate.
25. San Diego Padres-RHP T.J. Zeuch, Pitt
With three picks in the first round, the Padres have the ability to draft several types of players. Zeuch is a solid college arm with a 92-94 T97 fastball and a curve that flashes plus and can throw strikes with ease.
26. Chicago White Sox-LHP Eric Lauer, Kent State
The White Sox get this pick for losing Jeff Samardzija, and they've had their eyes on Lauer for a long time. They made their presence known at the Mid-American Conference tournament, and Lauer is a safe bet with a solid four-pitch arsenal.
27. Baltimore Orioles-OF Will Benson, Westminster Schools (TX) HS
Benson has a big bat with big potential, and gives the Orioles a player with plenty of upside from a corner outfield spot. While his hit tool has struggled, the above-average raw power is hard to pass up on.
28. Washington Nationals-RHP Zack Burdi, Louisville
Burdi has been a solid pitcher out of Louisville's pen with a plus to plus-plus fastball and above-average change. His command is unusually good for such a strong thrower, and he could start in pro ball but would be a quicker mover as a reliever.
29. Washington Nationals-SS/3B Drew Mendoza, Lake Mineolla (FL) HS
Left-handed hitting third basemen are rare, and ones with offensive potential like Mendoza's are even rarer. A solid hit tool is already present and Mendoza could ramp up his gap power if he adds some weight.
30. Texas Rangers-OF Buddy Reed, Florida
While the Rangers love toolsy prep batters, this scenario doesn't have many left at this point. However, Reed has plenty to like in his own right with top-tier speed in center field and has potential at the plate as a switch-hitter.
31. New York Mets-RHP Cal Quantrill, Stanford
If Matt Harvey has shown anything, it's that the Mets can handle Tommy John recipients. Quantrill's four-pitch mix could become major-league average across the board if he stays healthy.
32. Los Angeles Dodgers-RHP Justin Dunn, Boston College
Dunn has fallen in this mock, but he is still one of the top college arms in this draft. Even though this season was his first as a starter, he has a full arsenal, including a mid-90s fastball and three secondary offerings that could become at worst major-league average.
33. St. Louis Cardinals-SS Gavin Lux, Indian Trail (WS) Academy
Lux has solid instincts, which he learned being the nephew of former No. 2 pick and Carthage (DIII college in Wisconsin) coach Augie Schmidt. He should be able to stick at shortstop and has the potential to pop a decent amount of home runs.
34. St. Louis Cardinals-RHP Connor Jones, Virgina
With the Cardinals also having three picks in this year's first round, it would be smart of them to pick up one of the plethora of college arms right around the late-first/early-second area. Jones has a low-90s fastball with good sink and two solid breaking balls in his curve and change.