Written by: Danny Hacker
Follow him on Twitter: @theGREATdanny94
Follow Prospects Worldwide on Twitter: @ProspectsWorldW
With the draft almost three weeks away, it’s time for a Mock Draft!! This is updated with as much public information as possible as well as my own thoughts on what teams do and who goes where. This does not represent my actual rankings of the class because that is not true (especially with the pitchers but that will come later with top-10 pitcher and top-10 hitter rankings). These blurbs are short just to give a little highlight why I think they will go where I have them at. I don’t want to take away too much time from it so without further ado, we shall dive in!
#1 – Tigers: Spencer Torkelson, 1B
The easiest pick in the entire draft, The Tigers take the best overall player in the draft in the form of Torkelson, a first basemen who has the safest floor and yet still has the upside to become a consistent All Star player who will anchor lineups in Detroit for most of the 2020s. There’s a weird rumor out there that the Tigers could under-slot Asa Lacy here but I don’t buy it and it’s trying too hard to be fancy. Don’t be fancy, just take the best player in the draft and that’s what I think they’ll do.
#2 – O’s: Austin Martin, SS/OF
Here the O’s take one of, if not, the best hitter in the draft class. Martin has great bat to ball skills and should rise rather quickly through the system to be in Baltimore sooner rather than later. He has played all over the diamond and in the outfield during his time at Vanderbilt so it’s hard to say he’ll stay at shortstops long term but no matter where he goes, his bat and on base skills will help lead the way in Baltimore.
#3 – Marlins: Asa Lacy, LHP
The first pitcher off the board, Lacy is one of the most dominating yet also polarizing pitchers of the class. Some, like myself, are scared of his mechanics and future control/command while other are confident in his ability to grow into that and harness his great stuff. Miami could go with the local boy Zac Veen here but I ultimately think it’ll be very hard for Miami to pass up Lacy here.
#4 – Royals: Nick Gonzales, 2B
This could go quite a few different ways and there is a lot of public noise about Zac Veen possibly being the pick here but I think that in the end, the Royals will choose to pair up Bobby Witt Jr with Nick Gonzales for the long term. There’s a lot of Keston Hiura comps to Gonzales and they are definitely warranted with his great hit tool and growing power. He doesn’t have Hiura’s speed but also plays slightly better defense at this point than Hiura did when he was in the draft. Regardless, with the major depth of pitching the Royals have, I believe they go with Gonzales here.
#5 – Blue Jays: Emerson Hancock, RHP
Now starts the fallout from the Royals. Everything I’ve read publicly has said the Blue Jays are majorly in love with Hancock, and there’s very good reason for it. There are concerns from some, including myself, about the lack of swing and misses on his FB and his secondary stuff and as a result could cause him to have a Brady Singer-esque fall but in the end, I think Toronto takes the guy they’re head over heels for and lets him join a potential future staff of Nate Pearson, Simeon Woods Richardson, Adam Kloffenstein and Anthony Kay.
#6 – Mariners: Zac Veen, OF
Yes Jerry Dipoto said they are targeting up the middle help in the first round but two things with that. One, I think that’s a smoke screen to cover what they’re really after (potentially trying to get the Royals and Blue Jays to not take Veen) and two, Gonzales is off the board here meaning they would have to move on, which would allow them to take the best outfielder in the class and as a result, take the first prep player in the draft. J-Rod, Kelenic and Veen is one hell of a future outfield.
#7 – Pirates: Austin Hendrick, OF
From what it seems publicly, the Pirates will be able to agree to an under-slot deal with the prep hometown outfielder and take a chance on his plus power. The hit tool is a major question but there are a lot of scouts who believe that it can come around to create a consistently great outfielder. From the background story to the potential upside, Pirates fans should be pretty happy with Hendrick being the pick to lead off the new regime.
#8 – Padres: Mick Abel, RHP
There is some public buzz that the pick here could be prep outfielder Robert Hassell III but I think the Padres will ultimately take the first prep pitcher off the board in the form of Mick Abel. The Padres historically love prep players and you could never have too many pitchers with some serious upside. I’m not personally as high on Abel as others but there’s no denying he is one of the big three in terms of prep pitchers and I think all the talk of prep pitching falling is quite possibly a smoke screen for three teams; San Diego and two others you’ll see shortly.
#9 – Rockies: Garrett Mitchell, OF
Type I Diabetes should not cause Mitchell to fall even if it is a concern for some teams. It shouldn’t even be talked about but it is what it is. The bigger issue I have with Mitchell is the hit tool, which definitely does not seem to be as high as some evaluators have it, but ultimately I think the Rockies take Mitchell and chance that his power outage at UCLA was just the result of a growing power tool. Rarely do you draft for need in the MLB Draft but Mitchell is speedy fast and has a strong arm as well, something the Rockies will definitely need in their outfield definitely sooner rather than later.
#10 – Angels: Max Meyer, RHP
The Angels could go a lot of ways here with Reid Detmers and Max Meyer both here as well as Patrick Bailey but ultimately I think they’ll go with Max Meyer. Meyer’s stuff is undeniable but it comes with control/command concerns. As much as they will try Meyer in a starter’s role, I ultimately think Meyer’s role/ceiling will be that of a dominating closer which won’t be bad but considering the starters they will have passed up as a result, it will be quite the interesting to look back upon.
#11 – White Sox: Jared Kelley, RHP
This will be quite the interesting pick as all signs point to the organization breaking draft trends and going prep player whether that be Jared Kelley or Ed Howard in an under-slot situation however they’re also connected to college catcher Patrick Bailey and Reid Detmers if he falls here. I ultimately think they take Jared Kelley, who has a great fastball, a very advanced changeup and flawless mechanics. There are a lot of concerns by many about Kelley’s lack of a breaking pitch but I think it will come as he develops (reports said it had even looked better in this brief spring). Rarely do you draft for need in the MLB draft but the White Sox desperately need high upside pitching in their farm as it definitely draws thin after Stiever, Dunning, Thompson and Dalquist.
#12 – Reds: Reid Detmers, LHP
The Reds get the benefit of Reid Detmers falling and snatch him right up. Not much to say about the advanced lefty and with a very interesting rotation over in Southern Ohio, Reid could jump up and join Castillo, Gray, Bauer (if he resigns) and Lodolo within the next two years as he will fly up through whichever organization he goes to no questions asked.
#13 – Giants: Heston Kjerstad, OF
Kjerstad is an interesting name here in the first round and could go in the Top-10 but ultimately I think he falls just a hair short of that. His power is his best tool and while it might seem that going to a future home of San Francisco is a bad thing, his power should be able to help him generate 25+ HR year in and year out. The only question, the biggest concern, is his hit tool and his swing has way too much going on for it to consistently hit for good average. Getting his swing mechanics cleaned up is the key for him to be a good MLBer and I believe the Giants will take that risk.
#14 – Rangers: Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP
Mlodzinksi had one hell of a Cape Cod last year thus establishing himself as a 1st Rounder. Then this spring he was continuing to gain helium before the season shut down. Mlodzinksi has some really sneaky stuff and along with his relatively smooth mechanics, they should allow him to do very well in the new Rangers stadium, which is reportedly not as hitter friendly as the old park was. While the Rangers could go with an under-slot candidate here, I think they ultimately grab a college pitcher here that has the upside while also fitting more of a starter’s profile than some of the other college pitchers available.
#15 – Phillies: Pete Crow Armstrong, OF
Pete Crow Armstrong is one of my favorite outfielders, and overall hitters, in the draft and I think the Phillies, who struck out so far pretty hard on Mickey Moniak, try to avenge that with a guy who has quite some serious upside. The swing and miss concerns are there but they seemingly got better as the shortened season had went on. Great speed, pretty good hit tool, PCA has a shot to be a very damn good 4 tool/5 tool prospect if he can reduce the swing and miss concerns further. I know there are sign ability concerns that could make him fall and the Phillies take a catcher hoping to potentially underslot but I think overall upside prevails here.
#16 – Cubs: Nick Bitsko, RHP
This might seem like an absolutely ludicrous pick given everything the Cubs have ever done in the first round and who is still here (i.e Crochet and Hassell) but I really think they try to make a statement that they are serious about two things; developing legitimately great pitching and quietly rebuilding/retooling as most of their core will be reaching the point of being too expensive to keep in the next year or two. Bitsko won’t be up in two years like a college pitcher but he is one of the best arms overall in the entire class and is advanced enough that the Cubs truly have something special to work with here. Brailyn and Bitsko is a legitimately terrifying combination that should allow them to pay Bitsko what it will take to sign.
#17 – Red Sox: Garrett Crochet, LHP
Ah, I knew this one was going to come at some point. I am much lower on Garrett Crochet than basically everyone else in the baseball world and I can’t shake this comp out of my mind: Carson Fulmer. With that out of the way, I believe Chaim Bloom is thrilled to be able to nab Crochet at 17th Overall and hope his analytical system in place can help him develop a third pitch and can lead the way for a new era in Boston. Definitely one I will be very curious to look back on as the seasons and years go by.
#18 – D’backs: Ed Howard, SS
The D’backs are heavily connected to Ed Howard and among the reasons why baseball wise, they also are familiar with Mt. Carmel as they also took Alek Thomas two years ago. Howard fell victim to some shoulder issues, not playing at all in 2020 and simply the others above him in the draft class. I could see him realistically falling even further down from this spot with Arizona going with more upside like Hassell or a catcher in Patrick Bailey but in the end, I think the Carmel connection as well as their love for Howard, will ultimately show in their selection of him.
#19 – Mets: Robert Hassell, OF
Fool me one once, shame on me. Fool me twice shame on you. The reason why I say that is because here we go again with the Mets and a prep outfielder that a lot of people like A LOT. This will be the make up pick for trading away Jared Kelenic for Edwin Diaz and they will be very thrilled to be able to get that opportunity. I could crack a lot of jokes about Robert Hassell for Kirby Yates this summer (if there is a season and a deadline) but I really don’t think the Mets are dumb enough to do the same thing twice… are they?
#20 – Brewers: Bryce Jarvis, RHP
Again you don’t really draft for needs in the MLB Draft but the Brewers really need some pitching bad in the farm and Jarvis, who has gained some major steam this spring, will help them continue that. The pitchability, the stuff (really good FB/CH/CB trio), control and age will help him quickly advance through the Brewers system to help a team that is very much in its competitive window.
#21 – Cardinals: Cade Cavalli, RHP
Cavalli is an intriguing pick here as it is well documented that there are some analytical lackings the Cardinals organization yet they are probably thrilled to nab him here at 21. The fastball is great but admittedly not much else is presently. His secondaries need work and his profile is in question in part due to some injury issues. Cavalli, to me, profiles more as a reliever long term but the Cardinals will no doubt try to make morph him into a successful starter.
#22 – Nationals: Tanner Burns, RHP
The Nationals love pitching and I believe they will take another one this time around as well. Burns has some shoulder/injury concerns and no doubt will scare some teams off who would’ve took him higher if not for the issues. The Nationals though have somewhat a history for not shying away from medical issues in Round 1 pitchers and they’ll take a chance on a kid who they will groom to hopefully start long term.
#23 – Indians: Patrick Bailey, C
Finally the first catcher off the board, the Indians have been very well connected to Bailey. I know a lot of Mocks recently have had more catchers taken at this point but I really believe that the pitching/”shocker fallers” will trump the top catchers of the class and push the run until the end of the first round. He’s no doubt the best catcher of the class and while it remains to be seen if he actually stays there, chances are better than not, he actually will and the Indians will nab their guy here.
#24 – Rays: Dax Fulton, LHP
Yes he had Tommy John Surgery last September meaning he hasn’t pitched since last summer but I think given the Rays history with pitching, they feel comfortable to make the sizable reach for him with a potential plus fastball, plus curveball and good changeup with pretty above average control/command given that he is a prep pitcher. Obviously there are concerns of who will Dax be after TJS but he is a pitcher that has quickly risen my personal rankings and one that I can see being a tremendous starting success in the pros, especially with the Rays organization and I really think they think the same.
#25 – Braves: Bobby Miller, RHP
Miller’s quite a safe college pitcher relatively speaking and I could see the Braves jumping on him for his plus fastball and good secondary pitches. His control/command is pretty solid and has no issues repeating his delivery and maintaining velocity deep into starts. Given those facts, his ETA is a lot faster than most of the top pitchers still on the board and he could be helping out in Atlanta before we know it, which is another reason why I think they nab Miller here.
#26 – A’s: Cole Henry, RHP
Cole Henry feels every bit like the kind of pick the A’s would make. A sneaky right hander with 3 potential plus pitches (FB/CB/CH) and pretty good control/command. I’ve been really impressed with how much he has cleaned up his mechanics since being a prep pitcher two years ago and while most likely he will fall, I see the A’s grabbing Henry to match the ETA of when their rotation led by Luzardo and Puk will be starting to hit their primes.
#27 – Twins: Drew Romo, C
Here comes the catchers. Drew Romo, like Bailey and definitely not like the next guy, will most certainly stay behind home plate for the majority, if not all, his MLB career. Romo’s an incredible defensive catcher and has a really good bat to boot. The Twins could go a million different ways, there’s a rumor that this is when a shortstop run will take place, but I think they look at Romo here and see really good things in the future for quite some time.
#28 – Yankees: Austin Wells, C
The Yankees love their first round catchers and really it’s a toss up between Dingler and Wells here. Soderstrom isn’t considered here in my opinion because he definitely will not stick at catcher for long. I think Wells is the pick because the Yankees value their bat first, raw power guys and that’s exactly who Wells is even if he lacks some behind the plate.
#29 – Dodgers: JT Ginn, RHP
Yes they get the chance to strike Ginn twice in the first round and I think they again pull the trigger but this time Ginn will probably sign given the fact he had Tommy John Surgery earlier this spring. They are extremely familiar with him and I think that comfort will allow them to confidently make this pick again despite the very obvious risk.
#30 – O’s: Jared Jones, RHP
One of the biggest post quarantine risers lands a pick out of the first and leads off the Competitive Balance A Round. Jones has incredible amounts of helium and has really cleaned up his mechanics while in quarantine. Given the advancements the O’s have in their analytics department, I would not be surprised if they jump on the Jones train and round out their first two selections with Martin and Jones. O’s fans should be throwing parties if that happens.
#31 – Pirates: Dillon Dingler, C
I had read a week or two back that the Pirates had some serious interest in Dingler and I think he falls to them in the Competitive Balance Round A. Dingler would improve what has to be the worst position group in all of baseball and has a really good profile all around to stay at catcher and thus make Pirates fans very hopeful he can be the future.
#32 – Royals: Carson Montgomery, RHP
The Royals grab another very good pitcher to add to their extensive wealth of them, this time in the form of Montgomery who is often the forgotten prep righty with Kelley, Abel and Bitsko getting all the attention. At this point, the money could be right depending on the negotiations with Gonzales and could really sway him to forgo his Florida State commitment. He’s definitely more polish than pure heat and I think the Royals will really value that enough to feel good about grabbing him here.
#33 – D’Backs: Cole Wilcox, RHP
I’m not nearly as high on Wilcox as others so that admittedly plays into why I have him falling into the Competitive Balance A round. The D’Backs are taking who they consider is the Best Player Available (BPA) at this point and would have plenty of room as the draft goes on to launch into more high upside picks especially if they under-slot Ed Howard at 18.
#34 – Padres: Tyler Soderstrom, “C”
I put catcher in parenthesis because it’s basically all but certain he will NOT be a catcher for very much longer as he enters pro ball. The real home for him will either be third base or the outfield and the Padres here simply are taking who they think is the BPA.
#35 – Rockies: Jordan Westburg, SS
Westburg is an interesting prospect who probably would hit 30+ home runs a year in Coors and fits into the profile of hitters that they seem to love taking over the last few years. Defensively he could stay at shortstop but I’m thinking he will eventually move to 3rd. His hit tool is largely at question due to his very aggressive tendencies but they will take him hoping to calm him down while keeping such power upside.
#36 – Indians: Daniel Cabrera, OF
I really like Daniel Cabrera a lot. He has such a smooth swing and has all the tools enough to become a consistent day in and day out outfielder at the big league level and do some really good things. The Indians could potentially underslot him here to further their pool into the rest of the draft but on the other hand, this could be a pick 28 other teams look back on and say “why didn’t we get him?” because there’s more upside here I believe than most see.
#37 – Rays: Nick Loftin, SS
To wrap up the Competitive Balance Round A, the Rays grab a nifty player in Loftin who is a jack of all trades type. More of a great real life player than fantasy player, Loftin is someone who will definitely allow the Rays to do what they do best and that’s play with his ability to play pretty much anywhere needed between the outfield and up the middle. Loftin would also allow them to potentially under-slot for future picks in the 2nd and beyond after reaching to make sure they get their guy Dax Fulton in Round 1.
And there you have it! That ends my Mock Draft 1.0 of the first 37 picks in next month’s draft! I will be very curious to see how accurate I end up being especially with it being more of a wild, Wild West than usual so buckle up for the next few weeks.
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