The 2014 MLB draft is now just five months away with the first round to be held on June 5. While there is an incredible amount of baseball to be played until then, and still so much to be decided, this is how I have the first two rounds going today.
1. Houston Astros — Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
- Officially licensed by the MLB
- Officially licensed by the MLB
I don’t see any reason to remove Rodon from the top spot until he gives reason to. The 6’-3”, 240 pound southpaw has everything you want in an ace. After a sensational sophomore season in which he posted a 2.99 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 184 K/45 BB over 132.1 innings, he dominated for Collegiate Team USA, going 3-0 with 21 K/4 BB over 17 shutout innings, allowing just five hits. With guys like Mark Appel, Lance McCullers and Mike Foltynewicz already in their system, the Astros can continue to build on an impressive future rotation.
2. Miami Marlins — Alex Jackson, C/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA)
With four picks in the top 42, I can see the Marlins gambling a bit here and going with the prep bat over a guy like Jeff Hoffman — whom many have going at this spot. One of the more polished prep players in the 2014 MLB draft, Jackson is a 6’-2”, 200 pound right-hander with excellent bat speed and tremendous power to all fields. While he has the goods to at least be given a shot behind the plate, most believe he will end up in a corner outfield spot where his plus arm and bat would play well. Committed to Oregon.
3. Chicago Whit Sox — Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
Since Kenny Williams took over in 2000, the White Sox have selected a college player in the first round 13 of 17 times. Eight of those have been pitchers. He would have his pick of a couple here but I say he would go with Hoffman, a 6’-4”, 200 pound right-hander who has been rocketing up draft boards since dominating the Cape Cod League. Over 24.1 innings, he had 33 K/5 BB and allowed 20 hits for Hyannis. His fastball can touch 98 mph, and both his curveball and change-up are solid offerings, and getting better. Over 15 starts as a sophomore, he had a 3.20 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 84 K/39 BB over 109.2 innings. His 7.2 innings-per-start show the kind of stamina he has, and he maintains velocity deep in games. A strong showing his junior season could propel him in talks for the number-one spot.
4. Chicago Cubs — Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
This fall, the 6’-4”, 210 pound right-hander allowed just three runs on three hits over 14 innings. He also struck out 23 batters without walking a single one. Adjustments have been made in his release point and Beede is now due for a monstrous junior season for the ‘Dores. As a sophomore, he set a school record with 14 wins and posted a 2.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 103 K/63 BB over 101 innings. He allowed just 64 hits, holding batters to a .187 average. His four-seam fastball can touch 97 mph and sits in the 93-94 range. His two-seamer was sitting 91-92 mph this fall and had Wiffle ball movement on it, often resembling a change-up to batters. His curveball is a knee-buckler with 12-6 action, sitting in the low 80s. His change-up has great deception and was also rated plus by scouts this fall.
5. Minnesota Twins — Tyler Kolek, RHP, Sheppard HS (TX)
I really like Kolek here. The 6’-5”, 240 pound right-hander is a power arm whose fastball can touch triple digits. I saw him at Wrigley Field for the Under Armour AA game and he was hitting the mid 90s with ease. He can get wild with it at times but the arm strength is there already. He does show a good feel for a slider that has plus potential but needs work on refining his secondaries. Has been timed at 4.8 in the 40, so he shows very good athleticism for his size. Lots of upside here. Committed to TCU.
6. Seattle Mariners — Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
Arguably my favorite player in the 2014 MLB draft, the 6’-1” right-hander is a burner who gets on base and plays great defense at a premium position. Some have questioned his hit tool but all he has done is hit for a high average with great strikeout/walk ratios. Over 56 games as a sophomore, he hit .368/.455/.553 with 30 stolen bases and drew 38 walks to just 30 strikeouts. He also hit seven home runs, showing developing power. As a freshman, he led the nation in stolen bases with 57 and was only thrown out four times. He was slowed by an ankle injury over the summer, which might have led to some dropping him in their rankings, but he is fully healed now and should be one of the most exciting players in college this year again.
7. Philadelphia Phillies — Jacob Gatewood, SS/3B, Clovis HS (CA)
While the power is massive and obviously his calling card, the 6’-5” right-hander also has a plus arm and is athletic enough to hold down the hot corner. He may not steal many bases, but he won’t have to with the power he has. Another kid I saw at Wrigley, he was depositing balls out of the park with such ease, it’s scary to imagine him in a couple of years. He won basically all of the home run derbys over the summer and is a high-character kid. A future left side of J.P. Crawford and Gatewood should make Phillies fans very happy. Committed to USC.
8. Colorado Rockies — Michael Gettys, OF, Gainesville HS (GA)
The latest in a long line of studs out of the state of Georgia, Gettys is a 6’-2”, 200 pound right-hander who has silly talent. His arm has been clocked at 100 mph from the outfield, he can run a 6.4/60 and his plus/plus speed shows up on the base paths as he swiped 38 bases over 32 games as a junior. The power is also there, and I saw him hit a shot to dead center field that went halfway up the bleachers at Wrigley. Some have questioned his tool a bit as he didn’t have a great showing at summer events, but with him focusing more on hitting than pitching this season, I fully expect him to squash those doubts. Committed to Georgia.
9. Toronto Blue Jays — Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)
The Blue Jays have been burned twice in the last three years by prep pitchers in the first round of the draft so they might shy away from another one. Having said that, I like Aiken at this spot. Maybe the most polished prep pitcher available, the 6’-4” southpaw is an alumni of Team USA Baseball and was the winning pitcher in the gold-medal game against Japan in the World Cup Championship in Taiwan, allowing just one run over seven innings while striking out 10. His fastball sits in the low 90s, and both his curveball and change-up are above-average offerings with still room for more. He has great control of his pitches and dominated at The Tournament of Stars, striking out seven over three scoreless innings. Still has projection left and room for more velocity. Committed to UCLA.
10. New York Mets — Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
The 6’-5”, 240 pound southpaw was among the leaders in K/9 with a 11.5 mark this season thanks to a fastball that can touch 95 mph. Over 13 starts, he had a 3.75 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 92 K/37 BB over 72 innings while holding hitters to a .213 batting average. With increased improvement of his command, as well as secondary stuff, he should be a big name to watch next year.
11. Toronto Blue Jays — Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
The Blue Jays receive this pick for failing to come to terms with their 2013 first round pick, Phil Bickford. Maybe the highest riser in the draft so far, Pentecost is perhaps the best catching prospect in a class weak on them. Even if he doesn’t stick behind the plate, his offensive potential and athleticism make him first-round material. The 6’-1” right-hander was the MVP of the Cape Cod League after hitting .346 over 35 games with six home runs, 29 RBI and five stolen bases. He also drew 16 walks to 22 strikeouts, showing off a solid approach at the plate. Many believe the power will continue to develop.
12. Milwaukee Brewers — Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs HS (FL)
One of the most exciting prep pitchers in the 2014 MLB draft because his stuff can be electric. His fastball can touch 97 mph with explosive life and his curveball is already a plus pitch — a mid-70s hammer that some consider the best in the class. He adds a lot of deception to his delivery, and at 6’-2”, 195 pounds, there is still room for projection. His command can get erratic at times but the stuff is special. Committed to Vanderbilt.
13. San Diego Padres — Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
The Padres always seem to need some offense in their system, and Fisher is one of the best all-around college players available. He made great strides last year in his approach at the plate dropping his strikeouts from 61 to 38 over roughly the same number of games. The 6’-3” right-hander is a great athlete with good speed on the base paths. Over 53 games as a sophomore, he hit .306 with 12 doubles, seven home runs, stole eight bases and had a .420 OBP/.505 SLG. He hit .333 in the Cape Cod League and drew 25 walks to just 19 strikeouts, again showing his improvement in his approach. I think a big year is coming.
14. San Francisco Giants — Braxton Davidson, 1B/OF, TC Roberson HS (NC)
While he may end up at first base — putting extra pressure on his bat to produce — his power from the left side and approach at the plate are very enticing to scouts. At 6’-3” and 215 pounds, he is already a man but still has room for projection. His excellent bat speed allows him to wait on pitches and not get cheated. Over 31 games as a junior, he hit .403 with seven doubles, eight home runs, and drew 30 walks for a .600 OBP/.831 SLG. Committed to North Carolina.
15. Los Angeles Angels — Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU
Few can match the kind of control Nola possesses. The 6’-1” right-hander features a plus, low-90s fastball with nasty sink to it. He offsets his fastball with a deceptive change-up that freezes hitters. As a freshman, he had 89 K/7 BB over 89.2 innings and 40 of those strikeouts were looking. He was lights-out as a sophomore for LSU, going 12-1 over 17 starts with a 1.57 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 122 K/18 BB over 126 innings. His size limits his upside a bit, and he isn’t a power arm, but not many can toss a game like he can.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks — Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
With so much pitching in their system, the D-backs can grab one of the higher upside guys in the 2014 MLB draft. The younger brother of Royals top prospect Kyle Zimmer, Bradley is a 6’-5” right-hander with plus speed and developing power. Over 58 games as a sophomore, he hit .320/.437/.512 with 12 doubles, seven home runs and stole 19 bases. He also shows a great approach at the plate as he drew 29 walks to 31 strikeouts and was hit by a pitch a whopping 16 times, proving he’ll do whatever it takes to get on base. He showed off his wheels for the Collegiate National Team, swiping 11 of 12 bases over 21 games while also hitting an even .300. His speed and plus arm should allow him to remain in center field at the next level.
17. Baltimore Orioles — Luke Weaver, RHP, Florida State
A 6’-2”, 180 pound right-hander, Weaver enjoyed an outstanding season for the Seminoles this year. Over 15 starts, he had a 2.29 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 119 K/19 BB over 98.1 innings. His 10.9 K/9 and 6.3 K/BB ratios show the kind of power/command pitcher he is. His fastball sits in the low/mid 90s and he adds a change-up that shows plus potential. There is still room for projection and added velocity as he fills out. Over 21 innings for Team USA, he had 17 K/5 BB.
18. Kansas City Royals — Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (SC)
One of the better performers over the summer, the 6’-2” right-hander wowed scouts with a plus fastball, plus curveball and great command. He sat in the mid-90s all summer with his fastball and showed an above-average change-up to round out a three-pitch mix. The one knock: Many believe he has maxed out physically and there isn’t much projection left. Still, he projects to a mid-rotation starter who should miss a lot of bats. Committed to Florida.
19. Washington Nationals — Michael Cederoth, RHP, San Diego State
The Nationals love tall, power arms and Cederoth definitely fit’s the bill. At 6’-6” and 210 pounds, the right-hander can sling it up to 99 mph and sits in the mid 90s. He also adds a mid-80s slider, as well as a mid-80s change-up that is more of an out pitch. His command can be shaky at times as he is still learning how to be a pitcher instead of just running his overpowering fastball. Over 15 starts this year, he had a 4.25 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 109 K/48 BB over 95.1 innings. If he works on his command the way Jonathan Gray did last year, as well as refine his off-speed stuff, he should be one of the first college pitchers off the board.
20. Cincinnati Reds — Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
A power lefty who can touch 97 mph with his fastball, Finnegan’s size (5’-11”, 185 pounds) has some questioning his ability to remain a starter. His fastball sists in the mid 90s with a lot of life and his slider has plus potential. Posted a 3.18 ERA, 1.37 WHIP with 86 K/35 BB over 79.1 innings as a sophomore. Starring for the Collegiate National Team, he had a team-high 23 K over 23.2 innings, allowing just 11 hits. He did issue 10 walks, however, and his command can get him in trouble at times. A strong junior season is expected.
21. Tampa Bay Rays — Nick Gordon, SS/RHP, Olympia HS (FL)
A two-way talent with great bloodlines (Tom “Flash“ Gordon is his dad and Dee Gordon is his brother), the 6’-2” right-hander may have a brighter future at short where his strong arm, instincts and athleticism could allow him to stick at a premium position. Offensively, he hits from the left side and projects to a top-of-the-order hitter with speed and a very good approach at the plate. Over 30 games as a junior, he hit .505 with 15 doubles, six triples and 12 stolen bases. Committed to Florida State.
22. Cleveland Indians — Mac Marshall, LHP, Parkview HS (GA)
One of the better southpaws in the 2014 MLB draft, Marshall’s fastball sits in the low/mid-90s and he has worked hard on his delivery and command over the past year. He also flashed a potential plus curveball at the Perfect Game Nationals. At 6’-2” and 185 pounds, he is a great athlete who has been clocked at 6.7 in the 60. As a junior, he had 80 K/32 BB over 46 innings for one of the premiere programs in the country. Committed to LSU.
23. Los Angeles Dodgers — Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS (FL)
The 6’-3”, 210 pound right-hander flashes a plus fastball that touches 94 mph with late life, thanks to his easy delivery and strong build. He also features a filthy, upper-70s curveball that may be one of the best in his class, as well as a slider that looked like a future plus pitch at The Tournament of Stars in North Carolina. He has put his name on the map over the last couple of months and has huge upside due to his size, easy delivery and stuff. Committed to Florida State.
24. Detroit Tigers — Kyle Schwarber, C/1B, Indiana
The 6’-0”, 230 pound right-hander has tremendous power and is also one of the better hitters available in the 2014 MLB draft. His ability to remain behind the plate is still up for debate, but he wants to stay there and has been working hard on his defense. Over 61 games as a sophomore, he hit .366/.456/.647 with 10 doubles, 18 home runs and drew 42 walks to just 37 strikeouts. He then hit .308/.396/.436 over 21 games for the Collegiate National Team with 11 walks. We all saw the premium put on college bats in last year’s draft, and Schwarber should benefit from that this year.
25. Pittsburgh Pirates — Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS (CA)
The 6’-3”, 220 pound right-hander will be almost 19 on draft day, making him one of the older players in his class. Because of this, his upside isn’t as high as others on this list. That said, his stuff is really good and his fastball sits in the 92-95 mph range. He adds a developing plus slider that sits in the mid-80s and his offspeed stuff is still in the developmental stages. He has great mound presence and feel for his pitches, and he also is a good athlete. Committed to Fresno State.
26. Oakland Athletics — Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
One of the better bats available in the 2014 MLB draft, the 6’-2”, 215 pound right-hander uses the whole field and has a great approach at the plate. I got a chance to see him hit when the Collegiate National team played at Kane County, and I was extremely impressed by the way he handles himself at the plate — waiting for his pitch and driving it to the gaps with ease. He hit .328/.447/.526 over 65 games as a sophomore with 11 home runs and 41 walks. He’s not going to steal many bases, and he will most likely end up in left field. His bat is what will land him in the first round.
27. Atlanta Braves — Scott Blewett, RHP, Baker HS (NY)
The 6’-6” right-hander was extremely impressive during the fall, hitting 97 mph and showing a sound delivery at the perfect Game WWBW in Jupiter, Florida. His curveball is still developing but he shows a good feel for it and it could be a plus pitch. With his size and arm strength, his upside is sky high and a strong senior season could propel him higher.
28. Boston Red Sox — Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
A 6’-4”, 185 pound southpaw, Freeland was one of the better pitchers at the Cape Cod League, posting a 2.25 ERA and 48 K/4 BB over 40 innings. He seemed to get better as the season went on, and his last start was his best outing — he allowed three hits over seven shutout innings while striking out 10 to no walks. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he adds a plus slider. His change-up still needs work but there’s a lot to like about him. As a sophomore, he had 84 K/26 BB over 93.1 innings.
29. St. Louis Cardinals — Nick Burdi, RHP, Louisville
I just keep imagining a bullpen of Burdi, Trevor Rosenthal and Jason Motte — all three capable of hitting triple-digits on the radar gun. Burdi, a 6’-4”, 215 pound right-hander who most certainly will remain a reliever due to his lack of a third pitch, put together a monstrous season for Louisville last year. Over 35.2 innings, he posted a 0.76 ERA with 62 K/13 BB for a silly 15.7 K/9 ratio. Aside from his plus/plus fastball, he also adds a slider that sits in the 88-91 mph range and completely baffles hitters who are waiting on his fastball.
30. Cincinnati Reds (Shin-Soo Choo) — Cobi Johnson, RHP, Mitchell HS (FL)
At 6’-4” and 180 pounds, the right-hander has the ideal size for a frontline starter. His fastball has touched 93 mph, and he adds a solid curveball that could be a plus pitch. His change-up, like most prep pitchers, is still developing, but he shows a good feel for pitching, and his athleticism will help with his progression. He has shown very good command of his stuff and had 103 K/14 BB over 71 innings as a junior. He also hit .426/.508/.703 over 30 games with 18 stolen bases. His velocity does drop off in later innings, but he should gain more stamina as he fills out his frame. He struck out three in one perfect inning at the PG Classic. Committed to Florida State.
31. Atlanta Braves (Brian McCann) — Dylan Cease, RHP, Milton HS (GA)
With a fastball that sits in the 93-96 mph range, the 6’-2” right-hander is another hard-throwing prepster in a class deep on them. His secondary stuff is still developing, but with his athleticism and loose delivery, they should come along quickly. He was one of the best arms over the summer. Committed to Vanderbilt.
32. Boston Red Sox (Jacoby Ellsbury) — Justus Sheffield, LHP, Tullahoma HS (TN)
Much like his older brother Jordan, who was considered first-round material until Tommy John surgery all but made him honor his commitment to Vanderbilt, Justus has a plus fastball that can touch 94 mph. The 6’-0” southpaw is a great athlete and also adds an above-average, mid-70s change, as well as a mid-70s curve that still needs refining. Committed to Vanderbilt.
33. St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Beltran) — Jack Flaherty, 3B/RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
Flaherty is a 6’-4”, 200 pound right-hander with massive power potential. The ball jumps off his bat and his plus bat speed suggests he should hit for a high average, as well. His arm, instincts and power potential profile well at the hot corner. He has shown above-average speed but probably isn’t a guy who is going to steal many bases. Playing for a national powerhouse, he will get plenty of attention this year. He is a baseball player in every sense of the word. Committed to North Carolina.
34. Colorado Rockies — Michael Kopech, RHP, Mount Pleasant HS (TX)
The 6’-3” right-hander worked on his mechanics over the summer and it showed at the 2013 Under Armour Game at Wrigley Field. His fastball was popping the mitt, hitting the mid 90s with explosive life. He also showed his plus slider with hard bite as he worked a quick inning. There is still projection there and his frame suggests more velocity could still come. Had 129 K/33 BB over 80.1 innings as a junior.
35. Houston Astros (From Orioles) — Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Waiakea HS (HI)
With two plus pitches already in his back pocket, the southpaw who throws from a low-three quarters slot has some of the filthiest stuff in the country — just ask anyone who faced him this year. His fastball can touch 96 mph with late movement and life and his slider is nasty and wipes out lefties. You don’t see many sidearm starters in the majors so it will be interesting to watch his development. Also, at 6’-0” and 185 pounds, his projection is limited. Still, he has established himself as one of best arms available in the 2014 MLB draft. Committed to Pepperdine.
36. Miami Marlins — Ti’Quan Forbes, SS, Columbia HS (MS)
At 6’-4” and 180 pounds, the right-hander oozes potential due to his defensive abilities, strong arm, plus speed (6.4/60) and developing raw power. He has shown a patient approach at the plate, driving the ball to all fields, and his size suggests more power will come. He hit .391/.447/.758 as a junior with only seven strikeouts over 103 plate appearances. If teams believe he can stick at shortstop, he could shoot up draft boards. Committed to Mississippi.
37. Cleveland Indians — Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV
The 6’-4”, 180 pound right-hander features a classic three-pitch mix and all three are solid offerings. His best pitch is his mid-80s power slider that shows plus potential. He adds a 90-93 mph fastball and a solid change-up to his arsenal. As a sophomore, he posted a 3.92 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 83 K/28 BB over 96.1 innings. He also was a member of Collegiate Team USA, striking out eight to one walk over 5.2 innings. Great mound presence and knows how to mix up his offerings.
38. Miami Marlins — Keaton McKinney, RHP, Ankeny HS (IA)
At 6’-5” and 220 pounds, the right-hander has the ideal size for a frontline starter. His fastball can touch 93 mph and he also shows the makings of a plus change-up that sits in the low 80s with good tilting action. He also is a very good athlete, which bodes well for future projection and mechanics. Another member of Team USA Baseball. Committed to Arkansas.
39. Kansas City Royals — Michael Chavis, 3B, Sprayberry HS (GA)
The 5’-11” right-hander is one of the better hitters in the 2014 MLB draft. He has also shown some incredible power and won the home run derby at the PG Classic — his last a bomb that ended up in the trees over the left field wall. He runs a 6.68/60 and has the hands, arm and instincts to to stick at third. Should hear his name a lot in the next year. Committed to Clemson.
40. Milwaukee Brewers — Matt Chapman, 3B, Cal State Fullerton
The 6’-2”, 200 pound right-hander has a plus arm and enough range to stick at the hot corner. Whether or not the power will show up and remain there is up for debate. He does show an advanced approach at the plate, having drawn 34 walks to 29 strikeouts over 55 games as a sophomore. I got to see him play with The Collegiate National Team and really liked his line-drive swing. He wound up leading Team USA in RBI with 20 over 23 games and drew 14 walks for a .396 OBP. If the power comes this year, he could move up draft boards.
41. Houston Astros — Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS (CA)
One of the better defensive outfielders in the 2014 MLB draft, the 6’-2” right-hander has been timed at 6.44 in the 60 and his arm has been clocked at 93 mph from the outfield. His instincts, route running and speed allow him to make highlight plays in center and he should stick at the premium position. At the plate, he shows good bat speed and developing power. Committed to Oregon.
42. Miami Marlins — Alex Verdugo, LHP/OF, Sahuaro HS (AZ)
One of the better two-way talents available in the 2014 MLB draft, the 6’-1” left-hander has a tough decision on his hands as he excels as both a hitter and pitcher. He can touch 93 mph with his fastball and also adds solid secondaries with a mid-70s curveball and an upper-70s change-up. He has great bat speed and shows raw power. Over 93 at-bats as a junior, he hit .484 with seven home runs, stole 24 bases and drew 25 walks to just three strikeouts. On the mound, he struck out 130 over 65 innings. Committed to Arizona State.
43. Chicago White Sox — Joey Pankake, SS, South Carolina
Reports are Pankake is going to be playing all over the field this year. He will be the team’s closer, play some outfield and move around the infield — all in hopes of raising his draft stock. At 6’-1” and 200 pounds, he has an advanced approach at the plate, a canon arm and excellent bat speed. He showed developing power as a sophomore, hitting .311/.387/.496 over 62 games with 11 home runs and drew 29 walks to just 29 strikeouts. Even if he can’t stick at short, he should be bale to handle second base.
44. Chicago Cubs — Matt Imhof, LHP, Cal Poly
At 6’-5” and 220 pounds, the southpaw has the size you want in a workhorse. He will only be 20 years old come draft day, making him one of the youngest college players in the draft. His fastball sits in the 89-92 mph range and can touch 94 due to his smooth, effortless delivery. He adds solid secondary stuff and knows how to mix his pitches well. Posted a 2.73 ERA, 1.23 WHIP with 95 K/30 BB over 101.2 innings as a sophomore. Has very good command of his stuff and there is still some projection left due to his size, age and delivery.
45. Minnesota Twins — Marcus Wilson, OF, Serra HS (CA)
At 6’-3” and 180 pounds, the right-hander is raw in areas but has a lot of upside based on his plus speed and ability to drive the ball to all fields. His size implies more power will come. He also has a plus arm and is one of those players that gets better every time out. One of the youngest players in the 2014 MLB draft and one of those quick-twitch athletes scouts love. Committed to Arizona State.
46. Seattle Mariners — Jakson Reetz, C/OF, Norris HS (NE)
A terrific athlete and two-way player who was a star for U18 Team USA, the 6’-1”, 200 pound right-hander’s ability to stick behind the plate make him a highly touted prospect. More of a line-drive hitter now, more power should come as he matures, and he has the bat speed to back it up. Can hit the low 90s on the mound so his arm plays well behind the plate and he makes for a big target. Some believe he may be better suited for the outfield where his strong arm, speed and developing power would play well. Committed to Nebraska.
47. Philadelphia Phillies — Cameron Varga, RHP, Cincinnati Hills Academy (OH)
A converted shortstop, the 6’-3”, 205 pound right-hander has established himself as one of the top prep arms in the 2014 MLB draft in a short time, thanks in part to a fastball that sits at 93-95 mph. With his lively arm and fluid delivery, there is still room for added velocity. He adds an upper-70s curveball with good depth and a solid upper-70s change-up. Considering he has only been pitching full time for two years, his progression has been scary. Committed to North Carolina.
48. Colorado Rockies — J.J. Schwarz, C, Palm Beach HS (FL)
The 6′-2” right-hander was a monster for U18 Team USA, hitting .429/.452/.536 to help the US win the gold medal in Taiwan. He shows big-time power potential due to his excellent bat speed and strong wrists. With good footwork and a strong arm, he has a legit shot to remain at catcher and scouts will be watching him closely this season. Committed to Florida.
49. Toronto Blue Jays — Taylor Sparks, 3B/1B, UC Irvine
The Big West Conference Player of the Year as a sophomore, the 6’-4”, 210 pound right-hander hit .360/.388/.581 over 55 games with 10 home runs and 50 RBI. He only drew six walks to 40 strikeouts, showing needed work on his approach. Defensively, he has the arm and actions to stick at the hot corner where his plus power would play well. He led Collegiate Team USA with a .396 average over 19 games and was 7-for-7 in stolen bases, showing good speed on the base paths.
50. Milwaukee Brewers — Monte’ Harrison, OF, Lee’s Summit HS (MO)
A two-sport star, the 6’-2”, 200 pound right-hander may be a tough sign as he is one of the top wide receivers in the country and has a scholarship to play at Nebraska. On the diamond, he has plus speed (6.65/60), a plus arm (97 mph from the outfield) and has developed into a solid hitter, and his size suggests more power will come. Over 83 at-bats as a junior, he hit .457 with 12 doubles, three triples and six home runs. One of the more exciting players available with a ton of upside but football may get in the way.
51. San Diego Padres — Chase Vallot, C/OF, St. Thomas More HS (LA)
One of the youngest players in the draft, the 6’-0”, 205 pound right-hander generates a ton of raw power due to his bat speed and strong wrists. His strong arm, size and footwork could allow him to stick at a premium position but many believe a move to a corner outfield position is likely. Another player I got to see at Wrigley, he hit a couple bombs out of the park with ease and showed a polished approach at the plate during the game. Committed to Mississippi State.
52. San Francisco Giants — Milton Ramos, SS, American Heritage HS (FL)
A defensive whiz who should stick at shortstop, the 6’-1”, 160 pound right-hander showed great improvements at the plate during the tournament circuit. He has been clocked at 6.53 in the 60, showing above-average speed, as well. If he continues to improve offensively, he could be a first-round pick.
53. Los Angeles Angels — J.D. Davis, 1B/3B, Cal State Fullerton
The 6’-3”, 215 pound right-hander has plus power to all fields and a solid approach at the plate. Over 60 games as a sophomore, he hit .318/.407/.436 with 31 walks to 37 strikeouts. He also has a plus arm and can touch 94 mph on the mound as a reliever. He doesn’t offer any speed but could handle the hot corner due to his arm and footwork.
54. Arizona Diamondbacks — Joseph Gatto, RHP, St. Augustine Prep (NJ)
The 6’-5”, 210 pound right-hander turned heads by gaining nearly 10 mph on his fastball over the last year and now can sling it 95 mph with explosive, late life. He showed great command of his secondary stuff at the Perfect Game Nationals, and he still has a ton of projection due to his size and arm action. Scouts reportedly were raving about his efficiency and feel for his stuff. He hit 93 mph at the PG Classic. Committed to North Carolina.
55. Baltimore Orioles — Mike Papi, OF, Virginia
The 6’-3”, 200 pound left-hander wasn’t even a starter until the 11th game of the season. From that point on, he was one of the best hitters in college and led the nation in OBP. Over 55 games, he hit .381/.517/.619 with 15 doubles, seven home runs and drew an impressive 45 walks to just 25 strikeouts. A very good athlete, he should be able to stick at a corner outfield position. He has a tough act to follow as a junior.
56. New York Yankees — Kel Johnson, OF, (Home School) (GA)
A 6’-4”, 210 pound right-hander who has been a fixture on Perfect Game tournaments, Johnson is home schooled by his parents and plays for the East Cobb Braves — one of the premiere youth baseball operations in the country. Power would be his best tool right now as he generates a ton of it with his strong wrists and bat speed. A player who you come to watch hit batting practice. Finished second to Gatewood in the home run derby at Citi Field, hitting 11 in total. Committed to Georgia Tech.
57. Kansas City Royals — Scott Hurst, OF, Bishop Amat HS (CA)
A burner who has been clocked at 6.49 in the 60, the 6′-0” right-hander projects to a top-of-the-order hitter with developing power. He also has one of the strongest arms in his class having been clocked at 99 mph from the outfield. Has a real chance to stick in center field, which would only help his draft stock. Committed to Cal State Fullerton.
58. Washington Nationals — Foster Griffin, LHP, The First Academy (FL)
At 6’-5” and 190 pounds, the southpaw has a lot of projection and already has a great feel for pitching. His fastball can touch 92 mph and he adds a mid-70s change-up with nice fade. He has a loose and lanky frame, which bodes well for added velocity and mechanics. His size alone makes him an intriguing prospect. Committed to Mississippi.
59. Cincinnati Reds — Keith Weisenberg, RHP, Osceola HS (FL)
The 6′-4” right-hander was sitting 91-96 mph with his fastball in Jupiter and was able to maintain velocity into the fourth inning, showing good stamina. His size suggest there is still room for added projection and velocity. He also features a tailing change-up that still needs some refining but he shows a good feel for it. Committed to Stanford.
60. Texas Rangers — Carson Sands, LHP, N. Florida Christian HS (FL)
The 6’-3”, 215 pound southpaw has a low-90s fastball with arm-side run and there is still room for more velocity as he matures. He has great mound presence and looks like a polished pro. He also shows two solid secondaries in a change-up and curveball. His command gets him in trouble at times, but all of the ingredients are there. An alumni of Team USA Baseball, he has played against the best competition. Committed to Florida State.
61. Tampa Bay Rays — Chris Oliver, RHP, Arkansas
A 6’-4”, 185 pound right-hander who can touch 97 mph with his fastball and adds a mid-80s power slider, Oliver will get a chance to start this year after working out of the bullpen his first two years. His change-up is still developing and a big year could propel him up draft boards. Had 21 K/8 BB over 20 innings last year, allowing 14 hits.
62. Cleveland Indians — Jake Cosart, RHP, Seminole State (JUCO)
The younger brother of Astros’ prospect Jarred Cosart, Jake is a 6’-1”, 185 pound right-hander with quick arm actions that can touch 98 mph with his fastball. He is still raw as a pitcher and has a lot of work to do on his secondary stuff but he has a ton of upside due to his arm strength, long arms and quick hands. He shows a mid-70s curveball that, when on, looks like a future plus pitch. Could end up being a steal in this draft.
63. Los Angeles Dodgers — Carl Chester, OF, Lake Brantley HS (FL)
A plus/plus runner who has been times at 6.28 in the 60, the right-hander can wreak havoc on the base paths, as well as in the outfield where you’d be hard pressed to hit anything over his head. At 6’-0” and 170 pounds, he also shows some raw power in his swing and excellent bat speed. A quick-twitch athlete with a lot of upside. He stole 18 of 20 bases as a junior and struck out just 11 times over 110 plate appearances. Committed to Miami.
64. Detroit Tigers — Zach Shannon, 3B/RHP, Moeller HS (OH)
A two-way prospect who may have more upside as a hitter, the 6’-3”, 220 pound right-hander has a canon arm (95 mph) and his power bat would play well at the hot corner. He has shown the ability to hit to all fields and has good bat speed. On the mound, he also has an upper-70s curveball that shows plus potential to go along with his plus fastball that hit 95 mph at the PG Classic. He hails from the same school that produced Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Larkin and Buddy Bell. Committed to Ohio State.
65. Pittsburgh Pirates — Gregory Deichmann, SS, Brothers Martin HS (LA)
Left-handed hitting power shortstops are a nice commodity to have, and the 6’-2”, 190 pound Deichmann has a chance to stick at short due to his strong arm, speed and instincts in the field. He has excellent bat speed and can put on displays in the cage during batting practice. Even if he ends up at third, the power and arm will play well. Committed to USC.
66. Oakland Athletics — Justin Smith, OF, Bartram Trails HS (FL)
The 6’-2”, 200 pound right-hander has all five tools, including a canon arm in the outfield (92 mph) and plus speed (6.6/60). He is still considered raw in some areas, but his excellent bat speed, along with his frame, make for a huge upside. He stood out at the East Coast pro tournament making several strong plays in the outfield and driving the ball to all fields. Many are expecting a huge senior season. Committed to Miami.
67. Atlanta Braves — Cole Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe HS (AZ)
A switch-hitting shortstop with crazy hair who does everything well on a baseball field, the 6′-3″, 175 pound Tucker is long and rangy with good actions to remain at a premium position. He was a leader for the gold-medal winning U18 USA Team. At the plate, he makes good contact with a loose swing and projects to a top-of-the-order hitter with decent speed (6.8/60). Committed to Arizona.
68. Boston Red Sox — Josh Morgan, SS, Orange Lutheran HS (CA)
A quick-twitch athlete, Morgan is a 6′-0″, 185 pound right-hander with great actions at shortstop. he has worked extremely hard to remain at the premium position, including dropping 10 pounds to become more fluid in the field. He also gained more speed in doing so. At the plate, he makes consistent, hard contact to all fields. One of those kids who just gets better every time out. Committed to UCLA.
69. St. Louis Cardinals — David Peterson, LHP, Regis Jesuit HS (CO)
Peterson is a big southpaw (6′-6“, 215 pounds) with an easy delivery. His fastball sits in the 88-92 mph range and his curveball has plus potential. He offers a classic three-pitch mix and has a good feel for pitching. Committed to Oregon.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @DanMKirby for 2014 MLB draft updates, prospect news and Chicago Cubs ramblings.