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With about 50 games left in the 2013 MLB season, I decided to skip a mock until the draft order is set because too many teams are bunched up and positions are changing everyday. With many of the summer events and tournaments behind us, the elite prep players are starting to separate themselves in a class that is loaded with talent — especially on the mound. For the college players, we got to see some great talent at The Cape Cod League, as well as the Collegiate National team. This will no doubt change, but for now, here are my top-50 prospects for the 2014 MLB draft:
1. Carlos Rodon, LHP, NC State
The prize of the draft, the 6’-3” southpaw continued to demonstrate his silly array of abilities against the rest of the world after posting a 2.99 ERA, 1.05 WHIP with 184 K/45 BB over 132.1 innings for the Wolfpack this year. Pitching for The Collegiate National Team, he went 3-0 with 21 K/4 BB over 17 shutout innings, allowing just five hits. He has a five-pitch arsenal that includes a mid-90s heater, a power slider, a lethal cutter, an above-average curveball and a change-up with nice fade. He commands all of them well and is comfortable throwing any of them in any situation. There may not be much projection left but what more do you want?
2. Trea Turner, SS, NC State
The 2013 MLB draft lacked depth up the middle. Turner, a 6’-1” right-hander, is a fantastic defender with outstanding range and a strong arm. His elite speed, advanced approach at the plate and ability to drive the ball to all fields make him one of the more exciting players in college and, once he gets on base, don’t blink. 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.
3. Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
At 6’-4” and 215 pounds, the right-hander has the size, along with the stuff, to be an ace at the next level. He features a classic three-pitch mix with a mid-90s plus fastball with great movement, a plus power curveball and a deceptive change-up that freezes hitters. Opponents hit just .187 against him as a sophomore as his ability to miss bats is something to see. The one knock on him is that he also has a tendency to miss the strike zone. His stuff and make-up are top notch, however, and if he can harness his control as a junior, he could challenge Rodon for the top pick. Posted a 2.32 ERA, 1.26 with 103 K/63 BB over 101 innings for the Commodores.
4. Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS (CA)
Gatewood is quickly becoming the most drooled over prep prospect in the 2014 MLB draft. At 6’-5” and 190 pounds, the right-hander shows big-time power potential and excellent bat speed. He won the Junior Home Run Derby at Citi Field, slugging 13 home runs — three of them reaching the third deck. He also has a canon arm and has been clocked in the low/mid 90s. A shortstop now, his size and power could move him to third where all of his tools would play well. He could go first overall with his upside. Committed to USC.
5. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
The 6’-4”, 200-pound right-hander was dominate at the Cape Cod League this year. 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 7.3 innings-per-start show the kind of stamina he has, and he maintains velocity deep in games. We all saw Jonathan Gray rocket up draft boards this past year, and Hoffman could enjoy the same ride.
6. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (TX)
Just days after I put out my first mock, the 6’-6” right-hander hit 100 mph at the Area Code tryouts. He then sat in the mid-90s at the Perfect Game Nationals with a good feel for a slider that has plus potential. Then, at the Perfect Game All-American Classic, he hit 99 mph, setting a record for the event. His size suggests even more velocity could be coming, and he has great body control considering his frame. He has been timed at 4.8 in the 40, showing great athleticism. Texas is known for producing big, hard-throwing right-handers, but Kolek definitely fits the mold.
7. Alex Jackson, C, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA)
The best catching prospect in the draft, the 6’-2”, 210-pound right-hander has a plus arm and, mixed with his footwork and athleticism, should stick at the premium position. His power is some of the best in the class, and he should hit for a high average with his approach and plus bat speed. He hit .343/.479/.806 over 35 games as a junior with 14 home runs and 29 walks. Committed to Oregon.
8. 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.
9. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Academy (FL)
One of the most electric arms in the 2014 MLB draft, the 6’-2”, 190-pound right-hander has touched 97 mph with his fastball and adds one of the best curveballs in the draft; a knee-buckling hammer that sits in the mid 70s. He adds a lot of deception to his delivery, making his stuff that much harder to pick up. The only knock on him right now is his command, which can get the best of him at times. He walked three and struck out three in one inning at the PG Classic. His stuff is outstanding.
10. Michael Cederoth, RHP, San Diego State
He is 6′-6“, 210 pounds and can touch 100 mph with his fastball. Shall I go on? 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.
11. Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
Maybe the best pure hitter 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.
12. 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.
13. Michael Gettys, OF/RHP, Gainesville HS (GA)
Maybe the most all-around talented prep player in the draft, the 6’-2” right-hander excels at just about everything on the baseball field. He plays the game at breakneck speed, much like fellow Georgia native, and fifth-overall pick in last year’s draft, Clint Frazier. He may have higher upside as an offensive player where his plus speed, plus bat speed and power rank him at the top among outfield prospects. He can also sling it 100 mph from the outfield, which would allow him to play all three outfield spots at the next level. On the mound, his fastball can touch 95 mph and he adds a mid-70s curveball. He posted a 0.99 ERA, 0.74 WHIP with 114 K/18 BB over 73 innings as a junior. Frazier told me he was the toughest pitcher he faced all season.
14. Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (SC)
A Florida Gator commit, the 6’-2”, 190-pound right-hander hit 96 mph at the Perfect Game Nationals and flashed a plus curveball with excellent command. He also hit 95 mph at the PG Classic, showing one of the better fastballs in the prep class. He adds an above-average change-up, rounding out a solid three-pitch mix. Some scouts think he has maxed out physically, limiting his upside, but as it is, he profiles to a mid-rotation starter and possibly as high as a two. He is a very good athlete with a sound delivery and one of the best prep arms in the draft.
15. Braxton Davidson, OF, TC Roberson HS (NC)
The 6’-3”, 215-pound left-hander will be one of the best prep bats in the 2014 MLB draft due to his bat speed, advanced approach at the plate and raw power. He shows good pitch recognition, and his strong wrists allow him to wait on any pitch. 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. His strong arm would play well in a corner outfield spot.
16. 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.
17. Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Waiakea HS (HI)
Medeiros was the talk of the PG Classic. Some people described his stuff as filthy, nasty and some players tweeted he had some of the best stuff they have ever seen. He hit 95 mph with his fastball and added a nasty, filthy slider that sat in the low 80s. What really makes him nasty and filthy, however, is his delivery. He throws from low three-quarters — almost sidearm. You don’t see a lot of sidearm, frontline starters in the majors so it will be interesting to watch him his senior season. Also, at 6’-0” and 185 pounds, his size may limit his upside. Nonetheless, he established himself as one of the most exciting players in the country.
18. Nick Gordon, SS/RHP, Olympia HS (FL)
The son of Tom “Flash” Gordon, Nick also can sling it on the mound (92 mph) but may have a brighter future at shortstop, where his strong arm, range and instincts will make him one of the better defensive shortstops in the 2014 MLB draft. 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.
19. 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. He adds an above-average curveball and is a very athletic player who also shines on the offensive end. The mound is where he dominates, however, and he still has projection left. Plus, he plays in Georgia where they grow elite players on a farm somewhere.
20. Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU
Maybe the best control artist available in the 2014 MLB draft, 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, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better pitcher, in the true sense of the word, out there.
21. Jack Flaherty, 3B/RHP, Harvard Westlake HS (CA)
Like Gatewood, 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. He doesn’t have quite the arm of Gatewood, but he should be able to stick at third due to his range and instincts. 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.
22. 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.
23. Kyle Schwarber, C, Indiana
Maybe the best power bat in college, the 6’-0”, 230-pound left-hander also has a great approach at the plate and should hit for a high average at the next level. 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 this year’s draft, and Schwarber should benefit from that next year.
24. Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
A great athlete, the 6’-3”, 210-pound left-hander greatly improved his approach this season cutting down his strikeouts from 61 to 38 over roughly the same number of plate appearances while upping his walks from 22 to 28. Over 53 games, he hit .306 with 12 doubles, seven home runs, stole eight bases and had a .420 OBP/.505 SLG. His size suggests more power will come and, if it does, he will be one of the better all-around college bats available in the 2014 MLB draft.
25. 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 Georgia.
26. Jakson Reetz, C/RHP, Norris HS (NE)
A terrific athlete and two-way player, 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. Committed to Nebraska.
27. 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 month and has huge upside due to his size, easy delivery and stuff. Committed to Florida State.
28. Ryan Castellani, RHP, Brophy Prep HS (AZ)
The 6’-4”, 200-pound right-hander has an advanced feel for the mound and can dial his fastball up to 92 mph with late, downward life. He adds a mid-70s curve and a change-up that sits in the 79-83 mph range and both project to above-average pitches down the road. He has good command of his stuff and there is still room for projection due to his size and easy mechanics. Committed to UCLA.
29. Cobi Johnson, RHP, James 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. 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.
30. Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
The younger brother of Royals prospect Kyle Zimmer, Bradley is a 6’-5”, 205-pound, left-handed hitter who has tremendous speed for his size. He also has a great arm and instincts in the field. 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. An exciting player who could shoot up draft boards with another impressive junior season.
31. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)
One of the youngest players in the 2014 MLB draft, the 6’-4” southpaw is an alumni of Team USA Baseball and is very polished on the mound. His fastball sits in the low 90s, and both his curveball and change-up are solid offerings. He has great control of his pitches and dominated at The Tournament of Stars, striking out seven over three scoreless innings. He had a 1.18 ERA and 80 K/25 BB over 53.1 innings as a junior for a team that included 2013 fourth-round pick Stephen Gonsalves. Committed to UCLA.
32. Justin Smith, OF, Bartram trial 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.
33. Michael Kopech, RHP, Mount Pleasant HS (TX)
Another one of those loose arm, projectable right-handers, the 6’-4” Kopech has an electric fastball that can touch 93 mph and he has some deception to his delivery. His mechanics need some refining and he needs to command his secondary stuff better, but the size and stuff is already there. Had 129 K/33 BB over 80.1 innings as a junior.
34. Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
He has reportedly hit triple-digits with his fastball. That alone will get you first-round attention. At 5-’11”, however, his size draws question marks for a frontline starter. He also features an upper-70s slurve and a decent change-up that has come a long way. He could end up a dominant closer in the mold of Billy Wagner. Had 86 K/35 BB over 79.1 innings as a sophomore.
35. 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.
36. 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.
37. Michael Chavis, 3B, Sprayberry HS (GA)
Yet another Georgia kid, the 5’-11” right-hander is one of the best 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 play shortstop. Should hear his name a lot in the next year. Committed to Clemson.
38. Grant Hockin, RHP, Damien HS (CA)
Hockin is an athletic 6’-2” right-hander whose fastball has touched 95 mph with late life and sits in the 89-92 mph range. He also adds two solid secondary offerings in a curveball and change-up, and he locates his pitches well. He repeats his delivery well and still has some projection left. He is the grandson of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew
39. Gareth Morgan, OF, North Toronto Collegiate (ON)
The 2014 prep class is full of big-time power bats and Morgan, a 6’-4”, 210-pound right-hander, has as much of it as anyone else on this list. He is more raw than the players listed above, and he has had mixed results when he has faced elite competition. All of the tools are there, however, including excellent bat speed and a good approach; he just needs to refine his game.
40. 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, move around the infield, maybe coach and possibly take on Joey Chestnut for the Coney Island hotdog eating contest — all in hopes of raising his draft stock. Those last two were a stretch, but the rest is true. 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. I think being able to stick at shortstop would increase his draft stock the most, but what do I know.
41. Greg 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.
42. 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.
43. 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.
44. Chase Vallot, C, 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 should allow him to stick at a premium position and he also has pretty good speed. Committed to Mississippi State.
45. 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 to 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. If the power comes this year, he could move up draft boards.
46. 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.
47. 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.
48. 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 that scouts love. Committed to Arizona State.
49. 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.
50. 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.
Next ten: Justin Bellinger, Scott Hurst, Keaton McKinney, Nick Burdi, Austin Cousino, Cameron Varga, Alex Lange, Trenton Kemp, Brandon Murray, Spencer Adams.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @DanMKirby for 2014 MLB draft updates, prospect news and Chicago Cubs ramblings.