With the 2014 MLB draft getting closer and closer, it is becoming more and more difficult to pick 27 players for the first round without feeling guilty about leaving so much talent out. While that may not be good news for the players as slot money is up for grabs, a deep draft is great news for fans because teams can improve their farm systems in a big way this year. Here is version 7.0 of my 2014 MLB mock draft:
1. Houston Astros — Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
Rodon was brilliant against Georgia Tech on April 25, striking out a season-high 15 to two walks in a complete game loss. He allowed one run on six hits and was using his ridiculous slider to embarrass hitters all night. His fastball was popping the mitt at 97 mph and he looked like he was enjoying himself out there. He now has a 2.03 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 94 K/26 BB over 80 innings. No one ever knows what the Astros are going to do, but I just don’t see them passing on The Rodon.
2. Miami Marlins — Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (TX)
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He has hit 103 mph, has a plus slider and his change-up is flashing plus potential. He is 6’-5“, 240 pounds and is pitching no less than seven days apart and on a sub-100 pitch count. They are taking care of the legend that is T-KO, and the Marlins would be fools to let him slip away if he indeed is still available. Through 47.1 innings, he has 102 K/5 BB and has allowed 13 hits. Committed to TCU.
3. Chicago White Sox — Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
Beede already shows three plus pitches with the potential for four. At 6’-4” and 215 pounds, the right-hander has the size, poise and stuff of an ace. That’s a pretty good starting point to get in a draft pick. Any command issues he may have will be ironed out with pro instruction, and the White Sox will look like geniuses for nabbing him here. Beede has 69 K/24 BB over 65 innings, holding opponents to a .214 batting average.
4. Chicago Cubs — Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)
Aiken has drawn the Clayton Kershaw comparison. I feel like I could just stop there as you can’t get much higher praise than that. GM Jed Hoyer has gone on record as saying he prefers college players over high school kids because the “bust” factor is lower, but Aiken may be just too good to pass on here. At 6’-4” and 200 pounds, the southpaw shows two potential off-speed offerings and his fastball has been sitting 92-94 mph. He is extremely polished and still has projection with his easy delivery. Through 36.2 innings, he has 71 K/7 BB and has allowed 16 hits. If the Cubs decide to go with a bat, I could easily see Alex Jackson or Nick Gordon here.
5. Minnesota Twins — Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS (FL)
Gordon has been displaying all five tools this season and is the best all-around shortstop in the class. The 6’-2”, 190 pound left-handed hitter is hitting .507/.620/.870 through 27 games with nine doubles, five home runs and 17 stolen bases. He has drawn 18 walks to just three strikeouts, showing his advanced approach at the plate. His canon arm, glove and instincts will allow him to stick at short, and he has all the makings of a superstar at the next level. Committed to Florida State.
6. Seattle Mariners — Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
Hoffman was sidelined with “mild arm soreness” for a week but it doesn’t appear to be anything to worry about. The way pitchers are dropping like flies this year, however, you have to give it some concern. For now, though, he remains one of the most interesting players in the 2014 MLB draft due to his size (6’-4”, 185 pounds), easy delivery and stuff. His fastball can touch 98 mph and he adds a plus change-up and plus slurve. He is coming off a stellar performance in which he struck out 16 to one walk against Middle Tennessee State on April 17.
7. Philadelphia Phillies — Alex Jackson, C/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA)
With arguably the top-five pitchers off the board, I think the Phillies would go after the best prep bat in the 2014 MLB draft. Jackson is a 6’-2”, 200 pound right-hander with enormous power, excellent bat speed and an advanced approach at the plate. He has all of the tools to stick at catcher, but most feel a move to the outfield is likely because of the offensive upside. Through 20 games, he is hitting .414/.590/.965 with eight home runs and has drawn 16 walks to six strikeouts. He also has been hit by a pitch nine times. Committed to Oregon.
8. Colorado Rockies — Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (SC)
Some believe Holmes is the best right-hander in the country as he already has three above-average/plus offerings and can touch 98 mph with his fastball. At 6′-2” and 200 pounds, he doesn’t have the size as Kolek, but he might have better overall stuff and he has great command of his pitches. Aside from the fastball, he adds plus curveball that sits 79-81 with late bite and great depth. His change-up already is an above-average offering, sitting 84-86 mph. He has a thick frame, is strong as an ox and just keeps getting better. Committed to Florida.
9. Toronto Blue Jays — Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
While Turner isn’t having quite the offensive season many had hoped for, he still possesses plus speed, an advanced approach at the plate and has shown some pop this year. He should stick at shortstop as he has unlimited range and enough arm. Through 41 games, he is hitting .298/.389/.466 with six home runs, 15 stolen bases and 25 walks to 20 strikeouts.
10. New York Mets — Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
While he has cooled off just a bit as of late, Zimmer is still hitting .374/.458/.598 through 42 games with eight doubles, five triples, seven home runs and 19 stolen bases. He has 21 walks to 30 strikeouts, showing improvement in his approach. At 6’-5” and 200 pounds, the left-handed hitter is the best power/speed player in the 2014 MLB draft and, like his brother Kyle Zimmer, has a canon for an arm.
11. Toronto Blue Jays — Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU
Nola got roughed up in his last start, allowing five runs on hits over 5.2 innings to Tennessee on April 25. He also walked four batters, which is unusual for him. Still, he has a 1.40 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 95 K/19 BB over 77.1 innings, holding opponents to a .175 batting average. 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, and he is known for his pin-point control.
12. Milwaukee Brewers — Michael Gettys, OF, Gainesville HS (GA)
Over his last 12 games, Gettys has been displaying his tremendous power potential. He has hit six home runs during that span to go with four doubles and seven stolen bases, showing off his plus wheels, as well. Already projected to be a star on defense with his speed and arm that has been clocked at 100 mph from the outfield, the in-game power he is showing this year makes him one of the more exciting and toolsiest players in the 2014 MLB draft. Committed to Georgia.
13. San Diego Padres — Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
Pentecost is riding a 25-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .462/.513/.736 with 12 doubles, a triple, five home runs and seven stolen bases. His offensive upside is great and he is a terrific athlete. He could stick at catcher but also could make an easy transition to the outfield where his arm, glove and bat would all play well.
14. San Francisco Giants — Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
Finnegan left his start in the third inning due to a sore shoulder on April 25. Team doctors said it wasn’t serious and he should make his next scheduled start. Like Hoffman, however, it is something to keep an eye on, especially with all of the injuries to pitchers this year. Finnegan can hit triple-digits and adds a nasty slider but some question his size (5’-11”, 185 pounds) to remain a starter at the next level. Through 11 starts, he has a 1.50 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 96 K/18 BB over 72 innings and his 12 K/9 ratio is among the best in the country.
15. Los Angeles Angels — Scott Blewett, RHP, Baker HS (NY)
The 6’-6”, 220 pound right-hander can touch 95 mph with his fastball and he adds a potential plus curveball with great looping action, as well as a change-up and a circle-curve (change) he has been working on. Through his first three starts, he has 35 K/2 BB over 16 shutout innings, allowing just five hits. He jumps on hitters early, throwing a first-pitch strike to 42/55 batters he has faced. With his size and smooth mechanics, there is a lot of projection left. Committed to St. Johns.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks — Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV
A fast arm and the ability to hit the mid-90s with his fastball make the 6’-4”, 185 pound right-hander highly desirable. He throws a sinking fastball that he uses to induce ground outs when he isn’t striking people out. Through 11 starts, he has a 1.76 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 82 K/21 BB over 76.2 innings, holding opponents to a .206 batting average.
17. Kansas City Royals — Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
A premium bat from the left side, Conforto is an advanced hitter and arguably the best hitter in the 2014 MLB draft. At 6’-3” and 215 pounds, the hope is more power will come. Through 37 games, he is hitting .414/.557/.594 with 10 doubles, three home runs and has drawn 36 walks to 20 strikeouts. He is most likely a left-fielder at the next level but his bat is what is going to get him drafted this high.
18. Washington Nationals — Cameron Varga, RHP, Cincinnati Christian HS (OH)
Varga is a 6’-4”, 215 pound right-hander whose fastball has been sitting 92-94 mph this spring. He adds an upper-70s curveball with great depth and fade, and he still has projection. He tossed his second straight no-hitter on April 24 and now has 68 K/3 BB over 29 innings, allowing one run on eight hits. His 21.1 K/9 ratio shows the kind of power arm he has. Committed to North Carolina.
19. Cincinnati Reds — Jacob Bukauskas, RHP, Stone Bridge HS (VA)
Add Bukauskas to the list of triple-digit pitchers this year. At 6’-1” and 200 pounds, he has been consistently hitting the upper-90s this spring and he adds a deceptive change-up with nice fade and a tight slider. Through 36.2 innings, he has 82 K/3 BB, allowing just 10 hits. Committed to North Carolina.
20. Tampa Bay Rays — Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS (FL)
Reid-Foley has a four-pitch mix headlined by a fastball that can touch 94 mph and a nasty, upper-70s curveball that is one of the best in his class. At 6’-4” and 200 pounds, the right-hander has a pitcher’s body and still has projection. Through 57.2 innings, he has 108 K/15 BB and has allowed just 14 hits. He has great command of his stuff, as well as great mound presence. Committed to Florida State.
21. Cleveland Indians — Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
Freeland allowed two walks in his last start on April 25. That’s big news as he had only allowed four all season. He added 10 strikeouts, however, and now has 97 K/6 BB over 71.2 innings with a 1.88 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. Add in his performance at the Cape Cod League over the summer, and he has 145 K/14 BB over his last 111.2 innings. The 6’-4” southpaw can touch 96 with his fastball, and he adds a plus slider and a solid change-up.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers — Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs HS (FL)
Still relatively new to pitching, the 6’-3”, 200 pound right-hander has a ton of upside due to his electric arm and size. He can hit 97 mph with his fastball and he adds a wicked curveball that flashes plus. His command can get the best of him and he is still raw, but again, the upside is high. The Dodgers are great at developing arms and this could be a great match here.
23. Detroit Tigers — Braxton Davidson, OF/1B, Roberson HS (NC)
Maybe the best pure hitter in his class, Davidson is a 6’-3”, 220 pound left-hander with an advanced approach and big-time power. Through 20 games, he is hitting .455/.625/.746 with seven doubles, three home runs and 20 walks to just six strikeouts as he isn‘t getting much to hit. He doesn’t offer much speed but his arm is strong enough to hold down a corner outfield spot. If he ends up at first base, the pressure is on his bat, but it’s a good one. Committed to North Carolina.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates — Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
With a fastball that can touch 98 mph and a slider with plus potential, the only knock on Newcomb this year has been his command. His ability to make bats miss has been on full display, however, as he is holding opponents to a .158 batting average this year. At 6’-5” and 240 pounds, he has the size you want in a frontline starter. Through 10 starts, he has a 1.12 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 69 K/29 BB over 64.1 innings.
25. Oakland Athletics — Michael Chavis, 3B, Sprayberry HS (GA)
Chavis has been displaying plus power and an advanced hit tool this season. Through 24 games, he is hitting .571/.659/1.129 with seven doubles, 10 home runs and 17 stolen bases, showing off his above-average speed. He has the arm and footwork to play the hot corner and the bat would more than play well.
26. Boston Red Sox — Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
In his first three games back from a broken hamate bone in his right wrist, Fisher went 7-for-14 with a double and two home runs. Considering the injury has a tendency to sap power, that was a great sign and a testament to Fisher’s abilities. A great athlete, the left-handed hitter can stroke it to all fields and has power potential. He is likely headed to left field at the next level as his defense has been the one knock on him. He has all the tools, he just hasn’t put them all together yet. Through 19 games, he is hitting .347/.398/.556.
27. St. Louis Cardinals — Michael Kopech, RHP, Mount Pleasant HS (TX)
The 6’-4” right-hander has been blowing away the competition this year thanks to a fastball that has touched 98 mph and a nasty slider. He keeps getting better and, with his size, there is still projection left. He has shown great command of his stuff, as well. Through 52.2 innings, he has 107 K/11 BB. Committed to Arizona.
Next five: Monte Harrison, Jacob Gatewood, Kyle Schwarber, Tiquan Forbes, Matt Imhof.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @DanMKirby for 2014 MLB mock draft updates, high school and college news, as well as Chicago Cubs ramblings.