The 2014 MLB draft is three weeks away with the first two rounds set for June 5. What we do know is that we don’t know anything. As unpredictable the MLB draft already is, this year’s is even more so as there isn’t a lot of separation after the top five guys or so. Add in the recent injuries to top-10 pitchers Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde — both requiring Tommy John surgery — and I just about gave up trying to do another mock.
There are three prep players who have first round potential that I have decided to leave out of the mock due to what I believe will be signability issues. Dylan Cease, a right-handed flamethrower from Milton HS in Georgia, is dealing with an elbow injury and is status his up in the air. He also is a Vanderbilt recruit. Jakson Reetz, a do-it-all player from Norris HS in Nebraska, has strong family ties to the University of Nebraska. Justus Sheffield is also a Vanderbilt recruit and his brother, Jordan Sheffield, plays there. Lastly, another projected first-round arm, Jacob Bukauskas from Stone Bridge HS in Virginia, has already said he will honor his commitment to North Carolina.
Here is my 2014 MLB mock draft as I see it going today:
1. Houston Astros — Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
Rodon started this wild year here, and I believe he will end it here. After a bit of a rocky start in which his command and stuff were off, he has been back to his dominant self of late, posting a 0.71 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 51 K/11 BB over his last five starts (38.1 IP) He has that ridiculous slider, his fastball is back to the mid-90s with giddy-up, and, at 6’-3” and 240 pounds, he is a workhorse who never seems to tire out there.
2. Miami Marlins — Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS (FL)
Alright, this is where I think it starts to get strategic. Now, Gordon is one of the best players in this class and has been rising all year due to his ability to stick at shortstop, advanced approach at the plate and developing power from the left side. Being represented by his dad — former big league closer Tom Gordon — the Marlins could get him for under slot, thus saving some money for their other three picks in the top 43 and maybe try and lure one of the three prep players I mentioned above to sign. Over 30 games, Gordon hit .506/.613/.874 with 10 doubles, six home runs and 19 stolen bases. He drew 18 walks and struck out just three times. Committed to Florida State.
3. Chicago White Sox — Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS (CA)
With Tyler Kolek and Brady Aiken on the board, I think the White Sox would go with the more polished pitcher and the kid with better overall present stuff. At 6’-4” and 200 pounds, Aiken wowed scouts all year with his added velocity and has touched 96 mph this year. He adds two potential plus off-speed offerings and he has excellent command of his stuff. Kenny Williams and Co. haven’t taken a prep pitcher in the first round since 2001 but Aiken is too good to pass up. The southpaw has been getting the Clayton Kershaw comp and he’s pretty good. Through 43.2 innings, he has 80 K/7 BB, allowing five runs on 19 hits. Committed to UCLA.
4. Chicago Cubs — Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
With Kolek still on the board, I hope the Cubs take Beede here. Nothing against Kolek, but I just love Beede, and for those pointing to his command issues, just take a look at Matt Harvey’s numbers in college. When he is on, he has maybe the best swing-and-miss stuff in the 2014 MLB draft. At 6’-4” and 215 pounds, his stuff is ace material, headlined by a mid-90s fastball and silly curveball. His change-up is plus at times and his character and poise is 80-grade. Through 13 starts, he has a 3.43 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 81 K/25 BB over 69 innings, holding opponents to a .214 batting average. I could also see any of the next four picks going here.
5. Minnesota Twins — Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (TX)
And Kolek falls into the Twins’ lap. The 6’-5”, 240 pound imposing right-hander has been scaring the life out of poor Texan kids all year with his 100 mph fastball and potential plus slider. He has shown the makings of a future plus change-up but doesn’t need it right now as he can simply blow away his peers with the gas. Over 54.1 innings, he had 112 K/6 BB, allowing two runs on 20 hits. He threw a first-pitch strike to 132/194 batters and averaged 86.6 pitches-per-start. Committed to TCU.
6. Seattle Mariners — Alex Jackson, C/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA)
Jackson may have the best power potential in the 2014 MLB draft. At 6’-2” and 200 pounds, the ball winces when approaching his bat. I saw him at Wrigley Field last summer and the ball truly does sound different coming off his bat. He has the tools to stick behind the plate but his offensive upside will likely send him to right field where his plus arm will play well, along with the bat. Over 25 games, he hit .403/.587/.944 with five doubles, 10 home runs and drew 20 walks to seven strikeouts. He also was plunked a whopping 12 times. Committed to Oregon.
7. Philadelphia Phillies — Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (SC)
The Phillies could opt for Bradley Zimmer here but I think Holmes is too good to pass up. At 6’-2” and 200 pounds, he has three pitches that are present above-average to plus offerings. His fastball has touched 98 mph but has been sitting around 92-94 and he adds a 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. Not much projection left but he doesn’t need it. Committed to Florida.
8. Colorado Rockies — Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU
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. Through 13 starts, he has a 1.43 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 111 K/22 BB over 94.2 innings, holding opponents to a .169 batting average. Nola could join Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler to form quite the trio at the top of the rotation for the Rockies in the near future.
9. Toronto Blue Jays — Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State
Tuner has been one of my favorites since his freshman season as he offers a unique package of tools. With his plus/plus speed, he is a headache on the bases. He also has great range and instincts in the field and should be able to stick at a premium position. He has an advanced approach at the plate and has shown some pop this season, especially of late. Through 48 games, he is hitting .319/.418/.505 with 10 doubles, seven home runs and has drawn 33 walks to just 24 strikeouts. He also has gone 22-for-25 in stolen base attempts.
10. New York Mets — Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
Maybe the best power/speed prospect in the 2014 MLB draft, Zimmer is a 6’-5”, 200 pound left-handed hitter who alao has a good approach at the plate. He has been raking all season and is hitting .370/.462/.575 through 49 games with eight doubles, six triples, seven home runs and 27 walks to 32 strikeouts. He has gone 21-for-30 in stolen base attempts. Defensively, he has a canon arm like his brother Kyle Zimmer and his athleticism could allow him to stick in center field, although he could easily handle right field where the bat would justify.
11. Toronto Blue Jays — Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
Power and control. Freeland has been flat out silly this year and has risen as high as anyone in the 2014 MLB draft. After impressing at the Cape Cod League over the summer, recording 48 K/4 BB over 40 innings, the 6’-4” southpaw has been even better this season. Through 13 starts, he has a 1.75 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 111 K/7 BB over 87.2 innings. He has yet to allow a home run this season. He can touch 96 with his fastball, and he adds a plus slider and a solid change-up.
12. Milwaukee Brewers — Michael Gettys, OF, Gainesville HS (GA)
I have Gettys higher than most everyone, but I believe in the bat and the rest of the skill set is elite. He has a plus/plus arm and his plus speed should allow him to stick at center field at the next level. At 6’-2” and 200 pounds, he has raw power potential. Over his last 16 games, he is hitting .460/.565/.940 with six doubles, six home runs and 12 stolen bases. For the year, he is now hitting .407/.505/.791 with eight doubles, nine home runs and 20 stolen bases over 30 games. Committed to Georgia.
13. San Diego Padres — Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
Over his last 12 games, Pentecost has gone 31-for-50 (.620) with four doubles, four home runs and five stolen bases. On the year, he is now hitting .416/.470/.612 with 18 doubles, seven home runs, 48 RBI and 14 stolen bases through 49 games. He has added 21 walks to just 22 strikeouts, showing an advanced approach at the plate. Scouts wanted to see more power from him this year and they got it. He has all the tools to remain behind the plate but his athleticism and offensive upside may force a move to the outfield where his strong arm would play well.
14. San Francisco Giants — Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
In his first start back from a sore shoulder, Finnegan allowed two runs over four innings, striking out four to two walks as he was on an 80-pitch count. His next start will tell a better story but there is no denying his stuff as his fastball can touch 100 mph and he adds a power slider that also is plus. At 5’-11” and 185 pounds, people are always going to question his size as a frontline starter but his track record suggests he should be able to handle the workload. Through 12 starts, he has a 1.66 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 100 K/20 BB over 76 innings. His 11.84 K/9 ratio is among the best in the nation and he has very good command of his stuff.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks — Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
Arguably the best college hitter in the 2014 MLB draft, Conforto has an astounding approach at the plate and he has been showing more power as the season goes on. Through 45 games, he is hitting .391/.542/.603 and he leads the nation in OBP. He has added 14 doubles, five home runs and a whopping 43 walks to 27 strikeouts. At 6’-3” and 215 pounds, the left-handed hitter is one of the safest picks in the draft as his bat is special and more power should come as he matures.
16. Los Angeles Angels — Michael Chavis, 3B, Sprayberry HS (GA)
Chavis was a monster all season, showing off his massive power potential, along with the athletic abilities to remain in the infield — most likely at third. With his excellent bat speed, he hit .536/.632/1.143 over 30 games with seven doubles, 14 home runs and 17 stolen bases. He has been clocked at 6.68 in the 60 and his arm at 91 mph from the infield. Committed to Clemson.
17. Kansas City Royals — Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
With three picks in the top 40, I can see the Royals going after Hoffman here. The success rate for Tommy John recovery is getting better and better each year and, when healthy, his stuff is incredible. At 6’-4” and 195 pounds, his fastball can touch 98 mph and he adds a plus change-up and plus slurve. Through 10 starts, he posted a 2.94 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 72 K/20 BB over 67.1 innings.
18. Washington Nationals — Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
Newcomb hasn’t been facing the best competition but he has been blowing away opponents, holding hitters to a .162 batting average and allowing just six extra-base hits all season — all doubles. With a fastball that can touch 98 mph, and a slider that shows plus potential, he has posted a 1.36 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 84 K/33 BB over 79.1 innings. The only knock on the 6’-5”, 240 pound southpaw has been his command. Everything else has been brilliant.
19. Cincinnati Reds — Kyle Schwarber, C/1B, Indiana
One of the better all-around hitters in the 2014 MLB draft, Schwarber has an advanced approach from the left side and shows huge power potential from his 6’-1”, 240 pound frame. He has a chance to stick behind the plate, but even if he ends up at first base, there should be zero worries about the bat. Through 46 games, he is hitting .348/.457/.619 with 12 doubles, nine home runs and 34 walks to 23 strikeouts. He also has gone 8-for-10 in stolen base attempts, showing off very good athleticism for his size.
20. Tampa Bay Rays — Scott Blewett, RHP, Baker HS (NY)
At 6’-6” and 220 pounds, Blewett has the size you want in a frontline starter. He also has the arm as his fastball can touch 95 mph. 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 26 innings, he has 50 K/8 BB and has allowed one run on 12 hits. With his size, stuff and smooth mechanics, there is a lot of projection left. Committed to St. Johns.
21. Cleveland Indians — Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood, HS (FL)
The 6’-4”, 200 pound right-hander has been rising all season due to his size and four-pitch mix. His fastball touches 94 mph with late life, and he adds a filthy, upper-70s curveball that is one of the best in this deep class of prep arms. His slider has shown flashes of plus potential and his change-up is still developing. Over 67 innings, he had 124 K/17 BB, allowing six runs on just 17 hits. He tossed three no-hitters and was nearly untouchable all year. Committed to Florida State.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers — Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS (CA)
Gatewood may be the hardest player to place. He could go as high as seven to the Phillies, but he also could slip out of the first round. He does have some ridiculous power potential — maybe the best in the class. His hit tool has been questioned, however, as well as his position in the field. I saw him hit balls out of Wrigley Field with such ease it was scary and he seems to win every home run derby he enters, including the one at Citi Field during the All Star break when he sent three balls into the third deck. At 6’-5”, the right-hander is a good athlete and he does have a strong arm and the hope would be that he could stick at third base. Committed to USC.
23. Detroit Tigers — Cameron Varga, RHP, Cincinnati Hills HS (OH)
At 6’-4” and 200 pounds, the right-hander has a great pitcher’s body and his fastball has been sitting 92-94 mph, along with an upper-70s curveball with great depth. He has absolutely blown away the competition this season. Over 39 innings, he has allowed just one run on 10 hits while striking out 94 to four walks. He has tossed three no-hitters and, in his last outing, struck out every batter he faced over five innings. He is one of the older players in his class, but he still has upside and he has great command of his stuff. Committed to North Carolina.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates — 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. Through 13 starts, he has a 2.44 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 116 K/36 BB over 84.2 innings, holding opponents to a .195 batting average. His 12.34 K/9 ratio is tops among starters in the nation.
25. Oakland Athletics — Spencer Adams, RHP, White County HS (GA)
Another fast riser, Adams is a 6’-4”, 180 pound right-hander with a loose delivery, leaving room for added velocity on his fastball that can already touch 95 mph with late life. He adds a potential plus slider, and both his change-up and curveball are solid, giving him a four-pitch mix. He is an excellent athlete and yet another kid from the baseball factory known as Georgia. Committed to Georgia.
26. Boston Red Sox — Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV
With the Red Sox having a comp pick at 33, I could see them taking a gamble on Fedde here and hoping for a full recovery. When healthy, his stuff is electric and he was getting some top-five love before he went down. His fastball sits in the low 90s and it has late life. He flashes a plus slider and his change-up is solid. He has great command of his stuff and, at 6’-4” and 180 pounds, he has projection left. He finished the season with a 1.76 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 82 K/21 BB over 76.2 innings.
27. St. Louis Cardinals — Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs HS (FL)
This would be a match made in heaven. Toussaint has electric stuff and a loose, wiry frame. He can touch 97 mph with fastball and adds a mid-70s hammer curve that is inconsistent but filthy when on. He is still relatively new to pitching and his command can get the best of him at times. At 6’-3” and 195 pounds, the right-hander oozes upside, and if any team can harness his potential, it’s the Cardinals. Committed to Vanderbilt.
28. Kansas City Royals — Michael Kopech, RHP, Mount Pleasant HS (TX)
Kopech has been one of my favorites all year, and I feel like he is one of the more underrated players in his class. He has touched 98 mph with his fastball and he adds a nasty slider with hard bite. At 6’-4” and 200 pounds, he has the ideal size for a frontline starter and he still has projection left. He tossed a no-hitter in his most recent start, striking out 14 over seven innings. Through 64.2 innings, he has 135 K/18 BB. Committed to Arizona.
29. Cincinnati Reds — Monte Harrison, OF, Lee’s Summit HS (MO)
Harrison is a bit of a wild card as he is also an exceptional wide receiver and committed to play both sports at Nebraska. With his plus arm (97 mph from outfield), he has upside as both a pitcher and hitter. He has great bat speed and more power should come as he matures due to his 6’-4”, 185 pound frame. He adds good speed and has all of the raw tools to be a great one once he starts focusing full time on baseball. Again, he could be a tough sign but the upside is tremendous.
30. Texas Rangers — Braxton Davidson, OF/1B, Roberson HS (NC)
An advanced hitter, Davidson is a 6’-3”, 210 pound left-hander with great power potential. He has excellent bat speed and a patient approach. He doesn’t offer much speed but he has a strong arm and could handle left field but may end up at first base where the pressure would be on his bat. He puts on shows in the batting cage and the power plays up in games, too. Committed to North Carolina.
31. Cleveland Indians — Foster Griffin, LHP, The First Academy (FL)
Foster is a 6’-5” southpaw with a three-pitch mix who can dial his fastball up to 95 mph. He adds a change-up and slider, both projecting to above-average offerings. He is polished on the mound and has good command of his stuff. Over 60 innings, he has 102 K/21 BB, allowing 13 runs on 32 hits. Committed to Ole Miss.
32. Atlanta Braves — Marcus Wilson, OF, J- Serra HS (CA)
At 6’-3” and 170 pounds, Wilson is one of those raw, toolsy players that just needs refining. The Braves are great at developing and could mold him into a star. Timed at 6.5 in the 60, he has great speed and he should be a major threat on the base paths. He shows a good approach and has the bat speed to wait on his pitch. His power is still developing, but with his size, more should come. Committed to Arizona State.
33. Boston Red Sox — Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia
Fisher came back from a broken hamate bone in his right hand and hit two home runs in his first two games, a great sign considering the injury is known to sap power. At 6’-3” and 210 pounds, the left-handed hitter is a great athlete who should develop more power as he matures. He will end up in left field and there are questions about his defense but his bat has a lot of potential. Through 24 games, he is hitting .293/.350/.457 with 10 extra-base hits and two stolen bases. As a sophomore, he hit .306/.420/.505 over 53 games.
34. St. Louis Cardinals — Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Waiakea HS (HI)
I had the Cardinals taking Toussaint at 27 and they could nab another electric player with three potential plus pitches. Medeiros’ fastball can touch 95 with great movement and late life. His slider sits in the upper-70s with silly break and his change-up has nice deception. At 6’-0” and 185 pounds, the southpaw doesn’t offer much projection, and he pitches almost sidearm, raising questions about his ability to remain a starter. His stuff, however, is elite. Committed to Pepperdine.
Lottery Round A
35. Colorado Rockies — Luke Weaver, RHP, Florida State
After taking Nola at eight, the Rockies could add another polished college arm in Weaver, a 6’-2” right-hander who could move fast through the system. He can touch 97 mph with his fastball due to his quick arm and he adds an 80-83 mph change-up with great deception. If he can refine his breaking stuff, he has number-two potential. Through 13 starts, he has a 2.65 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 71 K/17 BB over 88.1 innings. He has great command of his stuff and is an alumni of Team USA Baseball.
36. Miami Marlins — Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS (CA)
Playing for powerhouse Elk Grove, Hill has been a big name for years and is arguably the best defensive outfielder in the 2014 MLB draft. He can run a 6.44/60, has a plus, accurate arm and he has exceptional route running skills. At the plate, the 6’-2”, 190 pound right-hander has an easy, fluid swing and makes consistent contact. He hasn’t shown much home run power yet, but with his size (6’-2”, 190 pounds), most feel it will show up due to his bat speed. Through 23 games, he is hitting .520/.611/.805 with eight doubles, seven triples and 18 stolen bases. Committed to Oregon.
37. Houston Astros — Chase Vallot, C, St. Thomas More HS (LA)
Blessed with tremendous bat speed, Vallot is one of the best power bats in the 2014 MLB draft and he has a legitimate shot to stick behind the plate due to his receiving skills and plus arm. His offensive upside could force a move to the outfield, however. Through 31 games, he is hitting .529/.633/1.103 with 12 doubles, 12 home runs, 54 RBI and has drawn 24 walks to 14 strikeouts, showing a patient approach at the plate as team want nothing to do with him most of the time. Committed to Mississippi State.
38. Cleveland Indians — Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State
A switch-hitter with an amazing approach at the plate and tremendous power, the 6’-4”, 240 pound Gillaspie has been destroying baseballs this year. Through 51 games, he is hitting .394/.506/.697 with 13 doubles, 14 home runs and an obscene 43 walks to just 23 strikeouts. He is also a perfect 8-for-8 in stolen base attempts, showing very good athleticism for his size, as well as instincts on the base paths. As a sophomore, he drew 61 walks over 66 games with 11 home runs and a .964 OPS. He is a great defender at first base and a high-character kid.
39. Miami Marlins — Ti’Quan Forbes, SS, Columbia HS (MS)
Forbes has all the tools to remain at shortstop, but at 6’-4” and 175 pounds, he could outgrow the position. His strong arm would play well at third but he would have to develop more power. He has great speed (6.4/60) and a move to center field could work, as well. Offensively, he has a good approach at the plate and can drive the ball to all fields due to his bat speed. He has a lot of upside and, if the power comes, he will end up being a steal here. Committed to Ole Miss.
40. Kansas City Royals — Taylor Sparks, 3B, UC Irvine
At 6’-4” and 215 pounds, Sparks has great size and power potential. He has some swing-and-miss to his game but he is a good athlete with very good bat speed, so adjustments can be made. He has all the tools defensively to stick at the hot corner and the bat will play well. Through 48 games, he is hitting .302/.389/.495 with 11 doubles, six triples, four home runs and seven stolen bases. As a sophomore, he hit .360/.388/.581 over 55 games with 10 home runs.
41. Milwaukee Brewers — Mac Marshall, LHP, Parkview HS (GA)
With a fastball that sits in the low-90s, an upper-70s curveball that shows plus potential, and an upper-70s change-up with a good feel, Marshall is one of the better southpaws available in the 2014 MLB draft. He is the best pitcher for one of the best programs in the country and is a big-game pitcher. Through 55.2 innings, he has 80 K/25 BB and has allowed just two runs on 24 hits. Committed to LSU.
42. Houston Astros — Alex Blandino, 3B, Stanford
One of the purest college bats in the 2014 MLB draft, Blandino has a great approach at the plate and very good bat speed. At 6’-0” and 190 pounds, he has decent power but the hope is he will develop more as he matures. Otherwise, he could easily make a move over to second base where his defensive abilities would play well. Through 44 games, he is hitting .303/.395/.497 with 11 doubles, seven home runs and has drawn 21 walks to just 21 strikeouts.
43. Miami Marlins — Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS (CA)
Ortiz started the year with a forearm injury and his draft status has cooled off a bit. When healthy, the 6’-2” right-hander has some of the best stuff in his class, including a fastball that touches 97 mph and sits 92-95. He adds a potential plus slider and both his change-up and curveball are solid offerings. He has great command of his stuff and throws everything with ease. He is one of the older players in his class and there isn’t much projection left, but he doesn’t need much. Committed to Fresno State.
44. Chicago White Sox — A.J. Reed, 1B/LHP, Kentucky
No one has dominated college baseball this year the way reed has. Whether he is hitting bombs out of the park or tossing gems on the mound, he seems to be a runaway for National Player of the Year. Some still like his potential as a left-handed power arm more, but the way he has been hitting this year, he will probably start out as a first baseman in the pros. He leads the nation in home runs, SLG and OPS as he is hitting .354/.487/.787 with 21 home runs and 63 RBI through 49 games. He has drawn 35 walks to 37 strikeouts, showing a good approach, as well. On the mound, he is 9-2 with a 2.30 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 63 K/25 BB over 90 innings. At 6’-4” and 240 pounds, the southpaw can do whatever he wants. The White Sox will have options with Reed.
45. Chicago Cubs — Garrett Fulenchek, RHP, Howe HS (TX)
The Cubs have been in Texas scouting Tyler Kolek and I can only assume they also might have made a trip to check out Fulenchek, a 6’-4”, 185 pound right-hander with a lot of projection left. He features a plus sinker that sits 91-94 mph and both his slider and change-up that show a lot of potential. He has gotten rave reviews from scouts this spring and most believe he has TOR stuff. Committed to Dallas Baptist.
Next 10: Milton Ramos, Forrest Wall, Matt Chapman, Joe Gatto, Keith Weisenberg, Nick Burdi, Chris Oliver, Sam Travis, Matthew Railey, J.J. Schwarz
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @DanMKirby for 2014 MLB draft updates, high school and college news, as well as Chicago Cubs ramblings.