The 2014 MLB Player Draft began Thursday night, as teams had their eyes on the future. This draft doesn’t contain the next Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper. But there are plenty of quality picks to be had that could develop into excellent options in fantasy baseball leagues down the road. Let’s take a look at how the 1st round played out and what is in store for the next wave of fantasy baseball prospects.
1) Houston Astros – SP – Brady Aiken – The best pipeline in baseball added a 17 year-old left handed arm that racked up 111 K’s in 59.2 IP with a 1.06 ERA during his senior year of high school. Aiken has drawn comparisons to Clayton Kershaw and Andy Pettitte.
2) Miami Marlins – SP – Tyler Kolek – This right-hander is a large bodied high-schooler straight off the cattle farm. This Texas native has drawn comps to Nolan Ryan as a flame-throwing power pitcher from the state where everything comes bigger.
3) Chicago White Sox – SP – Carlos Rodon – The White Sox scored here with a pitcher that could move very quickly. The college workload has drawn concerns, but nowadays anyone labeled a pitcher carries injury risk. This lefty could be a fantasy factor by this time next year.
4) Chicago Cubs – C - Kyle Schwarber – The surprise pick early in the draft, Schwarber was selected as the best catcher in the country by Perfect Game and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association while leading the Big Ten with 18 HR’s.
5) Minnesota Twins – SS – Nick Gordon – The son of Tom Gordon and brother of Dee Gordon, baseball runs in this family’s blood. Dee has said that his younger brother has a high ceiling and potential to be the best player in his family.
6) Seattle Mariners – OF - Alex Jackson – This 18 year-old has incredible power potential. His position is still in question, but a potential 30-homerun bat will play anywhere.
7) Philadelphia Phillies – SP – Aaron Nola - The LSU alum uses a ¾ arm-slot to dominate the SEC as one of the top arms at the collegiate level. A nice addition to the Phillies farm system.
8) Colorado Rockies – SP - Kyle Freeland – The Rockies envision a future rotation of Jon Gray, Eddie Butler, and Kyle Freeland leading this team to the playoffs. This lefty uses 4 pitches to baffle hitters and has the control that should allow him to move quickly.
9) Toronto Blue Jays – SP – Jeff Hoffman – Hoffman was projected to go inside the top 5 picks before being put on the shelf after needing to undergo Tommy John surgery. The Blue Jays will have to wait, but they received value here if this pitcher comes back strong.
10) New York Mets - OF – Michael Confonto – The Oregon State product was one of the highest ranked outfielders in the draft. In 179 games at the college level, Confonto has racked up 31 HR’s and 178 RBI’s while hitting for a .341 average.
11) Toronto Blue Jays – C - Max Pentecost – The Jays’ 2nd pick of the draft, could they have just acquired their future opening day pitcher/catcher combo?
12) Milwaukee Brewers – SP – Kodi Madeiros – This lefty has one of the best breaking balls in the draft class. However, there are questions if he projects better as a starter or reliever down the road.
13) San Diego Padres – SS – Trea Turner – The North Carolina State infielder has scored 203 runs while stealing 113 bases and hitting for a .342 batting average in 173 collegiate games in his young career.
14) San Francisco Giants – SP – Tyler Beede – The Giants love their big projectable pitchers. A quick start to his professional career could get this Vanderbilt alum consideration as the #1 prospect in this organization very quickly.
15) Los Angeles Angels – SP – Sean Newcomb – The left-hander out of Hartford College recorded an 8-2 record in 2014 to go along with 93.1 IP, 1.25 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 106 K’s.
16) Arizona Diamondbacks – SP – Touki Toussaint – Touki didn’t start playing baseball until he was a little order than usual. Once he put away the soccer ball and focused on America’s favorite pastime, scouts saw the obvious high-ceiling and enormous potential here.
17) Kansas City Royals – SP – Brandon Finnigan – This lefty can reach the high 90’s with the fastball. The TCU product might find his future home in the bullpen.
18) Washington Nationals – SP – Erick Fedde – Tommy John surgery has left this right-hander’s future in question. It could be a while before we know what we are getting with this prospect.
19) Cincinnati Reds – SP – Nick Howard – Howard was a two-way player at Virginia. He racked up the saves as the team’s closer in 2014, which could be his future role in the show.
20) Tampa Bay Rays – 1B – Casey Gillaspie – His brother is White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie. Casey led the Cape Cod League in homeruns in 2013.
21) Cleveland Indians – OF – Brady Zimmer – The Indians got a steal here. Kyle Zimmer’s brother won MVP honors in the Cape Cod League in 2013. The left-handed hitter was also one of the driving forces of the U.S. College National Team this past summer.
22) Los Angeles Dodgers – SP – Grant Holmes – Another great pick in the 20’s. This right-handed arm has been clocked at 100 mph, and has been recorded at 97 mph late in games – a great sign for a young arm.
23) Detroit Tigers – OF – Derek Hill – Hill is one of the top defenders in the draft. He isn’t all glove though, as scouts see a potential high average out of the Oregon recruit.
24) Pittsburg Pirates – SS – Cole Tucker – The switch hitter was the starting shortstop from the gold medal winning U.S. College National Team. Tucker has the ability and range to stay at SS for the foreseeable future.
25) Oakland A’s – 3B – Matt Chapman – Chapman played with Team U.S.A. last summer, and has been clocked at 98 mph on the radar gun when pitching. It is thought that the A’s drafted him to play 3B, but if the bat won’t play, he could become a pitcher.
26) Boston Red Sox – SS – Michael Chavis – The shortstop out of Georgia could end up at third base down the road. Chavis won the homerun derby at the Perfect Game All-American Classic over Alex Jackson last year.
27) St. Louis Cardinals – SP – Luke Weaver – If you watch MLB Network, you know Weaver uses spitting in the air and staring down his opponent as an intimidation factor. Well, I think his 97 mph fastball and stellar control is all this pitcher will need to intimidate opposing bats.
28) Kansas City Royals – SP – Foster Griffin – Griffin is an advanced left-handed pitcher out of Florida that can reach the low 90’s with his fastball while mixing in a quality change-up.
29) Cincinnati Reds – SS – Alex Blandino – This Stanford alum killed it in the Cape Cod League last summer. Blandino could end up at 2B, SS, or 3B depending on how everything develops.
30) Texas Rangers – SP – Luis Ortiz – Ortiz served as Team U.S.A.’s closer in route to winning the gold medal last year. Already reaching 97 mph, the righty could help out in the Rangers bullpen soon.
31) Cleveland Indians – SP – Justus Sheffield - #1 name in the draft. This high-school arm is said to have a smooth, easy delivery with three solid pitches.
32) Atlanta Braves – OF – Braxton Davidson – The outfielder hit a homerun last June during the Tournament of Stars that was estimated to go over 500 feet. That’s one way to celebrate your 17th birthday.
33) Boston Red Sox – SP – Michael Kopech – Kopech is big and has a funky delivery, which is scary considering the rash of current injuries in baseball. The 6’4" righty hit the upper 90’s on the gun.
34) St. Louis Cardinals – SP – Jack Flaherty – Flaherty could end up attending North Carolina if the Cardinals fail to sign him. The two-way player was drafted with the intent to focus on pitching for the Cardinals.
Which teams were the winners/losers in the 1st round of the 2014 MLB Player Draft?
Which prospects were over-drafted/under-drafted?
Make sure to leave your comments/thoughts below…