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2015 MLB Draft Analysis

A look at how well my mock drafts did on top of a team by team draft analysis for every team who had a first round pick

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

First off, let me start by telling you that what you are about to read may be completely incorrect. In fact, I may look back on this article and laugh. You may bookmark this for later harassment of me if you must. I am of the firm belief, however, that no matter how good at prospect writing you are, no one can predict a player's future. I must therefore look at a player's ceiling, or their potential, and that, too, is subjective and opinionated. A team who drafts all potentially average players with high floors is therefore going to not have as good a draft as someone who drafts a few potential stars, even though not all the stars will succeed. Thus, rankings would be pointless. It will be years before we really know who won this draft, but we can still take an early look at who did what, and if anything notable happened in the later rounds.

Arizona Diamondbacks:

I had the name right here as every analyst guessed correctly with Dansby Swanson. The college shortstop was a good pick with an extremely high floor. The D-Backs went heavy on the college despite lacking big-impact talent down on the farm. In total, they drafted 37 college players. My best guess is they wanted to save pool money, but the only place the money would go is to their first selected high schooler, a New York native named Wesley Rodriguez. A very intriguing two way player, Rodriguez's future is on the mound as he hurls an upper 90's fastball with solid command. He has the most upside of anyone they picked, minus Swanson. He clearly fell to the twelfth round due to signing concerns, but he might sign here and give them another top quality arm to go with Shipley and Bradley.

Houston Astros

My and Sports Illustrated's favorite draft class belongs to the Texas team with the AL's best record. I also apically failed in my mocking with them, and failed to mention Bregman at all. The Astros had two top five picks and stuck to their sad approach in nabbing the best players available. In doing so, they landed three top ten talents (Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, and Daz Cameron) with their three top picks. The haul gives them extra blue chips in what is currently a well-run blue chip factory that recently turned out shortstop and former number one overall pick Carlos Correa. To cover this cost, the Astros drafted six college kids in their next seven picks, may of whom project to be quick risers. At this rate, the 2017 World Series prediction is by no means a wild prediction, it is expert opinion!

Colorado Rockies

Authors of my second favorite draft, the Rockies went for huge upside. They drafted the position player who was tops in upside on nearly everyone's board (Brendan Rodgers) as well as an athletic pitcher whose potential is greater than any pitcher in this draft not named Dillon Tate or Carson Fulmer (Nikorak). I, as a writer, did not fall on my face (as with most teams) and threw the name of Rodgers out there with little to no chance of making it there. The top two picks give the Rockies a system flush with talent. The rest of their draft was similarly stacked with upside as their first college pick came with their sixth pick with David Hill, a college player with (you guessed it) upside.

Texas Rangers

A good draft with a team that clearly has a gambling issue. After getting the highly touted pitcher Dillon Tate at number four, the team reached for players who had plummeted off the board due to mainly health concerns this spring on day two. Headlining those were Tommy John victim Michael Matuella who would probably have gone number one barring elbow surgery, and Jake Lemon, whose first round projections fell apart do to a shoulder impingement issue. If the gambles pay off, this draft could be hailed as a generational grab of talent. If not, the Rangers will have a train wreck of a year. Side note: Joey Gallo is fun to watch.

Minnesota Twins

Tyler Jay was the first pick, and it scares me. He may well be a reliever long term, and it is this sad fact that leads me to say this draft was not a brilliant one. Two high school third basemen could make up for it long term, though, as Travis Blankenhorn and Trey Cabbage look to have bright futures. Overall, not a great draft, but an okay one.

Boston Red Sox

Just as the mock draft predicted, the Red Sox get the helium filled Andrew Benintendi. He is a joy to watch, and led the college nation in home runs with 20. He also contributes well on the base paths and at center.  He anchors a Red Sox draft that garners a certain amount of intrigue. Tate Matheny, oldest son of Mike, was drafted in the fourth round and has a good-not-great power speed combo. He plays a good center to boot. The group as a whole was relatively college heavy, particularly the first several picks, but they wound up balancing upside and floors for a good, albeit not spectacular, draft.

Chicago White Sox

The Sox earn a lot of points for drafting my favorite pitcher, Carson Fulmer, with their first selection. With an 11.93 K/9 rate and solid durability (120 innings) for his small frame, he has ace-type upside. If Fulmer, Carlos Rodon, and Chris Sale are at the top of the White Sox rotation, the team will create a one-two-three punch whose youth will allow them to dispose of hitters for an unfair number of years. Besides that, the draft appears to be fairly uneventful. Blake Hickman is a solid pitcher who could survive at the back end of a rotation, and he would be a solid seventh round pick.

Chicago Cubs

Another year, another hitter with an advanced approach for the Cubbies. Ian Happ is a hitter who appears to be somewhat like Cameron Maybin this year, whose strengths are walks, an awesome batting eye, and 20 stolen base speed. Other than him, a very mixed approach in regards to high school versus college, with solid pitchers in the later rounds. Jared Padgett represents a firm and obvious attempt to snag some high school pitchers with upside, and he fell to the twenty-sixth round due to signability.

Philadelphia Phillies

Cornelius Randolph, the club's first pick, was the first of a load of twelve total hitters in the first fifteen picks. A lot of these hitters' best tool is the hit tool, and it appears to be a slight pattern here. I like this pattern and its contrast to the Cubs and their lust for power.  Randolph, interestingly enough, will be moved to left field upon his signing. The rebuild is soon to officially begin, and a good haul here could really jumpstart that process.

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds drafted a big catcher. Tyler Stephenson, the best backstop in the draft, landed here. Tyler should stick behind the plate and hit more than a couple home runs as his big raw power may land him over twenty big flies at the plate. The rest of the draft was lackluster, but the Reds did get a pair of righties who might amount to something.

Miami Marlins

A serious risk and reach here as the Marlins do the same thing they did with Tyler Kolek last year: draft huge high school upside and ignore risk. First baseman Josh Naylor is the guy who has light tower power, or at least more than any in this draft class. His pitch recognition is down right awful at times, but he can change the game with one swing. The rest of their names come from rounds seven through eleven. These rounds were filled with right handed pitchers who are very intriguing. If the Marlins sign all their pitchers, this draft gets a very good grade.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays drafted one of a baby-sized handful of potential superstars. While the risk is big here as Garett Whitley has not faced many advanced pitchers, he draws Mike Trout comps because of his deep bag of above-average tools. Chris Betts, high school pitcher with power, is another great pick, this time in he second round. Fifth round outfielder Joe McCarthy is another great pick. The Rays aced this draft as much as any team.

Atlanta Braves

High school lefty Kolby Allard is a good pick with great upside. If his injuries are fine, Allard has as much potential as any lefty in this draft except Brady Aiken. The Braves went mostly with pitchers and had a solid draft. It was not spectacular, but it was solid. High school catcher Lucas Herbert is a steal of a pick if he signs. They totally won that Arroyo trade, by the way.

Milwaukee Brewers

Trenton Clark is another great prep outfielder with tools. I am overusing those words, but in this draft, I kind of have to do so. If the players can make their tools translate, this could be a fun draft to look back at. Clark can do it all. Clark is the first of several high upside players as the Brewers have continued to milk the strategy they used last year as this draft is filled with potential. If the majority of them fail, this will still be a good draft for Milwaukee, and it is what earns them some praise as gamblers. Odds are, a star is in one of these picks.

New York Yankees

The Bronx Bombers were widely known to be after high floors for their first pick, and as I guessed, Kapriellian was the pick here. Their compensation pick netted them Kyle Holder, a good shortstop prospect. Overall a high probability of some Major Leage regulars added depth to an unbalanced system, and the five to one college player ratio in their first six picks should be rapid risers in the system.

Cleveland Indians

If Tommy John victim and last year's number one pick's arm does not spontaneously combust, the Indians' draft is aced. If it does, the Indians have two more risky high school right handers, Triston McKenzie and Juan Hillman. If one of the three develop the way they should, the Indians will have another top pitcher on their hands. The rest of the draft was somewhat uneventful, but the riskiness of the top three is very intriguing.

San Francisco Giants

Phil Bickford and his injury concerns landed here. His fastball velocity has been erratic throughout his college career. He may well end up in the bullpen with a wipeout slider and mid 90's fastball, but it may wind up being the best thing for him. As a closer, he could be flat out dominant. The rest of the draft was very impressive. Chris Shaw, an outfielder with thirty homer power at his ceiling, was drafted with the Giant's second pick. The fourth pick went to high school shortstop by the name of Jalen Miller, who could be a steal if he signs.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates took Arizona shortstop Kevin Newman, a college hitter with renowned success in the Cape Cod wooden bat league, even winning tow batting titles. Ke'Bryan Hayes, their second pick, is said to have one of the best makeups in the entire draft. He, too, has a great hit tool. Overall, a good draft for hitters.

Oakland Athletics

The A's went with the college shortstop, Richie Martin, who may be slightly above average at hitting, but he can wow people with his defense. Third rounder Dakota Chambers in round three is a very nice pick for sheer arm strength and projectability, and he could be a great addition to the hurting farm system that longs for a chance to rethink the Jeff Samardzija trade. Oakland's first ten picks contained Chambers as the only high schooler.

Kansas City Royals

With their first three selections, last year's American League champion went for right handed pitchers. The first two, Ashe Russell and Nolan Watson, have big time ceilings. Josh Staumont throws very hard, but he will probably end up in the bullpen, and we all know the last thing Kansas City needs is bullpen help.

Detroit Tigers

Beau Burrows was the first pick as the athletic high school righty seems a lock for a very high ceiling. The question, as usual, is whether he reaches it. He has a lot of risk involved, so SEC player and other Tigers first rounder help offset that risk. If 40th rounder Jackson Kowar signs, which he probably will not, he could be the biggest steal of the entire draft. overall, the risk and floors balance out. If they can balance the pool money to sign their high school tough signs such as those in round thirty (Cole Mckay) and forty (Jackson Kowar), this draft will be very good indeed.

St. Louis Cardinals

Nick Plummer was a steal here. His upside is phenomenal. His bat speed is epic. He could be Randal Grichuk, but better across the board. Kep Brown, Bryce Denton, Gio Brusa, Matt Vierling, and Paul DeJong are all good bats entering the always-good system. The clear change in philosophy finally gave the Cardinals some high ceiling offensive talent in a system that sorely needs it.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Walker Beuhler lasts here and the Dodgers take one of their handful of steals. After the new braintrust overhaul, the Dodgers traded for a few extra picks and also received one as compensation for Hanley Ramirez signing with the Red Sox. They used that pick in particular to get Kyle Funkhouser, a rare talent at pick 35. Mitchell Hanson in round two was also a steal. The Dodgers are looking to have a wonderful farm system by the time they sign these picks, and these reinforcements may make up for the impending loss of their stud trio of Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias.

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles came away with a rather unremarkable draft at first glance, but after peeling away the surface, a consensus is reached that they found some good talent. Their first and second picks, in particular, looked like total reaches, but they ended up being not so. D.J. Stewart is a college outfielder who had an On Base Percentage of exactly .500. He also had great power to all fields, and he could be a star in the making. Also, Ryan Mountcastle looks to be a shortstop with a very well refined hit tool, especially for a high school player. Presumably the rest of their picks were more of the same, so a good draft for the O's.

Los Angeles Angels

A real reach here as the first round pick Taylor Ward may be nothing but a backup long term. The rest of the draft was very much geared towards high floors, and no future star appears to be had. The draft may not be a flop, but no more than a very few people will be big league regulars, with no apparent stars.