Hello again. I have recently been made an official writer at Fake Teams and am very excited. Lots has changed since we have met last, and the draft is in a mere three hours. I hope you are as excited as I am, and teams around the league will be prepared to draft their future building blocks of success - although I do doubt that even a single cornerstone exists in this crop of talent. Anyway, I aim to project the picks teams will take. Some of this, though, is merely throwing out another name or two that is out there, as last week's draft has a whole lot more likelihood of happening. For any unoriginal picks with no recent news, I will copy and paste last weeks' analysis and include an asterisk by their name. See the editor's note on why this draft is going haywire at the last minute, and without posting issues, it would have gone up sooner.
Even though few teams ever get to pick first overall, the Diamondbacks will probably not take the best prospect here. They may take an immense leap here to save money. Where as before, there was a seventy-five percent or greater chance Dansby Swanson gets taken here, that number has dipped, by my estimates, to fifty percent. EDITOR'S NOTE: It now appears Swanson is a lock for the number one overall pick. If this is the case, this entire draft gets apically wrecked. If that is the case, this mock draft's top picks will all be wrong, and last weeks' picks should be used instead. Tyler Stephenson, the best all-around catcher and a huge money-saver for later picks, appears to be the forty percent candidate with the recent buzz putting him almost dead even. There is a less than five percent chance for players such as Dillon Tate, Carson Fulmer, or Brendan Rodgers. My money is now with the catcher. The shocker of a first overall pick seems to happen more and more these days.
Swanson is the Astros' favorite player. He will also be a quick riser, which adds to the intrigue. Not much to say here, other than if Stephenson does not get picked first, there are about ten variations that could happen. A Daz Cameron, Brendan Rodgers, Andrew Benintendi Kyle Tucker, Mike Nikorak, Dillon Tate, Carson Fulmer and others are all in consideration with a different first overall pick.
Tyler Jay is the rumored pick here. He had the most helium coming into the draft, and scouts see him converting from a reliever to a starter once leaving college behind. Scouts say he has three plus pitches (curveball, fastball, slider), and they add he has the most polished stuff in the class. Think a left-handed Aaron Nola with a bit better stuff. He has been floated here in just about every mock draft on the Internet. Rodgers makes a case here, too.
Brendan Rodgers, the consensus number one prospect, falls to number four here. He is a five tool player out of high school with the potential to stick at shortstop, the premium position of all premium positions.
PICK 5: Houston Astros*
It is either Daz Cameron or a pitcher. I recently compared Carson Fulmer to Sonny Gray. Both are fair options, but the Astros are continually linked to center fielder Daz, and his five tools might one day dazzle fans and management alike.
Last week's pick is too much of a match to switch it up. The Twins have gone High School three years in a row, and they have stocked their farm system by doing so. The trend will continue here with one of the nation's top prep outfielders, of which there are several. Kyle Tucker, brother of newly promoted Houston Astro Preston, appears here a lot. Over the past week the Twins have met with him, and he is apparently well thought of in their organization.
Where as last week I debated between Carson Fulmer and Andrew Benintendi and picked Fulmer, I now think it is between Fulmer, Benintendi, and Dillon Tate. Whereas Tate's stock has fallen dramatically in the last couple weeks, Benintendi has developed some power. I think he is the pick here.
The White Sox still love college hitters, and Alex Bregman is a good fit here. He is a great shortstop prospect with a plus hit tool. He is one of my favorite players, and this will be the lowest he falls.
The Cubs have to draft a college pitcher here, right? You would think so. According to scouts, though, they have been scouting pitchers and a high school outfielder named Garrett Whitley. Fulmer and Missouri State Jon Harris are the best options here. The upside of Fulmer wins out against the polish of Harris.
With Stephenson gone at number one, the Phillies do not know where to turn. The Phillies always turn to college pitching when the going is rough, and another polished right-handed one, Jon Harris, may be the quickest riser. His floor is a fifth starter, and he could become a number three in time.
Hometown native second baseman Ian Happ slides here as the Reds board has been completely decimated by picks out of their control. They also may take Dillon Tate, and Benintendi is as sure a bet as they come to go here if he lasts. Happy just hits, and he can hit with the best of them. He has average power and can run, maybe enough for twelve homers and 15ish steals any given year. Everyone loves the hometown kid here, and scouts say he is gone by twelve for sure. Ian Happ goes at eleven.
The Marlins want a college player here, and the forgotten man Dillon Tate gets drafted at this spot. While he may wind up a reliever, he still has the potential to be a number two. The only question is his durability. He would still make a heck of a reliever.
Side note: I love my selections here from last week, and some are just two good on paper to not go with.
I see the pitching factory trend continuing ever further here, as our third Vanderbilt player gets drafted. Right hander Walker Beuhler will be summoned based on his incredibly solid, deep arsenal. One of my favorite players, he could throw four above average pitches with solid average control at full maturity.
As they are building for their 2017 stadium, I see Atlanta going after a quick rising player. Kyle Funkhouser and his quality three pitch mix go here. He appears to have cleaned up his command, but his injury concerns may force him down even further. If his medicals check out, he could be a steal here at fourteen. This is the highest Brady Aiken will get picked, as well.
The Brewers went all in on high upside last year, and despite slow starts, it could be the key to jumpstarting a successful rebuild. This trend should continue, and center fielder Garret Whitley is the player to grab in terms of upside. He has five tool upside and gets compared to Mike Trout at his high school level.
The Yankees have not picked this high in a while, and they do not want to waste it. They will opt for a good college pitcher here, and James Kapriellian has one of the highest floors in this draft. He has been estimated at times to go around picks ten through fifteen so a selection here is not a reach.
Ashe Russell is the pick here as the Indians can never have enough pitching. The top high school pitcher has a plus fastball and slider duo, and from the right side he can be deadly. If his changeup develops as it should, he could be a pick they talk about for years to come.
Mike Nikorak was it last week, and this week he continues to look the part. With lingering injury concerns, his three pitch mix with great command could make him an above-average number two starter. If his meds check out, he could thrive in the Giants' system.
For a team that chases upside, the Pirates should draft outfield prospect Trenton Clark as the best player available. Some scouts have him in the top ten. He is another toolsy outfielder. He can hit for some power, maintain a high average, and will throw in the stolen base at times. His speed helps him in the field, too, but a corner spot may ultimately be his home. He could fall very low or be drafted very high, as scouts are divided on his ceiling.
The A's will go the college route this year, and Phil Bickford still being available helps that want become reality. This is the guy who turned down the number ten overall pick signing bonus with the Blue Jays two years ago, but he still has a winning combination of size (6'4") and stuff (plus plus fastball and plus slider). He is also fairly advanced for a college pitcher.
The Royals like hitters here, and drafting Cornelius Randolph, a shortstop who likely will not stick there, is a good value for the best hit tool in the draft class. He is a good hitter with some pop, but lacks the speed the Royals tend to crave. Do not be surprised if a pitcher goes here, but a college player in general.
Brady Aiken gets the call here, and it gives the Tigers their best prospect in years if Brady returns at full strength in the next year and a half. That is a big if however, as the 2014 number one overall pick had Tommy John surgery this spring.
The Cardinals want either a college bat or a high school arm, and last week we went with Kevin Newman the college bat. This week, a high school arm gets the call here. Kolby Allard, the nation's top high school lefty, falls here because of size questions which generally lead to durability questions. Sound familiar? It should, because the same thing happened in 2013 when the Cardinals took Rob Kaminsky with their first round compensation pick.
Same as last week. Word on the street is they go for an injured pitcher here, the oft-injured Mike Manuela gets the call here despite a spring Tommy John Surgery. He has only pitched 141 innings in three years at Duke, according to MLB.com. Brady Aiken is their top option here. Manuela also may go to the Nationals in the compensation round.
Nathan Kirby's left-handed three pitch mix makes me happy, and the Orioles surely will feel the same way. He is the best pick available while doubling as a clear Oriole-style first rounder. Namely, he pitches from high school.
The Angels want a high school player here because they are starved for upside. Chris Betts is the pick here. He is a high school catcher with plus power and a solid hit tool. He also just might stick at catcher.
That concludes the first round of this final 2015 mock draft. While I doubt many of the picks will be right, I will be doing some analysis the day following the draft. I will also be live-tweeting during the draft @AlxBellRingin. A special shout out to Fake Teams for hiring me! I am truly blessed to be able to work with them.