2015 MLB Draft: Big Board 1.0
So now that the 2014 MLB regular season is in the books and October is here, it is officially time for me to start thinking a bunch about the upcoming MLB draft. The college games don’t kick off until February, but I have been slowly forming a list in my mind.
The Indians have the 20th pick in the 2015 Draft, but there is a chance they can move up. I think the following players all will be given the qualifying offer: Victor Martinez, Russell Martin, Francisco Liriano, Hanley Ramirez, James Shields, Max Scherzer, and maybe Pablo Sandoval. The Yankees are picking 19th and I fully expect them to end up losing their pick. After missing the playoffs in back to back years the mandate will be in place to get a top free agent or two. The Indians also have a competitive balance pick which should end up close to the 40th pick in the draft, give or take five spots.
So here is my first big board, which of course will be good for a laugh come March. I will have players on here that won’t be drafted and likely a player will go in the top 10 who doesn’t make this list but thus is the nature of such things. This gets the process started and is the first piece in what will be many revisions as the draft draws nearer.
1. Brady Aiken, LHP, JUCO - Top player last year and still see a FOR lefty with velocity. Injury issue is a concern but if he pitches well all is forgotten.
2. Brendan Rodgers, SS, HS – He had a big summer. Has nice power and hit tool for position, but I worry that he can’t stick at SS. He is not a super athlete.
3. Daz Cameron, OF, HS – Yup, he is Mike Cameron’s kid. He is a big athlete who hasn’t been the world beater people expected, but has all the tools to still be something special.
4. Michael Matuella, RHP, Duke – Big at 6’6” and a strikeout rate over 10 per 9 last year. His velocity hit 97 MPH last year, but only 58 innings last year limited looks.
5. Walker Buehler, RHP, Vandy – Smaller, but productive from a pitcher factory. Has three above average pitches and was better than Beede last year.
6. Phil Bickford, RHP, JUCO – Went 10th to Toronto two years ago. He hit 97 MPH out of HS, improved at Fullerton, and switched to JUCO to be draft eligible.
7. Justin Hooper, LHP, HS – Size at 6’6” and mid 90’s velocity, plenty of room to grow. He needs a lot of work and development, but upside is as high as any pitcher.
8. Alex Bregman, SS, LSU – Has shortcomings, more likely a second baseman and is not the best athlete, but all he does is produce. He is a safe right-handed bat at a hard to fill position. He was drafted by the Red Sox out of HS and reminds me a little of Pedroia.
9. Dansby Swanson, SS, Vandy – Thought is he can stick at shortstop. He has a right-handed bat with plus speed, highly productive last year, reminds me a bit of Turner last year.
10. Ian Happ, CF/2B – Will be the first 1st rounder from Cincy. He is a switch-hitter who has been highly productive. Every tool flashes above average to plus, only knock is size as he is sub six feet.
11. Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville – Strikeout machine, three above average pitches and best is slider. He has command issues, so if command is improved this year he will shoot up the board.
12. Koby Allard, LHP, HS – Very young with advanced feel for pitches. He is undersized at six feet, though is hitting mid 90’s which is more velocity than would expect based on size.
13. Carson Fullmer, RHP, Vandy – This year’s Finnegan as a sub six footer with velocity. He sits mid 90’s hits 97 MPH, his secondary pitches are above average, and if he was taller would be a lock for the top ten.
14. Nathan Kirby, LHP, Virginia – One of the best pitchers in college baseball last year. He is low to mid 90’s, has two pitches flashing above average, and is a potential riser after not pitching much this summer.
15. Kyle Murray, SS, HS – His uncle is former Indians first rounder Calvin Murray. He is a big time QB recruit as he is 14th on ESPNs recruiting board. He is a major athlete with speed and bat speed with the best upside in his class, but does he want to play baseball? He is also undersized at 5’11”.
16. Jahmai Jones, SS, HS – Reminds me a bit of Addison Russell. He could move to the outfield, power is emerging, and he is a good athlete who has shown a bit of everything as a hitter.
17. Cody Ponce, RHP, Cal Poly Pomona – He had a summer breakout on the Cape. He is 6’6”, hit 97 and is still developing. He is from a small school but his build screams growth potential.
18. John Aiello, SS/3B, HS – He is a switch-hitter with size at 6’2” that presents power potential, plus bat speed and a good eye at the plate. His power is best from the right side and his arm would be asset at third.
19. Chris Betts, C – He is not a plus defender but should stick at catcher. The bat should play anywhere, he has a good eye and power potential from the left side. He is the top catcher in the class.
20. Kyle Tucker, OF, HS – His brother is a top prospect of Astros. He has plus power in his big left-handed frame, but is inconsistent and could go in round 1 or not at all after this year.
21. DJ Stewart, OF, FSU – He is a good athlete with great production and plus power projection. He has great bloodlines, is built like a linebacker, and is a great hitter who walks more than he strikes out.
22. Nick Plummer, OF, HS – He is undersized at 5’10”, but has plus bat speed and athleticism, has above average to plus power, and has some lite five tool potential.
23. Ryan Johnson, OF, HS – He has massive upside with big time power potential. He is a left hander with a pretty stroke, though his defense needs a lot of work and he might end up without a position.
24. Ashe Russell, RHP, HS – He sits in the low to mid 90’s, his frame at 6’4” projects for more velocity, and he has solid secondary offerings especially for a prep arm.
25. Mike Nikorak, RHP, HS – He is a big righty at 6’5” who has hit 97 MPH. He is a cold weather arm who could have extra growth. His secondary pitches are improving.
26. Dillon Tate, RHP, UC Santa Barbara – He has hit 99 MPH and his slider is a dominant pitch as well,. He is a good athlete who might be able to start, but needs to work on a third pitch.
27 Chris Shaw 1B Boston College – In scouting terms some might tag him with a bad body. He is a bigger guy but with good power and eye at the plate. He is a natural hitter.
28. Andrew Suarez, LHP, Miami – He is a second rounder signed last year by the Marlins as a sophomore. His weaker draft class should be in first rounder discussion as a lefty with solid stuff.
29. Tyler Jay, LHP, Illinois – Jay is a guy who could rise this year. He is mostly unknown in relief at a lesser program, but this 6’ foot lefty brings it, hits 97 and has two average to above average secondary offerings. He should be tried as a starter.
30. Alex Young, LHP, TCU – More of a safe lefty type,. He is a soft tosser, but shows four average to above average pitches, and his secondary stuff is what will get him to the majors.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffmlbdraft, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd love to see the Tribe come away with plenty of arms from this draft. What is the depth of this class? RHP, INF, OF?
Shows a lot of arm side run with his fastball.. a lot of downward leverage with most of his pitches..and, like so many kids, an inconsistent release point/mechanics..
I saw the talk on Kyle Cody and I get the stuff is there but few giants ever make it better chance with smaller guys. Plus his numbers in college aren't great. He could turn it around but if he does he is gone before the Indians ever get a chance.
Walter I agree on Jones who I seem much higher on than other places I looked after I had filled it out and compared to see if I was insane. Swanson is a guy I would be all over, early reports really remind me a bit of Trea Turner who this time a year ago was considered a possible top overall pick
I think the Red Sox, White Sox, Cubs and Phillies picks are all protected as they will pick in the top ten. So if they do sign a QA player they will lose a 2nd rounder.
The coming 2015 draft, as with every draft. has what may be referred as an elite group.. followed by a several known and unknown prospects that have a chance to become truly special players in MLB someday.. This draft has about four elites.. Aiken, Mantuella, Rogers and Daz.. After that, picking anywhere from 5 through 12 will net a team a fine ML prospect.. I have two early favorites who the Indians should select if they are there: Ashe Russel and Justin Hooper. Ashe may be there. I doubt Hooper lasts all the way to the mid teens.. We'll see...
My preference at this point would be to take Jones. I hope one of these pitchers fall to the Indians at #20 in Kirby, Fullmer or Funkhouser.
Since the Indians have drafted cold weather arms in Mitch Brown and Hentges in past, I bet Nikorak is on there radar screen.
nice list interesting to see list in fall and watch how it develops. Frankly i have a hunch that the 2014 draft will be remembered as the most superlative draft in IndiaNS HISTORY. Zimmer, bradley, sheffield
are all studs. Coupled with the international signees of the previous year from the pacific rim, the influx of talent for the 2014 season is gonna be memorable. As for speculating on the pick this far in advance how bout Cody PONCE. We seem to be collecting cody's and he may be there for the 19 or 20th pick.