We are less than a month away from the 2015 MLB draft, which is scheduled to get underway on June 8 at MLB Network’s Studio 42 in Secaucus, New Jersey. I’ve put together my first round mock draft with analysis on all 26 picks in the official first round.
Note that the reason there is only 26 first round picks, is because there were five teams who forfeited the rights to their first round pick when they signed a free agent away from a team who made a qualifying offer. The only way a team doesn’t lose a first round pick, is if they have one of the first 11 picks, in which they forfeit their second round selection.
Those teams who lost out on a free agent signing are awarded a compensation pick, which directly follows the first round. I’ve included a list of those teams and order of the Compensation Round below, along with the player lost and team/pick that was forfeited.
There is also what is known as a Competitive Balance Round A that follows the Compensation Round prior to the second round starting. These are picks that are awarded to teams that have one of the 10 smallest markets or 10 smallest revenue pools. There are 12 picks total awarded. There are six awarded for Round A and another six for Round B (follows second round). The order is determined based on a lottery drawing. I’ve included the picks awarded for both rounds at the bottom of the article.
2015 MLB Draft 1st Round Mock
Round 1, Pick 1
It’s really anyone’s guess at this point who the Diamondbacks take with the No. 1 pick, but most teams around the league agree that Rodgers is the most talented prospect in the draft, who has all the tools to be an elite shortstop at the big league level.
Round 1, Pick 2
Dillon Tate, RHP (UCSB) – The Astros received the No. 2 pick due to not signing 2014 No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken (RHP). I still think their primary focus is to add a young arm to their farm system and scouts have been raving about Tate, who has transitioned from closer to starter. Tate possesses a fastball around 98 mph and a nasty slider.
Round 1, Pick 3
Depending on who you talk to, some scouts think Swanson is the best all-around position player in the draft and one that doesn’t figure to need a whole lot of time in the minors before being ready to contribute in the majors. While he doesn’t have exceptional power, he makes solid contact, is excellent defensively and has big time speed to cause havoc on the bases.
Round 1, Pick 4
Cameron is one of several highly touted high school outfielders in the draft, who is the son of former MLB outfielder Mike Cameron. You could argue that Texas is more in need of starting pitching, but they have a history for going after high-upside young talent like Cameron.
Round 1, Pick 5
Even after taking Tate with the No. 2 pick, I don’t think the Astros are going to be able to pass up on adding a player of Fulmer’s ability. He’s been one of the best pitchers for one of the elite college programs in the country and is capable of contributing out of the bullpen this season, similar to what we saw last year with Kansas City’s Brandon Finnegan.
Round 1, Pick 6
I don’t think it’s any secret that the Twins are need of some starting pitching and Harris is a guy that has been climbing up the draft board. He’s not the most sexy pick, as there’s not a huge upside, but most feel he’s one of the safer bets to develop into a solid big league starter.
Boston Red Sox
Round 1, Pick 7
There’s been plenty of outlets out there that are predicting Bregman to the Red Sox and I believe the chips are going to fall in Boston’s favor if it is in fact the guy they want. Bregman exploded on the scene in his freshman year at LSU in 2013 and has continued to impress with the bat. If the Red Sox decide to pass on Bregman, it will likely be in favor of a starter.
Chicago White Sox
Round 1, Pick 8
If it wasn’t for his slim frame (165 pounds) that have some scouts worried about his ability to stay healthy over the course of a 162-game season, Buehler would likely be off the board at this point. Even with the concern, I don’t see him slipping out of the Top 10. Buehler has a decent fastball (low to mid 90s) to go with a solid changeup and improving curve.
Round 1, Pick 9
I know the Cubs have a ton of young talented position players and you would think they would be looking to draft a potential starter to help out the rotation, but I think Chicago strategy is to buy pitching in free agency or acquire it in trades. Clark possesses a ton of speed that will allow him to contribute sooner rather than later and should develop some power as he gets older.
Round 1, Pick 10
Stephenson is another player that is rising up draft boards as we get closer to the draft. The high school prospect out of Georgia has scouts raving about his raw power at the plate. The Phillies are a team that desperately needs an infusion of young talent, so there’s plenty of option here for them.
Round 1, Pick 11
Tucker’s brother, Preston, just recently made his big league debut with the Astros and a lot of people think Kyle is the better of the two siblings. I think the Reds would be getting a steal if he was still available, as there are some experts who think Tucker’s a potential Top 5 pick. He’s got a ton of potential, as he’s shown the rare ability to hit for power while rarely striking out.
Round 1, Pick 12
Funkhouser has fallen down on a lot of draft boards, as he was once considered a lock to go in the Top 10 and potentially the Top 5, but he’s shown some control issues that are raising some concerns. I think this is the point where he’s worth the gamble, but don’t be surprised if another team takes a shot on him before Miami gets the chance.
Tampa Bay Rays
Round 1, Pick 13
Baseball Prospectus has Whitley going No. 1 overall to the Diamondbacks. While I’m not as high on the high school outfielder, that’s a pretty good sign that he’s not going to be on the board for long. The Rays have done an excellent job of stockpiling young arms, but it’s time they started looking to add some young talent in the field.
Round 1, Pick 14
Jay is one of the more intriguing prospects in this year’s class. He’s 5-1 with a 0.70 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 51.1 innings of work so far for the Fighting Illini. The big catch is he’s been primarily used as reliever and in order to go this high in the draft there would have to be belief from a team that he can develop into a starter. Most seem to think that won’t be a problem and Atlanta could be getting a steal here if he’s still available.
Round 1, Pick 15
Nikorak is widely considered the top high school pitching prospect in the draft and I think the Brewers are a team that will definitely be interested in his services. Nikorak stands an imposing 6’5 and 205 pounds and is already been clocked at 97 mph.
New York Yankees
Round 1, Pick 16
The big knock on Happ is scouts aren’t quite sure where he projects at the big league level. He’s playing right field for the Bearcats, but some see him better suited at 3rd or 2nd. The important thing here is that he can hit and does so from both sides of the plate.
Round 1, Pick 17
Here’s another high school starter prospect that figures to hear his named call early. Like Nikorak, Allard already has a mid-to-upper 90s mph fastball at his disposal. One of things scouts love about him is his ability to command his pitches. The key to Allard being a steal in the draft is whether or not he can develop his off-speed pitches.
San Francisco Giants
Round 1, Pick 18
San Francisco suffered a couple of major blows in the offseason when it was learned that both Patrick Willis and Chris Borland were going to retire. Surprisingly the 49ers only use a single one of their 10 draft picks on a inside linebacker. They still have an elite talent at the position in NaVorro Bowman, but it’s not a sure thing that he will return to form after missing all of last season from that devastating left knee injury suffered in the 2014 NFC Championship Game.
Round 1, Pick 19
Kirby is a player that I have seen projected in the Top 5, but I think he’s going to drop some due to some injury problems. Kirby isn’t your typical prospect with an overpowering fastball, but instead a pitcher who has excellent command and off-speed stuff that is big league ready. I think he would be a perfect fit in pitcher-friendly PNC Park.
Round 1, Pick 20
One of the big questions that everyone is wondering, is when will a team gamble on Aiken. After failing to sign with Houston after being selected No. 1 overall, Aiken ended up needing Tommy John surgery. With the way pitchers are recovering from Tommy John these days, I wouldn’t be shocked if Aiken went off the board earlier than what I have him. I think he’s worth the risk if he falls to Oakland, as the A’s are team that can’t afford to bring in the high-priced arms in free agency.
Kansas City Royals
Round 1, Pick 21
Some have Plummer graded right alongside the other top high school outfield prospects and he could very well end up being the best of the bunch. While his upside is big, he’s extremely raw and doesn’t have a great arm. With that said, he’s got the potential to develop into a dynamic hitter, something the Royals could certainly use.
Round 1, Pick 22
I have a difficult time seeing Betts fall this far, but I just didn’t love any of the potential suitors prior to this point. Detroit would be wise to take advantage of the opportunity if he’s still available. It’s uncertain just how long Betts will be able to stay behind the plate, but no one is worried about the lefties ability to swing the bat for both average and power.
St. Louis Cardinals
Round 1, Pick 23
Like Aiken, Matuella there’s no way Matuella would fall this far (originally expected to go in Top 5) if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s coming off Tommy John surgery. St Louis covets talented young pitchers and are in a position to let Matuella fully recover and develop in the minors before his services would be required at the big league level.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Round 1, Pick 24
If you have followed the draft closely over the years, Bickford’s name likely rings a bell. That’s because the Blue Jays drafted him 10th overall out of high school in 2013. He decided to instead enroll at Ca State Fullerton, before eventually transferring to Southern Nevada to be eligible for the draft (if he stayed at Cal State he wouldn’t have been eligible for the draft until next year). Would be a steal if he’s still on the board when LA selects at No. 24.
Round 1, Pick 25
Scouts are big on college arms who have shown that they can get the job done for a big time program like Kaprielian has at UCLA. While his fastball is clocked in the low 90s, his big frame (6’4, 200 lbs) make it seem like a high 90’s fastball to hitters. He’s got great command of his pitches and doesn’t figure to need long before he’s ready to help out a rotation at the big league level.
Los Angeles Angels
Round 1, Pick 26
As you might have noticed, a lot of the talent in the field projected for the first round is high school kids who are going to need some time to develop. There’s going to be a team that is looking for a college bat like Benintendi who has proven himself. He’s also gaining more interest of late due to a bit of a power surge he’s shown during his sophomore season with the Razorbacks.
No. 27 – Colorado Rockies (Michael Cuddyer, Mets forfeited 1st round pick)
No. 28 – Atlanta Braves (Ervin Santana, Twins forfeited 2nd round pick)
No. 29 – Toronto Blue Jays (Melky Cabrera, White Sox forfeited 3rd round pick)
No. 30 – New York Yankees (David Robertson White Sox forfeited 2nd round pick)
No. 31 – San Francisco Giants (Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox forfeited 1st round pick)
No. 32 – Pittsburgh Pirates (Russell Martin, Blue Jays forfeited 1st round pick)
No. 33 – Kansas City Royals (James Shields, Padres forfeited 1st round pick)
No. 34 – Detroit Tigers (Max Scherzer, Nationals forfeited 1st round pick)
No. 35 – Los Angeles Dodgers (Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox forfeited Competitive Balance B Pick)
No. 36 – Baltimore Orioles (Nelson Cruz, Mariners forfeited 1st round pick)
Competitive Balance Round A
No. 37 – Houston Astros (Acquired via trade with Marlins)
No. 38 – Colorado Rockies
No. 39 – St Louis Cardinals
No. 40 – Milwaukee Brewers
No. 41 – Atlanta Braves (Acquired via trade with Padres)
No. 42 – Cleveland Indians
Competitive Balance Round B
No. 71 – Cincinnati Reds
No. 72 – Oakland A’s
No. 73 – Seattle Mariners
No. 74 – Minnesota Twins
No. 75 – Los Angeles Dodgers (Acquired via Trade with Orioles)
No. 76 – Atlanta Braves (Acquired via trade with Diamondbacks)