With the Winter Meetings now concluded, I thought it would be time to post another edition of my 2014 MLB mock draft. After several high-profile signings and trades by some teams, the draft order and drafting process will be changed. While it may seem idiotic to not draft the best player available, some teams choose to go instead for positions of need, such as the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers. Other teams, like the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, have become notorious for drafting the best player available, regardless of need. While you can argue over which is the right way to go when your team is contending, some teams do so and it effects the draft.
Last year the Pirates selected two exciting high school position players in the 1st round: Georgia High School OF Austin Meadows and Washington High School C Reese McGuire. Both look to be promising prospects with potential everyday ability. Since 2008, the Pirates have used their best player available strategy to draft a slew of talent: Pedro Alvarez (2008), Tony Sanchez (2009), Jameson Taillon (2010), Gerrit Cole (2011), Mark Appel DNS (2012) and the two HS prospects from last year. Look for the Pirates to continue this trend, regardless of how upset some people get.
1. Houston Astros - LHP Carlos Rodon (North Carolina State University)
2013 STATS: 10-3, 2.99 ERA, 3.18 FIP, 132.1 IP, 0.200 OPPBA, 0.309 BABIP, 1.05 WHIP, 12.51 K/9
Little changes from the last mock draft. Rodon is considered the consensus Number 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. A mid-90's fastball mixed with tailing 2S fastball, a plus slider, and projectable changeup makes Rodon a dangerous all-around pitcher. His control is an area of concern but, with small mechanical adjustments, should be able to hold his own as a starter. Coupled with 2013 1st overall pick Mark Appel,. the future of the Houston rotation looks bright.
2. Miami Marlins - C Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo High School, California)
2013 STATS: .343/.479/.805, 14 HR, 33 RBI, 22 SO, 29 BB
Jackson is perhaps the best high school player in the draft and the best overall bat. Jackson hits with mammoth power, plays exceptional defense, and is naturally athletic. His swing is a work of beauty with a calm load, plus/plus bat speed, and level swing. The ball explodes off the barrel. Defensively, Jackson moves well behind the plate with soft hands, a tremendous pop time, an elite arm, and superb blocking skills. If teams feel they need to move him from the position, he also handles RF very well. Miami may not be the best run organization but they will have some exciting prospects with Alex Jackson, Colin Moran, and Andrew Heaney.
3. Chicago White Sox - RHP Jeff Hoffman (East Carolina University)
2013 STATS: 6-7, 3.20 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 109.2 IP, 0.243 OPPBA, 0.300 BABIP, 1.25 WHIP, 6.89 K/9
Hoffman is a player who has seen his stock rise considerably after a strong showing in the Cape this past summer. Hoffman is 6'4 and has room to add on weight. Currently his fastball sits 93-96 with loose arm action and a consistent downhill plane. The ball shows a great deal of movement and the delivery is somewhat deceptive to right handed hitters. In addition to the heat, Hoffman features a graded plus curveball that he needs to start using more often. His slider projects to be above average and has a hard bite to it while the changeup sits in the upper mid-upper 80's. Chicago is always an enigma on draft day. You just never know what they will do because they have been so bad at drafting for so long but have recently shown some improvement. Their organization would definitely benefit from taking a pitcher with the amount of upside as Hoffman.
4. Chicago Cubs - RHP Tyler Kolek (Sheperd High School, Texas)
2013 STATS: N/A
Kolek is a massive human being. Standing at 6'5 and weighing north of 250 lbs., Kolek possess some of the best power pitches in the draft. What makes Kolek so attractive on the mound is his high pitch IQ and tendency to not try and just overpower people. His fastball sits in the 92-96 range and tops out at 98. The pitch has some horizontal run that will benefit him against both sides of the plate. He pitches on a downward plane consistently which makes mastering the fastball an easier task for what organization takes him. In addition to the fastball, he possesses an inconsistent high 70's curveball that needs a tighter spin, a hard slider that projects as plus. His changeup is a work in progress and he has expressed his need to improve the pitch. He has the maturity and willingness to get better that will allow him to reach his full potential. I don't see any way Theo Epstein and the Cubs pass up on Kolek on draft day, if he is available.
5. Minnesota Twins - RHP Tyler Beede (Vanderbilt University)
2013 STATS: 14-1, 2.32 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 101 IP, 0.187 OPPBA, 0.257 BABIP, 1.26 WHIP, 9.18 K/9
Beede is no stranger to the first round. Drafted in the 1st round by the Toronto Blue Jays, Beede instead choose to attend Vanderbilt where he has been a workhorse. With rounded shoulders and a strong, muscular build, Beede looks to be able to continue to inning eating ability. Beede throws both a 4S and 2S. The 4S sits in the mid 90's, maxing at 97. The pitch has some rising action that can make it hittable when Beede's control is off. The 2S is arguably his best pitch with a tremendous amount of movement that is used to induce a large sum of groundballs. The curveball is registered as a plus pitch and drops in on a 12-6 plane. The changeup is another lethal pitch Beede possess. The pitch sits in the high 70's and is very deceptive due to his arm speed, delivery and the natural sinking action of the pitch. A marriage between a pitcher starved organization like Minnesota and someone like Beede seems like destiny.
6. Seattle Mariners - SS Jacob Gatewood (Clovis High School, California)
2013 STATS: N/A
Gatewood reminds me a lot of 2012 First Overall selection Carlos Correa. Gatewood is a 6'4 shortstop with plus defense and a bat that rivals just about anyone in the class. He has natural instincts at SS with a plus arm, above average range and soft hands. At the plate, Gatewood demonstrates elite bat speed that generates a lot of backspin on the ball. The ball jumps off his bat and he can drive it to all fields. He shows plus pull power and could turn into a 20 HR/year guy. Some feel he may require a move to RF or 3B due to his size but I see glaring problem that would force such a transition. Seattle has had some less than stellar drafts in the past and have some big question marks concerning their development of players. With that being said, I am sure they'd love to get someone with the ability of Gatewood.
7. Philadelphia Phillies - RHP Aaron Nola (Louisiana State)
2013 STATS: 12-1, 1.57 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 126 IP, 0.188 OPPBA, 0.250 BABIP, 0.80 WHIP, 8.71 K/9
Philadelphia has a pretty barren minor league system. Outside of a few position prospects, things do not look that great for the Phillies. The organization spent years shipping prospects out to fill holes on their major league club. The result was one World Series ring in 2008 and an aging team that has failed to produce since 2011. The Phillies are in dire need of pitching and I could see the organization going with a safe pick. Aaron Nola seems to fit that bill. Nola is a 6'1 right hander who has dominated the competition at LSU. Nola has mastery control of both his 2S and 4S, constantly changing the eye levels of hitters and working each on the inner and outer halves of the plate. In addition, he has a potential plus power curve that sits in the high 70's and a low 80's changeup that has some nice fade action. Due to Nola's size, there is little projection left. I don't see him as an ace but I am sure the Phillies would be happy to get a solid No. 3 starter out of the draft if he can reach the big leagues quickly. After all, this is the organization that said they were going to try to get younger before signing Marlon Byrd to a 2 year deal.
8. Colorado Rockies - OF Michael Gettys (Gainesville High School, Georgia)
2013 STATS: .470/.507/.787, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 6 K, 4 BB
Scary power mixed with a superb athletic build makes Gettys one of the most intimidating prospects in the draft. To start, Gettys has a cannon arm, being clocked from RF at 100 MPH and on the mound in the mid-90's. He moves well in the outfield with good footwork and the athleticism to make the tough plays. At the plate, Gettys has plus bat speed though he will need to work out his slight uppercut. He maintains a good approach with a good eye. The ball rockets off his bat, driving for plus power in all directions. Comparable to Clint Frazier/Austin Meadows but better at this point. Colorado will be thrilled to get someone of Gettys ability though I think they'd be best suited to take a pitcher.
9. Toronto Blue Jays - SS Trea Turner (North Carolina State University)
2013 STATS: .368/.455/.553, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 31 SO, 38 BB
Turner is about as exciting as they come. A plus defender all around with exceptional base stealing skills and a line drive hitter, Turner is going to be a fun player to watch develop. At SS, Turner makes most plays look simple. He has soft hands, a strong arm, excellent range, and good reflexes. At the plate, Turner has a line drive swing that generates more doubles power right now but he could easily turn into a 15 HR/ year guy. On the basepaths, his plus speed and keen instincts make him one of the most dangerous base stealers in the class. Definitely a future leadoff or two hitter, Toronto will be getting someone very good in Trea Turner.
VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98Ve0RDNODM [Long video, use times listed]
10. New York Mets - RHP Touki Toussaint (Coral Springs Christian Academy, Florida)
2013 STATS: 3-1, 0.61 ERA, 23 IP, 41 K
Toussaint is one of the highest ceiling pitchers in the draft. He is a lean 6'2 right hander who has an electric fastball and some solid secondaries. Toussaint's fastball sits in the low-mid 90's and has a lot of movement to it. He has added a cutter in the past year that makes a devastating 1-2 combo with the fastball. In addition, Toussaint's curve is a plus pitch that he throws with different speeds and is virtually unhittable at times. He will need to continue to develop his changeup as the pitch is very raw. There are also some concerns regarding his slightly jerky motion. Regardless, the Mets will have another ceiling pitcher on their hands that they will definitely hope can develop and help shore up the rotation alongside Matt Harvey and the other prospects in the system.
11. Toronto Blue Jays - OF Derek Fisher (University of Virginia)
2013 STATS: .293/.405/.483, 7 HR, 48 RBI, 40 SO, 28 BB
Toronto will already have gotten the player the were hoping for when they took Turner at No. 9. but it won't stop the Blue Jays from going after another nice player. Fisher is a safe bat in the upcoming draft who could reach the majors quickly but won't have a ridiculously high ceiling. The defense is average due to his average arm and somewhat poor instincts in the field. With that being said, he should be able to handle LF fine. At the plate, Fisher sees the ball well and makes adjustments pitch by pitch. He has a smooth swing and drives the ball hard to all fields, hitting for above average power. He is deceptively fast for his large frame but won't be a threat on the basepaths. If both Turner and Fisher, the Blue Jays will probably be ready to take the rest of the weekend off.
12. Milwaukee Brewers - OF Braxton Davidson (T.C. Roberson High School, North Carolina)
2013 STATS: N/A
Milwaukee has struggled the past seasons due to poor drafting and trading what prospects they have in vain attempts to win it all. That being said, Milwaukee looks to be poised to start rebuilding. If they choose Davidson, they will be starting out the rebuild right. Davidson is built like a bull and plays the game right, not relying on sheer talent to win. In the field, Davidson has excellent footwork, an accurate, strong arm, and a better first step to the ball. At the plate, Davidson has a loose swing that generates massive amounts of power, only rivaled by Gettys. Each time I have seen him, he has massacred the inner half of the plate but hasn't shown a major willingness to take the ball to the opposite field. While listed as an OF at the present time, he may see a transition to 1B where the bat will play.
13. San Diego Padres - LHP Brady Aiken (Cathedral Catholic High School, California)
2013 STATS: 5-3, 0.92 ERA, 53.1 IP, 0.162 OPPBA, 80 K, 25 BB
The top left handed pitcher from high school, Aiken has been steadily rising up the draft boards. Aiken is a strong, loose pitcher with good balance throughout his delivery. Aiken has reminded me a lot of Cliff Lee due to his pinpoint control. The fastball clocks in the high 80's/low 90's with run and sink. The curveball is a potential plus pitch with hard bite and sits in the low-mid 70's. The changeup is developing nicely. He has a better feel for the pitch and it shows nice diving action. Aiken looks to be a solid No. 2 starter who has a high baseball IQ and a great feel for pitching. He will be a nice grab for the Padres, who already have a nice LHP in Max Fried.
14. San Francisco Giants - LHP Sean Newcomb (University of Hartford)
2013 STATS: 5-4, 3.75 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 72 IP, 0.213 OPPBA, 0.329 BABIP, 1.25 WHIP, 11.50 K/9
San Francisco became well-known for their string of pitcher development successes. Unfortunately, since Bumgarner came and took the postseason by storm in 2010, the Giants have developed little in the way of talent. The hope is another string of pitchers can come along, those being Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn, and Chris Stratton. While the Giants need impact hitting, I see them going with another pitcher, this one being Sean Newcomb. Newcomb is built like a workhorse with a strong lower half. He locates his 95+ fastball extremely well and generates lots of groundballs. The curveball is nothing more than average but the slider flashes plus potential due to a great sweeping action. The changeup will need to be harnessed to make Newcombe a more complete pitcher. He has tremendous upside and could turn into a top of the rotation starter. He is still raw but, placing him in a pitching friendly organization like the Giants, there is little doubt that he will flourish.
15. Los Angeles Angels - SS Nick Gordon (Olympia High School, Florida)
2013 STATS: N/A
Gordon is part of a slew of high upside shortstops available this year from the prep ranks. Gordon is the brother of Los Angeles Dodger Dee Gordon. The high school SS has shown to be a premier defensive fielder with a cannon arm, incredible range, strong instincts and top-flight athleticism. At the plate, Gordon lags behind his defense. His swing has a little loop to it but he generates some lift with the swing. He will never hit for much power but he will be a high contact hitter who could be dangerous at the top of the lineup due to his athleticism and speed. LA runs a weird organization and are in constant win-now mode. With that being said, they'd be crazy to pass up on a talent like Gordon.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks - RHP Luis Ortiz (Sanger High School, California)
2013 STATS: N/A
Strong, athletic, and a clean delivery. Three descriptions of Luis Ortiz found amongst scouts. Ortiz is a 6'3, 220 lb right hander who has been consistently ranked high on draft boards since early last year. Ortiz flashes a low 90's fastball that jumps out of his hands and is well-located throughout the zone. His slider is an above-average to plus offering with good sweeping action and sits in the low-mid 80's. The changeup comes in at a similar velocity to his slider and shows nice depth with some tumbling action. Ortiz has a clean delivery and the body of a workhorse. He is a very exciting arm and could be the ticket the Diamondbacks finally hit on in the hopes of finding a true ace.
17. Baltimore Orioles - OF Brad Zimmer (University of San Francisco)
2013 STATS: .320/.437/.512, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 31 SO, 29 BB
Zimmer is the younger brother of Kansas City Royals Kyle Zimmer. Unlike his pitching brother, Brad follows on the opposite end of the spectrum being about as pure of a hitter as they come. Zimmer has a smooth line drive swing that generates average power. He has shown an ability to consistently hit the ball to the opposite field though he does struggle some with inside pitches due to a lack of shortening his swing. Along with his speed, Zimmer seems like a future lead off hitter. Defensively, he has an above average arm that is accurate. With his great range and instincts for the outfield, he seems destined to be a CF. The Orioles have been recently drafted a lot of pitching. With all the talent they have at pitching, I could definitely see them trying to develop some offense to put around Manny Machado.
18. Kansas City Royals - RHP Grant Holmes (Conway High School, South Carolina)
2013 STATS: N/A
Holmes is a highly projectable right hander who many scouts believe will flourish once he has the proper coaching. At the present, Holmes flashes two potential plus pitches. The first is a mid-90's fastball that explodes out of his hand and heads in on a downward plane with a bit of a tail. The second is a hard biting curve that loops in at 81-83 MPH. Additionally, Holmes has a changeup that he rarely uses due to his overpowering fastball and curveball. Holmes may go higher but, at present, his control is an area of concern. He has relied on his power to dominate the competition but he will need to harness his abilities to become that next level pitcher. The Royals don't have a great track record of developing of pitchers but the may see a change of fortunes with Holmes.
19. Washington Nationals - SS Ti'Quan Forbes (Columbia High School, Missouri)
2013 STATS: .391/.447/.758, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 7 K, 9 BB
Dripping with athleticism and potential, Forbes is one of the rawer players in the draft but has as high a ceiling as anyone. Forbes is an open stance hitter that has a busy load but shows incredible bat speed. He has strong pull power presently but can drive the ball hard to the right center gap. Forbes has incredible speed, running 6.54 60 yard dash. At short, he glides effortlessly, demonstrating controlled play, soft hands, an accurate arm that is a notch below Gordon, and strong instincts. What is most intriguing is he could easily be a top 10 talent but is so raw, teams may wait on him until the later half of the first round.
20. Cincinnati Reds - RHP Michael Cederoth (University of San Diego)
2013 STATS: 3-9, 4.25 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 95.1 IP, 0.213 OPPBA, 0.302 BABIP, 1.26 WHIP
Cederoth is a hulking 6'6, 210 lb right hander who hasn't seen the results match his stuff. Cederoth has a high 90's fastball that explodes from his hand and mvoes throughout the zone. Backing his plus fastball is a mid 80's slider with late break that looks to be a plus offering if he can master it. The changeup sits at similar velocity to the slider with good arm action and a nice tail. Cederoth needs to harness his control to become the elite pitcher he is definitely capable of being. Cederoth will be a project when drafted but the payoff could be massive. The Reds have searched for a ace for years without ever truly acquiring one. Cederoth could be the man they think can change their fortunes.
21. Tampa Bay Rays - LHP Kodi Medeiros (Waiakea High School, Hawaii)
2013 STATS: N/A
Tampa Bay has maintained a strong farm system for several years due mostly to their ability at drafting. I expect this year to be no different when they go with the best player available. Kodi Medeiros is the top pitcher out of the state of Hawaii this season but he also has some question marks. Medeiros has a lively, plus fastball that sits in the low-mid 90's that moves all over the place. Medeiros has a slurvey slider that comes in the low 80's and has great movement. In addition, his mid 80's changeup is used to generate groundballs and he uses it to great effect against right handed hitters. Medeiros is a great pitcher but his undersized frame leaves many wondering if there is much projection left. Regardless of the question marks, the Rays will do their homework.
22. Cleveland Indians - C Max Pentecost (Kennesaw State University)
2013 STATS: .302/.374/.785, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 27 SO, 22 BB
Drawing comparisons to Buster Posey, Pentecost may be the diamond in the rough of the 2014 draft. Pentecost is a superb athlete and has really developed since passing up an offer to sign as a 7th rounder with the Texas Rangers in 2011. Pentecost is terrific defensively, with a sub 1.90 pop time, strong blocking skills, and a strong, accurate arm. At the plate, Pentecost shows a great eye, great pitch recognition and an ability to hit the ball to all fields. What makes Pentecost even more interesting is his surprising speed for a catcher. He has been known to lay down bunts for base hits and has shown some base stealing skills. Pentecost doesn't come from a top baseball program but his frame and current ability suggest he could be even better.
23. Los Angeles Angels - RHP Nick Burdi (University of Louisville)
2013 STATS: 3-3, 0.76 ERA, 1.37 FIP, 35.2 IP, 0.192 OPPBA, 1.07 WHIP, 15.64 K/9
Due to some major free agent signings and the allocations of just about all their resources in the major league team, the Angels are in constant win now mode. In addition, they have one of, if not, the worst farm systems in baseball. The Angels will approach the draft looking to take someone who can contribute almost immediately. That player will be Louisville closer Nick Burdi. He features a two pitch combo in the mold of Joel Hanrahan, a high 90's fastball with a good amount of movement and an upper 80's slider. Burdi has strong mechanics, pitching on a downward plane and easily repeating his delivery. Louisville has elected to keep Burdi as a closer, hurting his draft stock but the Angels will definitely be attracted to his abilities.
24. Detroit Tigers - RHP Sean Reid-Foley (Sandalwood High School, Florida)
2013 STATS: 6-3, 1.00 ERA, 70.1 IP, 117 K, 33 BB
An ideal frame with sloped shoulders, strong legs, and a loose arm, Reid-Foley has slowly climbed up the draft boards into the mid first round. Reid-Foley throws a low-mid 90's fastball that he commands throughout the zone. I am usually unimpressed when a players fastball is the best offering but Reid-Foley has a ton of life on his. The pitch has random action, sinking, cutting, or running at various times that makes it especially hard to hit. In addition, Reid-Foley has a power curve with solid rotation and hard biting action though his delivery changes slightly when throwing it. His changeup is a show me offering with some split-finger action while his two-seamer is used almost exclusively against right handed hitters. Reid-Foley has some mechanical issues to work out but he has the stuff and the baseball intelligence to be a dominating pitcher. Detroit has struggled developing high school arms but they always show a willingness to draft them. We will see how Reid-Foley does in the Tigers system.
25. Pittsburgh Pirates - SS Greg Deichmann (Brother Martin High School, Louisiana)
2013 STATS: N/A
An excellent athlete and student who still has room to fill out, Deichmann has been flying under the radar but has all the talent of the big names. Deichmann is a power hitting, left handed bat that has shown upper-deck power. Deichmann has terrific bat speed and the ball explodes off his bat to all fields. He has shown some pitch recognition issues but nothing to be a major concern. In the field, he has soft hands, sound footwork, good feeds on double plays, and an accurate, above-average arm. He could play just about anywhere in the field though a move to 2B may be likely after a few seasons at SS. The Pirates aren't known for drafting infielders in the first round, the only exception being Pedro Alvarez, but Deichmann may be too attractive to pass up.
26. Oakland Athletics - RHP Luke Weaver (Florida State University)
2013 STATS: 7-2, 2.29 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 98.1 IP, 0.221 ERA, 0.319 BABIP, 0.99 WHIP, 10.89 K/9
Slight of frame but with a big fastball, Weaver shot up draft boards after dominating his sophomore season. Weaver has a mid 90's fastball that generates natural movement and consistently is thrown in the lower half of the zone. His changeup is a potential above average offering with a solid amount of deception and fade. The slider is deadly with great sweeping action that is effective against both left and right handers. Weaver has a high floor and could settle into the middle of a rotation easily.
27. Atlanta Braves - 3B Jack Flaherty (Harvard-Westlake High School, California)
2013 STATS: .360, .505, .500, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 9 K, 18 BB
Lean and strong with more power coming, Flaherty is a future middle of the order bat. At the plate, Flaherty squares up just about every pitch with a line drive swing. He drives the balls to all fields and particularly favors the right-center gap. His swing doesn't generate a lot of loft but with minor tweaking and further maturing, Flaherty will demonstrate above average to plus power. In the field, Flaherty is destined for 3B. He has soft hands, a very quick release, strong charging skills and great instincts. With another solid season, he could potentially move into the mid first round.
28. Boston Red Sox - RHP Erick Fedde (University of Nevada-Las Vegas)
2013 STATS: 7-3, 3.92 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 96.1 IP, 0.264 OPPBA, 0.329 BABIP, 1.31 WHIP, 7.75 K/9
Fedde's stock has rocketed upward since his strong showing in the Cape. A projectable 6'4, 175 lb right hander, Fedde is raw but brimming with upside. Fedde commands a low 90's fastball that he has mastery control of, locating the pitch all throughout the strike zone, changing the eye levels on several hitters. In addition to the fastball, Fedde commands a plus slider that has some serious bite. He will need to develop another secondary to be effective at the next level however Fedde's advanced feel and command of his fastball and slider make him an extremely tempting draft pick.
29. St. Louis Cardinals - LHP Brandon Finnegan (Texas Christian University)
2013 STATS: 0-8, 3.18 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 79.1 IP, 0.257 OPPBA, 0.357 BABIP, 1.37 WHIP, 9.76 K/9
Finnegan is one of the more difficult players to project in the upcoming draft. He is undersized at 5'11 but his stuff is overpowering. His fastball sits in the low-mid 90's but has been clocked as high as 97. The pitch has some great life with good tailing action. His mid 80's slider is an above average offering that will compliment well alongside a low 80's changeup. Beside Finnegan's height, there are concerns over his control as he has struggled at times keeping men off base due to walks. Finnegan changes speeds nicely and seems to understand what his limitations are. While not the highest ceiling, his floor is high and could compliment a rotation nicely.