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TGP 2014 Mock Draft

It's very unlikely this mock ends up being right, but it's still an opportunity to look more at team strategies and tendencies.

New and improved.
New and improved.

A few months ago Warren Buffett made big news by running his Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge around the NCAA tourney. No one even came vaguely close to a perfect bracket. You could do the same with mock drafts. I hereby guarantee I will be wrong, but that doesn't make this a totally useless exercise. We can still look at strategies, tendencies and a broader look at who is available. My goal here is to work off of previous strategies teams have used and their past tendencies. Teams should always take the best player available on their board, but that opinion can differ from Org to Org as some value high ceiling High School talent more and others value lower ceiling, safer College players. I will be trying to take all of that into account.

1. Houston Astros - For all intents and purposes, Houston has been on the clock for well over a year. Astros Scouts have probably seen more Carlos Rodon than his Mother the last 15 months. Brady Aiken has rocketed up draft boards and mocks. Honestly, not much seperates the two. Both have Ace ceilings. Slider does his damage with a Slider than can make College Hitters look like Little Leaguers, Aiken does it with a Curve that buckles knees. Aiken is taller and younger. Rodon is stocky and you can see him piling up a lot of innings. I'm 50/50 on this one. To break the tie, I will look at Cardinals history, where their GM comes from previously. The Cards have selected both High School and College arms, but weighted a bit more heavily towards College arms. On that very thin foundation I'll say the pick is: Carlos Rodon, LHP

2. Miami Marlins - There's no such conflict for the fins. The 3 best available are High School Pitchers and a High School Catcher. The Marlins seem close to assembling their next core with Stanton, Yelich, Fernandez already present and Heaney on the way. Can you imagine a Pitching core of Fernandez, Heaney and Kolek? I think the Marlins can. :Tyler Kolek, RHP

3. Chicago White Sox - The White Sox system sucks, but I was surprised to see that they haven't had a Top 3 pick since they took Harold Baines in 1977. This draft is so good at the top I don't think even the White Sox can screw this up. They'll have their pick of two of the Top 4 prospects, and barring a collossal display of incompetence, they'll come up with a mighty good player. They do have a tendency that might point to a particular pick. They have not selected a High School Pitcher in Round 1 in a decade. They almost exclusively select College players overall, but there's special talent here at the top. I'm going against the very weak tendency and having them take: Brady Aiken, LHP

4. Chicago Cubs - Now things get fun. Jackson is the premier bat of this draft, but in their time with the Red Sox the current Cubs braintrust rarely took High Schoolers. They've taken a mix so far in Chicago, but  I still see a core on the way and can envision the Cubbies taking a Pitcher that can progress quickly. Also, by going College arm here, the Cubs can hope to come underslot and hope to overslot a guy in the second or third rounds. Aaron Nola, RHP

5. Minnesota Twins - The Win Twins have been anything but the last few years, but if this draft were to shake out this way I'm sure they'd be high fiving like they won. A little over a decade ago, the Twins drafted a very large Offense first High School Catcher. That player has gone on to become the face of the Franchise. Alex Jackson is head and shoulders the best bat in this draft, saved for the Twins by a run on arms. The twins need Pitching, but I can't imagine Jackson not being the best player on their board. Alex Jackson, C

6. Seattle Mariners - The Mariners MO has largely been to draft College bats and arms. The premier names are largely off the board at this point. The College arms at play for this spot would be Kyle Freeland, Sean Newcombe and Tyler Beede. The College bats would be Bradley Zimmer and Michael Conforto. Both bats play more or less in the M's backyard. They could go Freeland here (or maybe Nola if he's still available), but I think they'll go Michael Conforto, OF

7. Philadelphia Phillies - I didn't do it on purpose, but a few intriguing names are hanging out that have been tied to the Phillies. The Phillies have heavily scouted High School SS Nick Gordon (as has most everyone else) and they previously drafted College Lefty Kyle Freeland. The Phillies are rumored to love SS Jake Gatewood, but if they pick him here, grab your pitchforks. If one of these two guys are available I think the Phillies pick him, if both are available, I'll give the tiebreaker to Gordon for ticking more of the Phillies traditional boxes. Nick Gordon, SS

8. Colorado Rockies - The Rockies have a very strong tendency towards College players. Fittingly their best options here would be College players. Tre Turner would be great ranging in Center Field one day for the Rockies or covering Short if Tulo moves to Third. Bradley Zimmer's bat would play well in Coors' thinner air. The real prize here for them would be Ground ball machine Kyle Freeland, who can kepp the ball on the ground and avoid getting bitten by Home Runs in a park well known for them. The Rockies take the perfect Coors Field Pitcher: Kyle Freeland, LHP

9. Toronto Blue Jays - The Jays have nearly back to back picks this year in compensation for not signing their #1 pick last year. This is an awesome opportunity to gamble on an injured arm or risky prep player. This pick is almost assuredly either Touki Toussaint or Trea Turner. If it's Touki, I would bet on Hoffman at pick 11. I think they'll go safer though: Trea Turner, SS

10. NY Mets - I know you shouldn't draft for need, but the Mets have oodles of Pitching and viery few notable bats. It would be hard for that thought not to be working around here. Bradley Zimmer's available and I think this is where he ends up. Bradley Zimmer, OF

11. Toronto Blue Jays - With Turner taken at 9, I would have little doubt who they take at 11 as they are rumored to be infatuated with the potential of: Touki Toussaint, RHP

12. Milwaukee Brewers - There aren't really rumors surrounding the Brew Crew. I'll go out on a limb here and give them Grant Holmes, RHP

13. San Diego Padres - Rumors note that the Padres are leaning Bat with this pick. The bats are getting a bit sketchier though. The two best are Catchers Pentecost and Schwarber. The Padres take the better bat: Kyle Schwarber, C

14. San Francisco Giants - I think San Francisco is where the fall stops for Tyler Beede, RHP

15. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim California Southwest US North America - The Angles system sucks worse than the White Sox. The best players are two Pitchers and a Catcher, I think they go Pitcher. Brandon Finnegan, LHP

16. Arizona Diamondbacks - The D-backs go the College route a lot. I think they do so here as well. Max Pentecost, C

17. Kansas City Royals - Only a few years the Royals Org looked phenomonal with Duffy, Montgomery, Hosmer, Moose tacos, Wil Myers, etc. Today Moose Tacos is back in Triple-A, Myers is with the Rays, along with the thoroughly useless Montgomery. Duffy is modestly effective #5 Starter/bullpen arm who may still pan out, but only Hosmer is really living up to his billing. I say all this becaus eI have no idea who the hell the Royals will take. They've largely gone the College route of late and they have two First Round picks, so what the hell, I'll say: Jeff Hoffman, RHP

18. Washington Nationals - You have to go back to 2006 for the last time the Nats selected a High Schooler with their top pick, aside from grabbing injured Lucas Giolito in 2012. Here's the thing though, the 2012 draft was pretty shallow, so that was a worthwhile gamble. Hoffman would be a pretty high risk pick here, especially given the depth in Pitching this year. I think we see the last top College Lefty go here: Sean Newcombe, LHP

19. Cincinnati Reds - There are a lot of ways to go here. The Reds have had a lot of luck with both High School and College guys. They've picked southeast, southwest and Northeast. Without a good read, I'll simply take a stab and give them the best guy on the board. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP

20. Tampa Rays - The Rays are the rare SABR team that drafts mostly High School guys in Round 1. That has not gone well. How can an analytical team not recognize its own weakness? I'd like to predictthey take Nick Burdi or Derek Fisher, but they're morelikely to go prep. No player in this draft is as raw or high ceilinged as Jake Gatewood, but I think the rays will go the very, very, very slightly safer route and take Monte Harrison, OF

21. Cleveland Indians - This low in the Draft I'm comfortable predicting a College player for the Tribe. Now, which one? They could take a gamble on an injured Starter like Erick Fedde. They could gamble on Derek Fisher and hope it's only his broken Hamate supressing his power hitting. They could go safe and grab an available College Arm like Imhof, Weaver or Burdi. I think here the Indians, with Hoffmann gone, play it safe and take Nick Burdi, RHP

22. LA Dodgers - I think they stay local with a known talent and go fo Derek Hill, OF

23. Detroit Tigers - The Tigers love a big Fastball and they love getting guys who dropped in the draft. BA notes Erick Fedde as a possible pick here. Decent bet. I can also see Luis Ortiz, RHP

24. Pittsburgh Pirates - The Pirates are getting stacked. Their system doesn't have many holes and they're pretty free to take anyone that strikes their fancy. The Bucs go High School a lot so you can't really rule anyone out. They could be a good team to take a chance on injured Erick Fedde or risky Jake Gatewood. I'll project them to take a fairly local arm. Spencer Adams, RHP

25. Oakland A's - Of all the rumors on the A's the only players left in my mock they're linked to are Michael Chavis and Forrest Wall. They take the more versatile talent (Wall is a 2B only prospect): Michael Chavis, 2B/3B

26. Boston Red Sox - I have very little doubt that in this scenario, the Red Sox would pounce on Erick Fedde, RHP

27. St. Louis Cardinals - The Cards are near exclusive at taking College players. They have a good batch to choose from here, and I think they grab the steal of the draft: Derek Fisher, OF

28. Kansas City Royals - This one is a slam dunk. If he's there, they take him. Kodi Medeiros, LHP

29. Cincinnati Reds - The Reds could gamble with their second Round 1 pick. This pick ticks too many boxes for the Reds: a High Schooler from Florida at a position they need and he has a good bat. Risky pick, but Forrest Wall, 2B

30. Texas Rangers - One thing I know about the Rangers is that almost no one drafts as many High Schoolers in Round 1 over the years. This far down, they could go several ways, but I'll give them my favorite bat of the draft: Braxton Davidson, 1B/OF

31. Cleveland Indians - I had the Tribe go safe last pick with the thoughts that they would hope for Fedde, Fisher or Ortiz to drop here. That didn't happen. It's tough to figure out where to go and BA's reasoning for their pick here would still hold up well enough: AJ Reed, 1B, LHP

32. Atlanta Braves - The Braves have done this before. a local product loses hype before the draft until he falls right into the Braves lap. It worked for them with Heyward, I think it happens again here. Mac Marshall, LHP

33. Boston Red Sox - With their second pick I'll have the Red Sox playing a little safer, they could go with Virgina 1B/OF Mike Papi both because he's good and also you could literally have a big and little Papi thing, but I see them going with Connor Gillaspie, 1B

34. - St. Louis Cardinals - I'm going with my gut here and knowing their predilection towards College guys I'll have them take Mike Papi, 1B/OF

35. Colorado Rockies - Here's a chance for the Rockies to possibly think bat, with a few big ones available. If they go the prep route, it could be Michael Gettys. I'll bank on them going College again and taking Taylor Sparks, 3B

36. Miami Marlins - I'm fairly confident on this one: Michael Gettys, OF

37. Houston Astros - What do you know, a traded pick. If they take the best available, this could be Luke Weaver, RHP

38. Cleveland Indians - So many picks. I'll go Matt Imhof , LHP

39. Miami Marlins - ...again. It's a veritable cuddle puddle of picks here for the fish. They gambled on Gettys and Kolek so far. One of the top players on the board is a Catcher and the Marlins suck there. JJ Schwarz, C

40. Kansas City Royals - The Royals took two Pitchers, I'd expect a position player if things are close on their board (and they may or may not be here as Pitching is much deeper in this draft) . I'll split the difference and give them Alex Verdugo, OF/LHP

41. Milwaukee Brewers - I can't get a read on the Brewers, so I'm just going best available and saying Jacob Bukauskas, RHP

42. Houston Astros - After grabbing two College Pitchers, maybe the Astros are up for more of a gamble here. Anywehere from 36-42 is a decent bet for Jake Gatewood. I just don't see the Astros taking that gamble, personally. In this mock, they're taking Milton Ramos, SS

43. Miami Marlins - The marlins seem to have everyother pick. At some point they're bound to do it: Jacob Gatewood, SS

44. Chicago White Sox - Best available: Nick Howard 3B/RHP

45. Chicago Cubs - Should anyone free fall from the Frist here, the Cubs will bite. In this case, I see them grabbing a prep arm after taking a safer College arm at 4. Foster Grifin, LHP

46. Minnesota Twins - Riding their high from getting Jackson, the Twins will gladly grab a badly needed arm. Possibly Jack Flaherty, RHP

47. Seattle Mariners - Similar to the Twins, I think the M's would gladly take an arm here: Michael Cederoth, RHP

48. Philadelphia Phillies - The Phillies would be doing flips if Gatewood fell this far. I don't see that happening. Still good names are available like Scott Blewett and Joseph Gatto, RHP