The MLB draft starts on June 12, so we’re just 13 days away from the first and second rounds, and with the college conference tournaments over, there’s very little scouting left for teams to do. Scouting departments will begin their meetings later this week or beginning next week, which means that there are still no definites even at the top, but I have more information on team preferences than I did two weeks ago. Most of the names on this mock were somewhere on the previous one, but the order has changed from pick No. 1.
The first round has just 27 picks because Cleveland, St. Louis and Colorado surrendered their first-round picks to sign free agents who had compensation attached. There are three picks at 28-30 for those free agents, then six competitive balance picks (which are the only picks teams can trade) and then the second round starts with Minnesota at pick 37.
Kyle Wright, RHP
I’ve heard that the Twins are in on at least four players at No. 1, including Brendan McKay (as a bat or a two-way guy but not just as a pitcher), Mackenzie Gore and Hunter Greene, but the current betting in the industry is that they will take Wright as the prospect with the best combination of floor and ceiling.
Hunter Greene, RHP/SS
Notre Dame High School, Sherman Oaks, California
This is a great scenario for the Reds, in which their top two preferences, McKay and Greene, are both there for them. I think they roll the dice on Greene as a pitcher -- though they’d probably let him go out and play short all summer -- but I would put my confidence level on their taking Greene over McKay at 50 percent.
MacKenzie Gore, LHP
Whiteville (North Carolina) High School
I’ve heard that they’re in on Greene, Gore, McKay and local product Royce Lewis, who has enticing tools but needs to move off the infield dirt out to center field. I think if Greene is gone, they go for Gore rather than Lewis.
Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP
I think the Rays would do cartwheels with McKay available here -- and of course, this requires three teams to pass on a guy who at one point appeared to be the presumptive No. 1 pick. Since Louisville is expected to go to Omaha for the College World Series, they might just let him play first base all summer and skip pitching entirely until instructional league or 2018. The Rays have been heavily interested in Austin Beck and Lewis as well and could take Adam Haseley of UVa for a slightly under-slot deal here.
Royce Lewis, SS
JSerra High School, Aliso Viejo, California
I’ve heard that they’re in on Greene, Gore, McKay and Shane Baz, but I think if Lewis gets here and the first three guys are gone, they take Lewis or Gore, giving the edge to the position player. I have to imagine that they’d immediately move him to center field because they already have several good shortstop prospects in the system, plus Dansby Swanson in the majors.
Pavin Smith, 1B
They'd love to get Gore here or they could go with Austin Beck. Gore’s market starts at No. 1 and ends here, I believe. Billy Beane saw him and Beck in a double-up in mid-April, one of Gore’s best starts of the year. They’re the highest team I've heard linked to Jeren Kendall.
Adam Haseley, CF
Arizona’s evaluation team was in heavy for the ACC tournament to see Haseley, Pavin Smith and J.B. Bukauskas. All the talk before Friday was that Bukauskas was their guy, but I have to think that his rough outing, in which at one point he lost his delivery for a few batters, gave everyone some pause.
Austin Beck, OF
North Davidson High School, Arcadia, North Carolina
They’re in on more players than can possibly still be there at their pick; I’ve heard Haseley, Smith, Shane Baz, Beck, Griffin Canning and even David Peterson. I do think early rumors that they were focused on high school arms were false.
Jordon Adell, OF
Ballard High School, Louisville, Kentucky
The Brewers might also get their pick of a group of players they like, including Adell, Jeren Kendall, J.B. Bukauskas and Smith.
Griffin Canning, RHP
The Angels have been linked to Adell for a few weeks, but they are definitely considering some college names, including the UVa kids and UCLA’s Canning.
Jeren Kendall, OF
White Sox GM Rick Hahn met with Kendall last week. This would be a nervy pick, like taking Alec Hansen in the second round last year (he was a likely top-of-draft guy who fell due to performance, not injury), but with the higher risk of taking Kendall at 11 when there are lots of good college bats such as Logan Warmoth still on the board.
J.B. Bukauskas, RHP
I’ve heard that they’re mostly focused on college players, with two prep arms, D.L. Hall and Shane Baz, also in the mix. Among college guys, they’re looking at the UVa players, Bukauskas, Logan Warmoth and injured UC Irvine second baseman Keston Hiura.
13. Miami Marlins
Shane Baz, RHP
Concordia Lutheran High School, Cypress, Texas
I’ve heard that they’re all over the board but most prominently in on Baz, Peterson, Adell and Canning. There’s a sense that Baz is either heading to school (TCU) or has a deal with someone in the sandwich/second round.
Trevor Rogers, LHP
Carlsbad (New Mexico) High School
I’ve heard them linked mostly to high school arms -- Rogers, D.L. Hall and Baz -- as well as Jeren Kendall.
15. Houston Astros
David Peterson, LHP
If Baz is available, that either ends here, or he falls out of the round for an over-slot deal somewhere. The Astros are also interested in Kendall if he gets this far.
16. New York Yankees
Nick Pratto, 1B
Huntington Beach High School, California
I think Rogers’ floor is here. I’ve heard the Yankees matched up with prep arm D.L. Hall as well.
17. Seattle Mariners
Jake Burger, 3B
Peterson’s floor might be here, but the Mariners are also in on Pratto, Canning and Jake Burger (mmmmm … Burger).
18. Detroit Tigers
D.L. Hall, LHP
Valdosta (Georgia) High School
The Tigers would be thrilled to get the power lefty from south-south Georgia (trip, and you end up in Florida). He has top-five stuff but some minor makeup concerns that have pushed teams picking earlier to look at other prep arms. The Tigers are also in on Nick Pratto.
Evan White, 1B
White is a plus defender at first who runs well enough that many scouts think he would play well in the outfield -- like Cody Bellinger -- and he has shown an improved approach across the board this year. I think Pratto is a Plan B for the Giants if some of the other bats they like aren’t here; I’ve still heard them linked to Luis Campusano-Bracero, the Georgia prep catcher, as well as Rogers if he falls this far.
20. New York Mets
Logan Warmoth, SS
This would be a steal in my eyes. Warmoth is a college shortstop with some chance to stay at the position --
though there’s disagreement on that, and in two games, I didn’t see anything to convince me either way -- and a tremendous swing. I’ve mostly heard about them linked to picking college bats.
Tanner Houck, RHP
I’ve also heard the Orioles linked to Matt Sauer, a California prep arm with good stuff and a violent delivery -- but not at the 21st pick.
Alex Faedo, RHP
I’ve mostly heard them being in on college players, more bats than arms, including Warmoth, Burger, Stuart Fairchild, Gavin Sheets and of course the UVa twins, who aren’t getting down here. I’ve also heard the Blue Jays with Canning, who also will be long gone.
Bubba Thompson, OF
McGill-Toolen High School, Mobile, Alabama
I don’t know if the Dodgers will actually take Thompson, who has a two-sport college commitment to the University of Alabama to play both football and baseball, but the whole industry seems to think they’re likely to do so.
24. Boston Red Sox
Keston Hiura, DH/2B
Hiura is one of the draft’s biggest wild cards because he might have its best pure hit tool but has an elbow injury that has kept him from playing second base all year and might require surgery. He’d probably be a top-10-15 pick if he were healthy and scouts had been able to see him play the field.
Seth Romero, LHP
Kicked off the University of Houston
Romero was a potential top-10 pick -- the A’s at No. 6 were a popular rumor -- before he was kicked off Houston’s team twice due to repeated instances of knuckleheadedness, including a physical altercation with a teammate that ended his tenure as a Cougar. He has good stuff and has cleaned up his body since last year, but he has a bad delivery and really bad makeup.
26. Texas Rangers
Nate Pearson, RHP
College of Central Florida
Pearson is one of a number of junior college players who could go on Day 1. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound right-hander transferred from Florida International University this spring and has regularly bumped 96 mph while possessing a great frame for a starting pitcher.
27. Chicago Cubs
Luis Gonzalez, CF
He’s no relation to the former Astro and Diamondback (whose son, Jacob, is a possible third- or fourth-round pick out of Chaparral High School this year). Gonzalez has put up silly numbers at the high altitude of Albuquerque, including a .500 OBP with 58 walks and 32 strikeouts. They're one of the teams linked to College of Central Florida right-hander Nate Pearson, who hit 101 mph in a bullpen session for scouts on Monday night and is expected go to in the 30-40 range; the Cubs do have a second pick at 29 for losing Dexter Fowler.