Normally at this time of year, with college conference tournaments just completed and high school seasons nearly over, we’d be in full-on Draft fever/panic mode, trying to get one of our last mocks correct right before the Draft started.
So it’s been hard to tell that muscle memory to take a break and slow the heart rate down as the Draft is still five-plus weeks away. Scouts we’ve been talking to have the same feeling, unsure of how all this extra time will impact who goes where. A couple of things are certain:
1. There will be a lot of workouts conducted by teams. With so many players done for the year, but with all these extra days, news of workout performances could move players up and down.
2. The college postseason will matter a lot more this year. Usually, teams are huddled in Draft rooms after conference tournament play, keeping a loose eye on Regionals. Super Regionals usually take place while the Draft is happening and the action in Omaha for the College World Series is post-Draft. Now, all of that will be closely watched and again, performances could make a difference.
All this means is that what is below will likely change considerably between now and July 11. But here’s my best projection, based on what scouts are saying right now.
The only team without a first-round pick is the Astros, who lost their top two selections in both 2020 and 2021 as a punishment for sign stealing. They would have selected 16th overall if they hadn’t been penalized.
1. Pirates: Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, Calif.)
This makes three weeks in a row we’ve had Mayer here, with the certainty of his bat standing out above Jordan Lawlar, with the possibility of Henry Davis here a real thing.
2. Rangers: Henry Davis, C, Louisville
The Rangers have gone college bats the last two Drafts in the first round, with Justin Foscue and Josh Jung, and Davis fits the mold.
3. Tigers: Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
I could definitely see one of the high school shortstops landing here, but right now, leaning toward the Tigers picking someone who might help sooner.
4. Red Sox: Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep (Dallas)
The Red Sox can see who doesn’t go in the top three and react from there and would be thrilled for Lawlar to be an option.
5. Orioles: Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (Winder, Ga.)
The Orioles could do what they did last year with a college bat and save some money to spend later on, but I still like the House pick here for now.
6. D-backs: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
A rough SEC Tournament outing for Rocker didn’t help his standing, but the size and arm strength should keep him from falling too far.
7. Royals: Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (N.C.) HS
I started hearing some buzz about him creeping up into the Top 5, as he’s gone off at the plate of late.
8. Rockies: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Oklahoma City)
It does seem like they prefer an arm like Jobe’s over the college bats available.
9. Angels: Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (Lewisberry, Pa.)
The safe bet would be a college bat like Sal Frelick from Boston College or Matt McLain from UCLA, but this week I’m going with Montgomery in a “this year’s Jo Adell type pick” guess.
10. Mets: Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
We’ve mostly been hearing college bats here, with Frelick and McLain in the mix, but they could also look at a power college arm like Sam Bachman.
11. Nationals: Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)
Speaking of Bachman, there are those in the scouting industry who feel he’ll end up in the 7-10 range of the first round.
12. Mariners: Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
The M’s might prefer Frelick here, but with him gone in this scenario, they’ll go with the potential next best college bat.
13. Phillies: Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston
It’s a run on college players here and with the other top college bats off the board, Cowser should go somewhere in this neck of the woods.
14. Giants: Joshua Baez, OF, Dexter Southfield HS (Brookline, Mass.)
This might be a reach for the high-risk, high-reward prep outfielder, but the tools are undeniable, along with the makeup and could be the choice if Montgomery isn’t available.
15. Brewers: Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
There’s been a little buzz the Longhorns ace was sliding a bit, out of the top 10 at least, but he shouldn’t fall too much further than this.
16. Marlins: Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
He’s the best college lefty in the Draft and could move quickly to help out the young Marlins in a hurry.
17. Reds: Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
The Reds could consider a number of high school players here — from Bubba Chandler to Chase Petty on the mound to Joe Mack and Harry Ford behind the plate — but we’ll give them the big right-hander from Florida this week.
18. Cardinals: Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
This part of the Draft is the first time I’ve started hearing Gavin Williams (East Carolina), but he didn’t make the cut this week and Cusick has arm strength aplenty.
19. Blue Jays: Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace Prep (Pennsaucken Township, N.J.)
The prep lefty from Jersey’s name is on the rise, with many thinking he’s jumped ahead of fellow Garden State hurler Chase Petty.
20. Yankees: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Mississippi
The Yankees would not be afraid to take Hoglund, who could very likely have been a top 10 pick had he not required Tommy John surgery.
21. Cubs: Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
While McGreevy has been a bit more hittable of late, his stuff has been just as good (averaging just over 92 mph with his fastball) and showing a combination of pitchability, stuff and projection.
22. White Sox: Jud Fabian, OF, Florida
Fabian might be the toughest guy to place now as he righted the ship for a while, then had a very rough weekend against Arkansas (1-for-11, 9 strikeouts) and didn’t do much in conference tournament play, but the tools are still legit.
23. Indians: Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS (East Amherst, N.Y.)
Teams have been pouring in to see Mack in upstate New York because his season started so late, so he has the chance to move up if he performs.
24. Braves: Bubba Chandler, RHP/SS, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)
There’s a very good chance this athletic two-way standout goes higher than this, but the Braves might not want to pass on someone in their own backyard if he lands here.
25. A’s: Izaac Pacheco, 3B, Friendswood (Texas) HS
All the talk with the A’s has been around high school bats, with Pacheco’s power potential peaking their interest.
26. Twins: Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (Kennesaw, Ga.)
Another prep player who could go higher than this, but high school catchers are kind of like prep right-handers — they could slide down the round because of the risk.
27. Padres: Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland Regional HS (Linwood, N.J.)
He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he still can throw 100 mph and has shown an ability to add and subtract when needed with some feel to pitch.
28. Rays: Tommy Mace, RHP, Florida
Mace is one of those college arms with a high floor who knows how to pitch, with some thinking there is still some upside to unlock once he gets out of a college program.
29. Dodgers: Peyton Stovall, 2B, Haughton (La.) HS
A terrific pure hitter, this is an association we’ve heard for quite some time this spring.