A little less than seven weeks away is the MLB Draft. As teams get ready to scour over hundreds of players, I will take a look at how the draft will play out. Here is just the first round. There will be more rounds added as we move closer to July 11. This year’s draft has 20 rounds and although I won’t cover all of them, expect a final mock draft covering the first three rounds along with some notable players to keep an eye out for over the next few years as they develop.
#1 Pittsburgh Pirates, Henry Davis, Catcher, Louisville
The Pirates take the best all-around player in the draft when you consider the position and offensive ability. A franchise catcher is hard to find but when you consider where the Giants would be without Buster Posey or the Cardinals without Yadier Molina, you have to consider that this is the right move for Pittsburgh.
For more on Davis, check out our draft profile on him here.
#2 Texas Rangers, Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
The best pitcher in the draft gets taken second to a team that has a couple of solid arms up and coming. The Rangers are in rebuild mode and Leiter will be one of the final pieces when he hits the majors in a few years to join Dane Dunning and Cole Winn.
For more on Leiter, check out our draft profile on him here.
#3 Detroit Tigers, Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (CA)
The Tigers need some athleticism. Detroit has drafted a ton of pitching over the past few years. From 2006-2018, they drafted 15 players in the first round, 12 were pitchers. They get a staple in the middle of their infield here. Another team starting their rebuild, Detroit can develop Mayer and have him starting at shortstop in 2024.
For more on Mayer, check out our draft profile on him here.
#4 Boston Red Sox, Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
I’m sure the Sox may be surprised that Rocker falls to them but he is exactly the pitcher they need. They could go with Lawlar here, but they need to grab the arm and replace someone like Michael Kopech in their system.
For more on Rocker, check out our draft profile on him here.
#5 Baltimore Orioles, Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep HS (TX)
After taking Adley Rutschman last year, the Orioles go with another up-the-middle guy to solidify their rebuild. They went with a shortstop out of High School back in 2010 third overall. Manny Machado wound up being pretty good.
For more on Lawlar, check out our draft profile on him here.
#6 Arizona Diamondbacks, Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS (GA)
The Diamondbacks could go back to the well and draft McLain again as they did with the 25th pick in 2018. Instead, they go with the undeniable bat and Arizona could use the offense. House is as close to a can’t-miss bat as they come.
For more on House, check out our draft profile on him here.
#7 Kansas City Royals, Sal Frelick, OF, Boston College
Athleticism is where the Royals like to go. After taking pitchers for the last couple of drafts, they get a guy who is similar to Andrew Benintendi, the player they just traded for.
For more on Frelick, check out our draft profile on him here.
#8 Colorado Rockies, Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
An experienced college player who was drafted in the first round three years ago and raised his stock? Of course. The Rockies grab the infielder who could take over for Trevor Story.
For more on McLain, check out our draft profile on him here.
#9 Los Angeles Angels, Ty Madden, RHP, Texas
Pitching has been a black hole for the Angels recently, so they drafted Reid Detmers last year at number 10. This year they go with the best college arm not named Leiter or Rocker.
For more on Madden, check out our draft profile on him here.
#10 New York Mets, Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (OK)
The first High School arm off the board goes to the Mets. The kid has as much talent as any pitcher in the draft, which includes Leiter and Rocker, and is extremely polished for an 18-year-old.
For more on Jobe, check out our draft profile on him here.
#11 Washington Nationals, Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston
The big outfielder doesn’t quite crack the top-10 but Washington is happy he falls to them. Cowser is a solid prospect with all of his tools average or above. The Nationals get a complete player here who could be a major-leaguer in a couple of years.
For more on Cowser, check out our draft profile on him here.
#12 Seattle Mariners, Harry Ford, C, North Cobb HS (GA)
The second catcher off the board, and the first prep one at that. Ford is advanced beyond his years and even though High School catchers have a sketchy track record, the Mariners realize the potential and grab him, Steven Baron flashbacks notwithstanding
For more on Ford, check out our draft profile on him here.
#13 Philadelphia Phillies, Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (NC)
The Phillies, like the Royals, go athletic here. Watson has the defensive chops to stick at shortstop but also has the tools to play anywhere. A lot like Cowser, the North Carolina prepster has average or above-average grades across the board and the Phillies see the ceiling.
For more on Watson, check out our draft profile on him here.
#14 San Francisco Giants, Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State
One of my personal favorite players in this draft, Wicks has everything you want from a starter. He is competitive, aggressive, and has a solid four-pitch mix. The Kansas State ace also has an easy delivery and excellent command. His arm will fit well in San Fran and he may even become the next MadBum.
For more on Wicks, check out our draft profile on him here.
#15 Milwaukee Brewers, Sam Bachman, RHP, Miami (Ohio)
Bachman has the velocity hitting triple digits on the gun. He also has a solid three-pitch repertoire which will serve him well as a starter. Scouts think that he may be a reliever in the future, but it’s not like Milwaukee has shied away from that.
For more on Bachman, check out our draft profile on him here.
#16 Miami Marlins, Adrian Del Castillo, C, Miami
The bat will play as Del Castillo can definitely hit. Whether he stays behind the plate is the million-dollar question. Even if he can’t, the Marlins keep the Miami product at home.
For more on Del Castillo, check out our draft profile on him here.
#17 Cincinnati Reds, Joe Mack, C, Williamsville East HS (NY)
You gotta love the name. It just sounds like old-school baseball. Mack does a lot on the field also to back it up. As mentioned before with Ford, prep catchers don’t have a great history in the draft, but Mack may break the mold. The Reds aren’t scared away from High School backstops either having taken Tyler Stephenson in the first round in 2015
For more on Mack, check out our draft profile on him here.
#18 St. Louis Cardinals, Michael McGreevy, RHP, UC Santa Barbara
Somewhat of a late-bloomer on the scene, McGreevy wasn’t drafted out of High School and only began in the rotation for UC Santa Barbara in 2020. Nevertheless, the kid has the size at 6-foot-4 and has increased his velocity and improved his pitch mix without sacrificing his control.
For more on McGreevy, check out our draft profile on him here.
#19 Toronto Blue Jays, Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (PA)
Arguably the best power-speed prepster in the country lands in Toronto. The raw skills are there as Montgomery just blows scouts away with exit velocity, speed, and defensive prowess. Is he still developing? Yes. Can he be a superstar? Also yes.
For more on Montgomery, check out our draft profile on him here.
#20 New York Yankees, James Wood, OF, IMG Academy HS (FL)
So the Yankees are setting up their next big outfield duo with Wood and youngster Jasson Dominguez. At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, the 18-year-old has massive power. Hitting in the Bronx is a dream come true for this kid and the Bombers.
For more on Wood, check out our draft profile on him here.
#21 Chicago Cubs, Will Bednar, RHP, Mississippi State
He is solidly built and his brother already pitches in the majors for the NL Central-rival Pirates. What more could you want? Aside from that, Bednar has a solid mix of pitches and is an excellent pick here by the Cubbies.
For more on Bednar, check out our draft profile on him here.
#22 Chicago White Sox, Anthony Solometo, LHP, Bishop Eustace HS (NJ)
He is already being compared to Madison Bumgarner and MacKenzie Gore due to his long delivery and high leg kick. The Sox have plenty of talent to make a run over the next few years and develop a top-of-the-rotation arm like Solometo.
#23 Cleveland Indians, Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian HS (FL)
One of the top prep pitchers in the class, Painter is tall at 6-foot-6 and drops his curveball like a hammer to go with his 96 mph fastball. The Indians love their starters and to develop one like Painter is too much to pass up here.
For more on Painter, check out our draft profile on him here.
#24 Atlanta Braves, Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland HS (NJ)
The third prep pitcher in a row is not a surprise with the Braves. They’ve used their first-round picks on prep pitchers like Ian Anderson, Kolby Allard, and Mike Soroka. Petty is undersized at six feet tall but the pitchability is there.
For more on Petty, check out our draft profile on him here.
#25 Oakland Athletics, Ryan Cusick, RHP, Wake Forest
Cusick can hum it up to the plate, hitting 102 on the gun when he needs it. Where it’s going is another issue. The Athletics could use a hard-thrower and even if Cusick becomes a closer, his stuff is definitely worth taking a chance on at this spot.
#26 Minnesota Twins, Joshua Baez, OF, Dexter Southfield HS (MA)
The kid from Brookline, Massachusetts can hit the cover off the ball. It is that power that has the Twins grabbing the 18-year-old. He also has a cannon for an arm which should play well in the outfield.
For more on Baez, check out our draft profile on him here.
#27 San Diego Padres, Jud Fabian, OF, Florida
Fabian is a high-risk player according to some scouts. The power is there and the fact that he can stick in centerfield is also a selling point. He needs to fix his swing to get to that game power. If he can do that in the Padres minor league system then this will be a steal.
For more on Fabian, check out our draft profile on him here.
#28 Tampa Bay Rays, Tommy Mace, RHP, Florida
Not as much of a strikeout guy as many of the first-round arms, Mace still can pitch. He has improved his spin rates and is a big body built for durability. Featuring more of a sinker, if I had to put a player comp on him it would be Kyle Gibson.
For more on Mace, check out our draft profile on him here.
#29 Los Angeles Dodgers, Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Mississippi
Teams have looked past Hoglund because of his recent Tommy John Surgery. Don’t look past the talent though. If healthy this kid could’ve gone top-15. The Dodgers see that and have the luxury of waiting on the Ole Miss prospect to become an ace by 2025.
For more on Hoglund, check out our draft profile on him here.
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