The first two rounds of the MLB Draft went down on Sunday night, and with it came tons of surprises. There were a total of 80 picks made on the first day from Los Angeles. On Monday, rounds three through 10 go down, beginning at 2 p.m. EDT. While it will difficult to break down all 80 picks, let’s look at the biggest reaches and steals from the first two rounds. The MLB Draft is a tough thing to predict and who knows what will happen with these prospects. But this will mostly be based on where these players were projected to go and where they were ultimately selected.
Be sure to check out the best available for day two.
MLB Draft Reaches
1. Kumar Rocker – Texas Rangers, Round 1, Pick 3
After the New York Mets failed to sign him last year upon drafting him 10th overall, Rocker signed with the Tri-City Valley Cats of the Frontier League. While he showed that he is healthy and pitched well, there was no consensus that he would go top 10 or even top 20, let alone third overall. It is a curious decision by the Rangers, as Rocker projects more as a future reliever with a lack of durability.
Texas did go underslot with the former Vanderbilt ace, signing him for $5.2 million. That is, however, $460,100 more than the Mets slot at pick 10 last year. Perhaps the Rangers are looking to pair Rocker with his former Commodore teammate Jack Leiter, who they took with the second overall pick last year. Only time will tell how it works out. The Rangers also don’t have many early picks, so they could be looking to go underslot to save for later rounds. Their next pick isn’t until the fourth round, at pick 109 overall.
For more on Rocker, check out our draft profile on him.
2. Mikey Romero – Boston Red Sox, Round 1, Pick 24
The Red Sox have some sort of obsession with young middle infielders from the west coast and drafting them early. They already have Marcelo Mayer who they took with the fourth pick in the 2021 Draft, and Romero is a similar player with not quite as high of a ceiling. The product of Orange Lutheran High School doesn’t have much power potential but does have the athleticism to stick at short. He has quick bat speed and quick hands, but will need to add more power. Boston may have selected this early to pull him away from his commitment from LSU. The California high school has produced loads of talent over the years, such as Rangers prospect Cole Winn, Brewers prospect Garrett Mitchell, and Gerrit Cole.
For more on Romero, check out our draft profile on him.
3. Xavier Isaac – Tampa Bay Rays, Round 1, Pick 29
While the Red Sox have an obsession with west coast middle infielders, the Rays are obsessed with huge first basemen built like linebackers. Isaac was on no one’s big board for the first two to three rounds, except the Rays of course. At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, he has plenty of potential power output from the left side. At his size, he is either going to stick at first or just be a designated hitter. After missing most of his junior year due to a foot injury, there isn’t much tape on him. Most teams were probably looking to see what he would do at Florida before reevaluating him in a few years. While this looks like a reach now, Isaac will probably be an All-Star hitting 20+ homers in a few years since it is the Rays. They are purely going on his high pop ceiling.
4. Cutter Coffey – Boston Red Sox, Round 2, Pick 41
Yet again another prep shortstop from California that the Red Sox reached on, Coffey is also an intriguing two-way prospect. His future does look more in the batter’s box, though he could try to pitch as well. With the success Shohei Ohtani has had, more and more players will try to do both at least to start in the minors. Coffey has some solid raw power to tap into and has made some loud contact. He has been inconsistent at the plate, though, with an unorthodox swing, and has trouble catching up to fastballs. The youngster is part of a stacked University of Texas recruiting class, which Boston is trying Coffey to steer away from.
5. Blake Burkhalter – Atlanta Braves, Round 2 Compensation, Pick 76
Burkhalter was strictly a reliever in college and the second round is pretty early for him. Maybe the way the game is going and teams looking to build their bullpens up, it makes sense. The Braves went with all pitchers in their first four picks of the draft, including prep arms with the first three. Their offense is already set with bats like superstar Ronald Acuna, Jr., Ozzie Albies, and young phenom Michael Harris II. They look to be drafting their next wave of arms after they had much success with Max Fried, Spencer Strider, and others. This is the pick the Braves got for not re-signing Freddie Freeman and they keep Burkhalter close to home. He could be the next high-leverage arm for the Braves after recording 16 saves in 2022.
1. Brooks Lee – Minnesota Twins, Round 1, Pick 8
A possibility for the first overall pick, Lee fell to the Twins at eight. He has perhaps the most advanced bat of the entire draft class and has a super advanced arm to play shortstop or third. The Cal Poly product has raked everywhere he has been, including slashing .405/.432/.667 with six homers in just 84 at-bats on the Cape. Minnesota began their draft on a really high note and added really good depth to their infield.
For more on Lee, check out our draft profile on him.
2. Cam Collier – Cincinnati Reds, Round 1, Pick 18
A lot of evaluators, including myself, believed that Collier would go in the top 10 as he has a very advanced bat at just 17 years old. Not only that, but he has a year of college experience at that age after attending Chipola Junior College and reclassifying for the 2022 Draft. Higher velocity didn’t slow him down as he continued to square almost everything up and show some raw power potential. Collier also has a strong enough arm to stick at third base which fits with the bat profile. The Reds build their depth for third base after trading away Eugenio Suarez.
For more on Collier, check out our draft profile on him.
3. Peyton Graham – Detroit Tigers, Round 2, Pick 51
With his excellent combination of power, speed, and athleticism, Graham could have easily gone in the first round. His power started to come out this year with 20 bombs in 2022 for Oklahoma. He can also play multiple positions, playing third over his first two seasons before shifting to shortstop. Graham also stole 34 bases this year and has legitimate five-tool superstar potential. He does have quite a bit of swing-and-miss in his game, so he will take some time to adjust to facing higher-level pitching. But he was playing in the very strong Big 12 Conference which has a lot of good pitching and raked, so it might not be as difficult to adjust.
For more on Graham, check out our draft profile on him.
4. Blade Tidwell – New York Mets, Round 2, Pick 52
After injuring his shoulder, Tidwell returned to help Tennessee to their first SEC Championship since 1995. Upon returning from the injury, he pitched out of the bullpen until returning to the weekend rotation after about a month. His fastball is electric to go with his tremendous sweeping slider that misses plenty of bats and a changeup that had a 39 percent whiff rate this year. Projected to be a first-round pick, teams may have been scared away from the shoulder. But he proved he was healthy and could pitch out of the bullpen if needed and return to top-level performance. The Mets severely lack pitching in their system, with not much outside of 2019 third-rounder Matt Allan. So getting a guy like Tidwell in the second is a big pick for them. He should easily join the Mets’ top ten prospects.
For more on Tidwell, check out our draft profile on him.
5. Jacob Melton – Houston Astros, Round 2, Pick 64
Melton is one of the more underrated prospects in the draft class and fell right into the Astros laps. After getting Tennesse outfielder Drew Gilbert in the first round, they pounced on another outfielder in Melton from Oregon State. Melton makes a ton of contact and produces some power from the left side. He can play anywhere in the outfield and even some first base, with a strong arm and speed. This is another great pick by the Astros to help build up their outfield which sees Kyle Tucker raking right now.
For more on Melton, check out our draft profile on him.
Other notable steals: Cade Doughty, Tucker Toman, Walter Ford, Carson Whisenhunt
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