A lot of noise surrounds the MLB draft and with the same names being cited by the same teams, we examine where they are likely to land. With the Orioles first, followed by the Diamondbacks then the Rangers, there might be a reshuffle at the top of the stack when the day comes.
Here’s a look at how the first of three days and the first of 20 draft rounds will take place. The top ten comes with an explanation of how I got there, followed by my picks for the next 20 picks in the first round.
1. Baltimore Orioles: 3B/OF Jacob Berry, LSU
There are two big natural hitters in the top ten prospects, and while the O’s could go for Termarr Johnson, I think their preference for college players will give Jacob Berry a shock first pick here. He hit .370 / .464 / .630 at LSU with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs while reducing his strikeout rate from 19.5 to 8.9 percent.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks: DE Druw Jones, Wesleyan High School (GA)
Arizona will take the direct approach and go after Jones. They also like Termarr and Jackson Holliday, so don’t rule them out, but with the Orioles going for the surprise shot at one, the D-backs will play it right through the middle. Jones is highly touted as the first, so if he’s still available for Arizona, they’ll jump on him.
3. Texas Rangers: C Kevin Parada, Georgia Tech
Texas goes for college players, almost to exclusivity. They’ve shown interest in Parada and Brooks Lee, but with their long-term hat on, they’ll take the power receiver as an investment. With an almost unrivaled farming system, they will be looking for someone they can turn into a salable asset.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates: SS Brooks Lee, Cal Poly
The Pirates focus on college hitters, and Lee is about as good as it gets. The Cal Poly shortstop hit .357/.462/.664 with 25 doubles and 15 homers this spring and will rank in the top five.
5. Washington Nationals: 2B Termarr Johnson, Mays High School (GA)
Johnson is a great hitter, perhaps the best natural hitter in the draft. The Nats will take a high schooler and develop them long-term, so look for them to rush Termarr or Jackson Holliday. I think they’re going to weigh in and continue the prowess with the bat and take Termarr at the fifth pick.
6. Miami Marlins: SS Jackson Holliday, Stillwater High School (OK)
Miami will jump on Jackson, the son of former MLB All-Star Matt Holliday, who is coming off a stellar senior season. They might as well take Elijah Green, who has the advantage of being from Florida, but Holliday’s well-rounded defensive skills may sway him.
7. Chicago Cubs: 3B Cam Collier, Chipola JUCO
The Cubs are salivating for Collier and won’t hesitate for a second to take him if he’s still available. He’s a terrific left-handed hitter with a smooth swing and plenty of power. Still 17, the Cubs will mold him into their vision for an offensive production line.
8. Minnesota Twins: OF Elijah Green, IMG Academy (FL)
Green has plenty of tools, power, top speed and a potentially elite defense in center field. But with the bat-to-ball question marks on him, he will fall to the Twins. He’s also interesting for the Marlins, so if he goes, then Jackson Holliday will go here.
9. Kansas City Royals: LHP Cooper Hjerpe, Oregon State
The Royals are the first team in the draft not exclusively looking for a hitter, so that’s the highest a pitcher is likely to go. And if you’re looking for pitchers, go left-handed. Division I leader Hjerpe has landed 161 punches in 103.1 innings, and at 6′3″ the southpaw has three quality throws, plus command and clean mechanics. Brock Porter or Dylan Lesko are others who could be taken by KC.
10. Colorado Rockies: 2B Jace Jung, Texas Tech
The Rockies are another team that loves a college bat and will carefully watch who’s left. They’ll take any of the previous hitters if they haven’t already left, but in our draft simulation, Jung is one of the best there is.
11. New York Mets: SS Zach Neto, Campbell
12. Detroit Tigers: DE Gavin Cross, Virginia Tech
13. Los Angeles Angels: C Daniel Susac, Arizona
14. New York Mets: SS Jett Williams, Rockwall-Heath High School (TX)
15. San Diego Padres: RHP Gabriel Hughes, Gonzaga
16. Cleveland Guardians: RHP Brock Porter, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School (MI)
17. Philadelphia Phillies: RHP Dylan Lesko, Buford High School (GA)
18. Cincinnati Reds: SS Cole Young, North Allegheny High School (PA)
19. Oakland Athletics: OF Dylan Beavers, Calif.
20. Atlanta Braves: LHP Connor Prielipp, Alabama
21. Seattle Mariners: OF Justin Crawford, Bishop Gorman High School (NV)
22. St. Louis Cardinals: OF Brock Jones, Stanford
23. Toronto Blue Jays: RHP Kumar Rocker, Tri-City Valley Cats
24. Boston Red Sox: OF Drew Gilbert, Tennessee
25. New York Yankees: DE Chase DeLauter, James Madison
26. Chicago White Sox: RHP Blade Tidwell, TN
27. Milwaukee Brewers: 3B Tucker Toman, Hammond High School (SC)
28. Houston Astros: DE Jacob Melton, Oregon State
29. Tampa Bay Rays: LHP Robby Snelling, McQueen High School (NV)
30. San Francisco Giants: DE Henry Bolte, Palo Alto High School (CA)