I mentioned it in our more in-depth draft day guide this morning, but I really think this draft could have some fireworks. I can’t wait for tonight. I gave you a quick prediction of the first 7 picks this morning, so I want to recap that, explain it a little better, and then give one more prediction before tonight. This is all purely speculation but I do feel pretty good about it.
Mocking the First 7 Picks
1.) Pittsburgh Pirates – Henry Davis, C, Louisville
Pittsburgh needs a catcher. They’ve got a couple of prolific SS prospects and, yes I know what the rebuttal to this is going to be, but Henry Davis might actually be the best prospect in the draft AND he happens to play the position Pittsburgh desperately needs more of in their system. He’s also probably going to get less than slot value. I have no idea what I’m missing here. I know Marcelo Mayer has gone 1.1 in basically every mock you can find, but chalk me down for Davis if I was betting money on who goes first overall tonight.
2.) Texas Rangers – Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
It’s going to be hard for new GM Chris Young (yes, that Chris Young) to pass up on arguably the best pitcher in the draft class for his first draft pick as a GM. It’s safe, there is plenty of upside, and there’s some good prep depth in this class to chase with picks later on. This one kinda makes too much sense, even if I personally prefer Rocker to Leiter.
3.) Detroit Tigers – Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS (CA)
Detroit has been swooning over Mayer the entire draft process. I think most folks would agree that if Mayer gets to them for some reason, he’s the pick. I just don’t think most folks anticipated him getting this far. What kind of odds do you think I could get in Vegas for when I go 3-3?
4.) Boston Red Sox – Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
This one I’m not entirely sure of. Unfortunately, if I were a betting man, I would bet money that either Boston or Arizona snags Rocker tonight. It obviously depends on who else is available, but it makes too much sense for both organizations. The Red Sox are in “compete now and in the immediate future” mode and Rocker could jump into their rotation pretty quickly. They need advanced pitchers and Rocker is (obviously) a damn good one. They’ve been connected to Davis and Leiter here, so I have to think they’ll stick with the college theme if Rocker is the best one available.
5.) Baltimore Orioles – Colton Cowser, OF, Sam Houston State
I know Kahlil Watson has had his name mentioned here, but that feels like some smokescreen action. We know Baltimore doesn’t mind under slotting college outfielders early so maybe the Watson talk is trying to drive Cowser’s price down a bit more. I could totally see Watson here based on the batted ball and athletic testing data, but I like Baltimore to continue their trend of college hitters here.
6.) Arizona Diamondbacks – Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (NC)
Another pick that could go one of two ways for me. Watson and Lawlar seem to be neck and neck on most boards. This was legitimately a coin flip for me as I know zilch about what Arizona wants in their draft picks. Watson’s name seemed to be connected here more than Lawlar so they get Watson. Which means….
7.) Kansas City Royals – Jordan Lawlar, SS, Jesuit Prep HS (TX)
…that the Kansas City Royals get my favorite player in the entire draft class at #7. Lawlar didn’t test incredibly well, but my gosh is he impressive. He’s a little opposite of Bobby Witt Jr. at the plate, meaning Witt had some hit tool questions with immense power while Lawlar has a great hit tool with questions about the power potential, but it’s still a 20 HR 40 2B bat. Like Witt Jr., Lawlar is older than most of his peers on draft day, he is a Gold Glove-caliber SS prospect, can really run, and has a long pedigree of performing on the prep circuit. I will be ecstatic if this happens for Kansas City tonight, and the more I think about the draft tonight, the more I can see one of Lawlar or even Davis falling to KC at #7. There will almost surely be a discussion about Brady House here, but I think Lawlar is just a much safer prospect and more sure of a thing to stick at SS, even if that isn’t what the Royals need per se.
Other Random Predictions
- I think there is going to be a run of college pitchers that starts around the Mets at 10 and ends around the Yankees at 20. Guys like Sam Bachman, Jordan Wicks, Gavin Williams, Gunnar Hoglund, Will Bednar, and Ty Madden could all go within an 11 pick span of each other, which I think really benefits Kansas City. We know Kansas City has gone with a lot of college pitchers lately, but there’s a bunch of good bats in the 30-50 range that I really like, and having a run of college arms go early could drop a bat that no one expects to fall to #43. Think of it like a run of quarter backs going early in the NFL Draft, the Chiefs obviously don’t have to look there meaning a skill player could fall to the 30’s, make sense? Anyway, run of college arms from 10-20.
- The Royals could be candidates to woo a young prep player like Lonnie White Jr. or Will Taylor away from college with some extra cash at #43 or #66. This would mean they’d have to take a senior in the later rounds, but we’ve seen the Royals do this before. In 2019, actually. They paid up to get Brady McConnell (who was a draft eligible sophomore and could’ve gone back to Florida) and then drafted Clay Dungan in the 9th round and gave him $2,500 to sign. Maybe it’s Jackson Merrill instead of White or Taylor, we know the Royals like Merrill, but look for them to go get themselves a prep stud that falls down the board in the comp round or early in round two.
- Joel is going to jump in here and say that Henry Davis is the guy that falls to the Royals at #7. He thinks there’s a good chance that there is a run of prep SS early on, and that the other two guys in the top 6 are Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, meaning the Kansas City Royals get the best college hitter in the draft class. I can actually see a very reasonable scenario where this occurs and it would be an outstanding outcome for the Royals tonight.
Buckle up, this is gonna be one hell of a draft night.