2016 MLB Draft: Moniak, Senzel & Anderson Top Three

Jason Groome, Riley Pint and Kyle Lewis were ranked as the number one, two and three draft prospects going into Thursday’s 2016 first-year player draft, but they went in a completely different order than predicted. In fact, they didn’t go as any of the first three selections at all, instead getting picked in the 12th, 4th and 11th spots, respectively. Even so, they will still undoubtedly have impacts on the clubs that took a chance on them, as will the three that actually went top three overall.

Mickey Moniak went first overall, getting drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Moniak

Moniak doesn’t do just one thing well; he does a lot of things well, which is the reason he was selected as the first overall pick in this year’s draft. This past season in high school, Moniak hit .476 with 7 home runs in 105 at-bats, and was subsequently named the 2016 California Gatorade player of the year. Moniak was taken by the Phillies in their first number one overall pick since back in 1998, and becomes the first high school outfielder since Delmon Young in 2003 to be drafted first overall, joining the likes of Josh Hamilton and Ken Griffey Jr. As a solid defender, Moniak is expected to remain in center field moving forward as he now makes his way into a loaded Phillies’ farm system that looks to have the Phillies in good shape moving forward over the next few years.

Nick Senzel went second overall, getting drafted by the Cincinnati Reds.

Senzel

Making the position change to third base just this past season, Senzel performed extremely well at the hot corner for the University of Tennessee. Senzel doesn’t strike out a ton for a guy with a good deal of pop, and recorded a .352 line with 8 homers, 59 RBI’s and 25 stolen bases to boot this past season. As far as University of Tennessee draftees history goes, the third overall pick of Senzel makes him the earliest selection out of that college in its history, beating out Rockies’ great Todd Helton, who was selected eighth overall back in 1995. Much like the Phillies, the Reds haven’t been having too much success in the standings as of late, but they added a nice piece to what they’re looking to do moving forward, with Senzel looking to be the eventual replacement down the road for the loss of Todd Frazier.

Ian Anderson went third overall, getting drafted by the Atlanta Braves.

Ian

Compared to Jacob deGrom by Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz on MLB Network, Anderson has all the things you’re looking for out of a pitcher coming from high school. Anderson was selected as the first pitcher of the 2016 draft, with a fastball consistently in the 94-96 mile-per-hour range as well as a curveball with a big break to it. Despite missing the first half of his senior season due to pneumonia, Anderson showed enough talent to earn the third overall selection in the draft. Possessing a solid ability to throw strikes and get guys out, Anderson is certainly a step in the right direction for a Braves team that’s in the process of rebuilding for 2017 and beyond, when they’ll be playing in their new ballpark. If all goes as planned, the Braves will be in much better shape if guys such as Anderson pan out.

The remainder of the draft saw many surprises. A lot of players went higher than anyone expected, while others stuck around longer than many thought they would. But that usually happens every year with the draft.

The rest of the 1st round of the 2016 draft, following the first three picks, went as follows:

4. Rockies: Riley Pint

5. Brewers: Corey Ray

6. Athletics: A.J. Puk

7. Marlins: Braxton Garrett

8. Padres: Cal Quantrill

9. Tigers: Matt Manning

10. White Sox: Zack Collins

11. Mariners: Kyle Lewis

12. Red Sox: Jason Groome

13. Rays: Joshua Lowe

14. Indians: Will Benson

15. Twins: Alex Kirilloff

16. Angels: Matt Thaiss

17. Astros: Forrest Whitley

18. Yankees: Blake Rutherford

19. Mets: Justin Dunn

20. Dodgers: Gavin Lux

21. Blue Jays: T.J. Zeuch

22. Pirates: Will Craig

23. Cardinals: Delvin Perez

24. Padres: Hudson Sanchez

25. Padres: Eric Lauer

26. White Sox: Zack Burdi

27. Orioles: Cody Sedlock

28. Nationals: Carter Kieboom

29. Nationals: Dane Dunning

30. Rangers: Cole Ragans

31. Mets: Anthony Kay

32. Dodgers: Will Smith

33. Cardinals: Dylan Carlson

34. Cardinals: Dakota Hudson

Lottery Round A

35. Reds: Taylor Trammell

36. Dodgers: Jordan Sheffield

37. Athletics: Daulton Jefferies

38. Rockies: Robert Tyler

39. Diamondbacks: Anfernee Grier

40. Braves: Joey Wentz

41. Pirates: Nick Lodolo

Make sure to follow the list of players above as the majority of them begin their professional careers. Odds are at least a few of those names will become MLB All-Stars, with the possibility that some may become a future Hall of Famer. You never know what can happen when you have so much young talent entering their given MLB organizations, and that’s reason enough to pay close attention to them all.

2015 MLB Draft: Dansby Swanson Taken Number One

Brendan Rodgers, Dansby Swanson and Carson Fulmer were ranked as the number one, two and three draft prospects going into Monday’s 2015 first-year player draft, but they went in a completely different order than predicted. While Swanson and Rodgers were in fact taken in the top three picks, Fulmer didn’t go until the eighth pick, with Alex Bregman moving up a few spots to the top three.

Dansby Swanson went first overall, getting drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Swanson

Although he wasn’t the top choice heading into the draft, there’s no real surprise why the Diamondbacks took Dansby Swanson number one overall. This past season at Vanderbilt, Swanson hit .348 with 14 home runs and 61 RBI’s, helping to lead his team back to the College World Series for the second straight season. With the D-backs not very deep at the shortstop position at the big league level, Swanson should progress quickly if he can stay healthy and post decent numbers.

Alex Bregman went second overall, getting drafted by the Houston Astros.

Bregman

Despite the fact that the Astros’ number one overall pick from 2012, Carlos Correa, made his big league debut at shortstop on Monday night, the Astros decided to pick up fellow shortstop Alex Bregman as the number two overall pick. Bregman hit .312 and recorded 37 stolen bases this past season at LSU, and has drawn comparisons to Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox. While Bregman has stated a desire to remain at shortstop, he may find himself shifting to second in the future with Correa blocking his way.

Brendan Rodgers went third overall, getting drafted by the Colorado Rockies.

Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers was ranked the number one overall prospect heading into the draft, but he stuck around until the third pick. The selection of Rodgers made history, as it was the first time in the history of the draft that three shortstops were taken as the top three picks. Coined as the best power hitting shortstop since Carlos Correa, Rodgers hit .360 with 8 homers this year at Lake Mary high school. With his ability to hit for power, and with a plus arm at short, Rodgers should have a long career in the majors.

The remainder of the draft saw many surprises. A lot of players went higher than anyone expected, while others stuck around longer than many thought they would. But that usually happens every year with the draft.

The rest of the 1st round of the 2015 draft, following the first three picks, went as follows:

4. Rangers: Dillon Tate

5. Astros: Kyle Tucker

6. Twins: Tyler Jay

7. Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi

8. White Sox: Carson Fulmer

9. Cubs: Ian Happ

10. Phillies: Cornelius Randolph

11. Reds: Tyler Stephenson

12. Marlins: Josh Naylor

13. Rays: Garrett Whitley

14. Braves: Kolby Allard

15. Brewers: Trent Clark

16. Yankees: James Kaprielian

17. Indians: Brady Aiken

18. Giants: Phil Bickford

19. Pirates: Kevin Newman

20. Athletics: Richie Martin

21. Royals: Ashe Russell

22. Tigers: Beau Burrows

23. Cardinals: Nick Plummer

24. Dodgers: Walker Buehler

25. Orioles: D.J. Stewart

26. Angels: Taylor Ward

27. Rockies: Mike Nikorak

28. Braves: Michael Soroka

29. Blue Jays: Jon Harris

30. Yankees: Kyle Holder

31. Giants: Chris Shaw

32. Pirates: Ke’Bryan Hayes

33. Royals: Nolan Watson

34. Tigers: Christin Stewart

35. Dodgers: Kyle Funkhouser

36. Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle

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37. Astros: Daz Cameron

38. Rockies: Tyler Nevin

39. Cardinals: Jake Woodford

40. Brewers: Nathan Kirby

41. Braves: Austin Riley

42. Indians: Triston McKenzie

Make sure to follow the list of players above as the majority of them begin their professional careers. Odds are at least a few of those names will become MLB All-Stars, with the possibility that some may become a future Hall of Famer. You never know what can happen when you have so much young talent entering their given MLB organizations, and that’s reason enough to pay close attention to them all.

Previewing the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft

Set to air live on MLB Network Monday night, and continuing through June 10th on MLB.com, the draft has become a bigger focus each and every year as time has gone by. With teams now counting on their first few picks to make it to the big leagues within a couple of years and have an immediate impact, choosing the right player for your organization has become a huge deal.15_DRAFT_LOGO

Already, two of the top picks in last year’s draft — Carlos Rodon and Brandon Finnegan — have made it to the majors, with numerous former first round picks making solid runs toward a big league call up this season.

This year’s draft is the 50th anniversary of the first draft back in 1965, and it has a fairly even mix of both pitchers and position players, making it a difficult decision as to whether to select a future ace or a future star slugger as a team’s first pick. But no matter which one teams choose, they’re likely to have that person making a big impact shortly down the road.

As I did last year, I’m planning to blog about the results of the draft, along with a few of my thoughts, the day after the first round takes place. With the first five picks going to the Diamondbacks, Astros (compensation for not signing their first pick from the 2014 draft), Rockies, Rangers and Astros, it should be interesting to see how teams play things, depending on their overall biggest needs that they need to fill for the future.

Though I’m not going to give any predictions for the order in which the players are chosen (I’m by no means a draft expert), I do want to talk a bit about the “experts’” picks for who will likely be some of the first off the board.

For the number one overall pick, there is no player that everyone whole heartedly agrees upon as being the number one pick, but for the most part people are banking on it being high school shortstop Brendan Rodgers.

RodgersRodgers has been at the top of many draft orders for the better part of the season, with him looking to become the first high school shortstop since Carlos Correa in 2012 to be the number one overall pick. With his strong arm and power bat at the shortstop position, it’s no wonder that he’s so highly thought of.

But there’s another draft prospect who is thought highly of as well. Dansby Swanson, a fellow shortstop currently with Vanderbilt, is projected to go second overall in the draft, but if the D-backs decide to do so, he could quite possibly be taken in front of Rodgers. While Swanson doesn’t have the same arm strength as Rodgers or the same pop in the bat, he may be able to hit for a higher average over the course of his career.

On the pitching side of things, Carson Fulmer is the highest ranked pitcher in the draft. Currently ranked as the third overall projected pick, you never know if the Diamondbacks will decide to pick up a star pitcher in the making instead of a position player as the number one pick. Like Swanson, Fulmer is finishing out his season with Vanderbilt, and with his above average fastball, great curveball and developing changeup, he could turn out to be a front of the rotation pitcher for years to come.

No matter which player is taken number one overall on Monday night, the entire draft is sure to be fun to watch. With so much fantastic talent, from position players to pitchers, the 2015 draft should turn out to be an extremely good one.

2014 MLB Draft: Aiken, Kolek & Rodon As Top Three

Brady Aiken, Tyler Kolek and Carlos Rodon (all pitchers) were ranked as the number one, two and three draft prospects going into Thursday’s 2014 first-year player draft, and that turned out to be dead-on. Each of the three went exactly where they were predicted to go, and going so high in the draft, all of them are expected to be future stars at the major league level.

Brady Aiken went first overall, getting drafted by the Houston Astros.

695ea1fa-7419-e311-99e4-002655e6c126_originalJust the third high school lefty to ever be drafted first overall — the first since 1991 — Brady Aiken didn’t start off the season as the clear cut favorite to be taken as the first pick, but after the year he put together at Cathedral Catholic high school, it became more and more probable. Going 7-0 with a 1.06 ERA, striking out 111 batters in 59.2 innings this season, Aiken could take a little longer to develop than a college player, but he has a ton of upside, and is truly one of the most polished high school pitchers to come along in years. Drawing comparisons to Clayton Kershaw, Aiken becomes the third straight Astros first overall pick, and joins a loaded farm system of talented young players.

Tyler Kolek went second overall, getting drafted by the Miami Marlins.

Tyler_Kolek_3oo81xz0_z6hw0oazOne of the hardest throwing pitchers to ever be drafted out of high school, Tyler Kolek averages 96-98 on his fastball, but reportedly has been clocked as high as 102. Using his fastball to completely blow away the competition this past season at Shepherd high school, Kolek posted a 0.35 ERA over 60.1 innings, striking out a staggering 126 batters. While a pitcher who throws as hard as Kolek is always a concern, especially to an organization that just lost their electric flame thrower Jose Fernandez to Tommy John surgery, the Marlins are adding yet another dominant pitcher to their organization. Having already shown signs of improvement in 2014, the Marlins seem to be heading in the right direction.

Carlos Rodon went third overall, getting drafted by the Chicago White Sox.

1371431357000-USP-NCAA-Baseball-College-World-Series-North-Caro-004-1306162110_4_3At one point in time Carlos Rodon was viewed as the overwhelming favorite to be the number one overall pick in this year’s draft, but a slight downfall in his stats from the previous two seasons left him on the board until pick number three. Though Rodon’s velocity dropped a few miles per hour this year, it’s his terrific slider that has many people excited to see what he can do at the next level. Using all of his pitches effectively this season, posting a mere 2.01 ERA and striking out an average of just over ten batters per nine innings, Rodon is still what you look for in a front of the rotation starter. Though Chris Sale will remain the White Sox’ ace, Rodon will eventually become a close second.

The remainder of the draft saw many surprises. A lot of players went higher than anyone expected, while others stuck around longer than many thought they would. But that usually happens every year with the draft.

The rest of the 1st round of the 2014 draft, following the first three picks, went as follows:

4. Cubs: Kyle Schwarber

5. Twins: Nick Gordon

6. Mariners: Alex Jackson

7. Phillies: Aaron Nola

8. Rockies: Kyle Freeland

9. Blue Jays: Jeff Hoffman

10. Mets: Michael Conforto

11. Blue Jays: Max Pentecost

12. Brewers: Kodi Medeiros

13. Padres: Trea Turner

14. Giants: Tyler Beede

15. Angels: Sean Newcomb

16. Diamondbacks: Touki Toussaint

17. Royals: Brandon Finnegan

18. Nationals: Erick Fedde

19. Reds: Nick Howard

20. Rays: Casey Gillaspie

21. Indians: Bradley Zimmer

22. Dodgers: Grant Holmes

23. Tigers: Derek Hill

24. Pirates: Cole Tucker

25. Athletics: Matt Chapman

26. Red Sox: Michael Chavis

27. Cardinals: Luke Weaver

28. Royals: Foster Griffin

29. Reds: Alex Blandino

30. Rangers: Luis Ortiz

31. Indians: Justus Sheffield

32. Braves: Braxton Davidson

33. Red Sox: Michael Kopech

34. Cardinals: Jack Flaherty

Competitive Balance Round A

35. Rockies: Forrest Wall

36. Marlins: Blake Anderson

37. Astros: Derek Fisher

38. Indians: Mike Papi

39. Pirates: Connor Joe

40. Royals: Chase Vallot

41. Brewers: Jacob Gatewood

Make sure to follow the list of players above as the majority of them begin their professional careers. Odds are at least a few of those names will become MLB All-Stars, with the possibility that some may become a future Hall of Famer. You never know what can happen when you have so much young talent entering their given MLB organizations, and that’s reason enough to pay close attention to them all.

Singleton, Springer A Sign of the Astros’ Bright Future

For the past several years, the Houston Astros have been somewhat of a laughingstock among Major League Baseball, with some people going as far as calling them a Triple-A caliber team at best. Losing over 100 games each of the past two seasons, things weren’t looking any more promising for this season, as many people predicted that the Astros could lose another 100 games in 2014. mlb_a_singleton_b1_400x600

However, while the Astros are likely to still finish last in their division, and still might reach 100 losses, they appear to be slowly turning the corner.

The biggest reason for that turn has been two of their many top prospects getting the call up to the big leagues.

First it was George Springer, who blasted 10 homers in his first month, and now it’s Jonathan Singleton, who was signed to a controversial five year, ten million dollar deal, worth a potential thirty-five million, before he ever had an at-bat on the major league level.

Hitting .267 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI’s at Triple-A before his call up, Singleton didn’t disappoint in his debut on Tuesday night against the Angels. Going 1-3 for the game, Singleton drew a bases loaded walk and blasted his first career home run — just the fourth Astros player to ever hit a home run in their first game — providing a couple of runs in the Astros’ 7-2 win over the Angels.

Overall, Singleton looked really comfortable at the plate, and along with Springer and the rest of the players currently on the Astros, they’re already becoming a good team. But even with these talented prospects now beginning to produce for the big league team — the only true power hitters for the Astros besides Chris Carter and Matt Dominguez — it’s still going to be awhile before the Astros are making any sort of playoff run. But, thankfully, the Astros have a ton of help on the way that should transform them into a competitive team.

Making their way to Houston include prospects Carlos Correa, the first overall draft pick in 2012, Mark Appel, the first overall pick in 2013, along with Delino De Shields, Lance McCullers and Mike Foltynewicz. Each of them are part of the top 100 prospects list, and with the majority of them being future game changers, it should be interesting to see how good the Astros can become within the next few years.

With the Astros set to add yet another potential star player to their organization on Thursday night, when they receive their third straight first overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft, their prospect list continues to grow and grow. And thus, it should all spell success at some point down the road, once their key prospects reach the major leagues and begin to contribute to the recently struggling club.

Previewing the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft

The 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft is now less than two weeks away.

Set to air live on MLB Network on June 5th, and continuing through June 7th on MLB.com, the draft has become a bigger focus each and every year as time has gone by. With teams now counting on their first few picks to make it to the big leagues within a couple of years and have an immediate impact, choosing the right player for your organization has become a huge deal. 2014-Draft

While none of last year’s first round draft picks have made the major leagues as of yet, currently, four of the 2012 first round picks have made the majors for at least a brief period of time, being Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman, in addition to Mike Zunino and Michael Wacha who have made the biggest impacts.

With this year’s draft being pitcher heavy, a lot of teams are going to be picking up a possible future ace of their rotation as their first pick. Though there are some good position players in the mix as well, overall, pitchers are the dominant presence, making up seven of the top ten ranked draft prospects who will go quickly come draft day.

As I did last year, I’m planning to blog about the results of the draft, along with a few of my thoughts, the day after the first round takes place. With the first five picks going to the Astros, Marlins, White Sox, Cubs and Twins, it should be interesting to see how teams play things, depending on their overall biggest needs that they need to fill for the future.

Though I’m not going to give any predictions for the order in which the players are chosen (I’m by no means a draft expert) I do want to talk a bit about the “experts'” picks for who will likely be some of the first off the board.

For the number one overall pick, no one can seem to agree who it will be, however, nearly everyone is predicting that it will be one of two left-handed pitchers: Brady Aiken or Carlos Rodon. Untitled

Aiken is one of four high school players ranked in the top ten draft prospects, and is expected to go in the top two, if not number one overall. Possessing some of the best stuff seen out of a high school pitcher in quite a while — set to be the first high school lefty to go in the top five since 2002 — Aiken is one of the younger players in the draft, currently age 17, but he could possibly be one of the most talented.

With a good fastball, as well as a great curveball and changeup, it will be up to the Astros if they want to take a chance on the young pitcher.

Or they could go with Rodon, who began the year as the clear cut first overall pick, but due to a somewhat down year by his standards — he still managed to post a 2.01 ERA despite poor run support leading to a 6-7 record — his stock has fallen a bit.

But with that said, he still has everything you want and expect to see in the number one pick. With a good, hard fastball, a really good slider, and a work in progress change up, Rodon may not be the highest ranked draft prospect, but he may have the most upside.

On the position player side of things, high school catcher Alex Jackson appears to be the favorite to be the first non-pitcher off the board. While not too many of the game’s top catchers produce big time stats at the big league level, many people feel that Jackson has the ability to do just that.

With a cannon for an arm behind the plate, as well as a real power swing that should yield a good deal of power in addition to hitting for average, Jackson will likely become one of the brightest catching prospects in baseball after June 5th.

And therefore, with so much fantastic talent, from pitchers to position players, the 2014 draft could turn out to be one of the best in years.

My Busy Upcoming Baseball Game Schedule

Every now and again, I like to post an entry covering my baseball game plans and such for an upcoming week or two, especially when it’s going to involve a rather busy schedule. Although I try to avoid too difficult of a schedule, when several good teams come to town in a short period of time, sometimes it can’t be helped. For the next couple of weeks that’s going to be the case.

Starting on Friday, I’m going to be attending the first of what will be five minor league baseball games in two weeks, to see some of baseball’s 536ac5c2910c8_imagefuture stars in person as well as get an autograph or two from as many of them as I can. While five games in two weeks could sound hectic — and to a certain degree it is — I have it all planned out so that everything will, hopefully, go smoothly.

Friday’s game will be my sixth MiLB game of the season so far, and my first Mudcats game of 2014. (Four of the games I’ve been to have taken place in Durham, with the other game occurring down in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.) It will be the Mudcats taking on the Pelicans, who are the High-A affiliate of the Rangers.

Though I’ve seen the Pelicans once this year, and therefore have already gotten many of the players’ autographs, I couldn’t pass up seeing them once again with the level of talent on the team. From Jorge Alfaro (their number one prospect) to Joey Gallo (who led all of the minors in home runs last season, with 40) and numerous players in between, it’s sure to be a fun game.

My next game will take place sometime during the following week (I haven’t decided the exact date yet). It will be another Mudcats game, but this time they’ll be squaring off against the Blue Rocks (Royals’ affiliate).

The Blue Rocks has its fair share of top prospects, despite them having underachieved for the most part in 2014. Including names such as Raul Mondesi, Hunter Dozier and Bubba Starling (who has unfortunately seemed lost throughout his past three minor league seasons), it’s well worth the trip out to the ballpark for another game.

Then begins the somewhat crazy week of games.

On Monday, June 2nd, I’m planning on heading over to Durham (for what will be the first time in nearly a month) to see a game against the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate, the IronPigs.

While it isn’t an overall fantastic team, with Maikel Franco (their number one prospect) being the main standout, with it being a day game, it’s sure to be an enjoyable time, as is any game. But there’s just something different about a day game (not necessarily better, just different) that’s makes the game special.

UntitledFollowing that game, either on Tuesday or Wednesday (just not Thursday due to the 2014 MLB draft which I plan to watch on MLB Network), I’m heading back out to the Mudcats to see the opposing White Sox affiliate, the Dash.

The Dash’s roster includes names such as Tim Anderson (their first pick in the 2013 draft), Courtney Hawkins (their first pick in the 2012 draft), and future pitching star, Tyler Danish, among a few other standouts. As a team with so much high talent, it should be an entertaining game, in addition to being a good time for autographs.

The last game in the busy two week span will take place on the following Friday, when I’m heading over to Durham once again to see the visiting Pawtucket Red Sox, who have quite the team.

Currently with a roster of five of the Sox top ten prospects, including Allen Webster, Garin Cecchini, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo and Christian Vazquez, as well as some former big leaguers, the Pawtucket team is a very good one — and one that I’m really looking forward to seeing.

That game will end the planned five games in two weeks schedule, in which it should be interesting to see how much I can add to my autograph totals for the year. Over the five games I’ve attended thus far, I’ve amassed 20 autographs, with four of those being from top 100 prospects. While I haven’t blogged about any of those games (I’ll probably be blogging about at least one of the games over the next two weeks) I’m still going to do a recap at the very end of the season, like I did last year, covering how my time went out at the ballpark in 2014.

With there still being two and a half months remaining, even after the games I’ve planned out, including the 2014 Triple-A Home Run Derby and All-Star game in July (I’ll definitely be blogging about both of those), there’s going to be a ton of opportunities to add to my overall autograph totals.