The two biggest stories of this MLB draft class are: (1) Wow! this is son [notable big leaguer]; and (2) the advantage of four players in the preparatory position at the top. These two issues intersect as the predicted top two picks below are the sons of Andrew Jones and Matt Holliday. Also in the first-round prediction are Carl Crawford’s sons, eight-year-old major leaguer Lou Collier and 10-year-old NFL tight end Eric Green.
On the other hand, the number of college pitches is the worst in recent memory: there are no candidates who could get a full slot in the top 15-20. With voracious hungry teams having to create major league-ready pitching depth, many college pitchers will be in the first round, so that’s where draft rules come into play. Teams have a suggested amount of slots at each pick that starts negotiations, and those slots add up to the total amount of the pool the team has to spend on the draft. Just as the more analytical clubs in the NFL sell down when given the chance, many Major League Baseball clubs make the decision to go into the slot and get money in the pot for later picks.
So if your first pick goal is to get a fast-moving college pitcher, and that’s likely to be cost-saving, then the competition for the top high school players to slip into the 2nd round will become more intense. Add to that dynamic that the riskiest demographic, high school pitchers, is exceptionally deep this year, and there are at least eight pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery who are top two rounds. Together, this means that no matter how teams choose to spend their first-round pick savings, there will be more options than usual and more money will float after the first round, which is likely to continue into the third and fourth rounds.
All in all, it looks like a bad draft class because a cropping college has no chance of winning an All-Star game and may not have a top 10 pitcher after Dylan Lesko had Tommy John surgery. last month. These conditions seem ideal for complete chaos in the first round, especially after the top 10 picks, with potentially multiple seven-figure picks below the slot and a number of big deals in rounds 2, 3 and beyond. Currently, the focus of many clubs is on the handicap of rival clubs vying for a place in the later rounds.
Because I know people will ask their names or just press CTRL+F, I didn’t accidentally leave out Tennessee pitcher Ben Joyce or former right-hander Vanderbilt Kumar Rocker from this projection. I think Rocker could be in the 40-60 range or maybe in the third round, but his independent league run (which should start soon) will have some bearing on that. I think that Joyce will enter the 80th peak, but is unlikely to make it to the 41st peak, which I include in this forecast. Most scouts consider him to be in the third round of talent, so he will likely be in the slot below when/if he goes to the second round.