Mock Draft: A final look as first round nears
Appel still looks to be Astros' choice with Twins getting Buxton
The Draft is just about to start, but there were some changes at the top of the Draft that made it worthwhile to do one last run-through of a first-round projection.
The annual Draft takes place this year on June 4-6, beginning with the first round and Comp Round A on Monday, June 4 at 7 p.m. ET. The first night of the event will be broadcast live on MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.com. Rounds 2-40 will also be streamed live on MLB.com on June 5-6.
MLB.com's coverage, sponsored by CenturyLink, includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
1. Houston Astros: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
His name has appeared in this spot since the projections began and there was no certain news that would justify straying from the choice.
2. Minnesota Twins: Byron Buxton, OF, Appling County HS (Ga.)
If Buxton goes No. 1, the Twins may take a look at Puerto Rico high school shortstop Carlos Correa.
3. Seattle Mariners: Mike Zunino, C, Florida
The talk about Zunino sliding has never subsided, with Correa and then Oklahoma State lefty Andrew Heaney coming into play. But Zunino remains.
4. Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU
The thinking is still that the Orioles will go with the best college pitcher available. If Appel doesn't go No. 1, could he land here?
5. Kansas City Royals: Kyle Zimmer, RHP, San Francisco
There was some talk of a Zimmer slide, but it appears that doubts have been answered. The Royals still could go for a high school pitcher with Max Fried or switch gears and take Correa.
6. Chicago Cubs: Albert Almora, OF, Mater Academy (Fla.)
It's been Fried, Correa and Almora in this spot and there could be interest in all three, but we'll stick with the initial projection here.
7. San Diego Padres: Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
If Zimmer falls to here, he could come into play, but it could come down to Correa vs. Fried, with the high-ceiling infielder likely coming off the board.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates: David Dahl, OF, Oak Mountain HS (Ala.)
Hawkins, Dahl and Gavin Cecchini have been high school hitters in the mix here, but the Pirates could still go the college-arm route, but the speedy outfielder from Alabama gets the nod.
9. Miami Marlins: Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake
If the Marlins go the college route, it could be shortstop Deven Marrero or right-hander Chris Stratton, but Fried's upside might be too much to pass up.
10. Colorado Rockies: Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carroll HS (Tex.)
It's been Hawkins vs. Heaney in this spot, and the bet now is they go with the high school hitter.
11. Oakland A's: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State
The college arms available are all under consideration and a college bat like Richie Shaffer could come into play. There's been a lot of talk about a high school player, like Addison Russell, but the A's have taken a college player with their first pick for the past five years running.
12. New York Mets: Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe HS (La.)
If Marrero doesn't go to the Pirates, he could land here, as could one of the college pitchers, but for now, the Mets go with their second successive high school hitter. If Cecchini doesn't go here, he could drop a bit.
13. Chicago White Sox: Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M
Chicago might have an interest in a high school bat like Hawkins, but they do tend to go for college pitching early, with Wacha getting the nod over Stratton.
14. Cincinnati Reds: Stephen Piscotty, 3B, Stanford
If one of the bigger college pitchers drops, the Reds could go that route. They also could look at Marrero, whom they drafted out of high school. But they've always liked Piscotty's bat.
15. Cleveland Indians: Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State
The Indians are hopeful that a college pitcher they like will get here, and in this scenario, Stratton is that guy.
16. Washington Nationals: Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State
If Marrero gets by the Mets at No. 12, this is likely to be as far as he falls. With the Nats building a contender, bringing in an advanced glove at a premium position might fit perfectly.
17. Toronto Blue Jays: Lance McCullers, Jesuit HS (Fla.)
With two first-round picks, the Blue Jays can be aggressive (within the new system) and they've shown they like high-end high schoolers. No one has more arm strength than McCullers, who's answered some concerns about pitch-ability with a strong senior season. Some sign-ability concerns could cause him to drop.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers: Ty Hensley, Santa Fe HS (Okla.)
A number of high school arms could come into play here, with Hensley being the one most often mentioned with the Dodgers these days. This could also be a landing spot for Cecchini should the Mets not take him.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Richie Shaffer 3B/1B, Clemson
The Cardinals have two picks in the first round and thus have a little flexibility should they want to be more aggressive. That might come later on if Shaffer and his college power bat are still on the board.
20. San Francisco Giants: Brian Johnson, LHP, Florida
They could still look at a number of high school pitcherse, but Johnson has pitched well of late and could be a quick-to-the-big leagues type.
21. Atlanta Braves: Tyler Naquin, OF, Texas A&M
All signs point to the Braves looking for a bat and they've never been shy about going the high school route, so Tanner Rahier, D.J. Davis or Addison Russell could be in play. So could college performers like Victor Roache and Naquin, with the A&M performer getting the nod.
22. Toronto Blue Jays: D.J. Davis, OF, Stone County HS (Miss.)
The Blue Jays have long been linked to Davis, a future leadoff type. They could even take him at No. 17 if they believe he'll be gone by No. 22.
23. St. Louis Cardinals: Addison Russell, SS, Pace HS (Fla.)
Russell got himself in terrific shape last offseason and has shown many scouts that perhaps he can stay at shortstop. He has a ton of offensive upside and he had a tremendous performance at the Florida all-star weekend over Memorial Day weekend, which means he could rise up higher than this.
24. Boston Red Sox: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke
If Stroman were 6-foot-3, he'd be gone long before this spot and he still might go earlier to a team that doesn't worry about undersized right-handers. His stuff is electric and he could help a team out of the bullpen almost immediately.
25. Tampa Bay Rays: Zach Eflin, RHP, Hagerty HS (Fla.)
The Rays are almost always in best-available-player mode and they have a good track record on developing young pitching. Eflin, Lucas Sims and Nick Travieso could be considered.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Corey Seager, 3B, Northwest Cabarrus HS (N.C.)
After all the pitching they took last year, a hitter makes the most sense. The only question surrounding Seager might be his sign-ability.
27. Milwaukee Brewers: Clint Coulter, C, Union HS (Wash.)
After taking two college pitchers in the first round last year, the Brewers could go back to looking at bats with their back-to-back picks. Coulter and his power potential, especially if he can stay behind the plate, would be a good find.
28. Milwaukee Brewers: Victor Roache, OF, Georgia Southern
It could be another high school hitter here (Lewis Brinson, or if Seager or Russell get here), but if Roache had been healthy, he would go in the top half of the round.
29. Texas Rangers: Lucas Sims, RHP, Brookwood HS (Ga.)
Signs seem to point to a high schooler, with a hitter like Stryker Trahan being a possibility. But with Sims still on the board, they may not let him pass by.
30. New York Yankees: Nick Travieso, RHP, Archbishop McCarthy HS (Fla.)
The best available player seems to be the direction here and there are a number of high school pitcher to consider, with Travieso perhaps being the best of the bunch.
31. Boston Red Sox: Stryker Trahan, C, Acadiana HS (La.)
After picking up a college pitcher (and perhaps future closer) in Stroman, the Red Sox could be aggressive with a high schooler. There are some arms, but the bat potential and athleticsm for Trahan are intriguing.