The draft is less than a week away, so all the teams are probably getting their meetings under way to set up their final draft board. I have decided to do the same, so today I am starting to roll out my final draft rankings. In the first installment you can take a look at who I think are the top 25 prospects in this year’s draft. Check it out and tell me what you think after the break. Just an FYI, mlb.com has posted their draft tracker now so you can go and check out video on just about any top draft prospect you want. Just go to the draft page and click on draft tracker at the top, and you can navigate it however you want.
1. Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego St.
Strasburg is not only the best prospect in this draft, according to some he may be the best draft prospect ever. The 6’5″ 220 pound monster consistently throws his fastball in the 95-97 range and occasionally runs it up to 100 mph. He also has a plus breaker, but the thing that sets him apart is his unbelievable control of the two best pitches in the draft.
2. Dustin Ackley, 1B/OF, North Carolina
I was very tempted to put Tanner Scheppers in this spot because his stuff is nearly as good as Strasburg, but I am going to keep Ackley here. He may be the best pure hitter available in the draft this decade. There are some questions about his power with wood and his arm after Tommy John surgery. Even if he only hits for average power, he should still be a premium player because of his hitting ability and 70 speed which should enable him to shift to centerfield in pro ball.
3. Tanner Scheppers, RHP, St. Paul
As I said, I was really tempted to put Scheppers at number two on this list. He has the stuff of an ace with a mid-90′s heater and a hard curve. He is athletic on the mound and has a very nice delivery. However he isn’t without question marks after his shoulder injury last year, and he has battled control problems at times. There is some risk involved, but the reward could be huge.
4. Tyler Matzek, LHP, Capistrano Valley HS, Mission Viejo, CA
Matzek has the polish of a top college pitcher, but he is still in high school. He throws strikes effortlessly with a 90-94 mph fastball, a tight curve, slider, and change. His stuff is plenty good, and he reportedly touched 98 mph in a start last week, but what really separates him is his smooth delivery and pitching smarts.
5. Aaron Crow, RHP, Fort Worth
Crow was the top college righty in last year’s draft, and he is once again near the top of the pitching crop. Crow’s calling card is his heavy sinker that he throws from 92-96 mph and commands extremely well. He also has a plus slider, but his change needs work and some have questioned his mechanics. Even with those question marks, two plus pitches and good command will get you drafted early, and Crow shouldn’t need much time in the minors.
6. Donovan Tate, OF, Cartersville HS, GA
Tate is an extremely impressive athlete whose father played football for Georgia and in the NFL. Tate has committed to play football and baseball at North Carolina and is advised by Scott Boras, so it will take a significant bonus to sign him. He is the best prep position player in the draft. He has plus speed, and many believe he is a future gold glove centerfielder. There are some those that question how much average he will hit for, but he has great bat speed and good pop.
7. Jacob Turner, RHP, Westminster Christian Academy, St. Louis, MO
Turner is the complete package as far as a pitching prospect. He has a big 6’5″ 225 pound frame, a fastball that he can run up to 98 mph, a big curve, a nice change, a nice delivery, and good command. He has also had great coaching in high school from former big leaguers Andy Benes, Mike Matheny, and Todd Worrell. The only thing that could cause him to fall in the draft is his association with Scott Boras.
8. Zack Wheeler, RHP, East Paulding HS, Dallas, GA
Wheeler has present stuff and plenty of projection in his skiny 6’4″ frame. He sits in the low-90′s with the fastball, but touches 95 mph and his heater has movement. He adds in a plus slider and a good change and throws a lot of strikes.
9. Matt Purke, LHP, Klein HS, Spring, TX
Purke gives this draft another top notch lefty with his mid-90′s fastball and plus slider. He is best described as a slinger utilizing a 3/4 delivery that gives his pitches extra action. Purke has more polish than you would expect from a youngster with his stuff, and scouts wonder if there might be more velocity left as he fills out his slender 6’3″ frame. There are rumors that he is looking for a huge bonus which might scare some teams off, but he is one of the elite talents in this draft.
10. Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri
Gibson has a smooth delivery, excellent command, good results, and a 6’6″ frame, but he can’t match the pitchers already mentioned on this list in terms of stuff. He does possess an excellent slider, but his fastball usually only sits at 88-91. Teams looking for upside will probably take someone else, but Gibson is a very safe bet to be a 3rd starter and will probably get there quickly as long as the recent dip in velocity isn’t a sign of an injury.
11. Shelby Miller, RHP, Brownwood HS, TX
It seems like every year there is a Texas prep fireballer, and Miller fits the bill this year. He possesses the best fastball in the high school class with tremendous life and great velocity that has reportedly reached 98 mph. Miller has a smooth delivery, but he is a little more raw than guys like Turner and Wheeler. He will show a plus curve at times, but it and his command needs some work. Teams that value arm strength will have a tough time finding a pitcher with more.
12. Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona St.
Leake has been able to overcome the small righty stigma and win over stat heads and scouts alike. A good athlete that has doubled as a 2nd baseman at times, Leake has very good command and is a fierce competitor on the mound. He also has good stuff in a low-90′s sinker that he can run up to 94 and mixes in a plus slider and a good change.
13. Alex White, RHP, North Carolina
White has some of the best stuff in college baseball, but he struggles with consistency. He has shown 3 plus pitches at times, but not usually all at the same time. His fastball sits 91-94 and reaches 96, he has shown a wipeout slider at times, and his splitter can also be devastating. He is a very good athlete, but he struggles to maintain a consistent delivery leading to control problems. He is pretty raw for a top college pitcher, but if a team can get him straightened out, they may have themselves a top of the rotation starter.
14. Grant Green, SS, USC
Green had an outstanding summer on the Cape where he showed a great bat with good pop and drew comparisons to Evan Longoria. He was also a very good defender at short last spring for the Trojans. He got off to a rough start this spring, and some scouts have begun to question his power and his defense. Some believe he just has suffered from draftitis and will be fine once he gets out playing pro ball. In a draft lacking in position player talent, Green should still go early if he doesn’t price himself out as one of the few players that projects to be an offensive force in the middle infield.
15. Chad James, LHP, Yukon HS, OK
James is yet another talented lefty in the prep class. He can also reach the mid-90′s with his heater and adds in a plus curve and one of the best change ups in the high school class. He has a projectable 6’4″ 200 pound frame, and a smooth, athletic delivery.
16. Bobby Borchering, 3B, Bishop Verot HS, Fort Myers, FL
The big 6’4″ switch hitter is the best pure bat in the high school class and should hit for both average and power. Many believe that as he fills out he will eventually have to shift over to first base, but for now he has enough range, soft hands, and plenty of arm for the hot corner.
17. Chad Jenkins, RHP, Kennesaw St.
Jenkins has really stepped up as a top draft prospect this year passing teammate Kyle Heckathorn. His velocity has increased, and he now utilizes a sinker in the 90-93 mph range, a plus slider, and a good change. He has the build of an innings eater at 6’4″ 225 pounds, and fills the zone with strikes. He may not project as a top of the rotation starter, but he should be a quality major league starter rather quickly.
18. Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt
Another guy who doesn’t have top of the rotation stuff, but knows how to pitch and should move fast. Minor has a solid four pitch mix that starts with a fastball that sits anywhere from 88-91 and touches 93 at times and he could sit in the low 90′s in the future when he fills out his 6’4″ frame. His change is his best secondary pitch, but he can also mix in a curve and slider. Minor has a big time track record at Vandy and Team USA making him a favorite of stats oriented clubs.
19. Rex Brothers, LHP, Lipscomb
Brothers has a better fastball and slider than Minor as both are considered plus pitches. He sits comfortably at 92-94 with the fastball, touches as high as 96, and holds his velocity deep into games. His hard, wipeout slider is in the mid to high 80′s. While Brothers has more upside than Minor, many believe he is destined for the bullpen because of his delivery and control problems.
20. Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana
Arnett has the look of a top of the rotation horse with his 6’5″ 225 pound frame, fastball that touches 96, and mid-80′s slider. He came out of nowhere this season to establish himself as a first round talent on an Indiana team surprisingly loaded with early round talent. While he has been incredibly durable this season pitching very deep into starts, he will have to develop his change to remain in a big league rotation.
21. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Santa Monica HS, CA
Skaggs doesn’t offer the high end velocity of the prep lefties mentioned earlier, but he may have the most projection. He sits 88-91 now, but many believe he could eventually sit in the mid-90′s after he adds muscle to his 6’4″ 180 pound frame. Skaggs is not all projection as he already throws a good curve, and has a change and slider as well.
22. Tim Wheeler, OF, Sacramento St.
Wheeler got himself noticed with a strong Cape Cod League season last summer, but really busted onto the scene this spring with a monster season. He features above average power and speed and solid baseball instincts which should make him a good all around outfielder.
23. Matt Hobgood, RHP, Norco HS, CA
Hobgood features a hard sinker in the 92-94 range and one of the better curves in the high school ranks. He also shows a change and slider at times, but his ticket to the big leagues will be spotting that heavy sinker. He has a massive 6’4″ 245 pound frame, so there isn’t much projection left, but that shouldn’t be a problem as long as he learns to throw strikes with what he already has.
24. Everett Williams, OF, McCallum HS, Austin, TX
Not as raw as you might think, Williams has a pretty good stick. He also has surprising power for a guy that only stands 5’10″ 200 pounds finishing second in last year’s AFLAC game homerun derby. He’s not the burner you would expect, but he does have good speed and knows how to use it.
25. Mike Trout, OF, Milville HS, NJ
Trout has become a favorite of scouts both for his tools and his makeup. His best tool is his speed as he covered the 60 yard dash in 6.5 seconds. He has an idea of what he is doing at the plate and has some pop, but what makes him attractive is his passion for the game. Trout has been called a faster version of Aaron Rowand.