The annual Major league baseball amateur draft was held today as teams across baseball will look to strengthen their farm system. The Diamondbacks held the first overall selection after an abysmal 2014 season (64-98). The first round of the draft is also only 26 picks because of free agency. The Mets, Blue Jays, Mariners, and Nationals forfeited their first round picks for the moves they made in free agency (Mets Michael Cuddyer, Blue Jays Russell Martin, Mariners Nelson Cruz, Nationals Max Scherzer).
For the first time in baseball history a shortstop was selected first, second, and third in the MLB Draft. Dansby Swanson out of Vanderbilt was taken first overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Swanson is a natural shortstop who possess a great glove with the ability to hit for average and power. The former Vandy shortstop is expected to hit over .300 while driving in about 15-20 homers.
- The Houston Astros had the second pick and selected Alex Bregman out of LSU. Bregman is smaller in stature at only 190 pounds often compared to Dustin Pedroia. The Astros had the selection for failing to sign first overall pick Brady Aiken last season. It will be interesting to see where he might play with the young Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve already in house.
- High school phenom Brendan Rodgers landed with the Colorado Rockies third overall. Rodgers was the best consensus player available in this years draft. At only 18 years old Rodgers may also have the highest ceiling of any player selected. With the uncertain future of Troy Tulowitzki, Rodgers immediately becomes his eventual replacement.
- Corneilius Randolph became the fourth shortstop selected rounding out the top ten selected by the Philadelphia Phillies. Randolph is a slick left handed infielder who reminds me a lot Addison Russell from the Chicago Cubs. Randolph hit over .400 during his high school playing days in Georgia.
- Developmental arms were selected 4th and 6th with the Rangers taking Dillon Tate and the Twins grabbing Tyler Jay. Tate a right hander from UC Santa Barbara and Jay from Illinois are both risky selections as they may end up only panning out as relievers. The White Sox got themselves a steal with the 8th overall pick selecting the top college arm in Carson Fulmer. Fulmer plays for the top collegiate program in the country in Vanderbilt. Fulmer reminds me a lot of Sonny Gray from the Athletics with his shorter stature and high velocity. Tim Lincecum is another player who fits the mold of Fulmer. The White Sox have landed the top college arm in back to back drafts with Fulmer and Carlos Rodon.
- Three outfielders were selected in the top ten; Kyle Tucker 5th overall to Houston, Andrew Benintendi 7th to Boston, and Ian Happ 9th to the Cubs. Tucker gets to join his brother Preston Tucker in Houston as he was considered the top high school outfielder by most experts. Benintendi was the SEC player of the year after a fantastic season with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Benintendi was amongst the fastest risers as his average jumped a mere .100 points from his freshman season. Happ is a versatile player filling the mold of the Cubs prospects. Happ reminds me of a Ben Zobrist with the ability to play the infield and outfield.
- Tyler Stephenson was selected by the Cincinnati Reds 11th overall. Stephenson is a huge catcher at 6’4″ with a shot to become the next Joe Mauer, or Matt Wieters. Stephenson’s size may prompt him to move to first base eventually once his knees start to go. Stephenson is known to be a master at calling his own his own game, a craft very few catcher possess.
- Josh Naylor became the selection 12th overall resulting in the draft’s first surprise of the night. Naylor is a 17 year old raw power hitting first baseman. The Canadian youngster raw and will have tons of developing to do as he was expected to be selected somewhere in the second to third round. The Marlins hope he can learn from the power hitter Giancarlo Stanton.
- 2014 number one overall pick Brady Aiken was taken 17th overall in 2015 by the Cleveland Indians. The Astros backed out of a deal with Aiken last year based off of medical results. Weeks later Aiken suffered an injury resulting in Tommy John surgery. A year later the Indians are hoping Aiken can return to his 2014 form as the lefty often times looked like the closest thing to Clayton Kershaw we have seen in a long time.
Ashe Russell was the first high school pitcher selected 21st overall by the Kansas City Royals. The Royals are fortunate enough to add another quality arm to an already dominating young pitching staff. Russell reminds me of a young Clay Buchholz from the Boston Red Sox.
- The Dodgers tagged Walker Buehler with the 24th pick making him the third player from the University of Vanderbilt selected in the first round. Buehler has an excellent fastball to changeup combo while also excelling at a fast pace. His fastball reaches a top of 96 MPH.
The Colorado Rockies tabbed hard throwing right hander Mike Nikorak to begin the compensatory picks number 27 overall. Colorado acquired this selection by losing Michael Cuddyer during free agency. Nikorak has a bright future in the league as the high schooler from Stroudsburg Pennsylvannia throws gas with a fastball topping out a 97 MPH. The Rockies put together a strong draft adding Nikorak and Brendan Rodgers.
- Son of former big leaguer Mike Cameron, Daz Cameron did not get selected in the first round of the draft. Cameron indicated he wanted at least 5 million dollars to sign with a big league club, and it back fired. Cameron is a 5 tool player and will likely not sign with a team after failing to be picked in the first round. Cameron is committed to playing at Florida State which is where he will likely be playing for next season. Expect Cameron to be a top pick in a few years.