The 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft is now just a week away and the picture of what will be occurring, at least according to the major prognosticators, is now getting clearer.
As you can see all three major mock draft sources have the Rockies taking Illinois left handed pitcher Tyler Jay. We talked about Jay in our last draft post; the lefty has spent almost all of his college career as a reliever, but before you get flashes of Casey Weathers realize that there are many who believe that Jay can be converted to starting the way that Andrew Cashner or Chad Bettis were.
Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs said "he’ll flash three 60-or-better pitches that dart all over the place." Here is a writeup wherein Jay's fourth-best pitch is featured, as well as a piece from Jim Callis at MLB.com
The consensus is that the Rockies really want Dansby Swanson but his impressive power showing at the SEC tournament has likely sealed his fate as a top-two pick.
Here is a list of the most intriguing players who have been available in some of these mock drafts in the Rockies' other first-day spot (Nos. 27, 38 and 44.
SS Kevin Newman, University of Arizona
Ranked No. 13 by Fangraphs, No. 66 by True Blue LA's David Hood and No. 29 by MLB.com, Newman is essentially a shorter DJ LeMahieu -- an extremely talented contact hitter with little pop or patience in his game. Newman is 6'1, 185 pounds and scouts are split on his ability to move forward at shortstop due to his average range and arm. Newman is the first player ever two win two Cape Cod League batting titles but doesn't have even one home run in his college career (LeMahieu had nine).
SS Mikey White, University of Alabama
Keith Law suggested White here, but then ranks the Crimson Tide shortstop No. 60 on his list. White sits at No. 64 on MLB.com, and Hood has him all the way back at No. 103, White has more pop than Newman, but like the Arizona SS, is not considered a lock at to stay at the position.
OF D.J. Stewart, Florida State University
Widely considered one of the best college bats coming into the year, Stewart slumped a little and drove his stock down enough that he is likely to be available later in Day 1. Stewart is likely going to need to hit really well to make an MLB impact as he is likely limited to left field or first base due to his lack of arm strength.
3B Ke'Bryan Hayes, Concordia Lutheran HS
The son of Charlie Hayes has risen up the ranks and is consistently projected to be taken within five picks of the No. 27 spot. He doesn't have huge power so far but projects to gain more as he grows. Considered by most reports to be a very similar player to his father, think a .280 hitter with 15 home runs and 35 doubles as a peak for Hayes. In other words, a solid MLB player.
3B Cornelius Randolph, Griffin HS
This high school shortstop will likely make the move to the hot corner as he is not viewed as able to stick up the middle. Many see enough in his bat to make him interesting even at a corner position.
C Tyler Stephenson, Kennesaw Mountain HS
Considered the best prep catcher in the draft, Stephenson may be long gone by the time the Rockies pick for a second time. The 6'4 teenager is widely thought to have excellent skills behind the plate. The bat rates as having considerable future pop but Stephenson may have too long of a swing to fully harness it.
RHP Nolan Watson, Lawrence North HS
The biggest helium arm in the prep class, this Indiana native has gotten a lot of buzz, jumping ahead of fellow Hoosier Ashe Russell for consideration as the top prep arm off the board. Watson has shown a good fastball/slider combo and has flashed potential for a curveball and change.
RHP Mike Nikorak, Stroudsburg HS
Nikorak has been mentioned as someone the Rockies looked at with the No. 3 pick at one point, but thanks to a somewhat down year he is considered by many to possibly be available at No. 27. Nikorak often works in the low 90s and has touched 97 mph with good movement. The reason why Nikorak may be available is that he has also had games this year working in the high 80s.
RHP Ashe Russell, Cathedral HS
Russell and Nikorak were considered by many the top prep arms in the draft before the season. Neither has had huge red flags but haven't really blown anyone away either. Russell has two excellent pitches for a prep guy but has some signs he is likely to end up a reliever.
LHP Justin Hooper, De La Salle HS
Hooper may have the highest ceiling in the draft as a big lefty with a fastball that was clocked at 97 as a junior and both a curveball and change that have shown plus potential. The issue is that his delivery is all over the place, and some think it may need to be completely rebuilt. As the Rockies are working with another California prep lefty who had a ton of mechanical work to be done, it is hard to say if they view themselves as well positioned to deal with something like that, or if the experience soured them on the prospect of trying again.
RHP Jacob Nix, IMG Academy (Post HS)
Nix was the other part of the Brady Aiken saga as a fifth-round pick who lost a $1 million bonus when the Astros changed their offer to the No. 1 pick. Nix is seen as guy who has mid-rotation ceiling if he can polish his secondary stuff and learn to repeat his delivery consistently.
RHP Triston McKenzie, Royal Palm Beach HS
The skinny 17-year-old won't turn 18 until August but is considered likely to continue add power as he grows. McKenzie was recruited by Vanderbilt, a school that churns out MLB players on a regular basis. That speaks well for a guy who would could grow into a front of the rotation starter.
RHP Tristan Beck, Corona HS
Another tall skinny prep righty, Beck has flashed excellent velocity and has a four-pitch mix that is unusual in a high schooler. That said, he struggles with consistency.
RHP Jake Woodford, Plant HS
Much like when the Rockies took Trevor Story out of the same high school as top prospect Josh Bell, Woodford is the second-best prospect at his own school behind top 10 talent Kyle Tucker. Woodford has consistently thrown his fastball in the low-to-mid 90s with the type of sink that the Rockies crave.
OF Gregg Pickett, Legend HS
No. 82 on Hood's list and No. 203 on BA's, Pickett has big-time power, possibly as high as 70, but has enough swing and miss that it may not matter.
IF/OF Nick Shumpert, Highlands Ranch HS
Ranked No. 109 by David Hood, No. 200 by MLB.com and No. 127 by BA, the son of former Rockies utility player Terry Shumpert is a speedy shortstop who is viewed as a likely future second baseman and could wind up in center field.
C Wyatt Cross, Legacy HS
Rated No. 500 by BA and No. 143 by Hood, Cross is considered a good defensive catcher but questions about his bat will suppress his draft stock.
I am sure there are a ton of players I am leaving out here; there are as many opinions of how to rank players as there are players themselves. Feel free to chime in to discuss any you would like highlighted in the comments.
David Hood's top 200 draft prospects
Keith Law's Top 100 (Insider subscription required)