Welcome to the first edition of Purple Row's MLB mock draft. Mattrob and I will be doing this every two weeks leading up to the draft on Thursday, June 9. You'll be able to compare our selections with other mock drafts in a database post we'll have up soon. For now we're just looking at the top 10 picks though that might change in future editions.
Now onto the picks!
1. Philadelphia Phillies
Matt: A.J. Puk, LHP, Florida
This pick has been rumored for months and Puk’s recent resurgence solidifies him at number one, possibly in an underslot deal. If he can refine the secondary offerings, Puk could move quickly through the Phillies’ system.
To be clear, Puk would not be my choice for the first round pick. I have him ranked as the third best pitcher in this draft, behind Riley Pint and Jason Groome. However, as cool as it would be to have a right-handed high school pitcher selected first overall for the the first time ever, it's sounding like the Phillies really want to go with a college arm and Puk seems to be rebounding just enough for them to get their wish.
2. Cincinnati Reds
Matt: Nick Senzel, IF, Tennessee
The Reds have long preferred the safety of college bats at the top of the draft, and Senzel’s plate discipline and line drive swing provide possibly the highest floor of any player in this draft. After not homering in the season’s first 13 games, he has started to flash his power potential, with seven home runs in his last 32 games.
Ryan: Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer
With the Reds looking to be picking a college bat, I'm giving them the best one in the draft. Senzel and Ray are obviously options here as well, but I have a feeling that Lewis might be more willing to take an underslot deal which would allow the Reds to flex the largest signing bonus pool in the draft with their later picks.
3. Atlanta Braves
Matt: Jason Groome, LHP, Barnegat HS
Groome possesses a rare combination of TOR stuff,effortless delivery and advanced command. The Braves are something of a wild card at No. 3, but the prospect of landing the draft’s top talent proves too much to pass up.
Ryan: Corey Ray, OF, Louisville
This is the toughest pick because I have the least feel for where or what Atlanta might do. I wouldn't be surprised if they went with Groome simply because of the upside, but there's noise that the Braves feel they need to strengthen their future lineup at this point after building up the arms in their system already.
4. Colorado Rockies
Matt: Riley Pint, RHP, St Thomas Aquinas HS
Pint may have more upside than any other arm in this year’s draft. He has cleaned up his delivery this spring, and reports have him hitting 102 mph with improved command. One scout graded Pint with an 80 fastball, 70 curve and 60-70 change up after an early season start.
Pint is the top player on my draft board, and with everyone else above the Rockies targeting either bats or college players, there's a very real chance now that the Rockies will get to pick either him or Groome, and possibly even have their choice of the two. The last few drafts have shown us that not only are the Rockies willing to go best player available, but that that player is often times available later than one would think.
5. Milwaukee Brewers
Matt: Delvin Perez, SS, International Baseball Academy
Pure upside. One of the youngest prospects in this year’s draft, Perez has plus-power potential and the arm and athleticism to stick at shortstop long-term.
The Brewers finally stop Groome's slide, taking one of the top two talents in the draft with the fifth pick. While Groome was once thought to be the lock for 1-1, the draft is a lot muddier now and I could honestly see him going anywhere from first overall to 10th.
6. Oakland Athletics
Another organization with an affinity for college bats, the A’s come away from the draft with this year’s best. A right handed bat with power to all fields, Lewis has shown tremendous growth since joining the Mercer program and has more upside than your typical college
If Senzel is still available for the A's, the match is just to perfect not to happen. Beane loves to draft college players and Senzel's approach just falls perfectly in place with what the A's like to draft and develop.
7. Miami Marlins
The best available player at this point, Ray is a potential five-tool talent, though there are questions about his ability to play center. The offensive profile is worth the risk, as Ray has 20-home run, 30-stolen-base potential, albeit with a little more swing and miss than you’d like.
The Marlins like to take upside with eight high school players in their last 10 first-round picks and Perez is by far the highest upside pick left on the board. Perez gets a lot of comps to Carlos Correa simply because they're both from Puerto Rico, but the peak of Perez's ceiling may be similar enough to force the Marlins' hand here.
8. San Diego Padres
Matt: Mickey Moniak, OF, La Costa Canyon HS
A personal favorite, Moniak has four potential plus tools. Reports this spring have him hitting for more power than anticipated, giving him some helium as draft day approaches. The Padres jump at the chance to land the hometown star.
Ryan: Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State
The Padres are hoping to make up for not having a first round pick last year and trading away their 2014 first round pick, Trea Turner, with their three first round picks this year. Don't be surprised if they go with an underslot deal here to try and maximize those two later first round picks. However, A.J. Preller hasn't shown a lot of patience with trying to build a contender and may just want the most polished player available.
9. Detroit Tigers
Matt: Ian Anderson, RHP, Shenendohowa HS
A projectable arm, Anderson sits low-90s with the fastball and has the makings of a solid 3 pitch mix. His command and pitchability are advanced for a cold-weather arm.
Ryan: Joey Wentz, LHP, Shawnee Mission East HS
Wentz might be one of the biggest risers this draft. After not pitching last summer and playing first to give his arm a break, Wentz's arm has bounced back in a huge way. He didn't allow a hit in the first 23 innings of high school ball this spring, and has allowed only two hits in his first 36 innings.
10. Chicago White Sox
Matt: Zack Collins, C, Miami
Despite concerns about his ability to remain behind the plate, Collins’ power potential can’t be ignored. He could provide a much-needed lift to the White Sox offense as early as mid-2017.
Moniak seems to have usurped fellow California high schooler Blake Rutherford as the top prep outfielder. The White Sox need to rebuild a farm system that they've emptied out and picking best player available is the best way to do that.