The 2015 MLB Draft began on Monday with rounds one through competitive balance round B. (If you have any questions regarding rounds one through three or the competitive balance rounds you can check out my posts on being a MLB Draft newbie Part One & Part Two) A total of 75 amateur players were drafted on Monday but let’s take a look at the top 10 first round picks.
The first three picks in the draft were all shortstops. It was the first time in MLB Draft history that this has occured. The first three picks went to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies.
The Astros received two picks in the top five with the second overall pick in the first round because of their inability to come to an agreement with last year’s first round draft pick Brady Aiken. Aiken was just the third overall first pick in draft history to not sign with the team that drafted him.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks: Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbuilt University
Swanson helped Vanderbuilt win their first College World Series Title in 2014 and took home the honor of Most Outstanding player. He played for the US colligiate national team over the summer and came back to Vanderbuilt moving from second base, taking over the shortstop position for Vince Conde who had been drafted by the New York Yankees. While not a big homerun hitter, Swanson has a strong arm and makes solid contact. He has the makings of a great leadoff hitter being fast and being able to get on-base.
2. Houston Astros: Alex Bregman, SS, Louisiana State University
Bregman has been one of the best hitters since he was in highschool, but he was committed to attending LSU. He is often compared to the Boston Red Sox shortstop Dustin Pedroia because of his agressive nature at the plate along with his size. He’s 5’11” 185 lbs but he has range from both sides and appears to have good instincts at the position after showing improvement defensively this spring.
3. Colorado Rockies: Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary High School (FL)
In Rodgers the Colorado Rockies may have found their solution for the shortstop position once current shortstop Troy Tulowitzski retires. He drives the ball consistently and can hit for power, especially for a kid coming out of highschool. He has great instincts at the position along with a powerful arm, speed and wide range. He’s been compared to the Chicago Cubs’ Addison Russell.
4. Texas Rangers: Dillon Tate, RHP, University of California Santa Barbara
Tate could throw in the upper 80’s coming out of highschool in 2012. He now throws an above average mid-high 90’s fastball along with an sharp slider that hits the mid-high 80’s. He also throws a curveball and a changeup that both have the potential to be above average with a little work in the minors. Once excelling in the bullpen, Tate became a starter for UCSB in 2015 and missed just one start due to a minor injury. He’s expected to be a starter in the Majors in a few years.
5. Houston Astros: Kyle Tucker, OF, HB Plant High Scool (FL)
Kyle Tucker is the younger brother of Astros’ rookie Preston Tucker. The younger Tucker says he models himself after his brother’s example on the field. The elder Tucker made his MLB debut in early May of this season. So far he is batting .263 with two home runs and nine RBI in 88 games for the Astros. The younger Tucker is considered the better player and is expected to perform at an above average level.
6. Minnesota Twins: Tyler Jay, LHP, University of Illinois
Even though Tyler Jay made just two starts in his colliegate career. He has all the tools needed to be a big league starter. There’s a chance that his route to the majors could be sped up. With the Twins being in contention, they could use Jay in the bullpen and potentially move him into the starting rotation next season.
7. Boston Red Sox: Alex Benintendi, OF, University of Arkansas
Benintendi is widely considered the best 5-tooled player in the draft. He was targeted early by the Red Sox who got lucky that he didn’t go higher up in the draft. He’s a solid all around player and it’s surprising he didn’t go earlier in the draft, much to the good luck of the Red Sox.
8. Chicago White Sox: Carson Fullmer, RHP, Vanderbuilt University
Fullmer became a starter for Vanderbuilt just mid-season and shows promise to be a great starter despite his small stature. He’s been considered by most as the best pitcher in the draft. The White Sox highly coveted Fullmer and were likely ecstatic that no other team picked him up before their pick came with seven before them. They would have also considered Jay or Tate but really wanted the Vandy right-hander.
9. Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ, OF, University of Cincinnati
Outfielder Ian Happ is widely considered the best position player in the draft after the first two shortstops taken in Swanson and Bregman and OF Alex Benintendi was picked by the Red Sox. He can play at both second base and in the outfield so the Cubs could use him at either position.
10. Philadelphia Phillies: Cornelius Randolph, SS, Griffin High School (GA)
WIth how poorly the Phillies have been playing the past few seasons it’s somewhat surprising that they didn’t go with a college player who may be able to help them now. But they went with Cornelius Randolph, another shortstop out of Griffin High School in Georgia. They went with the best player left on the board. Randolph is known to be one of the best highschool hitters in the country. It’ll take him a few extra years in the minors to develop but barring some severe injury drafting him will pay off for the furture in a few years.
**Notable pick: The Cleveland Indians drafted last year’s number one draft pick Aiken with the 17th overall pick. They did so despite the fact that he is only recently recovering from Tommy John surgery. This isn’t exactly unprecedented as other clubs have chosen to wait for what might be an even better pitcher once he’s fully recovered. That won’t be for awhile yet, however.