The MLB draft starts next Monday at 4 PM PST. In this final week, we’re going to throw some names out who might be available when the Mariners pick with numbers 17, 55, 93, and 123. (NB: there are big gaps between their first and second choices and second and third choices because that’s when the competitive balance picks are. The Mariners don’t have any picks in those rounds, but the good news is the Astros get one because the stupid Cardinals hacked their database. Stupid Cardinals.) We’ve sorted players into two tiers—projected first/second rounders and projected third/fourth rounders. We have also divided players by position, although with the understanding that this draft is exceptionally rich with two-way prospects, and many draftees get moved around defensively to address skill sets/organizational needs anyway.
Top tier (Projected first-rounders-ish):
Very good, definitely/probably gone by 17: Jordon Adell, Austin Beck, Adam Haseley, Jeren Kendall. Moment to say man I wish we could get Jo Adell, who is just an amazing kid. There is some question about where he goes, per this Minor League Ball piece, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. But you never know; just a few months ago Ethan wrote this piece on Jeren Kendall, who’s now slotted by Baseball America as going 18th. The draft comes at you fast. (MLB.com still has Kendall as 6th.)
Bubba Thompson, McGill-Toolen HS - Owner of the best name in the draft, Leslie “Bubba” Thompson is a two-sport player (QB) who turned down scholarship offers from Mississippi and Tennessee to commit to Alabama. Thompson possesses plus plus speed and is a surefire centerfielder, and brings that same speed to his lightning-fast bat.
Quentin Holmes, Monsignor McClancy HS - A lot of OF prospects carry the speed label, but few have it like Holmes. He’s a true 80-grade speed prospect, the fastest kid in the draft. His bat is a gamble, though, even less developed than most of his prep counterparts.
Tristen Lutz, Martin HS - The opposite of slender, speedy Holmes, Lutz is a 6’3”/210 outfielder with un-plus speed but a strong, accurate arm. He’s a big, right-handed power bat with a projectable frame. Personally, I don’t love his swing, but scouts do.
Heliot Ramos, Leadership Christian Academy (Puerto Rico) - Of all the toolsy toolshavers in the draft, Ramos might be the toolsiest toolhavingest. He has speed, athleticism, strong defensive instincts, and raw power. Ramos’s swing can be inconsistent but he’s able to generate power with it and spray the ball around. He is a project but the payoff could be a more coachable Yasiel Puig.
Drew Waters, Etowah HS - Switch-hitter who can hit gappers from the right side and for power from the left side. Solid overall athlete with plus speed and plus arm strength. The Tigers are heavily interested in him, and he did a lengthy interview with Bless You Boys.
Garrett Mitchell, Orange Lutheran HS - Mitchell has Type 1 Diabetes, which is apparently making some clubs hesitant, which is some bullshit, because he’s super-toolsy and fun as heck. He’s very fast, has good defensive instincts, and possesses a strong arm. A lefty who can make a lot of hard, loud contact, Mitchell has raw power that will need to be developed into a refined hit tool in order to show up in games. He’s a gamble, but the ceiling is super high.
Second Tier (Projected second-rounders-ish):
Daniel Cabrera, Parkton Baptist HS - No, not that Daniel Cabrera. This one is a corner outfielder whose plus skill is his gap-to-gap power.
Jacob Pearson, West Monroe HS - Pearson stands just 5’11” but he is strong, with a short, compact swing that is simple and powerful. He’s fairly fast but doesn’t have a great arm, but the bat will play enough to make up for it. Think a left-handed, chicken-fried Tyler O’Neill.
Stuart Fairchild, Wake Forest - A Seattle native, Fairchild could have gone as a prepster, but decided to “get an education” and attend Wake Forest. While he’s had some uneven performances, this year he’s slashed 350/.430/.602 with 13 home runs. He’s got speed, too, notching 16 stolen bases. He’s also a solid outfielder. There’s a good argument that he is the best college outfielder in the draft.
Conner Uselton, Southmoore HS - Two-sport athlete with plus arm strength and speed, although at 6’3”/190 he might slow down a little as he matures. With that body type comes power, though. His swing could use some refining and he is a project, but there’s a lot to work with here. He’s committed to attend college close to home at Oklahoma and might follow through on that if not drafted highly, as he’s already 19 and would be draft-eligible after two years.
Brian Miller, North Carolina - The rare college OF prospect. I am struggling to find something to say about Brian Miller. He doesn’t really have one standout skill. He has good plate discipline, which sometimes feels like the baseball equivalent of having a good personality. He hits, but not really for power. Even his name is boring. No more B. Millers in our system, Jerry, we’ve had enough, please and thank you.
Michael Gigliotti, Lipscomb - Another college OF prospect appears! Gigliotti has a pretty swing and a solid approach at the plate, but it was an eye-opening performance in the Cape Cod League this past summer that shot him up draft boards. He’s maybe the best bunter in the draft, which doesn’t sound fun except bunting is a skill too, okay, and it’s helped him post an OBP around the .400s every year of his college career.
Greg Deichmann, Louisiana State - Still another college OF prospect! Deichmann wasn’t drafted out of high school, but was drafted after he headed off to LSU and smacked 11 homers last year. He told the Twins kindly no thank you, though, and instead worked on refining his plate approach and learning to access his power more from being more selective with his pitches.
Cole Brannen, The Westfield School, which sounds fancy as heck and is in Georgia - In contrast to a lot of the high-risk high-reward names on this list, Brannen is a steady producer with a lower ceiling but more advanced approach. He does have plus-plus speed, so there’s one extra tool in his belt.
Mason House, Whitehouse HS - At 6’3” and 190, House lives up to his name. He looks like a man among boys, which is sort of surprising when you consider that he wasn’t on very many scouts’ draft radars until recently. He’s not a plus runner or defender, but he can hit. He also has an 80-grade mean mug in his team photo.
Calvin Mitchell, Rancho Bernardo HS - Coming out of the same high school as Alex Jackson, Mitchell has seen his draft stock slip recently thanks to a down spring. He’s a bat-first prospect so that’s a big negative, and he might decide to head on to USD if he isn’t drafted in the first three rounds.