June 9 is right around the corner, which means time is running out for teams to figure out who their first-round selection will be in the 2016 MLB Draft. This season’s crop has an interesting selection of youngsters. Whereas many regarded Dansby Swanson as the easy selection for the Arizona Diamondbacks with the first pick in 2015 (the other members of the Big Three in Alex Bregman and Brendan Rogers were nearly no-brainers at two and three) the Philadelphia Phillies may not have it so easy.
It’s pretty easy to agree on who the top ten or twelve guys to be selected this year will be; however, it’s still unclear how they will land. That doesn’t mean that it’s too early to look at the options of each of the teams inside the top-ten picks have.
1. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
The Phillies were supposed to be rebuilding this year, but instead they are reaping the rewards of the Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and Ken Giles trades much earlier than expected and are actually competing.
That being said, they may be looking for a player that is close to ready as opposed to a project like controversial high school sensation Jason Groome. Besides, they have quite a bit of depth in young pitching.
If you look at the bats that will be available, Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis or Tennessee third baseman Nick Senzel are the most polished. Both dominated the Cape Cod League this past summer — Lewis slashed .300/.344/.500 with seven home runs while Senzel slashed .364/.418/.558 en route to League MVP honors — so we know their power numbers aren’t inflated by the aluminum bats. Both continued to stay hot at their respective colleges in 2016.
Senzel would likely lead to a shift to first for Maikel Franco, whereas Lewis would have a much clearer path. Both possess exciting, untapped raw power, but that’s also because both need some work on their swings. Neither would be a swing and a miss.
Educated guess: Kyle Lewis
2. CINCINNATI REDS
Like the Phillies, the Reds are in complete rebuild mode. Unlike the Phillies, they are barely competing at the big league level. They have a lot of depth at pitching, so they too will likely look at a bat. Eric Jagielo is currently their best third base option on the horizon, and his health issues have made him one of the bigger question marks in the system.
With Jesse Winker on the verge of making his debut, and Billy Hamilton seemingly locked into the centerfield position, the Reds — who have an affinity for college players — should be hoping the Phillies go with Lewis and Senzel falls to them.
Educated guess: Nick Senzel
3. ATLANTA BRAVES
The Braves have lived by the mantra, ‘you can never have too much pitching,’ since John Hart and John Coppolella took over the reconstruction of their major and minor league system. If Groome falls past the Reds and Phillies, there is simply no way that this front office will pass on a lefty with the intrigue and upside he possesses.
Educated guess: Jason Groome
4. COLORADO ROCKIES
Many see Florida left hander A.J. Puk as a candidate for the ol’ 1-1. He seems to have put his off-field issues behind him, having a solid season. He is heads and shoulders the best college arm in the draft — maybe Dakota Hudson comes close — when he is at his best, but he has been plagued by inconsistency.
Still, the Rockies have had a lot of success with first-round college pitchers, and there is no need for them to skew from that strategy. Should Puk go before their pick, Hudson could be a solid target.
Educated guess: A.J. Puk
5. MILWAUKEE BREWERS
I don’t really understand why, with Orlando Arcia’s imminent promotion and path to superstardom looming, but nearly every mock draft has the Brewers investing this pick in Delvin Perez. There is no denying Perez’s potential tools, arguably the best overall in the top ten selections. But they are potential, and he is young at a position that the Brewers should hope they have on lock down for the foreseeable future.
The Brewers need pitching; they almost always do. Since they trend on the high school side when drafting players, they should target right-hander Riley Pint. There are already reports that his improved delivery has uncorked 100 mile per hour gas… as a high schooler (St. Thomas Aquinas – Kansas). That’s exciting stuff right there.
Educated guess: Riley Pint
Want to know who goes with the next five picks? Who do the As, Marlins, Padres, Tigers and White Sox pick? Head on over to Today’s Knuckleball for the full article by clicking on the link below!