This is the first of at least three MLB Draft Big Boards I will publish leading up to the draft (June 9).
Now, this isn’t a ranking of the players I think are best, but some of the potentially realistic options who could be available to the Dodgers come pick No. 20, and to a lesser extent, Nos. 32 and 36.
So, there won’t be any further mentions of Jason Groome, Delvin Perez, Riley Pint or Corey Ray (who might be my favorite player overall in this year’s draft).
There’s no guarantee the Dodgers will select any of the players below. I tend to lean toward the prep player, so you’ll see a lot of high schoolers on every iteration of this list. But looking at Billy Gasparino’s three drafts (two with the Padres, one last year with the Dodgers), he has selected a college player with each of his first three picks (Hunter Renfroe, Trea Turner and Walker Buehler). And seeing what the Dodgers did with their second selection last year (Kyle Funkhouser), I’m not too optimistic they’ll select more than one high schooler with their first three picks. Because of my preference, I’m not the biggest fan of that strategy, but I understand it.
I won’t write profiles on all these guys, and I will probably write a profile or two of guys who don’t make any of my big boards.
Here is the first version of my MLB Draft Big Board.
My Big Board, v 1.0
1. 3B/OF/RHP Josh Lowe, Pope HS (Ga.)
2. RHP Matt Manning, Sheldon HS (Calif.)
3. SS/3B Nolan Jones, Holy Ghost Prep (Pa.)
4. RHP Jared Horn, Vintage HS (Calif.)
5. RHP Justin Dunn, Boston College
6. LHP Joey Wentz, Shawnee Mission East HS (Kansas)
7. LHP Eric Lauer, Kent St.
8. RHP Kevin Gowdy, Santa Barbara HS (Calif.)
9. RHP Jordan Sheffield, Vanderbilt
10. OF William Benson, The Westminser Schools (Ga.)
11. OF Taylor Trammell, Mount Paran Christian HS (Ga.)
12. RHP Forrest Whitley, Alamo Heights HS (Texas)
13. RHP Reggie Lawson, Victor Valley HS (Calif.)
14. 1B/OF Alex Kirilloff, Plum HS (Pa.)
15. RHP Dakota Hudson, Mississippi St.
I’ve written profiles on Josh Lowe and Matt Manning. Lowe is the clear No. 1 on my board and probably will be unless he gets some late helium that essentially locks him into a Top 10 position.
Nolan Jones is more of a lock to stay in the infield than Lowe, but his offensive upside isn’t as high. Keith Law passes along word the Red Sox really like him, and they pick 12th.
Jared Horn is one of those prep righties whom Logan White would love to select. He’s 6’3, 190, projectable with a low-to-mid-90s fastball.
Justin Dunn has been mocked to the Dodgers by Keith Law and Jonathan Mayo, and he was also selected by the Dodgers in the 37th round of the 2013 draft. Posses a legit low-to-mid-90s fastball.
Joey Wentz has a low-to-mid-90s fastball from the left side, which doesn’t usually last long in the draft.
Eric Lauer might have some helium leading up to the draft, especially since he threw a no-hitter last week.
Kevin Gowdy is similar to Horn, but he has a better overall command profile. He’s also a local kid.
William Benson draws comparisons to Jason Heyward because of his physical stature. He’s not as good defensively, but he has big-time power potential.
Taylor Trammel might be one of the best overall athletes in the draft and is a legitimate center fielder.
Forrest Whitley is a large right-hander with elite fastball velocity. The natural comp is Tyler Kolek.
Reggie Lawson doesn’t have an overpowering fastball yet, but he has a smooth and clean delivery that leads some to believe in his upside and potential.
Alex Kirilloff has one of the better bats available in the draft, and that comes with big, power potential.
Dakota Hudson might go well before No. 20, but he’s one of the college arms with two pitches that grade out at at least plus right now.
The draft is three weeks away. Unless Lowe becomes completely unrealistic at No. 20, I don’t see any prospect knocking him out of the top spot. But I would expect some movement from the 2-15 guys … probably more on the back-end than the front.