A few days ago, John Sickels released his latest mock draft which we wrote about here. This is the fourth mock draft from industry experts that we talked about over the last week. There were also mock drafts from Baseball America, Keith Law and Jonathan Mayo. With these four all coming out around the same time, instead of relying on one to be the most accurate, we take a look at the average rankings between the four to see how the draft would play out. The first day of the draft is just 16 days away, so while some guys could drop or rise for some teams, you begin to have a pretty good sense by now about who should be at the top of the draft class.
The Pittsburgh Pirates pick 9th and 14th overall in the first round this year, so below you will find the top 14 players, using the combined averages of these four mock drafts. Next to each player, you will find their ranking in BA, Keith Law, Jonathan Mayo and John Sickels in that order(the order in which we covered the drafts). In case of a tie, I factored in my own rankings as the tie-breaker.
1. Jonathan Gray, RHP Oklahoma – 2, 1, 1, 2
2. Mark Appel, RHP Stanford – 1, 2, 2, 1
3. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF San Diego – 3, 3, 3, 3
4. Kohl Stewart, RHP Texas(HS) – 4, 4, 6, 4
5. Colin Moran, 3B North Carolina – 9, 5, 5, 7
6. Braden Shipley, RHP, Nevada – 5, 6, 8, 8
7. Clint Frazier, OF Georgia(HS) – 7, 13, 7, 9
8. Austin Meadows, OF Georgia (HS) – 12, 12, 9, 5
9. Reese McGuire, C Washington(HS) – 6, 10, 11, 12
10. Sean Manaea, LHP Indiana State – 14, 8, 4, 14
11. Trey Ball, LHP Indiana(HS) – 10, 14, 10, 10
12. DJ Peterson, 1B/3B New Mexico – 11, 9, 14, 15
13. Hunter Renfroe, OF Miss. St – 15, 15, 17, 6
14. Ryne Stanek, RHP Arkansas – 8, 7, 12, 27
After those top 14 players, Dominic Smith(HS/1B) was the highest ranked player, followed by JP Crawford, the HS shortstop out of California. Crawford was ranked 15th by Jonathan Mayo, and 16th by everyone else. Smith was ranked 23rd by Baseball America, which dropped him in the rankings.
Players that also got mentioned in the top 14 spots in any of the mock drafts were, Phil Bickford(13th by BA), a HS right-hander out of California. Fresno State outfielder Aaron Judge was ranked #13 by Jonathan Mayo. John Sickels has Ian Clarkin, a HS lefty out of California in the 13th spot. So basically, the lucky 13th spot is up in the air. Also of note, all three of these players, plus Crawford and Smith, are all from California.
Finally, there is news from today that Sean Manaea was scratched from his start. Jim Callis mentioned that he could start later in the week, so the injury likely isn’t serious. Manaea has had various ailments throughout the year, plus pitched in extremely cold weather and had a full week wiped out by rain early in the season. Despite all that, he has had a strong season. He’s definitely a wildcard in the draft. Will a team take a chance with him, possibly with the intentions of shutting him down for awhile, or will he just drop in the draft? They will have to weigh potential/upside VS injury risk. If he is there at #14 when the Pirates pick, you may just take that risk for a possible frontline lefty.