Today is draft day! This is one of my favorite days on the baseball calendar. In preparation for the annual event, here is a list of five bold predictions I am making for tonight.
1. Kris Bryant will go in the first two picks
Nearly all draft boards have Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray as the first two picks in the draft, but I think that University of San Diego third baseman, Kris Bryant, will overtake one of them. Which? I’m not sure, but Bryant’s incredible season in which he posted a 1.313 OPS, walked in over 20% of his plate appearances, and averaged a homerun every 14 at bats will push him into the top two slots of the draft.
2. Kohl Stewart will either get drafted 7th overall, or will fall out of the top 10.
High school pitcher, Kohl Stewart, is also a highly regarded football recruit who has signed with Texas A&M and has expressed strong interest in being an Aggie on both the baseball and football field. Let’s flash back to the 2011 draft when Bubba Starling, another football star, was selected 5th overall by the Royals. Because of the leverage he had with football, Starling was able to sign for an astounding 7.5 million. Granted, Scott Boras was his agent and this was also before the new CBA was enacted, but the point remains that these two-way athletes can use their options to demand more money. Not many teams have enough allotted money to handle significantly overpaying for the first round pick. The Astros, Cubs, and Rockies could all afford it, but Stewart is not a top 3 pick. The other top 10 team that can afford it is the Red Sox with the 7th selection. If the Sox don’t take Stewart, I think he will fall out of the top 10.
3. The Mariners pick D.J. Peterson
This is slightly gut and slightly logic. I think that Peterson will go off the board in the 11-14 range, and I’m a fan of him personally, so why shouldn’t Seattle get him? I think his future home is first base; a spot that doesn’t seem to be occupied long term in Seattle. If necessary, he may be able to transition to left field where his bat should profile just fine. As I’ve said before, If Mike Carp can learn to play outfield, anyone can.
4. Austin Wilson will be selected in the top 15
Austin Wilson. Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Prior to the season, Wilson was expected to be a possible top 10 pick, but injuries have pushed him to the back of the first round on most draft boards. The injury was a stress reaction in his elbow, which shouldn’t be particularly concerning down the road, so if a team decides that he is not a liability, he may go in the top 15 after all. The tools are still there, and a team who wants to save money on their first round pick may still be able to get a slight discount on the “damaged good.”
5. Michael Lorenzen is taken by the Mariners with their 49th overall pick
This is by far my most bold prediction. In my pre-season article, I mentioned Lorenzen as the possible first round pick for the Mariners, but his stock has continuously fallen throughout the season. It would take a miracle, but there is a very small chance that Lorenzen would last until Seattle’s 2nd round pick, in which case I would be very happy to take him. He has the tools to be a very good defensive centerfielder down the road and could be a leadoff hitter as well. If he doesn’t develop as a position player, his mid 90’s fastball could make him an option in the bullpen.
Here at Sodo Mojo, we will have lots of draft content as things develop over the next three days of the draft. Tune into the draft at 3 pm on the west coast.