2016 New Player Mock Draft: Round 2
After a little break to get the rankings out of the way, the new TDG writers continue our 5 round mock draft of players who entered the draft pool in 2015. This includes 2015 international signings and Rule 4 draft picks. We’ve each written up a short explanation of our choice. Our hope is that you’ll be able to use this information to help you in the upcoming draft season. We’ll post each round separately along with a wrap-up post following the fifth round. At the end of it all, you’ll know 50+ players a little bit better, and you’ll know us a little better too.
2.1- Eric – Brady Aiken, SP, Cleveland Indians
Securing the best player in the draft with the first overall pick gives me the luxury of rolling the dice here. Aiken’s combination of pure stuff, command, handedness, and build made him the top selection in the 2014 amateur draft. The Astros failed to come to terms with the talented pitcher after a physical revealed concerns about his left elbow, and he underwent Tommy John surgery shortly thereafter. The injury did not dissuade the Indians from investing a first round pick in Aiken, and if he fully recovers, I may have landed the best position player and pitcher in the draft.
2.2- Matt– Daz Cameron, OF, Houston Astros
Standing 6’2”, 185 lbs, Daz is a spitting image of his father, Mike Cameron. He fell to the 37th pick in the June draft due to steep bonus demands, but was considered by many to be a top-10 talent available. While the power didn’t translate in his first year of pro ball, his frame and athleticism suggests there’s room for growth. I feel he has a higher floor than most prep hitters given his bloodlines, speed, and defensive ability, but he still gives you the ceiling of a potential 20-20 outfielder. I may have slightly reached on both of my picks so far, but I like where I stand with two high-upside outfielders.
2.3- Ben– Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
Purely at the plate, Kyle Tucker may have the biggest upside the draft. Tucker’s raw power is nearly unmatched among 2015 draftees, and his bat speed is right up there with the best. Unlike most of the big-power bats in the draft, his hit tool is good enough to allow the power to translate into games. Tucker should be able to stick in the outfield, and his peak offensive production could approach 30 home runs with a helpful batting average. Tucker isn’t exactly a speedster, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him chop in a few stolen bases as well. Tucker’s a risky player, and last year’s .246/.294/.353 start in the minor leagues wasn’t all that comforting, but his offensive capabilities were too much to pass up.
2.4- Jack– Eddy Julio Martinez, OF, Chicago Cubs
With a well-rounded skill set, my second pick is another guy who could potentially be a 5 category contributor. At 6’2″195lbs, he has an athletes build, which is headlined by his well above average speed. He is obviously a gamble, but praise of at least average offensive tools across the board gives me faith that he will be a player with a solid fantasy floor, when I’m really hoping for an OF2 ceiling who gets Andruw Jones comps.
2.5- JJ– Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves
This will likely be seen as a reach by most, and I understand the concerns regarding Riley’s ability to stick at third in the long-term. However, I’m a big believer in Riley’s power potential and I see a player that could hit for 25-30 homers while hitting for an average in the neighborhood of .280 and doing so while playing third base. Braves sources that I trust have raved about Riley almost since the day of his selection as the 41st overall pick and they promoted him aggressively after he tore through the Gulf Coast League, giving me hope that he will move more quickly through their system than a typical high school bat. It was between Riley and the alluring upside of his teammate Kolby Allard for me with this pick.
2.6- Jesse– Carson Fulmer, SP, Chicago White Sox
After taking high risk/high reward pick Dillon Tate in the first round, it would probably be smart to balance the risk and take a safer bet. I didn’t do that. Instead I went with another high potential starter, the 8th overall pick from Vanderbilt, Carson Fulmer. In his first taste of pro ball, the White Sox starter featured two plus pitches; a mid 90s fastball and a power curveball, on his way to striking out 26 batters in 23 innings. Like Tate, Fulmer needs to turn his changeup into a third ++ pitch to reach his ceiling as a SP2. If he can, he’ll help form a formidable trio for Chicago, with Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon. If the changeup, along with his command issues, don’t develop, I may have just drafted my second late inning reliever.
2.7- Travis – Josh Naylor, 1B, Miami Marlins
I thought about going with Randolph here but God help me, I love loud tools and I can’t turn down Naylor’s huge, 65-70 raw power. The fact that he seems to have an excellent feel for contact and has a good chance of realizing that power in games as he moves up the chain is just too much to pass up. Hopefully, he can develop a mature approach and really maximize his hitting potential.
2.8- Tyler– Cornelius Randolph, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
I follow the Phillies more closely than any other system, and to me no player represents the change in that system in 2015 than their first round pick, Cornelius Randolph. Where the Wade, Gillick and Amaro regimes saw no shortage of toolsy athlete types rise up the prospect ranks and then flame out when faced with adjusting to in-game situations, Randolph represents the opposite of that type with just as much upside. His refined hit tool is his calling card, and rather than let him struggle at an uncomfortable position (he played shortstop, poorly, in High School) he was immediately put into the outfield and there’s been no doubt that the bat is what the Phillies are focused on. And that bat has already impressed to the tune of a .302/.425/.442 slash line over 53 games of rookie ball, but it’s the low strikeout rate as an 18-year-old that warm the cockles of my Dom Brown-withered heart. The bat is real, the position will stick, and the system will nurture and develop his skills in a way that should cause him to rocket up top prospect ranks quickly.
2.9- Frank– Hector Olivera, 3B/OF, Atlanta Braves
I tend to lean towards proximity to the big leagues in the back-end of the first few rounds of these drafts and it doesn’t get closer than someone who has already logged MLB plate appearances and is guaranteed a big league job. As with Maeda, Olivera is available because of his age and the question marks surrounding just exactly what he is. It’s a gamble I’m willing to take here allowing me to draft upside the rest of the way. In his ten seasons in Cuba’s most talented league, Olivera was one of the league’s elite, slashing .323/.407/.505 while walking far more than striking out. His miniscule strikeout rate of 7.6 percent helps ease some concerns for me that he’ll be overmatched and it appears he will have multi-position eligibility by the end of the first week of the 2016 season. This is certainly a gamble, but one I’m comfortable taking for a guy that would have clearly been taken in the first round of this draft a year ago
2.10- Greg– Byung-Ho Park, 1B, Minnesota Twins
Finding the proper position for veterans of foreign leagues is the toughest part of this exercise, not just because of the relative scarcity of scouting reports, but also because the value can vary wildly depending on where teams are in the contention cycle. No matter where my various teams are on that curve, Park is higher than 20th on my board. A .250 hitter with 20 home run potential isn’t special, but if you’re playing in a league deep enough that you’re doing a 50-player draft of new signees, that is valuable production in the present or a solid trade chip if you’re rebuilding. Taking a 29-year-old with so much upside still on the board is definitely the boring route, but also the prudent one.