As the 2015 Major League Baseball draft gets closer and closer, each week seems to bring a new mock draft, and the Arizona Diamondbacks, who select first, are predicted to choose yet another player. As of June 1, though, most experts seem to think that Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson will be the one that the Diamondbacks choose, being the best player in the class. The main competitors are Georgia prep catcher Tyler Stephenson and New York prep outfielder Garrett Whitley, as well as college shortstop Alex Bregman and college pitchers Tyler Jay and Dillon Tate. There are still ten days to go until the draft officially starts, so these names could change as time goes by. It only takes one team to reshuffle its approach for the whole draft and MLB betting to undergo seismic change.
Taking a Look at the 2015 MLB Betting Draft Preview
Who Has the Better MLB Draft Odds?
Going into the draft, the top three power hitters from the college ranks are Chris Shaw, David Thompson and Christine Stewart. Thompson had the most at-bats in 2015 (331) and slugged 19 home runs, 16 doubles and finished with a slugging percentage of .683. Shaw (144) and Stewart (177) only had about half as many at-bats, but that meant their numbers were similar, as Shaw hit 11 home runs and Stewart hit 15. None of these players are projected to go high in the first round, but they should go fairly quickly, as teams may want to make a big splash in the power hitting game.
The best “pure hitters” out there are Kevin Newman, Ian Happ and Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi also has 18 home runs to go with a slash line of .391/.492/.738. His walks (40) well outnumber his strikeouts (29), and his stealing rate is a larcenous 22 for 26. Happ and Newman have respective averages of .369 and .370, although Happ has a little more power and Newman is a little better at swiping bases.
So, after Dansby Swanson goes to Vanderbilt, here are some of the most likely next choices, according to FanGraph. Brendan Rogers, a Florida prep shortstop, has committed to Florida State, and the Astros are likely to pick him with that second choice. This pick is protected, so the Astros would pick second in 2016 if they can’t sign Rodgers. The 2016 class is projected to be even stronger than the 2015 one, so while general managers aren’t likely to punt picks intentionally this year, there is that awareness that if negotiations don’t go well for the teams, they know that an even better player is likely to be in that sport in 2016. The other likely option for Houston here would be Alex Bregman.
Colorado has the third pick, and many sources are confirming that they are giving Tyler Jay a long look, and if Swanson and Rodgers are gone, the Rockies will pick this southpaw. Dillon Tate, a righty, was also considered here at one point, but he has faded a bit, and Jay has three primo pitches that make him the best pitcher in the 2015 class.
There is some disagreement as to what the Texas Rangers are likely to do with their fourth pick. In the past, they have tended to use upside as their prime characteristic, although general manager Jon Daniels allegedly wants a college player in this draft and has already sat down with Alex Bregman. If he is still available, Bregman may be the most likely pick. Some college pitchers the Rangers were watching have faded a bit. If Rodgers falls to the fourth slot, expect the Rangers to jump at him. The Astros pick again in the fifth slot, so expect them to go after Florida prep outfielder Kyle Tucker.