By Kyle Johansen @kylejohansen on May 22, 2014
The 2014 MLB Draft is three weeks away and skews heavier on the pitching prospects than the hitters. The Houston Astros will likely select between the top-three pitching prospects for the No. 1 overall pick, but after that the draft is unpredictable as the pitching rankings received a recent shakeup with top prospects Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde requiring Tommy John surgery.
The following are the top five prospects at each position.
Brady Aiken has overtaken Carlos Rodon on most draft boards as a left-handed pitcher with three-plus pitches. His fastball sits anywhere from 90-94, combined with a sharp-breaking curveball in the low 80s and a deceptive changeup.
1. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS
2. Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
3. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS
4. Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
5. Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
Alex Jackson has the highest upside of any hitter in the draft, however, he may not stick at catcher long-term. If he stays at catcher then his draft prospects obviously go way up and his bat alone may carry him into the top three picks.
1. Alex Jackson, Rancho Bernardo HS
2. Max Pentecost, Kennesaw State University
3. Kyle Schwarber, Indiana
4. Chase Vallot, St. Thomas More HS
5. J.J. Schwarz, Palm Beach Gardens HS
Bradley Zimmer has the potential to be a rare center fielder with plus power and will be a coveted player in the upcoming draft. The question is whether or not he can stick defensively in center field.
1. Bradley Zimmer, San Francisco
2. Michael Conforto, Oregon State
3. Derek Hill, Elk Grove HS
4. Monte Harrison, Lee’s Summit West HS
5. Derek Fisher, Virginia
Most MLB first basemen begin at a different position and are moved over to first, but other than Braxton Davidson below, the following are all true first basemen. Top-ranked Casey Gillaspie has a disciplined approach with power from both sides of the plate.
1. Casey Gillaspie, Wichita State
2. Braxton Davidson, Roberson HS
3. A.J. Reed, Kentucky
4. Sam Travis, Indiana
5. J.D. Davis, Cal State Fullerton
Most of the top-ranked second basemen in this draft can be drafted after the first round, but Forrest Wall will likely be gone by the time the second round comes along as Wall is one of the best pure hitters in the draft, showing power with contact to all fields.
1. Forrest Wall, Orangewood Christian HS
2. Brian Anderson, Arkansas
3. Josh Morgan, Orange Lutheran HS
4. Ross Kivett, Kansas State
5. Dante Flores, Southern California
Nick Gordon is the son of retired MLB relief pitcher Tom (Flash) Gordon and the brother of current Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon. Gordon displays plus defense at shortstop with range, soft hands and a strong arm. He also shows the ability to hit for power down the road.
1. Nick Gordon, Olympia HS
2. Jacob Gatewood, Clovis HS
3. Trea Turner, North Carolina State
4. Milton Ramos, American Heritage HS
5. Ti’quan Forbes, Columbia HS
Michael Chavis is one of the better hitters in this year’s draft class with good bat speed and a short, compact stroke. He also has plus power and could be selected in the first round.
1. Michael Chavis, Sprayberry HS
2. Alex Blandino, Stanford
3. Taylor Sparks, UC Irvine
4. Matt Chapman, Cal State Fullerton
5. Bobby Bradley, Harrison Central HS
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