Although it is just under six months away, I figured it was a good time to break down my rankings for this years MLB First Year Player Draft. (I understand a lot can change from now to June but I am ranking these players a if the draft was today)
#1: SS/2B Brendan Rodgers (Lake Mary HS. Florida)
MLB Player Comparison: J.J. Hardy/Andrelton Simmonds
Brendan Rodgers, a senior shortstop out of Lake Mary High School (FL), is ranked number one on most draft boards for this years MLB Draft. Rodgers, who is committed to Florida State for next fall, has the potential to be a 'face of the franchise' type of player. His shutdown defense, to go along with his cannon of an arm have put him at the top of most mock drafts. But don't sell him short on the offensive end. Rodgers, who has a short and compact swing and produces very good bat speed, has the potential to be a 20-25 homer guy. He has above average speed, which helps him on the base paths and his range in the middle infield. It is unknown whether or not he will play shortstop his whole time throughout the minor leagues, but he could also be a very good third baseman with his arm and range. Rodgers has a very bright future and I expect him to be the number one pick in June.
#2:RHP Michael Matuella (Junior, Duke University)
MLB Comparison: Adam Wainwright
The 6 foot 6, 235 pound right hander is one of the hardest throwing pitchers in this years draft. His fastballs from the first to third inning sat from 95-97 MPH and then 93-96 MPH after that. Matuella's fastball is ranked 70 on a scouts 20-80 scale. Last season, Matuella posted just 40 hits in 59 innings, he also led the team with 68 strikeouts and opponents batting average at .190. Matuella has four pitches, and above average fastball and a trio of offspeed pitches that he can throw for strikes and during any count. Undrafted out of high school, Matuella is set to be the highest drafted player in program history. Matuella and former first overall pick Brady Aiken are fighting to become the second ranked player in this years draft, but with Astros having the second pick and already taking their chance on Aiken, I expect Matuella to be drafted second overall.
#3: LHP Brady Aiken (No school listed)
MLB Comparison: Cliff Lee/Clayton Kershaw
Brady Aiken, yes that name should sound familiar. Aiken was selected first overall by the Astros in last years MLB Draft, but the two failed to reach a deal. After battling some injuries during the offseason, scouts still believe Aiken is still in demand amongst the pitchers in this years draft. "No matter what Brady decides to do, We'll be there. Unless something drastic has happened, we know he's a good kid who comes from a good family. That has never been a problem. All we'd want to see is that he's healthy, hasn't gained too much weight and is throwing free and easy." said by an MLB Scout who preferred to be anonymous. Aiken was orginally committed to play baseball for UCLA last season but if he went to school there he wouldn't be draft eligible until he is a junior. The left-hander has a fastball that can get up to 96 MPH, but his best pitch is his devastating slider that he throws at 84 MPH. I expect Aiken to be selected either first or third in this years draft, I don't see the Astros taking another chance on him at # 2.
#4: LHP Nathan Kirby (Junior, University of Virginia)
MLB Comparison: Cliff Lee/Chris Sale
After a tough freshman year, Kirby dominated the NECBL Summer League and proved that he was a dominant south paw. the 6 foot 3 left-hander has a plus curveball with a fastball that sits to the low to mid 90's with great movement. His changeup is improving as well, and could be his go to pitch this year. Kirby posted an 8-1 record with a 1.36 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 15 walks in 66 innings pitched and helped lead the top ranked Cavaliers to the College World Series finals this past year. Kirby is expected to go around 4, 5, 6 but with him constantly improving I expect him to end up at # 4 to the Rangers.
#5: Walker Buehler (Junior, Vanderbilt University)
Buehler helped lead the Commodores to a National Championship this past season. The 6 foot 1 right-hander has a four pitch asset with a fastball that sits from 92-94 MPH with an above average curveball. Buehler will be Vanderbilt's ace this year after being selected in the Top 10 in this years MLB Draft.
Baseball is,was, and always will be the greatest game in the world
Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.