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Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft Review

MLB Draft took place on Monday Night in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Mike Stobe/Getty Images


The Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft took place on Monday Night in Secaucus, New Jersey, and history was made. At about 7 P.M., Major League Baseball’s new commissioner Rod Manfred declared the draft open, and The Arizona Diamondbacks were officially on the clock.


The Diamondbacks selected shortstop Dansby Swanson out of Vanderbilt University. The stud shortstop is a line drive hitter and was named the 2014 College World Series Most Outstanding Player, and has had a fantastic 2015 season batting .351 and slugging .640.

Former No. 1 pick Ken Griffey Jr. was selecting for the Seattle Mariners.

“It’s important for these kids to live in the moment,” Griffey said. “It’s a great day and a feeling like no other when you get drafted. My dad came back and told me I could either be No. 7 or No. 1 and you bet I took No. 1.”

The Houston Astros than selected Alex Bregman a shortstop out of Louisiana State University. Followed by the Colorado Rockies selection of Brendan Rodgers who is a shortstop out of Lake Mary high school in Florida. With the Rockies pick, it becomes the first time in Major League Baseball history that three shortstops were picked consecutively in the first round as one, two and three picks. The draft was also the first draft since 2008 where six of the first 20 picks are shortstops.

Brady Aiken, last year’s No. 1 pick was taken by the Cleveland Indians at No. 17 as he is recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

The 2015 MLB First Year Player Draft had three draftees from Canada, Miami Marlins Josh Naylor from St Joan of Arc Catholic SS Ontario, Atlanta Braves, Michael Soroka a right hander from Bishop Carroll HS Alberta Canada, and Jeff Degano who was a member of Canada’s Little League World Series team in 2005.

Ke’Bryan Hayes was selected No. 32 by the Pittsburg Pirates. He is the son of former New York Yankee and 1996 World Series champion Charlie Hayes.


Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies had the tenth pick of the draft and Phillies great Mike Schmidt was the team representative. The Hall of Famer was drafted in 1971 and played 18 seasons with the Phillies.

“When I was drafted in 1971 we did not have any of this. The scout came and knocked on the door and told you where you were going to play,” Schmidt said. “But I can imagine that for these young kids it is very exciting. It’s your first contract and you are getting paid to play a game you love.”

With the tenth pick the Phillies selected Cornelius Randolph, a shortstop/third baseman out of Griffin, Georgia.

Randolph hit .528 with Griffin High School and had a 1.568 on base per slugging percentage to go with 18 stolen bases and 18 runs batted in in 17 games this season. Randolph will most likely make the switch to third base with the Phillies. With the idea of moving Cole Hamels lingering, the Phillies are looking to rebuild their farm system and Randolph is a great way to start.

The Philadelphia Phillies with the No. 48 pick, the sixth pick of the second round, selected Scott Kingery a second baseman from Tucson, Arizona. Kingery was a walk-on his freshman year with the Arizona Wildcats. In 2015, Kingery hit an outstanding .392 with Arizona including .373 in Pac-12 play. He was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. Kingery is a strong second baseman and infielder that could see himself moving up the minor league latter rather quickly.

New York Yankees

With the sixteenth overall pick, and highest draft pick since 1992, the New York Yankees selected right handed pitcher James Kaprielian from the University of California, Los Angeles. Kaprielian, a 6-4 200 pound righty, went 10-4 with UCLA in 2015 with a 2.03 Earned run average. Yankees former pitcher, and Royals 1981 third round pick David Cone was on scene representing the Yankees.

“Being drafted is a life altering day for these kids. I still remember 1981i was drafted in the third round by my home town team the Kansas City Royals. It was a life changing day for me, my family and friends.” Cone said about being drafted. “It is just a surreal feeling and you becoming very anxious to get started with your career.”

Kaprielian has impressive numbers in 2015 as he has 114 strikeouts in 106.2 innings pitched. This is the Yankees third year in a row taking a college level player with their first pick. According to Baseball America’s scouting report, Kaprielian’s best pitch is a curveball, but he has a four-pitch mix. This pick feels like a safe one for the Yankees as Kaprielian fits right in with most recent top picks Eric Jagielo and Jacob Lindgren.

The Yankees also had the No. 30 pick as compensation for David Robertson, and selected Kyle Holder out of University of San Diego. Holder, who is ranked 55 overall according to Baseball America is a strong defensive infielder, who hit .348 this year with San Diego, and will be a strong asset for years to come. Holder was reportedly the top infield prospect in the draft.

With the 57th pick overall and the ninth pick of the second round, the Yankees selected Jeff Degano a left handed pitcher from Indiana State. Degano was named one of the best pitchers in college baseball. In 2015 Degano was 8-3 with a 2.36 earned run average with 126 strikeouts in 99 innings pitched for the Sycamores. Degano could very well be transformed into a major league starter.

New York Mets

The New York Mets traded away their first round pick at No. 26 for the acquiring of Michael Cuddyer. The Colorado Rockies selected Mike Nikorak, a right handed pitcher out of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania with the pick.

“There was about 20 people here with me tonight,” Nikorak said. “They’ve all been through it all and between my uncle and my mom, they’ve really held it down the past couple of years. The Rockies were the first team to send their general manager to me and I knew that if I fell to 27 there was a possibility and that’s what ended up happening.”

With the 53rd pick overall and tenth in the second round the New York Mets selected Desmond Lindsay from the Out-Of-Door Academy (FL). Lindsay was ranked 102 by, but shows extreme power and could be a great fit in the infield for the Mets.



Complete Round 1 Review:

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks- Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt (TN)
  2. Houston Astros- Alex Bregman, LSU (LA)
  3. Colorado Rockies- Brendan Rodgers, Lake Mary HS (FL)
  4. Texas Rangers- Dillion Tate, University of California – Santa Barbara (CA)
  5. Houston Astros- Kyle Tucker, H.B. Plant HS (FL)
  6. Minnesota Twins- Tyler Jay, University of Illinois (IL)
  7. Boston Red Sox- Andrew Benintendi, Arkansas (AR)
  8. Chicago White Sox- Carson Fulmer Vanderbilt (TN)
  9. Chicago Cubs- Ian Happ, Cincinnati (OH)
  10. Philadelphia Phillies- Cornelius Randolph, Griffin HS (GA)
  11. Cincinnati Reds- Tyler Stephenson, Kennesaw Mountain HS (GA)
  12. Miami Marlins- Josh Naylor, St Joan of Arc Catholic SS (ON)
  13. Tampa Bay Rays- Garrett Whitely, Niskayuna HS (NY)
  14. Atlanta Braves-Kolby Allard, San Clemente HS (CA)
  15. Milwaukee Brewers -Trent Clark, Richland HS (TX)
  16. New York Yankees – James Kaprielian, UCLA (Cal)
  17. Cleveland Indians- Brady Aiken (Former 2014 No. 1 Pick)
  18. San Francisco Giants- Phil Bickford, College of Southern Nevada (NV)
  19. Pittsburg Pirates- Kevin Newman, Arizona (AZ)
  20. Oakland Athletics- Richie Martin, Florida (FL)
  21. Kansas City Royals- Ashe Russell, Cathedral HS (IN)
  22. Detroit Tigers- Beau Burrows, Weatherford HS (TX)
  23. St. Louis Cardinals- Nick Plummer, Brother Rice HS (MI)
  24. Los Angeles Dodgers- Walker Buehler, Vanderbilt (TN)
  25. Baltimore Orioles- D.J. Stewart, Florida State (FL)
  26. Los Angeles Angels- Taylor Ward, Fresno State (CA)
  27. Colorado Rockies- Mike Nikorak, Stroudsburg HS (PA)
  28. Atlanta Braves- Michael Soraka, Bishop Carroll HS (AB)
  29. Toronto Blue Jays- Jon Harris, Missouri State (MO)
  30. New York Yankees- Kyle Holder, University of San Diego (CAL)
  31. San Francisco Giants- Chris Shaw, Boston College (MA)
  32. Pittsburgh Pirates- Ke’Bryan Hayes, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX)
  33. Kansas City Royals- Nolan Watson, Lawrence North HS (IN)
  34. Detroit Tigers- Christin Stewart, Tennessee (TN)
  35. Los Angeles Dodgers-Kyle Funkhouser, Louisville (KY)
  36. Baltimore Orioles- Ryan Mountcastle, Hagerty HS (FL)

Other Important Picks:

  1. Philadelphia Phillies- Scott Kingery
  2. New York Mets- Desmond Lindsay
  3. New York Yankees- Jeff Degano

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