In a draft considered by experts to be deep in pitching, six college right-handers possess the talent to rank within the top 20 overall for ESPN's Keith Law, Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein, and Baseball America.
Gerrit Cole, UCLA
Law has Cole going first overall to the Pirates in his most recent mock draft, while Baseball America has him falling to the Royals at #5. Getting Cole is the "dream scenario" for the Royals at #5, according to Law. Cole, who was drafted out of high school by the Yankees in '08, boasts a mid-90s fastball, power slider, and above-average changeup. Experts agree he has the ceiling of a number one starter, and Law says Cole "looks like he could pitch in the big leagues tomorrow if he'd sign soon enough to play." He has, however, struggled with his command at times and hasn't delivered results on par with his abilities. Cole is advised by the Boras Corporation. He has been stingy on providing interviews, but MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith spoke to him in March.
Trevor Bauer, UCLA
Law believes the Diamondbacks could consider Bauer at #3 if Danny Hultzen is gone, but projects him going to the Nationals at #6. Law does not expect Bauer to make it past the Indians at #8. BA went with the Nats in their mock draft. Bauer has been worked heavily and has unorthodox workouts and mechanics. He's said by BA to pattern himself after Tim Lincecum. Bauer comes with lots of strikeouts, good velocity, a plus-plus curveball, an above-average changeup, and a few other pitches too. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo spoke to him a few days ago.
Taylor Jungmann, Texas
Law projects the Brewers taking Jungmann at #12, with the Mets an option at #13. BA guesses the Astros will take him at #11. Law says the 6'6" Jungmann sits at 91-93 with a hammer curveball and strong command. A few mild concerns have been raised about his delivery, and Goldstein questions whether he has "star-level upside."
Matt Barnes, Connecticut
Law notes that the Padres have interest at #10, which is BA's choice in their mock draft. Barnes draws praise for his fastball and curveball, while questions remain about his command, mechanics, and secondary stuff.
Alex Meyer, Kentucky
Law names the Athletics at #18, the Red Sox at #19, and the Nationals at #23 as possibilities for Meyer, while BA takes the Angels at #17. The 6'9" righty owns a mid-90s fastball and plus-plus slider, but Goldstein finds his performance inconsistent and all gurus say his command is lacking. There is number one starter upside here, says Law. Meyer, who turned down $2MM from the Red Sox as a 20th round pick out of high school three years ago, is advised by the Boras Corporation.
Sonny Gray, Vanderbilt
Gray could be Arizona's choice at their unprotected #7 spot, says Law, while the Padres could be a fit at #10. He's mentioned the Cubs at #9 previously. BA went with the Brewers at #15. Gray is 5'11", but he pitches at 91-94 with what Law describes as a "knockout breaking ball." The idea has been floated that Gray could end up a late-inning reliever. Talking to Ben Nicholson-Smith in February, Gray said he prefers to start but considers himself versatile and enjoyed his time in the bullpen.