Recapping the MLB Draft: American League

Recapping the draft we are going to look at what I feel is each team’s best pick (often going to be the first round pick, but certainly not always), each team’s worst pick (a player I felt was drafted too high even if signed for under slot), a sleeper pick (top ten round pick that will likely outperform his draft slot) and deep sleepers (often a pick after the 10th round with a good chance to sign that will bring great value, but sometimes a senior sign).

In case you missed it, my MLB Draft-NL Recap dropped a couple weeks ago.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

Best Pick: Jackson Holliday, SS, Round 1, Pick 1 – In a vacuum, I don’t like this pick as they got my number three player at pick one. I had Drew Jones and Elijah Green in a tier to themselves, so I do believe this was a gap in talent compared to what they could have gotten. That said, the Orioles got my third ranked player with a potential plus hit tool and plus raw power that projects as above-average future in-game power. He has a good chance to stick at short, but plenty of arm to hold down third and be a quality defender if he does outgrow the position.

Worst Pick: Max Wagner, 3B, Round 2, Pick 42 – I had Wagner ranked 81, and was my fourth highest-ranked player selected by the Orioles but the third player selected by them. Add to that they paid a touch over slot, and I just don’t like it. He had a poor season in 2021 at the plate and was used primarily as a defensive replacement as a result. He had a fantastic 2022 which caused his stock to skyrocket. I still have questions about his bat and would have liked to see another season to prove this year wasn’t a fluke.

Sleeper: Silas Ardoin, C, Round 4, Pick 107 – Plus arm and plus defensive catcher is always going to be a favorite of mine. Yes, the Orioles have their backstop of the future in Adley Rutschman, but Ardoin could become one of the better backups in the league. There are questions about his bat, but the defense will be able to carry him.

Deep Sleeper: Carter Young, 3B/SS, Round 17, Pick 497 – A guy singing for $1.33M is hardly a deep sleeper, but the fact they got it done in round 17 qualifies for me. Young was a very good defensive shortstop in college, although some see him more as a third baseman defensively at the next level. He was a very good offensive player early in his college career but struggled this past season. If he can tap into his average hit tool and above-average power, this is a great pick, otherwise, he is a light-hitting utility infielder.

Boston Red Sox

Best Pick: Roman Anthony, OF, Round 2 Compensatory, Pick 79 – I was tempted to go none as far as best pick as I was not a fan of the Red Sox draft, but Anthony is actually a quality selection. He has massive power, although there are real holes in the swing and there are far too many strikeouts in his current approach. Defensively he can hold down any of the three outfield spots in a pinch, although left may end up being his best fit. At 6’3” and 200 lbs., he has plenty of room to fill out and, with some tweaks to the swing, could wind up being a quality starting outfielder eventually.

Worst Pick: Mikey Romero, SS, Round 1, Pick 24 – The Red Sox were one of three teams that did not select a single player in my top 50, and this was the biggest reach for me. The prep shortstop class was light this season, and Romero was the best available at the time he was selected, but I had him ranked as a second rounder and I think his future is actually at second base. He has a quality hit tool, but the power is extremely limited and I just don’t see him as a regular starter, but more of a platoon or backup infielder.

Sleeper: Noah Dean, LHP, Round 5, Pick 159 – Don’t let the elbow surgery scare you on him, nerve relocation sounds much scarier than it is (speaking from experience on this one). Dean has a plus fastball from the left side that is even tougher on lefties thanks to his cross-body action. In addition to that fastball that has been up to 97, he has a slurvy breaking ball that plays better than the actions would suggest due to that cross-body delivery. He is purely a reliever but should be a pretty safe bet to find himself at the end of the big league bullpen before too long.

Deep Sleeper: Brooks Brannon, C, Round 9, Pick 279 – The high school catching class was not great this year, but Brannon was one of the better ones. He has a massive arm behind the plate although his receiving needs a lot of work. Athletically he is limited to behind the dish, but the bat may be enough to carry him. He has plus raw power although his approach is currently boom or bust. Some fine-tuning in approach and calming his swing may cost him a bit of power, but allow him to tap into his natural strength better in games.

New York Yankees

Best Pick: Trystan Vrieling, RHP, Round 3, Pick 100 – There were times I liked Vrieling better than his Gonzaga teammate Gabriel Hughes, who went 10th overall to the Colorado Rockies. He has a fastball and curve that are both regularly above average while his slider and change have flashed as much but end up grading out closer to average. He struggled down the stretch and has had some command concerns in his college career, but the potential upside is that of a quality number three starter.

Worst Pick: Spencer Jones, OF, Round 1, Pick 25 – The Yankees are also one of the three teams that did not select a player in my top 50. It is easy to fall for the incredible power Jones has, and his size would fit right in with the Yankees outfield, I just don’t like the value here. While he was incredibly productive with Vanderbilt, there are some questions still about his ability to handle elite velocity. Defensively he might be an average defensive right fielder, but saw some time at first as well, so that bat has to play to its fullest potential to return proper value at pick 25.

Sleeper: Anthony Hall, OF, Round 4, Pick 130 – Hall is a guy who can play all three outfield spots but plays none of them all that great, which is a bit of a concern. If he does end up on a corner, he will need to tap into his power, but there is plenty there to tap into. He has plus power with a pull approach that does hurt his hit tool, but when he connects it is loud contact.

Deep Sleeper: Sebastian Keane, RHP, Round 18, Pick 550 – Not unlike Vrieling, there was a point in time I LOVED Keane. Northeastern had an impressive duo although Keane did struggle some down the stretch. He is a righty that won’t blow you away with velocity and was hit hard a lot this season. His slider is really an average offering and his change needs plenty of work, but he was an 11th round pick coming out of high school and had a very good 2021. If Keane finds himself as a reliable arm at the big league level eventually, I won’t be shocked.

Tampa Bay Rays

Best Pick: Brock Jones, OF, Round 2, Pick 65 – Going into the draft I fully expected to have Jones land as a Worst Pick, but he appropriately fell and wound up being a bargain! I have concerns with the swing as there are real holes and he sells out for pull power, but there is a ton of power for him to get to. Add to that the fact he can really run and has good defensive instincts and he is a power bat who can hold down center field. I liked him as an early round two pick, expected him to go in round one, but ends up late round two. Really good value for the Rays.

Worst Pick: Xavier Isaac, 1B, Round 1, Pick 29 – Yes, another AL East team with my worst pick being their first round pick. For a first round first baseman to be worth it, he needs to be an incredible bat, and I just don’t see enough bat here. He has a good bat, plenty of power, and a good hit tool, but not enough to justify the pick. There are real concerns about his ability to even hold down first base defensively, and could ultimately be relegated to DH duties, which will put even more pressure on the bat.

Sleeper: Ryan Cermak, SS/OF, Competitive Balance Round B, Pick 71 – I watched quite a bit of Illinois State this year simply because of Cermak. I like him in center field although he was announced as a shortstop at the draft, either way, he is a plus defender. He has a plus arm, plus glove, and plus-plus speed giving him a very high utility man floor. At the plate, he flirts with plus power and makes plenty of contact. I had him ranked 60 overall and nearly had him ranked higher.

Deep Sleeper: Matt Wyatt, RHP, Round 20, Pick 614 – Wyatt is a pure reliever who struggled in 2022, but he has been up to 98 and has a quality change to go with it. He has a slider but it is not very good and needs real improvement to help his other offerings play up. There is plenty of effort in his delivery so command and longevity are questions, but you can’t argue with 98 MPH in the last round of the draft.

Toronto Blue Jays

Best Pick: Brandon Barriera, LHP, Round 1, Pick 23 – A rather polished prep lefty with three offerings that border between above average and plus, Barriera somehow fell into the 20s despite being pretty unanimously ranked in the mid-teens in the industry. He has good command and a repeatable delivery, Barriera is as high a floor a prep arm as this class had even if his ceiling isn’t quite what others have.

Worst Pick: Alan Roden, 1B/OF, Round 3, Pick 98 – Roden did sign for under slot, but the signing bonus was still nearly a half million dollars for a college senior with no true carrying tool. The closes he has is his hit tool which is driven by his excellent eye at the plate where he rarely swings and misses and almost never strikes out. While the hit tool is very good, it comes with below-average power. He played mostly outfield in college but will probably be a first baseman in pro ball.

Sleeper: Tucker Toman, SS & Cade Doughty, 2B, Round 2 Compensatory, Picks 77 & 78 – The Blue Jays did not get cheated when they picked back-to-back at the end of day one. Toman is a switch-hitting high school infielder who was committed to LSU, while Doughty was in an infielder at LSU. So, while LSU fans may not be happy with these selections, Blue Jays fans sure are. Both players were ranked as early-to-mid second round guys, but wind up going at the end of day two.

Deep Sleeper: Dylan Rock, OF, Round 8, Pick 248 – Rock signed for just over $22k because he is a fifth-year senior, but he has a big reason for the Texas A&M success. He has great strength that he uses to all fields and has an advanced approach at the plate. The advanced approach is needed as he just turned 24, so he is anything but a young prospect. In fact, Baseball Reference has him listed as nearly 2-years older than the average player in the Florida State League where he has made his pro debut.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Best Pick: Peyton Pallette, RHP, Round 2, Pick 62 – I really like Jonathan Cannon in round three as well, but it is hard to pass on calling Pallette the best pick in the draft for the White Sox. Had Pallette not undergone Tommy John, there is a chance he would have been a high first round pick, but the lack of track record had him fall to the second. He has a true plus fastball, but his curve is even better and a change that is enough to keep hitters off balance. Add to that he has at least average command and you have a guy who could find himself as a true number two or three starter on a good big league staff.

Worst Pick: Noah Schultz, LHP, Round 1, Pick 26 – It is hard to say a 6’9” lefty who has a fastball that has touched mid-90s and a potential plus slider is a bad pick, but I had Shultz ranked as a second-round guy, so late first round is a bit of a reach. Overall the White Sox draft was average across the board, with no massive highs, but no big lows, so a big lefty with a real shot to be a mid-rotation starter is their worst pick for me.

Sleeper: Jordan Sprinkle, SS, Round 4, Pick 131 – Again, I wanted to put Cannon here (a guy who can progress through the system very quickly, but I have to go with Sprinkle. He is one of the best defensive shortstops in the class with plus defensive actions and range and plenty of arm for the left side of the infield. The bat takes a back seat to his defensive prospects, but that isn’t to say it isn’t good. He doesn’t have much power but has a good hit tool that should be enough to make him a potential starting infielder, but his most likely role is as a really good utility infielder.

Deep Sleeper: Tim Elko, 3B, Round 10, Pick 311 – There might not be much bigger a swing in the atmosphere than winning a national championship in Omaha to the backfields of Camelback Ranch, but that is where Ole Miss legend Tim Elko has made his pro debut. Elko’s future is really that of an org guy, but it is hard to not root for him after seeing what he did in college and how much love his teammates showed for him.

Cleveland Guardians

Best Pick: Justin Campbell, RHP, Competitive Balance Round A, Pick 37 – Campbell stands 6’7” and has a loose and deceptive delivery from a high 3/4 slot that allows all his pitches to play up. While his fastball tops out in the mid-90s, it has a true plus change that keeps hitters off-balance and often late on the fastball. In addition, his 1-7 curveball is above-average and has shown plus shape at times and he also features a quality slider. He has shown the ability to command all four offerings and projects to be a high quality number three starter, but being drafted by Cleveland gives hope he could be even better than that.

Worst Pick: Chase DeLauter, OF, Round 1, Pick 16 – I have been a vocal critic of DeLauter as there are just too many issues with his swing for me and I had him with a grade outside the first round, but there are loud tools there. He has massive power and enough tools where he can hold down center or right field, but that swing. At times the hands, hips, shoulders, and feet aren’t in sync, and he was exposed in the opening series at Florida State. He took full advantage of lesser competition, so the numbers are somewhat misleading. That said, I did start to see some tweaks to the swing before his season ended to injury, so there is some hope he is willing to make adjustments to justify this high a pick.

Sleeper: Dylan DeLucia, RHP, Round 6, Pick 181 – DeLucia dominated in the college postseason earning himself some money in the draft. His stuff is nothing special, but a proven college pitcher in the Guardians system is always something to keep an eye on.

Deep Sleeper: Jacob Zibin, RHP, Round 10, Pick 301 – Zibin doesn’t turn 18 until NEXT January, making him one of the youngest players in the draft. Despite his age, he has a mature approach to pitching and has a knack for adjusting the speed of his windup to keep batters even more off-balance than his stuff creates. He has a repeatable low 3/4 delivery that helps his mid-90s fastball back up on righties. His change has late movement and I have more faith in his slider than most. He spent this past season at TNXL Academy after growing up in British Columbia.

Detroit Tigers

Best Pick: Jace Jung, 2B, Round 1, Pick 12 – Most other teams Peyton Graham in the second round would qualify as the Best Pick, but here it goes to Jace Jung. I had Jung ranked six on my board and he falls to 12 despite having a plus bat tool and plus power. There are questions in terms of his position as he really is likely a second base only option, but he has the upside of being the best second base bat in the league.

Worst Pick: Danny Serretti, SS, Round 6, Pick 177 – I guess this qualifies since I had him with a borderline draft grade and expected him to go as a cheap senior sign, but he goes in round six and signs for slot value. Had he been a $10k signing, he would probably have made it as a Deep Sleeper given the fact he can hit a little and he can hold down short. Overall this speaks to what a quality draft this was for the Tigers.

Sleeper: Luke Gold, 3B, Round 5, Pick 147 – Gold nearly cracked my top 100 prospects in the draft, coming in at 104, so this is great value at 147 for the Tigers. He is another who has defensive questions as he is fringy in terms or range to stay at second, and fringy in terms of arm to play third, so the bat will have to carry him. Luckily there is enough bat to carry as he possesses average to better power and an above-average hit tool that could make him a very good utility guy down the road.

Deep Sleeper: Dom Johnson, OF, Round 13, Pick 387 – Johnson may not intimidate many people based on his stature standing just 5’9”, but he will make the defense nervous when he is on the bases. With borderline top tier speed, Johnson is always a threat to steal a bag despite the fact he isn’t the most instinctive baserunner. He played left field at Kansas State because his instincts lack in the field as well, but pure athleticism can carry him. He put up decent numbers at the plate, although it may be a stretch to rank him any better than average in the future with the bat, but that could be enough to carve out a career as a fourth outfielder.

Kansas City Royals

Best Pick: Gavin Cross, OF, Round 1, Pick 9 – There were some rumblings on draft day that Cross could be a surprise selection at 1-1, but instead falls to 9 in the draft. Cross does not have an elite tool, but his arm and the power in the bat could both be considered potential plus tools. While there isn’t that elite tool, there isn’t a weak tool either, as his fielding may be as low as average, which will likely keep him from sticking in center, but he could be just fine in either corner. This is a guy who may not wow you, but he will be a regular contributor.

Worst Pick: Mason Barnett, RHP, Round 3, Pick 87 – I had Barnett ranked 235, instead he goes 87 and only signs for roughly $25k under slot. He has a fastball and slider that are both pretty good, although his curve and change really lag behind leaving real doubt about his ability to stick in the rotation. Add to that some real command concerns, and I just don’t get this pick. To justify this selection, the Royals clearly believe Barnett can remain a starter, but I see him more as a mid-reliever.

Sleeper: Hayden Dunhurst, C, Round 6, Pick 175 – There were enough viable college backstops for every team to add a quality prospect at the position in the draft, and the Royals got a steal with Dunhurst. Some rave about his defensive abilities, I call it more average, but the arm is a real plus weapon. He can hit a little with power, but the arm and ability to handle a pitching staff will carry him.

Deep Sleeper: David Sandlin, RHP, Round 11, Pick 325 – The regular season wasn’t stellar for Sandlin resulting in the fall to day three, but the stuff is absolutely there as proven in the tournament. His fastball sits in the low-90s with some run, while he features two breaking balls both flirting with plus potential. The changeup has work to do to even get to average, but there is a path to him making a future rotation, with a pretty safe floor of a mid-reliever.

Minnesota Twins

Best Pick: Brooks Lee, SS, Round 1, Pick 8 – This might be my favorite pick in the whole draft. Lee was ranked fourth overall for me and slips to eight where the Twins get a steal. There are questions about what position Lee plays, I think he sticks at short, but the bat is undeniable. One of the best hit tools in the draft, he has power he just doesn’t tap into it based on his approach at the plate. A few tweaks to his approach and I believe he improves his power significantly while not risking much if any of the hit tool. Even if he does move off short based on what the Twins already have there long term, he has the arm for third and could easily play second.

Worst Pick: Ben Ross, SS, Round 5, Pick 44 – The Notre Dame College product didn’t make my rankings, but he did sign pretty well below slot in the fifth round. He was the first D2 player selected in the draft and put up impressive numbers at the plate. Some believe he can stick at short, but he was so far off the radar I have a hard time justifying the pick at this point.

Sleeper: Andrew Morris, RHP, Round 4, Pick 114 – Had Morris not transferred to Texas Tech, he would have been the first D2 player selected after he has a stellar career at Colorado Mesa. He reached campus at just 16 and was the best freshman in the RMAC at the age of 17. Morris is a college senior signing who can’t legally buy a beer until September 1st. He has a quality fastball and curve but the slider is a potential plus offering. I believe he ends up making the back of a rotation but can move to a mid-rotation guy if the change improves.

Deep Sleeper: Omari Daniel, SS, Round 14, Pick 414 – The prep shortstop will likely move to third base as a pro where his arm will be an elite tool He has plenty of bat speed but the results have been inconsistent. With some fine-tuning of his mechanics and increased contact rates, the bat speed should result in average to better power and the arm will allow him to be a potential plus defensive third baseman or even right fielder.

AL West

Houston Astros

Best Pick: Jacob Melton, OF, Round 2, Pick 64 – Melton was a standout for the Beavers in Corvallis, and now he brings his outfield prowess to the Astros. I had him as a fringe first round guy, so later in the second round is an absolute steal. When watching the swing, you expect dying liners in front of outfielders and into the gaps because it really is a slap approach swing, but he generates real power in the stroke. Since he does have that lefty slap swing, he will chase balls too often, but he regularly drove the ball out of the park to all fields. He is a plus-plus runner who can hold down center with ease, but enough arm strength to play right if needed. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he end up the best player in this draft class for the Astros, even though they did select Drew Gilbert in the first.

Worst Pick: Andrew Taylor, RHP, Round 2 Compensatory, Pick 80 – Taylor is a fastball first, fastball second pitcher that barely reaches the mid-90s. It does play up though thanks to a ton of late life, but there are real questions as to how well it plays at the next level due to the lack of a real second offering. He does have a change that is about average while his slider and curve need work. He is no command specialist, so the development of a better secondary offering will be vital to his success.

Sleeper: Ryan Clifford, OF, Round 11, Pick 343 – The Astros spent $1.26M to sign Clifford away from Vanderbilt, and the bat is the reason why they did. He has a pretty lefty swing that results in both average and power. Ranked 70 on my board, clearly, the round is a massive value but the money is about right. He has a good arm and just enough athleticism to play either corner outfield spot, but some think a move to first is in his future where the bat should still play.

Deep Sleeper: Zach Dezenzo, OF/3B, Round 12, Pick 373 – Dezenzo was a better prospect after the 2021 season than 2022, but he could still be a real steal here. There is far too much swing and miss from the college senior but, when contact is made, the ball really jumps. He has seen time in the outfield, at third, and at short, so he can play a super-utility role with real pop off the bench.

Los Angeles Angels

Best Pick: Zach Neto, SS, Round 1, Pick 13 – Neto was my favorite player coming into the draft as I watched far more Campbell baseball this season than anyone who isn’t an alumn should. He can absolutely stick at short and should actually be an above-average defender at the position. Despite only being 6’, Neto generates plenty of power thanks to his bat speed. While he does have a big leg kick and a natural pull approach, his ability to get bat to ball and use the whole field is actually quite good. Overall I believe the Angels may have gotten themselves a future All-Star shortstop.

Worst Pick: Ben Joyce, RHP, Round 3, Pick 89 – Joyce made a ton of noise thanks to his big fastball that averaged triple digits and even had one hit 105 on a gun. What people don’t mention is that 105 pitch was put in play as a sharp hopper to the third baseman, by a righty, in a mid-week game. The fastball is huge, but it doesn’t play as well as the velos suggest. He does have a quality slider and decent change, but he is a pure reliever and one who I question the potential for sustained success.

Sleeper: Jake Madden, RHP, Round 4, Pick 118 – Madden is a 6’6” righty with a loose arm that can pump in a fastball up to 98, and a heavy 98 at that. The JuCo product matches his plus-plus fastball with a quality slider and change that both grade out to at least average with the potential to being better. Another guy who I think ends up as a reliever, I have faith Madden could be a true, high-leverage power arm, although there is still an outside chance he improves his command enough to be a starter.

Deep Sleeper: Caden Dana, RHP, Round 11, Pick 328 – Another day three guy with a signing bonus north of a million dollars, Dana has a pair of pitches that could be plus, but at least above average, in his fastball and curve. While his overall command is a cause for concern, the pitch he actually commands best is that curve which he can place at the bottom of the zone pretty regularly. There is a change that he used sparingly that would need to improve to land a rotation spot, but the body and stuff do suggest he could be another power reliever for the Angels.

Oakland Athletics

Best Pick: Daniel Susac, C, Round 1, Pick 19 – I love the value here, but I don’t love the fit, as the A’s already have a pretty loaded farm system in terms of catchers. Some ranked Susac as the best catcher in the class, to me Kevin Parada was a good deal ahead of Susac, but that is not to say he won’t be very good. He has a plus arm and has shown improvement behind the plate after a very poor opening few games where he allowed far too many passed balls. At the plate, he makes a ton of contact and has power that borders on plus. Again, I really like the value, just not sold on the fit.

Worst Pick: Clark Elliott, OF, Competitive Balance Round B, Pick 69 – I think Elliott is the beneficiary of recent success from Wolverine outfielders. He is also an odd evaluation as he played right field for Michigan despite having plus speed and many feeling he could hold down center. I have questions about the bat and how it will play, but really I have Elliott projected as a fourth outfielder.

Sleeper: Jacob Watters, RHP, Round 4, Pick 124 – The definition of a power bullpen prospect, Watters did see time in the rotation this season, but that really isn’t likely thanks to poor command, lack of a third offering, and his stuff playing down when stretched out. When in the bullpen he has a fastball that sits mid-90s but has touched triple-digits to go with a 12-6 breaker that is a real swing-and-miss offering. He is a guy with future closer potential once he commits to the bullpen full time.

Deep Sleeper: Jake Pfennigs, RHP, Round 13, Pick 394 – A 6’7” righty, Pfennigs has a high arm slot that creates a heavy downhill plane and even some cut to the fastball. He missed up in the zone too often which led to a lot of hard contact. His best offerings are his curve and cutter which are both above average. There is an outside shot he develops into a 5th starter, but a quad A spot starter type is more realistic.

Seattle Mariners

Best Pick: Cole Young, SS, Round 1, Pick 21 – Young is a prep shortstop who has all the tools to stick at the position. He has plenty of range and a strong arm, the only question mark in his game is power. Young does have a smooth left-handed stroke with a plus hit tool, but only projects to be a single-digit home run guy. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any pop in the swing, it is just more gap power with limited projection. Despite that, it is easy to see him as a guy who holds down short for a decade in the big leagues thanks to instincts, defense, and contact.

Worst Pick: Tyler Locklear, 3B/1B, Round 2, Pick 58 – I loved Locklear at VCU, this was just too early especially since he signed for slot. The power is real for Locklear and the arm is plenty strong enough to stick at third, but the glove is poor and lack of speed will probably make him a first baseman long term. The bat isn’t quick and there is stiffness in his body which allows him to get every ounce of power out of his body, but it doesn’t make for consistent contact. He is going to really crush the ball to make it to the bigs.

Sleeper: Josh Hood, SS, Round 6, Pick 186 – I had Hood, a college senior, ranked higher than both prep guys they signed on day two, Ashton Izzi and Tyler Gough, and he signed for under slot. Hood has a chance to stick at short where he will probably never be better than average, but a move to third and he has the potential to be well above average defensively thanks to a plus arm. At the plate, he has great bat speed that gives him plus raw power but more average to better game power thanks to some contact concerns. The approach needs to be fine-tuned as he seeks out that power too often when some adjustments and more consistent contact could see Hood take full advantage of that power potential.

Deep Sleeper: None – The Mariners only signed ten players in the draft, each of their picks in the first two days. To me they overspent on Gough while Tatum Levins has an argument, I just don’t have a true deep sleeper for them.

Texas Rangers

Best Pick: Brock Porter, RHP, Round 4, Pick 109 – Based purely on where he was drafted in comparison to his ranking, there is no argument this was the steal of the draft, but the signing bonus is more in line with the 18th pick in the draft. That said, I had Porter ranked 14, so still has good value, and the Rangers managed to pull off what equates to two first round picks despite only having one pick in the first three rounds (more on that next). Porter has a plus-plus fastball, a plus change, and a slider that has flashed plus along with a curve that is at least average. The Rangers’ future rotation looks strong with their 2021 and 2022 drafts.

Worst Pick: Kumar Rocker, RHP, Round 1, Pick 3 – In a vacuum, I hated this pick but, as soon as the news came out with the signing bonus the night of Round 1, the plan became clear. Rocker signed for nearly $2.4M below slot, the Rangers had no second or third round pick thanks to the signings of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, and all the savings plus more went to sign Porter. I was low on Rocker a season ago, and I had him ranked 27 this year, but I can’t fault the strategy in the end.

Sleeper: Chandler Pollard, OF/SS, Round 5, Pick 139 – Picked just ahead of my 147 ranking, there is plenty to like in terms of tools for Pollard. He has elite speed and a plus arm that really opens up the possibilities for him defensively. He played short in high school with most scouts believing he is best suited for center, but the arm could easily play at third and right if the speed slows as he grows. There is plenty of raw power in the bat, but the hit tool is a bit of a concern.

Deep Sleeper: Luis Ramirez, RHP, Round 7, Pick 199 – I had Ramirez ranked 107, so this was a steal on a number of fronts for me. He has a sinking fastball that gets into the mid-90s with a quality slider and change. Ramirez has shown the ability to command all three pitches and leaves little doubt that his future is not in the bullpen, but in the rotation. He missed some starts in the Cape and during the 2022 season so there are health concerns but, if healthy, I could easily see him becoming a solid fourth or fifth starter.

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