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2015 MLB Draft Results

Round 1 Picks 1-26

The 2015 MLB Draft is the year of the shortstop. The biggest debate is whether the Arizona Diamondbacks take Brendan Rodgers or Dansby Swanson.

Posted By: Chris Ransom with updates by Don Portman Last Updated: December, 18, 2015

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks: Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt A Grade

    Arizona has one big need at shortstop. You can make a case for either Brendan Rodgers, Alex Bregman, or Dansby Swanson. Swanson has the versatility to play anywhere at infield whether it third base, shortstop, second base, or first base. Swanson also got hot in the SEC Tournament and has hit more home runs than Rodgers. Bregman hit 14 home runs in 5 minutes during a batting drill. I still prefer Swanson because he hit home runs off of quality pitchers and one of those home runs came in a 2015 Super Regional today against Illinois pitcher Tyler Jay to tie the game at 2.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Dansby Swanson was drafted first overall by the Diamondbacks. Arizona traded him for pitchers Shelby Miller and Gabe Speier. Arizona won this trade short term for 2016 by getting Miller who may be a good #2 pitcher behind Free Agent signing Zack Greinke. Miller was 8th in innings pitched had an ERA of 3.02 despite going 6-17 with the Braves. Miller will be 13-12 or possibly better with all the power bats the Diamondbacks have. Atlanta won this trade long-term though because Swanson showed the versatility to play second base and shortstop in 22 games with the Hillsboro Hops in A Short while posting a .289 batting average. Swanson is now the top overall prospect on Atlanta and should be on the Braves roster sometime after SunTrust Stadium becomes the new stadium for the Atlanta Braves in 2017. Arizona would not have traded Swanson if he was a premium bat like Carlos Correa. I gave Swanson a B+ grade in the wake of this trade.

    Don Portman's Grade: B+ Grade

  2. Houston Astros: Alex Bregman, SS, LSU A- Grade

    Alex Bregman will want to play shortstop. You already have Carlos Correa. He can remain at shortstop with Corpus Christi and Fresno in AA and AAA. He will have to move to second base when he gets to the majors. I'm not sure Bregman will make the transition plus the fact that he doesn't want to make the transition has to concern you a bit.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Alex Bregman went straight to Single A without having to go to Single A- or another minor league prep team before going to Single A right away. Bregman quickly got promoted from the Quad City River Bandits to the Lancaster JetHawks in Single A+. Bregman posted a .319 batting average on Lancaster. I expect Bregman to be on the Corpus Christi Hooks by sometime in 2016.

    Don Portman's Grade: A+ Grade

  3. Colorado Rockies: Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary HS (FL) A Grade

    Brendan Rodgers had a .360 batting average in high school. Like Swanson, he has the versatility to play shortstop, second base, first base, or third base. Rodgers is the best player available as he has the ability of a complete five tool batter just like the other two shortstops in this draft. Colorado may have needed a pitcher more, but you cannot fault this pick since Rodgers was the top player on the board.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Brendan Rodgers isn't just the Colorado Rockies top prospect. He's also the highest graded prospect from the 2015 MLB Draft among current minor league prospects at the moment.

    Don Portman's Grade: A+ Grade

  4. Texas Rangers: Dillon Tate, P, U.C. Irvine A Grade

    Dillon Tate has good size for a pitcher. He has three plus pitches with a fastball, slider, and curveball. He pitched 103.1 innings and 111 strikeouts in 2015. This was a great selection since Texas needed another pitcher to compliment Yu Darvish long term. Tate was my favorite pitcher in the 2015 MLB Draft.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Dillon Tate got promoted from A- to the Texas Rangers single A team as a rookie. Tate posted a 1.29 ERA in 4 starts with the Hickory Crawdads.

    Don Portman's Grade: A Grade

  5. Houston Astros: Kyle Tucker, LF, Plant HS (FL) B Grade

    Kyle Tucker feels like a reach. He can be a corner outfielder, but I don't understand why the Astros made this pick.

    Andrew Benintendi and Daz Cameron were both better prospects. Still, Tucker's swing is very similar and almost identical to Ted Williams as Peter Gammons pointed out.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Kyle Tucker has shown the Astros he has the versatility to play left fielder, center fielder, or right fielder. Despite this, Tucker isn't as talented as his Greeneville Astros teammate Daz Cameron.

    Don Portman's Grade: B Grade

  6. Minnesota Twins: Tyler Jay, P, Illinois A Grade

    Tyler Jay is a set up pitcher with two seasons of 10 saves. Minnesota can quickly develop Jay and bring him up this season at the bullpen. Or you can keep him in the minors and develop him as a starting pitcher. I'd keep this guy in the bullpen.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Tyler Jay got sent to the Twins Single A advanced team right away. No other draft pick was rushed to their Single A advance team right away. Jay is now the set up pitcher on that team and already has 1 save. Jay should be on the Chattanooga Lookouts by 2017.

    Don Portman's Grade: A Grade

  7. Boston Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi, CF, Arkansas A+ Grade

    Andrew Benintendi is one of the most complete bats in this draft. He has a .412 batting average, 17 home runs, 49 RBI's and 20 stolen bases. If he returned to school for his junior season he'd be the front runner to be the #1 pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Benintendi plans on declaring following his sophomore redshirt season.

    You cannot fault Benintendi for doing this. Andrew Benintendi called into the Paul Finnebaum show on the SEC Network and really boosted his stock by giving himself more exposure. Boston loves Benintendi, and he won't get past this pick.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Andrew Benintendi got promoted from A- to the Greenville Drive in Single A. Benintendi had a .351 batting average on the Red Sox Single A team. Benintendi will be a member of the Portland Sea Dogs by some point in 2016.

    Don Portman's Grade: A Grade

  8. Chicago White Sox: Carson Fulmer, P, Vanderbilt A+ Grade

    Carson Fulmer went 13-2 and has an ERA of just under 2.00. Fulmer is a steal. It's only a matter of time until Carlos Rodon and Carson Fulmer rule the MLB in Chicago.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Carson Fulmer got promoted from Single A to Single A Advanced after one start where he threw 1 inning going 1-0. He has started 8 games with 8 no decisions and a 2.15 ERA in in Single A Advanced with the Winston-Salem Dash.

    Don Portman's Grade: A Grade

  9. Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ, RF, Cincinnati A Grade

    Chicago needs a right fielder on their MLB team. Hometown Bearcat Ian Happ is a match made in heaven for the Cubs.

    Ian Happ can play second base, shortstop, or a corner outfield spot which would likely be either left field or right field.

    If you are a Cubs fan you want the Cubs to take a guy like Happ because Happ had a .322 batting average in back-to-back seasons. He had 25 stolen bases as a freshman and 19 as a sophomore. His cannon arm and exceptional fielding make him guy to keep an eye on. Happ can hit home runs, line drives, grounders, or bunts. Happ has all the tools to make Cubs fans happy.

    Happ continues to put the Cincinnati Bearcats on the map in 2015. So far this season he has a .370 batting average, 13 home runs, and 39 RBI's. His 10 stolen bases may be less than usual, but you have to love the fact that Happ is cultivating his game as a home run hitter.

    Ian Happ was already a potent batter. When you add him to this team in a few years when Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber are the bigs in this lineup, this is going to be one scary Cubs team.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Got promoted from A- to Single A with the South Bend Cubs. Happ needs to have a strong 2016 season before getting promoted to the Tennessee Smokies. Happ is not a guy that will get rush through the minors like Kris Bryant or Kyle Schwarber which is why he got an A- grade.

    Don Portman's Grade: A- Grade

  10. Philadelphia Phillies: Cornelius Randolph, 3B, Griffin HS (GA) D- Grade

    Leave it to the Philadelphia Phillies to reach for the first player in this years MLB Draft. Randolph can play both shortstop and third base. I don't see him as a replacement to Jimmy Rollins at shortstop. I think Randolph may be a bust.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: This kid was supposed to play third base, but the Phillies wanted to move him to shortstop. Now they moved him to outfield, a position he has no experience with, and to top that off, he isn't on the Phillies Single A team yet. Randolph looks like a bust so far.

    Don Portman's Grade: D Grade

  11. Cincinnati Reds: Tyler Stevenson, C, Kennesaw Mountain HS (GA) C Grade

    Tyler Stevenson was a riser, but still feels like a reach. I think Chris Betts was the best catcher in this years draft.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: The 6-4 225 lb Tyler Stevenson has potential to be a Matt Weiters type of catcher. He's certainly going to be a project though as he is not on the Reds Single A team yet.

    Don Portman's Grade: C+ Grade

  12. Miami Marlins: Josh Naylor, 1B, St. Joan Of Arc Catholic HS (ON) F Grade

    Josh Naylor is a fourth round prospect. Why the heck did the Marlins take him with in the top 15?

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Fourth round prospect my ass. This kid is already posting a .327 batting average and he's not even on the Marlins Single A team yet. It's time for the Marlins to wake up and promote this kid to Single A already.

    Don Portman's Grade: A- Grade

  13. Tampa Bay Rays: Garrett Whitley, CF, Niskayuna HS (NY) B Grade

    I like Garrett Whitley. He could thrive with an outstanding batting average that was over .350. Whitley was the New York High School Baseball Player of the Year in the state of New York.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Garrett Whitley played well enough in the Gulf Coast League to get promoted to Single A -. Whitley only had a .188 batting average in the Gulf Coast League and only had a .143 batting average in Single A advanced. Whitley could be a home run hitter and base stealer in the minors, but his batting average needs major improvement if he ever wants to make an MLB team.

    Don Portman's Grade: B- Grade

  14. Atlanta Braves: Kolby Allard, P, San Clemente HS (CA) A Grade

    Kolby Allard is a good arm. I had him going one pick earlier to the Rays in my final mock which is why the Braves got an A grade.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Kolby Allard has starting potential. He's certainly a project at this point though. His 0.00 ERA through 3 starts is impressive though.

    Don Portman's Grade: B Grade

  15. Milwaukee Brewers: Trenton Clark, CF, Richland HS (TX) A Grade

    Milwaukee needed another center fielder to groom for the future. Trenton Clark is a perfect fit for Milwaukee at this spot.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Trenton Clark got promoted from the Arizona League to the Helena Brewers. He posted a .309 batting average in the Arizona League before posting a .310 batting average on the Helena Brewers. Milwaukee needs to promote this kid to Single A.

    Don Portman's Grade: B+ Grade

  16. New York Yankees: James Kaprielian, P, UCLA C+ Grade

    The Yankees reached on this one. I really don't understand why the Yankees took the top middle reliever in this years draft with the sixteenth overall pick.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: James Kaprielian was a middle reliever on one team, but he did so well that they promoted him to the Yankees Single A- team where he's being forced into the rotation as a starter on the Stanten Island Yankees. New York will probably take their time with Kaprielian and hope to groom him into a starter.

    Don Portman's Grade: B- Grade

  17. Cleveland Indians: Brady Aiken, P, Yavapai CC (JUCO) A Grade

    Cleveland took the #1 pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. Aiken is a boom or bust pick. It will be difficult for Aiken to come back from Tommy John's Surgery. If Aiken makes the comeback, Cleveland will be getting a steal here.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Brady Aiken is a boom or bust pick. I think Aiken ends up making a comeback in 2016 and ends up being the steal of this draft. Look for Aiken to develop in the minors. By the time he is called up to the MLB, Chris Kluber may sign with another team so having Aiken ready to be the #1 starter by that time will be paramount.

    Don Portman's Grade: A Grade

  18. San Francisco Giants: Phil Bickford, P, Southern Nevada CC (JUCO) A Grade

    Phil Bickford went 9-1 with a 1.55 ERA at Southern Nevada in 2015. This is an awesome pick for the Giants at 18.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Phil Bickford started 10 games on the minor league prep team that the Giants assigned him to. That's more starts than any other minor league team. That's partially why Bickford got a B+ grade. With Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardjia, and Johnny Cueto on this roster, Bickford can take his time and develop properly.

    Don Portman's Grade: B+ Grade

  19. Pittsburgh Pirates: Kevin Newman, SS, Arizona A+ Grade

    The Pirates could use another shortstop in their system. Kevin Newman out of Arizona is one of the best shortstops in College baseball. Newman started all 55 games in his first two seasons with the Wildcats putting any durability questions scouts might have to immediate rest.

    So far in 2015, he's played 48 games. His batting average has improved from .304 in 2014 to .367. He's also improved his stolen bases from 13 stolen bases to 19 stolen bases. Kevin Newman is a top 20 talent, and an excellent player if you cannot land Rodgers, Swanson, or Bregman at shortstop.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Kevin Newman got promoted from the West Virginia Black Bears in the New York Pennsylvania League in Single A - to the Pirates Single A team the West Virginia Power. Newman posted a .306 batting average on the Power. Newman may get promoted to the Altoona Curve in 2016 with another strong season in the minors.

    Don Portman's Grade: A- Grade

  20. Oakland Athletics: Richie Martin, SS, Florida A Grade

    Oakland needed to reload at shortstop after dealing Addison Rusell to the Cubs at last years Trade Deadline. Richie Martin showed why he deserved to be a top 20 pick when he delivered for Florida in the 2015 SEC Tournament. Great pick by Oakland.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Richie Martin got to play for Oakland's Single A team right away. He will eventually get his time on the back-to-back AA Champion Midland Rockhounds. My one issue with this pick is that Martin is the #2 shortstop prospect in Oakland's farm system and that's why he gets a B+ grade for now.

    Don Portman's Grade: B+ Grade

  21. Kansas City Royals: Ashe Russell, P, Cathedral HS (IN) A Grade

    The Royals will need another pitcher to develop in their farm system. Ashe Russell has a fastball that clocks in around 95 miles per hour. He may not have the size you want. Russell reminds me of Jared Weaver on the Angels and looks like a pitcher you want to develop and keep an eye on. I know the Royals have some solid starters, but they could really use a guy like Weaver in their rotation and Ashe Russell is a player that resembles Weaver coming out of high school.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Ashe Russell is graded higher than 2012 top 5 pick Kyle Zimmer. That's why this pitcher got a B grade despite having an ERA of over 4.00 at the moment.

    Don Portman's Grade: B Grade

  22. Detroit Tigers: Beau Borrows, P, Weatherford HS (TX) A- Grade

    Detroit loves drafting high school pitchers. They add one of the top ones left with this pick.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Beau Borrows had a 1.61 ERA in 9 starts in the Gulf Coast League in 2015. Borrows looks like a solid prospect at this point.

    Don Portman's Grade: B Grade

  23. St. Louis Cardinals: Nick Plummer, CF, Brother Rice HS (MI) A Grade

    The Cardinals have the luxury of taking the best player available with all the young and upcoming talent on the roster. A lot of MLB Draft experts believe Plummer is a top 10 talent now with his emergence in 2015. Getting Plummer here was an excellent steal by the Cardinals.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Nick Plummer hasn't done much in the Gulf Coast League yet. He's not the same kid that dominated in high school. Plummer looks like a future bust, but let's be patient and see if he can become Jason Heyward's successor in St. Louis.

    Don Portman's Grade: C Grade

  24. Los Angeles Dodgers: Walker Buehler, P, Vanderbilt A Grade

    Los Angeles gets another pitcher. There was a point where Walker Buehler was ranked ahead of Carson Fulmer. Buehler was awesome in 2014, but terrible in 2015.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Walker Buehler may have gone ahead of Carson Fulmer if he didn't have a sloppy 2015 season. Buehler injured his arm in the 2015 College World Series and got Tommy John's Surgery in August. Buehler may end up being a steal for the Dodgers, but the Los Angeles Dodgers have to be patient with him.

    Don Portman's Grade: A- Grade

  25. Baltimore Orioles: D.J. Stewart, LF, Florida State A Grade

    D.J. Stewart is a top 20 pick. Florida State left fielder D.J. Stewart is the top college bat left in round 1.

    Stewart posted a .364 batting average, 25 doubles, and 5 home runs as a freshman. As a sophomore Stewart had a .351 batting average, 19 doubles, and 7 home runs as a sophomore.

    In 2015, his batting average has dropped to .327. He has hit 12 home runs this season though so Stewart's home run hitting has improved each season.

    The Orioles may be loaded at outfield. Still, when a guy with three consecutive seasons with a batting average of .320 or higher comes along, you cannot pass on that player. You have to wonder if he's a perfect fit to succeed Nelson Cruz.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: D.J. Stewart already has 6 home runs on Single A-. His .228 batting average is why he's not on a Single A roster yet.

    Don Portman's Grade: B+ Grade

  26. Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim: Taylor Ward, C, Fresno State D Grade

    Taylor Ward was mocked to the Angels in the third round of my 3 round mock draft. This was a big reach by the Angels. I gave the Angels a D grade because they took a player I mocked to them which was the only reason why the Angels did not get an F grade.

    Don Portman's Rookie Update: Taylor Ward got promoted from Single A- to the Burlington Bees who are the Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim's Single A team. Ward posted a .348 batting average on the Bees.

    Don Portman's Grade: A- Grade

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