Following three days and 1,216 total selections, the 2016 First Year Player Draft is finally complete. The Phillies made California prep outfielder Mickey Moniak the No. 1 pick, and the Cardinals made California prep outfielder Jeremy Ydens the No. 1,216 pick. Here is the final positional tally:
Now that the draft is in the books, let's look at one fun piece of information about all 30 clubs.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Drafted the brother of one of their players.
Nepotism picks are common in the late rounds of the draft, and in the 34th round the D-Backs selected Coastal Carolina 2B Connor Owings, brother of utility player Chris Owings. There's more to this than the nepotism though. Connor has been through a lot to get to where he is. From MLB.com's Steve Gilbert:
The 22-year-old was born with a left kidney that never fully developed and was non-functioning. That placed an enormous strain on his right kidney and it was not until Connor began feeling ill in 2012 that his condition was diagnosed.
Connor now takes medication to treat the condition, but he eventually will need a new kidney, which will come from their mom, Sherri.
Despite his condition, Owings played in every single game for Coastal Carolina over the last three seasons.
Atlanta Braves: Landed three of the best pitchers in the entire draft class.
According to the rankings from Baseball America and MLB.com, the Braves selected three of top 15 pitching prospects -- and three of the top 26 prospects overall -- all on Day 1. Those picks: New York HS RHP Ian Anderson (first round), Kansas HS LHP Joey Wentz (competitive balance round A), and Texas HS LHP Kyle Muller (second round).
Needless to say, the Braves were pretty thrilled with their day one draft haul. From MLB.com's Mark Bowman:
"We took the long road and the hard road during a season of adversity," general manager John Coppolella said. "It's easy to get frustrated -- and we are -- and we feel for our fans. But we have to be good stewards of the Atlanta Braves' organization. We wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't choose the best players with the highest upside."
The Braves have arguably the best collection of pitching prospects in baseball as it is. Adding Anderson, Wentz, and Muller to their current talent means the rich are getting richer.
Baltimore Orioles: Went heavy on quick-to-MLB college arms.
The O's did not have a first-round pick after signing Yovani Gallardo, but they were still able to get a first round talent in the supplemental first round in Illinois RHP Cody Sedlock. The plan going into day one of the draft was to load up on college arms:
Scouting director Gary Rajsich said #orioles set out to get 3 college arms tonight. They did it.— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) June 10, 2016
Baltimore hasn't had the best luck developing their top pitching prospects over the years. It seems like the plan was to find some polished arms who don't need as much developing as younger high school prospects.
Boston Red Sox: Landed the draft's top talent at No. 12.
New Jersey HS LHP Jason Groome came into the draft as arguably the top talent available, but he fell to the Red Sox with the 12th pick because of bonus concerns and vague makeup questions. One of his coaches doesn't understand those makeup questions. From Alex Speier of the Boston Globe:
"I've had some kids that had true character issues. He wasn't one of them," said Bob Barth, Groome's summer coach with the Tri-State Arsenal over the last three summers. "The makeup questions to me are a little weird. He showed nothing but great makeup. I personally didn't see the flaws in his makeup that I've been hearing about recently. I think a lot of that is rumor-based, started by jealous peers, and it gets rolling and running. You can't stop it once it starts rolling down the hill. I think [Thursday] he paid the price for that a little bit, and he didn't pay a price for it, because he just got drafted by the Boston Red Sox.
The real question is whether the Red Sox will be able to sign Groome, who is said to be seeking a signing bonus upwards of $6 million. Boston has a $6,997,400 bonus pool available for the top 10 rounds.
Chicago Cubs: Cast a wide net with no first or second round pick.
The Cubbies forfeited their first and second round picks to sign free agents over the winter (Jason Heyward and John Lackey), which meant their first pick was No. 104 overall. As a result, they had to cast a wide net and were unable to zero in on prospects they really loved. From Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago:
"Especially when you're picking up high like we have been, you want to make sure you feel great about that first pick," said Jason McLeod, the senior vice president of scouting and player development. "You're going to go back and see that same player a couple times. (With) not picking until 104, we were able to cast a wider net in those areas of the draft.
"I saw Duncan Robinson, an Ivy League kid. I saw Tyson Miller, who's a Division II guy. I was at schools that I maybe normally wouldn't have been at - or haven't been able to go to as much - because I would have been focused so much on the top round, top-two rounds. And that allowed our staff to do that as a whole this year."
The Cubs ended up taking college pitchers with 13 of their first 14 picks.
Chicago White Sox: Their top pick has a pretty cool girlfriend.
The ChiSox held the tenth overall pick, and they used it to select Miami (FL.) catcher Zack Collins. After his name was announced during the MLB Network broadcast, Collins immediately put on a White Sox hat. How did he get the hat so quickly? Well, his girlfriend bought all 30 team hats before the draft so they would be prepared. Check it out:
Zack, you've got a keeper.
Cincinnati Reds: Top pick didn't even know the Reds were interested.
Scouts from every team will talk to players before the draft just to get to know the kid. Some scouts will show more interest than others, giving the player an idea where he may land. Tennessee third baseman Nick Senzel was somehow unaware the Reds had interest in him though.
Senzel asked if he had any idea it would be the Reds: "I had zero idea."— Dustin Dopirak (@TennesseeBeat) June 10, 2016
Surprises are usually pretty fun. I can't imagine there are many better surprises than being the second pick in the draft.
Cleveland Indians: Drafted the only player from South Dakota.
As you can imagine, not too many big leaguers have come out of South Dakota. According to Baseball-Reference.com, only 39 players born in South Dakota have played in MLB. One of those 39 is Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson. He played 152 games with the 1959 Phillies.
Only one South Dakota player was drafted this year and he wasn't even born in South Dakota, he just went to college there. The Indians plucked RHP Michael Letkewicz out of Augustana University in the 23rd round. Letkewicz was born in Iowa. He finished his Augustana career sixth on the school's all-time wins list (15) and third in strikeouts (178).
Colorado Rockies: Still trying to solve the mystery of Coors Field.
In their history, the Rockies have only had five pitchers throw at least 800 innings with an above league average ERA: Ubaldo Jimenez, Aaron Cook, Jorge De La Rosa, Jason Jennings, and Pedro Astacio. They're still trying to figure out how to develop pitching in Coors Field.
Colorado selected three pitchers with their first three picks in the 2016 draft: Kansas HS RHP Riley Pint, Georgia RHP Robert Tyler, and Vanderbilt LHP Ben Bowden. They're all hard-throwers -- Pint was the hardest thrower in the draft and regularly hit 100+ mph this spring -- and the Rockies are hoping they'll one day anchor their rotation.
Detroit Tigers: Drafted the son of a former NBA player.
The Tigers held the ninth overall pick in the 2016 draft, which is the highest they've picked since selecting Jacob Turner ninth overall in 2009. They used that ninth pick on California HS RHP Matt Manning, the son of former NBA player Rich Manning. Matt is a pretty good basketball player too and is committed to play at Loyola Marymount. Here's what he said during a recent radio interview, via Mike Waters of Syracuse.com:
"It's going be a family decision, but I know in my heart that I'm a baseball player," Manning told MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM. "I've been attracted to baseball since I was young. It's going to be a decision that my family is going to make, but I'm ready to make it."
Rich played with the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers from 1995-97. He is 6-foot-11. Matt is listed at 6-foot-6.
Houston Astros: Had to change their strategy from previous years.
Since Jeff Luhnow took over as GM during the 2011-12 offseason, the Astros have picked first, first, first, and second in the draft. This year they picked 17th after going 86-76 in 2015, so they had to change their strategy. Rather than look to manipulate their bonus pool to get as much talent as possible, they simply took the best possible player, which was Texas HS RHP Forrest Whitley.
Whitley, who was pitching in a game at the time of the draft, tried on some Astros garb after finishing his outing:
That is pretty awesome. For so many of these kids, draft day is the biggest day of their lives.
Kansas City Royals: Selected player from high school that never had a player drafted before.
Kansas City used its 12th round selection on Kansas JuCo RHP Jeremy Gwinn. Why is that notable? Because he is an alumni of Woodland Park HS in Colorado, which had never had a student -- current or former -- selected in the MLB draft, according to Ryan Casey of CHSAAnow.com. Woodland Park has been around since 1890 and the draft has been around since 1965.
Los Angeles Angels: Drafted a football player with a famous father.
In the 23rd round, the Angels selected a prospect with a rather familiar name:
That's pretty cool, a father getting to announce his son's name at the draft. Of course, Torii Jr. is a football player, not a baseball player. He's a wide receiver at Notre Dame who has 12 total at-bats with the baseball team as a sparsely used outfielder.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Drafted a player who got hurt eating steak.
Without knowing the detailed medical history of all 1,216 players drafted this year, I'm guessing the Dodgers drafted the player with the weirdest injury. Check it out:
Dodgers 32nd-rd pick RHP Conor Costello from Okla. St., also an OF, missed time last year with ruptured esophagus suffered eating a steak.— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) June 11, 2016
That sounds sorta scary! I assume Costello is fine now, otherwise he wouldn't have been drafted.
Miami Marlins: One of their picks scared a bunch of people in Walmart.
Shoppers at a Walmart in Topeka got a pretty good scare Saturday afternoon thanks to David Gauntt, a catcher from Washburn University. The Marlins drafted him in the 18th round when he was out shopping. From Rick Peterson Jr. of the Topeka Capital-Journal:
"I was in the middle of Walmart with my girlfriend, and when they called me we both got really happy and probably turned a couple heads," Gauntt said. "People in the store probably thought we were crazy."
"(Friday) was a roller coaster," Gauntt said. "I kind of got my hopes up and then didn't hear from anybody. But today when I got the call saying my name had been selected by the Marlins, it was just complete excitement."
That's a pretty good draft story right there. Not everyone gets to sit home with their family waiting to appear on MLB Network.
Milwaukee Brewers: Drafted a player the White Sox helped develop.
The Brewers selected Louisville OF Corey Ray with their first round selection. Ray, a Chicago native, played for a White Sox charity youth program as a kid and credited them for helping him become the player he is today. From the Chicago Tribune's Colleen Kane:
"The instruction I got from (the Sox program), the places (I went) and the opportunities I was given definitely helped me, and I think there will be more guys who will do great things in baseball coming out of that program because of everything the White Sox do on the South Side of Chicago."
The White Sox Amateur City Elite program has been around since 2007 and was founded to "provide resources and guidance for the city's youth baseball players and to promote the participation of African-Americans in the game,." according to Kane. Ray was part of the program's very first 13-and-under team.
Minnesota Twins: Drafted the first Air Force underclassman ever.
In the third round, the Twins selected Air Force RHP Griffin Jax, making him he highest drafted player out of the Air Force ever. He's only the sixth Air Force player to be drafted and the first underclassman. That also complicates things, because Jax still has military obligation. Brent Briggeman of the Gazette laid out Jax's options:
First, he could opt not to sign - walking away from more than half a million dollars - and take his chances with next year's draft.
Second, he could sign with the Twins and forgo his eligibility as a senior but remain a cadet, graduate in 2017 and serve on active duty, playing baseball professionally whenever possible by working out the timing of his leave until he can apply for release after two years.
Jax's recommended bonus as a third-round pick is $645,600, so we're talking about a substantial amount of money. Other players from military academies have signed pro contracts and played around their military commitments, but obviously the Twins think Jax has a lot of potential, so they want him in their system soon.
New York Mets: Selected an ambidextrous position player.
Thanks largely to Pat Venditte, ambidextrous pitchers have created a lot of buzz in recent years. What about ambidextrous position players though? We don't hear much about them. The Mets selected Florida HS OF Carlos Cortes in the 20th round and he throws with both arms. He throws left-handed as an outfielder and right-handed as a second baseman. Here's some video:
Cortes was a pretty good draft prospect -- Baseball America ranked him as the 128th best player available -- but he slipped to the 20th round because he's already said he's planning to follow through on his commitment to South Carolina.
New York Yankees: Once again favored Southern California players.
Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer played his college ball at USC, and since taking over Yankees drafts, he's always favored players from South California. The Yankees selected 40 players this draft and nine were SoCal kids. That includes their first rounder (prep OF Blake Rutherford), two of their top three picks, and four of their top eight picks.
This was Oppeneheimer's 11th draft with the Yankees, and in those 11 years he's had 15 first round picks. Seven of the 15 have come from Southern California, so nearly half. Ian Kennedy and Gerrit Cole are among those seven.
Oakland Athletics: Went very heavy on college players.
Thanks to Moneyball, the A's are viewed as a team that favors college players because they're easier to analyze statistically. While that is true, the team hasn't been shy about taking high school players over the years. Addison Russell was their first round pick out of high school a few years back, for example.
This year though, Oakland drafted 41 total players and only six were high schoolers. Three of them were among their top seven picks: Pennsylvania HS third baseman Nolan Jones (second round), Texas HS outfielder Conner Capel (fifth round), and Texas HS third baseman Ulysses Cantu (sixth round). They loaded up on college players later in the draft to bulk up their farm system.
Philadelphia Phillies: Top pick won a tattoo bet.
The Phillies held the first overall pick, and they used it on California HS OF Mickey Moniak. He is the first prep outfielder taken first overall since Justin Upton in 2015. Because he went so high, Moniak won a tattoo bet with a friend named Ethan. Here's the video:
So Ethan has to get a tattoo of Moniak's name on his rear-end. To be fair, if Ethan gets drafted in the top 20 rounds in a few years, Moniak has to get a tattoo of his name on his behind. Ethan is a freshman pitcher at Columbia.
Pittsburgh Pirates: There was some confusion about their first-round pick.
It's not uncommon for top prospects to play both ways in college, meaning they serve as both a pitcher and a hitter. Will Craig, who the Pirates selected with the 22nd pick, played third base and closed at Wake Forest, though he was considered a far better prospect as a position player. He was announced as a pitcher on draft day though.
There was some confusion when commissioner Rob Manfred announced Craig as a pitcher and the MLB Network talked about him as a hitter, but it was nothing more than a mistake. Apparently the cue card mistakenly said pitcher. The Pirates did indeed draft Craig as a third baseman.
San Diego Padres: Drafted the son of Trevor Hoffman.
In the 36th round, the Padres selected California HS shortstop Quinn Hoffman, son of longtime closer and likely Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman. Quinn is not planning to go pro just yet though. He's heading to Harvard according to John Maffei of the San Diego Union Tribune. The team still selected him as a courtesy.
Trevor was originally drafted as a shortstop, you know. He couldn't hit in the minors though, so he transitioned to pitching. It was following a shoulder injury that he developed his trademark changeup.
San Francisco Giants: Drafted a Heyward brother.
Over the winter the Cubs signed Jason Heyward to a $184 million contract. On Saturday, the Giants selected Jason's younger brother Jacob in the 18th round. There was no nepotism here -- what connection does Heyward have to the Giants? -- they picked him because they like him as a player. From MLB.com's Chris Haft:
"You still have to be able to play," Giants scouting director John Barr said. "He was judged on who he is and his abilities, not on his brother's. It's him that we took. It's him that we think can be a big leaguer. It's him that we think can contribute. He stands alone on that.
"Sure, does the name stand out? Yeah. But that only goes so far. That may get someone to take another look at him. But it doesn't get you selected and it doesn't carry you."
Jacob hit .259/.399/.384 with 10 home runs in 141 career games at Miami.
Seattle Mariners: Paid tribute to a legend in the 24th round.
The Mariners paid tribute to new Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. by drafting his son Trey, an outfielder at Arizona. In which round did they select him? The 24th, of course.
Trey was a fifth year senior with the Wildcats, so he figures to turn pro and sign a contract with the Mariners.
St. Louis Cardinals: Once again, they were opportunistic.
It's really hard to have a quality major league team and a deep farm system year after year like the Cardinals. They always pick late in the draft, so when the opportunity comes to pick a top talent, they don't pass it up. That's how they maintain such a strong feeder system.
St. Louis grabbed potential top 10 pick Puerto Rico HS shortstop Delvin Perez with the 23rd pick after a failed PED test caused him to slip. They also nabbed Mississippi State RHP Dakota Hudson with the 34th pick. He was a possible top 15 pick who fell because some teams worry his fastball can flatten out. When other teams pass on top talent, the Cardinals pounce.
Tampa Bay Rays: Drafted the Lowe brothers 12 rounds apart.
The Rays used their first round pick on Georgia HS third baseman Joshua Lowe, who offered some of the best raw power in the draft class. In the 13th round, they selected Joshua's brother Nathaniel, a first baseman from Mississippi. Their father David gave MLB.com's Bill Chastain a scouting report on Nathaniel:
"One thing about Nathaniel, for all of Joshua's pure athleticism, Nathaniel has always been a bigger kid who isn't fast-twitch," David said. "But when it comes to what he does, especially with the bat in his hands, he may be the smartest hitter in all of college baseball. And I'm not throwing it out there. I'm just telling you what people who have been around him [said] and have watched his approach, he's been using a professional approach to hitting for at least the last four years."
It is definitely not uncommon for teams to draft brothers, especially if one is a first rounder. The Lowe brothers figure to get a chance to play with each other this summer.
Texas Rangers: Did not draft a player from Texas.
Texas is one of baseball's traditional talent hotbeds along with California, Arizona, and Florida. The warm weather allows kids to play year-round and develop their skills. And yet, the Rangers did not draft a single player from Texas in the 2016 draft. Amazing. This is the fourth time in franchise history that's happened, joining the 1965, 1967, and 1970 drafts. I can't imagine many teams have passed over Texas entirely over the years.
Toronto Blue Jays: Drafted yet another player Navy player.
The Blue Jays used their 37th round pick on Navy senior LHP Luke Gillingham. Gillingham is the eighth Navy player ever to be drafted. (Mitch Harris was drafted twice.) Oddly enough, the Blue Jays have now picked three of them. Here's what Gillingham told the Capital Gazette:
"This is such an incredible honor," exclaimed Gillingham. "The opportunity to be drafted and become part of a top-notch organization like the Toronto Blue Jays is amazing. I have so many people to thank who have been a part of my career up to now and have helped me grow and succeed."
The Blue Jays also drafted LHP Matt Foster (2003) and OF Alex Azor (2012) out of Navy. Gillingham had a 2.40 ERA with 308 strikeouts in 296 career innings with the Midshipmen.
Washington Nationals: Still not scared away by Tommy John surgery.
While Tommy John surgery has become something of a routine procedure, it still carries a ton of risk. The Nationals are very clearly not afraid of those risks, however. In recent years they selected Lucas Giolito and Erick Feede in the first round knowing their elbows were compromised -- Giolito had TJS after the draft, Fedde shortly before -- and they've since become their top two pitching prospects. Giolito is the best pitching prospect in all of baseball.
The Nationals did not have a first round pick this year thanks to the Daniel Murphy signing, but they did land a first round talent in the third round in Florida LHP Jesus Luzardo. How did it happen? Luzardo had TJS this spring and will be out until next year rehabbing. The Nats did not have access to the tippy top talent, so they improvised, and again rolled the dice on the prospect whose elbow had to be rebuilt.