The not-quite mock draftees

There’s something about publishing that first full mock of the first round that makes you realize we’re in crunch time. It’s true — the Draft is less than a month away now and we are focusing most of our efforts on Draft coverage these days. Having my first first-round projection go up yesterday was just visible confirmation of what we already knew internally. So buckle your seatbelts, it’s going to be a fun, and very bumpy, ride!

Invariably, there are guys listed on a mock draft who won’t go in the first round. Conversely, several guys are left off who will go inmastermind the top 26 picks on June 8 (Preview show starts at 6 p.m., live Draft on MLB Network and MLB.com at 7 p.m. ET!). That’s especially true in the early iterations of the mocks. In our most recent Pipeline Podcast, I likened the process to the game of Mastermind — in the early going, I try really hard to get the colors right. As we get closer, the hope is I nail down the order of the pegs better.

So who were the top names left out of that first mock that I could see potentially going in the first round? While fully knowing there could be some wild cards yet to be uncovered, here’s a list of players you are likely to see on future mock drafts, both on MLB.com and elsewhere:

Mike Matuella, RHP, Duke — If it were Tommy John surgery alone, he might be easier to place. But there were questions about his back and a general lack of a track record before the elbow.

Nate Kirby, LHP, Virginia — Kirby’s season-ending injury is a lat strain, so it’s not an arm problem. But teams will want to make sure of the medical and Kirby’s stock was slipping a tiny bit because his stuff backed up a bit this year. That said, there’s a ton of track record on him and he seemed like a safe college lefty at the very least before the injury.

Ashe Russell, RHP, Cathedral HS (Ind.) — High school arms tend to slide down when Draft day arrives, though Russell’s fastball-slider combination and his size still will have him in many conversations.

Donny Everett, RHP, Clarksville HS (Tenn.) — Same kind of deal with him as with Russell. He’s big and strong and has plenty of arm strength. Could see a team in the back end of the first round being interested.

There are some college bats who could rise up and sneak in, like D.J. Stewart or Richie Martin as well.

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