Callis, Mayo provide latest Draft buzz

Callis, Mayo provide latest Draft buzz

Leading up to when the first pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks is announced by Commissioner Rob Manfred shortly after 7 p.m. ET on Monday, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo will be working the phones, texting and emailing decision-makers in the scouting industry, as they try to line up their final mock Drafts. Along the way, they hear a lot of rumors, buzz, talk of guys with helium and guys sliding. They will bring that information to everyone here in MLBPipeline.com's Draft Buzz.

The 2015 Draft will take place from Monday through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 75 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at noon on Wednesday.

See the 2015 Draft order

MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,700 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Rockies still in flux at No. 3

Jonathan and I still feel reasonably confident in our projections of Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson to the Diamondbacks at No. 1 and Louisiana State shortstop Alex Bregman to the Astros at No. 2 (though nothing is a lock right now). But we're both mulling whether we should switch our guess at No. 3.

We both had Lake Mary (Fla.) High shortstop Brendan Rodgers going No. 3 to the Rockies in our latest mock drafts this morning. Colorado is believed to be split between Rodgers and Illinois left-hander Taylor Jay, and now the arrow seems to be pointing more toward Jay.

A lot can change in the next five hours, of course.

-- Jim Callis

New name in the back of the first round

When the top of the Draft is still so fluid, it becomes even more difficult to project the back end of the first round. But there is a new name popping up in that area.

That name is Taylor Ward, the catcher at Fresno State. It's a weak year for catchers and Ward is one of the better defenders in the class, an advanced one at that, coming from the college ranks. Ranked No. 99 on our Top 200, Ward could be a defensive-minded regular at the big league level. If you're a team looking for college bats, like the Angels at No. 26, going to a place where there's position scarcity might not be a bad way to go, though the latest buzz is that the Angels are focusing more on middle infielders.

-- Jonathan Mayo

Naylor has helium

Canadian high school first baseman Josh Naylor has a lot of helium right now. He might have the best power in the Draft, and there are plenty of rumors he could vault into the top 12 picks, most likely to the Red Sox at No. 7, the Cubs at 9 or the Marlins at 12 (Jonathan Mayo noted Miami below). It looks more and more certain that he goes in the first round, and multi-pick teams that want him might have to use their first choice rather than their second.

-- Jim Callis

The latest scene

We were working the phones late into the night. The end result was our dueling mock drafts.

More information continues to come in. We'll be doing one last version of the mock. Over the course of the day, we'll try to update everyone here with what we are hearing from the industry on who is going where.

Some quick tidbits from this morning:

• The Marlins might prefer a college pitcher at No. 12, but some in their Draft room really like Canadian slugger Josh Naylor.

• While most have the Brewers going after college pitching, there are some high school bats they're interested in, including Garrett Whitley and Chris Betts.

• Aside from the injured pitchers, the biggest wild card at this point might be Daz Cameron. If the Rangers don't take him at No. 4, he could slide out of the first round because of a perceived price tag. The Astros pick at No. 37 and buzz persists that they could save some money at No. 2 and 5, then have the resources to take Cameron then.

-- Jonathan Mayo

Hooper Says He's UCLA-Bound

Justin Hooper, one of the top left-handers in the 2015 Draft class, tweeted Sunday night that he intends to honor his commitment to UCLA.

A product of De La Salle High in Concord, Calif., Hooper ranks No. 31 on the MLBPipeline.com Draft Top 200. He has a huge frame (6-foot-7, 230 pounds) and a huge ceiling (he can hit 97 mph with his fastball), but his secondary pitches, control and command are works in progress.

Hooper's tweet doesn't mean that a team can't or won't draft him, and he wouldn't be the first player to say he's set on attending college and later have his mind changed by a seven-figure bonus. However, he already was considered a tough sign before Sunday's announcement.

-- Jim Callis

A new bat in the top 10?

Add one more names to the list of potential bats that could find its way into the top 10: Cornelius Randolph.

With the picture of what's happening at the top still unclear, teams are making sure they have multiple options lined up to be prepared for any scenario. A team like the Phillies, which many in the industry feel is looking more at bats than arms right now, have Randolph, the Georgia high school infielder, in its mix. Randolph is one of the best pure bats in the class, especially in the prep ranks. He'll likely have to move from shortstop to third base as a pro, but his bat should profile just fine there.

Randolph comes into play if other hitters are already off the board. It's expected that Dansby Swanson, Alex Bregman, Brendan Rodgers and Andrew Benintendi will almost certainly be taken before the end of the top 10. Kyle Tucker seems like another high school hitter who could be gone, though the Phillies would have an interest in Preston's brother if he were still around. If he's not, the Phillies are considering Randolph along with Georgia high school catcher Tyler Stephenson and Cincinnati outfielder Ian Happ.

-- Jonathan Mayo

No Jay Today

The second start of Illinois left-hander Tyler Jay's college career won't happen today. Weather has forced postponement of the second game of the Illinois/Vanderbilt NCAA Super Regional, which now will be played on Monday. No game time has been announced as of 7 p.m. ET.

-- Jim Callis

Nothing Resolved At No. 1

With a little more than 24 hours to go before the D-backs make the No. 1 overall pick, there's little sense in the industry as to which way they'll go. Different factions in Arizona are believed to be in favor of three different players: Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson, Kennesaw Mountain High (Kennesaw, Ga.) catcher Tyler Stephenson and a college pitcher (apparently Vanderbilt right-hander Carson Fulmer over Illinois left-hander Tyler Jay). 

None of the players is expected to receive the full bonus-pool value of $8,616,900 allocated for the No. 1 choice. Swanson would command the most, likely a bonus betwen $6 million and $7 million, while the pitcher would come in closer to $5 million and Stephenson might not reach half of the pick value.

-- Jim Callis

Jay Set For Second Start Of Career

After getting crushed, 13-0, by defending College World Series champion Vanderbilt in an NCAA Super Regional opener on Saturday, Illinois has to win Sunday or Monday to avoid elimination. So left-hander Tyler Jay will get just the second start of his college career Sunday night at 6 ET.

The top lefty in the Draft and a dark-horse candidate to go No. 1 overall, Jay has most of the ingredients teams want in a starter: a quality four-pitch repertoire, impressive control and command, a sound delivery, athleticism and a quick arm. The only questions about him are his size (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) and his lack of track record in the rotation.

Whichever team picks Jay early on Monday probably envisions him as a frontline starter. Two college starts definitely represent a small sample size, but if he performs well in his second, it only can help his cause.

-- Jim Callis

Stephenson at No. 1 overall?

Perhaps the biggest buzz making the rounds is that Tyler Stephenson, the catcher from Kennsaw Mountain High School in Georgia, was going to be taken No. 1 overall by the D-backs. Arizona definitely likes Stephenson, the top all-around backstop in the Draft class, and they did bring him in for a workout, where he reportedly impressed.

This would be a big money-saving-deal kind of a pick, in which the D-backs would sign Stephenson for far less than the assigned pick value of just over $8.6 million. They would then use that money to aggressively pursue talent later in the Draft, with their next pick coming at the start of the second round (43).

This rumor was loud enough that many teams picking in the Top 10 were at least paying attention to it as they try to figure out who will be available for them to pick. But it should be noted that Stephenson worked out for the Phillies on Saturday, which one scouting director pointed out may not make sense if a deal with Arizona was already in place. Others still see Stephenson as just a backup plan if the D-backs can't agree to the parameters of a deal with preferred choice Dansby Swanson.

-- Jonathan Mayo

Benintendi at No. 2?

No player had more helium leading up to the Draft than Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi. The Draft-eligible sophomore has been the best college performer, hitting-wise, in the nation this year and was named SEC Player of the Year. It seemed like he had risen comfortably into the Top 10, starting with the Red Sox at No. 7. But how about this potential scenario:

The Astros take Benintendi at No. 2 on a deal that saves them a good amount of money from the pick value of just over $7.4 million. They could save some more, if they so choose, at No. 5, perhaps with high school outfielder Kyle Tucker, whose older brother Preston is on the Astros. Then, they could shift all that savings to their selection at No. 37. The object of their deisres could be Daz Cameron, Mike's son, who reportedly has put out a large price tag to interested teams.

Think it's unlikely? Well, the Astros have done it before. In 2012, they made a deal at No. 1 overall, when they took Carlos Correa (How's that working out?). The money saved there allowed them to sign Lance McCullers at No. 41 and Rio Ruiz in the fourth round. Even last year, they had a deal in place to save some money at 1-1 with Brady Aiken so they could also sign Jacob Nix. That didn't come to fruition, but the Astros clearly don't have a problem with being creative with their pool money.

-- Jonathan Mayo

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.