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Grading the 1st round of the 2016 MLB Draft

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Which teams won Day 1 of the 2016 MLB Draft? Which teams lost? We have answers for you.

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Welcome back to another year of grades for the MLB Draft. This is easily my least popular recurring feature on this site, which means I look forward to it every year. There was the time I gave everyone an "F" because amateur baseball players don’t often become successful major leaguers. People hated that. There was the time I gave everyone an "A" because I was drunk on the breathless comparisons from the Draft telecast. People hated that, too.

This time, I'm going to play it straight, I promise, because it is important to grade a baseball draft the day after it happens.

To the draft grades!

1. Philadelphia Phillies: Mickey Moniak, OF, La Costa Canyon HS (CA)

He can hit, he can run and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-five pick than a first overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: He’s similar to a younger Corey Ray, to me. He slint-loads his front hands, which gets him to the ball quickly.

Draft grade: A dinner bell that rings, a meal under a silver cloche, a beguiling aroma you can’t place.

2. Cincinnati Reds: Nick Senzel, 3B, Tennessee

He can hit and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-five pick than a second overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: He’s basically a more filled-out Josh Lowe, but with an even better mortar-and-pestle-style path to the ball.

Draft grade: Waking up in an unfamiliar hotel room, shutters drawn, in a city you’re visiting the first time.

3. Atlanta Braves: Ian Anderson, RHP, Shenendehowa HS (NY)

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: Not quite a Riley Pint-type pitcher, but he's close enough to mention the similarities. He gathers his middle tenders perfectly.

Draft grade: A menu that you're pretending to study intensely as you wait for a blind date, hoping you're beginning a story you’ll still talk about in 30 years.

4. Colorado Rockies: Riley Pint, RHP, St. Thomas Aquinas HS (KS)

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: He’s sort of an Ian Anderson-type, with just enough differences to separate them. Scouts wonder about the multi-horned loading of his windup, but it isn’t anything that can’t be ironed out.

Draft grade: An empty white room, save for the TV in the middle, the VCR it rests upon and the unmarked VHS tape in your hand.

5. Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Ray, OF, Louisville

He can hit, he can run and he can field. He has the tools to stick in center, and there’s still some room for him to develop power.

Comparison: He reminds me of a Mickey Moniak with collegiate experience. Watch for his tendency to side-sift, though.

Draft grade: A lunar eclipse on a foggy night, where you hope for the mists to part at just the right moment and justify your hours of patient shivering.

6. Oakland Athletics: A.J. Puk, LHP, Florida

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: An older, wiser Braxton Garrett, really. Drives his plant foot with gold leaf, just like you're taught.

Draft grade: An interview for the job of your dreams in a sunny room, resume in hand, as you wait calmly for the interviewer to come back from the restroom.

7. Miami Marlins: Braxton Garrett, LHP, Florence HS (AL)

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: A younger A.J. Puk with a chance to fill out in a couple years, though there’s a different kind of pailing at the end of his delivery.

Draft grade: The opening note of an album you were told to listen to, sustained for several seconds, building to an intricate composition that you’ve never heard before, that you’ll never hear for the first time again.

8. San Diego Padres: Cal Quantrill, RHP, Stanford

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: When healthy, he’s like the college version of Matt Manning, getting far more downward excabtion on his release than you would expect.

Draft grade: An unleashed dog trotting toward you as you amble down a pier, alone, silently remarking on the unusual weather.

9. Detroit Tigers: Matt Manning, RHP, Sheldon HS (CA)

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: A healthier, younger Cal Quantrill, fully pronating his wrist beak with almost every pitch.

Draft grade: Dimming lights and a hushed theater, a curtain rising to reveal ... my god, it can’t be! Or can it? No, it must.

10. Chicago White Sox: Zack Collins, C, Miami (FL)

He can hit and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-50 pick than a 10th overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: A rich man’s Matt Thaiss, with a gentle leg thrum on every swing and a 1.2 crinch time on his throws to second.

Draft grade: A phone ringing in the middle of the night, waking you up. Unless, no, it’s the morning. Have you overslept? It’s a friend from college. You answer.

11. Seattle Mariners: Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer

He can hit and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-50 pick than an 11th overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: A college-polished Alex Kirilloff, but with a dig-dug inflating of his hands when he wants to take some swing out.

Draft grade: An envelope in your mailbox, with perfect calligraphy and a lavender scent, addressed to you, but otherwise unmarked.

12. Boston Red Sox: Jason Groome, LHP, Barnegat HS (NJ)

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: A younger Eric Lauer with just a touch more potential and ability to cantilever through the back leg as he drives of the mound.

Draft grade: A knowing smirk. "What?" you ask.

"Nothing. It’s nothing."

The smirk broadens. Or does it decay, betraying something sinister that shouldn’t be left unsaid?

13. Tampa Bay Rays: Josh Lowe, 3B, Pope HS (GA)

He can hit and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-50 pick than a 13th overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: Nick Senzel. No, he doesn't have the obvious top-five talent, but he stack-daggers that power swing with the best of them.

Draft grade: The music stops. A man stands in front of those assembled and asks for everybody’s attention. It is 1893, and you are in the middle of a high society ball. He pauses, takes his top hat off and raises his eyes to meet yours, just yours.

14. Cleveland Indians: Will Benson, OF, The Westminster Schools (GA)

He can hit and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-50 pick than a 14th overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: There’s some Alex Kirilloff in him that’s hard to ignore, even if there's a hint of flange in his swing at times.

Draft grade: Small bubbles cascading from above, dancing around you. Where are they coming from? You look up to an open window, straining your eyes. It’s when you see her for the first time.

15. Minnesota Twins: Alex Kirilloff, OF, Plum HS (Penn.)

He can hit and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-50 pick than a 15th overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: Very much Will Benson, right down to how they hold the bat at the thinner end.

Draft grade: You enter your closet, only to find your clothes have all disappeared. In their place is a gold locket. You open the locket.

16. Los Angeles Angels: Matt Thaiss, C, Virginia

He can hit and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-50 pick than a 16th overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: Zach Collins, with just a little less upside, and little more kordling at the plate.

Draft grade: A map. A marking on the map. The words "A FATE UNBECOMING" underneath in red. The front door opens on its own.

17. Houston Astros: Forrest Whitley, RHP, Alamo Heights HS (TX)

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: A younger Justin Dunn, with a chance to fill out and tap into his natural flipper swing.

Draft grade: When you come out of the cave, the tide is out. Something catches your eye, there in the distance, and you carefully navigate pools of silver to reach it. It vanishes just before you get there, only to reappear farther in the distance. You forge ahead.

18. New York Yankees: Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade Prep (Calif.)

He can hit and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-50 pick than an 18th overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: Somewhere in the middle of the Will Benson/Alex Kirilloff spectrum, though there’s more of a chance that he’ll ding some church bells in center field, if you know what I mean.

Draft grade: The horse stops in front of you, and the carriage door opens. There is no driver. The horse turns and stares at you, pleading. There is something more behind its eyes. Something much more. You get in.

19. New York Mets: Justin Dunn, RHP, Boston College

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: He’s a T.J. Zeuch kind of pitcher to me, getting strong seasoning with every twist of his upper torso.

Draft grade: The ship bobs closer and closer to the shore. You wave. They can’t see you. Or maybe they can and are ignoring you. No, now they see you, and they wave back. Unless ...

20. Los Angeles Dodgers: Gavin Lux, SS, Indian Trails HS (WI)

I don't get this pick at all. What are the Dodgers doing here?

Comparison: Nick Ahmed without the defense or power.

Draft grade: F

21. Toronto Blue Jays: T.J. Zeuch, RHP, Pittsburgh

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: Sort of a Justin Dunn, but with more upward thigh trenching in his delivery.

Draft grade: He looks up from the board. Back down to the board. A crowd has gathered around, and the finches chitter in the trees. He puts his fingers on the rook -- yes, that’s the one, and he begins to slide it forward.

22. Pittsburgh Pirates: Will Craig, 3B, Wake Forest

He can hit and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-50 pick than a 22nd overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: Similar to a Will Craig-kind of player, from the ransoming hit tool to the primped outer glove in the field.

Draft grade: You follow the footprints until you can't walk anymore. How many hours has it been? You know that every step you take is a step you’ll have to take to get back. After an hour’s rest, though, you stand up and follow the footprints again, through the mud and the driving rain, not stopping to investigate the rustling behind you.

23. St. Louis Cardinals: Delvin Perez, SS, International Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico)

He’ll be the best hitter in the draft, and he’ll also have three doubles in Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS. Man, I’m tired of this.

Comparison: Alex Rodriguez, but without all the weird.

Draft grade: A

24. San Diego Padres: Hudson Sanchez, SS, Carroll HS (TX)

He can hit and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-50 pick than a 24th overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: A poor man’s Delvin Perez, but with more arm tambling. Which is nothing to be ashamed of.

Draft grade: There are fourteen crystal keys on the table of Elyndian marble. The Door of All Colors pulses wildly, beckoning, and you know that time is running out. You must choose. The boy king smiles but says nothing.

25. San Diego Padres: Eric Lauer, LHP, Kent State

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: Cole Ragans with more experience, and less of a stacked side-cheat in his motion.

Draft grade: Something with lizards or some shit, I don’t know, I’m losing my focus, hold on, I’ll take a quick break.

26. Chicago White Sox: Zack Burdi, RHP, Louisville

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: Cody Sedlock, through and through, including the noticeable hand-pander between the right arm and the glove before release.

Draft grade: The summit. After three brutal days of climbing, alone and terrified, you did it. You fall onto your knees and laugh hysterically. When you look up, a rope ladder is in front of you, extending into the sky, seemingly without end.

27. Baltimore Orioles: Cody Sedlock, RHP, Illinois

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: Zack Burdi, through and through, including the staunched half-reed as he pushes forward off the rubber.

Draft grade: The first sentence on the first page of the book is nothing but your full name with a period after it. The first paragraph is a description of your birth. You look around the empty train station, wondering if this is an elaborate prank. The second paragraph details your darkest fear, something which you have never shared with anybody. The third paragraph is about your true love, a name you don't recognize. You skip to the last page.

28. Washington Nationals: Carter Kieboom, 3B, Walton HS (GA)

He can hit and he can field. Even if you had him as more of a top-50 pick than a 28th overall pick, that still means he was one of the best amateur players in the country.

Comparison: Will Craig, minus the juniperish bob of the bat in two-strike situations.

Draft grade: The clock ticks down backwards, second by second, as it has done for the 10 years since it appeared in the middle of the mighty oak’s trunk, over 300 million seconds ago. You whisper to yourself as it reaches the end. 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ...

29. Washington Nationals: Dane Dunning, RHP, Florida

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: There’s a definite Cody Sedlock vibe here, though there’s a much more pronounced jetting ankle in his follow-through.

Draft grade: When the whale opened its mouth, you entered without question. The ruby stalactites inside reflect a light from a source you can’t place. You walk and walk and walk until you reach another whale. It opens its mouth, inviting you in.

30. Texas Rangers: Cole Ragans, LHP, North Florida Christian HS (FL)

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: Anthony Kay, but with an embossed shading before he comes to the plate.

Draft grade: At first, you panic, sinking below the waves, down into the deep, being pulled by an unseen hand as you gasp for air. And then you realize that you are breathing, as if nothing is wrong. It is then that you see the first spire of the Sea Temple.

31. New York Mets: Anthony Kay, LHP, Connecticut

Throws much better than the typical pitcher his age. Command needs improvement, but you can see why they’re dreaming on his potential.

Comparison: Cole Ragans, though A.J. Puk also works because he lets the cone torque supply the power, not the other way around.

Draft grade: "My fellow Americans," the President says, hands trembling. "We have made contact with ... we have made contact with something that is not of this world. We are not alone." There are tears, but you cannot tell if they are of joy or terror. "We are not alone."

32. Los Angeles Dodgers: Will Smith, C, Louisville

I don't get this pick at all. What are the Dodgers doing here?

Comparison: Jeff Mathis without the power or defense.

Draft grade: F

33. St. Louis Cardinals: Dylan Carlson, OF/1B, Elk Grove HS (CA)

Let’s see what Christopher Crawford of Baseball Prospectus has to say!

Carlson didn't make my top 125, so, you shouldn't be surprised to hear I think he's a pretty big reach at 33.

You fool. He is Mickey Mantle now. He will hit the home run that helps the Cardinals defeat the Cubs in the World Series, even if that’s not possible under baseball’s current rules.

Comparison: Mike Trout, but a switch-hitter

Draft grade: A

34. St. Louis Cardinals: Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State

Whatever. He’s now peak Curt Schilling, but with the capacity to reason and feel.

Comparison: Adam Wainwright in the streets, Clayton Kershaw in the spreadsheets.

Draft grade: A

* * *

Everyone wants to fight Yordano Ventura

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