Thursday, March 12, 2015

2015 Justin's World Mock Draft 1.0

Our predictions for the 1st round selections
At long last, here it is. The 3rd-annual Justin's World of Softball NPF Mock Draft. Listed below are my predictions for all thirty-four selections with a brief write-up on each player and what they bring to the table. Players were selected based on a number of factors, and were based primarily on the needs of each team.

  1. Lauren Chamberlain, 1B, USSSA Pride (Oklahoma) – For the first time in four years, the first pick is an easy selection. With a Team USA commitment for the summer no longer in play, the Pride should select the best player. Without a doubt, that’s Chamberlain. The soon-to-be NCAA home run queen has suffered from a handful of injuries this season and last, but her production has suffered little. She could fill the DP role full-time or platoon with Gionna DiSalvatore at DP and first base.
  2. Shelby Pendley, 3B, USSSA Pride (Oklahoma) – Chamberlain’s teammate is the Lou Gehrig to her fellow Sooner’s Babe Ruth. The Pride have the luxury of no pressing needs to fill and can simply select the best players and continue building for the future. Pendley fits right in to that equation. Andrea Duran may not be around too much longer, and having a player of Pendley’s caliber waiting in the wings to take over would make the transition much smoother. Until that happens, she’d be the best role player in the league.
  3. Lacey Waldrop, P, Chicago Bandits (Florida State) – The status of Monica Abbott remains up in the air for the Bandits, making pitching a more pressing need than it would otherwise be. With no clear ace on the staff, they simply need the best hurler available. Thanks to Ally Carda’s Team USA commitment, that title belongs to reigning National Player of the Year Lacey Waldrop. The ‘Noles star somewhat underperformed in the Women’s College World Series in 2014, but she could immediately fit right into the Bandits’ system and be a major part of their rebuilding efforts this season and beyond.
  4. Branndi Melero, OF, USSSA Pride (Auburn) – Melero, an All-American outfielder in 2014, is not the best outfielder in the senior class, but she is excellent in many facets of the game, and with an expressed desire to play in the league, the Pride should use a first-rounder on her. She also has the potential to provide long-term depth and help with a smooth transition should Kelly Kretschman and Natasha Watley see fit to hang up their spikes within the next couple of seasons.
  5. Emilee Koerner, OF, Dallas Charge (Notre Dame) – Kevin Shelton, the Charge GM, told me his team is looking for speed and left-handed offense. Koerner fits both of those bills. A two-time All-American, she has the talent to immediately jump into a starting outfield spot for the NPF’s newest franchise.
  6. Miranda Kramer, P, Pennsylvania Rebellion (Western Kentucky) – After an impressive showing in three seasons at IPFW, Kramer’s success has translated to the higher level of competition at WKU. She leads the nation in strikeouts per seven innings, sending nearly fourteen batters a game back to the dugout. She’s a star, and the kind of powerful presence the Rebellion rotation needs. Angel Bunner can’t do it all herself, and Kramer will be able to eat some innings and should help provide some improvement in the W column at season’s end.
  7. Stephany LaRosa, C, Chicago Bandits (UCLA) – The Bandits lost their entire catching corps this offseason, with the retirements of Kristen Butler & Jenna Grim and the trade of Kaylyn Castillo to Dallas. Nebraska great Taylor Edwards came in via trade, but there is a large fill-in-the-blank behind her on the depth chart. LaRosa can fill that void. The 7th pick may be a little ambitious, but to fill the hole behind the plate, it may be worth it to the Bandits.
  8. Kylee Lahners, UT, Pennsylvania Rebellion (Washington) – In my preseason forecast of the Pac-12, I called Lahners the most talented athlete on the Huskies roster. That is still the case. A great athlete with versatility and the capability to play many positions around the diamond, her bat is equally good. Any team would benefit highly by selecting her, but going to the Rebellion will reunite her with former Huskies teammates Victoria Hayward and Bryana Walker.
  9. Maddie O’Brien, SS, Pennsylvania Rebellion (Florida State) – O’Brien told me last year that she didn’t plan to play past college, desiring to get a head start on her post-softball career. There’s always the possibility, though, that that could change. In case it does, the Rebellion would be wise to use a selection on her here. She possesses an incredibly-powerful bat and a veteran presence similar to a multi-year professional vet. She also would provide depth up the middle and on the left side of the infield, and potentially shore up a shaky shortstop position.
  10. Kaitlyn Richardson, 3B, Dallas Charge (Minnesota) – Richardson is a two-time All-American, with power from the left side of the plate and a steady bat to put the ball in play the times it doesn’t go over the wall. Through her first three seasons, she has a .394/.509/.693 stat line and has knocked thirty home runs over the wall. She would fill the wide-open void at the hot corner for the Charge.
  11. Amber Freeman, C, USSSA Pride (Arizona State) – The Pride already have two catchers on the roster, but Jessica Shults is unproven and with draft picks to kill, Freeman is the best available player that also fills an open spot on the depth chart… in this instance, the spot vacated by the trade of Kristyn Sandberg.
  12. Shellie Robinson, OF, Akron Racers (USC-Upstate) – Robinson is stellar in every portion of her game… and though her talent would normally make her a first-rounder, I believe she will fall to be selected by the Racers with their first pick. She has incredible power and an outfield of Robinson-Taylor Schlopy-Jenny Gilbert is a fine unit. She could also be a long-term star for the team.
  13. Jordan Strickland, SS, Chicago Bandits (Baylor) – In need of some infield depth, the Bandits would pluck Strickland right out of the backyard of the rival Charge if she is selected here. Shortstop is locked up by Tammy Williams right now, but with her career’s longevity unsure at the time being, Strickland is another that could provide a long-term option at the position.
  14. Christina Hamilton, P, Pennsylvania Rebellion (Louisiana-Lafayette) – Without a doubt, both Cajun hurlers will be drafted; it’s really a 50-50 toss-up as to which will go first. Thanks to her 2014 stardom and hot start to 2015 in spite of injury, I think it’ll be Hamilton. She would provide another compliment to the Rebellion roster.
  15. Jordan Wallace, P, Dallas Charge (Louisiana-Lafayette) – And directly behind her teammate and fellow co-ace comes Wallace… staying regionally with the Charge, she has improved on the horrible draft stock that she was left with after a subpar 2014 and can turn that into a mid-round draft choice.
  16. Haylie Wagner, P, Dallas Charge (Michigan) – Wagner is one of just two left-handed pitchers in my top 25 and may be taken sooner than the fourth round. She would be an excellent pick up for the Charge, though, joining veteran Morgan Melloh as the southpaws on the roster.
  17. Janie Takeda, OF, USSSA Pride (Oregon) – Takeda is another player committed to Team USA… that’s the only reason she should fall this far. An All-American outfielder & offensive juggernaut, this pick would purely be for the rights that would still belong to the team in a year.
  18. Mackenzie Audas, P, Chicago Bandits (UCF) – Audas has significantly improved her draft stock over the last two seasons and has become one of the elite pitchers in the nation. Though their pitching styles are dissimilar, I think of Andi Williamson’s rookie NPF season when I think of Audas’ potential in the league.
  19. Paige Wilson, IF, Akron Racers (Georgia) – Wilson can play shortstop and third, which gives the Racers flexibility on the depth chart. If Kelley Montalvo continues to underwhelm again this season, having someone like Wilson in the fold may finally let the Racers take the jump to bench the veteran and go with some new blood at the hot corner. Wilson can hit, as well, and the Racers would be wise to spend one of their quartet of selections on her.
  20. Farish Beard, P, Pennsylvania Rebellion (South Alabama) – An injury has limited the USA star hurler to just nine innings of work thus-far this season, but with the Jaguars’ track record of sending players to the professional ranks (see Campbell, Hannah) and Beard’s own track record, she’s deserving of the high selection.
  21. Brenna Moss, OF, Dallas Charge (Fresno State) – Moss is the first real sleeper you’ll find in this mock draft. Defensive woes that were exhibited in her first season have disappeared – she’s had just one error over the last two seasons. Offensively, her numbers have drastically improved on a yearly basis, to the tune of a .368 batting average in 2014. Her speed is mighty impressive as well, as she is 75-85 in stolen bases.
  22. Chelsea Goodacre, C, Pennsylvania Rebellion (Arizona) – If you paid attention to the Big Board yesterday, you may wonder why I list Goodacre as the best available catcher, yet have her as the third backstop selected. The simple answer is that I believe she fits the Rebellion system best, as is the case with the previous two and the teams I predicted them to join. Goodacre has the most powerful bat of any backstop on the list, which is the skill set that may most come into play, as the
  23. Kaitlyn Thumann, OF, Akron Racers (Baylor) – Two-time all-conference selection… good hitter, will provide great 4th-string outfielder or platoon player.
  24. AJ Andrews, OF, Chicago Bandits (LSU) A former All-American that is great in all three of the main facets of the game – offense, speed, and defense – she would make a great addition to a close-to-empty Bandits outfield.
  25. Larissa Franklin, OF, Pennsylvania Rebellion (Western Kentucky) – Committed to Team Canada, but worth a pick ala Victoria Hayward… Rebellion have had multiple Canadians on their roster the past two seasons, Franklin would make another great one.
  26. Griffin Joiner, C, Dallas Charge (Kentucky) – Filling the 3rd backstop spot on the depth chart, providing depth in case of more struggles for Kaylyn Castillo… great bat to have coming off the bench.
  27. Staci Rodriguez, OF, Dallas Charge (New Mexico State) – Off to a hot start this year, with six home runs and a perfect record on the base paths… good power with two double-digit home run seasons under her belt.
  28. Ally Carda, P, USSSA Pride (UCLA) – Another Team USA commit… one of the three most talented members of the senior class, but thanks to the commitment, she is likely to fall in the draft order. Pride should play it smart and take her anyway.
  29. Sammy Marshall, SS, Chicago Bandits (Western Illinois) – Coming out of the Bandits’ backyard and an excellent small-ball hitter, Marshall has ranked highly on the D1 batting average list multiple times… she can fit in as a backup middle infielder and the Bandits would be smart to try to convert one of their picks to a second position, either second base or the hot corner.
  30. Samantha Messer, P, Akron Racers (Florida Atlantic) – Despite the star-studded rotation already in place, adding an extra hurler is never a bad idea… Messer is a low-risk, high-reward selection… projected to be something of a Michelle Gascoigne-like professional career.
  31. Kahley Novak, 2B, Pennsylvania Rebellion (UCF) – Speedy natural second baseman fills the hole in a backup role in Washington… Novak’s soon-to-be the record-holding base stealer for the Knights.
  32. Lauren Coleman, 1B, Dallas Charge (Georgia State) – First base is another gaping hole on the Charge roster… Coleman is another low-risk, high-reward choice that could fly under the radar but prove to be excellent at the professional level… she could be either a late draft pick or a swift free-agent signing after the college season ends.
  33. Emily Weiman, P, Dallas Charge (North Carolina State) – Has shown some problems here and there, such as the recent shortened performance against Elon… at the same time, has shown flashes of brilliance and the excellent talent she obviously possesses.
  34. Shayna Kimbrough, SS, Dallas Charge (Long Beach State) – Magnificent defensively… solid hitter… speedy. Good for depth.

1 comment:

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