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Friday, April 1, 2016

2016 Mock Draft


1. Pennsylvania Rebellion

     Alex Hugo, 2B
University of Georgia

(#2) Overall
(#2) Second Base

Hugo provides a powerful bat, which the Rebellion are desperately in need of. She has never posted a batting average below .340. Her current statistics are a bit down from her career marks, but the power and ability to get on base make her nonetheless worthy of the first overall selection. Her energy will be also be a welcome addition to a Rebellion team that often seemed in need of it.

2. USSSA Pride

     Sierra Romero, 2B
University of Michigan
 
  
(#1) Overall
(#1) Second Base

Romero and the Pride seem to fit like a glove. Thanks to her move to second base last season, she now has experience at one of the few positions that the Pride did not have consistency at in 2015. Romero’s star power and name recognition are not enough to automatically send Ceo and Kamekona to the bench, but she'll certainly add an interesting aspect to the competition at the second sack.

3. Akron Racers

     Jailyn Ford, P/1B
James Madison University
 

(#3) Overall
(#1) Pitcher
(#1) Left-Handed Pitcher

Ford may be the most well-round athlete at the top, and she perfectly fits one of the Racers’ biggest needs; in need of a left-handed pitcher and a bat with some pop, to boot, the Racers would be well-served with the selection of Ford and she is one of the best-positioned to transition her skill set to the professional level.

4. Akron Racers

     Kristen Brown, SS
University of North Carolina
 

(#13) Overall
(#1) Shortstop

Brown's stock has risen significantly in the last year, and a .360+ batting average and twenty-four home runs of 2015 had a good bit to do with that (an all-American honor didn't hurt, either). Akron has several holes in the department of infield depth and, while Brown and Sam Fischer are on the sane US "Women's Elite Team" and thus are otherwise committed for a handful of games in the mid-season, her power bat and ability to get on base are well-worth the high pick. 


5. USSSA Pride

     Haylie McCleney, OF
University of Alabama

(#4) Overall
(#1) Outfield

From day one in Tuscaloosa, McCleney made it clear she would be a high draft pick when her senior year came around, and the subsequent seasons have only made that more clear. She is tied to the US National Team, which will take her out of commission for several weeks of the season, but the financial and long-term opportunities the Pride offer may be too much for her to pass up and make it a highly-beneficial matchup on both sides.


6. Scrap Yard Dawgs

     Shelby Turnier, P
University of Central Florida
 

(#10) Overall
(#2) Pitcher
(#1) Right-Handed Pitcher

Turnier's sub-1.00 ERA of a year ago wowed a lot of people outside the Sunshine State, but it was nothing outside of her norm during her time in Orlando. Those jaw-dropping stats have cooled off a bit thanks to her team's inconsistency in 2016, but her level of talent is nonetheless particularly high. She is the best right-handed pitcher available and fits the bill of what the league's newest team will need to lead their staff.

7. Scrap Yard Dawgs

     Cheridan Hawkins, P
University of Oregon
 

(#23) Overall
(#5) Pitcher
(#2) Left-Handed Pitcher

Hawkins is one of the most high-profile players available, but four years of Pac-12 bats and summers on Team USA have shown her vulnerable. The Pac-12 quarter system and geographical difficulties always make a great West coast carry a caveat when selected. All of that said, she remains one of the best in the business when it comes to sheer talent and could easily serve in a 1-2 rotation-leading rookie punch with Turnier for the Dawgs. 

8. Pennsylvania Rebellion

     Allexis Bennett, OF
University of California-Los Angeles



(#7) Overall
(#2) Outfield

Overlooked by many NPF fans due to playing on the West coast, Bennett won't be overlooked by many NPF teams and even the afore-mentioned unfavorable PAC system won't keep her available for very long. The Rebellion are the most likely destination thanks to a need for a spark to leadoff the lineup and a historical willingness to pick up a player, knowing they won't play until the following season, and enjoy their talents thereafter once schooling is out of the picture. Key stats you need to know about Bennett to tell you what kind of a player she is (and recall this is coming against PAC-12 pitching, predominantly) are her .425 batting average; .467 OBP; forty-nine stolen bases; and 216 total bases in the first three years as a Bruin.


9. Dallas Charge

     Shellie Landry, OF
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
 

(#15) Overall
(#3) Outfield

Michael Lotief's prowess as an offensive mind is showing through very  clearly in his players, and Landry is one of many shining examples of that. She's taken on a diminished role in the fireworks show this season, and still has seven home runs and a .622 slugging percentage to her name in her senior year alone. She would be a good fit for the Charge, which already have former Cajun Brianna Cherry on the roster and allowed her the ability to blossom.


10. Akron Racers

     Erin Gabriel, P
University of Tennessee


(#11) Overall
(#3) Pitcher
(#2) Right-Handed Pitcher

Since the end of the Renfroe era, Gabriel has taken over the lead of the Lady Vols' pitching staff. With an ERA hovering around 3.00 annually, opponents batting sub-.230, and a flair for dominant performances that pile on the strikeouts, she also fits the Akron mold perfectly thanks to geographical nearness (she grew up less than an hour from the city). She has grown more consistent of late and is on track for the best season of her career.

11. Chicago Bandits

     Lexie Elkins, C
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
 

(#5) Overall
(#2) Catcher

As she begins to hear her name tossed around with the possibility of breaking the all-time home run record, Elkins doesn't seem to let the pressure bother her... she just keeps hitting home runs. The freshman who didn't hit a single home run at Texas Tech has turned into the everyday catcher in Lafayette who now has seventy-three long balls to her name. Lest you think she's a one-dimensional player, she's very, very good defensively and behind the plate and gets on base well even when she doesn't hit the ball over the fence; her 2016 batting average currently sits at .538.


12. USSSA Pride

     Aubree Munro, C
University of Florida

(#8) Overall
(#1) Catcher

Munro just beat out Elkins for the top spot behind the dish on my Big Board, but falls a spot behind her in the draft, in my projections. Munro's commitment to Team USA for a majority of the summer and favorable viewing by the Pride can be primarily assigned as the reasons for this. Even despite the seemingly-amicable agreement between Team USA and the NPF of recent times, there's still a weeks-long absence for any Team USA player that has to be considered and taken into account. During the time that she's in the league, though, it's far from inconceivable for Munro to work her way into the starting lineup fairly swiftly.


13. Scrap Yard Dawgs

     Kelsey Stewart, 2B
University of Florida
 

(#9) Overall
(#4) Second Base

Like her fellow Gator Munro, Stewart only falls this far because of her Team USA commitments. It's a deep class at second base, and her low ranking at the position can be blamed on the same. Stewart remains a superior talent, however, and I would not be surprised to see the league's newest franchise take a flier on her with such a high selection, even for just a 1/2 a season of her.

14. Pennsylvania Rebellion

     Sierra Lawrence, OF
University of Michigan
 

(#22) Overall
(#5) Outfield

Though often overshadowed by the *other* Sierra on the Wolverine roster, Lawrence is worthy of note in her own right. An all-American a year ago and twice an all-conference team member, she combines speed and power particularly well for a very dangerous matchup for opposing pitchers. She can play multiple outfield positions well and is sure-handed.

15. Dallas Charge

     Lindsey Stephens, OF
University of Texas
 

(#81) Overall
(#14) Outfield

Stephens is one of the Longhorns' few bright spots over the past few 'years of lean' and has been one of the stalwarts of the team's offense. An all-American in 2014, her first season as a full-time starter, she is a .378 career hitter and sports a .419 batting average and .753 slugging percentage this year. The Charge seem to prioritize bringing in players with regional ties, and Stephens, a Beaumont native, fits that bill to a T.

16. Pennsylvania Rebellion

     Missy Taukeiaho, 3B
California State University, Fullerton

(#16) Overall
(#1) Third Base

It's tau-key-ah-ho, and NPF fans need to learn how to pronounce that. Taukeiaho is the best third baseman in the class, as well as a dangerous hitter. Though Aussie Stacey Porter should hold the starting spot, the Rebellion could use a bat like Taukeiaho's and would fit her into the lineup and batting order somehow, some way, undoubtedly.

17. Chicago Bandits

     Kirsti Merritt, OF
University of Florida

 (#27) Overall
(#6) Outfield

Outside of some highlight-reel-worthy catches, Merritt hasn't gotten much love down in the Swamp. Twice an all-region team member, and fairly unheralded nonetheless, her offensive numbers have steadily ticked up as the years have gone on and she currently sports a .397 average and .559 slugging percentage this season. She's only made four field errors during her 3.5 year career thus-far. She would be a swift, power-capable addition to the Bandits lineup, and a fine mix of the speedy slappers and true sluggers that the lineup already features.
  
18. USSSA Pride

     Kelsey Nunley, P
University of Kentucky

(#46) Overall
(#13) Pitcher
(#10) Right-Handed Pitcher

For the first half of her career, Nunley was the workhorse of the UK staff, dominating the innings load and taking the brunt of the work. Even then, though, she dominated SEC competition. In more recent times, she has shared the load a bit more and saved her arm in the process. That's going to pay dividends for any team that picks her up in the league.
  
19. Scrap Yard Dawgs

     Chelsea Wilkinson, P
University of Georgia

 (#21) Overall
(#6) Pitcher
(#4) Right-Handed Pitcher

Thought not the most consistent, Wilkinson has proven very effective and particularly dominant over the last three years. She always has been on the cusp of the nation's top-tier, a level she reached briefly with her all-American selection in 2014. She earned all-conference and all-region honors a year ago and ranked in the top 25 in the nation in four statistical categories. The owner of eighty-six career victories and 793 strikeouts, she's a big name that would be a steal if she falls this far.
  
20. Akron Racers

     Kayla Bonstrom, 1B
Stanford University

(#17) Overall
(#1) First Base

It's a shallow first base class, granted, but Bonstrom is undoubtedly the cream of the crop. One of the few reliable constants of the troubled Stanford program the last few years, she earned all-American honors in 2015, as well as her third straight all-conference honor. The Racers have a need for a first baseman, and of the available candidates, Bonstrom leads the pack.
  
21. Pennsylvania Rebellion

     Shelby Pickett, UT
University of Pittsburgh

(#24) Overall
(#1) Utility

In my preseason forecast, I said of Pickett, '... she's got some pop in her bat and I think she could have a career year this season..." While the loftiness of those expectations may have not been met, Pickett is currently engrossed in another productive campaign and has talent that should translate well to the professional level. She would be competition to be reckoned with in an outfield battle and could be a bat with some pop, as well as a versatile player at multiple positions around the diamond.
  
22. Chicago Bandits

     Emily Carosone, 2B
Auburn University

(#6) Overall
(#3) Second Base

If Carosone falls this far, she'll be a steal. She very well may not, btu the crowded second base class and a lot of parity at the talent level leaves somebody as the odd man out. That's not meant as disparaging to Carosone, though; one the offensive leaders during Auburn's success and even their slumps, she's been remarkably consistent. Running off two all-American seasons in a row, she's setting herself up for a third consecutive trophy with her .382/.674/.551 slash line this season. She's very good defensively at second and would likely be very similar if transitioned to another infield spot.
  
23. Akron Racers

     Allie Rhodes, P
University of Notre Dame

(#29) Overall
(#7) Pitcher
(#3) Left-Handed Pitcher

Before the season began, I put Rhodes and Nasland on my 'Best is Yet to Come" list - it boggles the mind that Rhodes has nothing more than academic honors to her name. After a 20-5 showing a year ago, with a 2.81 ERA and 118 strikeouts, she she is already well on her way to a career-best in both strikeouts and wins in '16. She would add another lefty to the Racers' mix, giving them even more crucial depth in the circle for the stretch run.
  
24. Chicago Bandits

     Andrea Filler, SS
Northwestern University

 (#19) Overall
(#2) Shortstop

Since coming over from Boston College via transfer, Filler has quietly starred for the Northwestern Wildcats, who, notably, have produced several NPF greats over time (including Tammy Williams and budding star Emily Allard). Filler's offensive production (.375/.813/.448 in 2016 alone) plays a huge role in her viability, as does Kate Drohan's penchant for sending players up the ladder to the next level. The Bandits, likewise, have a history of picking up first-year players from regional schools and Filler fits that bill, as well.

  
25. USSSA Pride

     Bianka Bell, SS
Louisiana State University

 (#32) Overall
(#3) Shortstop

A popular and high-round pick among some, I see Bell's potential a bit more realistically as a mid-round pick who should not be automatically guaranteed a spot in the daily lineup. She has shown streaks of greatness at times, but just too many questions about her consistency and ability to transfer her power numbers to the pro level leave her on the board this far.
  
26. Scrap Yard Dawgs

     Emily Messer, 3B
University of South Alabama
 

(#57) Overall
(#4) Third Base

Thanks to Kevin Shelton's dual-GM'ing of the Dawgs and the Dallas Charge, we are offered a rare sneak peek into a new team's philosophy even prior to their first draft (discounting the expansion draft about which many questions remain). That strategy got the Charge to the playoffs a year ago and a big aspect of it is pulling relatively-unknown players, "sleeper picks" and giving them the chance to shine. Messer, if given that same opportunity, easily could. 
  
27. Scrap Yard Dawgs

     Linsey Hays, OF
Baylor University

(#41) Overall
(#9) Outfield

Hays is one of those rare players that performs especially well when she needs to... she can easily deliver a big game-winning blow as well as she can get on base and set the table. Another geographically-favorable pick, again just icing on the cake, she'd be a low-risk, very-high-reward selection.
  
28. Pennsylvania Rebellion

     Courtney Gano, 1B
University of Washington

 (#26) Overall
(#4) First Base

Gano's story is an inspirational one, but happy endings don't always make great ballplayers. In Gano's case, the happy ending is just the icing on the cake - she's a great ballplayer in her own right. A year ago, her junior season and the first full year she had played since her freshman campaign in 2012, Gano knocked eighteen home runs over the fence. There's a pileup of Huskies in Washington, PA, and Gano would be another stellar talent to add to the bunch.
  
29. Dallas Charge

     Chaley Brickey, 3B
University of Kansas

(#65) Overall
(#5) Shortstop

Even with just a single season under his belt, Charge general manager Kevin Shelton has shown a penchant for snatching up former players for the  Texas Glory, his travel ball franchise. Brickey fits that bill, and her high-number upperclassman statistics help justify her selection. Though her overall ranking on my Big Board leaves the mid-fifth round pick still a bit high, she could give some good competition at the hot corner in Dallas.

  
30. Akron Racers

     Hannah Perryman, P
University of Missouri-St. Louis

(#42) Overall
(#12) Pitcher
(#4) Left-Handed Pitcher

Perryman would be the first-ever Division II player to be drafted, and her eye-popping statistics make that a likelihood. Akron is the obvious landing spot, thanks to her collegiate head coach Brian Levin's second job as Racers' manager. Her smaller range of pitches and a lack of comparable competition level help even her statistics down a bit, but her numbers alone warrant hearing her name called on draft night.
  
31. Akron Racers

     Erika Leonard, 1B
Ohio State University

 (#64) Overall
(#9) First Base

The Buckeyes' redshirt star and the former FSU Seminole earned all-conference and all-region honors a season ago, which can easily and fittingly be dubbed her breakout campaign. She went on a torrid pace, ending the year hitting .414 with 15 home runs, 60 RBI, and a .782 slugging percentage. A Cincinnati native, she would help the Racers fill a hole for first base, either competing for the starting job or taking the opportunity to play and earning her right to stay.
  
32. USSSA Pride

     Geri Ann Glasco, P/OF
University of Oregon

 (#38) Overall
(#11) Pitcher
(#8) Right-Handed Pitcher

The daughter of the former Pride head coach, Glasco is equally marketable at the plate and in the circle. The Pac-12 quarter system and some inconsistencies in performance may serve as drawbacks, to a point, but the Pride are in the position to take a fly on some players and Glasco is well-worth it; if she is able to fit a niche on the team, it's a low-risk, high-reward selection.
  
33. Scrap Yard Dawgs

     Emily Crane, OF
University of Missouri

(#31) Overall
(#7) Outfield

The Tigers' starting second baseman in her freshman season, Crane moved to the outfield thanks to a traffic jam around the horn and promptly solidifed herself as one of the top dogs in the SEC, no easy task. She has never posted a season's average below .360 and was 58-62 on the basepaths coming into this season.
  
34. Scrap Yard Dawgs

     Kelsey Stevens, P
University of Oklahoma

 (#36) Overall
(#9) Pitcher
(#6) Right-Handed Pitcher

After giving way to Paige Parker as the staff ace in Norman in 2015, Stevens has never regained her form of 2014, a year that saw her lead the Big 12 in five statistical categories, including wins and innings pitched. Her current status as #2 starter doesn't change her ace-material talent. A veteran pitcher coming out of an NPF-friendly program like Oklahoma's, she would be a solid member of the Dawgs' rotation as they seek to find stability in their first season.
  
35. Pennsylvania Rebellion

     Kate Poppe, P
Villanova University

(#37) Overall
(#10) Pitcher
(#7) Right-Handed Pitcher

Poppe is a player that I've had my eye on since her sophomore campaign. It can be easy to miss a player, however talented, in the fray of a small school with a mediocre program, but Poppe has made herself known through her dominant performances in the circle. An all-conference player the last two seasons, she has never posted an ERA above 2.65 and holds the program's career strikeouts mark. She could do well in a mid-rotation/relief role.
  
36. Pennsylvania Rebellion

     Sandra Simmons, 1B
Louisiana State University

(#20) Overall
(#2) First Base

Simmons is one of the biggest sleepers in this year's draft, I feel. Her statistics may not be stellar, but they are solid and effective. The Rebellion, historically, have afforded many of the players that end up on their roster the opportunity to play and, given that opportunity, Simmons should have a very even-keeled transition to the pros and quickly provide a trouble for Craig Montvidas when he goes to fill out his lineup card.
  
37. Akron Racers

     Hannah Day, C/OF
Troy University

 (#33) Overall
(#12) Outfield

Day's career year of 2016 should continue by hearing her name called on draft night. Though she's only been in Troy for two seasons, Day has left her mark on the Trojans. She's saved the best for last, now hitting .383 in 2016 with fourteen home runs and an .869 slugging percentage. She is capable of playing - and doing so well - behind the plate or in the outfield, which makes her even more attractive to teams that are always looking for players that can provide depth at multiple positions. She'd join a crowded outfield mix in Akron, but her versatility and her bat would make it a good problem to have.

  
38. Chicago Bandits

     Sami Fagan, IF
University of Missouri

 (#30) Overall
(#5) Second Base

Since coming over from Florida after her freshman season, Fagan has done a superb job of reinventing herself and proving herself the super-talented player it's always been obvious she is. Character issues that have, however fairly or unfairly assigned, followed her, as well as a deep class at second base are the only reasons I see her falling this far. Wherever she winds up, however, she's likely the best-suited of the three Fagan sisters to achieve success at the pro level.
  
39. USSSA Pride

     Erin Miller, OF
University of Oklahoma
  
(#39) Overall
(#8) Outfield

By this point in the draft, the Pride should  be back to their stand-by philosophy of picking up the best player available. Miller's talent, superbly-impressive statistics of the last year-and-a-half, and the bevy of ex-Sooners on the Pride roster (including Lauren Chamberlain, a good friend of Miller), it's a perfect marriage of player and team.
  
40. Scrap Yard Dawgs

     Cali Lanphear, OF
Texas A&M University

 (#45) Overall
(#10) Outfield

Lanphear's stellar freshman season led to high expectations for her, expectations that came crashing down after a true sophomore slump that saw her only put the bat on the ball and reach base sixteen times. Her upperclassman years have been much better, however, though she has since flown under the radar most of the time. She currently sports a .341 batting average with eight home runs, proving consistent enough for the Dawgs to call her name on April 14th and make her the 2016 "Ms. Irrelevant".

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