The wait is finally over. Today is the day dreams come true. Amateur baseball players will hear their name called by Major League Baseball organizations over the next three days, starting tonight with the first 75 picks of the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Let’s do this.
- Minnesota Twins – Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Louisville
Vanderbilt ace Kyle Wright seemed to be the favorite to go number one overall just a few days ago, but most mock drafts are now placing McKay here. He is the most fascinating player in the draft because he is a legit top five talent as both a pitcher and as a hitter. I would not be surprised to see him do both in his pro debut, but the buzz is that Minnesota likes him as a pitcher.
- Cincinnati Reds – Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS (California)
Greene is the prospect with the highest ceiling in the draft. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, who named him the “LeBron of high school baseball.” He throws 102 off the mound and could be a mid-first round pick as a shortstop, but his future is definitely on the mound. The Reds currently have the worst rotation ERA in baseball, and they can dream on a potential ace for years to come by selecting Greene.
- San Diego Padres – MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS (North Carolina)
San Diego would love Greene to fall to them, but that is unlikely to happen. They will instead look at Gore and Royce Lewis. I think they stick with a high school pitcher and select Gore, who Jim Callis of mlb.com said he would take number one overall.
- Tampa Bay Rays – Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt
There is some buzz that the Rays may try to cut a deal with Alabama high school outfielder Bubba Thompson and spend more money later in the draft. But Wright, who many consider to be the best college pitcher in the draft, makes too much sense here. The Rays have also had success with Vandy pitchers in the past.
- Atlanta Braves – Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS (Texas)
The first surprise comes here with John Hart and the Braves popping Baz at five. Atlanta has one of baseball’s top farm systems, and they love high-ceiling players. With five potentially plus pitches already in the right arm of this 17-year old, Baz has arguably the highest ceiling of any high school pitcher in this draft. He has a strong commitment to TCU but if he goes in the top five, that should not be an issue.
- Oakland Athletics – Royce Lewis, SS, JSerra Catholic HS (California)
Oakland probably did not expect Lewis to be on the board at six, so they pounce on the top player on the board here.
- Arizona Diamondbacks – Adam Halsey, OF, Virginia
The top college bat in this class comes down to a pair of Virginia Cavilers, and Arizona will take the outfielder here. Halsey has the potential for average or better tools across the board, and is capable of playing all three outfield positions.
- Philadelphia Phillies – Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard HS (Kentucky)
Adell has “helium” leading up to the draft as the toolsy Kentucky high school outfielder is drawing some buzz in the top 10. He has some questions about his ability to make consistent contact, but he oozes potential and can fly, has an arm that fires 97 off the mound and is a plus defender who should stick in center field. Watching him and Mickey Moniak climb the Phillies system together would be fun to watch.
- Milwaukee Brewers – Austin Beck, North Davidson HS (North Carolina)
Milwaukee has been linked to Adell but with him off the board, I have them going with Beck, who despite his lack of track record with a wooden bat has some of the highest potential in this draft among outfield prospects.
- Los Angeles Angels – Keston Hiura, 2B/OF, UC Irvine
The Angels seem to be satisfied picking DH types recently, with CJ Cron and Matt Thaiss two examples of that. If they want to really make a splash, they need to trade Mike Trout, but that’s a whole different story. Their farm system could use some high upside talent, so they will probably go with a bat first DH type. Hiura was limited to DH duties at UC Irvine this year because of elbow troubles, so he fits the bill nicely.
- Chicago White Sox – Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt
The White Sox are ecstatic to land Kendall at 11. He comes with major swing and miss concerns, but not many players don’t in the game that is played today. Kendall oozes tools and should he improve his hit tool, this could be a steal.
- Pittsburgh Pirates – J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina
The Pirates pounce on the chance to scoop up Bukauskas at 12, who could fall a little bit after a bad final outing of the season against Davidson in the NCAA regionals. It shouldn’t matter though, he should still be a top 10 pick, and the Pirates would be glad to add a potential frontline arm to the mix.
- Miami Marlins – Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
The Marlins are in a tough situation after the passing of Jose Fernandez left not only a hole in that organization and community, but also on the field. That is a big void that you cannot replace easily, and their farm system is among the worst in baseball. That said, Miami should take the top talent available, and Smith should be a quick to the big leagues bat even if he is limited to first base.
- Kansas City Royals – Evan White, 1B, Kentucky
I would love to see Shane Baz here, but I highly doubt he is available at 14. The story has been well documented. The Royals have a core of free agents that will probably be traded before the deadline as they continue to fade out of contention, and the farm system is one of the worst in baseball. White is an interesting prospect as a first baseman whose worst tool is his power. He can hit for average, run, throw and could be a gold glover at first base. This is the kind of player the Royals had when they won the World Series two years ago and White, who could also potentially play center field if a team wants to try him there, would be a nice fit who shouldn’t take too long to take Eric Hosmer’s spot at first base. High school southpaws DL Hall and Trevor Rogers are also possibilities here.
- Houston Astros – Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State
The run on college bats continues as the Astros take Burger, who has led the Bears to the Super Regionals. He should be quick to the big leagues and add another power bat to the Astros potent offense.
- New York Yankees – Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida
I doubt Faedo gets this far, but the Yankees would be more than thrilled to take him here. He could easily go in the top 10 as the third collegiate pitcher after Wright and McKay.
- Seattle Mariners – Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach HS (California)
Pratto has already made a name for himself nationally as he got the walk-off hit in the 2011 Little League World Series Championship Game. He is arguably the best pure high school hitter in this draft, and should be an excellent defender at first base.
- Detroit Tigers – DL Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (Georgia)
Hall is the top high school southpaw in this class after MacKenzie Gore, and could certainly hear his name called earlier than this. Giving the Tigers a high ceiling high school pitcher makes too much sense.
- San Francisco Giants – David Peterson, LHP, Oregon
Already a first round prospect, a 20 strikeout outing in April put the Oregon southpaw in the conversation to go in the middle of the first round. Hos command has improved a great deal since he arrived in Eugene, and the Giants know a thing or two about big left-handed pitchers.
- New York Mets – Seth Romero, LHP, No School
Romero is a top 10 pick based on talent alone. But repeated violations got him kicked off the team at the University of Houston. A lot of teams do not have him on their draft board, and I have no idea if the Mets are one of them. But somebody is going to take a chance on this guy, nobody knows who or when that will happen. He could go in the back of the first round, or he could not go at all on day one. The Mets know how to develop pitching, so the bet here is they take the top talent on the board and work on the off the field issues.
- Baltimore Orioles – Bubba Thompson, OF, McGill-Toolen HS (Alabama)
Thompson has some of the best tools among high school outfielders in this draft. The bet here is the Orioles see another Adam Jones and hope the hit tool improves in pro ball.
- Toronto Blue Jays – Alex Lange, RHP, LSU
Lange should get to the big leagues quickly, the only question is what will his ultimate role be? Some evaluators feel he should be shorted up and used as a reliever, where his fastball-curveball combination would play up. He has the upside of a mid-rotation starter.
- Los Angeles Dodgers – Nate Pearson, RHP, Central Florida Junior College
Pearson is arguably the prospect with the most “helium” leading up to the draft thanks to a recent bullpen session that saw him reach 102. The rest of his pitches are a work in progress, but teams love to have an arm like that they can develop, because you cannot teach that velocity.
- Boston Red Sox – Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville HS (Minnesota)
High school right handers typically fall because the industry is skeptical about them. That would be the case here as Carlson deserves to go a lot higher than 24. Even more so in Carlson’s case because no Minnesota high school pitcher has ever been drafted in the first round. But Carlson shows three average or better offerings already, and he should break that.
- Washington Nationals – Griffin Canning, RHP, UCLA
There have been reports that Canning has had medicals that revealed damage in his arm and he may fall out of the first round as a result. But the Nationals have not shied away from such deals in the past and if they feel he’s the top guy available, they could take him even if he does need surgery in the future.
- Texas Rangers – Logan Warmoth, SS, North Carolina
Warmoth is one of the top college position players in a thin class. He will definitely play up the middle at the next level, and has a chance to stick at shortstop.
- Chicago Cubs – Nick Allen, SS, Parker HS (California)
Allen is a definite shortstop at the next level. He is only 5’8”, but he has a high baseball IQ and can do everything except hit for power. Theo Epstein struck gold with an undersized infielder with the Red Sox in Dustin Pedroia, and Allen has a chance to be a similar type of player at short.
- Toronto Blue Jays – Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills HS (California)
Crouse defines the hard-throwing high school pitcher who needs to develop his secondary pitches. The Blue Jays gamble on the upside here and hope to reap the benefits of patience and development.
- Texas Rangers – Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri
Houck features one of the top fastballs in this draft, but his secondary pitches need work. He has a higher ceiling than most college pitchers, but a lower floor. At worst, he ends up pitching at the back end of a bullpen.
- Chicago Cubs – Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad HS (New Mexico)
Rogers is one of the top high school southpaws in this class, but he is already 19 and hasn’t faced the best competition in New Mexico. Still, he throws in the mid-90s and you cannot teach that velocity, especially from the left side. The Cubs will hope the secondary pitches develop over time and hit on a very high ceiling at the end of the first round.
Competitive Balance Round A
- Tampa Bay Rays – Blayne Enlow, RHP, St. Amant HS (Louisiana)
- Cincinnati Reds – Heliot Ramos, OF, Martinez HS (Puerto Rico)
- Oakland Athletics – Chris Seise, SS, West Orange HS (Florida)
- Milwaukee Brewers – Jeter Downs, SS, Monsignor Pace HS (Florida)
- Minnesota Twins – Hagen Danner, C/RHP, Huntington Beach HS (California)
- Miami Marlins – Drew Waters, OF, Etowah HS (Georgia)
Most mock drafts end here, but I am out of my mind and am going to predict every pick on day one, going through Competitive Balance Round B. It’s anyone’s guess at this point.
- Minnesota Twins – Corbin Martin, RHP, Texas A&M
- Cincinnati Reds – Ryan Vilade, 3B, Stillwater HS, Oklahoma
- San Diego Padres – Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
- Tampa Bay Rays – Stuart Fairchild, OF, Wake Forest
- Atlanta Braves – Tanner Burns, RHP, Decatur HS, (Alabama)
- Pittsburgh Pirates – Matt Sauer, RHP, Righetti HS (California)
- Oakland Athletics – Tristen Lutz, OF, Martin HS (Texas)
- Arizona Diamondbacks – Brendon Little, LHP, State JC of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
- Philadelphia Phillies – Steven Jennings, RHP, Dekalb County HS (Tennessee)
- Milwaukee Brewers – Quentin Holmes, OF, Monsignor McClancy Memorial HS (New York)
- Los Angeles Angels – Evan Skoug, C, TCU
- Colorado Rockies – Jake Thompson, RHP, Oregon State
- Chicago White Sox – Alex Scherff, RHP, Colleyville Heritage HS (Texas)
- Pittsburgh Pirates – Conner Uselton, Southmoore HS (Oklahoma)
- Miami Marlins – Jacob Heatherly, LHP, Cullman HS (Alabama)
- Kansas City Royals – Cole Brannen, OF, The Westfield School, (Georgia)
- Houston Astros – Garrett Mitchell, OF, Orange Lutheran HS (California)
- New York Yankees – Blaine Knight, RHP, Arkansas
- Seattle Mariners – Mark Vientos, 3B, American Heritage HS (Florida)
- Houston Astros – Kevin Merrell, SS, South Florida
- Detroit Tigers – Brent Rooker, 1B, Mississippi State
- San Francisco Giants – Daniel Cabrera, OF, Parkview Baptist HS (Louisiana)
- New York Mets – Drew Ellis, 3B, Louisville
- Baltimore Orioles – Brian Miller, OF, North Carolina
- Toronto Blue Jays – Caden Lemons, RHP, Vestavia Hills HS (Alabama)
- Los Angeles Dodgers – Luis Campusano, C, Cross Creek HS (Georgia)
- Boston Red Sox – Matt Tabor, RHP, Milton Academy (Massachusetts)
- Cleveland Indians – Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina
- Washington Nationals – Brady McConnell, SS, Merritt Island HS (Florida)
- Texas Rangers – Jacob Pearson, OF, West Monroe HS (Louisiana)
- Chicago Cubs – Mason House, OF, Whitehouse HS (Texas)
Competitive Balance Round B
- Arizona Diamondbacks – Glenn Otto, RHP, Rice
- San Diego Padres – Peter Solomon, RHP, Notre Dame
- Colorado Rockies – Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP, Missouri
- Cleveland Indians – Jake Mangum, OF, Mississippi State
- Pittsburgh Pirates – Daulton Varsho, C, Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- Kansas City Royals – MJ Melendez, C, Westminster Christian HS (Florida)
- Baltimore Orioles – KJ Harrison, 1B, Oregon State
- Houston Astros – Joe Perez, RHP, Archbishop McCarthy HS (Florida)