The 2017 MLB Draft is just weeks away, which means this is just one of thousands of mock drafts that will be released all over the internet in the coming weeks. Things seems to be settling down in regards to the top of the draft board but there is still a ton of uncertainty all across the draft board, which is typical at this point in the year. Here are my projected picks for the 2017 MLB Draft as of now.
1. Minnesota Twins: Brendon McKay LHP/1B, Louisville
The Twins have gone back and forth on a set of players, namely prep pitcher/shortstop Hunter Greene, Vanderbilt right hander Kyle Wright and Brendon McKay from Louisville. While many might see McKay as a hitter, his real future in the major leagues likely comes on the mound, where he features a solid 89-94 mph fastball, a plus curveball, a developing change up and plus command. He doesn’t feature Greene’s upside but he has a higher floor, likely profiling as a very reliable #3 starter.
2. Cincinnati Reds: Hunter Greene SS/RHP, Notre Dame High School(CA)
With McKay gone, the Reds would pounce on Hunter Greene, both players which the Reds would like to take. Like McKay, Greene’s future lies on the mound where he features a plus-plus 95-102 mph fastball, above average mid-high 80’s slider and athleticism that many scouts search for in pitchers now. Greene has some of the most electric stuff of any pitcher in the last few years and if he can develop his change up to be an average or better pitch, he could be a very special talent.
3. San Diego Padres: Royce Lewis SS/OF, JSerra High School(CA)
Lewis represents an obvious fit for the Padres, being a local SoCal product. Lewis likely transitions to center field at the next level but it won’t matter much. Lewis features a beautiful swing with good raw power, runs well and has the instincts to be a solid defender in the outfield. With makeup reviews off the charts, it’s hard to envision this type of talent falling outside of the top 5 picks.
4. Tampa Bay Rays: Kyle Wright RHP, Vanderbilt
Kyle Wright may be the best pick for high upside and moderate risk in this draft. Tampa Bay likely goes best available player and Wright makes perfect sense here for a team that excels at developing pitching. Wright has 4 average or better pitches along with the ability to command those pitches. This will add to an already impressive group of pitchers the Rays have at the MLB and minor league level.
5. Atlanta Braves: Austin Beck OF, North Davidson High School(NC)
The Braves could very well go prep pitcher here but Beck has been talked about going this high and Atlanta likes the toolsy and raw outfielder. Beck has the best bat speed in the class along with natural raw power but offers some uncertainty in other areas to make him going top 5 a bit of a reach. That won’t stop the Braves, who love his raw athletic ability, power potential and his demeanor on the field.
6. Oakland Athletics: J.B. Bukauskas RHP, North Carolina
Oakland loves themselves some college players and Bukauskas fits the mold. Proven college performer? Check. Undersized? Check. Much like A’s ace Sonny Gray, Bukauskas is undersized but it doesn’t show when he’s on the mound. He throws firm 93-97 mph fastballs along with a bat missing slider, although he lacks the change up that scouts want to see and many are turned off by his violent delivery. This won’t faze the A’s, who make too much sense for this type of pitcher.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks: MacKenzie Gore LHP, Whiteville High School(NC)
Every draft year, a player unexpectedly falls and in 2017, MacKenzie Gore will be that player. Gore is a monstrous talent, throwing plus fastballs and curveballs from a lean and tall left handed frame. Add in an average change up and slider along with his projectable body and there’s potential for a frontline starter. The Braves and Padres are possible landing spots for Gore as well but the Diamondbacks will reap the benefits here by adding their new number 1 prospect.
8. Philadelphia Phillies: Pavin Smith, 1B Virginia
Smith may be the most polished bat in this class, not unlike his teammate from 2016, Matt Thaiss, who was selected 16th overall by the Angels last year. Smith has an advanced approach, a good hit tool and will be a decent defender at first base. His average-ish in game power is holding back his potential but his high floor and approach means he could be up as quickly as 2019, when the Phillies may be good once again.
9. Milwaukee Brewers: Jordon Adell OF, Ballard High School(Louisville)
Jordon Adell would be the latest addition to an organization full of toolsy outfielders(Keon Broxton, Lewis Brinson, Brett Phillips). Adell has a ferocious swing and plus power that many scouts dream on but there is a lot of risk, namely a very mature current body and swing and miss issues. This is the type of high risk/high reward pick the Brewers have never been shy to make and if they hit on Adell, they have the makings of a future superstar.
10. Los Angeles Angels: RHP Alex Faedo, Florida
This is the type of value pick Billy Eppler and company are likely seeking at the 10th spot. Faedo was a consensus top 5 pick before the 2017 season but a slight regression with his stuff has bumped him back a bit but there are the makings of a mid rotation starter here. Faedo has a plus fastball and slider, relying on those 2 pitches heavily, and has the makings of an average change up and potential above average command. Many believe the Angels will take the best available player at 10 and Faedo very well may be that player.
11. Chicago White Sox: Nick Pratto 1B, Huntington Beach HS(CA)
There isn’t much certainty surrounding what the White Sox may do at #11, which means a variety of different players may be selected here. With a heavy rebuild coming for the White Sox, that may mean selecting someone who can grow into a star 4-5 years down the road. Pratto is a gifted defensive first baseman who is one of the best hitters in the class, even with his down spring in consideration. The White Sox could go a number of ways here but Pratto has a high ceiling and high enough floor that he makes sense here.
12. Pittsburgh Pirates: Jeren Kendall OF, Vanderbilt
The Pirates are always about their value picks and selecting high upside, whether that’s on the mound or in the field. Kendall is a very logical pick here, especially given the success of outfielders the Pirates have brought into the organization(Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Austin Meadows). Kendall has swing and miss issues that worry scouts but he’s a plus defensive center fielder who can really run and has 15-20 home run potential. This is the type of pick that either looks fantastic down the road or looks like a dud.
13. Miami Marlins: Shane Baz RHP, Concordia HS(TX)
Baz has flown up draft boards after putting in a monster spring and has made an argument to be called the best prep pitcher in this draft. The Marlins have never been shy to go for upside early on in drafts and Baz has the type of body, pitch repertoire and potential to be a very solid pick at 13. He may very well go top 10 but if not, the Marlins make a ton of sense.
14. Kansas City Royals: D.L. Hall LHP, Valdosta HS(GA)
Hall is a high upside lefty with a plus fastball/curveball combination that would add to a depleted Royals system. While there are worries about his command and lack of a 3rd pitch, he has good arm action and enough athletic ability to overcome these issues and could be a #4 starter down the road.
15. Houston Astros: Keston Hiura 2B/DH, UC Irvine
The Astros are somewhat benefitting with a down 2016 season as they’re in a perfect position to grab a big talent in the middle of the first round. With a current organization that looks downright terrifying(in a good way), the Astros can grab arguably the best hitter in the class with Hiura. While he may have Tommy John surgery to repair his injured elbow, he is the type of guy who can fly through the minor league system once he’s healthy and may stick in a corner outfield spot.
16. New York Yankees: Griffin Canning RHP, UCLA
The Yankees organization has had the biggest transformation by far in the last calendar year. After a huge 2016 trade deadline that netted them prospects galore, they have started red hot in 2017 and now have the benefit to draft in the middle of the first round. The club selected a UCLA arm in James Kaprelian in the 2015 and they may go for another UCLA arm in Canning. While he doesn’t have the same upside as Kaprelian, Canning has a solid 4 pitch mix and solid control, which leads many to think he can stick as an innings eating #4 arm.
17. Seattle Mariners: David Peterson LHP, Oregon
A quick rising pitcher among draft leader boards, Peterson makes too much sense value wise and geographically for the Mariners at 17. With a solid fastball/slider mix and big frame, he can eat innings at the end of the rotation and may be able to do it quicker than most in this draft class. General manager Jerry Dipoto generally targets higher floor players in the first round but Peterson may be more than that.
18. Detroit Tigers: Sam Carlson RHP, Burnsville HS(MN)
Carlson would be the first Minnesota prep arm selected in the 1st round and for good reason. Carlson’s stuff has ticked up this year, which has in turn led to 3 above average pitches that he can command. The lack of track record worries some scouts but the Tigers have been known to take risks and this might be a wise one at #18.
19. San Francisco Giants: Adam Haseley OF, Virginia
Haseley has leapt up draft boards after a big spring and is viewed by some as the best college outfielder. Haseley will likely be a plus contact hitter at the next level and play above average defense in left or right field, giving him a solid floor. His issues are the lack of standout tools, including limited in game power. The Giants have scored on taking high floor players such as Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik and Haseley could end up fitting that mold, that is if he falls this far.
20. New York Mets: Trevor Rogers LHP, Carlsbad HS(NM)
There are many mocks out there that believe Rogers could sneak his way into the top 10 but there are likely too many talented pitchers ahead of him to make that happen. That’s no knock on him. Rogers is a 6’6″ lefty who throws a deceptive 89-93 mph fastball with 2 secondaries that could be average in the future. His frame and potential for growth are reasons why he could go higher than this but if he doesn’t, the Mets would likely want to take a chance on him.
21. Baltimore Orioles: Bubba Thompson OF, McGill-Toolin Catholic High School(AL)
Thompson seems like the kind of player who will fall in the later round of the first round but should be selected higher. While he’s a bit raw as a toolsy 2 sport high school outfielder, he profiles as an above average defender with plus speed and some feel for barreling up baseballs. The Orioles farm system has been lacking in recent years and Thompson would be the exact type of high upside selection they need in the system.
22. Toronto Blue Jays: Nate Pearson RHP, Central Florida JC
This is the first somewhat controversial pick as Pearson has injury history, lack of secondary pitches and some scouts projecting him for a relief role. With that said, Pearson is a 6’6″ right hander who sits 92-95 mph with his fastball and pounds the strike zone. There’s obvious risk with in this package but with Toronto picking later in the first round, Pearson is the type of pitcher they can take a risk on.
23. Los Angeles Dodgers: Logan Warmoth SS, North Carolina
Warmoth isn’t a prototypical 1st round Dodgers pick but he makes plenty of sense at #22. Warmoth may move to 2nd base but even if he does, he’ll provide solid contact skills with a good eye at the plate and a little bit of pop. He’s likely a quick riser in the system and can be one of the quickest in this draft class to reach the majors.
24. Boston Red Sox: Heliot Ramos OF, Leadership Christian Academy, Puerto Rico
The Red Sox are always big on upside and international talent so they acquire both with the same draft pick. Ramos is extremely toolsy with plus raw power and speed but he’s flawed in other areas of his game. Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations, tends to lean towards upside picks and Ramos represents one of the highest upside players in this draft class, albeit with a lot of risk.
25. Washington Nationals: Luke Heimlich LHP, Oregon State
A monster spring for Heimlich and his Oregon State squad has boosted him into first round consideration. While his upside is lower than some listed around him, he’s a polished pitcher with a low 90’s fastball with the ability to command that pitch and his other secondary pitches. For a team looking to draft a high floor pitcher with the chance to move quickly through your system, Heimlich is your guy.
26. Texas Rangers: Jake Burger 3B, Missouri State
Burger has some of the best raw power in this draft class, power he has been able to translate into in game power. He could stick at 3rd base but there’s a good chance he moves over to first base. Burger is a bit of a polarizing player who some scouts see as an everyday third baseman with power while others see a 1st baseman who may struggle to be more than a platoon bat at the next level. He’s likely a first rounder but there’s an outside chance he slides into the next round.
27. Chicago Cubs: Nick Allen SS, Francis Parker HS(CA)
Like Burger, Allen is a polarizing player but it’s due to his small figure, being listed at 5’8″. Allen is a fantastic defensive shortstop with above average contact abilities and he has off the charts makeup. He won’t hit more than 5-8 home runs annually at the next level and some scouts think his size makes him a long shot to be an everyday starter but there are the makings of a solid utility player at the very least. The Cubs might look past his size and draft a potential everyday shortstop.
28. Toronto Blue Jays: Drew Waters OF, Etowah High School(GA)
Waters looks like one of those players who doesn’t excel at one thing but does a solid-average job of most aspects of baseball. Waters may stick in center field, runs well and has some potential to hit for average and some power. A switch hitter, he features more power from the left side but more swing and miss, while he’ll make more contact from the right side. The Jays pick once again and land a potential everyday center fielder.
29. Texas Rangers: Matt Sauer RHP Ernest Righetti High School(CA)
One of the best arms in this class, Sauer has some serious upside with frontline stuff. Coming from a 6’4″ frame, Sauer sits 91-94 mph on his fastball and touches 96-97 while throwing sharp, bat missing sliders. He falls this far because many scouts think he has a bullpen profile with poor arm action and a change up that isn’t existent so far. If a team thinks he can stick as a starter, he may go higher than this.
30. Chicago Cubs: Tanner Houck RHP, Missouri
There is a lot of debate about what Houck is at the next level. Some nights, he’s throwing 92-96 mph sinking fastballs with the ability to command it along with his secondaries. Other nights, Houck shows fringe secondary pitches and is basically a one pitch guy, leading many to think he’s a reliever. The Cubs have done well with pitchers with good stuff but poor command and Houck has to be awfully tempting at the end of the first round.
Competitive Balance Round A
31. Tampa Bay Rays: Alex Lange RHP, LSU
You’re seeing a trend now with the big stuff pitchers with relief potential being selected. Lange was once a consensus top 10 pick but is believed to be slipping down draft boards as the draft gets closer. Lange has a power 92-96 mph fastball with a hammer curve ball that misses bats and has a big frame to maintain his stuff late into games. Lange’s issues are a high effort delivery and command issues that lead many to think he’s a reliever. The Rays are probably jumping at the opportunity to grab 2 college starters with good stuff in Kyle Wright and Alex Lange with their first 2 picks.
32. Cincinnati Reds: Blaine Enlow RHP, Saint Amont HS(LA)
After selecting the highest upside arm in Hunter Greene, the Reds would be thrilled to grab Enlow, who has serious upside but needs to fill into his frame more. Enlow owns one of the best breaking balls in this class, a filthy over the top curveball, and throws in the 88-93 mph range. A slight velocity drop this spring has him dropping a bit but with an uptick in velocity, he quickly has 2 plus pitches along with strike throwing ability.
33. Oakland Athletics: Evan White 1B, Kentucky
White may be a perfect fit for the A’s, who love their college players and especially those that are a bit quirky. White is a phenomenal defensive 1st baseman who doesn’t have a ton of power, especially for his position. A rare right handed batting-left handed throwing player, White’s profile is tough to predict going forward but there’s enough here to get him picked near the first round.
34. Milwaukee Brewers: Brian Miller OF, North Carolina
Miller is quite a bit different than the Brewers first round pick, Jordon Adell, but he makes sense as a safer pick at 35. Miller should stick in center field thanks to his good speed, he has a good eye at the plate and is a smart baseball player. His ceiling is limited but he offers the high floor teams covet after selecting high risk players.
35. Minnesota Twins: Hans Crouse RHP, Dana Hills HS(CA)
Crouse is one of the most fun players in the draft thanks to his quirky delivery and fiery persona. The So Cal right hander has an electric 92-96 mph fastball that misses plenty of bats but there is worry about his high effort delivery and curveball that is about an average pitch at present. The Twins can afford to mess around a bit in this area with another pick 2 picks later and Crouse has loads of potential that the Twins would love to take a chance on.
36. Miami Marlins: Seth Romero LHP, Houston
On talent alone, Romero is a top 10 player in this draft but his character issues got him booted off the University of Houston squad. Romero has a plus 92-95 mph fastball and sharp low-mid 80’s slider along with a solid change up, all 3 of which pitches he shows he can command. Draft day will be interesting for Romero in a somewhat weaker depth class and the Marlins might have no problem taking the talented, albeit controversial, left hander.