For many Major League Baseball clubs, the draft is the best way to gain their future superstars. We have seen multiple organizations build solely through the draft whether that is the Cubs’ style of taking polished college batters in the first round, or the Braves’ current rebuild of grabbing high school arms early and often. This year the strength is college pitchers, where many teams will end up with good college arms past the first round. The biggest weakness of this year’s draft is the college hitters where we don’t have a Nick Senzel type this year. The 2017 class of players is an intriguing one due to the depth of college pitchers, and the relative weak set of college hitters. Teams are now hoping to grab the piece that pushes them towards a World Series banner and build a future dynasty.
1.) Minnesota Twins
Pitcher Comparison- Max Scherzer
The best mix of upside-and-floor in this draft goes number one to a team that could use his services. He has three above average pitches and has been clocked at 97 with his fastball but will sit closer to 92-95. Wright has top of the rotation upside with a number 3 starter floor,which is exactly what Minnesota could use to build an AL Central contender in the very near future.
2.) Cincinnati Reds
Hunter Greene,RHP,Notre Dame HS
Pitcher Comparison- Carlos Martinez
With Greene the Reds are potentially getting their future superstar pitcher that helps them top the evil Chicago Cubs. Greene is a hard throwing right-hander who has been clocked as high as 102 but may struggle without a significant secondary offering. Developing his secondary pitches are vital for him to fulfill his massive upside, and if/when he does Cincinnati will have a special arm to build their rotation around.
3.) San Diego Padres
Royce Lewis,SS,JSerra Catholic HS
Player Comparison- Xander Bogaerts/Jimmy Rollins
Royce Lewis poses franchise altering tools, he is a shortstop that has plus-speed to go along with potentially above average power and he projects as an above-average defender at shortstop.If need be he could shift to center field and become one of the better centerfielders and anchor the outfield of the future for the Padres. It would not surprise me if Royce Lewis became a top shortstop in the National League and leads the charge when the Padres are ready to compete.
4.) Tampa Bay Rays
Player Comparison- Eric Hosmer
Personally I think this could become the greatest marriage between prospect and landing spot,McKay will be the first basemen of the future for the Rays. McKay could unlock 30 home run potential with an all-fields approach as well as providing average to above-average defense at the first base position. I feel McKay has all-star caliber first baseman talent while he only contains number three starter upside as a pitcher.
5.) Atlanta Braves
MacKenzie Gore,LHP,Whiteville HS
Player Comparison-Jon Lester
MacKenzie Gore contains a relatively high floor for a prep arm thanks to his four above average pitches, he has a mid 90’s fastball to go along with a good curveball and two other solid pitches in his slider and change-up. He doesn’t have the sexy 100 mph fastball that Greene can launch but his secondary offerings are much more polished than the top high school righty. Gore has future number two starter in his future thanks to his polished pitch mix for a prep arm.
6.) Oakland Athletics
J.B. Bukauskas,RHP,North Carolina
Player Comparison- Chris Archer/Marcus Stroman
J.B. Bukauskas provides an interesting mix of upside and floor, thanks in large part to his nasty slider. He could develop into a good number two starter or could become an intriguing closer where his fastball-slider combo could play up. He needs to develop his change-up and that could unlock Bukauskas’ upside.
7.) Arizona Diamondbacks
Austin Beck,OF, North Davidson HS
Player Comparison- A.J. Pollock
Beck is one of the riskiest players in the top ten picks as he missed time with an ACL injury last year, and players of his profile tend to be one of the riskiest profiles for teams to draft this early. However, Arizona will be banking on his upside with this pick as they drastically need to inject talent into their farm system. Beck could become a middle of the order bat that plays good defense in the corner outfield and could offer a stolen base asset for a team that runs just as much as any club in the majors.
8.) Philadelphia Phillies
Player Comparison- Jason Hammel
With this pick Philadelphia gets a safe pitcher that has a bit more upside than what many might think, he did get double knee surgery this offseason so I wouldn’t take this year’s stats as what he is. Alex Faedo has two plus pitches with his fastball, getting all the way up to 95 mph with a nice bit of movement, and his better pitch the second best slider behind Bukauskas’. Faedo will be a starter because he has at least two plus pitches with the chance for his change-up to get to plus level. I would not be shocked if we were all doing re-drafts of this class in ten years and Faedo is the best pitcher in this class.
9.) Milwaukee Brewers
Shane Baz,RHP,Concordia Lutheran HS
Player Comparison- Noah Syndergaard
Milwaukee grabs themselves a prep arm that poses three above average pitches in his fastball, slider, and cutter. Baz has had moments of not being able to command his pitches but that can be ironed out with professional instruction.Baz contains intriguing upside that the Brewers will value as they are trying to build their future rotation as they have a solid core of hitters.
10.) Los Angeles Angels
Player Comparison- Melvin Upton Jr.
Jeren Kendall lands with the Los Angeles B team. Kendall is very toolsy, the one tool that is a question mark is the hit tool, he makes solid contact but he strikes out a bit more than I would want a five-tool player to strikeout. He would be a relatively quick mover thanks to his plus defense and plus speed. Kendall could a legitimate five-tool player if he improves his approach in the batter’s box.
11.) Chicago White Sox
Player Comparison- Josh Bell
Smith comes from a program that emphasizes gap-to-gap contact instead of just mashing the ball, where he has developed a great approach that should be conducive to driving in runs at the big league level. Many think when he leaves Virginia’s campus that he should be able to unlock even more power, moving him to a projectable 25 homers with the ability to drive in plenty of runs for the South Side of Chicago. Defensively he will be above average at first and should be a high on base percentage guy.
12.) Pittsburgh Pirates
Player Comparison- Tyler Naquin
Adam Haseley is someone who has pitched in college but there is NO way he pitches even an inning at the next level, he will be an outfielder. While some question where he will slot in the outfield he will be a solid all-around performer for any team that drafts him, just like his friend, I assume they are friends, we should expect the power to go up as Virginia’s home ballpark is not exactly a batter’s paradise. He has showcased a solid approach and he could steal up to twenty bags a season at the pro level due to his above average speed,I would not be surprised if he became a something all fantasy baseball lovers covet the 20-20 player.
13.) Miami Marlins
Nick Pratto,1B,Huntington Beach HS
Player Comparison- Adrian Gonzalez
Miami really needs to add to their farm system if they are ever going to be relevant again, Nick Pratto provides them with a high-upside prep hitter that should develop nicely. He has a great swing and as he matures he may develop premium power to go along with his polished approach. He may not be a threat to steal, and not many prep first basemen turn out well, but Miami will take the gamble because of the tremendous upside.
14.) Kansas City Royals
D.L. Hall,LHP,Valdosta HS
Player Comparison- Rich Hill
Kansas City is about to head towards a difficult offseason, however they should not have any difficulty selecting D.L. Hall. The Florida State commit has a fastball that has been clocked at 95 from the left side, and a curveball that can develop into an out-pitch. His problem is the change-up, like it is for many prep arms, and his command, which will take time to develop. His upside is quite nice and he could become part of the rotation when the Royals are ready to compete again.
15.) Houston Astros
Keston Hiura,2B/OF,California Irvine
Player Comparison- Kyle Schwarber
This is sort of a luxury pick thanks to the Astro’s impressive farm system, they can afford to allow Hiura to recover and develop him into a piece for future. It seems Keston may need Tommy John Surgery and that could slow down his development but he does contain one of the best bats in the college ranks. While his defensive position may be up in the air, he could slot into left field and become a solid bat for a team that has the time and resources to develop him.
16.) New York Yankees
Jake Burger,3B,Missouri State
Player Comparison- Kevin Youkilis
With this pick the Yankees grab one of the better power hitters in this entire draft, as well as planning for when they want to move Torres back to shortstop, where Torres profiles better at. Burger has showcased the ability to hit for power and good average during his time in college. Biggest concern is his body built by burgers (pun intended) but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue because he is faster than he looks. He has middle of the order upside and could be serviceable at the hot-corner.
17.) Seattle Mariners
Player Comparison- Zack Greinke
Seattle needs reinforcement quick as their window for playoff contention is closing so they go with one of the more polished college arms that will be a quick mover in the minors.Canning possesses a solid four pitch mix where the change-up profiles as his best pitch. Nothing will blow you away with his stuff but he could become a good number 3 pitcher quicker than many other pitchers in this class.
18.) Detroit Tigers
Sam Carlson,RHP,Burnsville HS
Player Comparison- Michael Fulmer
Detroit tends to target high school arms early in the draft, and this year could be no exception as Minnesota prep arm Sam Carlson is still on the board.He is a projectable righty that throws a good fastball, being clocked all the way at 97 mph and a very nice slider that could develop into an out pitch for him. Carlson like many prep arms has a high ceiling and a low floor, I see him becoming a solid number 2 or 3 starters.
19.) San Francisco Giants
Player Comparison- Madison Bumgarner
The Giants grab themselves a nice safe college arm that has flashed the ability to get batters out in a good Pac 12 conference. He gets batters out by using a fastball-slider combination that can carry him pretty far, the problem comes when you watch anything that is not a fastball or slider. Peterson needs to refine his change-up to where it could play off of the dangerous fastball-slider combo to make batters uncomfortable in the batters box.
20.) New York Mets
Nate Pearson,RHP, Central Florida Junior College
Player Comparison- Aroldis Chapman
A late riser thanks to being able to hit 100 in a private workout, the Mets can draft someone with a laser arm and develop his secondary offerings. He has flashed being able to throw three nice pitches; with a curveball, slider, and change-up that could develop into plus pitches but they just aren’t consistent. He has the potential to become a good number 3 starter or he could become a dominant closer thanks to the righties potentially plus-plus fastball.
21.) Baltimore Orioles
Jo Adell,OF,Ballard HS
Player Comparison- Wil Myers
Baltimore despite not having a deep farm system should take the plunge and gamble on the high upside of Jo Adell. Jo Adell could potentially have five-tool upside thanks to his ability to power and he has showcased plus speed during his prep career. His biggest flaw in his game is his lack of refinement at the plate. He should profile well in center field defensively, and if everything goes right Baltimore could have an All-Star outfielder.
22.) Toronto Blue Jays
Player Comparison- Max Scherzer lite
Tanner Houck is a pretty safe arm at this point in the draft, he projects to be a solid number 3 or 4 starter. He flashes a low 90’s fastball and has flashed the ability to spin a nice slider. His secondary offerings need refinement, but if Toronto wants to rush him to the majors they could shift him into a long reliever role where he could be very valuable.
23.) Los Angeles Dodgers
Bubba Thompson,OF,McGill-Toolen HS
Player Comparison- Eric Byrnes
Bubba Thompson may be one of the best athletes in this draft, he has been recruited to play quarterback in the hardest conference in all of college football the SEC. Many reports that I have read claim if Bubba (such a baseball name) is on the board this late, Thompson will be the pick. He’s pretty refined at this point of his development, he has nice speed that should allow him to play centerfield in the future. The biggest concern is if he will hit for enough power but he projects to have the tools to make an impact on the game without hitting for average power.
24.) Boston Red Sox
Player Comparison- 2011-13 Allen Craig
Evan White is one of my personal favorite players in this draft, he’s got a little Cody Bellinger in his game, He projects to be able to play gold glove level defense from the 1st base position, he could be a sneaky source of steals and if he fixes his swing he could unlock above average power. At the moment he doesn’t have the prototypical power from first but you can always add more power later in your career.
25.) Washington Nationals
Blayne Enlow,RHP,St. Amant HS
Player Comparison- Dylan Bundy
Washington has shown a willingness to draft high-upside high school arms, and Enlow is a projectable right hander with a developing fastball and a potentially plus-plus curveball. Like many prep arms he could use some development on his changeup, the changeup is the pitch that could make or break his career.
26.) Texas Rangers
Alex Lange,RHP,Louisiana State
Player Comparison- Gerrit Cole
Lange is someone that after his freshman year we all thought would be the favorite to go first overall, fast forward two years and he ends up being a late first round pick. He has a fastball that can sit anywhere from 92 and get up to the mid 90’s, and can spin a plus curveball. He lacks a true third offering thanks to an inconsistent changeup, Early in his career it looked like he could become an ace but now he looks destined to become a middle of the rotation starter.
27.) Chicago Cubs
Player Comparison- Francisco Liriano
If we can look past the obvious character concerns that got the leftie kicked out of college, Chicago could be getting a steal if they can get through to him. Seth Romero has a fastball that averages around 93 and has a nice slider that he can use to attack batters. Romero has a little bit of work to do with his changeup, and some have expressed concerns about his conditioning.At this point in the first round, and with how young and talented the Cubs are, they can afford to take a gamble on a high upside left-handed arm that could help them compete for titles down the road.
28.) Toronto Blue Jays (comp for Edwin Encarnacion)
Logan Warmoth,SS,North Carolina
Player Comparison- Jean Segura
The Blue Jays go with another college performer, as they mitigate risk by taking polished college players when possible. Logan Warmoth is polished, he showcases good on base skills and the ability to command the strike zone. He will hit with enough power but likely profiles more as a doubles hitter than a slugger. Warmoth may not stay at shortstop, because he doesn’t have the elite arm,at least not right now, but he could be a plus-defender at second base.
29.) Texas Rangers (comp for Ian Desmond)
Trevor Rodgers,LHP,Carlsbad HS
Player Comparison- Cole Hamels
A raw, tall leftie is among one of the most coveted assets in the draft, and Texas ends up getting one in the form of New Mexico prep product Trevor Rodgers. He has a plus fastball from the left side, being able to hurl it at 95, has showcased what has been an average changeup. His breaking pitch may need some work as no one can exactly categorize it as a slider or curveball. Trevor Rodgers is a high ceiling prospect, who with a few tweaks could be a nice value for the Rangers.
30.) Chicago Cubs (comp for Dexter Fowler)
Kevin Merrell,SS,South Florida
Player Comparison- Dee Gordon
Speed, speed,and more speed is the best way to describe Kevin Merrell’s game. His calling card will be getting on base and stealing, while also playing solid defense at the shortstop position. He won’t wow you with his power, but that’s not his game. He’s a disciplined batter that will be given the green-light to steal for the Cubs the moment he rounds first base. Look for him to be in the Dee Gordon mold, just with a slightly better approach.
Shout out to Brendan Jobe for helping me with player comparisons