With the baseball season just around the corner, and our beloved Twins holding the #1 pick in the draft, it's worth taking a little closer look at the draft prospects. Today, we've posted our first 2017 MLB Mock Draft, with notes on the top 5. We will update this throughout the baseball season.
The Cleveland Indians (Edwin Encarnacion), Colorado Rockies (Ian Desmond) and St. Louis Cardinals (Dexter Fowler) all forfeited their first round picks by signing compensation eligible free agents this off-season.
1. Minnesota Twins - Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS (CA)
At this early juncture, Greene has emerged as somewhat of a consensus top player available, although once the season starts things could change in a hurry. The 6'3 phenom would be the first right handed high school pitcher to go number one overall.
Greene also is a very good SS prospect, and would likely be a first round pick even if he couldn't pitch, but his athleticism and potential to be a true ace are what separate him from the rest of the pack in this draft class and make him a potential #1 overall pick.
The Twins are in dire need of some top flight starting pitching, and despite the risks of drafting a high school pitcher, if Greene is the best prospect he's worth the risk. If the Twins ultimately don't view anyone as a clear cut top choice, they could also draft a lower-tier player at number 1 and sign him for less money than the #1 slot carries with it. This would allow the team to target a top talent that falls into the 30's due to signing issues. However, with Greene being a potential ace, he's too enticing to pass on at this point.
2. Cincinnati Reds - J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, University of North Carolina
The hard-throwing Tar Heel has been on scouts radars for a long time, thanks to one of the most electric arms in recent memory. He can blow hitters away with ease at his best, and the potential to develop into a top of the rotation starter is undeniable.
However, he's not without risk, as his secondary pitches are barely average. His slider is improving and may become a very quality pitch, but his changeup is below-average right now and unlikely to ever be more than average in a best-case scenario.
Even so, his fastball gives him a floor of a top level closer with a ceiling of an ace, so if he can just stay healthy and effective during his college season he should be a lock to go inside the top 5 and certainly will be in the discussion for the #1 pick.
3. San Diego Padres - Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic HS (CA)
Lewis is the most likely prospect to be a true five-tool player at the next level. He has blazing speed, great defensive instincts at both SS and CF, a very good hit tool and he continues to show more power than anyone projected.
His tools are ahead of his actual in-game skills at this point, but that's not a huge concern for someone with so many elite tools. Some scouts don't think he'll stay at shortstop long-term, but even those scouts agree he's likely to be an elite defensive center fielder.
The Padres would need to be patient as Lewis is still developing, but he has as good of a chance as anyone to be the best player from this class when all is said and done.
4. Tampa Bay Rays - Alex Faedo, RHP, University of Florida
At 6'5, 225 lbs Faedo has enormous size, and he's become one of the top collegiate pitchers in the country. With college experience and 3 above average pitches, Faedo should move quickly through whichever organization drafts him.
The Rays would love to pair arguably the highest-potential college starter with their recent acquisition, Jose De Leon. For one of the league's cheapest teams, having a potential 1-2 punch of De Leon and Faedo making the league minimum is simply too great an opportunity to pass on.
5. Atlanta Braves - Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard HS (KY)
As the draft's top athlete with a body he's still growing into, Adell has drawn comparisons to top Twins prospect Byron Buxton. Those are a bit off base, in my opinion, as Adell is nowhere near the hitter Buxton was coming out of high school despite possessing more raw power. Buxton had some concerns, mainly that he played weak competition, but he was widely regarded as the best player in his draft class.
Adell has great speed and should be a very good to great defender in center field. He has a ton of power, but he strikes out a lot for the competition he's playing against and is likely going to strike out at a high rate at the next level.
If he can put it all together, though, he's a potential 40-40 player with gold glove caliber defense at one of the game's most important positions. At worst, he should develop into a fourth outfielder/platoon player with his skill set.
6. Oakland Athletics - Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt University
7. Arizona Diamondbacks - Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt University
8. Philadelphia Phillies - D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA)
9. Milwaukee Brewers - Tanner Houck, RHP, University of Missouri
10. Los Angeles Angels - Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, University of Louisville
11. Chicago White Sox - JJ Schwartz, C, University of Florida
12. Pittsburgh Pirates - Alex Toral, 1B, Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL)
13. Miami Marlins - Mark Vientos, SS/3B, American Heritage HS (FL)
14. Kansas City Royals - Brady McConnell, SS, Merritt Island HS (FL)
15. Houston Astros - Alex Scherf, RHP, Colleyville Heritage HS (TX)
16. New York Yankees - Alex Lange, RHP, LSU
17. Seattle Mariners - Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford University
18. Detroit Tigers - Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills HS (CA)
19. San Francisco Giants - Pavin Smith, 1B, University of Virginia
20. New York Mets - Calvin Mitchell, OF, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA)
21. Baltimore Orioles - Michael Gigliotti, OF, Lipscomb University
22. Toronto Blue Jays - Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State University
23. Los Angeles Dodgers - Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad HS (NM)
24. Boston Red Sox - Colton Hock, RHP, Stanford University
25. Washington Nationals - Blayne Enlow, RHP, St. Amant HS (LA)
26. Texas Rangers - Nick Allen, SS, Francis Parker HS (CA)
27. Chicago Cubs - Jacob Heatherly, LHP, Cullman HS (AL)
Thanks for checking out our 2017 MLB Mock Draft!
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