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
Kyle Wright,RHP, Vanderbilt
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, hard throwingRHP, Notre Dame HS
Pitcher Comparison- Carlos Martinez
With Greene, he Reds are potentially getting their future superstar pitcher that helps them top the evil Chicago Cubs.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,J Serra 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
Brendan McKay,1B,L ouisville
Player Comparison- Eric Hosmer
Personally, I think this could become the greatest marriage between prospect and landing spot,M cKay 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,L HP,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,R HP,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,O F, 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
Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida
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, R HP, 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.