The 2017 MLB Draft kicks off on Monday, June 12 and while it doesn’t get the same level of publicity as its counterparts in the NFL and NBA, baseball’s Rule 4 Draft is as important as any. This is where major league general managers build their farm systems and future teams.
This year, there is a ton of talent at the very top, with several two-way standouts garnering a lot of attention. The high school pitching ranks are also extremely strong, led by the now-famous Hunter Greene.
Here is our first shot at a baseball mock draft, let us know what you think and which picks you agree or disagree with in the comments.
1. Minnesota Twins
Pick: Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt
The Twins could go a number of ways here, but the winds seem to be blowing in the direction of Vanderbilt righty Kyle Wright. Wright has the highest ceiling of the college pitchers in the draft and has been on fire lately. That could give him the edge over two-way standouts Brendan McKay and Hunter Greene.
2. Cincinnati Reds
Pick: Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP, Louisville
There is a fascinating debate going on here. McKay has one of the best college bats, but also might have the highest floor of the college pitchers. He has ace upside if he commits to the mound. The Louisville lefty is also considered a safe pick. That said, Greene’s tantalizing tools on the mound could be too tough to pass up. They’ll take one of the two, and for some reason I think they’ll bet on the college guy.
3. San Diego Padres
Pick: Hunter Greene, SS/OF/RHP, Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oaks, CA)
This scenario would be perfect for the Padres and Greene. The Friars desperately want him and he has made it known he wants to remain in Southern California. He’ll be the pick if he’s on the board. If not, the Padres are also in on high school lefty MacKenzie Gore and toolsy local shortstop/outfielder Royce Lewis. They could also opt to cut a below-slot deal with someone if Greene is gone and spend big in later rounds. But if the Sports Illustrated cover boy is still on the board, general manager A.J. Preller will snag him.
4. Tampa Bay Rays
Pick: Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic High School (San Juan Capistrano, CA)
Gore, Lewis and McKay are all possibilities if they’re still on the board. In this scenario they grab Lewis, the guy who might have the best tools of any position player in the draft. He’ll wind up in center field, though I’m sure the Rays will allow him to play himself out of shortstop.
5. Atlanta Braves
Pick: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville High School (Whiteville, N.C.)
The Braves are in on a number of guys, including everyone who is already off the board in this scenario, plus Texas prep righty Shane Baz. But if Gore is there, they’d be crazy not to take him. He’s by far the best prep lefty available and some think his upside matches or even surpasses Greene. He has ace potential and has improved tremendously over the past year.
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6. Oakland A’s
Pick: Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
The A’s apparently really like Gore, but he’s gone in this scenario. They could go with a toolsy high school outfielder like Austin Beck, or hard-throwing college righty J.B. Bukauskas, but Billy Beane loves polished college hitters. Virginia’s Pavin Smith is exactly that. He could be the first bat from this class to reach the big leagues.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks
Pick: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina
There’s a chance we see back-to-back Virginia guys here as center fielder Adam Haseley has to be under consideration. But the Diamondbacks have long been linked to Bukauskas, and despite some inconsistency, the North Carolina hurler has great natural stuff. At worst he becomes a high-leverage reliever.
8. Philadelphia Phillies
Pick: Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida
Baz or Beck could go here, but I have a feeling the Phillies pull a surprise and go with Florida righty Alex Faedo. Baz’s strong TCU commitment could scare a few teams off since they’ll have to shell out more cash to pry him away, and Faedo was seen as a potential No. 1 overall pick after a brilliant sophomore season. His junior season has been inconsistent but his stuff is phenomenal.
9. Milwaukee Brewers
Pick: Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard High School (Louisville, KY)
The Brewers love themselves some toolsy high school outfielders, which leads me to believe they’ll go with either Beck or Jordon Adell. In this scenario I have them taking Adell, a guy they’ve been linked to for weeks.
10. Los Angeles Angels
Pick: Griffin Canning, RHP, UCLA
The Angels like Adell, Beck and a few college hitters, but I think they’ll wind up going safe and local. UCLA righty Griffin Canning has four solid pitches, sits in the low 90s and touches 95. Though he’s not a big guy (6’1″ and 170 pounds), Canning has the stuff to project as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter.