Monday, MLB franchises descend upon Secaucus, New Jersey, to begin a 40-round draft process starting with the Minnesota Twins at No. 1.
Like the past few years, there isn’t a can’t-miss prospect who qualifies as the face of the class and the surefire top pick. Instead, this is yet another offering with elite depth. The Cleveland Indians can attest to what a deep class can do for an organization in a hurry thanks to a guy by the name of Jason Kipnis, the No. 63 pick in 2009.
Indeed, it isn’t an exaggeration to suggest the next few days can reshape the modern MLB as fans know it. As MLB.com’s Joe Posnanski pointed out, the first 32 drafts produced 32 eventual Hall of Famers.
The draft process once again stands as one of the sport’s more interesting events. Front offices will peruse high school and collegiate talent in an effort to arm farm systems for the future alongside upgrading immediate needs. Fans can soak it all in as coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.com will stream every selection.
2017 MLB Draft Day 1 Results
1. Minnesota Twins: Royce Lewis, SS, JSerra HS
2. Cincinnati Reds: Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS
3. San Diego Padres: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS
4. Tampa Bay Rays: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Louisville
5. Atlanta Braves: Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt
6. Oakland Athletics: Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS
7. Arizona Diamondbacks: Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
8. Philadelphia Phillies: Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia
9. Milwaukee Brewers: Keston Hiura, 2B, UC Irvine
10. Los Angeles Angels: Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard HS
11. Chicago White Sox: Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State
12. Pittsburgh Pirates: Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS
13. Miami Marlins: Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad HS
14. Kansas City Royals: Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach HS
15. Houston Astros: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina
16. New York Yankees: Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina
17. Seattle Mariners: Evan White, 1B, Kentucky
18. Detroit Tigers: Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida
19. San Francisco Giants: Heliot Ramos, OF, Leadership Christian Academy
20. New York Mets: David Peterson, LHP, Oregon
21. Baltimore Orioles: D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS
22. Toronto Blue Jays: Logan Warmoth, SS, North Carolina
23. Los Angeles Dodgers: Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt
24. Boston Red Sox: Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri
25. Washington Nationals: Seth Romero, LHP, Houston
26. Texas Rangers: Bubba Thompson, OF, McGill-Toolen HS
27. Chicago Cubs: Brendon Little, LHP, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
28. Toronto Blue Jays: Nate Pearson, RHP, Central Florida
29. Texas Rangers: Christopher Seise, SS, West Orange HS
30. Chicago Cubs: Alex Lange, RHP, LSU
Competitive Balance Round A
31. Tampa Bay Rays: Drew Rasmussen, RHP, Oregon State
32. Cincinnati Reds: Jeter Downs, SS, Monsignor Edward Pace HS
33. Oakland Athletics: Kevin Merrell, SS, South Florida
34. Milwaukee Brewers: Tristen Lutz, OF, James Martin Senior HS
35. Minnesota Twins: Brent Rooker, OF, Mississippi State
36. Miami Marlins: Brian Miller, OF, North Carolina
37. Minnesota Twins: Landon Leach, RHP, Pickering HS
38. Cincinnati Reds: Stuart Fairchild, OF, Wake Forest
39. San Diego Padres: Luis Campusano-Bracero, C, Cross Creek HS
40. Tampa Bay Rays: Michael Mercado, RHP, Westview HS
41. Atlanta Braves: Drew Waters, OF, Etowah HS
42. Pittsburgh Pirates: Steve Jennings, RHP, DeKalb County HS
43. Oakland Athletics: Greg Deichmann, OF, LSU
44. Arizona Diamondbacks: Drew Ellis, 3B, Louisville
45. Philadelphia Phillies: Spencer Howard, RHP, Cal Poly
46. Milwaukee Brewers: Caden Lemons, RHP, Vestavia Hills HS
47. Los Angeles Angels: Griffin Canning, RHP, UCLA
48. Colorado Rockies: Ryan Vilade, 3B, Stillwater HS
49. Chicago White Sox: Gavin Sheets, 1B, Wake Forest
50. Pittsburgh Pirates: Cal Mitchell, OF, Rancho Bernardo HS
51. Miami Marlins: Joseph Dunand, 3B, North Carolina State
52. Kansas City Royals: MJ Melendez, C, Westminster Christian School
53. Houston Astros: Joe Perez, 3B, Archbishop McCarthy HS
54. New York Yankees: Matt Sauer, RHP, Ernest Righetti HS
55. Seattle Mariners: Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville HS
56. Houston Astros: Corbin Martin, RHP, Texas A&M
57. Detroit Tigers: Reynaldo Rivera, OF, Chipola College
58. San Francisco Giants: Jacob Gonzalez, 3B, Chaparral HS
59. New York Mets: Mark Vientos, 3B, American Heritage School
60. Baltimore Orioles: Adam Hall, SS, A.B. Lucas SS
61. Toronto Blue Jays: Hagen Danner, C, Huntington Beach HS
62. Los Angeles Dodgers: Morgan Cooper, RHP, Texas
63. Boston Red Sox: Coleman Brannen, OF, Westfield School
64. Cleveland Indians: Quentin Holmes, OF, Monsignor McClancy Memorial HS
65. Washington Nationals: Wil Crowe, RHP, South Carolina
66. Texas Rangers: Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills HS
67. Chicago Cubs: Cory Abbott, RHP, Loyola Marymount University
Competitive Balance Round B
68. Arizona Diamondbacks: Daulton Varsho, C, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
69. San Diego Padres: Blake Hunt, C, Mater Dei HS
70. Colorado Rockies: Tommy Doyle, RHP, Virginia
71. Cleveland Indians: Tyler Freeman, SS, Etiwanda HS
72. Pittsburgh Pirates: Conner Uselton, OF, Southmoore HS
73. Kansas City Royals: Evan Steele, LHP, Chipola College
74. Baltimore Orioles: Zac Lowther, LHP, Xavier
75. Houston Astros: J.J. Matijevic, 2B, Arizona
Full draft order, compensation explanations and pick monetary values available at MLB.com.
Top Predraft Storylines
Minnesota’s Tough Call
As much as the Twins hold an advantageous position with the first selection, the front office in Minnesota has the unenviable task of selecting between Louisville’s Brendan McKay and Vanderbilt’s Kyle Wright.
Hindsight casts a harsh glare on the Twins already.
Wright would classify as the “safe” choice. The Commodores product is 21 years old and hails from a locale known for spitting out first-round talent such as David Price. A fastball checking in well into the 90s and a 3.09 ERA last year only makes Wright even more attractive as a prospect.
But don’t sleep on McKay, one of the most interesting blends of talent to enter the draft in a long time. In short, he’s a two-way monster with a 10-3 mark and 2.34 ERA on the mound, which goes quite well next to his .343 average, 17 home runs and 56 RBI.
In fact, MLB.com’s Jim Callis called McKay the second-best two-way player in draft history: “Teams who like McKay more on the mound see him as a potential No. 2 starter who won’t need much time before he’s Major League-ready. Clubs who prefer him as a bat think he combines arguably the best pure hitting ability in the Draft with 20-homer power.”
One can begin to see why the Twins face such a notably difficult decision given the prospects involved. And this outlook on its own presumes the front office will play it safe and not look beyond the draft’s top two players.
Hunter Greene, the Most Interesting Prospect of 2017
It seems most experts agree Hunter Greene out of Notre Dame high school in California is the prospect with the most upside in the 2017 class.
Yet few, if any, project him off the board with the top selection. He’s the top-rated prospect in Baseball America‘s rankings, yet the fact he’s 17 years old and has a blend of positional talents makes him a high-upside prospect viewed as a risk.
Keep in mind a right-hander like Greene hasn’t come off the board at No. 1 since the draft began in 1965, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. His fastball has checked in north of 100 mph and he hasn’t had any problems dominating his current level of play at the plate before committing to UCLA.
“He’s a unique talent, that’s for sure,” an American League executive told Feinsand. “He has a chance to be really special.”
All of this has yet to even mention Greene takes the field at a premium position like shortstop. MLB Network recently provided a must-see look at the two-way star:
Drafting high school arms can be a volatile process for teams, yet the upside with Greene is clearly worth the hype. Fans would have a hard time finding a mock brave enough to keep Greene out of the top five, let alone the top two, for this very reason.
Best of the Rest
When it comes to the rest of the top 10, teams like the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays will have a hard time going wrong, at least until hindsight comes into play years down the road.
Other than the players mentioned above, keep a close eye on someone such as MacKenzie Gore out of Whiteville high school in North Carolina. He’s only 18 years old and is a top-tier prospect in large part because he has a quality array of pitches and comes at a premium given his left-handed status.
Gore put on a strong enough season to reel in some serious individual hardware, as captured by the NCHSAA:
Then there is Royce Lewis out of JSerra high school in California, a prospect clutching perhaps the most intriguing bat of any in Monday’s proceedings.
ESPN.com’s Keith Law pegs Lewis as the fifth pick by the Atlanta Braves, though he cites a positional change in the process: “I have to imagine that they’d immediately move him to center field because they already have several good shortstop prospects in the system, plus Dansby Swanson in the majors.”
It’d be remiss not to mention arguably the draft’s most polarizing player, Seth Romero. He doesn’t have an affiliation heading into the draft process after being kicked off the Houston Cougars. Before the issues, Romero slotted as a top-10 prospect with a live arm, making him an obvious value if he takes an expected fall.
Monday’s 75 selections share a common theme this year—explosiveness, versatility and high ceilings. Hindsight might judge it in a different light, but for now, this is one of the most exciting classes to hit the MLB in a long time.
Stats and info courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise specified.
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