The teams in baseball who consistently compete and make the playoffs are the ones who draft well and develop talent from within. Although the MLB First-Year Player Draft doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, it is a crucial part of building a competitive major league roster.
With just a day until the start of the 2017 MLB Draft on June 12, here’s how the first-round looks as of June 11.
1. Minnesota Twins: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Louisville
Brendan McKay is an intriguing option as a pitcher and position player. Scouts are split on McKay’s position in professional baseball, but expect a team to try him on the mound first.
Read my MLB Draft profile on McKay here.
2. Cincinnati Reds: Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS (Calif.)
Hunter Greene throws a mid-90s fastball that hits triple digits early in starts, and he has the potential to be a No. 1 starter down the road. But, teams are nervous about his secondary pitches, as his slider and changeup are both just average offerings.
3. San Diego Padres: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS (N.C.)
A 6-foot-2, 180-pound lefty, MacKenzie Gore has a four-pitch mix, featuring a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. Some scouts believe Gore is the best prep pitcher in the 2017 MLB Draft class.
Read my MLB Draft profile on Gore here.
4. Tampa Bay Rays: Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt
Kyle Wright is the top college right-handed pitcher in the 2017 MLB Draft class, and he possesses frontline starter potential. He has a four-pitch mix, featuring a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and reaches 97 mph.
5. Atlanta Braves: Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS (N.C.)
This is where the draft could start to get interesting. The Braves could take the best player on the board in prep shortstop/outfielder Royce Lewis. While Lewis is a possibility, don’t be surprised if they draft a player that they will sign to an under-slot bonus to spend more money on later selections.
If the Braves do this, North Carolina prep outfielder Austin Beck and California prep first baseman Nick Pratto would be the candidates. Beck worked out for the Braves on June 1, according to sources. He has huge potential, despite concerns about his lack of experience hitting with a wood bat against elite pitching.
6. Oakland Athletics: Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
Figuring a team drafts McKay as a pitcher, Pavin Smith is the best college hitter in this year’s MLB Draft class. With a great approach at the plate and above-average power, Smith will go in the first 10 picks.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks: Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic HS (Calif.)
Royce Lewis is the top prep position player in this year’s MLB Draft class. He’s got impressive tools and has the potential to develop into a franchise player.
If Lewis is gone, Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley would likely be the option here for the D-Backs.
Read my MLB Draft profile on Lewis here.
8. Philadelphia Phillies: Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia
It looks like the Phillies are leaning towards selecting a college hitter and are focusing on Virginia’s Pavin Smith and Adam Haseley. Texas prep right-hander Shane Baz is a potential option for the Phillies.
9. Milwaukee Brewers: Jo Adell, OF, Ballard HS (Ky.)
Jo Adell has five-tool potential and is the clear-cut favorite to go ninth overall to the Brewers.
Read my MLB Draft profile on Adell here.
10. Los Angeles Angels: Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida
A 6-foot-5, 225-pound right-hander, Alex Faedo has front-line starter potential. Faedo underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees last fall and has had an up-and-down junior season.
North Carolina’s J.B. Bukauskas would also be an option for the Angeles if he’s still available. Bukauskas’ terrible start against Davidson in the NCAA regional could cause his draft stock to take a slight hit.
11. Chicago White Sox: Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt
A skilled outfielder, Jeren Kendall has intriguing tools, but his high strikeout rate concerns scouts, hurting his MLB Draft stock significantly.
12. Pittsburgh Pirates: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina
J.B. Bukauskas has performed well this spring, but his terrible start against Davidson in the NCAA regional could cause his draft stock to take a slight hit.
13. Miami Marlins: D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (Ga.)
A 6-foot, 190-pound lefty, D.L. Hall has a three-pitch mix, featuring a mid-90s fastball, a devastating curveball and a changeup. He’s more of a two-pitch pitcher, with his changeup being an average offering.
14. Kansas City Royals: Shane Baz, RHP Concordia Lutheran HS (Texas)
Shane Baz has been connected to the Royals frequently this spring. Baz has a five-pitch repertoire, featuring a fastball, cutter, slider, curveball and changeup.
15. Houston Astros: Keston Hiura, 2B, UC Irvine
Keston Hiura is a legitimate college bat, but an elbow injury has limited him to DH duties all spring. He will potentially need Tommy John surgery in the future.
Linked to college hitters, the Astros could look to sign a player to an under-slot deal in hopes of giving out bigger signing bonuses to falling prep players later in the draft.
Read my MLB Draft profile on Hiura here.
16. New York Yankees: Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach HS (Calif.)
A talented two-way player, Nick Pratto’s future is at first base. One of the best prep bats in the 2017 MLB Draft class, Pratto has an advanced approach at the plate and is a solid all-around player.
17. Seattle Mariners: David Peterson, LHP, Oregon
A strong spring has vaulted David Peterson into the first-round. A 6-foot-6, 240-pound lefty, Peterson has been a complete pitcher, impressing scouts this spring. General manager Jerry DiPoto favors college players in the first-round.
Read my MLB Draft profile on Peterson here.
18. Detroit Tigers: Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad HS (N.M.)
Trevor Rogers is a rising prospect with the potential to go in the top 10 picks. A 6-foot-6 lefty, Rogers has a high-ceiling and features a three-pitch mix, including a mid-90s fastball.
19. San Francisco Giants: Evan White, 1B, Kentucky
With five-tool potential, Evan White is an intriguing college hitter that can play first base and the outfield.
Read my MLB Draft profile on White here.
20. New York Mets: Nate Pearson, RHP, Junior College of Central Florida
A 6-foot-6, 240-pound right-hander, Nate Pearson has a four-pitch mix, featuring an overpowering high-90s fastball, which even reached triple digits in a recent bullpen session.
21. Baltimore Orioles: Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State
Jake Burger is one of the top college bats and possesses massive power. He isn’t the most graceful, but is a solid all-around player, who could move through the minor leagues rather quickly.
22. Toronto Blue Jays: Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri
Tanner Houck was regarded as a top 10 pick earlier this year. But after an uneven season and questions about his delivery, Houck’s stock has taken a hit.
23. Los Angeles Dodgers: Bubba Thompson, OF, McGill-Toolen HS (Ala.)
Bubba Thompson is the best athlete in the 2017 MLB Draft class and is rising up draft boards due to his potential and high-ceiling. Thompson has worked out with the Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers.
Read my MLB Draft profile on Thompson here.
24. Boston Red Sox: Seth Romero, LHP, Houston
The Red Sox drafted prep lefty Jason Groome last year, despite his off-field issues. Seth Romero could’ve heard his name called in the top 10 picks if it wasn’t for his off-field issues, including being kicked off Houston’s roster this spring.
25. Washington Nationals: Logan Warmoth, SS, North Carolina
Logan Warmoth has solid speed and the ability to stick at shortstop long-term. He also has respectable power for a middle infielder.
26. Texas Rangers: Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville HS (Minn.)
No Minnesota prep pitcher has gone in the first-round, but Sam Carlson appears like he’ll be the first. A 6-foot-4, 195-pound right-hander, Carlson’s fastball has sat in the mid-90s this spring.
27. Chicago Cubs: Nick Allen, SS, Parker HS (Calif.)
The Cubs are hoping a college pitcher falls to them, but if one doesn’t, it allows them to take a high-ceiling prep bat.
Read my MLB Draft profile on Allen here.
28. Toronto Blue Jays*: Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina
Clarke Schmidt tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and missed most of the 2017 season. Prior to the injury, Schmidt would have likely been a lock to go in the first-round.
Schmidt went 4-2 with a 1.34 ERA and a 70-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in nine starts this spring.
29. Texas Rangers*: Tristen Lutz, OF, Martin HS (Texas)
If the Rangers take a pitcher with their first pick in the first-round, they could turn to a high-ceiling prep hitter with their second selection.
Read my MLB Draft profile on Lutz here.
30. Chicago Cubs*: Quentin Holmes, OF, Monsignor McClancy Memorial HS (N.Y.)
A Mississippi State commit, Quentin Holmes is a dynamic player on both sides of the ball due to his elite speed.
Read my MLB Draft profile on Holmes here.
First-Round Compensation Notes
• The Colorado Rockies forfeit their first-round pick (No. 11) after singing Ian Desmond.
• The St. Louis Cardinals forfeit their first-round pick (No. 19) after signing Dexter Fowler.
• The Cleveland Indians forfeit their first-round pick (No. 25) after signing Edwin Encarnacion.
* – No. 28 overall pick is compensation for losing Edwin Encarnacion in free agency.
* – No. 29 overall pick is compensation for losing Ian Desmond in free agency.
* – No. 30 overall pick is compensation for losing Dexter Fowler in free agency.
Find more MLB Draft coverage here.