The 2017 MLB Draft is just under six months and with both the college and high school baseball seasons getting underway in a few months it is a perfect time for N2K Sports’ preseason mock draft. The Colorado Rockies (11th pick) and the St. Louis Cardinals (19th pick) both lost their draft picks due to free agency compensation since the Rockies signed Ian Desmond and the Cardinals signed Dexter Fowler. So let’s get right into it.
1.) Minnesota Twins: Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt
The Vanderbilt ace is a perfect fit for the Minnesota Twins organization. With Minnesota’s top prospects on the verge of becoming superstars, taking a college arm here will help them sooner rather than later. Wright’s baseball smarts and control will help him run through the minor leagues. His four pitch arsenal of a mid-to-high 90s fastball, curveball, cutter and changeup should transfer well into the Show.
2.) Cincinnati Reds: Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt
The top position player on most draft boards, Jeren Kendall has subtle pop with plus speed. If Kendall can work on his strikeout rate and pitch recognition abilities then he will be a superstar no problem. Kendall has the arm and the speed to play centerfield at the professional level.
3.) San Diego Padres: Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, Notre Dame HS (CA)
Many people consider Hunter Greene the number one prospect entering the 2017 draft but a high school right-handed pitcher has never been taken first overall and I don’t see that changing this year. Greene is an exciting UCLA commit that has a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s with a sharp curveball and a working changeup. If Greene does get drafted into the National League you can watch out for his offensive potential as well because most scouts say he could be a first rounder based off of just his shortstop potential.
4.) Tampa Bay Rays: Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic HS (CA)
Royce Lewis is an underrated prospect that isn’t too flashy but he should help the Rays’ rebuilding effort immensely. If you remember, the last shortstop the Rays took in the first round was Tim Beckham (first overall in 2008) and he didn’t pan out for Tampa Bay so hopefully they’ll have some luck with Lewis. Many experts believe that Lewis will end up in the outfield once he matures and potentially outgrows the shortstop spot.
5.) Atlanta Braves: JJ Schwarz, C, Florida
If JJ Schwarz was able to enter the draft after his freshman season at Florida where he battled eventual seventh overall pick Andrew Benintendi for the SEC’s best player, he quite possibly could’ve been drafted first overall. But after an average sophomore campaign and a stint in the Cape League cut short due to a minor injury, his draft stock is wavering. In my opinion, JJ Schwarz is the best offensive collegiate catching prospect since Buster Posey and I think the Braves will agree with just that and snatch him fifth overall.
6.) Oakland Athletics: JB Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina
JB Bukauskas has the best one-two pitch combo in all of college baseball with his upper-90s fastball and plus-potential slider. The UNC Tar Heel will need to have a very strong 2017 season in order to convince the Athletics to draft him after they took a college arm in last year’s first round in the form of Florida standout AJ Puk.
7.) Arizona Diamondbacks: DL Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA)
This left-handed Florida State commit out of Georgia has both a really strong fastball as well as curveball and if his changeup can gain some experience and effectiveness, Hall could become an efficient starter in the MLB. Hall will need some time to develop and add size in order to find success but once his body matures his pitching frame should be ready to go.
8.) Philadelphia Phillies: Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri
Tanner Houck shows a heavy reliance on his fastball, and for good reason since his heater has clocked in around 98 MPH but is consistently around the 95 MPH mark. Houck also has a wild slider and a changeup, if he can master both secondary pitches then Houck could be a better version of Justin Masterson.
9.) Milwaukee Brewers: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Louisville
The Louisville standout is actually one of the best offensive talents in this years draft class but his ability to pump low-90s has teams salivating over his pitching potential. His command and control is so extraordinary that he can get batters out effectively without the top tier velocity that other pitchers boast. If the DH rule isn’t instituted in the National League soon, the Brewers could have themselves an ace in the hole if McKay’s offensive potential grows as expected.
10.) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
Pavin Smith has one of the smoothest swings in the 2017 draft class and he has consistently shown the ability to hit for average during his time with the Virginia Cavaliers. Smith’s frame brings in the possibility of becoming a power bat once he gets drafted and with his subtle defensive prowess I would compare Smith to former San Francisco Giants first baseman Will Clark.
11.) Chicago White Sox: Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard HS (KY)
Jordon Adell’s ability to generate extremely fast exit velocities (99th Percentile for Class of 2017) at such a young age will have teams eager to draft him if he can figure out some issues with his swing. Right now, Adell has a high power upside but not really much potential as a contact hitter and the folks at MLB Pipeline have compared him to Melvin Upton, Jr. Adell’s defense is stellar with a plus arm that pumps 97 MPH when on the mound.
12.) Pittsburgh Pirates: Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida
If Alex Faedo falls to the Pirates here at number twelve, Neal Huntington and the Pittsburgh organization will have themselves a steal. Some experts have Faedo listed as the number one collegiate pitching prospect in the 2017 and other experts even project the Twins to draft him at number one overall. Faedo will headline another Florida Gators powerhouse team destined for Omaha.
13.) Miami Marlins: Michael Gigliotti, OF, Lipscomb
Gigliotti was the 2017 RA McNeece Award recipient presented to the best professional prospect in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Out of all the prospects that spent their summer on Cape Cod, most would say that Gigliotti’s draft stock was positively impacted the most. Gigliotti’s speed, fielding and ability to consistently hit for contact have him sitting pretty looking ahead to the draft. Gigliotti and a few other standouts at Lipscomb have their sights set on the College World Series and I’m along for the ride because they’re my team to watch for 2017.
14.) Kansas City Royals: Blayne Enlow, RHP, St. Amant HS (LA)
Enlow boasts the best prep curveball in this draft paired with a mid-90s fastball coming from sought after 6’4” pitching frame will have teams reaching on this high school right-hander. It is only a matter of time before Enlow puts on some more muscle as well as masters a third pitch (a changeup) and once he does that, Blayne Enlow could become a top tier starter and maybe years down the line, the steal of the 2017 MLB Draft.
15.) Houston Astros: Brady McConnell, SS, Merritt Island (FL)
The Florida Gators commit’s jury is still out for his 2017 draft verdict, McConnell has been extremely inconsistent. If Brady can’t hit his stride leading up to the draft you can expect him to fall and fall quickly, perhaps out of the first round altogether.
16.) New York Yankees: Colton Hock, RHP, Stanford
Colton Hock is a power pitcher with a mid-90s fastball and a very effective curveball. If Hock can polish a third pitch, which he currently is trying to work on a changeup then his mid-rotation power potential will be something the Yankees can’t pass up.
17.) Seattle Mariners: Alex Lange, RHP, Louisiana State
Lange’s fastball and curveball are both plus offerings but the right-hander will need to bounce back after an average sophomore year. Lange’s freshman season was outstanding and if he can pitch to his potential I wouldn’t be surprised if he found his way into the top ten.
18.) Detroit Tigers: Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad HS (NM)
Trevor Rogers has some intangibles that’s stock is up right now, the left-hander comes in at 6’6” with mainly a fastball and slider combo just like Andrew Miller. The Tigers drafted Andrew Miller back in the day and I think they’ll take a chance on Rogers who, if progressed ideally can have a similar ceiling.
19.) San Francisco Giants: Calvin Mitchell, OF, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA)
Thanks to a simple yet explosive swing that sends baseballs flying, outfielder Calvin Mitchell has himself projected towards the back of the first round. But in a weak offensive draft class, I believe that the Giants won’t let Calvin go much later in the first round.
20.) New York Mets: Garrett Mitchell, OF, Orange Lutheran HS (CA)
Garrett Mitchell, a UCLA commit is very well-rounded and has the potential to have MLB worthy tools on the basepaths, in the batter’s box and in the field. Mitchell will be a perfect fit in a Mets system that doesn’t really need any pitching help (Syndergaard, Harvey, Wheeler, Matz, etc.) and Mitchell could be the perfect compliment to Michael Conforto in the outfield.
21.) Baltimore Orioles: Nick Allen, SS, Francis Parker HS (CA)
The 5’9” shortstop has that same drive that Dustin Pedroia has from people telling that he is too small for shortstop but the USC Trojan commit has the ability (unlike Pedroia) to stay at shortstop long term. Allen’s speed and contact ability along with his defensive skill will have him moving up draft boards as the season progresses.
22.) Toronto Blue Jays: Jacob Heatherly, LHP, Cullman HS (AL)
Jacob Heatherly has something that most of the other pitching prospects don’t have and that is four mid-rotation worthy pitches with his fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. Heatherly is extremely well rounded and his best asset is most likely his control and most teams should see him as a safe pick.
23.) Los Angeles Dodgers: Evan Skoug, C, Texas Christian
The Horned Frog has been praised for his leadership ability on and off of the field for the perennial National Champion threat TCU. Skoug is top heavy with his potential tools and his best assets are by far his power and contact skills, it is tough to say if Skoug will remain at catcher long term but another year at TCU should give teams a better idea.
24.) Boston Red Sox: Hagen Danner, RHP/C, Huntington Beach HS (CA)
Danner seems to have equal potential as both a pitcher and a catcher but his 95 MPH arm as a player not fully dedicated to pitching might have MLB teams anxious to use him on the mound. It basically is up to Danner if he sees himself as a catcher or a pitcher but the Red Sox will help with that decision. Boston drafted Casey Kelly back in the day as a pitcher but Kelly wanted to play shortstop so the Sox let him play shortstop until he didn’t find success and moved him back to the mound. Hagen Danner is one of the more exciting late round picks so if Boston takes him they’ll be adding to an already great farm system.
25.) Cleveland Indians: Cole Brannen, OF, The Westfield School (GA)
The Georgia Southern commit has an unreal defensive upside with an average offensive potential. Brannen has the speed to steal 25 bases easily in the big leagues but his bat shouldn’t scare too many opposing pitchers but in his best years he could perhaps flirt with 0.290.
26.) Washington Nationals: Mark Vientos, 3B, American Heritage HS (FL)
The third baseman and Miami Hurricane commit has a strong frame and offensive ceiling but his draft stock will depend on how he plays during 2017. Vientos will most likely top out as a late-first rounder but if he can strengthen his defense while hitting a few more long balls than anticipated then anything is possible.
27.) Texas Rangers: Quentin Holmes, OF, Monsignor McClancy Memorial HS (NY)
Quentin Holmes is hands down the fastest player in the 2017 draft class, out of every high school prospect in the Class of 2017, Holmes ran the fastest sixty yard dash out of all of them (6.15 seconds). Holmes is able to generate sound bat speed as well as above average exit velocity but his tracking ability in centerfield will raise some questions on his defensive ability. Holmes has an athletic build that most feel will develop him into a premier leadoff hitter but he is a bit riskier for teams early in the first round.
28.) Chicago Cubs: Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
Beck will be pitching alongside Colton Hock at Stanford this season but Beck has something that Hock doesn’t. Beck has three pitches that he has confidence in, headlined by his changeup and low-90s fastball. Beck’s ability to command his changeup is very tempting for MLB organizations and it will be interesting to see how far his arsenal takes him.
What player is your favorite team taking? Do you agree with our list or don’t see somebody you expected to? If so, let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @N2KSports.
Cover Photo via MLB Pipeline
Various Photos via College Baseball Today, The Tennessean, Baseball Essential, Lumination Network, Baseball America and Perfect Game