The 2017 MLB Draft kicks off Monday night in Secaucus, New Jersey and we’ve got our final mock draft ready to go. This draft has a ton of talent at the top, and while it’s not as deep as last year, there are plenty of really good players available. The site’s first-ever mock draft went live last week and there have been some significant changes.
Hunter Greene has become the most famous player in this year’s draft class but it looks like the Twins will go in a different direction off the top.
As a reminder, the Indians, Rockies and Cardinals each forfeited their first-round picks by signing free agents last winter.
1. Minnesota Twins
Pick: Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP, Louisville
This is a late change, as the Twins are apparently enamored with Brendan McKay, who could be a top five pick as a pitcher or a hitter. McKay has the highest floor of any college pitcher and ace upside if he commits to the mound. That said, he may have the best college bat in this class. It will be interesting to see which way the Twins take him, though it seems like they like him as a pitcher. Greene, Royce Lewis and Vanderbilt righty Kyle Wright will be under consideration right up until the pick is turned in.
2. Cincinnati Reds
Pick: Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oaks, CA)
The Reds have been split on Greene and McKay for a while but it appears things have slowly shifted towards the high-upside high schooler, while Wright will get consideration as well. Greene has the highest ceiling in the draft, and while he could make the majors as a hitter or a pitcher, his future is on the mound. He’s been regularly flirting with triple digits all season, and pounds the strike zone from an athletic, repeatable delivery. The Sports Illustrated cover boy appears headed to Cincinnati at No. 2.
3. San Diego Padres
Pick: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville High School (Whiteville, NC)
The Padres want Greene badly and word is, he wants to stay in Southern California. But in this scenario he’s gone, so the Padres and general manager A.J. Preller snag the draft’s best lefty. MacKenzie Gore (who was named the Gatorade National baseball Player of the Year) is athletic, his fastball has touched 97 and sits in the 92 to 95 range, he has three plus-pitches and likely has more velocity in the tank. He’s improved tremendously over the past year and some believe his upside is on par with Greene’s. Plus, he’s got an awesome, old school big leg kick.
Local prep infielder Royce Lewis is a possibility here as is McKay, who the Padres would want as a pitcher. There’s also a chance San Diego cuts a below-slot deal with someone at this spot in order to spend more money later in the draft.
4. Tampa Bay Rays
Pick: Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic High School (San Juan Capistrano, CA)
The Rays like Gore, Lewis and McKay, but in this scenario I see them grabbing the California prep star, who might have the best tools of any position player in the draft. Lewis should wind up in center field but that’s still a premium position and shouldn’t diminish his value much.
The Rays could also opt to cut a deal with someone and spend big later, if they do so, keep an eye on prep outfielder Bubba Thompson at this spot.
5. Atlanta Braves
Pick: Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt
The Braves are in on Gore, McKay and would love Greene, but they know he’s not dropping this far. They’re also in on Texas prep righty Shane Baz. If Wright lasts this long, the Braves should snag him as quickly as possible. A week ago he was the No. 1 pick and his ceiling is the highest of all the college arms. He’s been fantastic late in the season and should move quickly through the system.
6. Oakland A’s
Pick: Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson High School (Lexington, NC)
The A’s love Gore, but he’ll be gone by this point, and college righty J.B. Bukauskas is in the mix as well. But contrary to my last mock draft, I think Billy Beane rolls the dice on a high-upside prep outfielder at this spot. Austin Beck has some of the best tools in the draft, with All-Star upside if he adjusts to wood bats and makes contact consistently.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks
Pick: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina
Virginia center fielder Adam Haseley has to be under consideration here, but the Diamondbacks have long been linked to Bukauskas. Despite some inconsistency and a worrisome delivery, the North Carolina hurler has great natural stuff. At worst he becomes a high-leverage reliever.
8. Philadelphia Phillies
Pick: Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia
Baz or Beck could go here and the Phillies really like Bukauskas and Florida righty Alex Faedo. In this scenario I like them to go with Haseley, the most advanced college outfielder in the draft. He doesn’t have the upside of Vanderbilt’s Jeren Kendall, but he’s not far off.
9. Milwaukee Brewers
Pick: Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard High School (Louisville, KY)
The Brewers love toolsy young outfielders, which sets up perfectly here, as they could go with either Beck or Jordon Adell. In this scenario I have them taking Adell, a guy they’ve been linked to for weeks who has huge raw power, speed and a big arm in the outfield.
10. Los Angeles Angels
Pick: Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida
The Angels are big fans of Adell and Beck, and are in on a few college hitters, along with UCLA righty Griffin Canning. Here I have them going with a different college righty in Faedo. The Florida hurler was seen as a potential No. 1 overall pick after a brilliant sophomore year. His junior season has been inconsistent but his stuff is phenomenal.
11. Chicago White Sox
Pick: Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt
The White Sox love a few college bats in this class and would like to add an outfielder to their system. This sets up perfectly for them. Kendall was once in the mix at No. 1, but there have been uneven results on the field this year. Still, he’s a potential five-tooler with 70-grade (on the 20-80 scale) speed and defense.
12. Pittsburgh Pirates
Pick: Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach High School, (Huntington Beach, CA)
The Pirates are all over the map with potential selections, but Nick Pratto is flying up draft boards as the big day approaches, and it’s easy to see why. If Pratto’s name sounds familiar, that’s probably because he won the 2011 Little League World Series with an RBI single in the bottom of the final inning (check it out). His sweet swing has elevated him to first-round status. At 6’1″ and 193 pounds he already has a solid build, with good range at first base that should make him a plus defender. Pratto pitches in high school too, but his bat is what’s getting him to the majors.
13. Miami Marlins
Pick: Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran High School (Tomball, TX)
If Baz lasts this long he should be the pick and for the second-straight mock, I have him going to Miami. At 6’3″ and 190 pounds, the Texas prep righty has good size with some projection left. He throws hard, touching 98 mph this spring and sitting in the 92 to 96 range. The TCU commit is a great athlete who also has a really nice cutter and a good curveball, with a developing changeup. He has ace upside.
14. Kansas City Royals
Pick: Trevor Rogers, Carlsbad High School (Carlsbad, NM)
The Royals apparently love this crop of high school arms so, once again, I’m not bucking the trend. Trevor Rogers has as high a ceiling as any lefty in the draft (including Gore), but he has a lot of growing to do. He’s 6’6″ and 188 pounds, but already throws in the mid-90s, with a slider, a curve and a changeup that are all slowly getting better. He can already command both sides of the plate as well.
15. Houston Astros
Pick: Evan White, 1B, Kentucky
The Astros really like the college bats in this class and here they snag a fast riser. Evan White is a Gold Glove-caliber defender at first base and the Kentucky kid could move to the outfield if needed. At 6’3″ and 175 pounds he needs to add some muscle to his frame and better power could come if he does. Right now he’s a righty bat that controls the zone and sprays the ball all over the field.
16. New York Yankees
Pick: Griffin Canning, RHP, UCLA
The Yankees have been connected to a ton of college arms, and are also in on Pratto and prep lefty D.L. Hall. But with the board lined up how it is, I see them taking Canning. The UCLA righty has four solid pitches and sits in the low-90s with his fastball, but has touched 95. He’s not a big kid at 6’1″ and 170 pounds, but he has the stuff to stick as a starter long-term. They don’t seem to be spooked by a sketchy medical exam from over the weekend.
17. Seattle Mariners
Pick: Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State
The Mariners are all over college bats, and while they’ll likely consider Pratto, Missouri State third baseman Jake Burger is the pick here again in this mock. Burger is a big-time power prospect who hit 21 home runs in 2016 and followed that up with 22 dingers and a .341 batting average before the NCAA Tournament began this year. He should be able to stick at third and can read pitches well. For my money, Burger is the best power prospect in this year’s draft.
18. Detroit Tigers
Pick: D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta High School (Valdosta, GA)
If Pratto or Hall get here, the Tigers will take one of them. In this case it’s Hall, who can hit the mid-90s with his fastball, has a plus curve and possesses outstanding mechanics for a lefty. He’s not a big kid at 6’0″ and 190 pounds, but there is some projection left.
19. San Francisco Giants
Pick: Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
The Giants want a college bat and Smith might have the most polished one in this draft, in a tight race with McKay. The Virginia lefty had a great season in the Cape Cod League last summer and hasn’t stopped rising. He’s a good fielder at first and could wind up playing some outfield too. He has an advanced approach and might be the first hitter in this draft to reach the big leagues.
20. New York Mets
Pick: David Peterson, LHP, Oregon
I like the fit here for the Mets as they get one of the hottest pitchers in the college ranks. David Peterson has been excellent this season. The Oregon product has hit double-digits in strikeouts in four of his last six starts and K’d 20 two weeks ago in a masterful performance against Arizona State. At 6’6″ and 240 pounds, he’s a massive guy with a low-to-mid 90s fastball and an excellent slider.
21. Baltimore Orioles
Pick: Alex Lange, RHP, LSU
The Orioles are all-in on taking a college pitcher who can move quickly, and Alex Lange fits that bill. Lange was dominant as a freshman (12-0 with a 1.97 ERA) while leading the Tigers to the 2015 College World Series title. His sophomore season didn’t live up to those highs, but he’s regained his prospect status this year, with a solid campaign. He has an outstanding curveball and a fastball that sits in the 92 to 96 mph range. At 6’4″ and 200 pounds he has the size to stick as a starter as long as his changeup develops.
22. Toronto Blue Jays
Pick: Logan Warmoth, SS, North Carolina
I love this fit for the Blue Jays, as they get a big boost up the middle with North Carolina’s Logan Warmoth. Warmoth — who is already winning at life — plays shortstop for the Tar Heels and could stick there long-term. He had a great showing in the Cape Cod league last summer and has solidified himself as the top college middle infielder in this class. While he doesn’t have big power, a huge arm or top speed, Warmoth does everything well with no real weaknesses.
23. Los Angeles Dodgers
Pick: Bubba Thompson, OF, McGill-Toolen High School (Mobile, AL)
This is another pick that just feels right. The Dodgers never shy away from taking a high-upside gamble and Alabama prep star Bubba Thompson could be worth it. He is a two-sport athlete who committed to Alabama for baseball, but he was a star quarterback as well. Thompson is fast, has a great arm and is destined to be an excellent center fielder. He’ll be worth the risk if he makes consistent contact and is willing to head to the professional ranks.
24. Boston Red Sox
Pick: Keston Hiura, 2B/OF, UC Irvine
Hiura is the best pure hitter in the college ranks right now, as he leads Division I in batting average (.442) and on-base percentage (.567). If he had a defined future position he’d likely go much higher, but his defense is an issue — as is an elbow injury that might require surgery. But purely for his bat, he’s a fantastic value for the Red Sox.
25. Washington Nationals
Pick: Pick: Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri
The Nationals are looking hard at arms and righty Tanner Houck has fantastic stuff. Houck throws hard, with a fastball that touches 98 mph with sink. His slider could wind up being an out pitch but it needs some work. At 6’5″ and 215 pounds he’s built to start, and while his low three-quarter delivery could scare off some teams, the Nats aren’t usually bothered by such things.
26. Texas Rangers
Pick: Nate Pearson, RHP, Central Florida Junior College
This pick still feels right. Nate Pearson has been shooting up draft boards after he was consistently over triple digits during a bullpen session for scouts in May. The junior college standout is enormous (6’6″ and 240 pounds) and throws really hard. He was between 95 and 97 mph all spring, but there’s definitely more there. Pearson struck out 118 batters while walking just 23 in 81 innings this season, while posting a 1.56 ERA and allowing just 60 hits. He’s raw but his ceiling is high.
27. Chicago Cubs
Pick: Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina
Clarke Schmidt has been a late riser despite blowing out his elbow in April and needing Tommy John surgery. The Cubs are looking to add pitching depth to the organization and if Schmidt bounces back he could rise quickly through the organization. He throws a sinking fastball that sits in the 92 to 94 range and can touch 96, and has a slider and curveball, both of which can be plus pitches when he’s on. He’s a guy who pounds the strike zone and should stay a starter long-term despite concerns over his 6’1″ and 200-pound frame.
28. Toronto Blue Jays*
Pick: Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville High School (Burnsville, MN)
The Blue Jays would like to take an arm with one of their two first-round picks and here they land a good one. Sam Carlson has been outstanding this spring. At 6’4″ and 195 pounds, the Minnesota hurler has great size and projection and he’s already sitting between 92 and 97 mph this year. His fastball has a decent amount of sink to it and he can also throw his slider for strikes. Carlson’s changeup needs work and he needs to trust it more, but it could be a solid offering given time.
29. Texas Rangers**
Pick: Tristen Lutz, OF, Martin High School (Arlington, TX)
I’ve got the Rangers taking local prep outfielder Tristen Lutz again in this mock because it makes a ton of sense. He’s a toolsy outfielder who can hit, has excellent power and experience with wood bats. At 6’3″ and 210 pounds without plus-speed, Lutz looks like a pure right fielder thanks to a great arm. Plus, he’s from right in their backyard.
30. Chicago Cubs
Pick: Nick Allen, SS, Francis Parker School (San Diego, CA)
The Cubs have been linked to Nick Allen for weeks despite his lack of size. The San Diego prep star stands in at just 5’8″ and 155 pounds, but man can he go get the ball at short. He’s one of the best fielding high school shortstops I’ve ever seen. Allen is a solid hitter and a fast runner, but he doesn’t have much pop. That said, his defense alone is worth drafting him in the first round. He’s that good out there.
*Compensation for Edwin Encarnacion signing with Cleveland Indians
**Compensation for Ian Desmond signing with Colorado Rockies
***Compensation for Dexter Fowler signing with St. Louis Cardinals