2017 MLB Draft: Mock 2.0

In his latest Mock Draft, Jeff Ellis breaks down the players expected to be taken in the first round next week.

First Round

1. Minnesota Twins - Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, Notre Dame HS (CA)

I know everyone and their mother has Wright here. I can see it, but only if Greene’s asking price is super high. The view on the top pick is that, with the money saved, you can get another first round talent or even two later. If Greene’s price is too high, then it might be a three for one, though. Otherwise, Greene is exactly what the Indians and Rangers have targeted in drafts and the Twins are run by guys from the Indians and Rangers. 

2. Cincinnati Reds - Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt 

Quietly, McKay has not been as strong once he got into conference play as a pitcher. The bat has been better, though, and I think that a lot of teams are leaning towards him as a first baseman. I think here the Reds would take Wright, whose arrow is way up. The upside pitcher from the SEC is too much to pass on for a team who has taken quite a few SEC performers early in the draft the last few years. 

3. San Diego Padres - MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS (NC) 

I think if McKay goes in the top two, then the Padres would pop either Greene or Wright in that order. If not, I think Gore, another rising name, would make sense here. The explosiveness of Greene’s arm means there will be whispers about possible injuries. Gore is felt to be safer, though I think this is a silly line of thought. The Padres have been collecting arms, including notable athletic left handed pitchers (Lauer and Morejon), and don’t care about size. Gore checks a lot of boxes and makes a lot of sense for the Padres.   

4. Tampa Bay Rays - Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP, Louisville  

McKay is too good a value here. The only question will be one of position. Baseball is such a hard game that it’s ridiculous to think that anyone could be a two way player. McKay was great in college, but that’s maybe a low A equivalent level at best, more than likely rookie league. I mentioned how Ray has performed better with the bat than as a pitcher over the last month or so, which is why he is sliding.

5. Atlanta Braves - Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic HS (CA)  

I have been told multiple times that they love Lewis. There seems to be a pretty clear top five guys, in terms of these first few picks, and the Braves are likely to sit back and see who is on the board. Lewis is more likely a centerfielder, but I live by the credo you let them show value before you give up on a more valuable position. The Braves have so much talent they can just take high ceiling and see what happens. I don’t think they will go under slot this year.

6. Oakland Athletics - J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina

This one stays unchanged. The A’s focus last year in the draft and trades was acquiring arms. They have no issue with size and have shown a high value when it comes to velocity. I honestly think a 6’4” Bukauskas would be no worse than the second pick in the draft. This pick has not changed in a while and won’t. Shore, Puk, Cotton, Holmes, Jefferies, and Montes feels like a pretty strong pattern. 

7. Arizona Diamondbacks - Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia 

I don’t think anyone has a real strong idea of what will happen at seven. They have been linked mostly with college hitters, so it comes down to the Virginia teammates. I think Smith is higher on most boards and does have the longer track record, even if first base is not as valuable as outfield. I think his best stat this year has been the fact that he has more home runs than strikeouts this year.  I am not sure if he has a future plus skill outside of eye at the plate which, along with position and school, could cause him to slide on draft day. 

8. Philadelphia Phillies - Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia 

The Phillies were heavily linked with college talent before going with Moaniak. They would not take a college player until the fourth round, and even then went to the JUCO ranks. I would lean college with them here over prep, though they have been linked to many prep players. Haseley is the biggest college riser this year. He has gone from a bit of an afterthought to a near lock for a top ten pick. I could also see David Peterson here, who is rightfully rising up boards. They took his Oregon teammate, Cole Irvin, a year ago, and seemed to focus on pitch ability over big time stuff. 

9. Milwaukee Brewers - Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida  

Everyone has Adell here, based on the fact that the Brewers took toolsy outfielders the last two years. My issue with that thought is that both Clark and Ray also projected to have plus hit tools, which Adell does not. I could be wrong, but I think Adell would not be likely here because of the value of on base skills. In addition, I think they as a team would not look to add another outfielder early, after adding two the last two years, plus it's a very deep high school outfielder class. Faedo has seen some rebound in his value. I think if he had been healthy all year, he would be long gone at this point. 

10. Los Angeles Angels - Keston Hiura, 2B/OF, UC Irvine

No team loves to draft designated hitters more than the Angels. I finally found a way to put one to them. It would only be better if Hiura was also a sometimes catcher. I see some disparity in where Hiura is listed, but I have heard him as a player who will not get out of the teens. Yes, he might need surgery and there are questions about his position, but the bat is for real. Hiura, once healthy, should move quickly as an on base guy. He might not have MVP upside, but he is a safe college hitter with a low floor. I think he will be fine in the outfield and would not discount him at second. The bonus here is that he should move quickly and be a player who can help the Angels quickly. 

11. Chicago White Sox - Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt

This is another pick that seems to be very consistent. The White Sox have taken two high school players in round one over the last eleven years and just four total since 2000. If you were curious, they have had 23 first round selections since 2000. In 2012, they took a pair of prep players in the first, Keon Barnum and Courtney Hawkins, who both look like busts. So it is no wonder that they went back to the college route since then. Last year, it felt like the White Sox and myself had strong agreement on many evaluations; if that is the case this year, I could see Burger or Peterson in play here.

12. Pittsburgh Pirates - David Peterson, LHP, Oregon 

This pick stays the same. The Pirates have leaned toward productive college players of late. They do seem to favor size with pitchers as well and it is hard to find one bigger than the 6’6” lefty. Neal Huntington came from Cleveland and, by most analytic measurements, Peterson would grade out extremely well. I have not even touched on his athleticism yet. There have been more prep players here in mocks I have seen, which I think tends to be more about slotting talent than past history.  

13. Miami Marlins - Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX) 

Marlins are still lead by Stan Meek and, while there is not an Oklahoma player to grab here, there is a kid from its neighbor, Texas. Baz fits the mold for the Marlins, as he is a good athlete with high velocity. He has been rumored to be in play as high as eight and this feels like his likely floor. 

14. Kansas City Royals - Jo Adell, OF, Ballard HS (KY) 

Is Adell more Adam Jones or Bubba Starling? That is the question for Kansas City. I have them going with the top prep bat over arms, after the lack of success they have had in terms of developing prep arms. Adell has moved past Beck and would be the highest ceiling prep bat available right here. 

15. Houston Astros - Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad HS (NM)  

The Astros have been linked to a lot of college players and they were last year as well. I remember being told they had a deal in place with Cody Sedlock before last year’s draft. Instead, they did what they typically do and went for upside with Forrest Whitely. I have them doing the same here, as the risk/reward with Rogers is very high. He is, I believe, the oldest prep player in this class, over two years older than Mark Vientos, the youngest prep player. He is raw as well, but lefties with his size, velocity, and athletic ability are hard to come by.  

16. New York Yankees - Griffin Canning, RHP, UCLA

The Yankees are another popular place to mock top prep talent but, historically, they lean college heavy throughout the draft. They have a history with UCLA arms and Canning is likely going in the teens. The Yankees might consider a sliding talent like Beck here, but I will be mocking them a college player throughout the process. Right now, bet on the consensus that there is a starting pitcher drop off, after Canning, among the college pitchers. 

17. Seattle Mariners - Evan White, 1B, Kentucky 

The Mariners taking a prep player would be the most shocking thing that could happen on draft day. White missed some time at the start of the year, due to injury, but has been steadily rising up boards since then. There is some talk that White could move to centerfield. I saw him in person this year and think there is no doubt he could play outfield. 

18. Detroit Tigers - D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA) 

No one knows what the Tigers are doing at all. I have been told they are only in on arms. I have heard they will take an SEC pitcher. I was also told they are looking at all the outfielders as well. The history of the front office is velocity arms and athletic outfielders. Both of those options are on the board right here. I went with Hall because, after Manning and Burrows the last two years, this would give them a chance to add that high ceiling lefty that the system lacks. Hall was, at points, viewed as a top ten pick and would make sense for the Tigers. I think they will go with an arm. The depth of the athletic outfielder class is so high that they can easily find a player in round two or three. I think Clarke Schmidt is still very much in play here as well. If he had not gotten hurt, this would have been his floor. 

19. San Francisco Giants - Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State 

Giants are another conservative team that leans college heavily, with just one prep pick in round one over the last six years. The past few years have seen them spend early picks on Chris Shaw and Heath Quinn, both power bats. In this mock, they have the chance to add the preeminent college power bat in this class. Burger might move to first, but I still think he can handle third. It has been weird seeing that scouting report evolve and change on his defense so much this year.  

20. New York Mets - Nate Pearson, RHP, Central Florida JC

This is a pick that I know has been in a lot of mocks. The Mets are hard to place, as they have gone back and forth between college and prep players as well as pitchers and hitters. Last year, they took a pair of undersized college arms. They had been heavily tied to WIll Craig, but I am sure they were very surprised to see Justin Dunn still there when they picked. Pearson is, physically, about as different from Dunn as one can get. He is a mountain of man, who has been reported to have hit 102 this year. I would not be surprised at all to see him go a lot higher on draft day, as the build and velocity make him a very rare arm. 

21. Baltimore Orioles - Logan Warmoth, SS, North Carolina

The Orioles have leaned college early over the past few drafts. In addition, they tend to take safer college talent or players who would seem safer. Warmoth has performed every year of college. This year, he finally got the deserved respect for his performance, which has seen him rise up boards. He might not be a sexy pick, but an up the middle bat with a potential hit tool is always a huge value.

22. Toronto Blue Jays - Nick Allen, SS, Francis Parker HS (CA) 

Everyone and their mother has the same information about the Cubs loving Nick Allen. Every single mock on the planet, except mine, has Allen at 27. When I got this information, it was specifically mentioned that the Cubs had to take Allen at 27 or the Blue Jays would take him at 28. Now, if you are the Blue Jays, the college class has a few similar arms, so no reason to jump and grab a specific one here. Allen is a love or hate player. If they like Allen enough to take him at 28, then they like him enough to grab him at 22. 

23. Los Angeles Dodgers - Nick Pratto, 1B/OF, Huntington Beach HS (CA) 

Bubba Thompson is a common selection here but, with Pratto still on the board, he would be too good a value to pass on. There is no such thing as local value, but I am sure it would be brought up for this pick. Pratto has seen his stock slide, but is still a likely first rounder. While he might not have the ceiling or athleticism of Thompson, he is safer, due to his stronger hit tool. 

24. Boston Red Sox - Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville (MN)

Dave Dombrowski loves velocity and ceiling. Carlson fits this mold. He would instantly become the top right handed prospect in the Red Sox system, which has been decimated by trades and promotions. Beck or Thompson would also make sense here, as would Ramos, as Dombrowski tends to go with a pitcher or an outfielder. 

25. Washington Nationals - Alex Lange, RHP, LSU

The Nationals are fairly conservative, though they did take Carter Kieboom a year ago, who was the first prep player they had taken in round one since Lucas Giolito. Lange is in the next tier of college arms and I would say he is the safest of the group. He doesn’t have front of the rotation potential, but seems like a good bet to move quickly and be a solid four or five type of arm.  

26. Texas Rangers - Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS (NC) 

I have heard Beck rumored to a dozen spots. One of the bigger rumors of late is that the Athletics are strongly considering him as high as six. Beck has had quite the roller coaster, in terms of his draft value this year. The Rangers like ceiling and I could see Beck or Ramos here as likely picks. Beck represents a potential top ten value; every year, we see someone slide, and the Rangers have the pool money to sign him.

27. Chicago Cubs - Drew Waters, OF, Etowah HS (GA)

I know every mock has Allen here, but I was told they are also very high on Waters and would strongly consider him if Allen was not available with pick 27. Waters is not as toolsy as Ramos, Adell, Thompson, or Beck, but still is a strong athlete who has the best future hit tool of the group. I don’t want to confuse anyone; Waters is a plus athlete, it’s just that the other group of four are the very peak of outfield athletes in this class. 

28. Toronto Blue Jays - Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri

As I mentioned before, there are going to be a few college players to consider with this pick. The Shapiro model, in the past, has always been to go the opposite of the previous pick. Since I have them taking a bat, then I would expect a pitcher here. As conservative as Shapiro has historically been, I would expect a college player as well. Houck fits the recent Indians approach as well, as he is very young for his class. The junior from Missouri won’t turn 21 until after the draft. 

29. Texas Rangers - Matt Sauer, RHP, Ernest Righetti HS (CA)

Sauer to the Rangers has been a pretty consistent mock choice. I think the reason is likely the same people telling us that the Rangers are going to take him. Of course, whenever a pick is this well known, it almost always ends up being smoke. Sauer does make sense, though, as a hard throwing prep player with upside and youth. There is a lot of risk in his raw arm, but the ceiling certainly fits the Texas mold. 

30. Chicago Cubs - Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina 

Schmidt, before the injury, had a floor of 18 in this draft. He could still go there. The Cubs have no concern with height and can take the risk on an injured pitcher who would have gone 10 to 15 spots higher, if healthy. I know I had this pick in the last mock, but the logic stays the same here for me. 

These teams don’t have first rounders, however I am including them, but choosing a different logical pick for each team than I had last mock. 

48. Colorado Rockies - Conner Uselton, OF, Southmoore HS (OK)

Last time, I had a pitcher here, and I have not received a piece of information which has caused me to change it. I have heard nothing on the Rockies since I overheard their scouts, at a game this year, lamenting how they would not get a chance at Adell, after the scout saw him in person. So I figured for this mock I would go with a toolsy outfielder with power potential. The assumption is that, following the picks I have listed, Thompson, Ramos, and Lutz are all off the board as well. 

64. Cleveland Indians - Ryan Vilade, 3B/SS, Stillwater HS

The Indians might look for an arm here and, if they do, a few names to look at, in terms of youth, are Joe Perez, Asa Lacy, Seth Corry, and Shane Drohan. I think there is a very good chance they go prep with both of these early picks, since they pick again at 71. In terms of hitters, Vilade could be there, and checks a lot of boxes for the Indians. He is a current up the middle talent who is young for his class, turning 18 in February. Last year, the Indians took a prep shortstop who turned 18 leading up to the draft, knowing the player would likely shift off short. The Indians also have some history drafting out of Oklahoma as well. 

94. St. Louis Cardinals Seth Corry, LHP, Lone Peak HS

Corry tore his ACL playing football and missed most of 2016. He came back this fall and played defensive back for his team, which made it to the state finals. This athletic ability is a big plus for Corry, who also happens to throw in the low 90’s and has shown potential above average pitches in his change and curve. It is a deep class when one can potentially find a plus athlete, left hander who has the potential for three above average pitches. 

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