2017 MLB Draft: Round 1 16-30

In the second installment of his First Round analysis, Jeff Ellis breaks down the players taken in picks 16-30 in this evening's draft.

16. New York Yankees Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina

This pick might be the most surprising one in the draft. I like Schmidt a lot but, with injuries, I thought he might slide. I think he is a three or four starter. This pick showed me that the Yankees realized that Schmidt was unlikely to pitch much this year, anyways, and will be ready to go by next year. I was one of the bigger Schmidt fans, but even I thought this was a bit of an overdraft.

17. Seattle Mariners Evan White, 1B, Kentucky

White’s athleticism is what moved him up boards. He showed more power this year, but I think it is close to an average tool. I was not as solid, as the profile is an above average regular, but not a plus profile. If he can play centerfield, I would change this evaluation. I just think he is more likely to play first or a corner outfield spot and, in either spot, his average pop is not going to serve him well. I see more of an on base percentage bat than the traditional power first baseman or corner outfielder. 

18. Detroit Tigers Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida

This is my favorite pick in the first round. Faedo has one of the best sliders in this class, second only to Bukauskas. His fastball is another potential pitch and, a year ago, he looked like a 1-1 talent for this draft. He needed surgery on both of his knees late in 2016 and it took him awhile to get his velocity back to where it was before. Faedo is going to be the steal of the draft. His most recent start was electric for Florida and showed the player I expected him to be at the start of the year.

19. San Francisco Giants Heliot Ramos, OF, Martinez  HS (PR)

Ramos is a player who was a bit polarizing. There are so many tools, and youth on his side, but I was unsure on the hit tool. I thought he was more of a player in the 30’s, in terms of upside. I have some concern with the hit tool, but think his power is above average; if everything goes right, there is early Puig level ceiling for Ramos.

20. New York Mets David Peterson, LHP, Oregon

Peterson made huge strides this year with the new coaching staff at Oregon. He had some of the best strikeout and walk totals in college baseball this year. His mechanics were clean and repeatable all year. I see an innings eater starter who is likely to get a lot of strikes, as his command of his pitches allows him to paint corners and freeze batters. 

21 Baltimore Orioles DL Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA)

Another strong value pick, Hall instantly becomes the top prospect in their system, though. He has number two overall upside as a starter. He was the number four prep arm in this draft,  to me. There were points where he had top ten overall talk. The Orioles have been conservative, traditionally, in the draft, but, right here, they took the top prep talent on the board.


22 Toronto Blue Jays Logan Warmoth, SS, UNC

Warmoth has been a top player at UNC from the minute he arrived. He looks like an up the middle talent with a potential plus hit tool. He was the top college bat left on the board and after him was a significant drop off, in terms of value, so the Blue Jays got the last player from the first tier of college bats. I also thought he was a top 20 talent, so this is a good value pick.

23. Los Angeles Dodgers Jeren Kendall. OF, Vanderbilt   

I am shocked that the Dodgers took a sliding Vanderbilt talent. They only did the same thing with Jordan Sheffield last year and with Walker Buehler in 2015. This marks the third straight year they have taken a Vandy player late in round one who was projected to go much higher. Kendall has tools as good as any college player in this class. The issue is that his hit tool and eye at the plate are both below average tools. If everything works out, he could be one of the steals of this draft.

24. Boston Red Sox Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri 

Houck had a lot of fans this year, but struggled in terms of secondary pitches and overall performance. When I saw him, he was almost entirely a one pitch pitcher. His third pitch needs work, as does his second pitch. In the end, he is young and a good athlete so, if the Red Sox think they can straighten him out, then this pick could be a great value. He was a possible top ten pick to start the year, so  the Sox might think this is a great value.

25. Washington Nationals Seth Romero, LHP, No Team

I did not include Romero in my top 101. He was kicked off his college team for a fight with a teammate. This was after a suspension for being pictured using drugs in his uniform and after being suspended the year before for conditioning issues. It is so hard to be a major league player. It takes a ton of work to get there and Romero has so many issues that I doubt his ability to get there. He would have been a top ten prospect without the issues, so it's a massive role of the dice. 

26. Texas Rangers Bubba Thompson, OF, McGill-Toolen HS (AL)

Thompson is an athlete, but he has made a lot of growth this year, in terms of his hit tool and overall baseball skills. He was the top prep talent on the board to most here. It was a bit surprising to see the Rangers take a player who was already 19 but, in this case, the talent overrode the age for Thompson. I thought he would be gone by this point. He was a strong value here.

27. Chicago Cubs Brendon Little, LHP, State JC of Florida Manatee-Sarasota

I had Little going to the Cubs in my first mock, and the combination of pitches, left handedness, and velocity are what made him such a special talent. I just worry about his control and think he has a chance to end up in the pen. The Cubs have multiple picks, which made it easier to roll the dice on an upside pick like Little right here.

28 Toronto Blue Jays Nate Pearson, RHP, College of Central Florida

Pearson makes it back to back JUCO guys at the end of round one. Pearson has hit 102 and I thought he was the number one JUCO player this year. He needs to work on secondary offerings, but the upside in a player with his size and velocity was too good to pass on here. This was about the right place for him. The Blue Jays having two first round picks gave them the ability to take a risk on Pearson who, worst case, should be a great reliever down the road.

29. Texas Rangers Christopher Seise, SS, West Orange HS (FL)

Sesie was a name on the rise throughout the workouts this year. The shortstop has been very impressive in individual workouts over the past few weeks. After it seemed like Nick Allen was the number one prep shortstop throughout the year, Seise jumped up and grabbed the spot. There are a lot of tools here and some people think he could bring above average power to the shortstop position.

30 Chicago Cubs Alex Lange, RHP, LSU

Lange is another pitcher who had top ten talk at times. After taking the risk with Little earlier, they grab one of the safer arms in the draft with Lange. He might not have the highest ceiling, but he is a near finished arm who should be able to move quickly and become an innings eating back end starter. 

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