2017 MLB Draft: Competitive Balance Round A

In the first installment of his Competitive Balance analysis, Jeff Ellis breaks down the players selected in Round A of this evening's draft.

31. Tampa Bay Rays: RHP Drew Rasmussen, Oregon State

This was kind of a surprise, as Rasmussen has not pitched much this year and is an undersized righty. I think if he had been healthy all year, he likely would have gone sooner. At this point, there was a lot of debate about who the top college pitcher would be and, to the Rays, it seemed to be Rasmussen. I think he was a bit underrated in the process, and Tampa seemed to agree. 

32. Cincinnati Reds: SS Jeter Downs, Monsignor Edward Pace (Fla.) HS

I had the Reds taking a shortstop early, as it is a weakness in system. In addition, as an organization, they love athletes and there are a lot of athletic shortstops that would slot in around where they were picking. Jeter Downs looks like a sure shortstop who can do a little bit over everything, but nothing plus. Not the guy I would have expected for the Reds, but no issue with the pick.  

33. Oakland Athletics:  SS Kevin Merrell, University of South Florida

This pick was a bit of a surprise, as I thought Merrell was more a mid second round talent. He was announced as a shortstop and, if he can stick there, then this would be a steal. The hit tool looks like an average tool, to go along with legitimate plus plus speed. It's a 75 grade tool. The A’s have gone with guys who can run early. 

34. Milwaukee Brewers: OF Tristen Lutz, James Martin Senior (Texas) HS

Lutz was mocked in the competitive balance round throughout the draft. He was connected to the Brewers as well. He is a big, strong kid with right handed power potential, who was moving up boards solidly over the last month.  

35. Minnesota Twins: OF Brent Rooker, Mississippi State University

Rooker is basically a senior who should be a player they can sign under slot here. The Twins seem committed with their top two picks to saving as much money as possible to spend later. Rooker dominated the SEC, and is well on his way to winning the SEC Triple Crown. He was a force of nature all year, so the Twins save some cash and roll the dice on a highly productive player. 

36. Miami Marlins:  OF Brian Miller, University of North Carolina

Miller has gone from a walk on to a first round pick. I thought he was more of a fourth outfielder type. There is speed here and a potential on base centerfielder. I don’t think he will ever hit for even average power. He has a chance to be a league average centerfielder. 


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