2017 MLB Draft: Round 2 Part 2

In the second installment of his Round Two analysis, Jeff Ellis breaks down the players selected from picks 54-67 of this evening's draft.

54. New York Yankees:  Matt Sauer,  RHP Ernest Righetti (CA)

I would give this pick a higher grade than the Yankees first rounder. Now, there is a chance they took Schmidt with the intention to save some money and come back and get Sauer. I had been told Sauer did not have a huge demand going into the draft, though. Sauer was a borderline first round talent who the Yankees landed in the second half of round two; that's a win, no matter what.

55. Seattle Mariners:   Sam Carlson, RHP Burnsville (MN) 

This was the best pick of round two. I thought Carlson was a top 20 talent in this draft and somehow Seattle got him at 55. I think he has number two or three potential down the road. He really came on strong and all of his stuff played up once the Minnesota weather cleared up this spring. I really thought he was going to be just the fourth Minnesota prep prospect to go in round one. Seattle got a steal here and I would rate Carlson higher than White, in terms of draft value. 

56. Houston Astros:  Corbin Martin, RHP Texas A&M 

I had Martin to the Yankees, so right around this range. He marks the second arm the Astros have taken who could conceivably help them this year. Martin’s control numbers took a big jump this year, which made him a legitimate possible starter. I would give him every chance to start, knowing that his experience in the pen gives him a solid floor. 

57. Detroit Tigers:   Reynaldo Rivera, OF Chipola College

Here is the second player taken in this draft who did not make my top 101. Rivera was drafted a year ago, by the Cubs, in the 24th round, so going back to school paid off for him. Riviera is huge, at 6’6” and 250 pounds. While he was announced as an outfielder, with those measurables it is hard to see him as anything other than a first baseman. He turns 20 this week, and put up some crazy numbers in the JUCO ranks, so there are reasons why he went this early. Still, it was a surprise to pretty much everyone when the Tigers announced this pick. 

58. San Francisco Giants:   Jacob Gonzalez, 3B Chaparral (AZ) 

Another surprise pick but, then again, when it comes to the Giants, nothing should be a surprise. I mocked them Burger for awhile, as the Giants seemed to be focused on adding power bats the last few years in the draft. They continued this trend with Ramos and Gonzalez in round two. The son of Luis Gonzalez, his best tool is his right handed power. He is a solidly built 6’4” and 250 pounds so, while he was announced as a third baseman, I think his long term position is third base. 

59. New York Mets:    Mark Vientos, 3B American Heritage School (FL)

This was one of my top five favorite picks in round two. I have been high on Vientos for awhile and thought his performance, relative to his age, should have been enough to make him an early second round pick. He was a highly polarizing player, but the Mets got a great value, high ceiling player. Often, I have found when we look back at a player and wonder why they were undrafted, it turns out they were young for the class. Vientos is the youngest player in this class.

60. Baltimore Orioles:   Adam Hall, SS A.B. Lucas SS (CN)

I moved Hall up in my last ranking, to the early 60’s in my last big board. The Orioles continue to crush this draft, taking Hall here. I thought he was a very underrated player who had all the tools to turn into a special shortstop. He is going to take some time, but that is fine, as he is one of the younger players in this class. His physical tools were as good as any shortstop not named Hunter Greene in this class. There are concerns, in terms of rawness, but the ceiling here is a possible five tool shortstop.

61. Toronto Blue Jays:   Hagen Danner, C Huntington Beach (CA)

I had heard, leading up to the draft, that Danner was one of the three players committed to UCLA who would likely be making it to college. Then word came late that he might be more interested in signing. I had Danner as a catcher throughout the process. I thought he had a higher ceiling there than at pitcher. In the end, Toronto seemed to agree with this assessment.


62. Los Angeles Dodgers:   Morgan Cooper, RHP University of Texas

I was not as big of a Cooper fan as others, having him as a late third rounder. Now, I will be the first to admit I don’t spend a ton of time on the Big 12. They are a little better than the Big Ten but, in general, several smaller conferences have better programs anymore. I should like Cooper more, with a strikeout rate over 11 and a walk rate under four. I think a lot of my issue came from the two starts I watched, which were two of his worst of the year. I didn’t see a plus pitch in those games and thought he was more of a backend guy or reliever. 

63. Boston Red Sox:   Coleman Brannen, OF Westfield School (GA)

This pick made too much sense when it was made. Dombrowski took a pitcher who has shown big velocity in the past in round one, so of course he came back with a toolsy outfielder here.  I thought Brannen would be gone in the top 60 picks, as I said on the radio, so I was close. He is a sure centerfielder with 75 grade speed, maybe 80. I think he could end up with average power as well, as his bat speed is good, but not great. It's an offensive profile of 5’s across the board, with that 75 and 60 defense.

64. Cleveland Indians:  Quentin Holmes, OF Monsignor McClancy Memorial (NY) 

Quentin Holmes is a player I considered mocking to the Indians a few times. He fit the profile, as a cold weather player who is 17 on draft day. His best tool is his speed; as a matter of fact, it is the top tool in this entire class. It's a legit 80 grade weapon. His 6.15 speed in the 40 is the fastest time in the PG system all time. He is faster than Billy Hamilton. I am not sold on his arm, so he is likely a left fielder or centerfielder. With his speed, he should be a plus defender. The hit tool is, at best, an average tool and I think the power will be a grade below average. He was taken because of his speed and youth. I would pay to see Holmes, Isaacs, and G Mejia run a series of foot races. As of now, I might not slot him into the top ten prospects for the Indians, as I am not sold on the profile, in terms of offensive production. At the same time you never know when a kid who is this young will take a leap. 

65. Washington Nationals:  Wil Crowe, RHP University of South Carolina

Earlier in the year, it looked like Crowe could be a potential first rounder. The deck was always a bit stacked against him, as he is basically a senior already and has his injury history. He has that high velocity sinker and size which I thought would push him up boards, but his rate data regressed a bit after really great numbers at the start of the year. After taking the big risk on Romero, Crowe was a lesser risk here. Unless he has another issue, he should be a solid back end guy who pitches a lot of innings. He is likely a top ten prospect, already, in the Nationals system. 

66. Texas Rangers:  Hans Crouse, RHP Dana Hills (CA) 

This fits the Rangers approach, taking a guy with a high ceiling, but since he turns 19 this summer, I was a bit surprised to see him here. I was not a big fan of Crouse, as I saw a one pitch guy with a lot of effort in his delivery. I know most disagree with me and had him among the top 30 or 40 players in this draft. This pick ended up being the middle ground between what I projected and what most other sites did, in terms of his value.

67. Chicago Cubs:  Cory Abbott, RHP Loyola Marymount University

This was another surprising pick, but fits the Cubs, for a lot of reasons. The first is that I don’t see any way that this is not a below slot pick. Abbott had great numbers, but it’s not often where the number two pitcher from Loyola Marymount goes in round two. On top of that, Abbott is a 6’ even, right handed pitcher who turns 22 this summer. The Cubs have no issue with smaller pitchers, but Abbott lacks height along with having average velocity. His rate data is fantastic, but he also faced a level of competition way below that of most other players drafted. He is very likely a future reliever, where his fastball/slider could play up and make him a useful pen arm down the road. 

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