The 2017 MLB Draft is in the books and after all the fanfare, it was an ok draft. There isn’t a transformational player like Bryce Harper or Kris Bryant in the draft, but instead there are a number of players, particularly at the top that could become solid major leaguers, with some of them having all-star potential.
While I have yet to see all of these players, for those of you with early Dynasty League drafts, this could be a good cheat sheet for how I would set my early preference list.
Hunter Greene (CIN, RHP) – Taken number two overall by the Reds. Greene is the most talented player in the draft. He can hit triple-digits on the mound with an incredibly easy delivery but is also a fine shortstop prospect. From all accounts, the Reds will develop him as a pitcher but if he blows out his arm, a fallback as a positional player is not bad. The worry of course is that he will in fact blow out his arm as history has not been kind to teenagers who throw with that velocity. Finally, if you didn’t see the family expose created by the MLB Network on Greene, it’s a must watch. If it’s even half accurate, the makeup and character are off-the-charts.
Kyle Wright (ATL, RHP) – Taken number five overall by the Braves. Great value pick for the Braves. Wright was my top college pitcher on the board with his combination of stuff, size and present pitchability. He’s so advanced that he could see the big leagues as early as 2018 but with a 2019 ETA more likely.
Royce Lewis (MIN, SS) – Taken number one overall by the Twins. It’s hard to get excited about a Twins pick. I would have taken Hunter Greene but instead they decided to go with one of the best athletic bats in the draft in Royce Lewis. He’s been comp’d to Byron Buxton-lite but with potentially a better hit-tool. I’m not sure what that means, but that’s what I was told.
Brendan McKay (TB, 1B/LHP) – Taken number four by the Rays. McKay is the most interesting pick of the draft. He was announced as a first baseman on draft night but he’ll likely both pitch and play first in the minors. If it works, he’ll break not only the major league salary structure but the fantasy world. Should you get collect stats at first base or pitcher? I would argue…both.
MacKenzie Gore (SD, LHP) – Gore will be best known early in his career as the guy with the funny leg kick. But, he’s extremely athletic, and you have to be with that crazy delivery, with a fastball that he can run up to the mid-90’s with great secondary pitches. He could move quickly through the system and challenge for a job in 2020.
Pavin Smith (ARI, 1B) – Taken number seven by the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks went very safe with their first pick with the high floor, lower-ceiling of Pavin Smith. He can really hit, rarely strikes out, but scouts are mixed about his power potential.
Keston Hiura (MIL, 2B) – Taken number nine by the Brewers. Arguably Hiura had the best hit-tool in the draft. The problem is that he likely needs TJ Surgery and could miss considerably playing time early in his career. However, assuming he comes back healthy, he could be one of the big steals of the draft.
Jake Burger (CHW, OF) – Taken number eleven by the White Sox. Burger has big raw power with the ability to make enough contact to get to the power. While he played third base in college, the White Sox will likely move him to left field or possibly to first.
Adam Haseley (PHI, OF) – Taken number eight by the Phillies. Haseley is a very athletic player who took a major step forward in 2017 at Virginia were he hit 14 home runs and walked twice as much as he struck out. While he only stole 10 bases, he’s a plus runner so the combination could play very well in fantasy.
Austin Beck (OAK, OF) – Taken number six by the Athletics. Beck is a tooled-up high schooler who is a plus runner with great bat speed. The big question will he be able to hit enough. While you can say that about most players taken in the draft, Beck has the athleticism that should set him apart.
D.L. Hall (BAL, LHP) – Taken at number 21 by the Orioles. Hall has really good stuff and somehow dropped to the Orioles at 21. I do recognize the poor history the Orioles have had with developing pitchers, so there is clearly concern. But the combination of stuff and left-handiness is pretty interesting.
David Peterson (NYM, LHP) – Taken at number 20 by the Mets. I’ll say it again – invest in Mets pitchers. While Peterson doesn’t have the power arsenal of many others taken in the first round, he’s an extreme ground ball pitcher with plus control. He could move very quickly through the system with a Dallas Keuchel type of ceiling. But remember, there’s a fine line between Keuchel being great and being bad…see 2015 to 2016 to 2017.
Three others…sleeper if you will.
Evan White (SEA, 1B) – Very athletic, premium hit tool and a plus defender at first. The concern is the power. If it sounds like Dominic Smith, you are thinking along the same lines I am.
Logan Warmoth (TOR, 2B) – Had an excellent junior season at North Carolina by posting a .958 OPS with 10 home runs and 18 stolen bases. While he struck out 47 times in 63 games, he really barrels the ball and I believe he could become a solid regular contributor at the big league level.
Jordan Adell (LAA, OF) – While he went 10th overall to the Angels, Adell will be a project. He’s a premium athlete who’s a double-plus runner with plus raw power. However, he’s sushi raw and will need a lot of work.