2017 MLB Mock Draft: B/R's Final Round 1 Picks
The 2017 MLB amateur draft kicks off Monday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.
If you're wondering what prep or college player your favorite franchise is going to select, you'll just have to wait. No draft is wholly—or even mostly—predictable.
Still, we'll do our best with Bleacher Report's final mock draft and project the first 30 picks, as well as the six supplemental first-rounders, based on scouting, the latest scuttlebutt and a dash of gut feeling.
No. 1: RHP Kyle Wright, Vanderbilt, to the Minnesota Twins
The Twins could go with Hunter Greene, Brendan McKay or even MacKenzie Gore and no one would bat an eye.
The safe bet, however, is Wright, a tall right-hander from a can't-miss program with a strong fastball-curveball combo who projects as a top-of-the-rotation starter.
"Wright has the best combination of upside and probability in the draft class, which is why the expectation is he winds up with Minnesota," said CBS Sports' Mike Axisa, neatly summing up the consensus.
On the other hand, drafts have been known to defy expectations.
No. 2: RHP/SS Hunter Greene, Notre Dame HS (Calif.), to the Cincinnati Reds
A burgeoning two-way star, Hunter Greene has the tools to be an impactful position player but also boasts electric stuff on the mound, including a fastball that can reach 100-plus mph.
If he falls to the Reds at No. 2, the safe money is that Greene plays in the field every day. Then again, any club that picks him could experiment with a hybrid role.
That sounds unbelievable, especially for a 17-year-old kid. But Greene, as Cincinnati.com's Zach Buchanan noted, is "a generational talent."
Greene himself isn't ready to pick a role.
"I think it's too early to give up the bat," he said, per ESPN.com's Keith Law. "I haven't fully matured yet."
A scary thought indeed.
No. 3: SS/OF Royce Lewis, JSerra HS (Calif.), to the San Diego Padres
The Padres could go with Brendan McKay or MacKenzie Gore, and it wouldn't be a shock.
Royce Lewis, however, is a California product with game-changing speed and an enviable hit tool. There are questions about whether he can stick at shortstop or will move to the outfield, but he'd be a solid, relatively local pick for the Friars.
"Royce is the best player I've ever seen, and he's the best player I've ever coached," said JSerra skipper Brett Kay, per Steve Breazeale of the Capistrano Dispatch. "He's just at a different level."
No. 4: 1B/LHP Brendan McKay, Louisville, to the Tampa Bay Rays
There's an argument to be made for Brendan McKay as the best player in the draft, whether he goes as a pitcher or position player.
The latter is more probable, as McKay hit .343 with 17 home runs and a 1.121 OPS for Louisville in 2017. Then again, he posted a 2.34 ERA with 140 strikeouts in 104 innings.
Tampa Bay could theoretically use him both ways, as a pitcher and designated hitter.
That's unlikely, but the fact that it's a consideration shows what a special talent McKay is.
"I don't know if he's the No. 1 college pitcher in the country," said Louisville coach Dan McDonnell, per ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. "Let's just say he's in the top three to five. I don't know if he's the top college hitter in the country. Let's just say he's in the top three to five. So you're getting two players with one pick and one dollar value."
No. 5: LHP MacKenzie Gore, Whiteville HS (N.C.), to the Atlanta Braves
MacKenzie Gore could go in the top three. If he doesn't, look for Atlanta to happily claim him at No. 5.
Gore's velocity climbed into the mid-90s in his senior year, and the athletic lefty complements it with a plus curveball, biting slider and a changeup that could give him four quality offerings. His high leg kick, meanwhile, adds deception to his delivery.
Add it up, and you've got the makings of a front-line starter in the Braves' rich tradition.
No. 6: RHP J.B. Bukauskas, North Carolina, to the Oakland Athletics
The A's like to target pitchers in the first round, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle noted.
Assuming Gore, McKay and Wright are all off the board at No. 6, Oakland could target Bukauskas, who posted a 2.53 ERA and fanned 116 in 92.2 innings for the Tar Heels in 2017.
Bukauskas has drawn comparisons to Sonny Gray, another relatively small-statured righty who has done good things in an Athletics uniform.
No. 7: LF/CF/RF Adam Haseley, Virginia, to the Arizona Diamondbacks
Haseley hit .390 with 14 home runs and 10 stolen bases for Virginia in 2017, displaying the all-around skill set that makes him a virtual top-10 lock.
The lefty swinger can capably man all three outfield spots, though he'll have to prove he has the range to remain in center field.
The Diamondbacks might be hoping for a projected top-five pick such as Gore to fall in their lap. If that doesn't happen, Haseley will be a fine consolation prize.
No. 8: LHP D.L. Hall, Valdosta HS (Ga.), to the Philadelphia Phillies
This would be a high slot for Hall, who could slip to the middle of the first round.
He's among the more intriguing prep pitchers in the draft, however, with a mid-90s fastball and a bat-missing curveball.
Comparisons to Scott Kazmir might be enough to tempt the Phillies with the No. 8 pick, though Philadelphia could be drawn to a more advanced college arm as it seeks to accelerate its rebuild.
No. 9: CF Jordon Adell, Ballard HS (Ky.), to the Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers love outfielders with great tools.
Adell's hitting remains a work in progress, but he has plus speed and a cannon for an arm. As a high school pitcher, he's reportedly touched the high-90s with his fastball.
Assuming his bat comes around, Adell profiles as a capable center fielder with excellent range and a basepath-blazing leadoff hitter in the pros.
No. 10: 1B Pavin Smith, Virginia to the Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels need to restock the upper levels of a woefully thin farm system.
That makes Pavin Smith, a polished college hitter who clubbed 13 homers and struck out just 12 times for Virginia in 2017, an enticing and logical target.
His potential is probably lower than other names on this list, but right now the Halos should go for certainty over ceiling.
No. 11: OF Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt, to the Chicago White Sox
The White Sox can continue the swift, impressive rebuild of their farm system by snagging Kendall, a college standout with five-tool potential who could easily go in the top 10. He's earned comparisons to Jacoby Ellsbury and told SB Nation's Chris Cotillo, "I believe that."
No. 12: OF Austin Beck, North Davidson HS (N.C.), to the Pittsburgh Pirates
If Beck is still available here, his combination of speed and power should be too tantalizing for the Bucs to resist. A knee injury bumped him off some radars in 2016, but the 18-year-old regained his form this season and flashed the tools to be a 30-30 player, best-case scenario.
No. 13: RHP Sam Carlson, Burnsville HS (Minn.), to the Miami Marlins
This would be a reach, as Carlson projects for the latter half of the first round. He's got good stuff, however, including a sinking fastball and plus slider. And it wouldn't be a Marlins move without at least a little head-scratching.
No. 14: 1B Nick Pratto, Huntington Beach HS (Calif.), to the Kansas City Royals
The Royals' championship window is slamming shut and a rebuild seems inevitable. Enter Pratto, an 18-year-old prep stud with an impressive hit tool, plus defense at first base and emerging power.
No. 15: RHP Alex Faedo, Florida, to the Houston Astros
Faedo posted his best ERA (2.70) in three seasons at Florida while striking out 123 in 103.1 innings in 2017. The Gators standout could easily go in the top 10, though ESPN.com's Law has him falling to No. 22, so he could certainly be available for Houston to nab here.
No. 16: 1B Evan White, Kentucky, to the New York Yankees
A line-drive hitter with good command of the strike zone, White is an excellent defensive first baseman who has also logged innings at the corner outfield spots. His power remains a work in progress, but he'd be a fine addition to a loaded Yankees system.
No. 17: RHP Shane Baz, Concordia Lutheran HS (Texas), to the Seattle Mariners
Like the Mets, the Mariners rotation has been hit hard by injuries. The 17-year-old Baz is a long way from helping at the MLB level, but he's got a sinking mid-90s fastball and a cutter, curveball and changeup that all have the potential to be plus offerings. He may not be around at No. 17. If he is, the M's shouldn't hesitate.
No. 18: LHP Trevor Rogers, Carlsbad HS (N.M.), to the Detroit Tigers
Rogers doesn't punish radar guns, but his fastball "plays up because of his long arms, deception and very good command of the pitch," per MLB.com's scouting report. He'll turn 20 in November, which makes him old for a prep player. It also puts him potentially closer to the big leagues, a plus for a thin Tigers farm system.
No. 19: SS Logan Warmoth, North Carolina, to the San Francisco Giants
The Giants have a knack for developing infielders and have taken a college player with eight of their last 11 first-round picks. That makes Warmoth, who hit .336 with a .958 OPS for the Tar Heels this season, a very San Francisco selection.
No. 20: RHP Griffin Canning, UCLA, to the New York Mets
With the injuries and inconsistencies that have beset their once-vaunted starting rotation, look for the Mets to take an arm in the first round. The hard-throwing Canning, who posted a 2.34 ERA for the Bruins in 2017 and possesses a plus changeup, would be a solid get here if he's available.
No. 21: LHP David Peterson, Oregon, to the Baltimore Orioles
The O's always need pitching. Despite some command issues and the lack of a plus third offering after his fastball-slider combo, the 6'6" Peterson has the build, stuff and durability to profile as a mid-rotation starter or lefty reliever.
No. 22: OF Bubba Thompson, McGill-Toolen HS (Ala.), to the Toronto Blue Jays
A star quarterback in high school, Thompson has the arm strength and speed to remain in center field. He also has projectable power that could translate to double-digit home run totals in the pros. Toronto could opt for the high-ceiling prep position player here.
No. 23: 3B Jake Burger, Missouri State, to the Los Angeles Dodgers
Burger batted .328 with 22 home runs and a 1.110 OPS this season at Missouri State, suggesting the kind of power that could keep him at third base even if his defense needs work. The Dodgers could select him as Justin Turner's heir.
No. 24: INF/OF Keston Hiura, UC Irvine, to the Boston Red Sox
Keston Hiura crushed it in 2017, slashing .442/.567/.693. The only reason the 21-year-old may slide this low to Boston is an elbow injury that could require surgery, per ESPN.com's Keith Law.
No. 25: LHP Seth Romero, no team, to the Washington Nationals
Yeah, that "no team" note up there is a red flag. Romero was suspended by the University of Houston in April for violating school policy and subsequently got kicked off the team. Still, he's got a live arm, a plus slider and an emerging changeup that combine to give him top-10 potential. If the Nats think they can iron out the character issues, he could be a steal at No. 25.
No. 26: RHP Tanner Houck, Missouri, to the Texas Rangers
Some concerns over durability and polish could push Houck to the back end of the first round. If so, look for Texas to scoop up the Missouri right-hander, who boasts a fastball with movement that can reach the high 90s.
No. 27: RHP Hans Crouse, Dana Hills HS (Calif.), to the Chicago Cubs
Speaking of intriguing power arms, Crouse's fastball reportedly reached 100 mph in his senior year. He's also got a big personality.
"He jumps over foul lines. He reads inspirational verses from the inside lining of his hat. He points to the heavens, yells at umps, shouts obscenities at himself, shimmies in the middle of his delivery," noted Keith Sharon of the Orange County Register.
Sounds like a guy eccentric Cubs manager Joe Maddon could get next to.
No. 28: RHP Nate Pearson, Central Florida JC, to the Toronto Blue Jays
Pearson battled elbow issues in high school and could be a reach for the first round. With a fastball that's been clocked in the triple digits, however, he's the type of high-reward player who often climbs the board.
No. 29: OF Tristen Lutz, Martin HS (Texas), to the Texas Rangers
A big right-handed swinger with plus pitch recognition and notable power, Lutz lacks the speed to stick as a center fielder in the pros but has the arm to capably man left or right field. Add his status as a Lone Star State product, and this makes sense for the Rangers.
No. 30: SS Nick Allen, Francis Parker School (Calif.), to the Chicago Cubs
A diminutive (5'8") middle infielder with speed, solid range and excellent defensive instincts, Allen has drawn comparisons to Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, including from MLB.com's scouting report. His size and lack of power might make him a stretch at No. 30, but there's enough to like for the Cubs to snag him here.
Supplemental First Round: Nos. 31-36
No. 31: SS Jeter Downs, Monsignor Pace HS (Fla.), to the Tampa Bay Rays
A shortstop named Jeter landing on an American League East team? It makes too much sense. In all seriousness, Downs' combination of speed, defensive range and gap power could easily vault him into the first round.
No. 32: OF Stuart Fairchild, Wake Forest, to the Cincinnati Reds
After taking a potential-laden prep stud with their first pick, the Reds could opt for a safer, lower-ceiling college bat here. With solid speed, pop and on-base abilities, Fairchild fits the bill.
No. 33: RHP Alex Lange, Louisiana State, to the Oakland Athletics
Lange paced the SEC in strikeouts with a fastball that sits in the low 90s and a power curveball that LSU coach Paul Mainieri called "the best curveball in the country," per Jim Kleinpeter of the Times-Picayune. He doesn't have the No. 1 starter profile to go early in the first round, but he'd be a high-value supplemental pick for Oakland here.
No. 34: OF Drew Waters, Etowah HS (Ga.), to the Milwaukee Brewers
Remember what we said about the Brewers and outfielders with great tools? Well, here's another one. Switch-hitting Waters fits the bill with plus speed, a strong arm and projectable pop out of the leadoff spot.
No. 35: 1B Brent Rooker, Mississippi State, to the Minnesota Twins
Rooker turned 22 in November, making him a little long in the tooth for a college pick. He won SEC Player of the Year honors, however, and led NCAA's Division I with 30 doubles and a 1.318 OPS, which should be enough to slip into the first round.
No. 36: OF Heliot Ramos, Leadership Christian Academy (P.R.), to the Miami Marlins
There's a decent chance Ramos could go earlier than this. His speed and raw power make him a potential mid-first-round pick, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis. If he slips this far, look for the Fish to snatch him up.