2017 MLB Mock Draft with 2 Weeks Remaining

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2017

2017 MLB Mock Draft with 2 Weeks Remaining

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The 2017 MLB draft will begin on June 12 with 1,215 total players set to be selected over the course of the three-day event.

    On the collegiate side of things, this year's class is headlined by Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright, Louisville two-way star Brendan McKay, North Carolina right-hander J.B. Bukauskas and Virginia teammates Pavin Smith and Adam Haseley.

    The high school ranks offer plenty of intriguing as well, starting with flame-throwing Hunter Greene. Left-hander MacKenzie Gore, shortstop Royce Lewis and toolsy outfielder Jo Adell also figure to hear their names called early in the first round.

    So with roughly two weeks to go before the draft gets underway, ahead is Bleacher Report's first official mock draft.

1. Minnesota Twins: Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt

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    DOB: Oct. 2, 1995 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 220 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Previously Drafted: Never

           

    Scouting Report

    Kyle Wright checks all the boxes a team looks for when picking first overall.

    He's a standout collegiate performer with an advanced four-pitch mix, easy mechanics and remaining projectability in a 6'4" frame that has already tacked on 40 pounds of muscle since he walked on campus at Vanderbilt.

    His fastball now tops out at 97 and he backs it with a curveball that keeps lefties off balance, a hard slider that serves as his strikeout pitch against righties and a passable changeup.

    If he can take another step forward with his command, the Minnesota Twins could have another ace-caliber arm to pair with Jose Berrios atop the future rotation.

2. Cincinnati Reds: Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS (Calif.)

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    DOB: Aug. 6, 1999 (17 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 195 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Commitment: UCLA

         

    Scouting Report

    Some scouts view Hunter Greene as a generational talent, and there's little question the hyped California high school standout has the highest ceiling in this year's class.

    As a shortstop, Greene has legitimate five-tool potential and he'd likely be a first-round pick as a position player.

    His future is on the mound, though, where his fastball consistently sits in the 95-98 mph range and has been clocked as high as 102 this spring. His secondary stuff—a hard slider and a seldom-used changeup that has shown flashes—needs further development, but both pitches have a chance to be plus offerings.

    His athleticism serves him well on the mound, where he displays advanced command for a prep arm, and he has very little effort in his delivery, especially considering his elite velocity.

    No high school right-hander has ever gone No. 1 overall, and the Cincinnati Reds would be thrilled to see that trend continue.

3. San Diego Padres: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS (N.C.)

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    DOB: Feb. 24, 1999 (18 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 180 lbs

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Commitment: East Carolina

         

    Scouting Report

    MacKenzie Gore has seen his stock climb as much any prep player in the nation this spring and that came on the heels of a nearly perfect junior season (83.1 IP, 1 ER, 174 K) at Whiteville High School.

    After sitting in the 89-92 range with his fastball and topping out at 94 last season, he's seen his stuff improve across the board, consistently working in the mid-90s and showing the ability to maintain that velocity late into games.

    Equally impressive is his curveball, which is among the best in the class and a true plus secondary offering. He also throws a slider and changeupboth of which flash plusgiving him a legitimate four-pitch mix.

    While Gore might not have quite as high of a ceiling as Greene, he's the more polished prospect of the two and has legitimate top-of-the-rotation upside in his own right.

4. Tampa Bay Rays: Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP, Louisville

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    DOB: Dec. 18, 1995 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 212 lbs

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Previously Drafted: 2014 (34th round, SD)

         

    Scouting Report

    Brendan McKay is the best two-way player in the country and perhaps the best that college baseball has seen since John Olerud starred at Washington State in 1988.

    As a first baseman, he's hit .363/.481/.705 with 17 home runs and 52 RBI this spring while drawing more walks (42) than strikeouts (33).

    He has the hit tool and strike-zone recognition to be a perennial .300 hitter with 20-plus home run power.

    On the mound, he's gone 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 124 strikeouts in 91 innings of work over 14 starts.

    While he lacks elite velocity with a fastball that generally sits in the low 90s, his stuff plays up thanks to his advanced command, a terrific curveball and a solid changeup.

    It's still unclear whether his future is on the mound or as an everyday player, but he's a legitimate top-five talent either way and it's tough to envision a scenario where he slips beyond No. 4 overall.

5. Atlanta Braves: Adam Haseley, CF, Virginia

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    DOB: April 12, 1996 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 185 lbs

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Previously Drafted: Never

           

    Scouting Report

    By reaching for prep right-hander Ian Anderson at No. 3 overall and signing him for more than $2.5 million below slot value, the Atlanta Braves were able to sign a handful of othersincluding second-rounder Kyle Mullerto above-slot deals last June.

    Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley could be the target this time around if they opt for a similar approach.

    A standout two-way player last season, he hit .304 with 31 extra-base hits and an .879 OPS while also going 9-3 with a 1.73 ERA over 78 innings on the mound.

    While he's been a key piece of the rotation once again, his future is in the outfield and his offensive game has taken off this spring. He's hitting .399/.496/.676 with 15 doubles, 14 home runs and more than twice as many walks (41) as strikeouts (20).

    Turning his full attention to hitting could potentially unlock even more offensive potential.

    In a thin class for college bats, he's arguably passed Vanderbilt's Jeren Kendall as the top collegiate outfielder on the board.

6. Oakland Athletics: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina

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    DOB: Oct. 11, 1996 (20 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 195 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Previously Drafted: 2014 (20th round, ARI)

         

    Scouting Report

    The Oakland Athletics selecting North Carolina right-hander J.B. Bukauskas has been one of the more popular rumors in early mock drafts.

    "Oakland has spent so much time scouting North Carolina that other teams believe it's a foregone conclusion that they'll take (MacKenzie) Gore, (J.B.) Bukauskas or (Austin) Beck," wrote Jim Callis of MLB.com.

    The biggest knock on Bukauskas is that he's a bit undersized at 6'0" and 195 pounds, but that didn't scare Oakland away from drafting 5'10" Sonny Gray and that's worked out pretty well.

    Electric stuff makes the physical shortcomings that much easier to overlook, as he boasts a heavy mid-90s fastball and a lethal slider that might be the best breaking pitch in the class.

    After punching out 111 hitters in 78.1 innings as a sophomore, Bukauskas has gone 8-0 with a 1.87 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 106 strikeouts in 82 innings to solidify his place as one of the nation's top arms.

    If not for a strong commitment to UNC, he might have been a first-round pick out of high school. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 33 prospect in the 2014 class.

7. Arizona Diamondbacks: Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic HS (Calif.)

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    DOB: June 5, 1999 (17 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 185 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Commitment: UC Irvine

         

    Scouting Report

    Royce Lewis remains the consensus top prep position player in this year's draft, despite a late charge from toolsy Kentucky outfielder Jo Adell.

    In this scenario, he's still on the board for the Arizona Diamondbacks at No. 7 overall and it's hard to see him slipping any further than this.

    In fact, some don't expect him to get past the Braves at No. 5.

    While speed is his best present tool, he has a chance to grade out as a legitimate five-tool talent depending on the further development of his raw power and where he eventually lands defensively.

    He'll be given every chance to stick at shortstop, where he has the quick-twitch athleticism, but may be lacking a bit in the arm department. If he does wind up shifting to the outfield, his speed should allow him to become a plus defender there as well.

8. Philadelphia Phillies: Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia

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    DOB: Feb. 6, 1996 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 210 lbs

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Previously Drafted: 2014 (32nd round, COL)

          

    Scouting Report

    It speaks to what a polished offensive player Virginia slugger Pavin Smith is that a college bat with a first-base-only defensive profile appears to be a consensus top-10 selection.

    The 21-year-old should move as quickly as any hitter in this year's class, and for a Philadelphia Phillies team that is getting closer to making that climb back toward contention, that figures to be an attractive quality.

    Smith is hitting .346/.429/.571 on the year with 11 doubles, 12 home runs and 72 RBI, and his in-game power has steadily improved during his three years on campus.

    Even more impressive than his counting numbers is the fact that he's struck out just nine times in 261 plate appearances while also walking at a healthy 13.8 percent clip.

    As long as his power continues to develop, he has a chance to develop into a prototypical middle-of-the-order threat.

9. Milwaukee Brewers: Jo Adell, CF, Ballard HS (Ky.)

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    DOB: April 8, 1999 (18 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 195 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Commitment: Louisville

           

    Scouting Report

    The Milwaukee Brewers have regularly targeted toolsy prep players in the early rounds and that's made Kentucky high schooler Jo Adell a popular mock draft target for them.

    "Adell has the best all-around tools in the 2017 draft," wrote MLB.com.

    While it's his speed that clearly stands out at the moment, there's also plenty of power potential in his 6'2", 195-pound frame and he has the defensive chops to be a standout center fielder.

    It all comes down to his hit tool and whether he'll make enough consistent contact to tap into that blazing speed and justify an everyday spot in the outfield.

    Let the Billy Hamilton comparisons begin.

10. Los Angeles Angels: Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida

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    DOB: Nov. 12, 1995 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 225 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Previously Drafted: 2014 (40th round, DET)

           

    Scouting Report

    The Los Angeles Angels have far and away the worst farm system in baseball and they simply can't afford to miss with the No. 10 overall selection.

    With that in mind, a college player seems like the most likely target here, and they'd jump at the chance to take either of the Virginia hitters (Haseley and Smith) if they're still on the board.

    They're not in this scenario, leaving them to pick from the likes of Vanderbilt outfielder Jeren Kendall, Florida right-hander Alex Faedo and UCLA right-hander Griffin Canning.

    After going with a college bat in the first round last year (Matt Thaiss), they go with pitching this time around and take Faedowho entered the spring in the mix to go "one-one" (as in Round 1, Pick 1).

    Minor knee surgery last offseason led to a slow start to his junior campaign, but he's rounded into form as the spring has progressed to once again look like one of the nation's top arms.

    With an advanced three-pitch mix and solid command, he's gone 7-2 with a 2.80 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 113 strikeouts in 96.1 innings.

11. Chicago White Sox: Jeren Kendall, CF, Vanderbilt

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    DOB: Feb. 4, 1996 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 5'10", 180 lbs

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Previously Drafted: 2014 (30th round, BOS)

          

    Scouting Report

    Jeren Kendall was the consensus top college bat in this year's class at the start of the spring.

    The Vanderbilt outfielder possesses legitimate five-tool potential and was one of the nation's top hitters as a sophomore when he batted .332 with a .964 OPS.

    However, what was a relatively high strikeout rate last year (21.5 percent) has actually gotten worse (25.0 percent) during his junior season, raising some red flags and causing his stock to slip.

    He's a little like Texas A&M outfielder Nick Banks in that respect, as he followed up a strong sophomore season and stellar showing with the U.S. national team by slumping during his junior campaign, slipping to No. 25 overall in last year's draft in the process.

    It's unlikely that Kendallwho has superior tools and a higher ceilingslips that far, and the Chicago White Sox showed a willingness to roll the dice on touted college talent with downward trending stock last year when they took Alec Hansen in the second round.

12. Pittsburgh Pirates: Evan White, 1B/OF, Kentucky

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    DOB: April 26, 1996 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 177 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/L

    Previously Drafted: Never

          

    Scouting Report

    After taking Wake Forest slugger Will Craig with the No. 22 overall pick last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates once again appear to be targeting college bats.

    The best one left on the board here is Kentucky first baseman Evan White.

    He's by no means the prototypical first baseman, though, as MLB.com explained: "White has an unusual profile. He bats right-handed and throws left-handed, he's as athletic as it comes among first basemen and—unheard of at his position—his power might be weakest among all of his tools."

    That said, there's plenty of room for him to add strength to his lean 6'3", 177-pound frame and his hit tool should play regardless of how much power he develops.

    Going up against strong SEC competition, White is hitting .366/.439/.629 with 23 doubles and eight home runs, at least showing improved gap power while improving his ISO from .159 to .263.

13. Miami Marlins: D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (Ga.)

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    DOB: Sept. 19, 1998 (18 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 190 lbs

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Commitment: Florida State

          

    Scouting Report

    The Miami Marlins took a polished prep left-hander last spring in Braxton Garrett, and for a franchise in desperate need of arms, they could go that route once again with Valdosta High School southpaw D.L. Hall.

    With a fastball that sits in the 90-93 range and touches 95 and a hard curveball that generates plenty of "spin rate" buzz, he already possesses two plus pitches and he's shown enough with his changeup to think it can develop into a third solid offering.

    There's not a ton of projectability left in his 6'0", 190-pound frame, but with a smooth delivery, good command and quality stuff he's closer to a finished product than most high school arms.

    New Mexico prep Trevor Rogers, Oregon lefty David Peterson and UCLA right-hander Griffin Canning are also potential targets here, as it comes down to a question of upside versus floor.

14. Kansas City Royals: Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad HS (N.M.)

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    DOB: Nov. 13, 1997 (19 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 185 lbs

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Commitment: Texas Tech

          

    Scouting Report

    The Kansas City Royals have one of the weaker farm systems in the league, and their focus appears to be on adding a high-ceiling high school pitcher at No. 14 overall.

    "I've heard them linked mostly to high school arms," wrote Keith Law of ESPN.com.

    The best one left on the board at this point is right-hander Shane Baz, but he comes with some significant signability concerns and could wind up slipping to the second round as an above-slot target or honoring his commitment to TCU as a result.

    That leaves 6'6" left-hander Trevor Rogers as the most intriguing option here, and the Royals have been linked to the New Mexico prep plenty in recent weeks.

    He doesn't have the same polish as D.L. Hall, but there's a lot to like about his smooth mechanics and a fastball that already touches 95 with room for more as he fills out.

    His secondary stuff lags behind, due in part to not needing it as much while facing lesser competition during the spring, but he has as much projectability as anyone outside of Hunter Greene.

15. Houston Astros: Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville HS (Minn.)

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    DOB: Dec. 3, 1998 (18 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 195 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Commitment: Florida

           

    Scouting Report

    Sam Carlson has as much helium as any pitching prospect in this year's draft, and if the Houston Astros are convinced that Shane Baz won't sign, he looks like the best play for a team that has shown a willingness to roll the dice on high-ceiling prep arms.

    Carlson is looking to become the first high school pitcher from the state of Minnesota ever to go in the first round of the draft.

    His stock has been soaring thanks to improved fastball velocity, as he's been working in the 93-97 range this spring and getting good sink and late life on the pitch as well.

    He backs that with a slider that he can consistently throw for strikes and one of the better changeups among prep pitchers with a good feel for that pitch, so the stuff is undoubtedly there for him to start.

    Add to all of that his plus athleticism—he'd likely be picked in the first five rounds as an outfielder—and it's easy to see why he's been flying up draft boards this spring.

16. New York Yankees: Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS (N.C.)

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    DOB: Nov. 21, 1998 (18 years old)

    Height/Weight: 5'11", 175 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Commitment: North Carolina

          

    Scouting Report

    Provided D.L. Hall and Trevor Rogers are both off the board at this point—which they are here—the New York Yankees will likely turn their attention to the remaining high school bats.

    In this scenario, that includes first baseman Nick Pratto and outfielders Austin Beck, Tristen Lutz and Bubba Thompson, among others.

    Beck is the most intriguing name in that group, as MLB.com wrote of his potential: "If he hits and taps into his power, he has 25-25 potential and should become a star."

    A torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee last May cost him the entire summer showcase circuit and his stock bottomed out as a result.

    However, an impressive spring has him trending back up as the draft approaches, and if the Yankees are convinced he can hit with wooden bats, they could have another Blake Rutherford-type steal on their hands here in the middle of the first round.

17. Seattle Mariners: David Peterson, LHP, Oregon

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    DOB: Sept. 3, 1995 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 240 lbs

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Previously Drafted: 2014 (28th round, BOS)

         

    Scouting Report

    Keith Law of ESPN.com identified the Seattle Mariners at No. 17 as the potential floor for Oregon left-hander David Peterson and he's still on the board here.

    The big 6'6", 240-pound southpaw—who turned heads with a 20-strikeout performance earlier this spring—has come a long way since the Boston Red Sox took him in the 28th round out of high school.

    Armed with a fastball-slider combination that can be dominant at times, an average changeup and a get-me-over curveball, Peterson has put together a dominant junior campaign for the Ducks.

    Over 100.1 innings of work, he's gone 11-4 with a 2.51 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and an impressive 140-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

    The worst-case scenario is that fastball-slider pairing would play up in the bullpen, but he has a strong frame and plus control to stick as a starter and develop into a good one.

18. Detroit Tigers: Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach HS (Calif.)

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    DOB: Oct. 6, 1998 (18 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 193 lbs

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Commitment: USC

           

    Scouting Report

    Nick Pratto is arguably the best pure hitter among this year's prep bats and perhaps in the entire draft.

    So why is he still on the board here at No. 18 overall?

    MLB.com explained: "High school first base-only types can be a tough profile—Adrian Gonzalez and Freddie Freeman are the biggest success stories, but Pratto isn't as big. Most believe in Pratto's bat enough, though, to take the Southern Cal commit early in the first round."

    Aside from his hitting ability, Pratto also draws rave reviews for his intangibles as he's stood out during his time playing for Team USA.

    The Detroit Tigers have made a habit of targeting power high school arms with high risk/reward potential in recent years, but with no one fitting the bill in this range, taking a chance one what could be one of the best bats in the class seems like a solid alternative.

19. San Francisco Giants: Logan Warmoth, SS, North Carolina

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    DOB: Sept. 6, 1995 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 190 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Previously Drafted: Never

         

    Scouting Report

    The San Francisco Giants generally stick to the college ranks in the opening round, and the best college player left on the board at this point is North Carolina infielder Logan Warmoth.

    The top college shortstop in the nation generally sees his stock trend upward leading up to the draft and there's little question that title belongs to Warmoth this year.

    After a strong showing in the Cape Cod League last summer (.780 OPS, 6 2B, 4 HR), he's put together a terrific junior season with a .336/.410/.562 line that includes 18 doubles, nine home runs and 18 stolen bases.

    Defensively, he gets by more on instincts and good hands than raw athleticism, but he should be able to stay at shortstop at the next level.

    UC Irvine second baseman Keston Hiura, Mississippi State outfielder Brent Rooker and Missouri State third baseman Jake Burger are also worth keeping an eye on as potential targets here.

20. New York Mets: Tristen Lutz, RF, Martin HS (Texas)

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    DOB: Aug. 22, 1998 (18 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 210 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Commitment: Texas

           

    Scouting Report

    If Nick Pratto or Logan Warmoth are still on the board here, expect the New York Mets to pounce.

    They're not in this scenario, though, so we'll instead go with Martin High School (Texas) outfielder Tristen Lutz, who possesses some of the more intriguing raw power among this year's prep bats.

    MLB.com wrote: "Lutz's calling card is his big right-handed power, the product of bat speed and strength. He might have even more pop if he had less of a crouch in his stance and got more leverage out of his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame."

    That's the type of thing that a hitting coach can unlock as long as the physical tools are there, and there's no question Lutz has the potential to be an impact power hitter.

    He also has the hit tool to be more than just an all-or-nothing slugger and a strong throwing arm that will profile well in right field.

21. Baltimore Orioles: Griffin Canning, RHP, UCLA

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    DOB: May 11, 1996 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 170 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Previously Drafted: 2014 (38th round, COL)

          

    Scouting Report

    UCLA ace Griffin Canning is one of the toughest players to peg in this year's draft.

    As a high-floor college arm with advanced pitchability and a four-pitch repertoire headlined by one of the better changeups in the class, he has a very similar profile to former Florida right-hander Logan Shore.

    Shore was projected by most to go in the first round and perhaps even inside the top 20 last season, but he wound up slipping to the second round in favor of higher-ceiling arms.

    However, the college pitching crop is not as deep as it was a year ago, and Canning might have solidified his place as a first-rounder thanks to a significant uptick in his strikeout rate (7.8 to 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings).

    All told, the right-hander has gone 7-3 with a 2.34 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 134 strikeouts in 111.1 innings of work.

    Targeting a fast-moving college player would seem to make perfect sense for the Baltimore Orioles, given the current makeup of their farm system. This might actually be their best-case scenario.

22. Toronto Blue Jays: Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri

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    DOB: June 29, 1996 (20 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 215 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Previously Drafted: 2014 (12th round, TOR)

         

    Scouting Report

    Tanner Houck has the big fastball and the durable frame to develop into an impact starter.

    There are also questions about his secondary stuff and his mechanics, though, leaving the Missouri ace as an intriguing upside play here toward the back of the first round.

    With another pick at No. 28 overall, the Toronto Blue Jays can afford to take a chance.

    Houck works in the 92-96 range and can touch 98 with his fastball and he gets good sink and late life out of the pitch.

    However, as MLB.com wrote:

    "Houck's secondary pitches aren't as impressive. His low-80s slider lacks consistency and can get sweepy, and he needs to use his changeup more often in order to refine it. Scouts don't love Houck's low-three-quarters arm slot and the high back elbow in his delivery, but he makes his mechanics work and throws a lot of strikes."

    The right-hander has gone 4-7 with a 3.33 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 95 strikeouts in 94.2 innings this spring.

23. Los Angeles Dodgers: Bubba Thompson, CF, McGill-Toolen HS (Ala.)

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    DOB: June 9, 1998 (18 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 180 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Commitment: Alabama

           

    Scouting Report

    The Los Angeles Dodgers selecting outfielder Bubba Thompson almost seems like a foregone conclusion at this point.

    "I don't know if the Dodgers will actually take Thompson...but the whole industry seems to think they're likely to do so," wrote Keith Law of ESPN.com.

    A two-sport star who quarterbacked the McGill-Toolen football team to the Alabama 7A state championship, Thompson had offers to play football at Tennessee and Ole Miss as well as multiple opportunities to play both sports.

    However, his future is on the diamond and he made that clear when he accepted a baseball-only scholarship to Alabama.

    He's a bit more polished than some past two-sport standouts and there's always the possibility that his tools will take off once he turns his full attention to baseball.

    At any rate, the Dodgers seem enamored as long as he makes it this far.

24. Boston Red Sox: Keston Hiura, 2B/OF, UC Irvine

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    DOB: Aug. 2, 1996 (20 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 185 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Previously Drafted: Never

         

    Scouting Report

    Keston Hirua is considered by some to be the best pure hitter in this year's draft.

    The UC Irvine second baseman is hitting .442/.567/.693 with 24 doubles, eight home runs and 42 RBI, and his walk rate (19.2 percent) and strikeout rate (14.6 percent) both speak to a player with an elite feel for the strike zone.

    However, an elbow injury has relegated him to DH duties this spring and could wind up requiring Tommy John surgery, dropping him out of the potential top-10 discussion.

    Even without the arm issues, he lacks a clear long-term spot defensively, with second base and left field looking like the most likely landing spots.

    Still, that bat is going to play at the next level and this is a weak crop of college hitters, so this could prove to be an absolute steal for the Boston Red Sox at the back of the first round.

25. Washington Nationals: Seth Romero, LHP, Houston

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    DOB: April 19, 1996 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 240 lbs

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Previously Drafted: Never

          

    Scouting Report

    If Seth Romero is going to be selected in the first round of this year's draft, it looks like it will be the Washington Nationals or bust.

    The Nats are the one team that has proved time and again that they're not scared off by health concerns or off-field issues if it means potentially getting good value out of their pick.

    And Romero comes with plenty of baggage, as he was suspended from the University of Houston squad twice before finally being dismissed from the team in May.

    Before that, his stock appeared to be on the rise as improved conditioning had resulted in an uptick in what was already good stuff from the left side.

    With a fastball in the 92-95 range and topping out at 97, a wipeout slider that can be untouchable when it's on and a vastly improved changeup, he has potential front-line stuff if he can stay out of trouble.

    Another player to watch here is South Carolina right-hander Clarke Schmidt, who has seen his stock take a tumble after suffering a torn UCL in April that will require Tommy John surgery.

    Prior to that, he had been one of the fastest-rising collegiate arms and he could be a steal.

26. Texas Rangers: RHP Nate Pearson, RHP, College of Central Florida

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    DOB: Aug. 20, 1996 (20 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 240 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Previously Drafted: Never

          

    Scouting Report

    There's an impressive crop of JUCO pitching talent in the state of Florida this year, and Nate Pearson is the best of the bunch.

    The big 6'6", 240-pound right-hander has gone 5-2 with a 1.56 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 81 innings of work this spring for the College of Central Florida.

    That's largely thanks to a legitimate 70-grade fastball that he throws consistently in the upper 90s. It's the development of his secondary stuff that's the big question, though.

    His slider is his best off-speed pitch, and he also throws a curveball and a changeup. All three pitches flash plus at times, but they all remain largely inconsistent on a start-to-start basis.

    There's obvious risk here, but there's also a ton of upside.

27. Chicago Cubs: Nick Allen, SS, Parker HS (Calif.)

27 of 30

    DOB: Oct. 8, 1998 (18 years old)

    Height/Weight: 5'8", 158 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Commitment: USC

           

    Scouting Report

    His 5'8" frame might be enough for some teams to ignore Nick Allen in the first round, but the Chicago Cubs front office had success drafting another undersized infielder in the past.

    "Chicago's front office drafted (Dustin) Pedroia in Boston and could pounce on Allen, the best defender in the draft," wrote Jim Callis of MLB.com.

    John Manuel of Baseball America confirmed the team's interest, saying that "while they crave pitching, the Cubs love little Nick Allen" and predicting him to be the team's pick at No. 27 overall.

    So what is it that has peaked the team's interest in the California high schooler?

    MLB.com wrote: "The one thing no one questions is Allen's ability to stick at shortstop. He is a plus defender with outstanding range and more than enough arm to make throws from all over the diamond, making highlight-reel plays with regularity, even on big stages like the Perfect Game All-American Classic."

    It added: "Allen endears himself to scouts even more with his outstanding makeup and baseball IQ."

    Keep in mind, the MLB draft is not necessarily about drafting for need, so it's not a foregone conclusion that the Cubs will go after pitching—especially if they see a player with tools and intangibles they love.

28. Toronto Blue Jays: Alex Lange, RHP, LSU

28 of 30

    DOB: Oct. 2, 1995 (21 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 200 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Previously Drafted: Never

           

    Scouting Report

    After taking a chance on Tanner Houck at No. 22 overall, the Toronto Blue Jays stick to the college ranks and go with LSU starter Alex Lange this time around.

    The right-hander burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2015, going 12-0 with a 1.97 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 114 innings.

    In the two years since, he's refined his overall command and improved his changeup to the point that it's a passable third pitching alongside his mid-90s fastball and a hammer curve that ranks as one of the better breaking pitches in the class.

    That being said, he's prone to overthrowing at times and has some effort to his delivery, so there's a chance that strong two-pitch mix is utilized out of the bullpen before all is said and done.

    However, with a strong 6'4", 200-pound frame and the ability to maintain his stuff late into games, he'll be given every chance to start.

29. Texas Rangers: Quentin Holmes, CF, Monsignor McClancy Memorial HS (N.Y.)

29 of 30

    DOB: July 7, 1999 (17 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 175 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Commitment: Mississippi State

           

    Scouting Report

    As much as anyone, the Texas Rangers are willing to take a chance on a high-risk/high-reward player, and we demonstrated that with the projected selection of JUCO pitcher Nate Pearson at No. 26 overall.

    With the No. 30 pick, there are a handful of high school players left on the board they could target.

    That includes pitchers Blayne Enlow and Hans Crouse, shortstops Chris Seise and Jeter Downs, and outfielders Drew Waters and Heliot Ramos.

    However, we'll go with outfielder Quentin Holmes—the fastest player in this year's draft.

    His wheels are perhaps the only true 80-grade tool in this year's class, but the rest of his game remains incredibly raw.

    He has room to add strength to his 6'1", 175-pound frame and he's shown some potential with his hit tool, but this would still be a major lottery ticket pick.

30. Chicago Cubs: Brent Rooker, 1B/OF, Mississippi State

30 of 30

    DOB: Nov. 1, 1994 (22 years old)

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 215 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Previously Drafted: 2016 (38th round, MIN)

          

    Scouting Report

    After going with high school shortstop Nick Allen at No. 27 overall, the Cubs have to take a pitcher at No. 30, right?

    Not necessarily, and there's actually something to be said for perhaps reaching for a college bat here with a below-slot deal to set them up for a run of above-slot pitcher signings in the later rounds.

    Brent Rooker is one player who could be worth reaching for at the end of the first round.

    Teammate Jake Mangum has gotten more attention in draft circles, but Rooker is having a monster season.

    The 22-year-old is hitting .404/.505/.843 with 29 doubles, 21 home runs and 76 RBI, and he's raised his walk rate considerably from 7.0 to 14.8 percent.

    Rooker is on the old side for a draft prospect as a redshirt junior and he's not a standout athlete, but there's no ignoring his production playing against major conference competition.

          

    College starts courtesy of Baseball Cube and high school stats via MaxPreps.

    Industry rumors on potential landing spots pulled from a combination of Baseball AmericaMLB.com and ESPN.com and their latest mock drafts.