The season is still going, but who doesn’t love draft talk?
The 2017 MLB Draft took place this past June with the Minnesota Twins taking California high school SS Royce Lewis #1 overall. While the following prospects have to wait another 9 months to have their names called, it’s never too early to start projecting where each possible future star may go.
Keep in mind these projections are fluid and will change over the course of the next 9 months. Factors such as draft order changes, compensation picks, injuries, and performance will all have an effect. Because of this fluidity, the goal for this initial post is to provide key baseline information for these prospects. For right now, keep these 30 players listed on your radar.
So without further ado, here is the way too early projection for the first round based on the standings as of September 6th.
1. San Francisco Giants: Brady Singer — RHP, University of Florida
Possessing a nice frame at 6’5”, 200 lb., Singer is a polished college RHP with an electric fastball and a slider that he can locate. He used both of these pitches to strike out 129 batters in 126 innings. He’s the likely the first pick in the draft as a prospect with those pitches is hard to pass up.
2. Philadelphia Phillies: Kumar Rocker — RHP, North Oconee HS, Bogart, GA
Rocker is also a physically imposing righty standing at 6’5”, 260 lb. He has a heavy fastball that reaches 98 mph. His slider is improving and has potential to be a plus pitch if he continues to improve its accuracy. Rocker isn’t as polished as Singer but does have tremendous upside.
3. Chicago White Sox: Brice Turang — SS Santiago HS, Corona, CA
Turang projects high in all phases. He’s an elite defender, extremely smooth in his motions, and quick. Turang has an above average hit tool from the left side with the ability to hit the ball in all fields.
4. Oakland A’s: Shane McClanahan — LHP, University of South Florida
McClanahan is a power lefty with a dominant fastball. Can you say first round pick? He needs to continue to develop his secondary pitches and control (36 walks in 74 innings), but striking out 104 batters in 74 innings is impressive for a freshman. Did I already say he was a lefty?
5. Detroit Tigers: Nick Madrigal — SS/2B, Oregon State University
Offensive minded middle infielders don’t come around very often. Because of this, Madrigal shoots up the draft board. He possesses an elite contact bat, albeit with very little to no power, and defensive prowess that is underrated. Madrigal’s current career .359 AVG should eventually translate well in the majors.
6. NY Mets: Konnor Pilkington — LHP, Mississippi State University
Pilkington combines 6’3” 225lb stature with three above average pitches. He has a good arm side run on his fastball and uses it to get hitters to chase high. Pilkington also held opponents to a .199 AVG last season, which is quite impressive.
7. Cincinnati Reds: Ethan Hankins — RHP, Forsyth Central HS, Cumming, GA
Hankins has a fantastic 6’6” 210lb frame for a RHP whose fastball reaches the uppers 90’s. He also has a breaking ball that projects as a plus pitch. A tall, lean, hard throwing righty with a plus breaking pitch is usually the definition of an extremely high ceiling — and that’s what Ethan Hankins has.
8. Atlanta Braves: Joe Gray Jr. — OF. Hattiesburg HS, Hattiesburg, MS
Gray is five-tool talent. His defensive skills are elite in every way as he has a strong arm and fields well. He possesses speed and the abilities to hit for both power and average to match. Gray, however, needs to consistently apply these tools to his game, but they are there for sure and in abundance.
9. San Diego Padres: Jarred Kelenic — OF, Waukesha West HS, Waukesha, WI
One of my favorite players in next years draft, Kelenic is an advanced centerfielder in all aspects of the game. Possessing 5-tool ability, he brings above average hitting skills and defensive instincts that will only improve.
10. Toronto Blue Jays: Seth Beer — OF/DH, Clemson University
Seth Beer has one of the best bats in the college game. While he may be elite offensively, his defensive ability and speed remain a project. It would also be nice to see Beer replicate his .369 AVG/.535 OBP/.700 SLG freshman season compared to his .298 AVG/.478 OBP/.606 SLG sophomore season. As of right now, I see him as a future DH as a pro.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates: Charles Mack SS — Williamsville East HS, East Amherst, NY
Mack is a contact hitter to all fields. He projects as a plus bat with advanced barreling and should move through a minor league system quickly. Mack greatly improved his draft stock with a strong showing in the Cape Cod league.
12. Miami Marlins: Jackson Kowar — RHP, University of Florida
Kowar’s fastball regularly sits lower 90’s and has command of all his pitches. It would not be surprising if Kowar is selected higher, as his control and command are above average to elite.
13. Kansas City Royals: Chandler Day — RHP, Vanderbilt University
Day pitched much better as a starter and has only shown a glimpse of his potential. He needs to have better command of his pitches to become elite; however, Day’s ceiling is very high. He’s another great pitching prospect from Vanderbilt.
14. Seattle Mariners: Will Banfield — C, Brookwood HS, Snellville, GA
Banfield has elite defensive skills behind the plate that would play almost immediately. Furthermore, he’s right handed hitter with some power. Banfield possesses a high baseball IQ and a quality work ethic, so do not be surprised if he manages to continue improving his hitting skills.
15. Tampa Bay Rays: Nander De Sedas — SS, Montverde Academy, FL
De Sedas displays quick hands at bat as well as in the field. A switch hitter, he uses these hands to drive the ball to all fields from both sides of the plate. In the field, De Sedas has a quick exchange and release defensively to go along with his strong arm.
16. Texas Rangers: Jeremy Eierman — SS/3B, Missouri State University
Eierman is a power hitting middle infielder with .313 AVG/.431 OBP/.675 SLG splits in 2017. He will need some improvement defensively, but his bat will carry him until the defense catches up.
17. Baltimore Orioles: Luken Baker — 1B, Texas Christian University
Baker is a 2-way player, a power hitting first baseman who possesses a fastball that touches 95. He hit .379 while sporting a 1.70 ERA as a freshman. That’s quite impressive, to say the least.
18. Minnesota Twins: Trevor Larnach — OF, Oregon State University
Larnach is a contact hitting outfielder with plus barrel ability and a hit tool that allows him to hit to all fields. He should be able to add some power as he physically matures. Larnach also projects above average defensively.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Kris Bubic — LHP, Stanford University
Bubic combines a mid to upper 90’s fastball with an above average change-up to keep hitters off balance. His draft stock was helped by a strong Cape Cod showing. He’ll continue to get better as he adds another plus pitch.
20. Los Angeles Angels: Matt Liberatore — LHP, Mountain Ridge HS, Peoria, AZ
Another power lefty with a projectable frame. Standing at 6’5” 200lb, Liberatore gets a consistent run and sink on his fastball, mixing in his secondary pitches to keep hitters off balance.
21. Milwaukee Brewers: Tristan Casas — 1B/3B, American Heritage HS, Pembroke Pines, FL
Casas has a lot going for him. He is a contact hitting lefty with power to all fields, has power potential, and has shown advanced barrel skills. To make him an even more intriguing prospect, Casas has also shown above average defensive skills at 1B.
22. NY Yankees: Kendall Simmons — SS, Tattnall Square Academy, Macon GA
Simmons is a potential 5-tool player. He has an athletic build, 6’3” 190lb, and quick hands with the bat and in the field. He has 2-way potential as well, as he sits low 90’s on the mound. It will be interesting to see which position Simmons develops into.
23. Colorado Rockies: Luke Bartnicki — LHP, Walton HS, Marietta GA
Bartnicki is a live-armed lefty with a nice fastball that touches both sides of the plate. He pairs that with a developing slider which is a potential plus pitch, to keep hitters off balance. His stock is rapidly improving.
24. Chicago Cubs: Jason Bilous — RHP, Coastal Carolina University
Bilous is a hard throwing righty with a plus fastball. He needs to command his pitches a better — has walked 77 in 97 IP — but projects as a front of the rotation starter if he can harness his command and continue to develop his off speed pitches.
25. Boston Red Sox: Jake Mangum — OF, Mississippi State University
Mangum has an above average hit tool as a switch hitting center fielder. A high contact rate, speed, and arm strength are his best attributes. It’s important to note that Mangum did lead the SEC in batting (.407) as a freshman.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Travis Swaggerty — OF, University of South Alabama
Swaggerty is a gritty center fielder with a power/speed combo. He walked more than he struck out (47 walks to 43 strikeouts) in his sophomore year at South Alabama while batting .361 with a .487 OBP.
27. Cleveland Indians: Tristan Pompey — OF, University of Kentucky
Younger brother of Blue Jays’ Dalton Pompey. Tristan brings the same athleticism as older brother, but possesses more power potential. While hitting 10 home runs in his sophomore year at Kentucky was impressive, his 46 BB while striking out only 56 times is equally, if not more impressive.
28. Washington Nationals: Nolan Gorman — SS, Sandra Day O’Connor HS, Glendale, AZ.
Gorman is a big time power hitter. Gorman projects at 3rd base in the future because of plus defensive ability there and a power bat. Needs to flatten his bat a bit, but that would be nitpicking, as he already possesses a plus bat.
29. Houston Astros: Mateo Gil — SS, Timber Creek HS, Keller, TX.
The son of former MLB player Benji Gil, Mateo projects very favorably both offensively and defensively. Smooth and instinctual at SS, he has an accurate arm and plays controlled under pressure. With the bat, he displays a gap-to-gap hitting tool with a balanced approach and developing power.
30. Los Angeles Dodgers: Joey Bart — C, Georgia Tech
A catcher with power generally goes pretty high in the draft and Bart is no exception. He has some developing to do behind the plate, but the bat will play early and he’d be a steal for the Dodgers with the last pick in the first round.