2017 MLB Mock Draft 1.0: Brendan McKay at Number 1
Unlike drafts from the other major American sports leagues such as the NFL or NBA, the MLB Draft does not provide fans with any immediate payoff. Players chosen in the MLB Draft are stashed for years, and most selected in the later rounds are unlikely to ever make it to the Major Leagues. This makes the MLB Draft an event catered specifically toward the baseball die hard- it takes a particular kind of fan to follow a player through the minor league ranks.
With that said, here is how we project this year’s MLB Draft to shake out.
1. Minnesota Twins: Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP, Louisville
It is well noted around the baseball community that the Twins are still on the fence about who to select with the first overall pick. There is no consensus number one player, making Minnesota’s decision all the more difficult. That does not mean there are no standout players, however.
The Twins are presented with three fantastic options. Right now, it appears to make the most sense for Minnesota to select McKay of Louisville, a two way superstar who could make the big leagues as a pitcher or first baseman. Offensively, McKay is batting .361 with 15 home runs. On the mound, the southpaw has posted a solid 2.22 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 85 innings.
Most scouts feel as though McKay is a safer bet on the mound but presents higher upside at the plate. It will be up to the team that drafts McKay to decide his fate.
2. Cincinnati Reds: Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt
Wright is viewed as the safest and most projectable prospect in the draft, which is why the Twins are heavily considering taking him with the top pick. The right-handed pitcher from Vanderbilt has a fastball that sits in the mid 90’s and possesses a heavy curveball as his second best pitch.
Wright owns a 1.14 ERA in the vaunted SEC, an impressive statistic to couple with his considerable skills. Scouts feel as though Wright will be able to emerge from the minor leagues with four plus pitches. It is not a question as to whether or not Wright will become an upper echelon Major League pitcher, it is simply a matter of when.
3. San Diego Padres: Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, Notre Dame High
Greene is the most exciting player in the draft. Already having graced the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine, Greene is another two way player that could excel as either a shortstop or right-handed pitcher. His hitting skills are said to be comparable to a young Alex Rodriguez and his pitching repertoire has been compared to Noah Syndergaard’s. Needless to say, this is a player that any team would love to have in their system.
The thing holding Greene back from being the consensus number one overall pick is that he’s a high school prospect, making him harder to project with any certainty. Greene has the highest upside in the draft and as a 17-year-old kid who’s already been clocked at 100 MPH, he should not slide beyond the third pick.
4. Tampa Bay Rays: Royce Lewis, SS/OF, San Juan Capistrano High
Lewis is the best position player in the draft and leaves the Rays with a fairly easy decision. Tampa Bay will be able to select one of the top four players in the pool without really having to choose. Instead, the Rays can just sit back and see which player falls to them.
Lewis, another high school player, could reach the Major Leagues as a shortstop or center fielder. He has a very athletic frame and has shown flashes of developing all five tools. He has been on the radar of front offices for years following his breakout performance in the 2015 summer showcase circuit.
Some scouts feel as though Lewis will need to improve his arm strength to play shortstop at the MLB level. This could force him into the outfield, where his athleticism will be put on full display.
5. Atlanta Braves: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville High
Atlanta selecting Gore would make Lewis the only pure position player selected in the top-five of the draft. Gore’s talent certainly warrants a top-ten selection and most feel as though he will not slide outside of the top-six.
The left-handed Gore has a fastball that sits between 90-94 MPH and is considered a plus pitch. His secondary pitches are also considered to be very advanced for a high school player. Gore throws a curveball, slider, and change up to accompany his fastball.
As far as instincts go, Gore is said to be very mature with a high baseball IQ and poise. This is why most scouts expect Gore to rise through the minor leagues very quickly, especially compared to most high school pitchers.
David Rawnsley of Perfect Game says that Gore’s mechanics could be a concern for injury “looking far into the future.” Although his delivery is a cause for concern, Gore should still find himself as a top draft pick come June 12th.