As we approach the end of May, most college squads have entered into conference tournament play, with an eye on a berth in the NCAA tournament. For most high school prospects, their seasons are either over, and in the midst of a postseason run.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our most recent projections for the first round.
The Twins seem to have narrowed their choices as we approach June. The remaining candidates? That would be lefty Brendan McKay, righty Kyle Wright and of course, Greene. For all of the posturing on the part of Greene’s camp, it still seems likely that Minnesota will make him the first right-handed pitcher from the prep ranks ever selected with the first overall pick.
Season stats (pitching): 3-0, 0 SV, 0.75 ERA, 5 GP, 5 GS, 28.0 IP, 18 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 43 K
Season stats (hitting): .324/.374/.598, 23 R, 6 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 8 BB, 12 K, 2-for-3 SB
McKay came into this season as a bona-fide top-ten talent on the mound, and while his hitting ability was never in question, it’s hard to believe most teams saw him developing into a top-ten talent at the plate as well. Going to a National League squad would give him more chances to hit at the pro level, but make no mistake, whichever team selects him will want 99% of his focus to be on pitching.
Season stats (pitching): 8-3, 0 SV, 2.22 ERA, 13 GP, 13 GS, 85.0 IP, 51 H, 24 ER, 27 BB, 116 K
Season stats (hitting): .361/.478/.683, 50 R, 12 2B, 1 3B, 15 HR, 47 RBI, 40 BB, 32 K, 1-for-1 SB
As we get closer and closer to draft day, the more implausible it seems that fate will dictate that Hunter Greene should be a Padre. As such, the team has likely moved on and accepted that they’ll end up with either MacKenzie Gore, Kyle Wright or Lewis, each a phenomenal consolation prize in their own right. Wright and Gore may have the momentum, but there’s no denying Lewis’s ceiling is arguably the highest of any non-pitcher in this draft class.
Season stats: N/A
As the season wears on, Wright keeps getting better and better, and there’s an outside chance that he could go No. 1 to Minnesota. He’ll make his next start in the NCAA tournament, but scouts need to see little else from the right-hander, who has been the most dominating pitcher in college baseball since April. The Rays tend to go the high school route in the first round, but for Wright, they’ll undoubtedly make an exception.
Season stats: 4-5, 0 SV, 2.91 ERA, 14 GP, 14 GS, 89.2 IP, 67 H, 29 ER, 27 BB, 104 K
The Braves would love to get their hands on Wright, and while they could probably work wonders with fellow North Carolinian Austin Beck, Gore is probably their preferred choice. On the surface, he appears to be this year’s version of Kolby Allard, Max Fried, Brady Aiken, Braxton Garrett and every other high-upside southpaw that’s come out in the past ten years, but Gore is the most polished lefty to come out of the high school ranks in at least a decade. Fact.
Season stats: N/A
Bukauskas has been the very model of consistency this season, despite dealing with a blister the past few weeks. He features two of the best offerings in this draft class, in a mid-90s fastball and a high-80s slider. That alone would make him a sure-fire top-ten pick, but as of late, Bukauskas has started throwing his changeup more, and he’s shown enough feel for it that it could be a usable third offering, increasing the odds that he can stick as a starter at the pro level.
Season stats: 8-0, 0 SV, 1.87 ERA, 13 GP, 13 GS, 82.0 IP, 52 H, 17 ER, 31 BB, 106 K
Since losing a three-game series to Louisville back in early April, the Cavs have gone on a tear (20-5) and haven’t lost a series. Anchoring that run, and an offense that has averaged nearly nine runs per game during it, has been Smith. The lefty slugger has a team-leading 70 RBI, an astonishing 35-to-8 walk-to-strikeout ratio, has played flawless first base, and was just named to the All-ACC First Team. He’ll likely be the first college hitter off the board.
Season stats: .348/.433/.581, 50 R, 11 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 70 RBI, 35 BB, 8 K, 2-for-2 SB
Baz is flying up draft boards as we approach draft day, with several mocks having him go as high as No. 5 to the Braves. Much of the newfound love has to do with his breaking ball, a cutter/slider combo, that has flashed plus this spring. His high school season has been over for a few weeks, but scouts have seemingly seen all they need to of the TCU signee.
Season stats: N/A
Beck’s knee injury cost him the entire 2016 showcase circuit, limiting the amount of looks teams were able to get of him using wood bats. Still, he has looked impressive this spring, his power is arguably the best in this draft class and he gets plus grades in speed, arm strength and defense. It seems highly unlikely that he’ll slip out of the top ten.
The Angels have to make the most of the Mike Trout era, and so far they’re not doing so good. Adding a proven winner in Haseley could help Trout turn things around. All he’s done since signing with UVA is hit, draw walks and make great plays in the outfield. If his newfound power is for real, which it seems like it is, Haseley is the closest thing to a five-tool talent from this year’s college crop.
Season stats: .400/.498/.688, 64 R, 15 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, 53 RBI, 40 BB, 19 K, 10-for-14 SB
Kendall may not have as high a ceiling as some of the prep prospects available, but his floor is as an elite defender with plus-plus speed. Even if his hitting and newly-discovered power don’t carry over into pro ball, he’ll still likely carve out some kind of career at the big-league level. If they do…look out. A major wart that could scare some teams away, however, is Kendall’s proclivity to strike out, which he’s done in nearly 30% of his at-bats this year.
Season stats: .306/.380/.570, 56 R, 7 2B, 5 3B, 15 HR, 44 RBI, 24 BB, 67 K, 18-for-22 SB
The Pirates haven’t signed a pitcher out of the first round since 2011, but with four of the first 72 picks, they can afford to this time around. Canning isn’t a flashy pick, but he’s really opened eyes with a four-pitch arsenal of above-average offerings. He’s been consistent all year long, and has tossed complete games in three of his last six starts. He’s whiffed at least ten batters in five of those. Around here were call that “peaking at the right time.”
Season stats: 6-3, 0 SV, 2.55 ERA, 15 GP, 15 GS, 102.1 IP, 83 H, 29 ER, 28 BB, 124 K
Hall is in danger of slipping behind both Gore and the late-rising Trevor Rogers in the high school lefty ranks, after entering 2017 as the top southpaw available. He hasn’t had a dominating spring, and his command wasn’t as sharp as it was during the showcase circuit last year, but he’s still an incredibly polished pitcher, with two, maybe three above-average offerings.
Season stats: N/A
The aforementioned, late-rising Rogers is one of the draft’s most interesting prospects. Blessed with incredible size (6’6″) and a projectable frame, Rogers has scouts dreaming on his potential. His fastball currently sits 89-93, but there’s at least a few more mph in there as he fills out. His slider flashes above-average and his mechanics are incredibly clean for someone of his size. Rogers faced 223 batters this season and struck out 61% of them, while allowing just 14 hits. While this may be his floor, he could end up going as high as No. 5.
Season stats: 11-0, 0 SV, 0.33 ERA, 11 GP, 11 GS, 63.1 IP, 14 H, 3 ER, 13 BB, 134 K
I’m sure the Astros have a dozen or so players they’re considering here at No. 15, but if Hiura was somehow to fall to them, there’s no doubt they’d scoop him up. Despite not taking the field all season, Hiura has established himself as arguably the top pure hitter, for average, in this draft class. With three games remaining in UC-Irvine’s season, he’s hitting a robust .419, while only one other Anteater regular is batting above .300. He’s shown incredible plate discipline and has more speed than his pedestrian stolen base numbers suggest. In terms of pure hitting ability, Hiura comps nicely to current Astros second baseman Jose Altuve.
Season stats: .419/.556/.672, 45 R, 21 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 50 BB, 36 K, 9-for-15 SB
If Adell isn’t snatched up inside the top ten picks, he could be in for quite a slide. Luckily, the Yankees are never one to be scared away by price tags. They’ve zeroed in on Nick Pratto and Bubba Thompson, but having a shot at Adell would have to be their dream scenario, much like last year, when Blake Rutherford slipped out of the top-ten and down to them at No. 18. Adell plays much faster than his burly frame would suggest and he has plus arm strength and power as well. If the numbers below are accurate (high school numbers usually aren’t), Adell hit more home runs this season than most high-schoolers hit their entire four-year career.
Season stats: .554/2.091/1.434, 52 R, 9 2B, 0 3B, 24 HR, 60 RBI, 32 BB, 9 K, 18 SB
Peterson has had a dream season, complete with a 17-strikeout and a 20-strikeout performance. He’s been on the mound for nearly 40% of Oregon’s 29 victories this season, and had a 48.1-inning stretch where he surrendered just three runs. Did we mention that he’s 6’6”, weighs 235 pounds and has above-average command of three pitches? In fact, Peterson has issued just 13 walks all season, in 14 starts. His offerings include a low-90s fastball and a curveball/changeup combo.
Season stats: 11-3, 0 SV, 2.31 ERA, 14 GP, 14 GS, 93.1 IP, 81 H, 24 ER, 13 BB, 131 K
The thought of Faedo falling this far would have seemed extremely slim in January, but his stuff hasn’t been as sharp during his junior campaign. Maybe it’s the double-knee surgery he underwent last September, or maybe it’s something else entirely. Still, when he’s commanding his three-pitch mix, he’s as good as any college arm. The Tigers love their velocity, and in Faedo they would get a pitcher who sits in the low-to-mid 90s and touches 97.
Season stats: 7-3, 0 SV, 2.89 ERA, 14 GP, 14 GS, 90.1 IP, 75 H, 29 R, 30 BB, 106 K
This move would be totally out of the ordinary, and in the face of everything the Giants have done in the draft the past decade and a half, but we believe Danner has a chance to be special. He throws in the low-90s and his curve and changeup both flash above-average, but what makes Danner so good is his command of all three pitches. He’s a supplemental-round talent behind the plate, but we see some team reaching for him late in the first round.
Season stats: N/A
Once upon a time, it seemed as though Pratto would be the first member of the Huntington Beach squad to be drafted, and while that still may be the case, there’s no denying that the lefty hit-machine hasn’t shined as brightly this season. His precipitous slide has dropped him into the range where the Mets might have a chance to pounce on him. Ironically, Pratto reminds us a lot of current Mets prospect Dominic Smith, who also flashes above-average hit and power tools.
Season stats: N/A
The O’s farm system is in dire straights, and with several of their big-leaguers coming up on free-agency, they’ve got little in the way of talent to fill holes. Most of the names attached to them seem to be college hitters, including Jake Burger, but they could be scared away by ghost of D.J. Stewart, the last college slugger they drafted in the first round. Regardless of their tactics, there’s no way they don’t take a long, hard look at Pearson, whose fastball has been clocked in triple-digits this spring. He may not have the stuff to stick as a starter, but if he does he could be a major steal.
Season stats: 5-2, 0 SV, 1.56 ERA, 13 GP, 13 GS, 81.0 IP, 60 H, 14 ER, 23 BB, 118 K
Make no mistake, Lange has the mentality to start games, and if he can hone his command, he could be an inning-eater. But there are concerns about whether Lange’s stuff is good enough to make it through a lineup two or three times. He’s certainly shown some chinks in the armor at LSU, giving up hits by the truckload and issuing more walks than his rotation-mates. Still, his fastball can touch 97 and his curveball flashes plus at times. Whoever ends up with him will no doubt give him the chance to start, knowing his floor is as a dominating closer.
Season stats: 7-5, 0 SV, 2.79 ERA, 14 GP, 14 GS, 90.1 IP, 80 H, 28 ER, 33 BB, 111 K
Some team is going to bite the bullet and take a chance on Romero, who was suspended twice this season, and eventually kicked off the team after reports of failed drug tests and a fight with a teammate. Not exactly the kind of guy team’s are going to speak glowingly off. Still, Romero looked brilliant when he was on the mound this season, and going off of just pure talent, he may be the third best lefty in this draft class, after McKay and Gore.
Season stats: 4-5, 0 SV, 3.51 ERA, 10 GP, 7 GS, 48.2 IP, 46 H, 19 ER, 20 BB, 85 K
The Red Sox rarely let need dictate their drafting. The front-office is clearly a believer in “best player available,” which is why, despite having some of the best young bats in baseball, they’ll gladly pounce on Burger if he’s available. Possessing one of the best power bats in this draft class, Burger is a proven hitter. The newly minted MVC Player of the Year, Burger logged his second consecutive 20-HR campaign.
Season stats; .343/.459/.686, 62 R, 11 2B, 0 3B, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 39 BB, 31 K, 3-for-4 SB
The Nationals love going for up-the-middle players in the first round, and the best one of those left on the board is Thompson. Blessed with plus speed and arguably the finest defensive skills in this draft class, he also has a chance to hit for above-average power. A two-sport star, Thompson turned down numerous football scholarships in favor of taking up baseball full time at Alabama.
Season stats: N/A
The Rangers have two of the last five picks in the first round, setting them up to nab some players that might fall early on day one. Carlson has been rising up draft boards as of late. The baseball season up in Minnesota starts a little later than in the rest of the country, so when the right-hander finally got on the mound this year, he flashed better velocity and a crisp breaking ball. If he slips out of the first round altogether, he’s likely to honor his commitment to Florida.
Season stats: N/A
True, Houck’s 2017 campaign has been underwhelming. Still, few pitchers have shown more grit than the right-hander, who received arguably the worst run support of any Power-5 starter, and who can still crank his fastball up into the high-90s. He’s got great size and at least one above-average breaking ball, making him an extremely attractive candidate for the Cubs, who have two of the final four picks of the first round.
Season stats: 4-7, 0 SV, 3.33 ERA, 14 GP, 14 GS, 94.2 IP, 78 H, 35 ER, 24 BB, 95 K
Warmoth is the top shortstop from the college ranks, and since such a premium is placed on the position, he might end up going inside the top-15 picks. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him fall this far. Lacking any one standout tool. Instead, Warmoth does everything “pretty well.” He should be able to stick at shortstop long-term, and his bat has been incredibly consistent this year. He’s got the wheels to steal 15-20 bases a year.
Season stats: .336/.410/.562, 53 R, 18 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 40 RBI, 26 BB, 41 K, 18-for-21 SB
Schmidt’s season ended in late April when it was announced he would undergo Tommy John surgery. Luckily, the diagnosis isn’t the scarlet letter it used to be, and as such, it shouldn’t affect his status too much. The right-hander established himself as the Gamecocks ace early in 2017, and showed four solid offerings.
Season stats: 4-2, 0 SV, 1.34 ERA, 9 GP, 9 GS, 60.1 IP, 41 H, 9 ER, 18 BB, 70 K
The Cubs wouldn’t be the Cubs if they didn’t go after some college bats, of which the most interesting remaining belongs to White. Limited to less than 50 games this season, the athletic first baseman still managed to rack up 23 doubles while maintaining a .380 average. With more than 300 chances, he’s still yet to make an error at first base, where he grades out as an above-average defender.