While there’s no doubt that the first round of the MLB draft is most likely to produce big-leaguers, there is still plenty of talent to be had in the subsequent 39 rounds. Taking that into account, let’s take a look at our votes for the best picks in each round, including the first.
No. 1 overall, SS/OF Royce Lewis, Minnesota Twins
We didn’t hear his name bandied about as often, but in the end, it’s hard to fault the Twins for going with the player that was widely considered the top position prospect in this draft. Lewis is oozing with talent, and it shouldn’t be long before he takes his place alongside the top prospects in baseball.
Runner-up: No. 2 overall, RHP/SS Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds
No. 41 overall, OF Drew Waters, Atlanta Braves
Waters was a top-15 prospect on our board, and we’re fairly convinced, as it seems the Braves are, that he’ll emerge as one of the top players from this draft class. A switch-hitter, Waters gets plus grades for speed, arm strength and fielding ability. We’re strong believers that he’ll hit for both average and power as well.
Runner-up: No. 61, RHP/C Hagen Danner, Toronto Blue Jays
No. 76 overall, RHP Blayne Enlow, Minnesota Twins
The Twins had a tremendous draft, and while Lewis has the potential to emerge as an All-Star caliber player, Enlow might be the best of their bunch. The right-hander has three above-average offerings, including a low-90s fastball that should add a few ticks as he matures physically, and a changeup that graded out as one of the best among this year’s high school crop.
Runner-up: No. 77 overall, LHP Jacob Heatherly, Cincinnati Reds
No. 108 overall, RHP Sam Keating, San Diego Padres
The Padres may have missed out on their true target, Hunter Greene, but they were able to snag two pitchers with tremendously high ceilings in the first four rounds, including the lesser-known Keating. A Clemson commit, Keating led Canterbury High to back-to-back state titles and saw his velocity increase a few ticks to 94 mph during his senior year. His slider grades out slightly better than his curveball, but his calling card will be above-average command at the pro level.
Runner-up: No. 129 overall, SS Kevin Smith, Toronto Blue Jays
No. 161 overall, RHP Alex Scherff, Boston Red Sox
A Texas A&M recruit, Scherff will be one of the toughest players to sign in the top-10 rounds. The recommended slot for the 161st pick is just under $300k. Getting Scherff to turn pro will likely take around $2 million. If they can figure out the financials, he would instantly rank as one of Boston’s top prospects, with a upper-90s fastball and one of the best changeups in this draft class, regardless of rank. Still, we’d put the odds of Boston being able to sign him at around 40%.
Runner-up: No. 144 overall, 3B Nick Egnatuk, Milwaukee Brewers
No. 172 overall, RHP Brian Shaffer, Arizona Diamondbacks
In a span of 10 selections, both the Big 10 pitcher and player of the year were picked, with the former going to Arizona. Shaffer had a tremendous year, posting a 6-to-1 K-to-BB ratio while holding down a 2.66 ERA in 16 starts. He has three above-average offerings, and while his fastball sits in the low-90s it plays up due to above-average command. He has a ceiling as a No. 3 starter at the pro level, which is pretty good for a sixth-rounder.
Runner-up: No. 183 overall, RHP Oliver Jaskie, Seattle Mariners
No. 207 overall, C/1B Evan Skoug, Chicago White Sox
The White Sox nabbed three of the top hitters from the college ranks in rounds 1-3, and after snagging three pitchers, they went back to that route in the seventh, picking up Skoug, who was widely expected to be off the board by the end of the third round. His performance dipped slightly in 2017, but he finished the season with a flourish, and a team-leading 20 home runs. He likely won’t stick behind the plate as a pro, but he has the tools to move to first.
Runner-up: No. 223 RHP Jackson Tetreault, Washington Nationals
No. 252 overall, RHP Eli Morgan, Cleveland Indians
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better changeup than Morgan’s in this draft class. He doesn’t have great size and there’s virtually no projection left beyond his upper-80s/low-90s fastball, but don’t expect that to damper the right-hander’s enthusiasm as he attempts to become a member of an exclusive club of starting pitchers who are 5’10” or smaller. If he doesn’t stick as a starter, Morgan would make a serviceable middle reliever.
Runner-up: No. 255 overall, 3B Austin Filiere, Chicago Cubs
No. 266 overall, 1B/3B Sean Bouchard, Colorado Rockies
Bouchard was a highly touted prospect coming out of high school, but had such a strong commitment to UCLA that he went undrafted. He scuffled during his first two years, but really found his footing on a subpar offensive Bruins squad in 2017. An athletic defender, he played mostly first base, but could probably handle third at the pro level. He shouldn’t hit for much average, but his power is intriguing.
Runner-up: No. 261 overall, LHP Jared Poche, Oakland Athletics
No. 287 overall, RHP Robby Howell, Cincinnati Reds
The 2017 AAC pitcher of the year, Howell went 10-1 as a senior and leaves UCF with his name all over the record books. He doesn’t have tremendous stuff, but he’s got more grit than most. He pitches more to contact, and therefore doesn’t rack up many strikeouts. As a result, he should be able to eat innings as a pro, assuming he doesn’t get knocked out of games in the early innings.
Runner-up: No. 312 overall, SS Jesse Berardi, Cleveland Indians
No. 335 overall, RHP Garett King, Detroit Tigers
King doesn’t fit the profile that normally attracts the attention of Detroit’s front office, but he’s got a good fastball that he locates well enough, and a curveball that has a chance to be above-average. He showed tremendous progress after a move into the rotation in 2017, and if he continues to develop, he’ll be one of the best value picks from this draft class.
Runner-up: No. 319 overall, RHP Justin Lewis, Tampa Bay Rays
No. 354 overall, OF Je’Von Carrier-Ward, Milwaukee Brewers
Ward fits the toolsy mold that the Brewers have preferred the past few years. He’s still pretty raw, but the skill-set he offers is intriguing: plus speed, above-average raw power, and near-unlimited range in centerfield. The cons include questions about his bat, and whether he’ll be able to make consistent contact, and a strong commitment to USC.
Runner-up: No. 367 overall, RHP/1B Bryson Hutchinson, New York Mets
No. 379 overall, C Erik Ostberg, Tampa Bay Rays
Ostberg was in the midst of a season for the ages, leading college baseball in numerous offensive categories, when he tore his PCL and was lost for the season. He did hit .340 and drew more walks than strikeouts during his sophomore campaign, so his bat may in fact be real, but with less than half a season’s worth of at-bats, he found it hard to endear himself to scouts. He’s solid defensively, so if he can continue to improve at the plate, he’ll be a tremendous value.
Runner-up: No. 393 overall, RHP Luis Alvarado, Seattle Mariners
No. 432, SS Oscar Serratos, Cleveland Indians
Serratos is one of the more projectable shortstop prospects from this high school class, and while he’ll likely spurn an offer from Cleveland and head to Georgia Tech, there’s a greater likelihood that the can sign him than the other big name drafted in the 14th round (Garrett Mitchell). Serratos has above-average speed and a plus arm, but at 6’3” and 185 pounds, he may outgrow the position. His offensive potential is way behind his defense.
Runner-up: No. 407, OF Brody Wofford, Cincinnati Reds
No. 442, OF Clayton Keyes, Arizona Diamondbacks
One of the top Canadian position prospects available in 2017, Keyes flashes three above-average tools: speed, arm strength and defense. He’s more raw at the plate, but he’s shown the ability to catch up to premium fastball velocity. He projects to hit for more power than average, and at 6’1″ and 215 pounds, doesn’t offer much more projection.
Runner-up: No. 454 overall, 1B/OF Terriez Fuller, St. Louis Cardinals
No. 488 overall, LHP Logan Allen, Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles haven’t hit many home runs after the 10th-round, over the past decade, which would make Allen quite the find if they’re able to sign him away from his commitment to FIU. Allen is your typical craft lefty, offering a low-90s fastball and two breaking balls with the chance to be average. What sets him apart, however, is his changeup and his command, which both flash above-average. Allen (5’11” and 175 lbs) will also have to overcome the difficulties faced by smaller pitchers.
Runner-up: No. 476, SS Alan Trejo, Colorado Rockies
No. 518 overall, SS/OF Greg Jones, Baltimore Orioles
Jones is even less likely to sign than Allen, but he’s also a significantly more impressive prospect. Offering some of the best speed in this draft class, Jones also has a strong arm and a chance to hit for average. He won’t offer much power, but his defense combined with his hit tool should make him a threat up the middle, either at short or in centerfield. Jones has a commitment to UNC-Wilmington.
Runner-up: No. 517 overall, RHP A.J. Labas, New York Mets
No. 547 overall, 3B Carl Stajduhar, New York Mets
Stajduhar was a two-time All-MW First-Teamer during his time at New Mexico, maintaining a career. 334 average while showing plenty of pop (54 doubles, 44 home runs). He won conference player of the year honors in 2016, but upped his game this past season, slugging .650 and leading the Lobos in several offensive categories. He won’t offer much value defensively, and he’ll strike out a whole lot at the pro level, but he has a ceiling as an everyday regular on a subpar team.
Runner-up: No. 536 overall, RHP Garrett Schilling, Colorado Rockies
No. 577 overall, RHP C.J. Van Eyk, New York Mets
If they can get him signed away from his commitment to Florida State, the Mets may have found a late-inning gem in Van Eyk. His fastball was up to 95 mph this spring, but he is usually pretty effective in the low-90s since the pitch has plenty of sink. His curveball flashes above-average, but his changeup is nothing to write home about. He was shut down after an outing that saw his velocity drop dramatically, and that coupled with his college commitment dropped him this far. If he’s healthy that is.
Runner-up: No. 557 overall, LHP Seth Lonsway, Cincinnati Reds