The Major League Baseball draft starts on Monday and will run through Wednesday evening. There are 40 rounds in the draft and the Reds will be selecting 41 players (they get an extra pick in the Compensation round, pick #32 overall). But, what most people care about more than anything is that 1st pick the team will make at #2 overall in the draft. Below is my personal draft board for the Top 10 players eligible in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft. Scouting reports for those players are linked in the table, and for those without links, I’ll have reports on them below.
|2||Austin Beck||OF||North Davidson HS (NC)|
|3||MacKenzie Gore||LHP||Whiteville HS (NC)|
|4||Hunter Greene||RHP||Notre Dame HS (CA)|
|5||Royce Lewis||SS||Jserra HS (CA)|
|7||Shane Baz||RHP||Concordia Lutheran HS (TX)|
|8||JB Bukauskas||RHP||North Carolina|
|10||Jordon Adell||OF||Ballard HS (KY)|
I’ve already written up scouting reports on eight of the guys in my Top 10. The two that I haven’t covered are Adam Hasely and Shane Baz. We’ll jump into those before getting a little bit further into My Top 10 Draft Board.
Adam Haseley Scouting Report
The Virginia outfielder has been hitting well all spring. He finished up his Junior season by hitting .390/.491/.659 with 16 doubles, a triple and 14 home runs. He also walked 44 times and struck out just 21 times in 270 plate appearances.
Adam Haseley plays center field for Virginia, though for much of the spring there’s been talk that he may not be able to stick there. If a team is willing to have a center fielder that’s a tad below-average defensively, but can really hit, he’s a perfect fit. He’s got good bat speed, he projects to hit for a good average, he’s got average pop in his bat that would play better in center than if he had to slide over to right field in the future. His plate approach is strong and he’s got a good understanding of the strikezone.
The defensive questions have subsided as the spring has gone along, but there’s got to still be a little concern there. Speed wise he grades out a tad bit lower than your typical center fielder does, and he’s never going to be confused with a fast center fielder. There’s also the 2-way player factor. Haseley has also started 11 games this spring on the mound and like with Brendan McKay, there’s a belief that he could improve by focusing only on one aspect. Unlike McKay, though, everyone believes his future is away from the mound. For a team that believes he’s got enough speed to play center field, his bat could play very well at the position.
Shane Baz Scouting Report
Shane Baz seems like the forgotten prospect of the draft in my mind. The right hander is 6′ 3″ and 190 lbs. His fastball works in the 92-95 MPH range and he’s reached 98. The velocity alone is enough to warrant a 1st round selection, but there’s a lot more to like.
The right hander from Texas also throws a cutter, a slider, a curveball and a change up. His cutter is a plus offering today in the mid-to-upper 80’s. His slider and curveball both have plus potential in the future and he’s shown a change up that could be average down the line as well.
The one concern with the righty is that at times he will have lapses of control problems. He’s got everything you want to see from a high school pitcher: Velocity, size, clean mechanics, multiple pitches that are good today and project well moving forward, and he’s very athletic.
The Draft Board
Kyle Wright ranks at the top of my draft board. I just believe that he’s easily got the best upside combined with safeness in the entire draft. His stuff matches up with everyone and there’s no concerns at all about whether or not he’s a starter. He’s as advanced on the mound as anyone within shouting distance of the first round and those that are as advanced don’t come close to matching his overall arsenal. He’s a clear #1 for me.
The next group of seven are all very closely tied together. I could make the case if I tried hard enough to rank them in any given order. For the most part, they’ve all got plenty of strength, but one weakness or concern that could push them down the list. Austin Beck just oozes athleticism and tools, and maybe it’s just my bias towards players with this profile, but he’s the #2 guy for me.
Ranking MacKenzie Gore ahead of Hunter Greene and Brendan McKay may turn some heads. I’ll put the lefty ahead of Greene because I think he’s a much more advanced pitcher today, has less to learn and improve upon and still has plenty of upside. He doesn’t throw as hard as Greene, but he seems more advanced in every other aspect of the game. Brendan McKay may be safer than Gore, and the two do have similar profiles overall as lefties, but I feel that Gore’s the tiniest bit ahead of him overall because I’ve heard better reports on the velocity and think he’s got a little bit of projection left in there. Perhaps you could say the same for McKay is he only focuses on pitching.
Hunter Greene is a real wild card. Everyone knows about the 102 MPH fastball, but that’s not where he pitches at. He’s been more in the mid-90’s and touching the upper 90’s in his very limited action this spring. From a velocity standpoint, he’s at the highest level in the draft. The secondary stuff draws concerns from some scouts, though others feel better about it. There are just too many mixed reports on it for me to put him ahead of Gore, though I completely get the side that would rank him higher.
Royce Lewis didn’t exactly blow away the competition like you normally see from top of the 1st round caliber player. But, he’s definitely got the kinds of tools that you see from those kinds of players and he flashed them enough from the reports I’ve read to believe he’s got a chance to be an All-Star.
Shane Baz, who I covered above, slots in at the back end of this group of players. After him I believe there’s a small gap to JB Bukauskas. The concerns that he’s going to wind up in the bullpen outweigh the fact that he may have the best 1-2 combo in the entire draft, but the small chance he can remain a starter because of that combo keeps him in the Top 10.
The final two spots go to the outfielders Adam Haseley and Jordon Adell. For Haseley, the bat certainly seems like it will play well enough. The concerns about his defense, specifically that he may eventually wind up in right field cause some pause and put him in the last tier within the Top 10. For Jordon Adell, he stacks up with anyone on a tools basis, even Austin Beck who I’ve got up at #2. There are just too many questions revolving around areas he needs to improve on to put him in a tier any higher. There’s no doubt that he could wind up the best player from this draft when all is said and done, but the safety is also the smallest among the entire group in the top 10.