MLB Draft 2017: Scouting Reports for Top Major League Baseball Prospects – Bleacher Report
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The teams that will kick off Monday’s MLB draft face potentially franchise-altering decisions.
Although there’s no consensus No. 1 pick, one can argue no can’t-miss prospect has truly existed since Bryce Harper. There’s far more volatility in baseball’s amateur selection process, but a pair of two-way talents headline an intriguing class.
At least three players enter Major League Baseball’s offices in Secaucus, New Jersey, with a serious chance of being taken first by the Minnesota Twins. Let’s highlight those prominent options by observing various scouting reports.
Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, Notre Dame HS (Calif.)
Nearly no mock draft expects the most exciting prospect to go No. 1.
Hunter Greene could become the first right-handed high school pitcher selected with the first pick. Most analysts, however, don’t foresee the Twins gambling on the mega-upside prospect.
ESPN Insider Keith Law ranked Greene atop his big board, but he predicted the Cincinnati Reds snagging the “wunderkind” with a triple-digit heater. Although the two-way star is also Baseball America‘s top prospect, John Manuel has him settling for Cincinnati at No. 2 as well.
The teenager has captivated everyone’s attention with the “easiest mid-90s fastball you’ve ever seen,” as described by Law. Yet the premier shortstop doesn’t want to abandon the batter’s box.
“I’m 17, and I think it’s too early to give up the bat,” Greene told Law. “I haven’t fully matured yet.”
Minor League Ball’s John Sickels said that “except for the weight of history, Greene has everything in his favor” as a candidate for the top pick. He’s a potential marquee superstar the Twins would regret not taking because of past precedent.
Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt
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Compared to Greene, Kyle Wright is certainly the safer choice. The 21-year-old has spent three years at Vanderbilt, an elite college baseball program which has developed two other No. 1 picks (David Price and Dansby Swanson) over the past decade.
CBSSports.com’s Mike Axisa predicted the Twins will take the well-built righty because of his higher floor as a solid starter or dominant reliever.
“Wright has the best combination of upside and probability in the draft class, which is why the expectation is he winds up with Minnesota,” Axisa wrote. “He has now stuff in his mid-90 fastballs and knuckle-buckling curveball, and he has a big-league body at 6’4″ and 220 pounds.”
The junior finished his year with a 2.98 ERA for the Commodores, whose College World Series aspirations were dashed by top-seeded Oregon State. He registered 113 strikeouts to 28 walks, promising command improvements that should fortify his standing as a top-five lock.
Hero Sports’ Christopher Crawford compared him to John Lackey, noting solid secondary pitches but occasional lapses in consistency. He cautioned anyone from viewing Wright as a “fast-track arm” who will parlay his SEC experience and strong stuff into brief minor league tours, so get deceived into viewing the safer option as anything close to a sure thing.
Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Louisville
Brendan McKay made his final case for No. 1 consideration on Saturday. In a Super Regional win over Kentucky, the southpaw recorded nine strikeouts to no walks over 6.2 innings. Per NCAA.com’s Anthony Chiusano, the junior set the program record for career strikeouts.
He’s also hitting .338 with 17 home runs, leading The Ringer’s Michael Baumann to describe his season as “if Clayton Kershaw were also a better version of Anthony Rizzo when he’s not pitching.” Per Axisa, scouts consider him a top-five prospect on the mound and at first base.
Where will he play in the majors? How about both? Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell promoted the benefit of a team “getting two players with one pick and one dollar value” to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. While he said McKay would oblige by the franchise’s wishes, he doesn’t think the top talent wants to quit either position.
“Brendan is respectful and he’ll do what’s best for an organization,” McDonnell said. “But I think in his mind, he really thinks he can do both. There’s no way he wants to shut the door on either one.”
Sickels cited positional scarcity for preferring McKay on the mound. No first baseman was selected in last year’s opening round, so whoever spends premium draft capital on the versatile 21-year-old will likely agree. The Reds or San Diego Padres, who pick No. 3, could also utilize his bat as a National League pitcher.
Either way, his deep skill set could entice organizations to think outside the box or snag someone with a feasible Plan B.