Thursday, June 15, 2017

2017 MLB Draft Review


I usually enjoy the MLB Draft live, every single year, but this year I DVR'd the 2017 MLB Draft, while recording the MLB Network's Top 50 Draft Prospects & the Pre-Draft Show as well... but I had to honor my buddy by going out to his bachelor party. The cool thing about having it recorded, I can sit & analyse the picks while skipping through the commercials.

Through the years, I have witnessed many of today's superstars getting drafted live on the MLB Network, the most notable picks being Mike Trout (who was there in person in 2009) getting drafted among his family members, I remember when Madison Bumgarner got drafted (#10 overall / 2007), and I remember watching Rick Porcello falling to the Detroit Tigers for a steal at pick #27 of the 1st Round (2007).

This year, the 1st place Minnesota Twins had the 1st Overall pick in the draft, in which they drafted Royce Lewis, an OF/SS, which they drafted as an outfielder. Lewis is among the top players in the draft with the most offensive tools, he has strong extra-base ability in which he may develop pop later; Plenty of speed (projecting 70) & has great base-running capability.

Although this is a great pick & he was projected to be drafted in the top 5 (projected 5th by MLB.com), I was surprised to hear MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announce his name, I was expecting to hear Hunter Greene or Brendan McKay or even Kyle Wright's name. They do have certain allotments that can be spent on the first couple rounds combined, so when the Twins stole 3rd Round pick - Blaine Enlow (RHP) at #76 overall, they may have been playing to a strategy in that way. 

The Cincinnati Reds made the biggest splash at #2 overall, which they drafted two-way star Hunter Greene out of Notre Dame High School -- which has produced two other 1st Rounders in SS-Tim Foli (#1 Overall / 1968) & Jack McDowell (#5 Overall / 1987): The high school has also produced OF-Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins) and two-time World Champion GM Pat Gillick.

Hunter Greene on the cover of SI 

The Reds are taking Greene as a starting pitcher, he's got a plus fastball that consistently hits triple digits, topping out at 102. It's easy to say that he would have also been taken as a 1st-Round position player (Shortstop) as well, but he belongs on the mound. He has excellent control, rarely walks, while he will be learning to add a second pitch with a slider, already knows how to mix in a good changeup from time to time in games. He has amazing athleticism & is as good as it gets for top draft stars.

Greene: All smiles, placing his name on the board.
I really like this kid, he's also got a great head on his shoulders, and is very humble; His family already had to deal with adversity with his sister's battle with Leukemia (which she is now in remission). I also agree with the MLB analysts on draft day, that the Cincinnati Reds suddenly had the #1 Overall pick. 

I really love the next three picks (#3 through #5) as they fit the organizations that drafted them perfectly...

The San Diego Padres made their fans proud, by selecting LHP-MacKenzie Gore... Fans will love his athleticism & competitiveness, his delivery has a deceptive approach that appears to be a pitching hybrid (according to John Smoltz) of Tom Glavine meets Mark Langston, while similar to Arizona's Robbie Ray. MacKenzie put up Playstation-like numbers at Whiteville High School (N.C.), going 12-1 with a 0.08 ERA with 174 strikeouts in 83.1 innings.

MacKenzie Gore - 3rd Overall pick for the Padres.

The legit two-way phenom Brendan McKay, who is so good at both sides of the Baseball spectrum, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays at 4th overall as a 1st Baseman. He was happy with whatever decision any franchises chooses for him, but plans to hopefully do both. McKay won the John Olerud Award in college baseball as best two-way star, his 1st two seasons at the University of Louisville. Considered the best college bat in the draft, while leading the U.S. National Team in hitting (.326) & On-Base Percentage (.424).

The Wright Stuff: Kyle Wright finds himself with his favorite team (Braves).

I love the 5th Overall pick in Kyle Wright for the Atlanta Braves, he's a Tennessee native that grew up loving the Braves, while he played for Vanderbilt & will be united with Vanderbilt alum Dansby Swanson (Braves' starting shortstop). Wright joins a long & impressive list of Vanderbilt pitching stars drafted in the Majors, in David Price (2007), Sonny Gray (2011), Mike Minor (2009), Carson Fulmer (2015) & Walker Buehler (2015)... while joining Price, Minor, Fulmer & Casey Weathers (2007) as the only Vanderbilt guys drafted as a Top-10 overall pick draft selection.
















As you can see, above, the top 5 projected players (rank) were all drafted, just all scrambled -- those were givens for the very top. The rest of the 1st round was least predictable, and always has a surprise, steal or head-scratcher among those picks...

Head-Scratchers

The Milwaukee Brewers' pick of 2B-Keston Hiura had me scratching my head, he was limited to DH duties in college due to a hurt throwing arm, he'll likely get Tommy John Surgery quickly after he signs with the Brewers. He has quick bat speed, and has hit everywhere he goes, while being one of the highlights of Team USA during the summer of 2016... His bat is not the question, it's where he fits defensively, he will likely play OF, personally I think he's a bit stocky for a second baseman, and it may not be a bad idea to see him at first (his defense needs work). I don't think he would have been a bad pick, late 1st Round, but the Brewers taking him at 9th Overall (while projected 22nd) is a tad early.

Everyone knows my 'love' for the Chicago White Sox, that's sarcasm my friends, I despise them... but anyways, but I question what they were thinking with taking 3B-Jake Burger, watching him play third on defense, made me question quickly, why is he playing third? Appears a bit pudgy, and I was relieved to hear one of the MLB analysts say he would be better fitted at first... Thank you! That's what I was thinking! On film, while fielding at third, I saw a young Bob Horner, which can be a good thing... Burger, by the way, is a strong college bat with power, in a draft that lacks college bats, that should be mentioned, but taking him 11th overall (while projected to be 16th) could have been better spent on a player like 1B-Nick Prattas (who was selected by the Royals at 14th overall). 

High Risk or High Rewards?: Nationals' Seth Romero will answer that soon.
The Washington Nationals took hot-head Seth Romero, in hopes to possibly rushing the talented pitcher through the minors, due to a solid strikeout plus arm that's already being dubbed MLB-ready, he could be pitching in this upcoming post-season as bullpen help for the Nats in the same way, as Brandon Finnegan helped the Royals a few years back. His draft stock plummeted prior to the draft due to off-field issues that netted him a suspension which he missed four starts, and then another altercation that kicked him off the team (University of Houston) permanently. He has a plus-fastball, with bite to his slider & improved change-up. Entering the draft he went from a sure-thing top 10 pick to possible non-1st Round pick, the Nats made a splash regardless at 25th overall -- where Romero goes from here, is up to him.

Surprises

With the New York Yankees taking RHP-Clarke Schmidt, you could almost hear the disbelief in the studio audience; The MLB analysts also mentioned their surprise as well, Schmidt was projected to be taken 49th overall (according to MLB.com), due to blowing out his elbow this past April, which will require Tommy John Surgery. 

Giants draft some raw upside power in Heliot Ramos.
A surprise, yet not a surprise, if you follow the San Francisco Giants. The Giants have been known to grab guys regardless where they are projected, and have done a great job regardless... as they draft an outfielder with solid raw power with offensive upside in Heliot Ramos, a Puerto Rico native; There seemed to be a debate in where he falls in the draft, the Giants made their thoughts known as they took Ramos at 19th overall (projected at #40 by MLB.com). Honestly, from what I have seen, I have a good feeling about this one.

J.B. Bukauskas falling to 15th overall, was not really a surprise, considering that many of the experts had him falling on their charts as well, at one time he was projected 7th overall on many lists. I will put him under the 'Surprise' column for 'Don't Be Surprised' to see him possibly making it up to the big leagues, pitching for the Houston Astros in the playoffs, he will be rushed, as he will be told to concentrate simply on his fastball & slider. Likely a reliever for his MLB career.

Steals

Al Faedo - 18th selection by the Detroit Tigers.
The Detroit Tigers drafting RHP-Alex Faedo (University of Florida) at #18 overall; He was projected at #4 according to the Sporting News' 2017 Baseball Yearbook, while being projected as high as #8 by Baseball America & #11 by MLB.com. Faedo is no stranger to the Tigers, who selected Faedo in the 40th Round of the 2014 MLB Draft, but didn't sign as he decided to go pitch for the Gators. 

Faedo entered the spring as a potential #1 overall pick, but minor arthroscopic knee surgery & an uneven Junior season knocked his stock down a bit; His delivery is very similar to that of former big-leaguer Kevin Appier, with his deception. As a Tiger fan, I am thrilled with this pick, and as a Tiger fan was not surprised that we took (yet) another pitcher for our 1st pick.

Adam Haseley, drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies at 8th Overall, was an excellent pick for the Phillies, as they took a Jacoby Ellsbury-type of outfielder for the 2nd consecutive year (last year they took similar Mickey Moniak). 

At one time, Haseley was projected as a possible starting pitcher, projected as a smaller left-handed Scott Kazmir... while his hitting style reminds some of Red Sox' rookie Andrew Benintendi, another left-handed hitter who may develop power as time goes on. Another comparison is Mark Kotsay & I believe I read Aaron Rowand

Sure, you can't label a projected 10th pick, to be a steal at 8th, but.... I personally feel that Oakland should have taken Haseley at 6th overall, and from what I have gathered online it appears the Athletics' bloggers felt he would be taken by Oakland as well, compared to their choice of Austin Peck, who was projected to be 9th. 

DL Hall has all of the ability, just needs to add strength.

The Orioles selection of LHP-DL Hall taken at 21st overall, may be the biggest steal of the draft, a projected 14th overall pick, he fell to the Orioles. His command is excellent, as he compares to Scott Kazmir, some scouts project that he could add more strength to make him more physical down the road. I love the movement on his pitches, and feel that if he gets stronger, more K's will make their way onto the stat sheet.

My last one for the most notable draft steals, goes to the Minnesota Twins selecting RHP-Blayne Enlow, he has such a smooth delivery that I was hoping my Tigers would get him; The Twins selected him at #76th overall to kick off the 3rd Round. He was projected at 29th overall, and has the upside of being a front-line starter, I believe the reason he was taken so late, was due to the history of the 4 previous big leaguers (Kim Batiste, Reid Brignac, Andy Sheets & Ben Sheets) to come out of his high school, St. Amant High School (La.) all went straight to college. He may have the best breaking ball out of the high schoolers from this draft class, while he will probably be developing a change-up to add to his repertoire. 

This concludes my 1st ever MLB Draft Review for Boys of Summer, I hope you all enjoyed. I really enjoy watching the draft year after year, and watching the players' developments to the big leagues... remembering moments like this....



1 comment:

  1. You don't like the Pale Hose? *snicker* Who does? ;-)

    ReplyDelete

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