The 2017 MLB draft is almost upon us. Here are some random musings about various players and the draft as a whole.
****It seems like we say this every year, but this morning’s rumors describe intense uncertainty and “an unpredictable, chaotic environment throughout the first round” according to John Manuel at Baseball America.
****No one knows who the Minnesota Twins will pick at number one. Brendan McKay seems the consensus choice but that’s hardly confirmed, and what the Twins do will impact every single subsequent pick. In such an environment, Mock Drafts, while unquestionably fun, aren’t worth the pixels on the screen.
****With that in mind, please remember that everything I am writing here is pure speculation and may bear little or no resemblance to reality.
****My guess is that in this environment we will see affordable college hitters go sooner than commonly expected. They are pretty scarce this year, and with the draft in chaos the combination of scarcity with the need to lock down affordable bonuses should benefit this category.
That would help players like Adam Haseley, Keston Hiura, Jake Burger, Evan White, and Logan Warmoth. Even Jeren Kendall, whose stock has been gradually slipping all spring, could end up closer to the top of the draft than generally mocked right now.
****Other College Bats Who Could Go Sooner Than Expected: Brent Rooker, Kevin Merrell, Brian Miller, Drew Ellis, J.J. Matijevic, Connor Wong.
****High school right-handers usually drop some on draft day compared to their pre-draft prospect ratings. This pattern should hold this year as well, impacting players like Shane Baz, Sam Carlson, Blayne Enlow, and Matt Sauer.
****In contrast, high school lefties MacKenzie Gore, D.L. Hall, and Trevor Rogers should hold their first round stock, provided their bonus demands are reasonable.
****On the other hand, there are always some high school pitchers who go sooner than expected. Players in this category could include Alex Scherff out of Colleyville, Texas; Caden Lemons from Vestavia Hills, Alabama; and Steven Jennings out of Smithville, Tennessee.
****Polished college pitching will be in demand as usual. Aside from the anticipated early names, arms to watch as possible sooner-than-expected picks include Corbin Martin from Texas A&M, Jake Thompson from Oregon State, Brian Shaffer from Maryland, and Cory Abbott from Loyola Marymount.