Continuing with our 2017 MLB Draft coverage, here’s a quick look at the National League Eastern Division results. The standard caveat applies: it takes five or six years before we really know how good a class was or wasn’t, but at least we can get some idea of the strategies employed.
1-5) Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt University
2-41) Drew Waters, OF, Woodstock, Georgia
3-80) Freddy Tarnok, RHP, Riverview, Florida
4-110) Troy Bacon, RHP, Santa Fe Junior College
5-140) Bruce Zimmerman, LHP, Mount Olive
6-170) Jordan Rodgers, 3B, University of Tennessee
ANALYSIS: The Braves love mining the south and southeast and they hit the jackpot here, snaring Kyle Wright, a possible first-overall pick, at number five. Waters in the second round drew first round consideration due to his blend of tools and skills and is good value there. Tarnok is more of a projection guy and will need development but can already hit 94-95; Bacon can hit 98 and showed decent control at the JC level. Zimmerman is a budget senior but posted a ridiculous 129/24 K/BB this year, while Rodgers (another senior) has a sharp glove and hit well this year. SLEEPERS: Several, including seventh round LHP Landon Hughes out of Georgia Southern (can hit 95) and 15th round 1B Austin Bush (UC Santa Barbara) who is bulky but has big power. IMPRESSION: It is hard to find anything to complain about here. There’s a mix of upside with interesting seniors for balance and getting Wright was a coup.
1-13) Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad, New Mexico
1B-36) Brian Miller, OF, University of North Carolina
2-51) Joe Dunand, 3B, North Carolina State University
3-89) Riley Mahan, 2B, University of Kentucky
4-119) Colton Hock, RHP, Stanford University
5-149) Ryan Lillie, RHP, UC Riverside
6-179) Taylor Braley, RHP, Southern Mississippi
ANALYSIS: As they did last year with Braxton Garrett the Marlins go with the high-upside high school lefty in the first round, but subsequent picks tilted strongly to the college ranks with an emphasis on performance. Rogers will need time but was widely mock-drafted at 13 or 14 so he fits here. Miller’s glove and on-base ability should get him to the majors quickly, while Dunand offers impact power and Alex Rodriguez bloodlines (A-Rod is his uncle) but an inconsistent track record. Mahan is a sparkplug type; while both Hock and Lillie can hit 95 but need innings to polish their pitchability. Braley hit 18 homers as a two-way star but was drafted for his 93 MPH fastball. SLEEPERS: Several, including Jan Mercado (13th round, C, Puerto Rico) who has an excellent glove and college performers Ben Fisher (1B, 21st round, Eastern Kentucky, power bat) and Gunner Leger (LHP, 26th round, Louisiana-Lafayette, changes speeds well). IMPRESSIONS: It might have been nice to add a few additional upside picks but Rogers is certainly a solid choice for long-term potential and the polished collegians should give the farm system needed depth
1-20) David Peterson, LHP, University of Oregon
2-59) Mark Vientos, 3B, Plantation, Florida
3-97) Quinn Brodey, OF, Stanford University
4-127) Tony Dibrell, RHP, Kennesaw State University
5-157) Matt Winaker, OF Stanford University
6-187) Marcel Renteria, RHP, New Mexico State University
ANALYSIS: Peterson destroyed college competition this year thanks to mechanical refinements boosting command of his fastball/slider/curve/change combination. He could reach the majors quickly as a number three or four starter. Vientos is one of the youngest players in the draft and has a highly promising bat but questions about his defense; he’ll need time but the upside is quite high. College picks were the following theme, with the Stanford pair offering power (Brodey) and a good eye with some athleticism (Winaker). Dibrell needs more polish than some of the other college arms but can hit 95 while Renteria can hit 96. SLEEPERS: Connor O’Neil (7th round, Cal State Northridge) and Trey Cobb (8th round, Oklahoma State) offer versatility while Matt Duce (14th round, Dallas Baptist) is a catcher with a strong glove and a chance to hit. IMPRESSIONS: Vientos is the big upside play while Peterson consistently exceeds expectations. Both Stanford bats bear close watching.
1-8) Adam Haseley, OF, University of Virginia
2-45) Spencer Howard, RHP, Cal Poly
3-83) Connor Seabold, RHP, Cal State Fullerton
4-113) Jack Scheiner, 3B, University of Houston
5-143) Ethan Lindow, LHP, Locust Grove, Georgia
6-173) Dalton Guthrie, SS, University of Florida
ANALYSIS: College success is the early theme here, with Haseley a polished bat with speed, defense, and improving power, Howard a combination of solid stuff (92-95) with command. Seabold also offers excellent control while Scheiner has substantial power but questions about his glove. Lindow is an upside lefty but will need development work, while Guthrie was a possible first rounder until suffering through shoulder and ankle injuries that sapped his tools and skills. SLEEPERS: There’s a lot of upside with seventh round pick Nick Maton (SS, Lincoln Land JC) and Jhordany Mezquita (LHP, from the Dominican Republic but a resident of Hazelton, Pennsylvania who was declared draft-eligible and can hit 90-92). 10th rounder Connor Brogdon (Lewis-Clark State) throws strikes with a good curve, while 17th rounder Austin Listi (OF-1B, Dallas Baptist) has loads of power. IMPRESSIONS: It’s a conservative draft on the surface but there’s some creative thinking here, notably with Lindow and Mezquita. Haseley has multi-threat potential and a healthy Guthrie would have gone four rounds sooner.
1-25) Seth Romero, LHP, University of Houston
2-65) Wil Crowe, RHP, University of South Carolina
3-103) Nick Raquet, LHP, William and Mary
4-133) Cole Freeman, 2B, Louisiana State University
5-163) Brigham Hill, RHP, Texas A&M
6-193) Kyle Johnston, RHP, University of Texas
ANALYSIS: The Nationals are risk-takers on draft day and they took one here with Romero, an early-first rounder on talent alone who got kicked off his college team for multiple violations of team rules and overall immature behavior. He could be a number two starter or a power reliever if he decides to grow up. Crowe shows first-round stuff but third-round performance, making him a bit of an enigma, while Raquet can hit 95-96 but has control issues. Freeman is fast and a cheap senior with a good track record; Hill and Johnston work in the 90s and could move quickly as relievers. SLEEPERS: Several college arms to pick from, with Jackson Tetreault (RHP, 7th round, State JC of Florida), 8th rounder Jared Brasher (RHP, Samford), and 12th-rounder Jackson Stoeckinger (LHP, JC of Central Florida) showing considerable upside. 15th rounder Bryce Montes de Oca from Missouri has a long injury history but hits 95-97 when he’s healthy. IMPRESSIONS: The Nationals drafted several lively arms from the college ranks who need more polish or have some sort of caution check on the resume, giving the pitching coaches plenty of raw material to work with.