The MLB Draft is finally upon us and I’m sure about 10% of Razzball’s readership actually cares. It’s cool, I’ll sit here and nurture these babes into big strong fantasy studs, feeding them from my prospector teet. I’ll do the dirty work too, scolding the bad seeds, and killing off the runts. Wow, in two sentences I pissed off 90% of Razzball and animal rights folks. Picketers please stay off my newly planted grass, it’s taken rather well with the deluge of rain recently and I’d like to see it reach full lush maturity. Now back to the lecture at hand, this post is really just my big board from the most recent episode of the Prospect Podcast where Halp and I mocked out the Top 30. I’ll touch on each player so you’ll have a general familiarity with their skills and profile. I might also include turn-ons, and dream dates, but you’ll have to read and find out. As always there’s been lots of flips and flops in my ranks since I dropped my Top 10. So don’t judge me for being a dirty flip-flopper! Forgive me, I fell in love with some high schoolers…. ummmm I mean prep players. Found some reliable college studs…ummm hitters! So on and so forth. You get the point, it’s my MLB Draft Top 25 Fantasy Prospects.
1) Hunter Greene RHP, Norte Dame (CA): I took Hunter Greene first overall in the “First Annual Halph MLB Draft Mock”. This kid has it all, easy high 90’s to triple digit velocity, clean mechanics, a plus breaking pitch, and strong makeup. High school hurlers are always a risky pick, but Greene seems safer than the norm. Doesn’t hurt he has once in a generation talent upside.
2) Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic (CA): A true all around talent, 70 grade speed, one of the quicker bats in the draft, tons of athleticism, and plus raw power. He’s played 3rd base, short, and center, so he’s got some versatility. My guess is he ends up in the outfield long term.
3) Jordon Adell, OF Ballard (KY): To watch Adell is to love him, this kid’s a true specimen. Super freak athlete, who quelled concerns over the rawness of his plate approach by opening his stance, and focusing on improving his pitch recognition skills over the winter. Had a monster senior year slashing .562/.667/1.437, yes that’s his slugging %. That’ll happen when you hit 25 homers to just 10 strikeouts in 35 games.
4) Kyle Wright, RHP Vanderbilt: Doesn’t help that I just watched the 3rd inning of Vandy’s matchup with Oregon State, where Wright gave up 4 runs. I did get another good look at him though, and from a scouting perspective it’s all there. Athletic delivery, with clean repeatable mechanics, a nice low 90’s sinker, slider with some nasty bite, a four seamer with mid-90’s velo, and a cutter variation on the slider. College starter with high end number two upside in fantasy.
5) Adam Haseley, OF Virginia: Haseley added some loft to his swing and his power numbers took off in 2017, finding himself firmly entrenched in leader-boards for several statistical categories. Has the ability to hit the ball to all fields, and made consistent hard contact this season for UVA. Excellent strike zone awareness, and approach, as well as just enough speed to be dangerous.
6) Austin Beck, OF North Davidson (NC): The third in a trio of talented high school hitters at the top of my ranks. Easy all fields power, plus plus bat speed, plus runner, and tireless worker. Beck is a raw talent with loads of upside and risk. There’s the potential for a future all-star, and that’s what you’re gambling on.
7) Pavin Smith, 1B Virginia: A safe college bat, with recent reports of him putting on a show in a workout for the Phillies. Word is he was even working out a little in right field. Pavin is a safe college bat, had more homers (13), than strikeouts (12). Has the rare combo of contact and power, should be a very good major league hitter within a few years.
8) McKenzie Gore, LHP Whiteville (NC): Strike-throwing lefty with a great low 90’s fastball he can ramp up to 96. Manipulates the movement on his heater adding sink and cut when needed. Also mixes in two plus breaking balls in his 1 to 7 curve, and a low 80’s splitter, as well as a changeup that flashes plus. Crazy leg kick, but the mechanics are clean, could be a top 5 pick.
9) JB Bukauskas, RHP UNC: The “Ralph Special” of the draft, meaning a small righty with oodles of upside. Might be the owner of the singe best pitch in the draft in his slider, pairs it with a mid 90’s fastball, and an average changeup. Really lives off of the nastiness of that slider and how well he commands it, helps the fastball play up. Definitely some pen concerns, but there’s high end upside.
10) Brendan McKay, LHP/1B Louisville: Looks like McKay is going to get drafted as a lefty starter, and the rumor as of Saturday Night is that he’s the preferred choice at 1.1 to the Twins. McKay pitched Louisville to a 6-2 victory over rival Kentucky yesterday afternoon, striking out 9 over 6 2/3rds innings. Showed a solid fastball, and above average curve though neither pitch is plus, and he lives off his plus plus command and control. As a hitter he’s a power hitting first baseman with on base ability, I prefer him as a hitter, but I’m not sure I’ll get my wish. One of the best two way college players of all-time.
11) Jeren Kendall, OF Vanderbilt: This year’s Corey Ray, as Kendall is a very similar prospect. Speed, hard contact, and some swing and miss is the best way to describe his game. Despite dropping in some mocks his production was very good this year at Vandy, slashing .312/.379/.569 with 15 homers and 19 steals. True power/speed prospect that might come at a discount.
12) Nick Pratto, 1B Huntington Beach (CA): Another exciting prep bat. Approach with polish beyond his years, loose wrists, power to all fields. Gets loads of Joey Votto comps.
13) Shane Baz, RHP Concordia Lutheran (TX): The righty is one of my favorite pitching specs in the draft mixing 4 plus pitches in a mid-90’s fastball, high 80’s cutter, low 80’s slider, and a curve with top to bottom action and late dive.
14) Evan White, 1B Kentucky: Athletic first baseman with the ability to play in the outfield. There’s no doubts about the athleticism or hitting ability, but there are questions about the power. He’s never reached double digits in homers in any one season, still slashed .368/.450/.627 in 2017.
15) Jake Burger, 3B Missouri State: One of the top power bats in the draft, my podcast mate Michael Halpern likens him to Kevin Youkilis, and I’d agree with that comp. He’s a scrappy power bat, but one of the more decorated hitters in all of division 1.
16) Drew Waters, OF Etowah (GA): – Switch hitter, good speed, hits for power from both sides of the plate, makes lots of hard contact. He’s very raw compared to some of the other prep studs, there’s definitely some swing and miss to his game.
17) Keston Hiura, 2B UC Irvine: Led all of D1 in batting average and OBP, while being limited to strictly DH duties this season. Stud college bat that’s rare in this draft, possesses plus bat speed, good swing path, and great eye. Some scouts think he might be the top college hitter in the draft. Elbow issue makes him a risky pick, plus lack of defensive home.
18) Tristen Lutz, OF Martin (TX): Talented righthanded hitter with plus plus bat speed, and natural strength. Projects to be a power hitting corner outfielder with 25+ homer power.
19) Bubba Thompson, OF McGill-Toolen (AL): Raw athlete, football recruit as a quarterback, Thompson mixes plus bat speed, raw power, and 70 grade speed. Might be the most exciting player in the draft. Project type with loads of upside.
20) DL Hall, LHP Voldosta (GA): Lefty with a great curveball and mid 90’s heat, Hall has as much upside as any arm in the draft, but his control is inconsistent. True risk/reward type.
21) Logan Warmoth, SS UNC: Time for another safe college bat, 3 year starter at UNC, progressed each year as a hitter. There’s a track record of hitting with wood bats, he hit .270 with 4 homers in the Cape League. The power is mostly to his pull power side, but has an all fields approach when needed. Great arm, could stick at short, or move to second.
22) Nate Pearson, RHP JC of Central Florida: Hit 100 out of the bullpen, but works 94-97 as a starter, the fastball has some serious movement with late run and sink. His go to offspeed is his plus changeup, but has been developing a slider with slurvy action that has some projectability. Has answered the questions surrounding his command this season.
23) Heliot Ramos, OF Ledership Christian Academy (Puerto Rico): Loud tools, plus speed, has big raw power, hit a ball with a BBCOR bat a reported 500 feet! Has poor approach and a checkered history of hitting with a wood, but there’s a lot to dream on.
24) Seth Romero, LHP Houston (formerly) – Might have the electric stuff in the draft. Fastball, slider, change 3/4 slot on the fastball pitches inside with mid-90’s velocity. Slider with excellent bite. Could be a high K/9 starter or nasty end of the game reliever. Has a bit of problem with something, not sure what it is, but he’s not playing for Houston for a reason.
25) David Peterson, LHP Oregon: Art of pitching guy. Great use of his arsenal slider to the glove side and fastball and change to the arm side. Excellent K to Bb starter with three potentially plus pitches. Pro body and athleticism.
Other names: Stuart Fairchild OF Wake Forest, Trevor Rodgers, LHP Carlsbad (NM), Brian Miller OF UNC, Alex Faedo, RHP Florida, Griffin Canning, RHP UCLA, Brent Rooker OF Miss St.
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