Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: January 29, 2017 with updates every month leading up to Draft Day.
Minnesota Twins: Alex Faedo, P, Florida
- The 6-5 220 lb pitcher went 6-1 with a 3.23 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 2015. Faedo led Florida with a 13-3 record while posting a 3.18 ERA and 133 strikouts in 104 and 2/3 innings. Faedo had a 4.61 ERA against other SEC teams and some teams have concerns about his mechanics, but most still consider Faedo the top pitcher in the 2017 MLB Draft at this time because of his 95-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, 93-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, his slider, and his changeup.
- Minnesota could take the best player available which is Vanderbilt outfielder Jeren Kendall. Minnesota already has Robbie Grossman at left fielder, Byron Buxton at center fielder, and Max Kepler at right fielder with outfielder Alex Killorn their 2016 first round pick in their farm system. There is no question that Kendall, Buxton, and Killorn could form one of the MLB's best outfielder tandems by 2020, but I also believe Minnesota has a much greater need at pitcher so they may end up going with Alex Faedo here and that's still a good pick since he caused Nick Senzel the second overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft to go 1/5 while Senzel went off on Florida's other starters that got drafted in 2016.
Cincinnati Reds: Jeren Kendall, CF, Vanderbilt
- The Cincinnati Reds need help everywhere. The Reds passed on Kyle Lewis and Corey Ray for third baseman Nick Senzel who is a rare infielder with the versatility to play all 4 positions third base, shortstop, second base, or first base.
- Outfielder Jeren Kendall was probably the third best outfielder in College Baseball in 2016 after Kyle Lewis and Corey Ray. The 6-0 190 lb Kendall is considered a slight favorite over Faedo to be the top pick, and I see the Reds taking Kendall or Faedo at 2 depending on who the Twins pass on with the top pick.
- Kendall had a .353 batting average in 2015. Kendall had a .332 batting average, 9 home runs, and 59 RBI's in 2016. Kendall has the home run hitting, line drive, grounder, or bunt that teams covet. Kendall is also an excellent base stealer and can throw the ball with incredible velocity and timing out of the outfield. Kendall has excellent defensive skills as he played left fielder in 2015, right fielder in 2016, and will play center fielder for Vanderbilt in 2017.
- Jeren Kendall is a complete bat with the versatility to play all 3 outfield positions. That's what makes him the top prospect for 2017 at this point in 2016.
San Diego Padres: Hunter Greene, P, Notre Dame HS (CA)
- San Diego could use one more pitcher to anchor their rotation. I felt like the Padres really reached for Cal Quantrill who has durability concerns.
- Hunter Greene of Notre Dame High School which is located in Sherman Oaks, California and is also known as Sherman Oaks High School is the same Sherman Oaks where Jimmy Clausen played High School Football in case anyone cared. Greene is a special talent and the top high school arm.
- Hunter Greene went 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA in 2014. Greene improved on that with a 3-2 record and a 1.77 ERA in 2015. Greene went 5-3 with a 1.63 ERA in 2016. Greene gets better each year. He already has a 95-mile per hour 4-seam fastball and a 94-mile per hour 2-seam fastball. Greene does not have the variety of pitches that Faedo provides, but you can argue he has more velocity on tape. Greene needs to develop the rest of his pitches,
- The 6-3 185 lb pitcher also plays shortstop on his High School team. Greene will most likely work to become a starting pitcher once drafted in the MLB.
Tampa Bay Rays: Kyle Wright, P, Vanderbilt
- Tampa Bay takes the top pitcher here. At this point that is the 6-4 220 lb Kyle Wright.
- Kyle Wright was a closer for Vanderbilt in 2015. He surpassed Jordan Sheffield to become the #1 starter in Vanderbilt's rotation in 2016. Wright went 8-4 with a 3.09 ERA. Wright had 107 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings. Sheffield has a 95-mile per hour 4-seam fastball and a 92-mile per hour 2-seam fastball. Wright has the pitching accuracy, command, and baseball IQ that teams look for so he may be a top 5 pick.
Atlanta Braves: J.J. Schwartz, C, Florida
- Atlanta needs a catcher. Even though J.J. Schwartz struggled in 2016 after dominating in 2015, he's still projected to be a clean up batter that bats 3rd or 4th in an MLB lineup. Atlanta needs an upgrade at catcher and Schwartz is the top catcher in 2017.
Oakland Athletics: Alex Toral, 1B, Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL)
- The Athletics should upgrade their infield. Alex Toral batted .310 in 2016. Toral is the top high school bat in the 2017 MLB Draft and makes a lot of sense for Oakland at this pick.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Tanner Houck, P, Missouri
- The Diamondbacks add another arm. The 6-5 202 lb Tanner Houck went 5-6 with a 2.99 ERA. He may need to win more games, but Houck has great command on his pitches plus he had 3 complete games and 2 complete game shutouts in 2016. Houck has a 95-mile per hour 4-seam fastball and a 92-mile per hour 2-seam fastball.
Philadelphia Phillies: J.B. Bukauskas, P, North Carolina
- Philadelphia goes with a pitcher here. J.B. Bukauskas went 5-3 with a 4.09 ERA in 2015. Bukauskas improved on that with a 7-2 record and 3.10 ERA. Bukauskas is undersized at 6-0 196 lbs.
Milwaukee Brewers: Mark Vientos, SS, Charles W. Flanagan HS (FL)
- Delvin Perez failed a drug test two days before the MLB Draft. That's what kept him from going in the top 5. Milwaukee gets another shortstop in Mark Vientos here in 2017.
- Mark Vientos batted .333 as a freshman in 2014. He batted .338 in 2015 and only batted .200 in 2016. You have to look past that with Vientos though since he can hit home runs with his power bat, line drives, grounders, or bunts.
- The 6-4 185 lb bat needs to get stronger to fill out his frame. Vientos has the versatility to play third baseman, shortstop, second baseman, or first baseman with his versatility on tape like Nick Senzel did out of Tennessee and that makes Vientos a top 10 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft.
Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim: Brendan McKay, P, Louisville
- The 6-2 212 lb Brendan McKay went 12-4 with a 2.80 ERA. McKay only has a 93-mile per hour 4-seam fastball and a 91-mile per hour 2-seam fastball. McKay seems like he has the potential to develop into a quality starter so I can see how McKay would be a top 10 pick.
Chicago White Sox: Quentin Holmes, CF, Monsignor McClancey HS (NY)
- Quintin Holmes is a top 10 prospect and high school bat on some boards. Taking Holmes makes a lot of sense for the White Sox at 11.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Alex Scherff, P, Prestonwood Christian HS (TX)
- Alex Scherff went 11-2 with a 0.65 ERA in 2015 as a sophomore. Scherff dominated as a junior as well having the ideal fastball along with excellent size at 6-5 225 lbs heading into his senior season.
Previous Pick: Hagen Danner, P, Huntington Beach HS (CA)
Miami Marlins: Hans Crouse, P, Dana Hills HS (CA)
- The Marlins grab another arm here. Hans Crouse had an ERA of 3.00 as a freshman in 2014. In 2015, Crouse went 6-1 with a 1.80 ERA. Crouse went 5-4 with a 1.15 ERA as a junior in 2016. Crouse heads into his senior season with a deadly fastball and possible the best curveball for a high school pitcher.
Kansas City Royals: Royce Lewis, SS, JSerra HS (CA)
- The 6-2 188 lb Royce Lewis batted .391 in 2016. Royce Lewis can play shortstop, second base, first base, third base, left fielder, center fielder, or right fielder with his versatility. I think that versatility along with his power bat and speed makes Royce Lewis a top 15 pick.
Previous Pick: Colton Hock, P, Stanford
Houston Astros: Trevor Rogers, P, Carlsbad HS (NM)
- The Astros take the best player available. Trevor Rogers is a 6-5 190 lb pitcher with 3-plus pitches with his fastball, curveball, and slider.
Previous Pick: Tristan Beck, P, Stanford
New York Yankees: Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State
- Jake Burger is a top 10 prospect. He had a .349 batting average and 21 home runs in 2016. Burger fell to 16 due to a lot of teams being set at third baseman.
Seattle Mariners: Tanner Burns, P, Decatur HS (AL)
- Tanner Burns is a project. The 6-0 205 lb pitcher has a fastball that goes up to 97 miles per hour.
Detroit Tigers: Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
- Pavin Smith had a .302 batting average as a freshman in 2015. Smith posted a .329 batting average in 2016. Smith gives Detroit a successor to Miguel Cabrera.
San Francisco Giants: Alex Lange, P, LSU
- The Giants go with the 6-3 201 lb Alex Lange who went 12-0 with a 1.97 ERA as a true freshman in 2015 with 114 strikeouts. Lange went 8-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 2016 doing much worse. He's still a first round pick due to his 95-mile per hour 4-seam fastball on tape.
New York Mets: Jordon Adell, CF, Ballard HS (KY)
- Jordon Adell is a natural home run batter for Ballard High School. Adell may be the top home run bat in High School. Adell is a perfect fit for the Mets with Curtis Granderson now 35-years-old.
Baltimore Orioles: Ricardo De La Torre, SS, Puerto Rico
- Baltimore drafts the top shortstop from Puerto Rico. After Carlos Correa and Delvin Perez, the next best shortstop from Puerto Rico is Ricardo De La Torre.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jayson Gonzalez, 3B, Bishop Amat HS (CA)
- Jose Bautista is set to be a Free Agent. Toronto drafts another batter hoping to find Bautista's replacement at DH.
- Jayson Gonzalez is the top batter that can play DH. Gonzalez is a natural third baseman and I have him listed as a third baseman even though Toronto has Josh Donaldson. In this situation Gonzalez would be a designated hitter.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Cole Turnley, RF, William B. Travis HS (TX)
- The Dodgers have the luxury of taking the best player available. Cole Turnley is the top player available. Turnley has the versatility to play left fielder, center fielder, or right fielder.
Boston Red Sox: Hagen Danner, P, Huntington Beach HS (CA)
- Hagen Danner was a hero in the 2011 Little League World Series. Nearly six years later, Danner has a chance to get drafted in the first round.
Previous Pick: Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach HS (CA)
Washington Nationals: Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach HS (CA)
- The Nationals take the best player available. Nick Pratto gives you a future first baseman. Pratto joins teammate Hagan Danner as the only other member of Huntington Beach HS in the first round.
Previous Pick: K.J. Harrison, C, Oregon State
Texas Rangers: Kyle Hurt, P, Torrey Pines HS (CA)
- Kyle Hurt had 2 relief appearances with 1 save and an ERA of 0.00 as a freshman in 2014. Hurt got his first start in 2015 with a 1.66 ERA. Hurt started 11 games as a junior going 8-2 with a 1.46 ERA. Hurt has excellent command and velocity with his pitches. Hurt has a 94-mile per hour 4-seam fast ball along with a deadly sinker. Hurt may be high school baseball's version of Jon Lester since he has impressed me on tape with his 4-seamer and sinker with almost the same miles per hour as Lester. Hurt does not have Lester's size at 6-4 240 lbs, but he is big for a high school pitcher at 6-3 205 lbs heading into his senior year of high school so he does have time fill out his frame and add enough muscle where he is like Lester size. Hurt may be the one player in the back half of this draft that can surge into the top 15, but he needs a strong 2017 season to do that.
Chicago Cubs: Tristan Beck, P, Stanford
- The Cubs take the best player available. Tristan Beck is a sophomore redshirt making him eligible for the 2017 MLB Draft.
Previous Pick: Drew Rasmussen, P, Oregon State
Toronto Blue Jays: Colton Hock, P, Stanford
- Colton Hock will be an awesome bullpen pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. Hock went 4-5 with a 2.03 ERA leading Stanford with 6 saves and 0 starts. Hock is the top relief pitcher in the 2017 MLB Draft.
Texas Rangers: D.L. Hall, P, Houston County HS (TX)
- D.L. Hall is an awesome value pick at this point. Hall gives Texas a local prospect.
Chicago Cubs: Drew Rasmussen, P, Oregon State
- Drew Rasmussen has the makings of a first round pitcher on tape. Rasmussen can start or play in your bullpen. Rasmussen pitched 106 innings with a 2.80 ERA in 2015. Rasmussen started 4-1 with a 3.40 ERA in 6 starts before a season ending injury. Rasmussen has a fastball that can go up to 97-miles per hour. Chapman may become a Free Agent in 2016 so you can draft a pitcher and groom him to be a relief pitcher pretty quickly if that's what you are looking for.