2017 Amateur Draft Fantasy Baseball Rankings
I hate this year’s amateur draft. I really do. It’s miserable for fantasy baseball owners. The best talent is a high school pitcher, so at best we will see him in four years. There are plenty of college bats that I normally love, but a majority are first baseman and the track record of guys like that isn’t great.
Riveting introduction aside, here’s my top 30 for dynasty leagues from this year’s amateur draft. Obviously, where they end up will play a big role in this, and any questions please ask.
1. Hunter Greene, RHP/SS– Greene is advertised as a “generational talent” on the mound and he looks the part. He routinely hits 100 MPH (sits primarily 96-98) on the bump and has an extremely athletic/repeatable delivery. I’m a fan. I’ve seen some pre-draft concerns about his lack of a quality breaking ball but from clips I’ve seen I think that’s a non-issue. Greene has a chance to have four plus offerings with his changeup, curveball and slider. His athleticism and makeup are off the charts. The crown jewel of the Cincinnati Reds rebuild.
2. Royce Lewis, SS/CF– Lewis has all the fantasy tools you want, and easily has the best combination of speed, athleticism and the bat speed I want in this class. The bust rate is still considerably high for someone going this high in the draft. I think there will be a lot of swing and miss here and it will put a cap on the hit tool. Lewis is a future CF for me, and likely a pretty good one, long term. Lewis is young for the draft class and some comps I’ve seen are Desmond Jennings, Lewis Brinson, and Justin Upton. Number one pick by the Minnesota Twins and agreed to an under slot deal.
3. Jordon Adell, OF/RHP– Adell already looks like a big leaguer, and has drawn body comps to Justin Upton because of his 6’2″ 195 lb. frame. I think Adell has the greatest upside of any hitter in the draft. I’m terrified of the strikeout totals likely to be in his future though, but I think he’s the rare player that can be successful at a 30% K rate. He has a chance to be a legitimate four tool guy. The numbers this kid dropped his senior year are unrealistic and would make you quit any video game you would play. He also hit 25 homers while only striking out 10 times, but I fear the swing will get exploited a bit as a pro. Can also bring it as high as 97 MPH off the mound. Adell fell to the Angels at pick number ten, and he has the highest upside of anyone in the system.
4. Adam Haseley, OF– My favorite college bat in this class and it’s probably not who you might think. Haseley slashed .390/.491/.659 at Virginia with 44 walks and only 21 strike outs. He’s the most tooled up of anyone in this college class, with the best combination of hit tool, power and speed. All that combined with his elite plate skills make for a very exciting prospect. Haseley is going to be underrated because he doesn’t have that one stand out tool, but I think offensively he will contribute everywhere, similar to like an Adam Eaton, but with more power. The plus hit tool with above average power and speed will be a nice fit in Philadelphia.
5. Austin Beck, OF– Beck has been getting a lot of helium (I feel like I have to use that term in every draft article, sorry) of late and seems to be a lock to go in the top ten now. Beck has that combination of power and speed we fantasy owners crave and the plus-plus bat speed I obsess about. He’s still quite raw and reportedly struggles against breaking balls but the upside is immense here. He’s also just over a year from tearing his ACL. The A’s popped Beck with the sixth pick.
6. Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP– The Rays announced McKay as a first baseman when they took him with the fourth pick, and I hope that’s actually the plan here as I very much prefer McKay as a hitter. McKay hit .343/.464/.657 with 17 homers and 45 walks to only 36 strikeouts, but there still are some concerns with the bat. McKay destroyed the out of conference (weaker) competition but only hit .293/.427/.465 in the ACC. He could be an extremely quick mover with the bat, but if the Rays are also going to allow him to pitch it will significantly slow down the ETA. McKay has drawn Adrian Gonzalez comps with the bat. On the mound McKay is a future fantasy four starter, with a fastball that sits 93 (95 peak) with a cutter, plus change and above-average breaker.
7. MacKenzie Gore, LHP– The Padres have to absolutely thrilled to grab the best prep lefty on the board at pick three. Gore gets it done with plus velocity from the left side with a fastball that sits 93-94 and gets as high as 96. His curveball and split-change hybrid offering both have a chance to turn into plus pitches in time and Gore also has a cutter/slider that he uses to neutralize right-handed bats. Gore has an unorthodox high leg kick (I hate it) and I’m curious to see if the Padres mess with the delivery. Gore reminds me of Kolby Allard, and he’s a lefty that could end up towards the front of your fantasy rotation.
8. Kyle Wright, RHP– The Vanderbilt product was in the discussion to go number one overall until the final day, but it it appears the Twins went with Lewis because Wright is requiring an over slot deal to sign. The pitching rich Braves got richer and nabbed Wright at number five. Wright has an advanced feel for pitching and can bump his fastball up to 98-99 when he needs to but generally sits 91-96. He has that special ability to add and subtract from the fastball in the right situations. Wright also has a curveball (plus pitch), a changeup and cuttler/slider (both above-average). He’s athletic and has the ideal pitchers frame at 6’4″ 200 pounds with some room to add muscle.
9. Keston Hiura, 2B/OF– All Hiura did in his junior season at UC-Irvine was hit .442/.567/.693, and that got him selected 9th overall by the Brewers. Hiura led the nation in batting average and on-base percentage. He was limited to DH only due to an elbow injury that requires Tommy John surgery, but where he plays when healthy is a bit of a question mark. Hiura played some 2B, 3B and OF in his college career and projects as a below average defensive 2B or LF as a pro. Similar to Ian Happ for me. Hiura could be the steal of the draft when its all said and done.
10. Jeren Kendall, OF– I put Kendall here at ten despite severe questions about his hit tool. Kendall hit .307/.372/.556 in his junior season at Vanderbilt but that came with a disappointing 74 strikeouts and only 24 walks. Kendall does flash that sexy power/speed combination though with 15 homers and 20 steals this season. His off the scale athleticism and plus-plus arm point to a future star in the making in centerfield. Some reports put a 30 on the bat, but I think the Dodgers can extract the most from Kendall. The comps here range all over the place, it just depends on how much you believe in the bat.
11. Nick Pratto, 1B– Whenever you see a prep hitter get a Joey Votto comp it should make your eyes open a bit, and that’s what we have here. The left-handed swinger has a mature approach and plus bat speed. Pratto also projects as a plus defensive first baseman that’s athletic enough to play the outfield. The Royals selected Pratto with the 14th pick. Patience is needed here, but payoff could be large.
12. Bubba Thompson, OF– The Texas Rangers popped Thompson in the backend of the first round, and it sounds like Thompson is going to sign and forego his commitment to the University of Alabama to play quarterback. It’s always a big win for baseball to get these type of athletic freaks off the gridiron. Thompson has plus bat speed, plus power potential and plus speed but the question mark is the hit tool. He might not be the quickest mover but the upside is immense.
13. J.B. Bukauskas, RHP– The North Carolina product is said to have the best off-speed offering in the draft in his wipeout slider. He pairs that slider with a mid-90s fastball that peaks at 97-98. He also throws an average changeup. I’ve seen a Lance McCullers comp in two different places and that is especially relevant since the Astros ended Bukauskas’ slide and took him with the 15th overall pick. There’s some reliever risk here because the fastball/slider combination is so good, but Houston is an organization that’s rich in pitching depth and won’t have to make this move for awhile, if at all.
14. Shane Baz, RHP– The big Texan with a commitment to TCU sits in the mid 90s with the heater and touches 98. He has a potential plus slider and his curveball and changeup project to be average pitches. Baz produced very nice spin rate metrics and the power arm was drafted by the Pirates in the first round.
15. Evan White, 1B/OF– Some analysts had White as the best hitter in the SEC with his .373/.453/.637 line. White was also regarded as the best defensive first baseman in the country while at the University of Kentucky. The Mariners got a good one when White dropped to them in the middle of the first round. I think there’s a bit of Brandon Belt here on offense but that might be a little bit optimistic on the power numbers. White is a plus athlete so I think the power could come eventually. White is a favorite of mine if you couldn’t tell.
16. Pavin Smith, 1B/OF– The University of Virginia product hit .342/.427/.570 and hit 13 homers while only striking out 12 times. Smith has a great plate approach and a plus hit tool. He’s athletic enough to play the outfield which is good because in Arizona he’s not playing 1B with Goldschmidt in town. The problem for me is Smith must stick in the outfield because I don’t see any scenarios where I’m purposely owning a first baseman that might only hit 15-20 homers. That’s just how I build my teams. There’s certainly some deep league value to be had in a Sean Casey/Mark Grace/Casey Kotchman type though.
17. Brent Rooker, OF/1B– Rooker was easily one of the best college bats after he hit a cartoonish .387/.495/.810! line with 23 homers and 18 steals for Mississippi State. The big concerns here are he’s probably a LF down the line and lacks elite athleticism or the arm for anywhere else, and also his age. He’s already 22. It’s really hard to ignore that line though and Rooker could move through the minors very quickly after the Twins took him with the 35th pick overall. He’s got plus power upside with an average hit tool and average foot speed.
18. Drew Waters, OF– The Braves took this high upside prep bat in the second round and the switch-hitting Georgian has an average hit tool with above-average power projection and speed. Waters should be a very nice fit in the outfield for the Braves and is a very nice future chip to slide next to Acuna and Pache. The team from Georgia took the kid from Georgia that was committed to Georgia.
19. Jake Burger, 3B/1B– Burger destroyed the MVC with his .328/.443/.648 line for Missouri State. The White Sox were impressed enough to take Burger with the 11th pick. Burger came into the season with a rep as a plus defensive third baseman but the defense took a considerable step back according to most reports. Burger still has plus-plus power potential with an average hit tool that plays up because of his mature plate approach. Burger drew 43 walks compared to only 38 strikeouts.
20. Alex Faedo, RHP– Faedo was drawing some top pick buzz early this spring and ended up dropping all the way down to the Tigers at 18. Faedo’s junior season was practically a mirror image of his sophomore campaign while at the University of Florida and in the tough SEC. Faedo gets by with a mid 90s fastball with sink and a plus slider. He relies heavily on getting groundballs while still striking out over 11 per nine this year. Faedo is a type of high floor arm that typically moves quickly. He could be pitching in Detroit by the end of 2018.
21. David Peterson, LHP– This crafty lefty from the University of Oregon features a deep arsenal and just flat knows how to pitch. He stands at 6’6″ and gets good downward plane on the sinker and relies on getting groundballs at a high rate. He’s exactly the type of arm that gets overlooked, with four above-average offerings. The Mets popped Peterson at 20th overall and the southpaw with plus command should move quickly.
22. Nate Pearson, RHP– There’s a lot a to love here. Big righty with thick, durable frame can bring the heat. Gets the fastball up to 100 in short stints, but primarily 94-96 as a starter. FIU transfer, went to Central Florida JC to be draft eligible. Slider, changeup and curveball all project to be average pitches. The Blue Jays grabbed him with the 28th pick. Command has improved from last year, and its still slightly below average for me.
23. Tristen Lutz, OF– Might be a tough sign for Milwaukee to get him away from Texas, but Lutz has the potential to be stud in a few years. Calling card is potential plus and maybe even plus-plus power down the line. Backs up that skill with an average hit tool, average speed and ridiculous bat speed. 25+ homer corner bat. Just be patient. Prototypical RF with above-average arm and athleticism.
24. Seth Romero, LHP– One of the worst kept secrets of draft season was the Nationals taking a chance on the electric but troubled Romero. If you didn’t know, Romero was kicked off the University of Houston baseball teams for a failed drug test and questionable photos with drug paraphernalia while in uniform. Not good. When he has his head on straight he’s absolutely lights out. He struck out a whopping 15.72 batters per nine in just over 48 innings of work before getting kicked off the team. Draws Carlos Rodon comps because the slider is lights out. Huge risk here though on multiple fronts. I could actually see him pitching out of the bullpen for Washington as soon as this year because he’s only thrown 58 innings.
25. Sam Carlson, RHP– I love Carlson. He’s been advertised as the “cold-weather” version of Hunter Greene. He has the ideal pitchers frame at 6’4″ 205, and has a plus fastball in the mid-90s with movement. His change and slider also project as plus. Has a commitment to the University of Florida but was picked by the Mariners at pick 55. He will sneak up on people.
26. Trevor Rogers, LHP– The Marlins took the 6’6″ lefty from New Mexico at pick 13 in the first round. Not entirely surprising as they were linked to prep arms all draft season due to their track record. Rogers has two plus offerings in his fastball and wipeout slider. The fastball touches 95 and the slider has a lot of break. Rogers commands both pitches well but lacks a third offering. The Marlins notoriously move their prospects slowly, so it’ll be more of the same for Rogers.
27. DL Hall, LHP– This prep southpaw might have the best curveball in the draft to go with mid-90s heat from the left side. Hall is basically MacKenzie Gore without command. Hall gets comped to Scott Kazmir and Kolby Allard, and the Orioles snagged him at pick 21. He’s an Orioles pitcher so it will be confusing in a few years when the line “DL Hall hits the DL for the Orioles….” I’m kidding, as in a perfect world prospects should never get hurt, but I’m a little concerned about a prep arm with 30 present command ending up with the Orioles.
28. Stuart Fairchild, OF– The Reds took the Wake Forest product with the second pick in the second round. Fairchild put together a very nice season with a .359/.438/.645 line with 17 homers and 20 steals. Fairchild is a legit MLB centerfielder with an accurate arm and good speed. He’s a little similar to Jeren Kendall as the hit tool is a bit of a question mark, but he’s not nearly as athletic.
29. Drew Ellis, 3B/OF– I’m a sucker for big college contributors and Ellis is just that. Some people even thought he was the better hitter than his teammate Brendan McKay at Louisville. Ellis hit .367/.457/.729 with 20 big flies and a 1:1 K/BB ratio. Ellis also has an extremely favorable landing spot in Arizona and has a good enough glove to stick at third.
30. Heliot Ramos, OF– Ramos is as toolsy and raw as it gets. The 17-year old from Puerto Rico has a commitment to FIU. He has plus bat speed with above-average speed and power potential. The swing gets of whack fairly frequently though so Ramos must be able to make the necessary adjustments in pro ball. If everything breaks right, which is always unlikely, Ramos is a potential 20/20 player in right field. I was surprised as anyone when the traditionally college heavy Giants popped Ramos at 19.
Alex Lange– Nice four pitch mix with one of best curveballs in the draft. Cubs selection with a chance to move quickly.
Griffin Canning– UCLA arm that was left off list due to a cloudy MRI before the draft. Still a good get for Angels at 47. Similar to Aaron Nola.
Brian Miller– UNC centerfielder hit .343/.422/.502 with 24 steals and 7 homers. Future stolen base threat was popped by Marlins at pick 36.
Clarke Schmidt– Arm out of South Carolina was first round pick of Yankees. Needs Tommy John but when he’s right he’s mid 90s with good slider/change.
Logan Warmoth– Blue Jays first first round selection, should stick at short with above-average pop and speed.