2017 MLB Draft Grades: Round 1 Results and Scores for Each Baseball Team – Bleacher Report
Julio Cortez/Associated Press
There’s still a lot of work to be done by all 30 teams in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, but Monday night’s first round finally offered an opportunity to analyze what clubs were thinking for their future.
The Minnesota Twins got things started by selecting California high school shortstop Royce Lewis first overall. In a year with a lot of question marks, even at the top of the class, there was no way for them to really go wrong.
Looking at the results from the first 36 picks of the draft, here are grades for what teams did in Round 1. Keep in mind these grades are not solely based on the players, since some won’t even reach the big leagues for four years, but the value achieved by teams based on the spot where the player was picked.
1. Minnesota Twins (B+): Royce Lewis, SS, JSerra HS (CA)
2. Cincinnati Reds (A): Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS (CA)
3. San Diego Padres (A-): MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS (NC)
4. Tampa Bay Rays (A): Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP, Louisville
5. Atlanta Braves (A-): Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt
6. Oakland Athletics (B+): Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS (NC)
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (B+): Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
8. Philadelphia Phillies (A-): Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia
9. Milwaukee Brewers (C): Keston Hiura, 2B/DH, UC Irvine
10. Los Angeles Angels (B): Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard HS (KY)
11. Chicago White Sox (B-): Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State
12. Pittsburgh Pirates (A-): Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX)
13. Miami Marlins (B): Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad HS (NM)
14. Kansas City Royals (B-): Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach HS (CA)
15. Houston Astros (B+): J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina
16. New York Yankees (C): Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina
17. Seattle Mariners (B+): Evan White, 1B, Kentucky
18. Detroit Tigers (A-): Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida
19. San Francisco Giants (C+): Heliot Ramos, OF, Leadership Christian Academy (PR)
20. New York Mets (B): David Peterson, LHP, Oregon
21. Baltimore Orioles (B+): D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA)
22. Toronto Blue Jays (B): Logan Warmoth, SS, North Carolina
23. Los Angeles Dodgers (B+): Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt
24. Boston Red Sox (C+): Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri
25. Washington Nationals (D+): Seth Romero, LHP, Houston
26. Texas Rangers (B): Bubba Thompson, OF, McGill-Toolen HS (AL)
27. Chicago Cubs (C+): Brendon Little, LHP, State College of Florida
28. Toronto Blue Jays (B): Nate Pearson, RHP, College of Central Florida
29. Texas Rangers (B+): Christopher Seise, SS, West Orange HS (FL)
30. Chicago Cubs (A-): Alex Lange, RHP, LSU
31. Tampa Bay Rays (C+): Drew Rasmussen, RHP, Oregon State
32. Cincinnati Reds (B-): Jeter Downs, SS, Monsignor Edward Pace HS (FL)
33. Oakland Athletics (B): Kevin Merrell, SS, South Florida
34. Milwaukee Brewers (B+): Tristen Lutz, OF, James Martin HS (TX)
35. Minnesota Twins (C+): Brent Rooker, OF, Mississippi State
36. Miami Marlins (B-): Brian Miller, OF, North Carolina
Best Pick: Hunter Greene to Cincinnati Reds at No. 2
When you are a team picking at the top of the draft, there’s no reason to get cute with your selection. Go for the best available talent, then let the rest figure itself out afterward.
That’s what the Cincinnati Reds did when Hunter Greene fell into their lap with the No. 2 overall pick. The right-handed pitcher out of California was regarded as the top player available in this year’s class by most analysts, including ESPN’s Keith Law:
“The 17-year-old who hit 102 miles per hour in a short outing in February is going to show you the easiest mid-90s fastball you’ve ever seen, from a body that scouts compare to a young Doc Gooden’s. And oh, by the way, he plays a mean shortstop that would fit well on a big league diamond right now.
“On the mound, though, he’s pretty damn fun to watch. In early April, in what turned out to be his last game of the spring, his fastball ranged from 94 to 98 mph over the full seven innings of work. Greene’s delivery shocks you with how effortless it is.”
The Reds are a franchise still in rebuilding mode, though they have found some interesting talent with Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler to put alongside Joey Votto on the big-league roster.
There’s still some work that needs to be done to keep bolstering a farm system that Baseball America ranked 13th coming into 2017.
Greene’s talent and upside will likely allow him to slot in as the Reds’ best prospect as soon as he signs a contract. He’s got a long development road ahead of him as a 17-year-old, but the ceiling is off the charts.
Biggest Risk: Keston Hiura to Milwaukee Brewers at No. 9
Every draft pick comes with some degree of risk, though some risk is higher than others. The Milwaukee Brewers are placing a big bet on Keston Hiura’s ability to hit while ignoring some obvious glaring holes.
The biggest problem for Hiura is an arm injury that prevented him from playing the field all season. Baseball America‘s John Manuel reported in January the UC Irvine star had a platelet-rich plasma treatment, and his doctor was hopeful he would be able to avoid surgery.
There’s been some speculation about Hiura eventually needing Tommy John surgery, though he told MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo it “isn’t necessary at all.”
The Brewers had to feel good enough in Hiura’s medicals to make him a top-10 pick. The other significant issue for the 20-year-old is finding a position.
“Hiura has played center field in the past and some second base,” per MLB.com. “His actions are OK on the dirt, but his footwork will need to improve, with some scouts feeling maybe putting him in left so his bat can move more quickly is the best course of action.”
One of the oldest sayings in baseball is if you can hit, teams will find a spot in the lineup for you. No one denies Hiura’s ability with the bat in his hands.
“His feel to hit ranks among the best in the draft, and he produces above-average power thanks to his natural strength and bat speed,” per Baseball America‘s Justin Perline. “Hiura’s achievement gains heft when placed in the context of pitcher-friendly Cicerone Field (where 20 percent fewer runs are scored than on the road) and the pitcher-friendly Big West Conference.”
If the Brewers are able to hide Hiura and he’s able to avoid going under the knife, his ability to hit will make him well worth the No. 9 pick. Those are some significant “what ifs” being asked, especially for a player drafted as high as Hiura was.
Worst Pick: Seth Romero to Washington Nationals at No. 25
Based solely on talent, there were worse players drafted than left-handed pitcher Seth Romero. There’s more that goes into adding players beyond what they can do on the field, which is where the Washington Nationals’ problems begin.
Romero had multiple off-field incidents at the University of Houston that led to him being kicked off the baseball team in May, per Baseball America‘s Teddy Cahill.
“I appreciate (athletic director) Hunter Yurachek’s support of my decision for our program to move forward without Seth,” Houston head coach Todd Whitting said in a statement included in Cahill’s report. “We wish Seth and his family the best of luck as he embarks on the next phase of his life and baseball career. We are fully focused on our remaining schedule and current members of our program.”
Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle offered a quick timeline of everything that went down with Romero at Houston:
Joseph Duarte @Joseph_Duarte
📆Seth Romero 2017 timeline:
April 3: Suspended
May 1: Reinstated
May 9: Fight w/ teammate
May 10: Dismissed
June 12: No. 25 to @Nationals
There are analysts who think the Nationals took a smart risk with Romero, like D1Baseball.com’s Kendall Rogers:
Kendall Rogers @KendallRogersD1
Seth Romero to the @Nationals at 25 is a terrific pick. I think he learned his lesson by being kicked off the team. Huge arm, more coming.
It’s plausible to think a 21-year-old will eventually begin to mature and show the ability on the field that made him such an exciting prospect in the first place.
But Romero has done nothing in the months leading up to the draft, which should have been the most important moment of his life, to suggest he’s learned a lesson and will suddenly be a model teammate.