D1Baseball/PBR Top 100 Prospects

Analysis

D1Baseball.com and Prep Baseball Report are teaming up on some preview coverage of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft, which takes place June 12-14. First up is a Top 100 ranking, combining the respective college and high school lists put together by Frankie Piliere and Nathan Rode. Both will also participate in a chat with readers, which can be found here (link to it).

The 2017 MLB Draft is less than two weeks away and the only thing that seems to be clear is who the top five prospects are. In what order they will be picked is still anybody’s guess.

The inaugural D1Baseball.com/Prep Baseball Report Top 100 starts with RHP Hunter Greene (Notre Dame HS, CA). The UCLA recruit would become the first high school righty taken with the first pick, if that’s the way the Minnesota Twins decide to go. Greene has been in the spotlight for a few years now, playing with the USA Baseball 15U and 18U National Teams, hitting triple digits during his senior season and becoming the fourth high school baseball player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. He’s an excellent athlete and would be considered a top-three round prospect as an infielder if his ceiling on the mound wasn’t so high.

Checking in at No. 2 on our list is the top college prospect in RHP Kyle Wright (Vanderbilt), who entered the season as the consensus top arm in the class, struggled out of the gate, but kicked things back into gear and caught fire at just the right time. Wright is the combination of polish, command, and swing-and-miss stuff that scouts dream about. Armed with a 92-97 mph fastball, swing-and-miss breaking ball and quickly developing changeup, Wright has the stuff and command that will allow him to advance up the minor league ladder at a rapid rate.

LHP MacKenzie Gore (Whiteville HS, NC) is one of the biggest risers in the 2017 class. He made the rounds on the showcase circuit as an athletic, projectable lefty. Odds were that he would wind up at East Carolina, but his stuff took a step forward this spring and his starts have been heavily attended by teams with top 10 picks. He is comfortably pitching in the low 90s while mixing in a curveball, slider and changeup, all of which he commands well. While Greene, Wright and LHP/1B Brendan McKay have been mentioned the most as potential No. 1 picks, Gore is a darkhorse and belongs in the conversation at the very least.

McKay presents arguably the most fascinating case study for scouts in recent memory, as he makes a legitimate case as a first-round talent as both a hitter and pitcher. The sense in the industry is that he’ll be selected as a pitcher, but there is also a solid chance that he’ll be given a chance to be one of the rare true two-way players at the professional level in baseball history. His three-pitch mix, including a 90-93 mph fastball, and above-average command will make him another fast-track candidate from the college ranks. With or without the bat, he’s a phenomenal pitching talent.

Rounding out the top five is SS Royce Lewis (JSerra HS, CA), a UC Irvine recruit. He isn’t a lock to stay at shortstop, but he has the speed to play center field and his offense would profile anywhere on the diamond. His bat is quick through the zone and he has plus power from the right side.

What this class has working heavily in its favor is a group of college players who have provided clarity to the overall crop. The college bats stepped up and became one of the strengths of the class, with two Virginia sluggers in Pavin Smith and Adam Haseley putting together monster springs and flying up into the top 10 overall picture. OF Keston Hiura (UC Irvine) and 3B Jake Burger (Missouri State) give teams even more choices if they’re looking for polished college sluggers. And, if you’re looking for raw tools and upside, OF Jeren Kendall (Vanderbilt) has a combination of speed and power that continues to entice scouts. The pitching has stepped up as well, as 6-foot-6 southpaw and strikeout artist David Peterson and RHP Griffin Canning (UCLA) have both significantly upped their stock this spring. To no one’s surprise, RHP J.B. Bukauskas (North Carolina) continued to dominate this spring and his all-world slider and mid-90s fastball combination has made him the most sought after college pitcher beyond Wright and McKay.

The high school crop is muddled after Greene, Gore and Lewis, with several having a shot at getting picked in the first round. Toolsy outfielders like Austin Beck (North Davidson HS, NC), Jordon Adell (Ballard HS, KY) and Bubba Thompson (McGill-Toolen HS, AL) offer plenty of upside, but questions remain about how much they’ll hit. 1B Nick Pratto (Huntington Beach HS, CA) has one of the purest bats in the country, college included, while also projecting to be at least a plus defender at first base. On the mound, RHPs Shane Baz (Concordia Lutheran HS, TX), Blayne Enlow (St. Amant HS, LA) and Sam Carlson (Burnsville HS, MN), as well as LHPs Trevor Rogers (Carlsbad HS, NM) and D.L. Hall (Valdosta HS, GA) all project to have average or better fastballs and secondary stuff.

RankPlayerPos.SchoolCommitment/Previously Drafted
1Hunter GreeneRHPNotre Dame HS, CAUCLA
2Kyle WrightRHPVanderbiltNever drafted
3MacKenzie GoreLHPWhiteville HS, NCEast Carolina
4Brendan McKayLHP/1BLouisvillePadres '14 (34)
5Royce LewisSSJSerra HS, CAUC Irvine
6J.B. BukauskasRHPNorth CarolinaDiamondbacks '14 (20)
7Pavin Smith1BVirginiaRockies '14 (32)
8Adam HaseleyOFVirginiaNever drafted
9Shane BazRHPConcordia Lutheran HS, TXTexas Christian
10Trevor RogersLHPCarlsbad HS, NMTexas Tech

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