D1/PBR Podcast: Experts’ Draft

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The 2017 MLB Draft starts Monday and the collaboration between D1 Baseball and Prep Baseball Report continues with our “experts’ draft.” Frankie Piliere and Nathan Rode alternated taking picks in the first round, as if they were the scouting directors of the teams. This is not a mock draft, forecasting what teams will do based on intel. Rather, it’s what our experts would do if given the reigns of the respective organizations. We will be releasing our latest mock draft on Friday morning.

1. TWINS (Frankie): I waited half the spring for Kyle Wright (Vanderbilt) to look like the number one pick he was destined to be. Down the stretch, he caught fire and made this pick much easier to make. Hunter Greene (Notre Dame HS, CA) is a gifted talent, but is not the polished product I’d want for this level of investment. Wright is the perfect balance of professional-readiness and electric stuff. PICK: KYLE WRIGHT

2. REDS (Nathan): This is a tough year to be picking number one, with little separation between several choices. The number two choice isn’t much easier, but there is obviously one less option on the board. LHP/1B Brendan McKay (Louisville), LHP MacKenzie Gore (Whiteville HS, NC) and SS Royce Lewis (JSerra HS, CA) are worthy choices here, but I’m having a hard time ignoring the athleticism and upside of Hunter Greene. The track record for high school arms with an 80 fastball is poor, but I’ll gamble on Greene’s athleticism allowing him to be the exception as opposed to the rule. PICK: HUNTER GREENE

3. PADRES (Frankie): I’m going against the grain a little on this one and taking Lewis. I think he has the most dynamic, ready-to-turn-pro tools in the high school class. In other words, he’s the impact talent on the board that excites me the most. Gore is tempting and it could be what San Diego actually will do, but Lewis’ tools are just too dynamic to pass up. PICK: ROYCE LEWIS

4. RAYS (Nathan): Two of the top five guys on the board are left. I was holding my breath to see who Frankie would take third and exhaled a little when he picked Lewis. He’s one of my favorite players in the class, but I was targeting Gore. His floor isn’t as high as McKay’s, but I like Gore’s ceiling more. He’s athletic with four pitches that all look to be at least average down the road. PICK: MACKENZIE GORE

5. BRAVES (Frankie): It’s time to stop the McKay slide. And seeing that I’m picking with a National League team, I’d try to let McKay stick as a two-way player for as long as possible. I thought for a moment about Pavin Smith (Virginia) here because, to me, he’s still the best hitter in the class. However, McKay’s two-way value, and easy to project lefty profile on the mound is just too enticing to pass on. PICK: BRENDAN MCKAY

6. ATHLETICS (Nathan): For this pick, it really came down to two names—Smith and RHP J.B. Bukauskas (North Carolina)—and I went back and forth, arguing with myself. I also had a long consultation with my special advisor, Shooter Hunt. Bukauskas is the best college arm available at this point and you can never have enough pitching. However, I’m also a believer in drafting for need is permissible if that need reasonably crosses with best available. The A’s have some young pitching in the big leagues and more in the minor leagues. You can certainly defend Smith being best available here and it’s hard to find good bats. I’m going with the bat. PICK: PAVIN SMITH.

7. DIAMONDBACKS (Frankie): The conventional wisdom would say to pick Bukauskas here and I certainly considered him, but I just can’t help thinking that prep lefthander Trevor Rogers (Carlsbad HS, N.M.) is that guy who has a Madison Bumgarner type ascension. I’m acknowledging the severe risk of taking him this high, but I just can’t ignore the type of upside I saw from him last summer. PICK: TREVOR ROGERS

8. PHILLIES (Nathan): Thinking ahead, I was planning for Bukauskas to not be available and deciding between the likes of Haseley, Rogers, RHP Shane Baz (Concordia Lutheran HS, TX) and even 1B Nick Pratto (Huntington Beach HS, CA). I wouldn’t call the decision easy, but I can’t leave Bukauskas on the board any longer. His fastball and wipeout slider shouldn’t spend much time in the minor leagues. PICK: J.B. BUKAUSKAS

9. BREWERS (Frankie): There are a lot of ways to go with this one, but I’m going to go with best combination of polish and tools on the board—and that’s Adam Haseley (Virginia). He’s going to ascend quickly and the tools stand out across the board. Baz was awfully tempting here, as was Pratto, but Haseley wins out because he’s not your typical college bat. There is a lot of upside left, as well as athleticism. PICK: ADAM HASELEY

10. ANGELS (Nathan): Best available at this point includes Baz, Pratto and OF Jeren Kendall (Vanderbilt). As the Angels, I’d hate to get beat in my own backyard with Pratto 15 miles, or three hours, away. But pitching is something I need and as I’ve mentioned before, it crosses with availability here. Baz is athletic with an easy delivery, plus fastball, future plus breaking ball and is the best high school righty not named Hunter Greene. PICK: SHANE BAZ

11. WHITE SOX (Frankie): Now things get tricky. There are lot of different ways to go here. Kendall was an option, but I’m extremely confident in Pratto’s bat and he’s an outstanding athlete for a kid listed as a first baseman. I want the hitter with the best chance to hit combined with upside, and I think that’s Pratto at this stage in the round. PICK: NICK PRATTO

12. PIRATES (Nathan): I’m not making a Pirate pun here when I say, argh! I was zeroing in on Pratto with this pick, but alas, he gone. Things definitely start to get interesting here as there are a lot of options on the table with little separation. With Pratto off the board, I’m leaning toward pitching. The trio of RHP Griffin Canning (UCLA), LHP David Peterson (Oregon) and RHP Alex Faedo (Florida) is tempting, but I like the upside in LHP D.L. Hall (Valdosta HS, GA) and RHP Sam Carlson (Burnsville HS, MN). The Pirates have had success with high school arms in the past and I’ll need Hall to throw more strikes, but that fastball-curveball combo from Hall is deadly. PICK: D.L. HALL

13. MARLINS (Frankie): I’ve made a conscious decision to try to sweep the high ceiling guys up here until we fully hit that second tier of players. Prep outfielder Austin Beck (North Davidson HS, NC) comes with his share of risks—there is some swing and miss and a limited track record. But the tools are huge and he’s one of the few true star upside guys on the board. I almost pulled the trigger and grabbed Kendall here, and I’m starting to think about the polished college bats like Jake Burger (Missouri State) and Keston Hiura (UC Irvine). PICK: AUSTIN BECK

14. ROYALS (Nathan): With a bat as good as Hiura’s, it’s hard to let him get past this point. I’m leaning toward a bat with this pick and the best options are college players. The high school position players would be too much of a reach for me. I considered Kendall and Burger, but I’ll take Hiura, even with the positional question marks. PICK: KESTON HIURA

15. ASTROS (Frankie): It’s time to take Kendall out of circulation. There’s risk in there with his tendency to swing and miss, but I can’t let a guy with plus speed, plus power and an above-average arm hang around any longer than this. I thought about Burger here, but I’m stopping the Kendall slide. PICK: JEREN KENDALL

16. YANKEES (Nathan): The best available talent is mostly pitching in this area and I’m looking at Canning, Peterson, Faedo, Carlson and RHP Nate Pearson (JC of Central Florida). The Yankees went to the UCLA well in 2015 in James Kaprielian, though his path has been detoured by injury. Nonetheless, I’m pulling the trigger on Canning with his stuff, upside and potential for moving quickly through the minors. PICK: GRIFFIN CANNING

17. MARINERS (Frankie): I was hoping to get a chance at Peterson here so I’m going to happily take him off the board. I put some thought into Evan White (Kentucky), Logan Warmoth (UNC) and prep outfielder Jordon Adell, but to me Peterson could end up looking like a steal if a team gets him in this range. A 6-foot-6 lefty with easy velocity and a knack for the strikeout? That’s a rare commodity. PICK: DAVID PETERSON

18. TIGERS (Nathan): The Tigers’ pension for taking high-octane arms, especially from the SEC, almost feels like a cliche. I’d like to inject some up-the-middle athleticism into the farm system, but I’d like a little more upside than Warmoth and less risk than OF Jordon Adell (Ballard HS, KY). It’s also still a little too soon for me for other high school options like OF Bubba Thompson (McGill-Toolen HS, AL), SS Chris Seise (West Orange HS, FL) and C M.J. Melendez (Westminster Christian Academy, FL). So, that brings me back to pitching. Even if it’s a cliche, I’m rolling the dice on Pearson. Getting 98-101 at this spot feels like a coup. I’ll give him a chance to start, but he’ll zoom to the big leagues out of the pen if it doesn’t work out. PICK: NATE PEARSON

19. GIANTS (Frankie): This one is going to fall in line with a pick I think the Giants might actually make. I’m going with Kentucky’s White. The Giants have a stellar track record with college bats, by the way. But White is the most polished bat available in this spot and there is not a lot of risk. It’s not low enough yet where I’d feel comfortable taking some of the riskier upside type players. PICK: EVAN WHITE

20. METS (Nathan): There are a few bats to consider here, but it’s still mostly pitching. Faedo is still on the board with Carlson, RHP Blayne Enlow (St. Amant HS, LA) and RHP Tanner Houck (Missouri). However, I’m going with an arm that I have some history with and might value a little more than the perceived consensus. RHP Alex Lange (Louisiana State) has a plus fastball, plus curveball and a competitive demeanor I can’t ignore. I was a fan of his in high school and can see him pitching at the front of a rotation within a few years. PICK: ALEX LANGE

21. ORIOLES (Frankie): It’s time that Adell came off the board. I’m going to take him here and hope I can get all the tools to add up in game action. Faedo was also a heavily considered option here, as was OF Heliot Ramos (Leadership Christian Academy, PR). Adell has special tools though, and raw or not it’s difficult to pass on a guy of his caliber. I also looked at Warmoth here. Again though, I’m trying to rack up all the high upside I can find. PICK: JORDON ADELL

22. BLUE JAYS (Nathan): Thanks to free agent compensation, I’ll have another pick coming up in six spots, so I can afford to get a little creative. The slot for No. 22 is a little less than $2.8 million and I’ll have a little more than $2.3 at No. 28, giving me almost $5.1 million for two picks—before I even get to any kind of overages. I’m taking the best college shortstop in the country in Warmoth. He’s certainly not a reach at this point, but I still think I squeeze a little bit of savings out this pick to put toward my next one and beyond. PICK: LOGAN WARMOTH

23. DODGERS (Frankie): This is a pick that’s more about value than it is about how my board was specifically stacked up. I have my doubts about Alex Faedo, but he’s too accomplished and talented to let slide any further than this. I thought about Carlson here, or digging into other prep standouts like Thompson or even SS Mark Vientos (American Heritage HS, FL). But a college arm with Faedo’s size and resume doesn’t belong any lower than this. PICK: ALEX FAEDO

24. RED SOX (Nathan): Burger is slipping in this exercise and I’m tempted to take him, but I’m leaning more toward an arm. There is one I especially like, considering his upside and my own history with him. Carlson is a good athlete and could legitimately play both ways at the college level. However, it’s clear now that his future is on the mound where he features a plus fastball and secondary stuff that projects to be at least average as well. He’s a good athlete and I like the steady steps forward he has continuously made the last couple years. PICK: SAM CARLSON

25. NATIONALS (Frankie): I love Ramos’ tools and I think he has the chance to evolve into a premier slugger. This is about the range where he’s worth the roll of the dice. I thought about Houck here, and heavily considered Thompson as well. The upside of Ramos’ power bat is just too tempting though. PICK: HELIOT RAMOS

26. RANGERS (Nathan): The Rangers have a couple picks at the back of the first round, giving them some money to play with. There are a few directions I could take this, but I’m going to jump at the opportunity to take a player that has slipped. Burger’s power will play nicely in Arlington. PICK: JAKE BURGER

27. CUBS (Frankie): I definitely got hung up on taking upside and probably neglected Burger for too long. He should have gone earlier, and he will go earlier on draft day. I’m taking Clarke Schmidt (South Carolina) off the board. He’s probably going to go later than this, but he might be the fourth-best college arm in the country, and had he been fully healthy, I’d have no issues seeing him go in the top 20 picks. He’s safe, he has swing-and-miss stuff, and as soon as he’s healthy he’s going to move very quickly. PICK: CLARKE SCHMIDT

28. BLUE JAYS (Nathan): Time to execute a plan. Granted, I controlled picks between No. 22 and here, so it’s not completely genuine, but I had my sights on really rolling the dice with this pick. In real life, there would probably be a few guys to choose from that would be considered a gamble, but I was fully focused on LHP Seth Romero (Houston). There are makeup questions considering his suspensions and ultimate dismissal from Houston, but I’m confident that any issues he has can be worked out, allowing him to march to the big leagues with his premium stuff. Getting a guy with top 10 stuff at this spot is worth the risk for me. PICK: SETH ROMERO

29. RANGERS (Frankie): I thought about a ton of different options here, including LHP Brendon Little (State JC of Florida), RHP Matt Sauer (Righetti HS, CA) and Houck. But I’m going to roll the dice a little bit and go with my gut on Vientos. I buy into this guy’s bat and I think he’s the type of guy that could explode with a few tweaks at the plate. The defensive tools coupled with the bat could end up making him a great value here. PICK: MARK VIENTOS

30. CUBS (Nathan): Given that Schmidt had Tommy John, I’m thinking a few bucks can be saved with him at 27. I’m not confident that the Cubs, or any team for that matter, would take two righties just three picks apart. But I’m calling the shots here and there is an arm I personally covet. His velocity has been down this spring, but I bet Enlow can get back to where he was last summer, giving him a plus fastball to go with a plus breaking ball. Sorry Louisiana State, but I’m taking your prized recruit. PICK: BLAYNE ENLOW

31. RAYS (Frankie): Time to take Houck off the board. This is just simply too good of a college pitcher with too good of a track record to go much lower than this. I pondered Little in this spot, but Houck shouldn’t slide much further than this. Thompson’s tools were also a significant temptation. PICK: TANNER HOUCK

32. REDS (Nathan): Though we’re not going that far in this exercise, the Reds pick again shortly with the second round starting. I like to seek out as much balance as possible in a draft and I’ve got the high upside prep pitcher in Greene already. I’m looking at hitters here and am still willing to go with some risk, as I could lean toward a safer college pick in the second round. I considered Thompson and Seise, but I’m going with Melendez. If he hits, he could be a star. At worst, he’s a big league backup because of his defense. PICK: M.J. MELENDEZ

33. ATHLETICS (Frankie): He may not be the most exciting pick in the world, but Brian Miller (North Carolina) is going to play in the big leagues for a long time. He’s a high level defender, a plus runner and he has some untapped power remaining in that lefty stroke. I thought considerably about Sauer and Thompson here as well. PICK: BRIAN MILLER

34. BREWERS (Nathan): With the ninth pick, Frankie took Haseley, who is a relatively safe prospect so I’m inclined to gamble on some upside here. There are plenty of options in that regard with the likes of Thompson, Seise and Sauer still on the board. I’d be pretty happy with any of those picks, but alas, I can only take one. Seise looks the part and his raw tools showed signs of coming together this spring. He’ll play shortstop for me until he proves he can’t and even then, I think I’d have a pretty good third baseman or center fielder in my system. PICK: CHRIS SEISE

35. TWINS (Frankie): It’s time roll the dice on Little. He’s still extremely young, left-handed, had success in the Cape Cod League and is continuing to get better. He also has one of the best and hardest southpaw curveballs I’ve ever seen at the amateur level. Couple that with a 91-95 mph fastball and you have quite a fascinating project on your hands. PICK: BRENDON LITTLE

36. MARLINS (Nathan): Beck went 13th to the Marlins, which has a certain level of risk/reward. I was leaning college here and had my sights on Miller, but he’s gone. Also, if we continued, the Marlins would have another pick relatively soon. So I’m OK with going for some risk again—and it’s not like the Marlins aren’t risk averse themselves. Sauer’s fastball made a jump this spring and is running into the mid 90s, paired with a slider that is inconsistent, but has a chance to be an above-average pitch. PICK: MATT SAUER

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