By MyFM's Jake Archer - Tonight is the start of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft on MLB Network. I bet almost no one knows that, because it really doesn’t get the coverage like the NFL or NBA Draft. Maybe it is because it’s in the middle of the season, maybe it’s because baseball does a terrible job or promoting things or maybe it’s because these players aren’t going straight to your favorite team like in football or basketball.
Either way, I’m intrigued by this year’s crop of talent and I wanted to highlight a few names to watch for tonight. Let’s get started.
Hunter Greene RHP/SS
Hunter Greene is by far the most interesting name in this year’s draft and might be the most highly touted prospect since Bryce Harper. He is a high school student from Sherman Oaks California and he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated just last month.
He’s a two-way player that many clubs are unsure of what to do with. On the mound, he can hit triple digits with his fastball while also offering knee buckling breaking pitches. In the field, he’s been compared to a young Alex Rodriguez because of his slick fielding and ability to hammer tape measure homeruns. If drafted first overall, Greene would be the first high school right-handed pitcher to be taken with the top pick in the history of the MLB Draft. For now though, it sounds like the Minnesota Twins, picking at #1 overall will pass.
Even as the most talented player in the draft and after being called “Baseball’s LeBron,” Greene will most likely end up being taken by the Reds at #2. He’ll be a guy to watch moving forward and if you haven’t looked into him yet, you should. He’s really interesting and will be a household name soon enough.
Brendan McKay LHP/1B
The trend of two way players is becoming hotter than ever as we have another top prospect who likes to do it all in Brendan McKay. McKay has some seasoning that Greene does not as he is a junior at the University of Louisville. McKay is a favorite to win the Golden Spikes Award for the best college baseball player in the country. Though he’s good enough to be do both, it’s believed that the Twins are leaning toward taking McKay and having him focus on pitching rather than swinging the bat.
Kyle Wright RHP
Okay finally we have a player who knows what position he’ll be playing as a professional. Wright is another big time pitcher coming from Vanderbilt University and many view him as the best college hurler in the nation. He’s 6 foot 4 inches and 220 pounds and just seems like the type of big league ace you usually see. Many mock drafts have him going number one overall to the Twins, but if he doesn’t, look for him to fall down out of the Top 5.
Royce Lewis SS/OF
Lewis is another high schooler, but he’s strictly a position player. In fact, he’s the best position player in the draft. He’ll be a top five pick as he possesses really does not have many weaknesses other than the fact that scouts disagree where he'll play in the field.
Bubba Thompson OF
If you are interested in what the Red Sox will be doing, they’ll be sitting at pick #24 and desperately needing to restock their farm system. I’ve heard they want to add bats, and preferably ones that have college baseball experience, but many are saying they’ll end up with the high school slugger, Bubba Thompson. Thompson is a two-sport athlete and he’s received SEC offers to play quarterback. He’s also committed to Alabama to play baseball, but he’s talented enough for the Red Sox to take a shot on him if available.
Jake Burger 3B
Burger is another possible Red Sox target out of Missouri State. Burger has some of the best power in the draft and boy do the Sox need that. He is more of a first baseman however and will probably move directly there upon turning pro.
Evan White 1B
White is a player that is generating some buzz out of the University of Kentucky but I’m not sold on the Red Sox taking him. Not many first baseman drafted in the first round seem to become superstars and White doesn’t have great power. His maximum upside is probably an Eric Hosmer type and that’s if he develops the way he should. I’d hope the Sox don’t go there.
Heliot Ramos OF
Ramos is a high school outfielder from Puerto Rico with big upside. He’s got all five tools and looks like a fun pick to make. However, he’s seen as a bit of a risk because he’s seen as a big project and I don’t think the Sox should be looking for that.
Keston Hiura OF/2B
The UC Irvine product is projected to go much higher then where the Red Sox are picking, but there are some rumblings that he could fall because he may need Tommy John surgery and his defense isn’t all that great. He is a fantastic hitter though and the Sox have a “best player available” strategy and that could come in to play here.