You won’t find a bigger proponent of drafting college players, in particular, college bats, at the top of the MLB Draft/First-Year Player Fantasy Baseball Draft, but this year’s college class is so uninspiring, I’m shooting for the moon in 2017. The college players are still the much safer play, but the combination of their lack of upside and the extreme upside of the top high schoolers, has me thinking this is the year to roll the dice. Here is the 2017 MLB Draft Fantasy/Dynasty Baseball Prospect Rankings: 1-6:

1) Hunter Greene (6’3’’, 205) HS, RHP/SS – Greene is the type of generational talent you just don’t pass up. He is both a power hitting shortstop and a flame throwing starting pitcher. The first “comp” to pop in my mind when watching him pitch was Satchel Paige from those old black and white documentaries where the film was sped up so everything looked so fast, except with Greene’s videos, that’s just his normal speed. His secondary pitches are still raw, but the easy mid-90’s heat, extremely athletic delivery, and top notch work ethic/mindset makes him the best bet to emerge as a superstar from this class, regardless of where he plays on the field.

2) Royce Lewis (6’1’’, 190) HS, SS/OF – The best combination of tools, athleticism, speed, and feel to hit in the entire draft. The 17-year-old Lewis can also take some vicious hacks at the plate that foreshadows his future power potential. The best case scenario in his early professional career would be a Victor Robles type, but it’s doubtful the hit tool will be quite that good.

3) Austin Beck (6’1’’, 200) HS, OF – Controlled aggression is the best description of his swing, as it looks like Beck has channeled all of his pent up anger into crushing baseballs. The plus bat speed is almost guaranteed to play at any level, and he mixes that with plus raw power and plus speed. He can still struggle against breaking pitches, and hasn’t gotten many reps against elite competition, which is partially due to tearing his ACL and meniscus last May, but his power/speed combo is truly elite.

4) Jordon Adell (6’3’’, 200) HS, OF – When Major League Baseball talks about losing the best athletes in the country to football, Adell is usually the type of player they are talking about. His dad was actually a star football player at North Carolina State, and was selected in the 30th round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. But Jordon smartly wanted nothing to do with football, and the only choice he had to make was between pitching or hitting. It looks like hitting is winning out, as Adell has put on a massive power display this Spring (video of him hitting 3 homers in a game on May 3rd) while rarely striking out. He is still far more projection than current refinement, but this is a recently turned 18-year-old kid, not a college junior. I’m betting on plenty of refinement down the line, and count me among the Adell believers.

5) MacKenzie Gore (6’2’’, 180) HS, LHP – I am a sucker for a big lefty with a funky delivery, and Gore not only checks those boxes, but he also has elite control of a low 90’s fastball, along with three different secondary pitches (slider, curveball, changeup) that flash plus and project as above average or better. Nothing about him screams ace, and maybe we are all being pulled in by that leg kick (something I am seriously considering, ha), but all together, there doesn’t seem to be many weakness, either.

6) Adam Haseley (6’1’’, 195) Virginia, OF – Haseley possesses the best combination of contact, power, and speed in the college class, slashing .402/.492/.693 with 14 homers, 9 steals, and a 19/35 K/BB in 51 games. He currently looks more like a solid across the board type, rather than a true impact 5-category fantasy contributor, but if any college bat is going to creep up the rankings as draft day approaches, it will likely be Haseley … unless Brendan McKay gets drafted as a hitter (more on that next week).

To be continued with 7-15 early next week

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

4 thoughts on “2017 MLB Draft Fantasy/Dynasty Baseball Prospect Rankings: 1-6

  1. McKay and Bukauskas lack upside? McKay is putting up historic ACC numbers as both a pitcher and a hitter. Given that Louisville plays in a hitter’s park, I’d say his pitching numbers might actually be a tad better than his hitting numbers, though both are ridiculous. Bukauskas is not far behind statistically. We haven’t seen any draftable college pitchers put up numbers like these in years.

    I understand that JBB is short, but other than that, why do you think he (and McKay for that matter) have limited ceilings on the mound?

    1. Most scouting reports you see on McKay put him as a fast moving, safe number 3 type starter. He doesn’t have a huge fastball and he doesn’t throw the changeup all that often. And I actually do like Bukauskas’ upside, but as you mentioned he is a short righty that settles in at 92-95 MPH and lacks plane on the fastball. The top college starters are certainly going to have plenty of upside, but I meant more relative to how much upside the high schoolers had this year, and none have the prototypical size, mid 90’s heat, etc .. that you would normally associate with a superstar player you hope to get when drafting in the top 5. I completely understand you being higher on the best college starters than I am though. I discount pitching even more for fantasy as well. They would rank higher for me in a real life list.

      1. I guess the question is, how are McKay and Bukauskas so unhittable in a good conference with mediocre major league fastballs? BTW, do you have recent, reliable velo readings on both of them?

        1. It’s the same reason guys can dominate the minors and get hit up in the majors. The stats don’t directly translate. Going just by the numbers, you are right obviously, they are dominant. Maybe it will translate completely and they will be aces. Both of these guys are going to be in my top 10, so I like them a lot. The fastball velocities I get from reading sites like mlbpipeline etc … I can’t personally verify the readings.

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