After a short hiatus, the 2017 MLB Draft Fantasy/Dynasty Baseball Prospect Rankings continues today with numbers seven through eighteen. Let’s get right to it:
7) Kyle Wright (6’4’’, 220) Vandy, RHP – Solid as a rock, both in build and performance. Wright has a very clean, non-deceptive delivery with an advanced four pitch mix (fastball, curve, slider, changeup). His stuff is clearly MLB quality across the board, but none of his pitches standout as truly dominant. He looks the part, though, and has also pitched very well in the toughest conference in college baseball (SEC). If he lands in a good environment for pitching, I can see a relatively quick moving #2-3 fantasy starter, but I don’t think he is the type of guy who will win you a league or carry your pitching staff.
8) Brendan McKay (6’2’’, 212) LOU, 1B/LHP – McKay is a total wildcard for First-Year Player Drafts because we may not find out his ultimate position until next season. On the hitting side, he has a very loose, quick left handed swing with natural loft and the ability to hit for both average and power. On the pitching side, he profiles as a safe mid-rotation starter. I’m rooting for the bat to win out, especially for fantasy.
9) J.B. Bukauskas (6’0’’, 195) NC, RHP – The “small righty” seems to be one of the last vestiges that traditional scouts have to hang their hats on, much to the dismay (or maybe delight) of Billy Beane, who looks to be collecting them by the dozens. Bukauskas is in the plus fastball/slider mold, leaning heavily on the slider, leading many scouts to pigeonhole him as a typical power righty out of the pen. His college numbers are undeniable, though, putting up a pitching line of 2.53/1.07/116/37 in 92.2 IP, and the team that ends up drafting him is very likely to believe in him as a starter.
10) Keston Hiura (6’0’’, 185) UC Irvine, 2B/OF – Hiura is possibly the best college bat in the class, and he has the numbers to prove it, slashing .442/.567/.693 with 8 homers, 9 steals, and a 38/50 K/BB in 56 games. His plus bat speed creates loads of hard contact, and he combines that with a plus hit tool and an advanced plate approach. This is a potential stat stuffing “glue guy” on your fantasy squad who will contribute in a different way every night. If he wasn’t likely headed for Tommy John surgery right after the draft, he might have snuck into my top 5.
11) Pavin Smith (6’2’’, 210) Virginia, 1B – It’s all about that absurd contact rate, as Smith has a 12/38 K/BB in 228 at-bats, along with 13 homers and a .342/.427/.570 triple-slash. Only problem is, you need your first baseman to provide more than “solid” power, especially in today’s homer happy landscape. In 16+ team leagues, I can see giving Smith a bump, but in 10-14 teamers, I’m probably shooting for more upside if I’m drafting in the top half of the first round.
12) Bubba Thompson (6’2’’, 180) HS, OF – An elite athlete, Thompson turned down multiple major D1 football scholarships in order to finally focus on baseball full time. He is a plus-plus runner with a very projectable frame and plus bat speed. He is still raw, but he looks damn smooth taking swings in batting practice, unleashing some savage hacks. With continued refinement, Thompsom has a legitimate chance to end up the best player in this draft.
13) Nick Pratto (6’1’’, 193) HS, 1B – The first thing that jumps out at you when watching Pratto hit is how effortlessly he creates plus bat speed and how hard the ball comes off his bat. He combines that with an advanced, patient approach at the plate, along with plus athleticism for a first baseman. If you are looking for a potential .300/.400/.500 slashing first baseman, Pratto is your best bet.
14) DL Hall (6’0’’, 190) HS, LHP – Hall might have the best curveball in the entire draft (or at least my favorite one), reminiscent of Kolby Allard’s, but he doesn’t command it quite as well and his delivery is not as clean, either. I’ve been flipping a coin between him and the next guy on my list for the last two weeks …
15) Shane Baz (6’3’’, 190) HS, RHP – Baz is a big, physical righty with plus spin rates and several secondary pitches. The ingredients are definitely there for him to be a true ace, but there are still some command issues, and the results haven’t played up quite as high as the pure stuff.
16) Evan White (6’3’’, 177) Kent, 1B – During the Razzball Prospect Podcast: MLB Draft Edition, I challenged my co-host, Ralph Lifshitz, to talk me into White, and he did a damn fine job. White is a plus athlete (and not just for a first baseman), with a great feel to hit and very projectable power considering his skinny, broad frame. He reminds me a little bit of the recently broken out Ryan Mountcastle, although Mountcastle is actually one year younger.
17) Jake Burger (6’2’’, 210) MissouriSt./3B – I’m not extremely excited about Burger, but this is fantasy baseball, and there aren’t many big-bopping college hitters out there this year, especially at the top of the draft. Burger is slashing .333/.448/.663 with 22 homers and a 36/42 K/BB in 61 games. He has solid bat speed, plus raw power, and is surprisingly nimble for his physique, although he may still end up at 1B long term. His body type, swing, and approach reminds me of Kevin Youkilis, except without the extreme walk rate, which was kinda what made Kevin Youkilis, Kevin Youkilis.
18) Jeren Kendall (5’10’’, 180) Vandy, OF – I’m not extremely excited about Kendall, either, but he has the best overall tools and power/speed combination in a depleted college hitting class, albeit with an awful hit tool (71/24 K/BB in 60 games). If I’m going to take someone who is raw, I would rather take a shot on one of the teenagers ranked ahead of him, although his plus CF defense has a chance to keep him on the field and force a team into being patient with him well into his mid-20’s.