The only good thing about being one of the worst major league teams last year, is the high selection number you will be “rewarded” with in next year’s amateur draft. That’s when the worst teams have an opportunity to plant seeds to become contenders. If a bad team is really awful, it might be lucky enough to receive back-to-back first player picks. Consider the 2008 Washington Nationals, they were MLB’s worst team at 59-102. Then they drafted a kid named Stephen Strasburg with the first selection in 2009. The ’09 Nats were even worse falling to 59-103. So the club took a kid on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the first player chosen in 2010.His name was Bryce Harper.
Here is a preview of some of the top names scheduled for draft beginning June 12. Being the first player taken may guarantee wealth — via a signing bonus — but it doesn’t ensure success on the field. Busts since 2002 include Bryan Bullington and Luke Hochever. The latter has made millions with the Royals this decade, but his performances have been subpar. Matt Bush spent 12 years in the minors — four as an infielder — before cracking the Rangers’ staff as a reliever last year. Technically he is ungraded. A few others are working through the minors as is expected.
Don’t be surprised if the Twins go after a pitcher with the first pick this year. Prep star #Hunter Greene and Vanderbilt’s Kyle Wright are high on their list. Wright has struck out 273, walked 82 and has a 2.57 ERA after 59 college games. Greene also plays shortstop. The thinking in Minnesota would fit in Greene is a potential power-hitting middle infielder, according to #BaseballAmerica (BA).
All told six of the top 10 prospects on BA’s list are hurlers, including the first five. If the Twins pass on Greene — a high school all America — the Reds are expected to take him with the next pick. Cincinnati also has its eye on Brandon McKay, a pitcher/first baseman for Louisville. McKay posted a .705 slugging percentage and was 9-3 on the mound with a 2.37 ERA.
Baseball America sees the Twins going for pitchers with Greene dropping to San Diego in the third pick. Many talent evaluators like the right handers 90+ mph fastball and believe he has potential. Greene’s athleticism always makes shortstop a nice alternative.
Greene is graduating from Notre Dame High School in Southern California, the same school Giancarlo Stanton attended. He has committed to UCLA.
If Greene falls to third selection, high school players could be the third, fourth and fifth selections. Tampa is looking for the best player available and that will be 2017 High School All America Royce Lewis of JSerra Catholic High in California. UC-Irvine has recruited Lewis. Southpaw MacKenzie Gore, if available, would be a likely target for Atlanta. Gore is graduating from Whiteville High in North Carolina. Gore went 9-0 with a save and played right field and first base. He has committed to East Carolina. TCU-commit Shane Baz is expected to be on the Braves short list if Greene and Gore are already taken. Baz is also a high school all America. #MLB’s amateur draft