The 2017 MLB amateur draft brought a few surprises, starting with the first overall pick in shortstop Royce Lewis going to the Minnesota Twins.
The first three picks were all high schoolers, with the next two from the college ranks.
Here’s a look at the first five picks.
1st Round – SS Royce Lewis –– JSerra Catholic High School (San Juan Capistrano, California)
Several draft insiders had righty pitcher Hunter Greene as the first overall selection, but the Twins decided on Lewis instead.
Lewis is athletic and possesses quick hands at the plate. But don’t expect him to stay at short for long. ESPN insider and minor league guru Keith Law said he believes Lewis will likely move to center field because of his above average speed and range.
2nd Round – RHP Hunter Greene –– Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles California)
The expectations are high for Greene. For one, Sports Illustrated featured him on its cover and called him “the star baseball needs.”
That doesn’t seem like an exaggeration. Poised and mature beyond his 17 years, Greene possesses the raw baseball talents that has had baseball scouts drooling up until the draft.
And for good reasons. He can throw a baseball through a brick wall. His fastball reportedly tops out at 101 mph, with a fantastic curve-ball. Two, he has great athletic ability, which has helped him develop into a gifted shortstop as well, with a nice, fluid swing.
However, the Reds have him penciled in as a hurler to start his professional career.
3rd Round – LHP MacKenzie Gore – Whiteville HS (NC)
San Diego Padres
Gore’s peculiar wind up didn’t discourage the Padres from plucking him third overall in the draft.
The left-handed former high schooler had posted a minuscule 0.27 ERA while registering 110 strikeouts across 50.2 innings this season.
The six-foot-one, 160-pounder, who should fill out in the pros, slings a fastball which regularly sits in the low nineties, but has been approaching the mid-nineties of late.
Furthermore, Gore breaks off a nasty curve-ball, which is very effective when ahead in the count. Plus, the East Carolina-commit throws an above average slider and change-up and he isn’t affair to throw them, demonstrating some gusts and guile.
The obvious concern is his mechanics, which many baseball people feel will need a measure of refinement as progresses through San Diego’s farm system.
4th Round – LHP/1B Brendan McKay – Louisville
Tampa Bay Rays
McKay was one of my favorite players in the draft who I thought would go higher. But he seems to be the Rays’ steal at this point.
Another two-way standout, McKay figures to need less minor league service time due to his college experience.
The kicker, McKay wants to continue playing both sides of the ball. And Tampa is willing to give his wishes a shot, according Erik Neander, the Rays senior vice president of baseball operation.
5th Round – RHP Kyle Wright – Vanderbilt
The righty hurler’s draft stock was quickly on the rise heading into the draft, which helped Wright land the fifth spot.
A pure pitcher, Wright sports a fastball ball that hovers in the mid-nineties. But it’s the Vanderbilt product’s curve ball that he relies on to whiff batters.
Wright also has a decent slider that complements his two top pitches.