Prep Baseball Report

2017 MLB Draft: Day 3 Thoughts

By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

The 2017 MLB Draft concluded Wednesday with a marathon day. In rapid succession, teams made selections in the rounds 11-40. After a slow end to Day Two with discount picks, things were predictably interesting to start Day Three. With $100,000 to play with before anything counts against their bonus pool, and no penalty for failing to sign a player, teams drafted top prospects that had fallen out of the top 10 rounds. Here are a few notable picks from the final day…

+ After snagging three players from the D1 Baseball/Prep Baseball Report Top 100 in the top 10 rounds, the Phillies drafted another in the 34th and two PBR Draft 100 Prospects in the 11th and 23rd rounds. They’re unlikely to sign the 23rd and 34th rounders—LHP Shane Drohan (Cardinal Newman HS, FL) and RHP Kyle Hurt (Torrey Pines HS, CA)—but will likely make a decent run at SS Jake Holmes (Pinnacle HS, AZ). An Arizona State recruit, Holmes is a plus runner with a projectable frame and has shown improvements with the bat since last summer. He could have easily been picked in the top three rounds.

+ The Indians took LHP Matthew Turner (Palmetto HS, FL) in the 11th, a late-riser and Broward JC recruit. He has a long, lanky frame and pitches at 88-91 mph, touching 92. Cleveland should be able to sign him as well as RHP Chandler Ferguson (Lafayette Jefferson HS, IN), their 25th-round pick. Ferguson has an electric arm with a low-90s fastball and developing breaking ball. They took a few other top prospects later that are unlikely to sign, but Ferguson and Turner would be very good additions to their picks in the top 10 rounds. After getting OF Quentin Holmes (Monsignor McClancy Memorial HS, NY) and SS Tyler Freeman (Etiwanda HS, CA) on the first day, they managed to get RHP James Karinchak (Bryant) in the ninth round. Karinchak was No. 98 on the D1/PBR Top 100.

+ The Mets spent most of the third day hammering the state of Florida. They took RHPs Bryce Hutchinson (Deland HS, FL) and Nate Peden (University HS, FL) in the 12th and 13th rounds respectively. Hutchinson pitches in the low 90s with heavy life, while Peden has a clean, easy arm action and is up to 91. In the 11th round, the Mets took OF Jack Schneider (Daviess County HS, KY). A Murray State recruit, Schneider has a long way to go with the bat, but he’s a very good athlete with tremendous arm strength and speed. Signing just one of those three would be a nice bonus. A few later picks are unlikely to sign, but the Mets did get RHP A.J. Labas (Trinity Christian Academy, FL) in 17th, RHP C.J. Van Eyk (Steinbrenner HS, FL) in the 19th and LHP Jake Eder (Calvary Christian HS, FL) in the 34th.

+ The Reds took RHP Tommy Mace (Sunlake HS, FL) in the 12th. Another spring riser in Florida, Mace has a big, projectable frame and pitched at 90-93, touching 94.

Looking back at the whole draft, there were six teams that drafted five players from either the D1/PBR Top 100 or PBR Draft 100.

ASTROS: Houston had one of the bigger steals of the draft when RHP J.B. Bukauskas (North Carolina) dropped to them at 15. After that, the Astros picked up RHP/3B Joe Perez (Archbishop McCarthy HS, FL) and RHP Corbin Martin (Texas A&M) in the second round. Perez recently had Tommy John surgery and is a legitimate two-way prospect. The Astros will send him out as a position player, but he’ll always have the fallback of being a power arm. In the Competitive Balance B round, Houston took 1B J.J. Matijevic (Arizona) and then got RHP Pete Solomon (Notre Dame) in the fourth.

BLUE JAYS: Toronto’s first selection was SS Logan Warmoth (North Carolina), the best college shortstop in the country, and they followed that selection with RHP Nate Pearson (JC of Central Florida) with their second first-round pick. Pearson has a huge frame and the fastball to go with it, routinely hitting triple digits. In the second round, the Blue Jays got RHP/C Hagen Danner (Huntington Beach HS, CA) and announced him as a catcher. He has right-handed power, but if he should have to shift back to the mound, he has a plus fastball and curveball to offer. In the third and fourth rounds, Toronto added two more D1/PBR Top 100 prospects in C Riley Adams (San Diego) and SS Kevin Smith (Maryland).

BREWERS: OF/2B Keston Hiura (UC Irvine) was arguably the best pure bat in this draft class and Milwaukee got him with the ninth overall pick. The Brewers then got another guy known for his offensive ability in OF Tristen Lutz (Arlington Martin HS, TX). From the PBR Draft 100, they took RHP Caden Lemons (Vestavia Hills HS, AL) in the second round and LHP Brendan Murphy (Mundelein HS, IL) in the fourth. SS Devin Hairston (Louisville) went to them in the sixth. The Brewers also went on an upside binge on the third day, taking several high school prospects in the teens. They won’t sign all of them, but even getting two or three out of the group would result in a draft coup.

ORIOLES: Baltimore’s first four picks all came out of the D1/PBR Top 100 in LHP D.L. Hall (Valdosta HS, GA), SS Adam Hall (AB Lucas SS, ON), LHP Zac Lowther (Xavier) and RHP Michael Baumann (Jacksonville). In the fourth round, the Orioles got RHP Jack Conlon (Clements HS, TX), who ranked 88th on the PBR Draft 100. He has a low-90s fastball and sharp slider.

PIRATES: Pittsburgh stood out to me after the first day with four selections from the D1/PBR Top 100. On top of that, they added RHP Cody Bolton (Tracy HS, CA) in the sixth round. Bolton is No. 90 on the PBR Draft 100 and a good athlete. He is committed to Michigan, though likely to sign now.

TWINS: Last, but certainly not least is Minnesota. The Twins took one of my favorite players with the first overall pick in SS Royce Lewis (JSerra HS, CA). They added OF/1B Brent Rooker (Mississippi State) and RHP Landon Leach on the first day, but the defining moment of their draft for me came on Day Two. They got the day started by taking RHP Blayne Enlow (St. Amant HS, LA) in the third round, giving them two first-round talents. In the sixth, they got SS Ricardo de la Torre (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, PR). De la Torre was a standout last summer with his defense and whippy bat, but didn’t get as much attention this spring. He ranks 86th in the PBR Draft 100 and is a great value pick for the Twins.

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