MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Callis: Projecting the first round of the 2017 Draft

Callis: Projecting the first round of the 2017 Draft

A month before the start of the 2017 Draft, the consensus among teams is that California high school right-hander Hunter Greene, Louisville two-way star Brandon McKay and Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright are the best talents available. Two more prepsters, California shortstop/outfielder Royce Lewis and North Carolina lefty MacKenzie Gore, are close on their heels.

In MLBPipeline.com's first complete first-round projection below, we have those five players going in the first five picks. Rarely does a Draft unfold exactly in accord with the common wisdom, however. Beyond the five standouts, there's little agreement on how the talent should line up, so expect a lot of changes as we update our mock Drafts on a weekly basis.

You'll notice that three teams (Blue Jays, Rangers and Cubs) have multiple first-round picks, and those are compensation picks (selections 28, 29 and 30) for losing free agents who received qualifying offers. Those players and teams are as follows: Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays to Indians), Ian Desmond (Rangers to Rockies), Dexter Fowler (Cubs to Cardinals). On the flip side, the Indians, Rockies and Cubs all sacrificed their first-round picks to make those signings.

The Draft begins June 12 with broadcast coverage on MLB Network and MLB.com, and continues on June 13-14 on MLB.com. Detailed scouting reports for all of the players discussed below can be found on our Top 100 Draft Prospects list.

1. Twins: Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP, Louisville

Minnesota narrowed its field of contenders to the five players named above, plus Virginia first baseman Pavin Smith and Texas high school right-hander Shane Baz. Most clubs expect the Twins to take McKay, the best two-way prospect in more than four decades, rather than make Greene the first prep righty selected No. 1 overall. Whether they'll take McKay as a first baseman or lefty starter, or even let him try to do both for a while, is unclear.

2. Reds: Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)

Cincinnati is looking at McKay, Greene and Wright, and likely would take them in that order.

Reds could draft Greene

3. Padres: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville (N.C.) HS

Though it's no secret that San Diego covets Greene and he'd love to stay in Southern California, that probably won't happen. The Padres have long been linked to Lewis as Plan B and Wright would be the No. 3 choice for a lot of teams, but Gore seems to be gaining momentum to go here.

Padres considering Lewis, Gore

4. Rays: Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic HS (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)

The choice will come down to Wright and two of the best high school athletes, Lewis and North Carolina outfielder Austin Beck. Gore also would be a consideration if available.

5. Braves: Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt

Wright would represent a best-case scenario for Atlanta, which won't get a shot at McKay or Greene. The obvious move would be to grab whichever of the consensus top-five talents remain, though the Braves also are tied to Beck, Baz and Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley.

6. Athletics: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina

Oakland scouts have spent a lot of time in North Carolina this spring evaluating Gore, Beck and Tar Heels ace Bukauskas. A run on college bats could start here, too, with the A's considering the likes of Smith and Haseley.

2017 Draft: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP

7. D-backs: Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia

This would be a worst-case scenario for Arizona, which would prefer one of our projected first six selections. If Beck or Haseley doesn't push one of those guys to No. 7, the D-backs may have to choose between Cavaliers teammates Smith and Haseley.

8. Phillies: Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS (Tomball, Texas)

Baz has been consistently excellent all spring, easing the usual worries that come with a high school right-hander, though he may be dead set on attending Texas Christian. If that's the case, Philadelphia could turn to a college bat or Florida righty Alex Faedo.

9. Brewers: Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS (Lexington, N.C.)

Beck lacks extensive wood-bat history because he missed last year's showcase circuit while recovering from left knee surgery, so he could land anywhere from No. 4 all the way down to the late teens. Milwaukee has checked out a lot of high schoolers, including athletic outfielders Beck and Jordon Adell (Kentucky) and left-handers D.L. Hall (Georgia) and Trevor Rogers (New Mexico).

10. Angels: Jordon Adell, OF, Ballard HS (Louisville, Ky.)

There's a lot of buzz that Los Angeles won't pass on Adell, who comes with Byron Buxton-type tools but also with swing-and-miss concerns. If the Angels opt for a college hitter (Smith, Haseley, Vanderbilt outfielder Jeren Kendall, Missouri State third baseman Jake Burger, or UC Irvine outfielder/second baseman Keston Hiura), Adell could slide all the way into the 20s.

11. White Sox: Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia

Haseley at No. 11 is the best realistic scenario for Chicago, which seems destined to wind up with an outfielder. Alternative plans include Kendall and Beck.

12. Pirates: Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida

Faedo is one of the harder first-rounders to peg. He came into the year as a potential No. 1 overall pick but has shown inconsistent fastball velocity, and some teams are skittish because he had arthroscopic surgery on both knees last September.

2017 Draft: Alex Faedo, RHP

13. Marlins: D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta (Ga.) HS

Miami scored with high school left-hander Braxton Garrett a year ago at No. 7 and could go that route again with Hall, who looks like a lock to go from 11-15. If he's gone, the Marlins could still take a prep lefty with Rogers.

14. Royals: Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt

Kendall has the best tools among college position players but is sliding from one-time potential No. 1 overall choice into the teens because of his 25 percent strikeout rate. He'd be a steal here for Kansas City, which also would consider Burger, Hall and Rogers.

15. Astros: Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State

At this point of the Draft, clubs really don't know who might land in their laps. Houston is considering all of the demographic groups: college position players (Burger, Hiura), high school bats (California first baseman Nick Pratto), college arms (Faedo, UCLA right-hander Griffin Canning, Missouri righty Tanner Houck) and prep pitchers (Baz and Hall in the unlikely event they get here).

2017 Draft: Jake Burger, 3B

16. Yankees: Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS

One of the most rumored mid-round marriages is New York and Pratto, though this is more a floor than a ceiling for the best high school bat available. Burger and Canning are other potential targets.

17. Mariners: Griffin Canning, RHP, UCLA

Most of the names associated with Seattle come from the college ranks -- Burger, Hiura, Kentucky first baseman Evan White and North Carolina shortstop Logan Warmoth among position players; and Canning, Houck, Oregon left-hander David Peterson and Louisiana State righty Alex Lange among pitchers.

18. Tigers: Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad (N.M.) HS

The easiest thing to do in a mock draft? Give Detroit a power arm like Rogers. There's also persistent talk that the Tigers could grab Georgia high school outfielder Drew Waters here.

2017 Draft: Trevor Rogers, LHP

19. Giants: Evan White, 1B, Kentucky

White has some helium among the first-round college bats, with one scouting director describing him as Pratto with more speed and a history of college success. Alabama high school outfielder Bubba Thompson starts coming into play with several teams around here.

20. Mets: Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville (Minn.) HS

Carlson has been so good this spring that there's no way he gets out of the first round, even if prep right-handers give clubs trepidation. New York also could snag one of the college bats still out there, such as Hiura or Warmoth.

21. Orioles: Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri

A year after taking a college right-hander from the Midwest, Baltimore could do so again with Houck, who figured to be a top-10 selection at the start of the season. His velocity has started to pick up and he might not make it this far if he finishes strong.

2017 Draft: Tanner Houck, RHP

22. Blue Jays: Keston Hiura, OF/2B, UC Irvine

Toronto gets mentioned with any number of college bats, including Burger, White, Hiura and Warmoth. At least one of them should make it to No. 22.

23. Dodgers: Logan Warmoth, SS, North Carolina

If the Draft unfolds like this, Warmoth would be the last consensus college first-round position player remaining. Los Angeles also could go for an athletic high school outfielder such as Thompson or Puerto Rico's Heliot Ramos.

24. Red Sox: David Peterson, LHP, Oregon

Peterson is climbing Draft boards with double-digit strikeout efforts in four of his past six starts, including 20 two weeks ago against Arizona State. Boston also has an appreciation for diminutive middle infielders and might be the first team that would consider 5-foot-8 California prep shortstop Nick Allen, the Draft's best defender.

2017 Draft: David Peterson, LHP

25. Nationals: Alex Lange, RHP, Louisiana State

Like Houck, Lange is another Southeastern Conference right-hander who had top-10 aspirations and could help his cause by performing well at the league tournament in two weeks. This could be the high-water mark for Tennessee high school right-hander Steven Jennings, who has wowed scouts with his rapid comeback after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in September.

26. Rangers: Bubba Thompson, OF, McGill-Toolen HS (Mobile, Ala.)

The second-easiest thing to do in a mock draft? Give Texas an athletic high schooler like Thompson. Shortstops Warmoth and Allen also could attract the Rangers.

27. Cubs: Nick Allen, SS, Parker HS (San Diego)

Chicago's braintrust drafted Dustin Pedroia in Boston 13 years ago, so it wouldn't be scared to pop another tiny infielder. In addition to his defensive prowess, Allen also has sneaky-good hitting skills.

2017 Draft: Nick Allen, SS

28. Blue Jays: Nate Pearson, RHP, JC of Central Florida (Compensation pick for Edwin Encarnacion signing with the Indians)

Pearson and another junior college standout, State JC of Florida at Manatee-Sarasota left-hander Brendon Little, both figure to go between the last 10 picks of the first round and the first five of the second round.

29. Rangers: Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills HS (Dana Point, Calif.)  (Compensation pick for Ian Desmond signing with the Rockies)

Texas likes to gamble on high ceilings, and Crouse has a lofty one with a mid-90s fastball and a hard breaking ball. Other attractive prep righties include Blayne Enlow (Louisiana), Tanner Burns (Alabama), Hagen Danner (California) and Jennings.

30. Cubs: Tristen Lutz, OF, Martin HS (Arlington, Texas)  (Compensation pick for Dexter Fowler signing with the Cardinals)

Lutz has some of the best right-handed power in the high school crop and may be ascending to the top of the second tier of prep outfielders. That group also includes Waters, Ramos, Quentin Holmes (New York), Conner Uselton (Oklahoma), Garrett Mitchell (California), Daniel Cabrera (Louisiana) and Jacob Pearson (Louisiana).

2017 Draft: Tristen Lutz, OF

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.