The 2017 June amateur draft is just around the corner and our hometown Minnesota Twins have the first overall pick. Sometimes there is a clear number one choice to take, this is not one of those years. When you have the top pick on the draft you had better hit the bull’s eye and then sign that player or you will pay for your mistake for years to come.
The top players rated by many (in no particular order) are Hunter Greene, a RHP/SS from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, Brendan McKay, a LHP/1B from Louisville University and Kyle Wright, a RHP from Vanderbilt University. Let’s assume for the moment that these players are indeed the cream of the crop and that the Twins will select one of these players.
Several mock drafts have the Twins snapping up the LHP/1B prospect Brendan McKay from Louisville with the initial pick in the draft come June 12. Baseball America states that:
Meanwhile, McKay has changed in the last month, adding a cut fastball and pitching with diminished velocity. Against Georgia Tech on April 13, he pitched much of the game at 88-91 mph but one-hit the Yellow Jackets over eight shutout innings. Then last weekend against Clemson, in five shutout innings, McKay threw plenty of cutters—a pitch he just broke out April 28 against Toledo—as his fastball dipped into the 88-90 range. Despite that velocity drop, McKay is striking out more batters than ever, ranking eighth nationally with 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 110 strikeouts overall.
You have to wonder if you should take a pitcher with the first pick in the draft that throws only in the 88-91 MPH range? Now days with the need for speed, it has to raise some serious question marks. When you pick a player that is both a pitcher and a position player are you hedging your bet or are you going to waste a few years if you choose the wrong position for McKay. If he turns out to be a first baseman, do you want to have selected him number one over all?
Some feel that the right-hander from Vanderbilt, Kyle Wright has the highest upside with lowest risk. He supposedly has four plus pitches at times and is trending towards being the top pick.
Then last by certainly not least we have the high schooler from Sherman Oaks, California, Hunter Greene. He is a RHP and a shortstop who has already reached 101 MPH on the mound but has been shut-down as a pitcher this spring and is playing shortstop full-time. The next coming of Babe Ruth some say… The rumors are that he wants to be a San Diego Padre. No RHP out of high school has ever been drafted number one over-all.
I am not sure if there is any good way to rank the 52 (actually 51 because Danny Goodwin was drafted number one twice) over-all number one picks selected over the years so I will use WAR (B-R) in the list below to rank them, If you look at the 52 number one over-all picks rated by WAR, the top seven are all high school picks and all position players. As mentioned earlier, no RHP has been picked number one over-all out of high school.