MLB Draft Grades 2017
The mammoth 40 round MLB draft just took place and you heard a few quick thoughts about three or four of the players, but don’t even know anything about the player your team picked up in the second round. I know how it is, and don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I am fortunate enough to be paid to research the daylights out of the draft, so I’ll break down the five teams who nailed it, then give you grades for the rest of the teams. It is worth noting that these grades are based on the value teams gleaned from their draft positions, so the Cardinals poor grade has nothing to do with the fact that they didn’t have a pick within the first 80 and everything to do with the fact that they drafted just one of the top 220 players in the draft.
#5) Cincinnati Reds (A)
Greene clearly has the most upside of any player selected in the draft, but without some risk of seeing him turn into a closer. This draft grade had more to do with their competitive balance sandwich pick, 2nd, 3rd and 33rd rounder. Now, this grade changes if they aren’t able to sign both Jeter Downs and Brady McConnell, which is quite possible considering both have strong college commitments. If they get one of these shortstops or the other, the grade drops to an A-. If McConnell does indeed sign, he should be considered the best value pick of the draft. He has the skillset of a mid-first round pick with the ceiling of Brandon Phillps type.
#4) Texas Rangers (A)
The Rangers didn’t draft as much depth as Cincy, but they did acquire two of the highest upside high school prospects in the country in outfielder, Bubba Thompson, and smoke thrower, Hans Crouse. They also snatched Christopher Seise, who will never help fantasy teams much, but should be a big league regular, and Blaine Knight, who could be a mainstay in Texas’ rotation if they can pry him away from Arkansas.
#3) Oakland A’s (A)
Their first round pick has the makings of a pre-injury Grady Sizemore. Granted, Austin Beck has his own injury concerns, as he tore his ACL last spring, but the upside is legitimate. They also added the best defensive shortstop in the class, Nick Allen, with their 3rd round pick. If they are able to sign 14th round pick, Garrett Mitchell, this might just be the best draft in the class. Mitchell has top 10 potential, but deals with Type 1 diabetes and has a strong college commitment to UCLA. The A’s are no stranger to assisting prospects with diabetes, as they drafted Dylan Covey a while back. This could be the perfect landing spot for Mitchell who could be a top 100 prospect this time next year if he takes an above slot signing bonus from Oakland.
#2) Tampa Bay Rays (A)
The Rays are likely still laughing that two-way star, Brendan McKay fell into the laps with the 4th overall pick. They then proceeded to reach at picks 31 and 40, but in effort to save some money so they could take big chances toward the end of the draft. That move could pay off in a big way if catchers JJ Schwarz and/or Chris Williams decide to forego their senior seasons at Florida and Clemson. Schwarz has more upside than any catcher in this draft class as he was expected to be a top 3 pick entering the year before struggling through an injury all year. If he opts to build up his draft status by returning to Florida, this draft grade would plummet to a B+, but the Rays might just be offering him a 2nd round signing bonus.
#1) Chicago White Sox (A+)
Rick Hahn continues to play the rest of the Majors like puppets. After terrorizing GMs in trades this off-season, he secured four of the top 25 bats in this draft class. The White Sox first round pick, Jake Burger, has plus plus power and is polished enough to join the big league lineup just as the other big prospects begin to hit their stride in the Majors. Second round pick, Gavin Sheets, is oozing with power as well and third rounder, Luis Gonzalez could become the next Adam Eaton at the plate. They also picked up one of the best catchers in the draft with Evan Skoug and a future closer in Tyler Johnson.
Full Draft Grades