The 2017 MLB Draft is set for June 12-14 and while the nation’s top high school prospects are merely teenagers and seemingly years away from the big leagues, a look at some of last season’s best players will show that this can be the path to future stardom.
Four of the six major award winners for the 2016 season were drafted out of high school, a group that’s headlined by now two-time American League MVP Mike Trout (2009 draft) and also includes National League Rookie of the Year Corey Seager (2012), his AL counterpart Michael Fulmer (2011), as well as AL Cy Young recipient Rick Porcello, who has emerged as one of the better picks of the 2007 draft.
As you can see with these four examples, it still takes some time to know if a hot-shot high school prospect will develop into an everyday starter in the majors, let alone a superstar. So which prep standouts are MLB teams eyeing for this year’s draft in hopes of finding their next franchise cornerstone?
Top 40 High School Prospects for 2017 MLB Draft
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1. Hunter Greene, SS/RHP, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Greene is an athletic right-handed pitcher with some of the easiest 95-mph velocity scouts have seen. But he’s also a legitimate first-round pick as a shortstop. His range and foot speed aren’t ideal for the position, but he has great hands and an outstanding arm.
2. Royce Lewis, OF, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
As impressive as Greene is, there are scouts who believe Lewis is the top high school player in the class. He’s shown impressive hitting ability to go with excellent athleticism. He’s also played some shortstop.
3. D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta, Ga.
Hall is an impressive athlete who also has been a productive basketball player. His athleticism is apparent on the mound as well. With a potentially plus curveball to go with a 94-mph fastball, Hall is a possible top-5 pick.
4. Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Point, Calif.
Crouse has some of the best pure arm strength in the prep ranks with a fastball that touches 97 mph on his best days. He has also shown the ability to spin a hard-breaking curveball.
5. Jo Adell, OF/RHP, Louisville, Ky.
Few prominent members of the draft class improved more over the summer showcase circuit than Adell. At the start of the summer, Adell looked lost at the plate at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars. By the end, he was putting together much better at-bats and was starting to let his athleticism play more.
6. Calvin Mitchell, OF, San Diego, Calif.
Mitchell is one of the safest high school bats in the 2017 draft class. There are very few doubts about his ability to put the bat on the ball, although he has less upside than some of the other top prep prospects.
7. Blayne Enlow, RHP, St. Amant, La.
Enlow is yet another of a very strong group of hard-throwing righthanders with plenty of velocity and the ability to break off a quality breaking ball. His curveball is one of the best in the draft class.
8. Cole Brannen, OF, Perry, Ga.
Brannen turned in some of the fastest running times of the prep class, but he’s also shown some left-handed pop as well, giving him a chance to be a valuable power/speed outfielder who can play center or right field.
9. Jacob Heatherly, LHP, Cullman, Ala.
Heatherly already pitches with a low-90s fastball, but with his broad shoulders and smooth delivery, there may be a little more in there. His curveball isn’t all that consistent, but at its best, it’s quite good.
10. Quentin Holmes, OF, East Elmhurst, N.Y.
Any team needing a great glove in center field should take a look at Holmes. He’s a speedster who can track down balls in the gaps in center field. His infectious exuberance on the field also impresses scouts.
11. Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad, N.M.
A cousin of former big-league outfielder Cody Ross, Rogers is a massive (6'6") lefthander with the 95-mph fastball to match his size.
12. Nick Allen, SS, San Diego, Calif.
Allen is one of the best defensive shortstops in the 2017 draft class. He’s a line-drive hitter without much power, but his glove gives him a chance to stay at shortstop as a pro.
13. Mark Vientos, SS/3B, Plantation, Fla.
Vientos, who is committed to play at Miami (Fla.), is one of the most physical hitters in the upcoming draft class. He has plenty of bat speed and power potential and the
frame to get even bigger.
14. Brady McConnell, SS, Merritt Island, Fla.
Over the summer, McConnell proved to be one of the most consistent hitters around, hitting line drive after line drive against quality pitching. The Florida commit also showed a consistent glove at shortstop.
15. Nick Storz, RHP, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Storz looks like he made a mistake and walked onto the diamond when he was supposed to be headed to the football field. The massive righthander has a 94-mph fastball but needs to learn to control it better.
16. Adam Hall, SS/2B, London, Ont.
Hall likely will have to move from shortstop in pro ball, although he’s good enough with the glove to play shortstop for the Aggies if he makes it to Texas A&M. He’s shown the bat to be a top-of-the-order hitter as well.
17. Kyle Hurt, RHP, San Diego, Calif.
The best is likely yet to come for Hurt, but the righthander already has some of his man strength, and he has three promising pitches.
18. Jeremiah Estrada, RHP, Palm Desert, Calif.
There’s so much velocity in the game that it’s easy to get jaded, but Estrada’s 91-95 mph fastball deserves notice, especially as the UCLA commit has shown signs of commanding it better and better.
19. Garrett Mitchell, OF, Orange, Calif.
Mitchell has the building blocks to be an impact outfielder as his pull-heavy approach gives him excellent power (at the expense of plate coverage), and he’s a speedster in the outfield with a right fielder’s arm.
20. M.J. Melendez, C, Palmetto Bay, Fla.
Melendez is the son of Florida International head coach Mervyl Melendez. As you would expect for a coach’s son, he has an excellent understanding of the game. He also has shown a very strong arm behind the plate and an improved swing.
21. Heliot Ramos, OF, Guaynabo, P.R.
Ramos was the star of the Under Armour game at Wrigley Field last summer. He’s a right fielder with the arm and the power potential for the position, but his ability to make consistent contact will be tested in pro ball.
22. Alex Scherff, RHP, Colleyville, Texas
Scherff hasn’t always been consistent, but at his best he looks like a potential ace with a 95-plus mph fastball and the feel for spinning a breaking ball and locating a changeup.
23. Jake Eder, LHP, Delray Beach, Fla.
Eder may be a tough player to sign out of high school as he’s committed to Vanderbilt, but the lefty has a pro body at 6'4", 215 pounds and pro stuff with an 88-91 mph fastball and quality curveball.
24. Shane Baz, RHP/3B, Tomball, Texas
Baz has been a two-way player in high school and on the showcase circuit, but he has more potential on the mound as a pro. His slider is advanced for his age, and his low-90s fastball has present velocity.
25. Mitchell Stone, LHP, Edmond, Okla.
Stone is one of the tallest high school pitchers scouts have ever seen. At 6'10", 250 pounds, he has massive length to go with an 88-92 mph fastball. He shows better control than can be expected from such a long-levered pitcher.
26. Hagen Danner, RHP/C, Huntington Beach, Calif.
As a long-time contributor for one of the best high school programs in the country (Huntington Beach HS), Danner has been a name on the scouting circuit for several years, both as a catcher and as a pitcher.
27. Nick Pratto, LHP/1B, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Pratto and teammate Danner will likely ensure that Huntington Beach will rank among the nation’s best high school teams again this year. Pratto is a first baseman with the power expected from the position.
28. Chris McMahon, RHP, West Chester, Pa.
As a colder-weather fresh arm who already lights up radar guns with a low-90s fastball, McMahon is a must-follow for teams this spring.
29. Cole Turney, OF, Richmond, Texas
Turney’s power is something to behold. The left-handed hitter showed his ability to drive the ball 400-plus feet, although he may have to clean up his swing a little to be a better hitter.
30. Conner Uselton, OF, Moore, Okla.
Uselton’s swing isn’t always pretty, but it does the job, and he has a very lengthy track record, as he was one of the most prominent underclassmen on the showcase circuit in 2014 and ’15.
31. Drew Waters, OF, Woodstock, Ga.
A switch-hitter whose left-handed swing is built to make contact, Waters looks to drive the ball from the right side. His arm makes him a likely future right fielder.
32. Sam Carlson, RHP/OF, Burnsville, Minn.
One of the contributors to USA Baseball’s 18U team that won the Pan American AAA Championship, Carlson is a legitimate option both on the mound and at the plate. He’s a quality defender with an above-average arm in the outfield.
33. Tim Elko, 1B, Tampa, Fla.
Elko is going to have to hit as a prep first baseman, but that’s exactly what he does. He consistently connected against 90-plus-mph fastballs last summer and should be expected to do the same this spring.
34. Steven Williams, C/OF, Albany, Ga.
Williams has some of the best left-handed power in a class loaded with lefty power hitters. The Auburn signee consistently drove the ball all summer.
35. Wilberto Rivera, RHP, Florida, P.R.
Rivera has outstanding arm speed and has touched 97 mph with his fastball, but he does need to smooth out his delivery.
36. Brandon McCabe, RHP, West Palm Beach, Fla.
When McCabe lets loose his fastball, it often comes with a very audible grunt. But he is bringing the heat when he brings the noise — he’ll sit 91-94 mph at his best.
37. Jordan Anderson, OF, Madison, Ala.
Anderson is very much a work in progress. His speed is exceptional, and his bat speed (which is already good) should improve as he fills out. His swing is still raw, as he’s got plenty of polish to add.
38. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville, N.C.
Gore, who signed to play at East Carolina, has an excellent advanced arsenal of pitches to go with enough (87-91 mph) velocity to be a potential early-round pick.
39. Jacob Pearson, OF, West Monroe, La.
Pearson is one of the best pure hitters scouts saw last summer. In addition, he is an above-average runner.
40. Tanner Burns, RHP, Decatur, Ala.
Burns is an athletic righthander with an excellent breaking ball and a low-90s fastball. His delivery does make it hard for him to locate consistently. That will need to be cleaned up.