We’re a bit more than two weeks away from the 2017 draft, and rumors surrounding the top of the draft figure to pick up steam in the coming weeks. Some of the latest draft chatter…
- Bill Shanks of the Macon Telegraph reports that the Braves are seriously considering North Carolina prep outfielder Austin Beck with the No. 5 overall pick. GM John Coppolella and scouting director Brian Bridges have held private workouts with Beck, who could sign an under-slot deal with Atlanta, giving the club more freedom to spend aggressively further down the draft board. The Braves went a similar route with the No. 3 overall pick last season when selecting high school righty Ian Anderson and signing him for about $2.5MM under slot. According to Shanks, the Braves have also met with other prep stars like Hunter Greene, Shane Baz, Nick Pratto and Royce Lewis, but Beck is perhaps the favorite to go with the fifth pick (Greene and Lewis are widely expected to be off the board before Atlanta’s pick).
- Baseball America’s John Manuel published his latest mock draft over the weekend and once again has the Twins selecting Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright with the top overall pick. Minnesota has also considered Louisville left-hander/first baseman Brendan McKay extensively and seems to like him more as a hitter, writes Manuel, but Wright represents “the best combination of upside and modest risk.” Manuel’s mock draft is free to the public and runs through the supplemental round, so it’s an interesting look for any fan.
- In his latest inbox column, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo notes that the Reds seem to prefer McKay as a pitcher rather than a hitter, though he goes through a couple of different hypothetical scenarios to illustrate that it’s not a lock that Cincinnati will select McKay even if he is available with their pick. Manuel, it should be pointed out, hears a bit differently, suggesting that the Reds are leaning slightly toward McKay as a hitter and adds that Cincinnati will take either McKay or Greene.
- BA’s Carlos Collazo recently listed five high school talents whose stock is on the rise as the draft approaches and offers an explanation on each from an unnamed front office executive. Per Collazo, righty Caden Lemons, outfielder Mason House, right-hander Tommy Mace, left-hander Brendan Murphy and right-hander Jackson Rutledge have all worked their way into BA’s Top 200.