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Inbox: Dishing on Draft as big day nears

Jim Callis answers fans' questions about prospects
June 1, 2017

Jonathan Mayo and I are at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, N.J., today, taping a "Draft Top 100 Prospects" special along with Greg Amsinger and Harold Reynolds. The show will premiere Sunday at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET.The Top 100 special will serve as a prelude to our

Jonathan Mayo and I are at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, N.J., today, taping a "Draft Top 100 Prospects" special along with Greg Amsinger and Harold Reynolds. The show will premiere Sunday at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET.
The Top 100 special will serve as a prelude to our updated and expanded Draft Top 200 Prospects list, which should go live on Monday. It will include our usual detailed scouting reports and videos for every prospect, and we'll also have an accompanying overview and a breakdown of the best tools in this year's crop.
If you can't wait that long for some Draft scoop, Jonathan has a fresh first-round projection this morning. Check that out here. And if you need another Draft fix, let's get to some of your questions in the latest edition of the MLBPipeline Inbox.
:: Submit a question to the Pipeline Inbox ::

I always love these sorts of questions. I'll order the prospects based on our rankings and their perceived talent at the time, not on anything that has happened since then (Alex Bregman would rank No. 1 given what we know now, for instance). Here goes:
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
1. Brendan Rodgers, SS (2015)

  1. Dansby Swanson, SS (2015)
  2. Jason Groome, LHP (2016)
  3. Riley Pint, RHP (2016)
  4. Hunter Greene, RHP (2017)
  5. Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP (2017)
  6. Kyle Wright, RHP (2017)
  7. MacKenzie Gore, LHP (2017)
  8. Carson Fulmer, RHP (2015)
  9. Alex Bregman, SS (2015)
  10. Kyle Lewis, OF (2016)
  11. A.J. Puk, LHP (2016)
  12. Mickey Moniak, OF (2016)
  13. Royce Lewis, SS/OF (2017)
  14. Dillon Tate, RHP (2015)
    Groome and Pint go ahead of Greene because they had a significant advantage in terms of secondary pitches. The top four 2017 prospects are neck and neck, and I heeded our order, but you could make a case for Wright or Gore being the best pitcher on this list. I tend to err on the side of ceiling, but it we sorted these players by their floors, McKay would rank behind Bregman and Swanson.

Because teams believe high school right-handers are an extremely risky demographic, the best ones tend to go lower in the Draft than where the consensus ranks them. This makes prep righties potential steals for clubs that aren't afraid of them.
Based on his Twitter profile, I'm guessing that @Nam_Pham is a Twins fan who would love for Carlson, a Burnsville (Minn.) High product, to fall to the Twins in the supplemental first round. I don't think he'll last quite that long, but it seems like he's destined to go toward the bottom of the first round when his talent dictates that he should fit in the middle somewhere.
Carlson is an athletic 6-foot-4 righty with a 93-97 mph fastball with sink and run, a solid slider and a lively changeup. He has advanced command and feel for a high school pitcher, and he's also an interesting prospect as a right fielder with power potential and arm strength. That's an attractive package, but the industry's skittishness with high school righties means Carlson will likely go 10-15 picks lower than he should.

Evan Skoug entered 2017 as the best prospect in a lackluster college catching crop and had a chance to become the first Texas Christian position player ever selected in the first round. He got off to a terrible start, batting just .175 with two homers in his first 17 games. Skoug has come out of his slump since, batting .311 with 14 homers in his last 41 games to improve to .272/.375/.518 overall and win co-Big 12 Conference Player of the Year honors.

Skoug has fringy arm strength and receiving skills, so scouts aren't sure he'll remain behind the plate. He has the desire to catch and the necessary leadership ability, but it's his bat and power that make him attractive to pro clubs. Skoug gets credit for overcoming adversity this spring and while he won't go in the first round, he likely will be the first college catcher to come off the board at some point in the second.

As Jonathan details in his latest mock draft, Central Florida JC right-hander Nate Pearson is firmly in the first-round mix after reaching 102 mph during a bullpen session for scouts at the Florida high school all-star game Monday. State JC of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota lefty Brendon Little, who starred in the Cape Cod League last summer, won't go too far behind Pearson.
The two best juco hitting prospects also hail from the state of Florida, and in fact from the same school. Chipola (Fla.) JC third baseman Andrew Bechtold and first baseman Reynaldo Rivera both could go somewhere from the third to fifth round. The sophomores have posted huge numbers this spring, with Rivera batting .447/.541/.866 with 18 homers (including two Wednesday at the Junior College World Series) and Bechtold hitting .416/.534/.680 with 12 homers.
Bechtold has more pure hitting ability and athleticism, while Rivera has more power. Both have Southeastern Conference commitments for 2018, Bechtold to Louisiana State and Rivera to Mississippi State.

Jim Callis is a reporter for Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.