With the 2017 Draft truly right around the corner, all eyes are on the Minnesota Twins and what they're going to do with the first overall pick on Monday night, just after 7 p.m. ET.The Draft will run Monday through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network
With the 2017 Draft truly right around the corner, all eyes are on the Minnesota Twins and what they're going to do with the first overall pick on Monday night, just after 7 p.m. ET.
The Draft will run Monday through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m on Monday. MLB Network will broadcast the first 36 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 75 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Tuesday, starting at 1 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Wednesday, beginning at noon ET.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
Now, not all candidates are created equal and the six -- Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright, Louisville two-way standout Brendan McKay, SoCal high school right-hander Hunter Greene, California prep shortstop Royce Lewis, North Carolina high school lefty MacKenzie Gore and University of Virginia first baseman Pavin Smith -- don't all have the same probability of going in the top spot, even if the Twins truly don't see a ton of separation between them.
Things can change quickly in the hours leading up to the Draft, but here's how I would handicap the race for No. 1.
Group 1: The front-runners
Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Louisville: It's believed the Twins would draft McKay as a pitcher, and he could move quickly big leagues on the mound. Those who are concerned about his stuff backing up a little late in the year probably shouldn't. He won't be hitting third in the lineup every day at the next level if he's pitching. Some feel he and Wright are about 50-50 to go No. 1, though Jim Callis recently wrote that the Draft buzz was that the Twins were leaning toward selecting McKay.
Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt: The name most often showing up on mock drafts, not just on MLBPipeline.com, but across publications. His combination of a fairly high ceiling AND high floor make him particularly intriguing. After a rough start to the season, he righted himself and pitched like the most dominant college starter in the nation.
Group 2: The high schoolers in contention
Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, Calif.): While many have said the Twins have moved on from considering Greene, he was in Minnesota on Friday to meet with the organization and work out for those there. Perhaps he's a half-step behind the two college arms, but he's not out of the running just yet.
Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic HS (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.):
Lewis's name has not come up much at all in No. 1 pick talk, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been interest. The Twins have been watching Lewis all spring, including home visits. He is the most skilled position player in the class and should go in the top five picks.
Group 3: The money savers?
MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville (N.C.) HS: There are scouts, with other teams, who like Gore as much as Greene, if not a bit more, because of his present secondary stuff. The Twins might not quite be there, but Gore is part of this third pairing of prospects who they could consider taking No. 1 in the hopes of saving some money for picks further down.
Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia: Smith has to be considered the longest shot of the group, and assuming he doesn't actually go 1-1, he's not likely to land in the top five, either. But the Twins are leaving their options open, knowing they could cut a fairly substantial deal with Smith, who is arguably the best college bat in the class, and use that money to go after talent with their picks at No. 35 and 37.
The Twins have the highest Draft bonus pool at just over $14 million. If they were to cut a deal with the top pick, that would give them extra funds to go after high-end picks who might slide to those later selections because of signability concerns. The Astros did that in 2012, saving money by taking Carlos Correa and using it to sign Lance McCullers and Rio Ruiz, who was later traded to the Braves. Atlanta did something similar at No. 3 overall a year ago, taking Ian Anderson and using the savings to also bring players like Joey Wentz and Kyle Muller into the organization.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.