The 2016 draft has come and gone, and so today we’ll offer a glimpse of the 2017 draft class and introduce BA’s draft coverage for the upcoming year.
One strength of this year’s class appears to be the depth of college pitching, particularly in power conferences. Tanner Houck, Alex Lange, Alex Faedo, Clarke Schmidt, Tristan Beck and J.B. Bukauskas have all shown explosive stuff, and they are just a few of the college arms with the potential to be first-round picks.
There’s also strength in the prep outfield class, which looks like it’s going to offer both impact and depth. Jordon Adell and Quentin Holmes are two high-upside prospects. Adell has a chance to be a five-tool player. He has at least plus arm strength and speed and shows explosive bat speed in the box. He also throws in the mid-90s off the mound and has a lean, athletic body. Holmes is also an exceptionally quick-twitch athlete, with the ability to run the 60-yard dash in 6.4 seconds. Holmes has also shown offensive potential at some heavily-scouted events.
After a down year in Southern California in 2016, the Golden State shows plenty of promise for 2017. There are several intriguing middle infield prospects. Royce Lewis, Jacob Amaya and Nick Allen have developed some track record. Lewis plays for JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), and participated in the 2015 National High School Invitational and the 2016 Boras Classic. Amaya showed well at the 2015 Tournament of Stars, and Allen performed at the 2015 WWBA Championship.
There’s also a deep group of prep arms in California. Hans Crouse is a righthander with a fast arm. Kyle Hurt has an physical frame and has shown flashes with three pitches. Huntington Beach teammates Nicholas Pratto and Hagen Danner both have extensive track record in front of scouts and they are both two-way prospects.
Perhaps the most intriguing Californian is Hunter Greene, a shortstop/righthanded pitcher at Notre Dame High (Sherman Oaks, Calif.). Greene has experience playing for USA Baseball’s 18U National Team, and scouts saw him face Blake Rutherford this spring. Greene has a high ceiling as a shortstop and as a pitcher, showing plus arm strength and bat speed.
Draft writer Hudson Belinsky will spend the summer months watching high school showcases and college summer leagues. From each of the major events that he’ll cover, he will highlight one player each day and offer notes on several players that showed impressive tools. Our staff will compile top prospect lists for the top collegiate summer leagues, and we’ll start to build our foundation for the 2017 BA 500.
But you came here for the Watch List, so let’s get to it. This list was compiled with consideration of personal evaluations and conversations with scouts and coaches. Being a full year away from the draft, we have not identified all of the top players, but this list accounts for most of the top players. Each player on this list has been discussed with at least one source.
A number of things must be understood about the list. A full year away from the draft, few of these players have been scrutinized, and so they’re much easier to dream on. Many of the players listed are going to be high draft picks, but some of them will not live up to the potential they’ve shown in the past, and that’s precisely the reason why the players are listed and not ranked.
Some of the players on this list are much better prospects than others; this is simply a watch list for the next 12 months. We do list 10 prospects that are among the best in the class. These players are listed in alphabetical order by state.
It’s also worth noting that we won’t have a full understanding of the 2017 class until after the signing period. There will be juniors who end up returning to school and re-entering the draft again for 2017. There’s also the pending negotiations between the Red Sox and Jason Groome, who would play at Chipola (Fla.) JC next season if he doesn’t sign with Boston.
Here is a list of 11 prospects who have the potential to fit at the top of this class, in no particular order:
|Hunter Greene||ss/rhp||Calif.||Notre Dame High, Sherman Oaks, Calif.|
|Jordon Adell||of/rhp||Ky.||Ballard High, Louisville|
|Alex Lange||rhp||La.||Louisiana State|
|J.B. Bukauskas||rhp||N.C.||North Carolina|
|Quentin Holmes||of||N.Y.||McClancy Memorial High, New York|
|Conner Uselton||of||Okla.||Southmoore High, Moore, Okla.|
|Ricardo De La Torre||ss||P.R.||Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R.|