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2017 MLB Draft Scenario: Padres make under-slot deal

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In this draft scenario, Hunter Greene does not fall to the Padres so they elect to opt for an under-slot deal at 3.

The first draft scenario had my Top 6 players going in the first 6 picks, or what I called the worst case scenario. This one is the best case scenario, with one of the Top 6 teams electing to go under-slot, I picked San Diego because blue_bulldog and James Atwood mentioned that in the Kyle Wright thread. So let’s play out that scenario, where Hunter Greene ends up going in the Top 2.

  1. Twins: Hunter Greene, RHP, CA, HS
  2. Reds: Brendan McKay, 1B, Louisville
  3. Padres: Under Slot (For this exercise, let’s say D.L. Hall)
  4. Braves: Mackenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS (NC)
  5. Rays: Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS (NC)
  6. Athletics: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina

So now if you’re the Diamondbacks, the top 2 pitchers and 2 of the top 3 high school players are off the board. However, since the Padres went under slot for the 3rd pick, that means one of Bukauskas, Wright, and Royce Lewis is 100% guaranteed to be on the board at 7. In this scenario, JBB and Wright are taken before the Diamondbacks pick. Here are the options they could try:

Best Position Player Available: Royce Lewis, SS, JSerra HS (CA)

This should be a no-brainer for the Diamondbacks. If Lewis is available at 7, they should make him their pick. Lewis adds middle infield talent to an organization that lacks high-end talent at the position. Domingo Leyba, Dawel Lugo, and Jamie Westbrook project as below-average starters at best. Chris Owings will be a free agent after 2019 and Nick Ahmed is still unable to hit RHP. The organization has one SS in the organization that has average starter upside in Jazz Chisholm, but he’s playing in Kane County and the team isn’t going to rush him to the majors. Lewis would automatically slot in ahead of Chisholm in terms of prospect standings if taken.

Lewis projects to be a very solid top of the order hitter (batting 2nd) with good OBP skills and a good enough XBH profile for Chase Field. Lewis has position question marks, but I think he’ll be a good up the middle defender whether it’s SS, 2B, or CF. There is a good chance he slips to the 7th pick if enough teams see him more as a 2B. I do think the Diamondbacks will start him off at SS and then decide what to do with him should he not be able to handle the position. Reports are he slows down in CF, maybe because of lack of instincts at the position. Considering he only played SS his senior year of high school is because of the other talent on the team before him.

Best Pitcher Available: Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt

In this scenario, Wright falls to the 7th pick because teams are concerned that he doesn’t have top of the rotation ability. Unlike with the choice of Beck and Faedo in the previous scenario, you actually have a legitimate choice to consider here between best player and best pitcher. Wright at times will flash top of the rotation ability, but hasn’t had the breakout junior year people expected. He’s pitched better down the stretch, but still hasn’t completed answered the questions of if he can be a top of the rotation starter.

Compared to the other available pitchers, Wright is the only pitcher available that I think has a nonzero chance of developing into an ace. If your goal is to find a potential ace, then you have to consider Wright over Lewis here. Wright projects more as a middle of the rotation (#2/3) starter due to having only one plus pitch in his arsenal (mid-90s fastball). He features a curveball, slider, and change-up with the slider being a pitch with plus potential. The curve and change-up also project as above average with more experience. Compared to other college pitchers, Wright may take a bit more time to develop since there’s still a gap between current level and ceiling that you don’t have as much with JB Bukauskas and Alex Faedo.

Under Slot: Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia

If the Dbacks want to use an under slot pick at 7, they might go for either Adam Haseley or Pavin Smith. In this scenario, I will have both as available choices. I’ve talked ad nauseum about those two and I’m pretty sure the majority of the people here. Smith projects as a 1B moving forward, which is why I think he’ll slip out of the Top 10. If the Dbacks want to go under slot, they can save money at 7 and use it at 44 in a draft that’s deep in the 30-60 pick talent.

Best Available College Bat: Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia

The Diamondbacks the last couple years have taken college bats with their top two picks. Haseley presents more upside than Grier as a college outfielder, but doesn’t have a ton of upside compared to the other picks available. Like with Smith, this would be a potential under slot bonus, although Haseley might be less inclined to take a discount than Smith since Haseley is almost pretty much a guaranteed Top 10 pick while Smith is just below that.

Conclusion: Royce Lewis, SS, JSerra HS (CA)

This comes down to a question of upside. I do have Wright rated slightly higher than Lewis, but Lewis has more potential upside and if it’s close enough I’d rather have the position player. Lewis may take an extra year over Wright to get to the majors, but Lewis is a guy you can plug into the top of your lineup on a given day 5 years down the road. Plus given the team’s lack of impact talent on the middle infield with Brandon Drury being the team’s current best bet for an average starter at 2B to pair up with the Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed platoon at SS, I’d rather add an A-level upside talent to the position.

Poll

In this scenario, who would you pick 7th overall?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Best Position Player Available: Royce Lewis
    (42 votes)
  • 33%
    Best Pitcher Available: Kyle Wright
    (27 votes)
  • 5%
    Under-Slot: Pavin Smith
    (4 votes)
  • 8%
    Best College Bat Available: Adam Haseley
    (7 votes)
80 votes total Vote Now