Day 1 Draft Recap, American League

Also see: National League.

Below are brief summaries of each American League team’s draft class following the end of the event’s first day. The numbers in parentheses beside each name indicate where the prospect was ranked on my top-100 list, which is also where players’ scouting reports can be found. Players who were not on my top 100 and were drafted yesterday have brief reports in this post.

Baltimore Orioles

Round 1, Pick 21 — D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA) (10)
Round 2, Pick 60 — Adam Hall, SS, A.B. Lucas Seconday (ON, Canada) (NR)
Hall runs well enough to play up the middle but scouts question his athleticism, physicality, and swing. He’s an interesting developmental project.
Comp B, Pick 74 — Zac Lowther, LHP, Xavier Univ. (89)

Thoughts
The first Hall was great value and, I think, immediately became the organization’s best prospect; the second seemed a bit of a reach.

Boston Red Sox

Round 1, Pick 24 — Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri (40)
Round 2, Pick 63 — Cole Brannen, OF, Westfield School (GA) (49)

Thoughts
I thought the Houck pick was fine. I’m more optimistic about his ability to start than others because I’ve seen him locate his slider well enough to deal with lefties. I also like Brannen’s feel to hit and think he has a chance to stay in center field.

Chicago White Sox

Round 1, Pick 11 — Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State (24)
Round 2, Pick 60 — Gavin Sheets, 1B, Wake Forest (NR)
Sheets has plus bat speed and raw power; a big 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame; and some barrel control, too. Scouts have questions about the swing length and bat path and how it might be exposed at upper levels. As a first-base-only prospect, it was enough to sneak him just off my top 100.

Thoughts
The system got a much-needed power injection but both Burger and Sheets are first-base-only prospects for me, so they both need to rake to remain prospects.

Cleveland Indians

Round 1, Pick 64 — Quentin Holmes, CF, Monsignor McClancy HS (NY) (41)
Comp B, Pick 71 — Tyler Freeman, SS, Etiwanda HS (CA) (NR)
Freeman draws consistent praise for his bat control, feel for all-fields contact, and baseball instincts. He runs well enough to play shortstop, but he may not have the hands or arm for it. If moved to second base, there’s going to be more pressure that he hits for power, and there’s no consensus as to whether he will.

Thoughts
Note that the very progressive front office drafted two kids with lauded make-up who otherwise share almost no similarities. Holmes was good value where they got him. Freeman may not have special physical tools but scouts love him because of how advanced he is, and you can squint and see big-league physicality in there down the line.

Detroit Tigers

Round 1, Pick 18 — Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida (13)
Round 2, Pick 57 — Reynaldo Rivera, OF, Chipola JC (FL) (NR)
Rivera has impressive hand-eye coordination and bat control. The body is 1B/DH only for most scouts and there probably has to be a mechanical adjustment for him to get to his plus raw power in games. But, as a JUCO bat, he’s only 19 (and turns 20 just after the draft), so there’s time for tinkering.

Thoughts
Detroit is having success with a buy-low college pitcher (Kyle Funkhouser) as we speak, and Faedo is exactly that. He was a 1-1 candidate entering the season but his stuff backed up a bit. The Rivera pick shows faith in the player-dev department.

Houston Astros

Round 1, Pick 15 — J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina (12)
Round 2, Pick 53 — Joe Perez, 3B, McCarthy HS (FL) (NR)
Perez throws hard, often in the mid-90s, with some of the class’s better spin rates on both his fastball and plus-potential slider. He also has plus raw power. His athleticism likely limits him to either relief or to first base (instead of third, the position at which he was announced). I had him in as a pitcher, but this skill set isn’t all that dissimilar from that of J.D. Davis.
Round 2, Pick 56 — Corbin Martin, RHP, Texas A&M (53)
Comp B, Pick 75 — J.J. Matijevic, 2B, Arizona (NR)
Announced as a second baseman, Matijevic was a below-average defensive first baseman at Arizona this year. He has plus bat speed and, when using his lower half efficiently, plus raw power. His contact issues were prohibitive as a first-base prospect, which is likely why he was announced at second, and it will be fascinating if Houston can make a conversion work for a player who some area scouts thought was a pipe dream for even a move to left field.

Thoughts
Same-year debutantes are rare because it requires the player to have a very specific skill set and a team motivated more by the big-league club’s success than they are with the prospect’s long-term development. We might have that intersection here, though, as Bukauskas’ 92-95 mph fastball and plus slider could pitch in a bullpen right now and Houston is chasing a ring. Perez is having TJ, so we won’t see him for a while. Martin could similarly move quickly in a ‘pen role if relegated there.

Kansas City Royals

Round 1, Pick 14 — Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach HS (CA) (17)
Round 2, Pick 52 — M.J. Melendez, C, Westminster Christian HS (FL) (32)
Comp B, Pick 73 — Evan Steele, LHP, Chipola JC (FL) (NR)
Steele’s a funky lefty with a low three-quarters arm slot. The delivery looks reliever-ish, but the repertoire might allow for more than that. Steele adds and subtracts from an 88-93 mph fastball and varies the shape of his slider (which plays up against lefties because of his slot) while mixing in a fringey changeup. He’s likely a lefty reliever but has a chance to be more.

Thoughts
Even with a limited ceiling, Steele has a good shot to pitch in the big leagues. Melendez was good value where he was selected, even if his bat is volatile.

Los Angeles Angels

Round 1, Pick 10 — Jo Adell, OF, Ballard HS (KY) (7)
Round 2, Pick 47 — Griffin Canning, RHP, UCLA (23)

Thoughts
Canning fell due to medical concerns, as he was overused at UCLA. Before those reports started circulating through the industry, Canning was a possibility at No. 10. Anaheim got two guys with whom they were comfortable as a first pick (including the scintillating Adell), a massive step up from recent drafts.

Minnesota Twins

Round 1, Pick 1 — Royce Lewis, SS/CF, JSerra HS (CA) (5)
Comp A, Pick 35 — Brent Rooker, 1B, Mississippi St (64)
Round 2, Pick 37 — Landon Leach, RHP, Pickering HS (Ajax, ON) (NR)
Leach lacks the physical projection enjoyed by most of his peers, and his secondaries and release are inconsistent, but he has a great arm action and will touch 94 with late, bat-missing tail. He’s a physical 6-foot-4. If you think his secondary pitches have projection because of his cold-weather background, he’s a top-100 prospect in this draft.

Thoughts
Leach was a bit of a reach for me, but he’s a good prospect and I think Minnesota may have saved enough on Day 1 that there are still some overslot targets whom they can chase. Rooker is one of the draft’s most fascinating prospects because of his elderly ascendancy.

New York Yankees

Round 1, Pick 16 — Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina (44)
Round 2, Pick 54 — Matt Sauer, RHP, Righetti HS (CA) (30)

Thoughts
Pitchers with Sauer’s stuff don’t typically fall into the middle of the second round, even if they have relief risk as Sauer does. Clarke Schmidt doesn’t have the same arm action out of which Yankees player dev has been able to coax extra velo but, assuming his stuff comes back, that won’t be necessary.

Oakland Athletics

Round 1, Pick 6 — Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS (NC) (9)
Comp A, Pick 33 — Kevin Merrell, SS, South Florida (75)
Round 2, Pick 43 — Greg Deichmann, OF, LSU (NR)
Deichmann is patient and has strength-driven power. He projects, for many, to either left field or first base and has swing-length/bat-path issues that give scouts pause about his ability to hit.

Thoughts
Merrell and Deichmann had fairly strong KATOH evaluations but both have swings that cause consternation. Beck is boom or bust. He and Lazarito will be fun to watch in the same AZL outfield.

Seattle Mariners

Round 1, Pick 17 — Evan White, 1B, Kentucky (19)
Round 2, Pick 55 — Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville HS (MN) (14)

Thoughts
My favorite draft so far. Carlson was highway robbery at No. 55, no matter what he costs. White’s strange profile is especially hilarious in Seattle, which adds a 1B/OF to an organization whose 40-man roster is made up entirely of those.

Tampa Bay Rays

Round 1, Pick 4 — Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP, Louisville (4)
Comp A, Pick 31 — Drew Rasmussen, RHP, Oregon State (78)
Round 2, Pick 40 — Michael Mercado, RHP, Westview HS (CA) (50)

Thoughts
The Rays plan to try McKay as a two-way player. I’m skeptical, though I think it’s prudent to continue to evaluate him as both while his developmental plan still includes an innings limit. Mercado is a tough sign but, if inked, gives this class a high-gloss shine already.

Texas Rangers

Round 1, Pick 26 — Bubba Thompson, CF, McGill-Toolen HS (TX) (21)
Round 1, Pick 29 — Chris Seise, SS, West Orange HS (FL) (57)
Round 2, Pick 66 — Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills HS (CA) (35)

Thoughts
A very Rangers draft, full of upside. All three prospects have projectable frames, Crouse has arguably the draft’s best curveball, and Thompson might be its best athlete.

Toronto Blue Jays

Round 1, Pick 26 — Logan Warmouth, SS, North Carolina (18)
Round 1, Pick 28 — Nate Pearson, RHP, College of Central Florida (28)
Round 2, Pick 61 — Hagen Danner, C, Huntington Beach HS (CA) (65)

Thoughts

I had Danner in as a catcher, as well. He has rare power for the position, and I think he might stick back there once he starts working on it every day.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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bartelsjason
5 years ago

Can you please expound a bit more on your thoughts on the Twins first 3 picks? They seemed to to reach at 1-1 to save money, but then also reached at #35 AND #37 again…this seems like a waste…unless Lewis really is a legit 1-1 with a great future.

It just seems that Lewis would either be blocked by Buxton in CF and Gordon at SS, unless Lewis or Gordon are moved to 2B….but, do you draft a 2B 1-1? Very confused by the Twins front office right now. Seems like they were trying to be too smart, and like that didn’t work out as planned.

KJLmember
5 years ago
Reply to  bartelsjason

Royce Lewis is 18 years old, you need not worry.

bartelsjason
5 years ago
Reply to  KJL

I get that, but this is the #1 overall pick, and several other 18 year olds were picked yesterday too. You would hate to miss your chance to pick the best player in the draft when you are given that chance. Lewis was outside of the top #5 by many. Seems like a missed opportunity…and then they reached with their next two picks as well, so….

sadtrombonemember
5 years ago
Reply to  bartelsjason

There were five Top-5 talents in this draft and no surefire #1. Everyone has their own favorite, and the Twins decided it was Lewis. And because of the lag time between draft and the majors, you never, ever, ever draft for need. Considering that Gordon is in AA and Buxton’s a 30 hitter after 600+ PAs in the majors, there’s a very good chance he will not be blocked.
Sorry to be so preachy, but whether Lewis is a good pick or not is going to be dependent on his own development. There will be a spot for him if he turns out well.