Baltimore – The Major League Baseball amateur player draft is among sports’ most difficult to predict with precision. DraftWizard is a software application created by former college baseball player and current IT professional Aidan Cain that attempts to do so by letting its users slot potential draft picks into “player types” and then compare them to historical data for similar types of players drafted since 1965.
DraftWizard defines each player type using an array of attributes such as height, handedness, and position. Each is then assigned a value, and data for previously drafted players is appended to the player type for comparison to prospective draft picks.
The program next predicts the likelihood of a player making the majors. Each selection in the Top 10 is based on the DraftWizard analysis using player information from the Top 25 draft prospect profiles on MLB.com, as well as team needs for the upcoming draft.
Fieldhouse Journal presents here the top 10 projected picks of DraftWizard‘s 2017 mock draft with accompanying narrative from Cain. The draft begins on June 12.
#1 Minnesota Twins
Team Needs = Pitcher, Any
Kyle Wright – RHP – Vanderbilt University
Nine other players with Wright’s exact attributes (6-foot-4, 220 lbs., right-handed, collegiate pitcher) made it to the majors when drafted in the first round. This accounts for 75 percent of all players with Wright’s characteristics ever drafted in the first.
One notable player that shares Wright’s attributes – the Washington Nationals’ Stephen Stasburg.
The top college righty in the class should follow Dansby Swanson as the next Vanderbilt one-one selection.
#2 Cincinnati Reds
Team Needs = Pitcher, First Baseman
Brendan McKay – LHP/1B – Louisville University
Brendan McKay shows promise in two areas needed by the Reds – he projects well as both a pitcher and first baseman. Reds’ first round draftees have a success rate of 66.7 percent when taken out of college as compared to 43.6 percent out of high school. Additionally, collegiate players taken second overall have an 88 percent chance of making it to the Show.
McKay’s player type as a pitcher has a 100 percent rate of producing a major leaguer. When he moves to first base, his likelihood of success declines. Players of his type drafted in the first round include retired first baseman Carlos Pena.
#3 San Diego Padres
Team Needs = Pitcher, Shortstop
Hunter Greene – RHP/SS – Notre Dame (Calif.) HS
Greene is an excellent selection at third overall for the Padres. As a pitcher, this flamethrower has a player type producing major league players at a 25.9 percent clip.
He has number one overall potential, however no high school righty pitcher has ever been taken one-one. The numbers are arguably more in favor of selecting Greene as a shortstop. Of first rounders with Greene’s attributes as a shortstop, 100 percent became major league players.
He has the same player type as both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Not only is Greene a perfect fit for the Padres, but he is also a highly projectable pick.
#4 Tampa Bay Rays
Team Needs = Pitcher, Catcher
Alex Faedo – RHP – University of Florida
For quite some time, Faedo was in the hunt to be the first pitcher selected. He’s recently been edged out, now sitting as the number six pitching prospect in this year’s draft class. Faedo’s player type boasts 300 major league players, among them seven first rounders and one first overall selection.
First rounders of Faedo’s characteristics make the majors at a 58.3 percent rate. Righty college pitchers taken at fourth overall are 22 percent more likely to make the majors than high school right-handed arms taken with the same selection.
#5 Atlanta Braves
Team Needs = Outfielder, Any
Adam Haseley – OF – University of Virginia
Contrary to popular belief, Jeren Kendall may not be the most projectable outfielder this class has to offer. Listed as the number four outfield prospect in the 2017 draft class, Adam Haseley has a player type most similar to Jacoby Ellsbury.
The two outfielder-only prospects ahead of him, Kendall and high school prospect Austin Beck, have a player type that has produced only a total of three major leaguers, at a success rate of 10 percent and 2.9 percent respectively. On the other hand, the player type of Haseley has produced 11 major leaguers with those few going in the first round having a success rate of 100 percent.
#6 Oakland Athletics
Team Needs = First Baseman, Outfielder
Royce Lewis – SS/OF – Serra Catholic (Calif.) HS
Lewis is listed as the top high school hitter-only in this year’s draft class. The UC-Irvine commit has a player type which offers the second best success rate for outfielders. As an outfielder, 28.6 percent of players with Lewis’ characteristics that were first round picks ended up making the majors. If outfield does not work out, his player type makes him even better suited as a shortstop.
Statistics show 71.4 percent of shortstops similar to Lewis proved to be major league caliber ballplayers, one of whom was selected first overall. Although the A’s primary need is first base and they may be tempted to take Pavin Smith, it may be too early to take the top first base prospect, whose profile has only ever produced three major league players.
#7 Arizona Diamondbacks
Team Needs = Pitcher, Any
Shane Baz – RHP – Concordia Lutheran (Texas) HS
This high school right-hander proves the second-most promising prep arm. His player type produced an impressive 49 major leaguers at a success rate of 25.9 percent. When the player has been selected in the first round that percentage jumps to 66.7 percent. College rather than high school right-handed pitchers tend to produce slightly better at the number seven overall selection, however, that number is still at a success rate of 66.7 percent. Baz’s player type is comparable to current Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller.
#8 Philadelphia Phillies
Team Needs = Pitcher, Second Baseman
Alex Lange – RHP – Louisiana State University
Lange will seek to follow in the footsteps of former LSU Tiger Aaron Nola, by quickly rising within the ranks of the Phillies’ farm system. This collegiate standout’s player type has produced 37 major leaguers. For players with the same attributes as Lange drafted in the first round, 9 players or 56.3 percent made a major league roster. Interestingly enough, Lange’s player type was the only of the top 25 prospects to have had two first overall selections, both of whom were successful and played at the major league level.
#9 Milwaukee Brewers
Team Needs = Pitcher, Outfielder
Jordan Adell – OF – Ballard (Ky.) HS
Ranked 5th of the outfield prospects, Adell is a quality selection at number nine. Having a player type with the exact attributes of former number one prospect and current Minnesota Twin, Byron Buxton, and three-time gold glove winner Mike Cameron, Adell has lots of upside. As a first round eligible player, his profile has been successful in yielding a major league player 60 percent of the time.
#10 Los Angeles Angels
Team Needs = Pitcher, Any
Tanner Houck – RHP – University of Missouri
Houck is a big-bodied pitcher with lots of sinking action on his fastball. Among the players analyzed, Houck has some of the most balanced characteristics statistically.
His player type has led to 33 major league players at a 23.1 perecent rate. Twelve total players were selected in the first round and of those seven, or 58.3 percent, went on to play in the bigs including one first overall selection. Since 1990, no right-handed collegiate pitcher taken 10th overall has failed to make the major leagues. Houck is comparable to former All-Star, Mark Prior, by player type and should be a solid selection at 10th overall.