We are just over a week away from the MLB Draft. The first round will likely be dominated by pitching, but there are still some interesting infield prospects to keep an eye on when the clock starts on the 12th. Here are the top ten that you should be looking out for:
Brendan McKay, 1B/RHP, Louisville
I know he could be considered as a pitcher, but McKay seems to be trending towards a position player in the eyes of scouts and teams that are in the mix to draft the junior from Louisville University.
Some mock drafts have McKay going first overall to the Twins, while few have him going anywhere outside of the top three. McKay has been on fire at the plate recently, including a grand slam in the ACC Tournament opener, his 16th home run of the season.
Royce Lewis, SS, JSerra Catholic HS (CA)
Lewis played some outfield earlier in his high school career, but sparkled at shortstop this season. The projected top five prospect batted .388 this season while drawing 24 walks and striking out only seven times, helping him capture his third Trinity League MVP award.
Lewis was recruited by UC Irvine, but he will wind up off the draft board quickly come next week. Some scouts say Lewis is the best position player available in this year’s draft.
Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
Smith was a successful pitcher in high school with a fastball already at 90 mph, but injuries changed his course, and that doesn’t seem like a bad thing at all so far.
From pitcher to first base, Smith produces like an elite corner infielder. Entering ACC Tournament play, Smith had 70 RBI while the next highest mark in the conference was under 60. Recording more home runs than strikeouts for the regular season isn’t too shabby either.
Evan White, 1B, Kentucky
Another corner infielder, White helped save the Wildcats’ season in the SEC Tournament when he drove in four runs with his team facing elimination.
It has been a fabulous season at the plate for White this season, batting .391 to help raise his career college average to .359. White is a right handed batter who throws left handed (oddly enough), and his stock has been rising in what seems to have been a wise choice to go the college route and improve as a hitter.
Keston Hiura, 2B/OF, UC Irvine
Elbow problems have limited Hiura to a DH role this season, but the injury did little to hold back his bat. Hiura hit over .400 this season, and his bat is highly praised across the league.
The problem of course is the impact his elbow injury will have on his defense. He has experience in the outfield and at second base, so perhaps he will be best suited at second with a short throw to first instead of being relied on to gun down runners from the outfield.
Logan Warmoth, SS, North Carolina
Warmoth gets plenty of exposure as a middle infielder for one of the best teams in the country. He is the 25th ranked prospect by Baseball America, but he may be drafted much earlier than that.
His power has seen an increase since the end of his sophomore season, enjoying a power surge of four homers in 13 games to end his 2016 season, and now has nine dingers in 2017. His slugging percentage has also shot up from .481 to .562. As a trade-off, his strikeouts have increased, but today’s baseball doesn’t seem to frown upon that trend.
Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach HS (CA)
The big left handed bat committed to USC, but he will likely be drafted in the first round and choose to go with the paycheck. Pratto already has some experience on the big stage thanks to his walk-off hit in the 2011 Little League World Series, and he has not faltered despite the increased attention.
Some consider Pratto to be one of the best bats coming from the prep level, and projections see him going somewhere in the teen areas of the first round.
Nick Allen, SS, Francis Parker HS (CA)
The 5-foot-9 shortstop took home an All-American award this season, and has an old school shortstop makeup to him. He is smaller and has a slick glove in the field, but scouts believe his bat has enough potential to make him a rare two-way talent.
While he is expected to have success at the plate, it likely will not be by way of the long ball. His power grades are low, but the rest of his game is attractive enough to use a first round pick on him.
Mark Vientos, SS/3B, American Heritage HS (FL)
Vientos committed to the University of Miami, but being drafted late first round/early second round might pull the young infielder away from the Hurricanes.
Speaking of young, Vientos is the youngest player in Baseball America’s top-200 prospect rankings at 17 years old.
Jeter Downs, SS, Pace HS (FL)
A shortstop with a rising draft stock named Jeter. I’m sold.