As we quickly approach the 2017 MLB draft, the first thing that jumps out to many is the abundance of talented pitchers that are likely to go in the first round. In addition to the strong pitching prospects, there are quite a few outfielders that should expect to hear their name called in the first round or two of the draft. Which outfielder has their called called first, however, is still up in the air as we close in on draft day.
Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia
Haseley could be the first outfielder to hear his name called in next week’s draft. The University of Virginia product saw his power numbers increase as he hit .390/.491/.659 with 14 home runs, 16 doubles, and 56 RBIs in 58 games this season. Haseley possesses solid tools defensively with plus speed and an above average arm which should allow him to play all three outfield positions.
Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS (NC)
The University of North Carolina commit likely won’t make it there after he is picked in the first round in the draft. Beck tore his ACL causing him to miss the entire showcase tournament last summer, which has led to some teams questioning his ability to hit with a wood bat. Beck combatted these questions as a senior as he was a force at the plate hitting .590/.700/1.218 with 12 home runs, including three home runs in the final game of his high school career. Many scouts think he has 25-25 potential and could become a star in the big leagues.
Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt
Kendall is another college player that began reaching his potential this season. While he hit 17 home runs between his freshman and sophomore season, Kendall has tapped into his power at the plate this season at Vanderbilt hitting 15 home runs, with a .310/.379/.569 slash line. He has been a major force on a Vanderbilt squad poised to make a run to the College World Series.
Jo Adell, OF, Ballard HS (KY)
Jordan “Jo” Adell has a solid 6’2,” 190 pound frame to go along with plus speed, a strong arm, and power at the plate. There are concerns that he struggles against quality pitching, but Adell’s stock is on the rise, and he has put himself in the conversation of being the first outfielder taken in this year’s draft.
Keston Hiura, 2B/OF, UC Irvine
Hiura has been dealing with an elbow injury that have relegated him to a DH role at UC Irvine this season. His lingering elbow issue did not seem to affect him at the plate, however, as he hit .442 with eight home runs and 24 doubles in 58 games. It’s worth noting that his elbow injury may force teams to see him as a second baseman where he will not have to make long throws from the outfield.
Bubba Thompson, OF, McGill-Toolen HS (AL)
A talented high school quarterback that received college football offers from Ole Miss and Tennessee, Thompson was a two-sport stud at McGill-Toolen High School in Alabama. Thompson elected to choose baseball after he committed to play at Alabama, but it’s unlikely he enrolls at Bama after certainly being selected in the first round. Thompson has five-tool potential as he has great speed running a 6.35 60-yard dash, and is a strong defender. There aren’t many question marks surrounding Thompson heading into the draft.
Drew Waters, OF, Etowah HS (GA)
Waters may be the best switch hitter in this year’s draft. At the dish, he focuses on barreling balls, but he shows more power from the left side than the right side. Though his older brother Zach pitched at the University of Georgia, Drew likely won’t be attending after he is selected early in the draft. His hitting ability and solid fielding and arm should allow him to play both center and right field when he reaches pro ball.
Tristen Lutz, OF, Martin HS (TX)
Lutz attends the same high school as current Major Leaguer Nathan Karns. Standing at 6’3” and weighing 210 pounds, Lutz possess good power and a strong arm that has him projected to stick as a right fielder in the long run.
Heliot Ramos, OF, Leadership Christian Academy HS (PR)
Ramos is seen as the top Puerto Rican talent in this year’s MLB draft. He is seen as a raw talent and some scouts question his bat speed. Nonetheless, he should be picked as early as the competitive balance round, but could also be seen as more of a second round option.
Stuart Fairchild, OF, Wake Forest
Fairchild has had a breakout season in his junior year at Wake Forest. To this point, he’s hit .350 with 15 home runs and 57 RBIs to go along with 16 steals and 16 doubles. Fairchild is one of the more polished college bats with a significant amount of potential if he can maximize his tools. He has the ability to stick in center field and could be a 20-20 guy if he reaches his potential.