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2017 MLB Draft Preview: Reviewing Mock Drafts (part 1)

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For previous entries of BBB's 2017 draft preview, see the 2017 Draft Storystream

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

With the 2017 MLB Draft now just under two weeks away on June 12th we've started the transition from looking backwards at the Jays organizational depth, past drafts and tendencies to looking forward and the players who will available in the 2017 draft.

That continues with a survey of mock drafts from some of the more reputable sources. Due to the Jays having two essentially first round picks (22nd and 28th overall), there are more players to discuss, so I'm splitting it in two, with Baseball America and Keith Law today, and MLB Pipeline and Perfect Game tomorrow. Keep in mind that the earlier it was published, the less it's usually a mock draft and more of a ranking based on tendencies and maybe a little intel.

Baseball America 2.0 (April 20; first version only top 10)

22nd Pick: Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State University

Comment: Burger has done nothing but hit for three years, a starter from the beginning of his freshman season on the same team as Jon Harris. His lowest BA was .341 this year, his highest .349 in 2016, so he's hit consistently. His power has developed, with 21 and 22 home runs the last two years, though he didn't hit any with the USA college national team last summer. He's played third, and has been passable at the college level, but opinion is at least divided whether he can do so at the pro level and as he gets older. Otherwise, he goes to first where the offensive bar is a lot higher.

Basically, this is a bet on his bat. While he's certainly produced, there's some significant caveats for me. Missouri State plays in the Missouri Valley Conference (surprise!), which doesn't typically have the highest competition. In particular, MSU has barely faced any higher calibre opponents this year. Moreover, it is typically an offensive league, with inflated power production in particular. That said, Casey Gillespie was taken out of the MVC 20th overall in 2015, and he's produced at the upper minor levels. Overall, I wouldn't be terribly enthused.

28th Pick: Wil Crowe, RHP, South Carolina

Comment: Crowe is a redshirt junior who had Tommy John surgery halfway through a breakout sophomore year in 2015, and missed all of 2016. He'll turn 23 in September, so he's also older. He's had a good junior year, 3.41 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 92.1 innings, but tailed off somewhat in SEC play against better competition. The profile would be a for a mid-rotation ceiling if things went right. As a college pitcher, he fits the general profile. In my view it would be an okay if uninspired pick.

Baseball America ran a good profile of Crowe in March.

Baseball America 3.0 (May 18th)

22nd Pick: Evan White, 1B, Kentucky

Comment: White is a really curious profile, as he's not at all your typical college first baseman. He's a very good athlete, so much so that he could easily handle the outfield in the pro ranks with CF not being entirely out of the question (at least starting there in the minors). That's important, because while he's one of the better pure hitters in the college ranks, he hasn't shown much power and doesn't project to have much. That's a tough profile at first base, though he'd be outstanding defensively. A comp here might be Lyle Overbay if he worked out. But the record of college first basemen is pretty dismal in recent years, and I'd prefer the Jays look elsewhere.

28th Pick: Alex Lange, RHP, Louisiana State

Comment: Lange burst upon the scene with a dominant freshman season, going 12-0 with a 1.97 ERA with 131 strikeouts in 114. But while he's been good the last couple years, he's been plagued by inconsistency. He has starts where he dominates, starts where he piles up walks.

Lange has a big fastball and a wicked curveball, but lacks a usable third pitch. Part of the reason that he took a step back after 2015 is that the book on him got out, which is avoid chasing the curve since he had trouble throwing it for strikes, and key in the fastball when he makes mistakes. If he didn't work out as a starter, he would have the potential to be a wipeout high leverage reliever.

Baseball America 3.5 (May 25th)

22nd Pick: Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri

Comment: Houck was drafted in the 12th round by the Jays in 2014; I profiled him yesterday. For a college pick, there's a larger range of outcomes than normal, with upside thanks to the big fastball but risk due to lack of developed secondaries and command/mechanics concerns.

To the extent Houck is linked here due to having been drafted by the Jays out of high school, it would be rather specious given the front office turnover among the decision makers. Curiously, version 3.0 had the Jays passing on Houck and the Red Sox taking him at 24, so this would have him climbing despite a very poor performance in the SEC tournament...which is a little odd. Specific intel?

28th Pick: Alex Lange

Keith Law/ESPN 1.0 (May 11th)

22nd Pick: Jake Burger

Law only covered the 27 picks in the actual first round with this first mock draft, so there's no pick at 28.