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The Crawfish Boxes 2017 MLB Mock Draft

THE TCB staff takes a crack at the 2017 draft.

Draft day is upon us! To get nostalgic for a second: this draft marks half a decade since the Astros redefined their future with the 2012 draft. Picking Carlos Correa (even at the time, when he was a relatively unknown prep shortstop) seemed like the first real win for the Astros from a national perspective in years. Though the ensuing years were dreadful on the field, Correa, Lance McCullers and others from that draft marked a turning point in the Astros philosophy on how they would attack the modern game.

Nine players from Luhnow’s first draft have appeared in the major leagues, four of those since the start of 2017. This year’s draft presents a similar opportunity for Luhnow to capitalize on an abundance of picks and bonus pool dollars: The misgivings by St. Louis delivered Houston two extra picks and a total of just over $9 million in pool money, just under the $11 million Luhnow worked his magic with in 2012. o

Our mock draft below represents just the first fifteen picks of the entire draft. The selections were completed by myself, Spencer Morris, Astros Future and Jason Marbach. In the spirit of fairness (something the St. Louis Cardinals have never heard of) we each picked a player for the Astros at #15.

1. Twins- Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Louisville

Twins decide to go the "safer" route rather than taking prep arm Hunter Greene. McKay has been great at the plate hitting .363 with 17 HR and on the mound with a 2.37 ERA and 124 K in 91 IP. Scouts are still torn on if he will hit or pitch at the professional level but McKay is probably the safest pick in the draft and has the ability to succeed at either position. - Astros Future

2. Reds - Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt

The Reds are concerned about signability with Greene, who has professed a fervent desire to play for the Padres, and so they go with Wright. Wright has a durable, workhorse body at 6'-4" and 225 pounds, has a fastball in the mid nineties and three very good secondary pitches. He's excelled this season as the Friday night starter for Vanderbilt, one of the premier baseball player-producing institutions on earth, and is considered one of the safer top of the draft selections thanks to a pretty high floor. - Jason Marbach

3. Padres - Hunter Greene, RHP, Notre Dame HS (CA)

Greene is a special prospect and arguably the best prep righty in draft history. With a three digit fastball, potential plus breaker and top notch athleticism, he has the look of a future ace. With strides with his command and change he will certainly be a major league threat as a starter, and most, myself included, agree he looks to be on his way to such improvements. The Padres- have spent high picks on prep pitchers before and would likely snap Greene up immediately if he were to make it to 3. - Spencer Morris

4. Rays - Royce Lewis, SS, J. Serra HS (CA)

The Rays reportedly want Wright but will have a nice (but difficult) decision to make between Lewis and lefty Mackenzie Gore here, who are easily the next best prep players after Greene. Lewis is a super athletic shortstop who could also play the outfield and profiles as a top of the order hitter with limited power but a promising hit tool and great speed. He's also incredibly young for this draft class. If Tampa Bay is looking to draft for need Gore could make sense as their system pitching depth is light (and they have a few high-profile infielders in Willy Adames and Adrian Rondon) but Lewis is BPA here for a team that really needs to nail this pick, as the Rays have not drafted well of late. - Curtis Leister

5. Braves - Mackenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS (NC)

The Braves are steadily stockpiling an arsenal of impressive young pitchers in their system and add to that with Gore, who's the second-best prep arm in the class (behind Greene, if he's classified as such). Gore's profile has trended between high upside (he's added a few ticks to his fastball this spring) and high floor (he's a lefty and throws an advanced arsenal of multiple secondary pitches that could all grade out as average or better) but that probably just shows how he's cemented himself into the top five of this draft. There's a minor drop-off after the top five or six picks here (J.B. Bukauskas could be in play if Atlanta wants to go college arm) but Gore makes total sense for a team that thrives on developing prep arms. - CL

6. Athletics - Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS (NC)

This may seem a bit high but Beck has extreme helium, perhaps the most of any prospect at the moment. The A's reportedly like him and are known to reach for their guys, as they did with Addison Russell in 2011. Beck has plus speed, plus plus bat speed and an approach that has drawn praise, and generally possesses tools matched by few in the class or the baseball world at large. His upside justifies a selection at this slot, and Oakland should be looking to swing for the fences. - SM

7. Diamondbacks - J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina

Arizona will like the Lance McCullers/Sonny Gray type starter upside Bukauskas has, and with mid nineties heat and a passable change accompanying one of the nastiest pitches (a devastating slider) in the entire draft class, Bukauskas offers the relative safety of a floor as a potential late inning reliever. - JM

8. Phillies - Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia

The Phillies might prefer pitching but they settle on possibly the most polished bat in the draft. Smith is an athletic first baseman who has solid power and a great hit tool. This year at Virginia he had a walk to strikeout ratio of 38/11 in 58 games. Smith will give the Phillies an advanced bet who can fly through the minors. - AF

9. Brewers - Jordan Adell, OF, Ballard HS (KY)

The Brewers could go Beck here but decide to go with the more toolsy Adell. Adell is an uber talented outfielder with legit 5 tools. His best tools are his speed and arm but the power isn't far behind. He had some swing and miss issues but had a solid senior year doubting the critics. - AF

10. Angels - Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia

Despite the Brad Wilkerson comp that Baseball America hangs on Haseley, I think Mike Scioscia's Angels will like the winning pedigree and left-handed bat with a good approach and makeup who can potentially play centerfield as a backup plan to Mike Trout and profiles really well in the corner outfield defensively. - JM

11. White Sox - Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt

The White Sox love players who have loud tools even if the hit is not one of them, as evidenced by their selections of players like Trayce Thompson, Courtney Hawkins, Keon Barnum, and Keenyn Walker in the early rounds this decade. Kendall has surprising power, plus speed and plays excellent defense, but his swing is very rough and he may struggle to hit for average in the pros. If he can smooth things out in that department, he could be an offensive threat rather than just a glove-and-speed player. He's somewhat similar to Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick. - SM

12. Pirates - David Peterson, LHP, Oregon

The Pirates have drafted heavily on position players in recent years, but this a bit too soon for the available hitters on the board so they go the arm route. Peterson may not actually be BPA on most team's boards at this point in our draft (prep arms like Baz, Hall and Rogers make sense here) but the Pirates are heavy on the analytics and Peterson's recent junior year surge in K% should enamor him with clubs like Pittsburgh. Peterson is a polarizing prospect in that he's only performed well at Oregon this season which has kept him under the radar, but other industry publications like him around here. - CL

13. Marlins - Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX)

I really wanted to finesse this pick to make Baz available for the Astros at #15, but he makes way too much sense for the Marlins, who are big on prep pitchers with upside. Even though their system is light on present talent, Miami has hit on their last seven first round picks - Christian Yelich, Colin Moran, Josh Naylor, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Kolek, Braxton Garrett and the late Jose Fernandez have all played in the majors or have the talent/upside to be really interesting players down the line. Unfortunately, only three of those players are still in Miami due to the Fernandez tragedy and some poorly thought-out deadline deals for Jarred Cosart and Andrew Cashner. Baz has room to add to his fastball velo and one of the top breaking ball spin rates in this draft - that data point would seem a waste in Miami which isn't really a data-centric team, but Baz could go as high as #8 so this looks like a steal. - CL

14. Royals - Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida

Though he has spotty medicals and hasn't been a model of consistency at Florida, the overall results for Faedo have been very strong. With plus velocity (though it has wavered at times) and a very strong slider and average command with potential for more, Faedo looks like a potential number two starter. He looks to be one of the best players on the board here if not the very best, and the Royals should be looking to go best player available. Faedo's profile has some loose similarities to ex-Royals draft pick Sean Manaea. - SM

15a. Astros - Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State

A talented hitter for contact and power, Burger has good hands at third and could stick there. His power/OBP combo fits the Astros' MO of evaluating collegiate bats, and he is also close to BPA at this point. - SM

15b. Astros - Keston Hiura, 2B/OF, UC-Irvine

With the 15th pick the Astros get one of the best bats in the draft. While Hiura doesn't really have a position (some see him as a second baseman, some as an outfielder) he has the bat to carry him to the majors. This year he has hit .442 with 24 2B, 8 HR, 50 BB/38 K and a .567(!) OBP in 56 games. He has an elbow injury and could need Tommy John surgery but has been able to avoid it to this point as it doesn't mess with his hitting. This would be similar to the Happ pick for the Cubs. Take the bat, figure out the position later. - AF

I have to go with Hiura as well, I think he's the best pure college hitter in the draft. I think you figure out his position later and go with it, especially if Baz is already gone. - JM

15c. D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA)

Though Hiura would be a great fit for Houston and has an extremely high floor with his hit tool, the Astros should look to maximize upside here at (hopefully) their last pick within the top-20 for the foreseeable future. Hall is a consensus top-15 pick everywhere you look so I can argue he's BPA, and he fills a need as a high-potential left-handed starter in the system. Hall can run his fastball up to 94-95 and has an exceptional curveball for an 18-year old with a reportedly solid spin rate on that breaking pitch. All that from the left-side gives the Astros another young arm with two plus pitches who has a relatively high floor for a prep arm.