Feature Photo: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Univ. of Louisville
College pitching has long been considered a strength of 2017 MLB Draft. While performances of several highly regarded names have been inconsistent thus far this season, college pitchers will be heavily represented in the first round on June 12. That positional strength is why we’ve chosen to highlight college pitchers in our first installment of our MLB Draft Video Spotlight series, which will be published weekly leading up to the 2017 MLB Draft.
Ed. Note: Check back regularly at our 2017 Draft Class Library page, which contains videos of over 200 draft prospects to-date, and is growing by the day!
2017 MLB Draft Class Video Spotlights
Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt Univ. | 2017 Draft Class
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/220 lbs B/T: R/R Age (as of 2017 MLB Draft): 21y, 9m
Though Wright entered the season as a candidate to be the top college pitcher selected, he started slowly and was just 1-4 with a 5.59 ERA as of April 1. He’s been much better of late, however, turning his season around on April 14 when he out-dueled Florida sophomore right-hander Brady Singer, with a complete game shutout in which he allowed just three hits and struck out 13. Now Wright is back where he began the year, projected as a potential top five overall pick.
Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Univ. of Louisville | 2017 Draft Class
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/220 lbs B/T: L/L Age (as of 2017 MLB Draft): 21y, 5m
Teams entered the season split on whether McKay would pitch or hit at the professional level, and while his current slash line of .394/.514/.739 – along with 13 home runs – does nothing to settle the debate, he remains one of the best pitchers in the class regardless. With a 6-3 record and 2.15 ERA, McKay commands a low-90s fastball and uses a plus curveball to strike out 12.76-hitters-per-nine innings.
Griffin Canning, RHP, UCLA | 2017 Draft Class
Ht/Wt: 6’2” / 180 lbs B/T: R/R Age (as of 2017 MLB Draft): 21y, 1m
Canning may not have the prototypical pitchers body of Wright, or mystique of McKay, but he’s been consistently excellent this season. To go with a 4-2 record and 2.56 ERA, Canning has increased his SO/9 ratio from 7.82 as a sophomore to 11.41 as a junior. A polished righty with a deep repertoire and a track record for success, Canning is looking like a safe bet to be a first-rounder come June 12.
Brendon Little, LHP, State J.C. of Florida | 2017 Draft Class
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/215 lbs B/T: L/L Age (as of 2017 MLB Draft): 20y, 10m
Little didn’t see the mound much as a freshman at UNC last season, prompting his transfer to State JC of Florida. The move speeds up his draft clock by one year, making him eligible to be selected this season. The lefty has a big fastball and fringy control, and he’s dominating the junior college ranks, with a 2.39 ERA and 14.13 SO/9 ratio.
Luke Heimlich, LHP, Oregon State Univ. | 2017 Draft Class
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/197 lbs B/T: L/L Age (as of 2017 MLB Draft): 21y, 3m
On statistics alone, Heimlich stands out among his peers on this list. The ace of the top collegiate team in the country, Heimlich has a 6-1 record with a tiny 0.78 ERA and he’s allowed just 42 hits over 80 1/3 innings, with opposing batters hitting just .153 against him.