Feature Photo: Jeren Kendall, CF, Vanderbilt Univ.
Last week, Burke Granger kicked off our MLB Draft Video Spotlight series focusing on college pitching. This week I turn our attention to some of the top college position players available in the 2017 MLB Draft class. Though there has been more overall positional depth in previous seasons, there is some strength in this group at first base and in the outfield, with several players likely to come off the board as early picks on June 12.
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
Jeren Kendall, CF, Vanderbilt Univ. | 2017 Draft Class
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/190 lbs. B/T: L/R Age (as of 2017 MLB Draft): 21 y, 4 m
The speedy center fielder entered the season as the top college outfield bat and has shown off his mix of power and speed again this season with 13 home runs and 16 stolen bases. Despite persistent contact issues throughout his career, Kendall is a plus defender in center field with a track record of success both playing in a tough SEC conference, and playing with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, so teams should feel confident grabbing him early.
Pavin Smith, 1B, Univ. of Virginia | 2017 Draft Class
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/210 lbs. B/T: L/L Age (as of 2017 MLB Draft): 21 y, 4 m
Smith has boosted his stock this season, showing up as one of the best college hitters with the ability to make consistent contact, draw walks and hit for extra bases. His current slash line of .355/.433/.585 doesn’t do justice to his advanced approach, as the first baseman has struck out only seven times against 28 walks and 21 extra base hits. Smith is a solid defender and looks like he could develop into a run producer with his above-average hit tool.
Adam Haseley, OF, Univ. of Virginia | 2017 Draft Class
Ht/Wt: 6’1” / 195 lbs. B/T: L/L Age (as of 2017 MLB Draft): 21 y, 2 m
Not to be out done by teammate Pavin Smith, Haseley has also boosted his draft stock this season with a quick stroke from the left side while flirting with a .400 batting average all season. The toolsy center fielder has earned average to above-average grades across the line, and complied a .399/.491/.680 slash line along with 25 extra base hits – including 12 home runs.
Evan White, 1B/OF, Univ. of Kentucky | 2017 Draft Class
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/205 lbs. B/T: R/L Age (as of 2017 MLB Draft) 21 y, 1 m
White has shown an advanced hit tool this season along with above-average speed, especially for a first baseman. The .380/.468/.643 slash comes from a short, compact swing and he can drive balls into the gaps with more pop as he continues to add strength and maturity to his lean frame. In addition to his bat, White has an elite glove at first base, and brings the added value of versatility, with the ability to also play the outfield.
K.J. Harrison, 1B, Oregon State Univ. | 2017 Draft Class
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/210 lbs. B/T: R/R Age (as of 2017 MLB Draft) 21y, 10m
A three-year standout in Corvallis, Harrison is one of the more appealing sluggers in this year’s MLB Draft class. The bat is his carrying tool, and although the power numbers are down this year, Harrison has still shown the ability to hit mistakes over the fence. Look for Harrison to be selected early in Day Two.