We are finally at a point in the spring in which it appears that everyone being considered a Top 10 caliber draft prospect for 2017 has been on the field. The Cincinnati Reds have the 2nd overall selection in June’s Major League Baseball draft. Let’s take a look at how the top prospects performed over the last week.

The Pitchers

J.B. Bukauskas | RHP | North Carolina

Friday night was a big test for J.B. Bukauskas as he took on #7 Virginia. He came through for the Tar Heels with one earned in 6.0 innings. The right hander allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out seven. Bukauskas threw 93 pitches in the game and faced 22 batters before giving the game to the bullpen. He now has a 0.69 ERA in four starts. In his 26.0 innings he’s allowed just 15 hits and five walks to go with 37 strikeouts.

Alex Faedo | RHP | Florida

On Friday night Alex Faedo took the mound against Seton Hall. It was his second worst start of the year, which says a lot about how he’s pitched this spring. Faedo tossed 6.0 shutout innings, allowed five hits and a walk. The right hander added in six strikeouts. For the season he lowered his ERA to 1.37 in 26.1 innings with seven walks and 30 strikeouts. He was reportedly sitting 93-94 in the first inning of this start.

Hunter Greene | RHP | Notre Dame HS (CA)

It appears that he didn’t pitch last week. With just one game for his high school team, taking place on the 7th.

Tanner Houck | RHP | Missouri

After two rough starts to begin the year, Tanner Houck has really turned things around in his last two starts. On Friday night he faced off against Appalachian State and had his best start of the year. The righty tossed 8.2 shutout innings with just four hits allowed. Houck had two walks and seven strikeouts in the game. After giving up eight earned in the first two starts he’s tossed 14.2 shutout innings in his last two starts. That’s lowered his ERA to 2.92 on the season. In 24.2 innings he has seven walks and 28 strikeouts this season.

Alex Lange | RHP | LSU

After having an absolutely terrible start last week against TCU, Alex Lange rebounded in a big way on Friday night. The right hander dominated Wichita State over 8.0 shutout innings. Lange allowed just two hits and walked no one while striking out nine. He threw 96 pitches and lowered his season ERA to 3.05.

Brendan McKay | LHP | Louisville

After missing a start last week with a minor injury Brendan McKay had his way with Pittsburgh on Friday night. The left hander threw 7.0 shutout innings with just two hits and a walk. He announced his presence with authority, striking out 15 batters in the game on 97 pitches. That lowered his ERA to 1.00 on the season with four walks and 29 strikeouts in 18.0 innings.

Kyle Wright | RHP | Vanderbilt

It was a tough start for Kyle Wright on Friday night against Saint Mary’s. He was touched up for six runs (five earned) in 4.0 innings on 10 hits and a walk. He did strike out seven batters in the game. He’s likely seen his draft stock fall with his slow start to the season. In four starts he has a 5.40 ERA in 20.0 innings with six walks and 24 strikeouts. He’s been very hittable, giving up 24 hits along the way.

The Hitters

Jeren Kendall | OF | Vanderbilt

The week for Jeren Kendall was solid, but unspectacular. He went 5-16 (.313) on the week against Central Arkansas (2 games) and St. Mary’s (3 games). However, he didn’t have an extra-base hit. Kendall did draw more walks, six, than he had strikeouts, four. For the season he’s hitting .284/.395/.552 with 13 walks and 19 strikeouts.

Royce Lewis | SS | High School (CA)

Royce Lewis got his season underway last week with a double header over the weekend. He went 2-5 with a double and a walk and three stolen bases according to Baseball America.

Brendan McKay | 1B | Louisville

Much like Jaren Kendall, it was a solid but unspectacular week for Brendan McKay at the plate. He went 5-13  (.385) with no extra-base hits. He walked twice, was hit by a pitch and struck out twice. The week really put a dent on his overall season line, which now sits at .548/.621/.905 with 10 walks and six strikeouts.

20 Responses

  1. The Duke

    I watched Bukauskas’ entire start. On one of the walks he got jobbed. It should have been strike three with a slider on the inside corner. In his last inning Bukauskas was more 91-94, but every inning before that was 93-96 and he hit 97 several times. He had one K on a very nice changeup, but the changeup was inconsistent on the day. If he could throw the good one I saw consistently, it’d be a plus pitch. I’d definitely say the potential is there for three plus pitches, with the fastball and slider already being plus.

    I didn’t see Faedo until the 4th,and by then ,he definitely wasn’t throwing 93-94. It was clearly slower than what Bukauskus had been throwing, but I’d give Faedo the edge on overall command, and his changeup was more consistent. If I had to guess (they weren’t showing velo in the ESPNU broadcast) it looked more 90-91 at that point.

    I saw video of Lewis working an eight pitch walk off of first round draft prospect Hagan Danner. Did a nice job laying off of breaking stuff designed to get hitters to chase and fouled off borderline pitches that he wouldn’t have been able to drive.

    • The Duke

      For me:

      Royce Lewis
      JB Buskauskas
      Hunter Greene
      Alex Faedo
      Brendan McKay

  2. Kap

    Bukauskas is still the front runner in my opinion. Clearly the best arm in the draft despite his height. Having a high floor seems to be apparent because of his skill set. If he is picked by the twins then I would go Lewis

  3. Wes

    Lewis
    Buskauskas
    Greene
    McCay

    McCay the Babe of college ball

  4. Arnold Ziffle

    Lewis and Bukauskas are neck and neck at this early juncture. Greene just a whisker behind.
    The Twins are taking a pitcher at #1. College or HS would be the only question.
    At #32, if he is still available then, a nice pick would be University of Houston LHSP Seth Romero. A Romero to go with Romano. It might have been Baseball America that had him as their #10 ranked college pitcher.

  5. MK

    Still too early. At this point last year there was concern that Senzel had not shown enough early season power. That changed and so could these guys.

    • The Duke

      It’s all in flux, but wild speculation is half the fun of the draft

  6. Hoyce

    Totally agree. Ur allowed to change ur mind as more information comes along.

  7. Norwood Nate

    Hate to be this guy…but hailing originally from the great state of North Carolina, I must point out that it’s Tar Heels, two words.

    Funny side story, when I was a kid in the 80’s my dad used to take me to the Greensboro Hornets games. For a couple years they were a Reds minor league affiliate. I think Single A, but my memory is a little hazy. My dad grew up around Athens, OH until high school and was a big Reds fan, partially due to the BRM I’m sure. The local sports channel carried some of the Reds games due to the connection of the farm team. I remember my dad let me stay up to watch Browning’s perfect game as it ended well past my bedtime. So thanks to the Reds being in Greensboro for a bit, I got a cool Reds memory.

    As far as the draft goes, I’d say Bukauskas, Faedo, Lewis, and Greene are the four I’m paying most attention to (in no particular order). If he’s available, I’d lean toward Lewis for the pick at the current snap shot in time.

    • Doug Gray

      Nate – never hate to be that guy to me. If I’m wrong, please, always tell me.

  8. Steve

    Just some corrections fyi. McKay has a 0.50 ERA with 5BB. Also, maybe including leading the NCAA division I in hitting would be appropriate. Go Cards! Louisville only team in top 10 in hitting(3)and ERA(2), largely due to McKay.

    • asinghoff

      Largely due to McKay…..and extremely lightweight schedule to date.

      • Steve

        Regardless, if strength of schedule was such an important factor, they wouldn’t be ranked #1 this week as coaches, sportswriters and others that vote, would recognize that.

      • Steve

        Louisville also ranked #1 today by NCBWA top 30, Perfect Game top 25 and USA Today Sports Coaches Poll.

  9. Jordan Barhorst

    Am I the only one who think McKay would be a perfect fit for the Reds system? The fanbase goes nuts over pitchers who can hit. Guy is (kinda) a local product who is leading the #1 college team in baseball. Get him, sign him, big leagues by 2019.

    • Doug Gray

      Saw something yesterday that said McKay may be more favorable as a hitter at this point over a pitcher and could go in the Top 5. If that’s the case, it’s not for the Reds – he’s a first baseman.

  10. AlphaZero

    I know some may disagree, but I’d be perfectly happy with McKay at number 2. He may not have the upside of some of the other guys, but so far, I haven’t seen a college hitter worth taking and I am typically opposed to going the prep route with such a high pick.

    McKay is just such an interesting and uniquely talented guy. And while he’s considered a “pitchability” lefty, his velocity still sits in the low 90’s regularly. He’s not perfect, but neither are any of the other candidates.