Analysis: 2017 MLB Draft Top 10 Recap

Royce Lewis was the first overall pick of the 2017 MLB Draft (Photo / Nick Wosika/iconsportswire.com)

Elkridge, Md. - After presenting a DraftWizard mock 2017 MLB Draft Top 10, we're following up with a recap from the program's developer, Aidan Cain. DraftWizard was intended to determine the likelihood of a player moving up the pro ranks, not to predict drafts, but we took the opportunity to learn more about the top players through the unique lense of the program. With that, here is Cain's follow-up analysis. - TF

The MLB Amateur Player Draft concluded with some interesting picks throughout the top 10, and with the signing deadline now past, we'll take a look at the results.

Many variables are considered within a draft room before any given pick - from raw skills and statistics to intangibles reported by local scouts. The DraftWizard application attempted to emulate the draft room while focusing on three variables - player profiles, historical data, and perceived team needs. DraftWizard selections compared well with those of Major League Baseball, predicting correctly that six of the ten players that made the top 10 would land there.

DraftWizard Top 10 
1) Kyle Wright - RHP
2) Brendan McKay - LHP/1B
3) Hunter Greene - RHP/SS
4) Alex Faedo - RHP
5) Adam Haseley - OF
6) Royce Lewis - SS/OF
7) Shane Baz - RHP 
8) Alex Lange - RHP
9) Jordan Adell - OF 
10) Tanner Houck - RHP

MLB Top 10
1) Royce Lewis - SS/OF
2) Hunter Greene - RHP/SS
3) Mackenzie Gore - LHP
4) Brendan McKay - LHP/1B
5) Kyle Wright - RHP
6) Austin Beck - OF
7) Pavin Smith - 1B
8) Adam Haseley- OF
9) Keston Hiura - 2B 
10) Jordan Adell - OF

*on both lists
   
Among the 25 candidates considered by DraftWizard, three were absolute locks to be selected within the top 10 - Hunter Greene (2 - MLB), Brendan McKay (4), and Kyle Wright (5).

More interesting selections that DraftWizard had pegged as top 10, included Royce Lewis (1), Adam Haseley (8) and Jordan Adell (10)

Lewis, taken as the one-one pick in 2017 was the top prep hitter-only in the draft. It looks like Minnesota selected him, expecting to sign him for under slot value and have more money to spend later in the draft. He signed for $6.6 Mn, compared to the $7.7 Mn pick value and the excess cash was then used to sign Blayne Enlow in the third round for $2 Mn (his slot value was $755,500). Contracting strategy here is similar to what the Phillies did last year when they selected Mickey Moniak first overall and is a variable that DraftWizard doesn't attempt to incorporate.

Speaking of Philadelphia, the Phillies took Adam Haseley eighth overall, as the second outfielder in the draft. According to DraftWizard, the former Virginia Cavalier is the most likely outfielder to make the major leagues. Given he was MLB.com’s fourth-rated outfield prospect it seems that the Philadelphia front office found value in Haseley in sync with the DraftWizard analysis.

The last match, and arguably the most surprising, was outfielder Jordan Adell. He was the lowest-ranked position player that DraftWizard deemed a top 10 pick. Taken as the tenth selection, Adell was only rated 21st on MLB.com’s top draft prospect list. DraftWizard’s automation found his profile to be far more likely to succeed than even the sixth overall pick, outfielder Austin Beck.

Ultimately, DraftWizard was not built to predict mock drafts and anticipate which team will select which player. It is instead designed to determine players who, based on historical data, are most likely to climb the professional ladder to the majors.

Its optimal use would be assisting MLB front offices with draft selections by providing raw data to support a decision when selecting between one player or another. The effectiveness of the application can only be judged by future player successes in advancing through Major League systems. 
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