To quote a national crosschecker I spoke to while assembling this mock: "There are a few picks that seem very strongly tied to teams, but after that, a ton of smoke."
Another front-office guy whose team picks in the top 10 said his team still has 20 names under consideration for that pick. As such, I take some solace in knowing that, although I don’t know who’s going to be taken where, nobody else knows either.
There are really just two candidates to go first overall at this point, excluding some rumored way-under-slot names such as Pavin Smith. Brendan McKay is a true two-way talent from Louisville who could go out at first base or as a left-handed starter. Hunter Greene is also a two-way player, but his future is almost certainly on the mound, and he has a ceiling for the ages. If McKay doesn’t go first, he goes second. If Greene doesn’t go second (or first), he goes third. If Royce Lewis doesn’t go third, he goes no lower than fifth. If Mackenzie Gore doesn’t go fifth, I think he goes sixth.
But at that point, it starts to get fuzzy. I’ve heard Shane Baz with Philadelphia a few times. The same with Jordon Adell and the Angels. I’m also pretty sure I’ve heard 12 players identified as "definitely going in the top 10," which I believe would require some sort of non-Euclidean draft math.
Some of these names are more strongly attached to their teams than others. Some are entirely speculative at this point because it’s too early, with most teams not having regional meetings with their area scouts until this week or, for more teams, next week. Also, bear in mind that I’m not assuming anything about signability here; any team might choose to sign a second-round talent, a college senior or a fourth-year junior to save money on that pick and go overslot on later picks. None of the 27 names I’ve assigned to teams would fit that description.
This is my first projection of all of the picks for the first round -- 27 picks, as three teams surrendered theirs to sign free agents -- of the 2017 Rule 4 draft, to be held June 12-14.
This is based on the best information I could get about team preferences for specific players or player categories, as well as knowledge of teams' general strategies for their first picks in the draft. This is not, however, a ranking of players by ability or what I view as their likely major league value.