2017 MLB Draft Grades: Los Angeles Angels
Best Pure Hitter: OF Jacob Pearson (3) has an above-average feel for hitting and a mature understanding of the strike zone for a high school product. OF Jonah Todd (6) has a very disciplined approach and a knack for putting the barrel on the ball.
Best Power Hitter: OF Jo Adell (1) was one of the toolsiest players in the draft, and his plus raw power was perhaps his most attractive asset. His size, strength and bat speed can produce prodigious home runs, and he has done a good job of getting to his power in games.
Fastest Runner: OF Spencer Griffin (16) is a well above-average runner plucked out of the Texas junior college ranks. Adell and Todd are plus runners.
Best Defensive Player: C Harrison Wenson (24) was a two-year starter behind the plate at Michigan and is a solid defender. He is an excellent receiver and has above-average arm strength.
Best Fastball: RHP Daniel Procopio (10) has only been pitching full time for two years, but already his elite arm strength stands out. He touched 100 mph this summer and consistently throws 96-97 mph. He is still learning the finer points of pitching, but his powerful arm gives him a chance in the bullpen.
Best Secondary Pitch: Any of RHP Griffin Canning’s (2) three offspeed offerings could earn the honor. His changeup, curveball and slider all flash plus, but his curveball was generally his go-to secondary pitch this spring at UCLA and earns consistent above-average to plus grades.
Best Pro Debut: Adell made an easy transition from Kentucky’s high school ranks to professional baseball, and earned a promotion form the Arizona League to the Pioneer League; he hit .325/.376/.532 overall. RHP Isaac Mattson (19) saved six games and struck out 40 batters in 26.2 innings to earn a spot on the Pioneer League all-star team.
Best Athlete: Adell was one of the most athletic players in the draft class. He is solidly built at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, has a 41-inch vertical leap and is a plus runner.
Six Observations From Team USA Training Camp
Here are six observations from Team USA’s scrimmages, and what to watch for as it attempts to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
Most Intriguing Background: 1B David MacKinnon (32) pulled the rare baseball-soccer double at Hartford. He started at goalkeeper throughout his career and recorded 19 shutouts, second most in program history. On the diamond, he was the 2016 America East Conference player of the year.
Closest To The Majors: Canning didn’t pitch after signing due to his workload this spring, but he is the kind of mature, advanced college pitcher who should be able to make quick work of the minor leagues.
Best Late-Round Pick: LHP Jerryell Rivera (11), a native of Puerto Rico, offers plenty of upside. He has a projectable frame, repeats his delivery well and throws a lot of strikes. He mostly throws in the upper 80s now, but figures to add velocity as he physically matures.
The One Who Got Away: RHP JoJo Booker (5) was a late riser last spring and ultimately upheld his commitment to South Alabama, becoming the second-highest drafted player not to sign.