Who is the best college pitcher for the Twins with the 1st overall 2017 pick? Ranking J.B. Bukauskas, Alex Faedo, Brendan McKay, and Kyle Wright

The Twins have the first overall selection in the 2017 draft the coming June, and the likely path is that they bypass the Helium and risk associated with Prep LHR/SS Tyler Greene, and will select the best College pitcher available.  Who might that be?  The Twins have been scouting  J.B. Bukauskas, Alex Faedo, Brendan McKay, and Kyle Wright.  Who of them is the best, at least on paper?

Here are their lifetime NCAA stats in several categories, including PE (if not familiar with that measure please look here and here)  The best in a category is indicated with green and the worst with red:

Clearly, Brendan McKay has has the best NCAA career, with Faedo second, mainly because his advantage over walking opponents.

Career is a long time, and usually recent performance is more indicative of future potential, so here is a comparison of their 2017 seasons:

Other than wins and losses and ERA, measurements that are not always the best to use in evaluating pitchers,  McKay has been the best this season, with Faedo losing a step to Bukauskas and Wright rounding up the quarter.

If I were to rank the four pitchers based on objective measurement criteria, the ranking would be:

  1. Brendan McKay
  2. J.B. Bukauskas
  3. Alex Faedo 
  4. Kyle Wright
However, this needs to be cross-checked with scouting-based subjective rankings, that take into consideration potential upside based on quality of pitches, personal character and make up, health, etc.

In Baseball America's top 2017 draft prospect rankings, the four rank:
  1. Brendan McKay
  2. Kyle Wright 
  3. JB Bukauskas
  4. Alex Faedo
which is also the exact ranking of the four in MLB.com's top draft ranking.

Looking at a mixed objective measurement and scout ranking list, awarding 4,3,2,1 points to players depending on their position in each of those rankings (both the object and subjective), the four would rank as follows (total points in parenthesis.)

  1. Brendan McKay (8)
  2. JB Bukauskas (5)
  3. Kyle Wright (4)
  4. Alex Faedo (3)
There you have it.  Brendan McKay is well ahead of the pack, with the other 3 inch by inch and Bukauskas just a hair ahead of Wright because of their 2017 performance. Alex Faedo lags the pack a bit, mainly because of what the scouts think about him.


Pete said...

The more I learn about McKay the more I like him. To me it is a two man race for the #1 pick, McKay and Greene. Both of them are two-way players and both would be 1st round picks at each of their two positions (McKay as a Pitcher and 1B/DH, and Greene as a Pitcher and SS). However, McKay is about 4 years old and probably could be in a Twins uniform in a short period of time. Greene on the other hand may need plenty of time and likely wouldn't be in Minnesota until 2021 at the earliest. Taking in the Twins current position as a team with plenty of young players starting to develop into forms Twins fans have been hoping for, I think you need to take the potential Ace that will be here sooner. In addition with the older maturer player in McKay I think you can allow him to get at bats in in the minors from time to time, essentially adding a 26 player to the roster if you want to have power bat on your bench but need to go with a 12-13 man pitching staff.

And finally when it comes down to comparing apples to apples, I think the upside on Hunter might be higher, but the level of competition at this point is 15,16,17,18 year olds while McKay is pitching against Division 1 baseball players and putting up mind boggling stats. McKay is safer, but the safer bet doesn't mean he is worse.

thrylos98 said...


Agreed. As you have noticed, I am not even mentioning Hunter Greene as a potential for the Twins. Their core is in the 23-25 year old age, and they need additional players close to that age to build a strong competing team. High Schoolers do not cut it. And it seems esp. High Schoolers that the Twins draft have been having problems making it and/or not meeting expectations. Kohl Stewart is the poster boy for that. I might even say that McKay's ceiling is higher. Greene has only one pitch and that does not have much movement. It is one thing blowing 98 mph fastballs past Catholic School Highschoolers and another to try to do it even against College competition...

Pete said...

Totally with you. The other thing I forgot to mention is if McKay is the guy and can be close to ready by, say, next July it gives the Twins so much more flexibility in trading for a front end starter that could get them into the playoffs next year. As opposed to taking Greene, they won't know what they have for a while and the glut of #3/4 starter prospects they have in the minors will likely not be moved, where as with McKay I think they give one or two up as part of a larger package to get an ACE.