Pitcher? Hitter? Both? MLB draft marked by 2-way players


By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. - AP Sports Writer



FILE - In this June 9, 2017, file photo, Louisville's Brendan McKay bats during the team's NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game against Kentucky in Louisville, Ky. McKay's fastball-hurling left arm has made him a potential No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft. Thing is, so has the Louisville slugger's bat. The Cardinals star is one of college baseball's greatest two-way players, a rare talent who has given big league ballclubs a tough question to consider: Do they take McKay as a pitcher, hitter–or both? (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)


FILE - In this June 10, 2017, file photo, Louisville's Brendan McKay pitches to a Kentucky batter during the first inning of an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game in Louisville, Ky. McKay's fastball-hurling left arm has made him a potential No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft. Thing is, so has the Louisville slugger's bat. The Cardinals star is one of college baseball's greatest two-way players, a rare talent who has given big league ballclubs a tough question to consider: Do they take McKay as a pitcher, hitter–or both? (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)


FILE - In this April 28, 2017, file photo, high school baseball pitcher Hunter Greene, left, talks with Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager prior to a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, April 28, 2017, in Los Angeles. Greene has piqued lots of interest from teams picking early in the Major League Baseball draft, including the Twins. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)


Greene, McKay, Wright among top prospects for MLB draft

Some of the top players eligible for the Major League Baseball draft (with position, school, height, weight — as listed by Major League Baseball — and college class):

JORDON ADELL

OF, Ballard H.S. (Kentucky), 6-foot-3, 205 pounds.

Hit .562 with 25 home runs, 61 RBIs, 53 runs scored, .667 on-base percentage and 1.437 slugging percentage in just 35 games as senior. Impressive follow-up to fantastic junior season in which he hit .449 with 11 HRs and 44 RBIs. Considered one of best all-around talents in draft. Also was 1-0 with 1.55 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings while throwing fastball that hit mid- to upper-90s, but pro future is likely as power-hitting outfielder. Won home run derby at prestigious Area Code Games in California last summer. Louisville recruit.

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SHANE BAZ

RHP, Concordia Lutheran H.S. (Texas), 6-3, 190.

Power-hitting third baseman is one of several two-way players at top of this year’s draft, and is expected to be selected as pitcher. Has fastball that sits in mid-90s to go along with impressive arsenal that includes tough 85-88 mph cutter, solid curveball and deceptive changeup. If he chooses to attend college at TCU, Baz would pitch and hit — has big-time power: slugged 18 HRs in opening round of Area Code Games home run derby last summer.

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AUSTIN BECK

OF, North Davidson H.S. (North Carolina), 6-1, 190.

Hit. 590 with 12 HRs and could be one of first high school position players taken, largely because of power bat. Rebounded this spring from torn anterior cruciate ligament and cartilage in left knee last May. Terrific speed with powerful arm could make him ideal right fielder at pro level. North Carolina recruit.

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J.B. BUKAUSKAS

RHP, North Carolina, 6-0, 195, junior.

Went 9-1 with 2.53 ERA and 116 strikeouts and 37 walks in 92 2/3 innings for Tar Heels while being selected Atlantic Coast Conference pitcher of year. One of four finalists for Dick Howser Trophy and semifinalist for Golden Spikes Award, both given to best amateur player in country. Mid-90s fastball and mid-80s slider give him two terrific pitches to go along with progressing slider. Projects as front-end starter or perhaps even closer.

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ALEX FAEDO

RHP, Florida, 6-5, 225, junior.

Has helped pitch Gators to super regionals of NCAA Tournament, going 7-2 with 2.60 ERA with 132 Ks and 35 BBs in 107 1/3 innings. Threw four scoreless innings with nine Ks against Wake Forest in Game 1 of super regionals. Had slow start after arthroscopic knee surgery in fall, but bounced back to re-establish himself as one of top college pitchers in country. Has mid-90s fastball, sneaky slider and solid changeup.

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MACKENZIE GORE

LHP, Whiteville H.S. (North Carolina), 6-2, 180.

Gatorade National Player of Year could be first lefty high school pitcher taken and is expected to go within first five selections. Has been mentioned in mix to go No. 1 overall to Minnesota and could be second prep left-hander in four years to be taken first, joining Brady Aiken (Houston, 2014). Fastball has kicked up a few mph as senior and sits in low- to mid-90s to go along with knee-buckling curve, but also has hard slider and solid changeup in arsenal. Has big leg kick and lots of flexibility on mound.

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HUNTER GREENE

RHP/SS, Notre Dame H.S. (California), 6-3, 195.

Potential No. 1 overall pick could be first high school right-hander in draft history taken with top spot. Teams scouting him both on mound and as shortstop. Upper-90s fastball that can hit triple-digits suggests pro future is as pitcher with electric stuff and excellent command. Was 3-0 with 0.75 ERA and 43 Ks and only four BBs in 28 IP as senior. While his fastball overpowers hitters and makes scouts eyes pop, Greene also throws solid slider and changeup. Hit .324 with six HRs and 28 RBIs at plate and skills in field make him intriguing talent. UCLA commit also attended MLB Youth Academy in California. Comes from same high school that produced Giancarlo Stanton, who went in second round to Marlins in 2007.

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ADAM HASELEY

OF, Virginia, 6-1, 195, junior.

Another two-way standout, Haseley was fifth player in Cavaliers history to earn All-America honors in at least two seasons. Hit team-leading .390 with 14 HRs and 56 RBIs, and ranks third in school history with 185 career runs scored. Also went 7-1 with 3.58 in 11 starts this season for Virginia while being selected as finalist for John Olerud Two-Way Player Award, along with being semifinalist for Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy. Most teams appear to be scouting him as hitter in pros, and he can play all three outfield spots.

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JEREN KENDALL

OF, Vanderbilt, 5-10, 180, junior.

Entered college season mentioned as potential No. 1 overall choice after outstanding summer with U.S. collegiate national team. While he slipped slightly, still likely top-10 pick with five-tools potential. Left-handed hitter (who throws righty) batted .307 with career-high 15 HRs, 53 RBIs and .556 slugging percentage. Threat on bases, too, after stealing 20 in 24 attempts for Commodores.

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ROYCE LEWIS

SS/OF, JSerra Catholic H.S. (California), 6-1, 185.

Outstanding athlete who hit .377 with four HRs and 25 stolen bases as senior while establishing himself as potential top-5 pick. Has excellent speed and range that could suit him as either shortstop or center fielder at next level. Was standout on USA Baseball’s gold medal-winning Under-18 team at Pan American Championships last year. Selected as National High School Coaches Association’s high school senior baseball athlete of year. UC Irvine recruit.

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BRENDAN MCKAY

LHP/1B, Louisville, 6-2, 205, junior.

One of college baseball’s greatest two-way players is potential No. 1 overall pick, who has been force on mound and at plate for three seasons for Cardinals. Might be most intriguing player in draft because some teams see him as top-10 eligible pitcher in pros, while others project him as middle-of-lineup hitter. Tools are so good, team could allow McKay to try being two-way player. ACC player of year hitting .343 with 17 HRs and 56 RBIs for College World Series-bound Cardinals. Also 10-3 with 2.34 ERA and 140 Ks and 33 BBs in 104 IP with low- to mid-90s fastball and consistently solid curve. Has won John Olerud Two-Way Player award three straight years. Also finalist for Dick Howser Trophy.

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SETH ROMERO

LHP, Houston (dismissed from team), 6-3, 240, junior.

One of draft’s top college lefties was 4-5 with 3.51 ERA, 85 Ks and 20 BBs in just 48 2/3 IP before being dismissed from team in May — following four-start suspension in April — for violating university and athletic department policies. Top-10 talent will likely slide to later in first round, but his mid-90s fastball, biting slider and easy delivery has kept many teams interested despite suspensions and concerns about conditioning. Was Cougars’ closer early in freshman year before moving to rotation.

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PAVIN SMITH

1B, Virginia, 6-2, 210, junior.

First-Team All-ACC selection has excellent patience and eye at plate, hitting .342 with 13 HRs and team-leading 77 RBIs — and just 12 strikeouts in 228 at-bats this season for Cavaliers. Ranked fourth nationally in lowest strikeout rate. Solid contact hitter with power to all fields. His 178 career RBIs were second in school history, while his 28 HRs were tied for sixth. Good defensive skills at first base, where he’ll likely stick at next level.

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EVAN WHITE

1B, Kentucky, 6-3, 205, junior.

Missed 13 games early in season because of injury, but bounced back to have spectacular campaign while hitting .373 with 10 HRs, 41 RBIs, 24 doubles and .637 slugging percentage as one of Southeastern Conference’s top offensive players. Righty-hitting, lefty-fielding White is considered outstanding defensive first baseman who has also played third base and outfield during college career. Could become just second position player in Kentucky history to be selected in first round, joining Chad Green (1996, Milwaukee).

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KYLE WRIGHT

RHP, Vanderbilt, 6-4, 220, junior.

Possible No. 1 overall pick after outstanding season for Commodores. Likely to become 10th Vanderbilt pitcher taken in first round — including compensatory picks — since 2007, joining likes of David Price, Carson Fulmer and Sonny Gray. Could be third No. 1 pick from Vanderbilt after Price (2007) and Dansby Swanson (2015). That would tie Arizona State (Rick Monday, 1965; Floyd Bannister, 1976; Bob Horner, 1978) for most from one college in draft history. Numbers weren’t jaw-dropping: went 5-6 with 3.40 ERA, 121 Ks, 31 BBs in 103 1/3 IP, but rebounded nicely from rough start that had ERA at 5.59 on April 1. Mid-90 fastball, knee-buckling curve and physical size have many teams projecting him as future ace. Midseason mechanics adjustment made breaking pitch drop for strikes more consistently.

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More AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

NEW YORK (AP) — Brendan McKay’s fastball-firing left arm has made him the possible No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft.

Thing is, so has the Louisville slugger’s bat.

The Cardinals star is one of college baseball’s greatest two-way players, a rare talent who has given big league ballclubs a tough question to consider: Do they take McKay as a pitcher, hitter — or both?

“That remains to be seen, whether or not someone can do that,” said Minnesota Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, whose team picks first in the draft that starts Monday night. “I’m not necessarily saying it’s impossible, but the amount of time, if you talk to any of these guys, that they put in on either the hitting side or the pitching side, to double that, no one’s figured out a way to make more than 24 hours in a day.

“If someone figures that out, maybe we’ll have an opportunity, but it’s a challenge.”

With McKay, though, a team might be willing to find out. He won his third straight John Olerud Two-Way Player award on Monday after hitting .343 with 17 home runs and 56 RBIs for the College World Series-bound Cardinals. He’s also 10-3 with a 2.34 ERA on the mound.

Two-way players in high school and college aren’t uncommon in the draft, with Olerud, Dave Winfield, Ken Brett, Jason Jennings and A.J. Reed among the big names whom major league teams had to make a call on. But this year’s draft class has a handful expected to be selected early.

In addition to McKay, California high school shortstop and right-handed pitcher Hunter Greene has piqued lots of interest from teams picking early, including the Twins.

“There are a lot of two-way players in every draft, but for 2017, a number of first-round talents have significant experience as two-way players,” said Atlanta Braves general manager John Coppolella, whose team picks No. 5 overall. “There may come a day where there is a true impact two-way player, but until that day, you just choose one outcome and know the other possibility looms if failure occurs.”

Kentucky high school outfielder Jordon Adell, Texas high school right-hander Shane Baz and Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley are others who have pulled double-duty on the diamond and are expected to be first-rounders.

“The talents of the players and how things play out, you try to be as open-minded as you can,” said Tampa Bay Rays GM Erik Neander, whose team picks fourth overall. “I think the history of the professional game and what it looks like, we’re certainly cognizant of the perspective of going one direction or the other. But it’s quite an accomplishment to do it at the collegiate level.”

Here are some other things to know about the draft:

WHEN? WHERE?: Starts Monday at 7 p.m. EDT and continues for 40 rounds over three days, with the first two rounds at MLB Network’s studios in Secaucus, New Jersey. Rounds 3-10 will be held Tuesday, and rounds 11-40 Wednesday — both days via team conference calls. Teams pick in reverse order of finish from the overall standings from last season.

FIRST PICK: The Twins have the No. 1 overall pick for the third time, and first since taking Minnesota high school catcher Joe Mauer in 2001.

OTHER NAMES TO KNOW: Vanderbilt right-hander Kyle Wright, North Carolina high school lefty MacKenzie Gore, California high school shortstop/outfielder Royce Lewis and North Carolina high school outfielder Austin Beck.

SHOWING UP: Four top prospects are expected to be at the draft site, where they’ll shake hands with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and slip on their new team’s cap and jersey: Greene, Adell, New Mexico high school left-hander Trevor Rogers and Alabama high school outfielder Bubba Thompson.

WHO ELSE IS THERE?: Each of baseball’s 30 teams has a former player and/or current member of its front office representing them at the draft. Among those scheduled to attend are Hall of Famer George Brett (Kansas City Royals), 1973 NL Rookie of the Year Gary Matthews (Philadelphia Phillies), 1976 NL Cy Young winner Randy Jones (San Diego Padres), 1983 AL Rookie of the Year Ron Kittle (Chicago White Sox) and former All-Stars such as Bob Boone (Washington Nationals) and Ron Cey (Los Angeles Dodgers). Lloyd Moseby, the No. 2 overall pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1978, and Jeffrey Hammonds, No. 4 overall in 1992 by the Baltimore Orioles, are also expected to be there.

EARLY ACTION: Toronto (22nd and 28th), the Texas Rangers (26th and 29th) and the Chicago Cubs (27th and 30th) each have two first-round selections, including compensatory picks. Houston and Pittsburgh both have four picks in the first 75 selections. For the Pirates, that includes No. 42 overall, which they received after failing to come to terms with lefty Nick Lodolo, the No. 41 pick who chose to attend Texas Christian instead of signing.

QUIET CARDINALS: St. Louis won’t pick until the third round on Tuesday. The Cardinals had to give their first-round selection to the Cubs for signing free agent Dexter Fowler, and forfeited their next two picks (Nos. 56 and 75) — along with $2 million — to Houston after MLB completed its investigation into a data breach of the Astros’ baseball operations database by a former St. Louis employee.

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AP Sports Writers Jon Krawczynski and Charles Odum, and AP Freelance Writer Mark Didtler contributed to this report.

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More AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

FILE – In this June 9, 2017, file photo, Louisville’s Brendan McKay bats during the team’s NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game against Kentucky in Louisville, Ky. McKay’s fastball-hurling left arm has made him a potential No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
Thing is, so has the Louisville slugger’s bat. The Cardinals star is one of college baseball’s greatest two-way players, a rare talent who has given big league ballclubs a tough question to consider: Do they take McKay as a pitcher, hitter–or both? (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/06/web1_117048242-016daa15f4744bb8835fe2857efe070d.jpgFILE – In this June 9, 2017, file photo, Louisville’s Brendan McKay bats during the team’s NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game against Kentucky in Louisville, Ky. McKay’s fastball-hurling left arm has made him a potential No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
Thing is, so has the Louisville slugger’s bat. The Cardinals star is one of college baseball’s greatest two-way players, a rare talent who has given big league ballclubs a tough question to consider: Do they take McKay as a pitcher, hitter–or both? (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

FILE – In this June 10, 2017, file photo, Louisville’s Brendan McKay pitches to a Kentucky batter during the first inning of an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game in Louisville, Ky. McKay’s fastball-hurling left arm has made him a potential No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
Thing is, so has the Louisville slugger’s bat. The Cardinals star is one of college baseball’s greatest two-way players, a rare talent who has given big league ballclubs a tough question to consider: Do they take McKay as a pitcher, hitter–or both? (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/06/web1_117048242-359ad6f41eb242d5a8e1103ef90f16eb.jpgFILE – In this June 10, 2017, file photo, Louisville’s Brendan McKay pitches to a Kentucky batter during the first inning of an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game in Louisville, Ky. McKay’s fastball-hurling left arm has made him a potential No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
Thing is, so has the Louisville slugger’s bat. The Cardinals star is one of college baseball’s greatest two-way players, a rare talent who has given big league ballclubs a tough question to consider: Do they take McKay as a pitcher, hitter–or both? (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

FILE – In this April 28, 2017, file photo, high school baseball pitcher Hunter Greene, left, talks with Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager prior to a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, April 28, 2017, in Los Angeles. Greene has piqued lots of interest from teams picking early in the Major League Baseball draft, including the Twins. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/06/web1_117048242-63c8b74c76da484ebc7ad9f1ef53f5b9.jpgFILE – In this April 28, 2017, file photo, high school baseball pitcher Hunter Greene, left, talks with Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager prior to a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, April 28, 2017, in Los Angeles. Greene has piqued lots of interest from teams picking early in the Major League Baseball draft, including the Twins. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.

AP Sports Writer

Greene, McKay, Wright among top prospects for MLB draft

Some of the top players eligible for the Major League Baseball draft (with position, school, height, weight — as listed by Major League Baseball — and college class):

JORDON ADELL

OF, Ballard H.S. (Kentucky), 6-foot-3, 205 pounds.

Hit .562 with 25 home runs, 61 RBIs, 53 runs scored, .667 on-base percentage and 1.437 slugging percentage in just 35 games as senior. Impressive follow-up to fantastic junior season in which he hit .449 with 11 HRs and 44 RBIs. Considered one of best all-around talents in draft. Also was 1-0 with 1.55 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings while throwing fastball that hit mid- to upper-90s, but pro future is likely as power-hitting outfielder. Won home run derby at prestigious Area Code Games in California last summer. Louisville recruit.

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SHANE BAZ

RHP, Concordia Lutheran H.S. (Texas), 6-3, 190.

Power-hitting third baseman is one of several two-way players at top of this year’s draft, and is expected to be selected as pitcher. Has fastball that sits in mid-90s to go along with impressive arsenal that includes tough 85-88 mph cutter, solid curveball and deceptive changeup. If he chooses to attend college at TCU, Baz would pitch and hit — has big-time power: slugged 18 HRs in opening round of Area Code Games home run derby last summer.

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AUSTIN BECK

OF, North Davidson H.S. (North Carolina), 6-1, 190.

Hit. 590 with 12 HRs and could be one of first high school position players taken, largely because of power bat. Rebounded this spring from torn anterior cruciate ligament and cartilage in left knee last May. Terrific speed with powerful arm could make him ideal right fielder at pro level. North Carolina recruit.

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J.B. BUKAUSKAS

RHP, North Carolina, 6-0, 195, junior.

Went 9-1 with 2.53 ERA and 116 strikeouts and 37 walks in 92 2/3 innings for Tar Heels while being selected Atlantic Coast Conference pitcher of year. One of four finalists for Dick Howser Trophy and semifinalist for Golden Spikes Award, both given to best amateur player in country. Mid-90s fastball and mid-80s slider give him two terrific pitches to go along with progressing slider. Projects as front-end starter or perhaps even closer.

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ALEX FAEDO

RHP, Florida, 6-5, 225, junior.

Has helped pitch Gators to super regionals of NCAA Tournament, going 7-2 with 2.60 ERA with 132 Ks and 35 BBs in 107 1/3 innings. Threw four scoreless innings with nine Ks against Wake Forest in Game 1 of super regionals. Had slow start after arthroscopic knee surgery in fall, but bounced back to re-establish himself as one of top college pitchers in country. Has mid-90s fastball, sneaky slider and solid changeup.

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MACKENZIE GORE

LHP, Whiteville H.S. (North Carolina), 6-2, 180.

Gatorade National Player of Year could be first lefty high school pitcher taken and is expected to go within first five selections. Has been mentioned in mix to go No. 1 overall to Minnesota and could be second prep left-hander in four years to be taken first, joining Brady Aiken (Houston, 2014). Fastball has kicked up a few mph as senior and sits in low- to mid-90s to go along with knee-buckling curve, but also has hard slider and solid changeup in arsenal. Has big leg kick and lots of flexibility on mound.

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HUNTER GREENE

RHP/SS, Notre Dame H.S. (California), 6-3, 195.

Potential No. 1 overall pick could be first high school right-hander in draft history taken with top spot. Teams scouting him both on mound and as shortstop. Upper-90s fastball that can hit triple-digits suggests pro future is as pitcher with electric stuff and excellent command. Was 3-0 with 0.75 ERA and 43 Ks and only four BBs in 28 IP as senior. While his fastball overpowers hitters and makes scouts eyes pop, Greene also throws solid slider and changeup. Hit .324 with six HRs and 28 RBIs at plate and skills in field make him intriguing talent. UCLA commit also attended MLB Youth Academy in California. Comes from same high school that produced Giancarlo Stanton, who went in second round to Marlins in 2007.

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ADAM HASELEY

OF, Virginia, 6-1, 195, junior.

Another two-way standout, Haseley was fifth player in Cavaliers history to earn All-America honors in at least two seasons. Hit team-leading .390 with 14 HRs and 56 RBIs, and ranks third in school history with 185 career runs scored. Also went 7-1 with 3.58 in 11 starts this season for Virginia while being selected as finalist for John Olerud Two-Way Player Award, along with being semifinalist for Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy. Most teams appear to be scouting him as hitter in pros, and he can play all three outfield spots.

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JEREN KENDALL

OF, Vanderbilt, 5-10, 180, junior.

Entered college season mentioned as potential No. 1 overall choice after outstanding summer with U.S. collegiate national team. While he slipped slightly, still likely top-10 pick with five-tools potential. Left-handed hitter (who throws righty) batted .307 with career-high 15 HRs, 53 RBIs and .556 slugging percentage. Threat on bases, too, after stealing 20 in 24 attempts for Commodores.

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ROYCE LEWIS

SS/OF, JSerra Catholic H.S. (California), 6-1, 185.

Outstanding athlete who hit .377 with four HRs and 25 stolen bases as senior while establishing himself as potential top-5 pick. Has excellent speed and range that could suit him as either shortstop or center fielder at next level. Was standout on USA Baseball’s gold medal-winning Under-18 team at Pan American Championships last year. Selected as National High School Coaches Association’s high school senior baseball athlete of year. UC Irvine recruit.

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BRENDAN MCKAY

LHP/1B, Louisville, 6-2, 205, junior.

One of college baseball’s greatest two-way players is potential No. 1 overall pick, who has been force on mound and at plate for three seasons for Cardinals. Might be most intriguing player in draft because some teams see him as top-10 eligible pitcher in pros, while others project him as middle-of-lineup hitter. Tools are so good, team could allow McKay to try being two-way player. ACC player of year hitting .343 with 17 HRs and 56 RBIs for College World Series-bound Cardinals. Also 10-3 with 2.34 ERA and 140 Ks and 33 BBs in 104 IP with low- to mid-90s fastball and consistently solid curve. Has won John Olerud Two-Way Player award three straight years. Also finalist for Dick Howser Trophy.

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SETH ROMERO

LHP, Houston (dismissed from team), 6-3, 240, junior.

One of draft’s top college lefties was 4-5 with 3.51 ERA, 85 Ks and 20 BBs in just 48 2/3 IP before being dismissed from team in May — following four-start suspension in April — for violating university and athletic department policies. Top-10 talent will likely slide to later in first round, but his mid-90s fastball, biting slider and easy delivery has kept many teams interested despite suspensions and concerns about conditioning. Was Cougars’ closer early in freshman year before moving to rotation.

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PAVIN SMITH

1B, Virginia, 6-2, 210, junior.

First-Team All-ACC selection has excellent patience and eye at plate, hitting .342 with 13 HRs and team-leading 77 RBIs — and just 12 strikeouts in 228 at-bats this season for Cavaliers. Ranked fourth nationally in lowest strikeout rate. Solid contact hitter with power to all fields. His 178 career RBIs were second in school history, while his 28 HRs were tied for sixth. Good defensive skills at first base, where he’ll likely stick at next level.

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EVAN WHITE

1B, Kentucky, 6-3, 205, junior.

Missed 13 games early in season because of injury, but bounced back to have spectacular campaign while hitting .373 with 10 HRs, 41 RBIs, 24 doubles and .637 slugging percentage as one of Southeastern Conference’s top offensive players. Righty-hitting, lefty-fielding White is considered outstanding defensive first baseman who has also played third base and outfield during college career. Could become just second position player in Kentucky history to be selected in first round, joining Chad Green (1996, Milwaukee).

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KYLE WRIGHT

RHP, Vanderbilt, 6-4, 220, junior.

Possible No. 1 overall pick after outstanding season for Commodores. Likely to become 10th Vanderbilt pitcher taken in first round — including compensatory picks — since 2007, joining likes of David Price, Carson Fulmer and Sonny Gray. Could be third No. 1 pick from Vanderbilt after Price (2007) and Dansby Swanson (2015). That would tie Arizona State (Rick Monday, 1965; Floyd Bannister, 1976; Bob Horner, 1978) for most from one college in draft history. Numbers weren’t jaw-dropping: went 5-6 with 3.40 ERA, 121 Ks, 31 BBs in 103 1/3 IP, but rebounded nicely from rough start that had ERA at 5.59 on April 1. Mid-90 fastball, knee-buckling curve and physical size have many teams projecting him as future ace. Midseason mechanics adjustment made breaking pitch drop for strikes more consistently.

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More AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball