Legends On Deck

Looking Back At The 2016 Draft: Picks 11-20

Several weeks ago I did a post checking in on the progress of the first 10 players selected in last year’s draft.  With just a couple of weeks remaining until the draft now, I thought it would be time to check in on the next ten.  Picks 11-20.  As was the case with the first 10 picks, the next 10 has a decent mix of both high school players and college players.

11. Kyle Lewis, OF (Seattle Mariners) – Lewis was selected by the Mariners out of Mercer College in Georgia.  He started his professional career with the Everett AquaSox in the Northwest League.  He played in 30 games and was off to a good start until a bad knee injury ended his 2016 season prematurely.  Lewis tore his ACL sliding into home in July and had surgery to repair in in August.  At the time he was hitting .299 with 3 home runs and 26 RBI.  Reports indicate that he is making good progress and could be back in action in the near future.

12. Jason Groome, P (Boston Red Sox) – The Red Sox selected Groom with the 12th pick out of Barnegat High School in New Jersey.  As is the case with many other pitchers out of high school, the timetable in their development could be quite a bit longer than position players.  Groome started 2016 playing for both the Gulf Coast Red Sox and the Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League.  In his three appearances, he went 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 6.2 innings with 10 strikeouts.  2017 has him currently on the shelf with a lat injury.  His only game this season was on April 10th where he allowed nine runs in 1.1 innings of work.

13. Joshua Lowe, 3B (Tampa Bay Rays) – Lowe was picked by the Rays out of Pope High School in Georgia.  He played for two of Tampa’s Rookie level teams last season posting an average of .249.  This season Lowe is playing for the Bowling Green Hot Rods.  In 36 games this season, Lowe has a batting line of .211/.279/.341.  He is striking out at an alarming 38%, but that is to be expected for a 19-year old still learning the game.

14. Will Benson, OF (Cleveland Indians) – Benson was a commit to Duke, but the Indians swooped in and signed him to a deal which ultimately changed his mind.  Cleveland is very excited about Benson and believe he has the tools to be a very good outfielder some day in the major leagues.  He played last season for the Indians Rookie League team in Arizona.  In 44 games he hit .209 but did send six over the fence.  He has drawn some comparisons to several big league players, but it is still early yet.

15. Alex Kirilloff, OF (Minnesota Twins) – The Minnesota Twins are certainly a surprise in the early going in 2017.  They selected Kiriloff with the 15th pick last season.  He played for the Elizabethton Twins last season as an 18-year old appearing in 55 games.  Kiriloff hit .306 with seven home runs in 33 RBI.  Unfortunately for the Twins and Kiriloff, the outfielder required Tommy John surgery this offseason and will miss the entire 2017.  As long as the rehab goes well, the Twins should be real excited about what Kiriloff can bring to their team in a few years.

16. Matt Thaiss, C (Los Angeles Angels) – Thaiss was the second catcher selected in the 2016 draft, although he hasn’t played a game behind the plate.  The Angels made him their first round selection out of the University of Virginia and has been playing first base primarily.  He played at two levels in 2016 (Burlington and Orem) and hit a combined .292 in 67 games.  Thaiss also belted six home runs and drove in 43.  This season, Thaiss is playing for the Inland Empire 66ers of the California League.  He is currently batting .248 in 41 games with five home runs.

17. Forrest Whitley, P (Houston Astros) – Whitley was another pitcher drafted out of high school.  The 6’7 righty played for both of Houston’s Rookie League teams in 2016.  Whitley, 19, is currently playing for the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Midwest League.  In five starts in 2017 he is 1-2 with an ERA of 3.60.  One stat that is always one of my favorites is K/IP.  He has 31 strikeouts in 20 innings which is a 14 K/9 rate.  One to keep your eye on.

18. Blake Rutherford, OF (New York Yankees) – Rutherford was taken from prep school in California by the Yankees at number 18.  He had his way with the Rookie League in 2016 and has carried some of that success with him in 2017.  Rutherford is currently with the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League.  In 37 games this season he is hitting .281.  He has collected 6 stolen bases so far to go along with his 11 doubles.  He has played all three outfield positions this season with most starts coming in center.

19. Justin Dunn, P (New York Mets) – For a team that was very pitcher heavy, injuries and other future uncertainties led the Mets to select Dunn last season out of Boston College.  He made 11 appearances (eight starts) with the Mets Short Season Class-A affiliate Brooklyn in 2016.  He went 1-1 with an ERA of 1.50.  This season has been a bit of a struggle.  In seven starts Dunn is 2-3 with an ERA of 6.21 for the St. Lucie Mets of the Florida League.

20. Gavin Lux, SS (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Lux was the first short stop selected in the 2016 draft.  He started his career playing in the Rookie League level with both the Arizona League Dodgers and the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League.  This season has Lux playing with the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League.  In 26 games he is hitting .258 with nine RBI.

Picks 1-10 Article HERE

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