Dodgers 2017 MLB Draft Preview: Keston Hiura, Athletic First Baseman, And More
Dodgers 2017 Top Prospects: Newcomer Aneurys Zabala Debuts In Nos. 31-40
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

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Los Angeles Dodgers scouting director Billy Gasparino selected college bats with his top pick in each of his first two drafts. Gasparino added another first rounder last year in Will Smith.

While the projected top-10 of the 2017 MLB Draft doesn’t offer any can’t-miss type college hitters, the latter half of the first round could produce some intriguing options. Some of whom are outlined below.

The Dodgers will make their first selection at No. 23 overall. If you’re not familiar with scouting grades (i.e. 60 arm, plus-plus speed), refer to the glossary at the end of the article.

Keston Hiura, 2B/OF, UC Irvine | B/T: R/R

Scouting Consensus: Listed at 6’0, 185 lbs. One of the best pure bats in the draft. Makes loud contact, hitting over .400 his junior season. Projects for average power and is a solid runner. Hiura is playing through an elbow injury that may require Tommy John surgery after he’s drafted. What’s more, he may or may not remain an infielder.

Jared’s Take: Very unique prospect. Hasn’t played the field since last spring due to the elbow but has hit very well. Some swing-and-miss (36 strikeouts in 53 games) but also excellent on-base ability (50 walks). Should move quickly through the Minors once he signs, but could miss a year if Tommy John is required. Similar overall profile to Ian Happ.

Risk: Medium-low. Scouts are concerned over where Hiura will play with the glove, but confident that he’ll hit. If he’s a left fielder, that diminishes his value but he’s still likely to make it to the Majors.

Availability: Medium. With a lack of strong college bats in the class, a team in the teens could easily draft him.

Outlook: Hiura is one of the safer bats in the class and one of the younger college juniors; won’t turn 21 until August. Take him, fix his elbow and he’ll come back better than ever. Hey, it happened to Walker Buehler.

Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt | B/T: L/R

Scouting Consensus: Listed at 5’10, 180 lbs. Athletic frame and loaded with tools. Kendall is a double plus runner, plus defender in center field, and a threat on the basepaths. Average to above power potential. Serious questions about his ability to make contact.

Jared’s Take: Was projected as the top pick coming into the year. Never bought the hype. Swing needs a lot of work; Dodgers have had some success in that area. Going to be a project.

Risk: Medium-high. If the contact issues don’t go away, Kendall may not project as a starter.

Availability: Medium-low. He’s falling down draft boards due to the contact issues but he’s probably still going to be selected in the top 20.

Outlook: The value dictates that the Dodgers should take Kendall if he’s available, but I’m just not a huge fan. The last thing you want to do with a first-round hitter is overhaul his swing.

NEXT PAGE: Athletic first baseman, shortstop from North Carolina, and scouting grades