Lewis, Greene, Gore go 1-2-3

Photo: Perfect Game

Jeff Dahn Patrick Ebert
Published: Monday, June 12, 2017

The Minnesota Twins on Monday night surprised mock-drafters from all corners of the country when they used the No. 1 overall pick of the first-round at the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft to select high school shortstop Royce Lewis from Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Lewis, a UC-Irvine recruit who celebrated his 18th birthday June 5, was widely projected to be selected with one of the first five picks in the draft, but few mock drafts had him at 1-1. The Twins obviously saw something they liked in the 6-foot-2, 188-pound, five-tool prospect who was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic played at Petco Park in San Diego last August.

Lewis is the 14th former PG prospect in the last 15 years to be taken No. 1 overall, and the selection also continues a trend of former PG All-Americans being taken with the first pick of the draft.

He is the ninth alumnus of the PG All-American Classic to go off the board first, joining Matt Bush (San Diego Padres, 2004), Justin Upton (Arizona Diamondbacks, 2005), Tim Beckham (Tampa Bay Rays, 2008), Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals, 2010), Gerrit Cole (Pittsburgh Pirates, 2011), Carlos Correa (Houston Astros, 2012), Brady Aiken (Houston Astros, 2014) and Mickey Moniak (Philadelphia Phillies, 2016).

During a telephone conversation with PG in February, Lewis was asked his feelings about the draft. “I see all the (projections) and that’s all just crazy stuff, but I really – in a way – don’t care at the moment,” he said. “I’m trying to focus on school and graduation and then, of course, just playing baseball, the game that I love.”

Lewis is a recent graduate of JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., where he was part of head coach Brett Kay’s nationally prominent baseball program. He won his third straight CIF Southern Section Trinity League MVP award this spring after slashing .388/.569/.662 with four home runs, 24 walks and 23 stolen bases in 26 attempts.

“He’s the highest character kid I’ve ever coached in my life, and I couldn’t give a higher compliment to a student athlete in this age than I would to Royce Lewis,” Kay told PG in February. “And that’s just me trying to be subjective.”

As part of a PG Draft Pack report published March 24, PG Vice President of Player Personnel David Rawnsley wrote:

“Lewis was consistently outstanding at the major (2016) events, including the PG National Showcase, the Tournament of Stars and the Area Code Games; he was named the MVP at the Perfect Game All-American Classic. … The physical tools are all at a very high level.”

Lewis, who ran a 6.64-second 60-yard dash, threw 91 mph from the outfield and 87 mph across the infield at the 2016 PG National Showcase, went 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBI, a run scored and three stolen bases in being named the A-A Classic’s MVP; his West Team routed the East, 13-0.

“Our team was really fun for this game and it’s a really good group of guys,” Lewis said after accepting his MVP award. “This is a really good, professional group of guys and they’re ready to possibly into the pros and for sure into college. We were able to take advantage of all the opportunities that we got, and we had a lot of fun doing it.”

With the second overall pick the Cincinnati Reds
 selected Southern California high school two-way mega-prospect Hunter Greene. Greene, a 17-year-old 2016 Perfect Game All-American who was the winner of the 2016 Jackie Robinson Award that goes to the PG National High School Player of the Year. He also won the Rawlings Home Run Challenge and was the starting pitcher for the West Team in the Classic itself.

“That was amazing.” Greene said after winning the home run hitting exhibition. “When you’re up against the top 52 players in the country, you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game, that’s for sure. But it was awesome and I did my thing, and I’m happy to now start the game and go at it against these guys from the East."

Former PG All-Americans occupied each of the first three picks of the 2017 MLB Draft when the San Diego Padres selected MacKenzie Gore, a left-handed pitcher from Whiteville, N.C., with the third overall pick. 
 The 18-year-old Gore, an East Carolina signee, saw his stock soar after his 2016 seasons pitching for Whiteville High School in the spring and the EvoShield Canes in the summer, and shot up even further after another eye-popping season for North Carolina Class 1A state champion Whiteville HS this spring.

“MacKenzie is a winner. He’s won a lot in his life … (and) he loves competition and he loves to win,” Cane’s general manager and head coach Jeff Petty said at last July’s 17u Perfect Game World Series in Mesa, Ariz. “The first time I ever talked to him on the phone before this summer started, he said, ‘I can’t wait to get out there and just help you guys win.’”

After the first day of the 2017 MLB Draft 34 of the 36 first and supplemental first-round picks, as well as 67 of the 75 players selected overall on the first day (top two rounds), had previously attended a Perfect Game event. Thirty seven of those 75 players had previously attended a Perfect Game National Showcase, 24 of which did so in 2016. Twenty-two of those 75 had previously played in the Perfect Game All-American Classic, 20 of which did so last August.

This year's Classic will be played on Sunday, Aug. 13 at Petco Park and will once again be broadcast live on MLB Network.

Here are all of the former PG All-Americans that were selected on the first day of the 2017 MLB Draft:

Rd. Pick Player Team School Year
1 1 Royce Lewis Minnesota Twins JSerra HS (CA) 2016
1 2 Hunter Greene Cincinnati Reds Notre Dame HS (CA) 2016
1 3 MacKenzie Gore San Diego Padres Whiteville HS (NC) 2016
1 10 Jordon Adell Los Angeles Angels Ballard HS (KY) 2016
1 12 Shane Baz Pittsburgh Pirates Concordia Luthern HS (TX) 2016
1 13 Trevor Rogers Miami Marlins Carlsbad HS (NM) 2016
1 20 David Peterson New York Mets University of Oregon 2013
1 21 D.L. Hall Baltimore Orioles Valdosta HS (GA) 2016
2 39 Luis Campusano San Diego Padres Cross Creek (GA) 2016
2 41 Drew Waters Atlanta Braves Etowah HS (GA) 2016
2 43 Greg Deichmann Oakland Athletics Louisiana State University 2013
2 48 Ryan Vilade Colorado Rockies Stillwater HS (OK) 2016
2 50 Calvin Mitchell Pittsburgh Pirates Rancho Bernardo HS (CA) 2016
2 52 M.J. Melendez Kansas City Royals Westminster Christian HS (FL) 2016
2 58 Jacob Gonzalez San Francisco Giants Chaparral HS (AZ) 2016
2 59 Mark Vientos New York Mets American Heritage HS (FL) 2016
2 60 Adam Hall Baltimore Orioles AB Lucas Secondary HS (AB) 2016
2 63 Cole Brannen Boston Red Sox The Westfield Schools (GA) 2016
2 64 Quentin Holmes Cleveland Indians Msgr. McClancy Memorial (NY) 2016
2 66 Hans Crouse Texas Rangers Dana Hills HS (CA) 2016
2 71 Tyler Freeman Cleveland Indians Etiwanda HS (CA) 2016
2 72 Conner Uselton Pittsburgh Pirates Southmoore HS (OK) 2016

Fourteen more Perfect Game All-Americans were selected on the second day (Rounds 3-10) of the 2017 MLB Draft:

Rd. Pick Player Team School Year
3 76 Blayne Enlow Minnesota Twins St. Amant HS (LA) 2016
3 77 Jacob Heatherly Cincinnati Reds Cullman HS (AL) 2016
3 81 Nick Allen Oakland Athletics Francis W. Parker HS (CA) 2016
3 85 Jacob Pearson Los Angeles Angels West Monroe HS (LA) 2016
3 94 Scott Hurst St. Louis Cardinals Cal State Fullerton 2013
3 96 Seth Corry San Francisco Giants Lone Peak HS (UT) 2016
3 102 Johnathan Rodriguez Cleveland Indians Carlos Beltran BB Academy (PR) 2016
4 107 Cash Case Cincinnati Reds The First Academy (FL) 2016
5 161 Alex Scherff Boston Red Sox Colleyville Heritage HS (TX) 2016
6 166 Ricard De La Torre Minnesota Twins Puerto Rico BB Academy 2016
6 195 Jeremiah Estrada Chicago Cubs Palm Desert HS (CA) 2016
8 249 Kacy Clemens Toronto Blue Jays University of Texas 2012
8 253 Jared Brasher Washington Nationals Samford University 2012
9 266 Sean Bouchard Colorado Rockies UCLA 2013

Nineteen more Perfect Game All-Americans were selected on the third day (Rounds 11-40) of the 2017 MLB Draft, bringing the total number of PG All-Americans drafted to 55:

Rd. Pick Player Team School Year
12 349 Carl Chester Tampa Bay Rays University of Miami 2013
12 354 Je'Von Ward Milwaukee Brewers Gahr HS (CA) 2016
14 411 Garrett Mitchell Oakland Athletics Orange Lutheran HS (CA) 2016
15 454 Terry Fuller St. Louis Cardinals Griffin HS (GA) 2016
15 463 Bryce Montes de Oca Washington Nationals University of Missouri 2013
16 488 Logan Allen Baltimore Orioles University HS (FL) 2016
20 590 Justin Smith Atlanta Braves St. Johns River State College (FL) 2014
20 595 Mitchell Traver Los Angeles Angels Texas Christian University 2011
22 647 Justin Bellinger Cincinnati Reds Duke University 2013
29 865 Cobi Johnson Los Angeles Angels Florida State University 2013
31 935 Nick Storz Detroit Tigers Poly Prep Country Day HS (NY) 2016
32 975 Hunter Ruth Chicago Cubs Buchholz HS (FL) 2016
33 977 Brady McConnell Cincinnati Reds Merritt Island HS (FL) 2016
33 984 Kyle Jacobsen Milwaukee Brewers Allatoona HS (GA) 2016
34 1013 Kyle Hurt Philadelphia Phillies Torrey Pines HS (CA) 2016
34 1032 Cole Turney Cleveland Indians Travis HS (TX) 2016
35 1065 Ben Ramirez Chicago Cubs Eastlake HS (CA) 2016
37 1112 Tanner Burns New York Yankees Decatur HS (AL) 2016
40 1214 Jordan Anderson Texas Rangers James Clemens HS (AL) 2016

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