The 2018 MLB draft will be held on June 4th in Secaucus, New Jersey. This year with competitive balance picks and compensatory picks, the three day event will see 1,223 players drafted across 40 rounds. Here is part 1 of how I think the first round will shake out.
#1. Detroit Tigers: Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn
Mize is a lock to go 1-1 to Detroit here. Mize has three above average pitches that generate plenty of swing and miss and has tremendous control of all three pitches. His fastball touches 97 at times with some nice run. His best pitch is his splitter which grades out as plus-plus and sits in the mid 80’s. Paired with a mid 80’s slider Mize keeps hitters off balance.
#2. San Francisco Giants: Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
The 2018 ACC Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Bart should go 1-2 to the Giants. Bart has incredible power to all fields thats generated from his quick hands and bat speed. Bart was drafted in the 27th round by Tampa Bay in 2015 but was committed to Georgia Tech. While at GT Bart improved his defense significantly to erase any doubt about his ability to stay behind the plate.
#3. Philadelphia Phillies: Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State
Bohm has possibly the best approach at the plate in the draft class and has an impressive feel for the strike zone. In his Junior season so far he’s drawn 38 walks to 28 strikeouts. His advanced approach is paired with considerable power from the right side giving him the potential to cruise through the minors a la Kris Bryant.
#4. Chicago White Sox: Travis Swaggerty, OF, South Alabama
Swaggerty’s calling card is his plus-plus speed which he leverages into producing some above average defense in the OF and creates chaos on the base-paths. He has a relaxed approach at the plate, but at times he can get over aggressive which leads to some swing and miss in his profile. He projects more as an average hitter than a power hitter but he has enough power for it to be noticeable.
#5. Cincinnati Reds: Brady Singer, RHP, Florida
The 6’5” hurler has the projection of a top of the rotation arm with at least 2 plus pitches, his fastball and slider. His fastball is probably his best pitch which sits comfortably between 95-97 with a ton of life to it. Singer uses his fastball to set up his slider very well, keeping hitters very off balance. His change-up needs some work to be effective at the major league, but it has taken steps forward over the last season.
#6. New York Mets: Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State
Madrigal’s approach at the plate rivals Bohm’s, and Madrigal has used it to work more walks than strikeouts every season in college ball. His small size (5’7”) limits his power output potential but with the successes of Dustin Pedroia and Jose Altuve, teams won’t teams wont shy away from picking him early. He also comes with impressive speed and instincts on the basepaths that allows him to project for 30+ steals at the major league level.
#7. San Diego Padres: Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS (AZ)
The top left handed prep arm in the draft, Liberatore has a very advance feel for pitching. He controls every pitch he throws and overpowers hitters with his pitchability. He won’t set any radar guns up in flames as his fastball sits in the low 90’s, but it’s deceptive enough generate swings and misses when paired with his above average curveball and slider.
#8. Atlanta Braves: Johnathan India, 3B, Florida
India is probably the most rounded hitter in the draft class with an advance feel and approach at the plate leading to above average grades on his hot tool and power. He also plays above average defense at third and has impressive instincts on the base-paths that will lead to more than a few steals.
#9. Oakland Athletics: Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha HS (WI)
With one of the better hit tools in the class, Kelenic stands has impressed with his ability at the plate. He should hit for a high average and add enough pop for double 15+ homers at the major league level. There are questions about his ability to stick in center but even at a corner spot his profile is exciting.
#10. Pittsburgh Pirates: Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (FL)
Carter has a very impressive 2 pitch mix with his fastball that hits 98 and his hammer 12-6 curve that sits mid 80’s. His curve has been touted by some scouts as the best breaking ball the draft class, and it plays well off his fastball. He also has displayed above average command of his pitches to this point which is the biggest concern for hard throwing prep arms.
#11. Baltimore Orioles: Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS (CA)
Winn has flashed plus value with all three of his offerings so far, a fastball, change-up and slider. He has enough command to make them all project as very effective pitches at the major league level and his effortless delivery makes it very easy to repeat his release points. Winn has also been touted by scouts for his leadership with his teammates.
#12. Toronto Blue Jays: Xavier Edwards, SS, North Broward (FL)
Probably the fastest player in the draft, Edwards carrying tool is his speed which he uses on both sides of the ball to elevated his defense and gobble up steals on the base-paths. Edwards tremendous footwork and plenty of arm strength to stay at SS. He should hit for a decent average at the majors but he wont blow anyone away with his power.
#13. Miami Marlins: Shane McClanahan, LHP, South FLorida
McClanahan falls into the stereo typical profile of a hard throwing prospect. His fastball touches 100 consistently but he has trouble commanding it. He has a very solid two pitch mix pairing his plus-plus fastball with a plus change-up. His third pitch is an average slider that does enough to keep hitters off balance. If he can command his stuff better as he progresses through the minors, McClanahan has a chance to be the best pitcher coming out of the class.
#14. Seattle Mariners: Ryan Rolison, LHP, Mississippi
Rolison is a solid prospect. His best pitch is his power curve that he commands very well. He adds a fastball and a change-up to his arsenal that both sit at average or better pitches. Previously drafted in the 37th round by San Diego in 2016 he is still improving, but should be an easy top half of the first round selection on June 4th.
#15. Texas Rangers: Nolan Gorman, 3B, O’Connor HS (AZ)
Gorman might have the most raw power in the class and it translates into games as well. Gorman’s profile is that of the typical power hitter style with a ton of pop, but also some swing and miss to his game. He has enough defensive skill that he should be able to remain at 3rd in pro-ball though some reports were cautious on his ability in the field. If he doesn’t stick at the hot corner his next best profile is probably corner OF or as a 2B in the Brian Dozier Mold.
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