Roughly one month away from the 2018 First-Year Player Draft and there is only one thing that everyone can agree on. That is that RHP, Casey Mize Out of Auburn will go #1 overall to the Detroit Tigers. Of course, we are still a month away, and anything can happen, but here is how I think the first 35 picks will shape up.
It is a consensus throughout all of baseball that Mize will go #1. The Auburn righty has a low-to-mid-90s fastball, but his best pitch is a devastating split-finger, which has gotten as high of a grade as 75 from some scouts. Keith Law called it “the best swing-and-miss pitch in the class.”
Joey Bart has been flying up draft boards mainly because of his spectacular spring for Georgia Tech. The best-ranked catcher in this year’s draft has an insane amount of power and isn’t too shabby behind the dish either. This being said, I think that he’ll get moved to 3B or 1B after it is all said and done. For now, Bart is at #2, but I can also see the Giants taking Brady Singer, Jared Kelenic or Alec Bohm.
Madrigal has been said to be “the most MLB ready guy in this draft”, and if you have looked at any video you can see why. Even though he is coming off a fractured hand, the 5-7, 165lb second baseman can do it all. The best part of his game is his speed which has been graded as high as a 70. If there is one guy who I think will stay in the same draft spot for the next month, it will be Nick Madrigal.
Not too many times can you call a prep outfielder a safe pick, but this would be one of them. Kelenic is one of, if not the purest hitter in this draft who makes a lot of contact at the plate, and at times has shown good power. His defense is no slouch either, displaying an above average arm that will only get better as time goes on. Don’t be surprised if you see him go as high at #2 in June.
Brady Singer is probably the most well known and has the best resume in this draft. Singers fastball sits 94-96 MPH, with a plus slider and the makings of an above average change-up.
The big third baseman projects to hit for not just power, but also for average and get on base at a reasonable clip. At times, I worry about his defense at third, which might cause him to move to first down the road.
If this looks familiar it is. The Padres selected a lengthy prep lefty with their first pick last year, and I can see it happening again. Liberatore sits 91-93 MPH and offers three plus-pitches as well as a new slider that could develop into a plus-pitch. He also showcases plus-command, and his solid frame indicates there may be more velocity in time.
Another guy whose spring has boosted him into the first round, India was thought to have been a 2nd or 3rd rounder who brings the whole package. A Great eye, with power, a beautiful swing, and speed. Also solid defender with good range and above average arm.
Stewart has recently been mentioned at going #1 overall, but as we all know, no right handed prep pitcher has ever gone 1-1. The talented righty features a fastball that sits 93-95MPH, arguably the best curveball in the draft, with a spin rate that is off the chart, and a change-up that needs a little work, but could turn into an above average pitch for him.
The athletic college outfielder has been getting Andrew Benintedni, Brett Gardner, Tyler Naquin comps lately, and I can see it. The 5-11, 180, a left-handed hitter, finds the barrel a lot and has showcased good power, with good speed. Defensively he has shown an above-average arm and great range, which makes him in my eyes the most complete player in this year’s draft.
Weathers, the Vandy commit, fits well with the O’s right here who are always looking for pitching. He sits 90-93 with a plus-curveball. If he produces a better change-up he can stay in a rotation, but for now, I have him tabbed as a good reliever.
The 2017 Colorado Gatorade baseball player of the year, now SoCal product features a solid 3 pitch mix with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a plus-power curve. One negative being said by a lot of scouts is that he is not as big as most prep RHP that go in the first round.
Gorman has showcased some of the best power out of this high school class. But what worries me the most is his defense. Right now, he’s playing shortstop and probably does not stick there but might stick at 3B or 1B. His contact is also a bit of an issue for me, which might lead to a lot of strikeouts at the next level.
The lengthy college left-hander sits anywhere from 93-96 mph and has touched 99 mph. He has shown a good slider with plus depth at times. In his three years at South Florida, he has only lost two games.
Hankins probably has the highest upside out of any prep arm in this draft. Even though his stock has fallen a tad the spring due to a shoulder issue, I still see them going in the first round. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and touches 98. He also has some of the best off-speed stuff in this prep class. He is the definition of high-risk high-reward.
Noah Naylor, brother of Padres prospect Josh Naylor has one of the loudest bats in the first round, meaning the ball explodes off his bat. I don’t think he sticks at catcher, but I think he finds a spot at first base like his brother. He also doesn’t show as much power as Josh, but I believe he will be a better all-around hitter.
The SoCal native fits in nicely with the Angel’s philosophy of drafting prep athletes. This might be a reach, but I would compare him a little bit to Mike Trout. Maybe not talent wise, but as a student of the game. He shows great play discipline, has a solid bat and plays good defensive shortstop.
Florida is known to produce good pitching and this year is no different. Kowar would be the second pitcher out of the university in the first round. He sits 93-95 with a plus-curveball. Some scouts believe that Kowar has all around better stuff than Singer, but isn’t quite as polished as a pitcher yet.
Rocker is a BIG DUDE. Standing at 6-5 250lb there is no shortage of power from him who sits at 93-95 mph and tops off at 98 mph with natural arm side run. He also showcases a plus-wipeout-slider. His change-up needs work though but can be a nice third pitch to his arsenal.
Rolison sits at 92-94 mph and has topped off at 96 mph, with a plus-curveball that some scouts consider the best in this draft. His changeup needs some work but has flashed average at times. I think he probably finds a spot in the bullpen at the major league level.
Another first rounder from one of the best division 1 colleges in the country, Larnach has a tremendous amount of strength, bat control, and shows a great eye at the plate. He has had some problems facing lefties during his college career, which might knock him out of the first round at some point.
Rodriguez who has exploded onto the scene kind of like his fastball. Just a few months ago he was not even heard of, now his fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 90s, has topped off at 98 mph is a first rounder and has gone as high as 10th on some mock drafts. He has also shown a plus-curveball and plus-split.
Casas shows a smooth swing with easy power from the left side. The 6-3, 245lb first baseman might be able to make the move from 1B to 3B because of his strong throwing arm.
The rare opportunity that you can find a pitcher, college or prep, with 4 average to above average pitches is here. Gilbert sits at 91-93 tops at 95 with plus-run. He also has an above average slider and change-up, with an average curveball.
The DBacks, who took Pavin Smith last year, might look to take another college outfielder again. Walker who makes a lot of contact, and sprays the field, hasn’t shown a whole lot of power this spring yet. He has a chance to become an average starter or good 4th outfielder in the majors.
Wilcox presents a plus-fastball which sits at 91-94 mph and touches 96 mph. Also has an and above average slider and changeup. At times, he has trouble commanding his pitches.
Scott out of Plant High School, where Kyle Tucker played his prep ball, is getting a lot of comparisons to him with a little bit less power, but more speed. Scott has an easy but loud swing and plays an above average outfield with a plus-arm.
Arguably the most interesting guy in the draft, Adams has a scholarship to play college football at UNC. In my eyes Adams in the most athletic player in this draft. He is very raw but shows no lack of talent. He is also one of the fastest players in this class.
The prep outfielder out of Illinois still has some growing to do. Thomas has shown plus-speed with a 4.09 home-first time. He might go as high as 15th but that is to be seen in June.
Hannah is right up the Dodgers ally. Projected to be a good 4th outfielder, he has speed and has shown some power this year. Kind of reminds me of Andrew Toles or Jeren Kendall.