The 2018 Major League Baseball draft is just a month away (YAY), and with that being just around the corner I figured it was time to roll out a mock draft. This years draft crop is very deep and teams will be able to get a first-round caliber player late in the second round. The pitching is especially deep in this draft, that being both righties and lefties as well as college and prep pitchers. The weakest demographic is the catching prospects. Joey Bart is the best then it’s a big drop off from him to number 2, especially with Will Banfield having signability concerns.
1 Detroit Tigers
Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn
Casey Mize has separated himself from the rest of this draft crop, thanks to a four-pitch mix and outstanding command. His arsenal is headlined by a plus-plus splitter that might be the best pitch in the entire draft, a plus fastball that gets up to 96 with late life, an above average cutter that at times flashes plus, and a plus slider that he can alter the shape and speed of. Mize’s command really allows his pitches to play up as he spots all four of his pitches to all 4 quadrants making him unpredictable for hitters. With a thick, durable frame he has the makings of a front of the rotation starter.
2 San Francisco Giants
Travis Swaggerty, OF, University of South Alabama
College hitters who can play premium defensive positions and hit are a scouting director’s best friend come draft time. Travis Swaggerty has added power to an already impressive profile, being a plus runner with good instincts in center field. Swaggerty was one of the best hitters on the collegiate national team this past summer, and with his smooth lefty swing he could become a 20 homer 20 stolen base threat and play good defense in centerfield.
3 Philadelphia Phillies
Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State University
Among the college ranks, Alec Bohm combines plus raw power with a plus hit tool and he profiles to stick at the hot corner. Defensively, he has good enough actions and a plus arm that should keep him at third before he slows down. It is the impact that he could provide with the bat that will get him drafted high, he has legitimate 30 plus homer power and he will hit for a high average.
4 Chicago White Sox
Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State
Polished college bats are always a premium come draft time and Nick Madrigal provides some great tools. Madrigal is a plus-plus runner with an advanced feel for hit and is a plus-plus fielder at second base. His power might just be average but we are talking about a future lead-off hitter who gets on base at a high clip and uses his speed to steal bags and turn singles into doubles.
5 Cincinnati Reds
Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS
The Arizona Wildcat commit is among the most polished prep pitchers to come out in a while. He has a 4 pitch mix headlined by a plus changeup and a plus curveball and his advanced pitchability allows his offerings to play up. With a 6’5 projectable frame, it isn’t hard to imagine he adds more velocity to his fastball that already can get to 95. He has shown a propensity to mess with batters timing by quick pitching and then slowing down the tempo.
6 New York Mets
Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
The pick has nothing to do with the Mets need for a quality catcher, this is because Joey Bart is the last of a top tier of college hitters. He posses plus raw power and some feel for the barrel with some slight swig and miss to his game. Where Bart truly shines is his catching. He calls his own games(a rarity in today’s collegiate game) while showing great receiving abilities and is polished as a blocker. When you factor in the power he has with the bat and his polished catching skills this is one of the best catching prospects to come out of college in awhile.
7 San Diego Padres
Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS
Carter Stewart is famous for possessing the curveball that holds the highest recorded rpm ever. To go along with the plus-plus curveball he has added velocity on the fastball, going from the low 90’s to more comfortably sitting upper 90’s and even reaching 98. His changeup has improved and has flashed above average. With an athletic frame and a quality 3 pitch mix the Eau Gallie prep product should be picked in the top 10 of the real draft on June 4th.
8 Atlanta Braves
Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha West HS
Kelenic isn’t the most tooled up player in this draft but he has impressed a lot of people. He has a cannon of an arm, has plus power, and a plus hit tool. Some believe he can stick in center, but I feel he is more of a corner outfielder because he isn’t the best athlete. Regardless of whether he can play center, this is an advanced hitter who consistently makes hard contact to all fields.
9 Oakland Athletics
Brady Singer, RHP, University of Florida
The Florida Gator is among the most polished pitchers in the entire draft. He has a mid-to-low 90’s fastball with tailing action, a plus slider, and an above-average changeup to go with
an unorthodox low ¾ arm slot. He has a slight build that gives me some red flags, but he has been a consistent performer in the SEC and could be a quick mover because of his polished arsenal.
10 Pittsburgh Pirates
Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS
The Santiago prep product is one of the smoothest shortstops to come out in a while. He has smooth feet solid actions and a good arm. He has the speed to turn singles into doubles and has the hit tool to hit for a high average. Power may never be a big part of his profile, however, this is a polished defensive player who could be a lead-off hitter with his combination of a plus hit tool and plus speed.
11 Baltimore Orioles
Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS
Cole Winn moved from Colorado to play his senior year in Southern California and it has definitely helped his draft stock. He has a 4 pitch mix, headlined by a plus curve and a mid 90’s fastball that he has used to dominate batters throughout the pre-draft process. With solid mechanics that he repeats well, he has been among the best pitchers in the country.
12 Toronto Blue Jays
Shane McClanahan, LHP, University of South Florida
The South Florida Bull(don’t ask me) started the season on a torrid pace, striking out everyone and getting his fastball all the way up to 100! However since then, he has come down to earth, Like I said this is someone that can hit 100 from the left-side, has an above average slider that at times flashes plus, and a plus changeup that has arm side fade. The biggest red flags for the leftie is he has a high effort delivery and his command comes and goes. Worst case scenario he becomes a high-leverage reliever because 100 from the left-side is very valuable.
13 Miami Marlins
Nolan Gorman, 3B, Sandra Day O’Connor HS
The second Arizona Wildcat commit to make this mock draft posses the most raw power in the draft, reaching 70 raw. Gorman has a plus arm and is an average runner, however some fear that he might slow down causing him to move over to first base. There has been some swing and miss issues that have come up with Gorman but with the power, he posses he can work through some holes in his swing.
14 Seattle Mariners
Ryan Rolison, LHP, University of Mississippi
The Ole Miss Rebel has been one of the safer pitchers in this draft class, thanks to a fastball-slider mix and a durable athletic frame. He repeats his delivery well and gets good movement on his mid 90’s fastball. Seattle likes to go the college route early and Rolison with his fastball, plus slider, and above changeup has mid-rotation upside.
15 Texas Rangers
Connor Scott, OF, Plant HS
One of the many Florida Gator commits may be one of the most tooled up players in this 2018 draft. He has added more power to his smooth left-handed swing and has maintained the speed that has made him an intriguing prospect. He should stick in center as he has displayed good instincts and has plus-plus speed with an above average arm.
16 Tampa Bay Rays
Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS
When you first see Kumar Rocker you will not believe how well built he is, but then you find out his dad was an NFL defensive lineman and it makes sense. The 6’5”, 250 pound Rocker posses a heavy fastball that gets up to 98, a hammer curveball, and a changeup that can flash plus at times. With the thick and durable frame, he could eat innings right now. When the stuff catches up to frame this could be an intriguing guy in a couple of years.
17 Los Angeles Angels
Jordyn Adams, OF, Green Hope HS
Last year the Angels grabbed an athletic outfielder in Jo Adell so why not another in Jordyn Adams? Jordyn Adams is an 80-grade runner and poses impressive raw power. He has the speed and instincts to stick in centerfield, and the craziest part about him is he still has some work to do because he splits his time between football and baseball and he’s already this good. In this scenario, he takes the baseball money and turns down being a highly regarded four-star wide receiver and showing up at the University of North Carolina.
18 Kansas City Royals
Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto HS
Ryan Weathers has had a late start to his spring because of good playoff basketball run. The Vandy commit has a fastball that gets to the mid 90’s, a slow loopy curve, and a changeup with decent fade. I like his delivery and I think he can add some more weight to his frame and watch the velocity take a tick up.
19 St. Louis Cardinals
Logan Gilbert, RHP, Stetson University
Another college pitcher from the state of Florida, Logan Gilbert is viewed by some as one of the safest pitchers in this draft. He has a mid-to-low 90’s fastball with life, an above average changeup, and slider, to go along with a curveball that flashed above average at times. He repeats his delivery well and has above-average command. He might not reach the heights of fellow Stetson alumni in Corey Kluber or Jacob deGrom, but Gilbert will carve out a good career as a mid-rotation starter for a long time.
20 Minnesota Twins
Mason Denaburg, RHP, Merritt Island HS
One of the more athletic pitchers in this draft, Mason Denaburg is smooth on the mound and smooth behind the dish. His fastball has been up to 97 this spring and has a plus or better slider that is nasty with bite, and a below average changeup. He has had some elbow soreness this spring, but the talent is undeniable and he could be a steal at this point in the draft.
21 Milwaukee Brewers
Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State University
We should all get used to Oregon State Beavers going in the first round because that program has built something special. Trevor Larnach is a prototypical corner outfield profile, plus arm, plus raw power, and an above-average hit tool. Before this year the tools were there for him to be good, but he unlocked more power, in turn, causing him to rise up draft boards. Larnach profiles better in right field where his arm is an asset.
22 Colorado Rockies
Jordan Groshans, 3B, Magnolia HS
Colorado has invested recently in high schoolers with an advanced feel for hitting and power projection and Groshans fits that mold. The Magnolia prep product combines a plus hit tool with future raw power and above average speed. He currently plays shortstop but he will have to move to third when he becomes a professional because he doesn’t have the speed to man shortstop in pro ball.
23 New York Yankees
Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
In the 2017 draft, the Yankees drafted Beck in the 28th round. Fast forward a year they grab the Stanford Cardinal in the first round. Beck might have the best stuff at this point of the draft with a low 90’s fastball with tailing action, a solid curveball, and a plus changeup with fade. His above-average command allows him to spot his pitches in and out of the zone. While he has had some injuries in the past, nothing has been arm related.
24 Chicago Cubs
Sean Hjelle, RHP, University of Kentucky
Pitcher by day, giraffe impersonator by night, Sean Hjelle is a tall pitcher, standing at 6’11 and for someone so tall, he does a great job of repeating his delivery. Hjelle’s arsenal is headlined by a hammer 12-6 curveball, and that pairs well with a mid 90’s fastball. Hjelle gets downhill and gets a lot of extension on his pitches and because of his long limbs and body, he hides his pitches well. His frame could stand to add a few pounds which could unlock more velocity for the dangly pitcher.
25 Arizona Diamondbacks
Jonathan India, 3B, University of Florida
The second Florida Gator to be drafted in this draft might be the most surprising riser in this draft. Jonathan India is a plus defensive third baseman with good actions and a plus arm. Offensively is where he has really made the most strides this year, he has begun to hit for power and average at the right time heating up for a deep postseason run with a talented Gators baseball team.
26 Boston Red Sox
Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS
Ethan Hankins came into the season as the top prep player, however, with some minor injuries popping up he takes a tumble. Hankins possess one of the best fastballs in the draft as it gets to 98 but has insane movement, he gets varying reviews on his secondary offerings I like the slider better than the curveball, and his changeup flashes plus as it plays off the fastball. He pitches at a high tempo and it works well for him.
27 Washington Nationals
Jeremy Eierman, SS, Missouri State University
Last year Missouri State had a first round pick in Jake Burger, and this year they could have another in Jeremy Eierman. Eierman can stick at shortstop in the professional ranks thanks to solid actions and an above average arm. At the plate, he has some swing and miss concerns but has shown above-average pop and a good feel for the barrel. He could move off of short in a pinch and profiles as plus defensive third baseman and the bat would play at the hot corner.
28 Houston Astros
Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights HS
Grayson Rodriguez is a prototypical hard-throwing Texas righty and that seems to fit what the Astros like to target. Rodriguez is another pitcher that experienced a velocity bump this spring now being able to reach back and hit 98 if needed. He also trimmed down for the spring and looks more physically imposing. The development of the secondary offerings will be key for him as they sit average at the moment.
29 Cleveland Indians
Nicholas Schnell, OF, Roncalli HS
A Louisville Cardinal commit, Nicholas Schnell is a plus-plus runner that has a loose left-handed swing with projectable power. Schnell has a chance to stick in centerfield because of his polished instincts and near top of the scale speed. He makes consistent hard contact to all fields and with a slight swing adjustment, he could reach plus power in his peak seasons. Cleveland has mined the midwest as well as anyone has and Schnell is one of the best in that region.
30 Los Angeles Dodgers
Kris Bubic, LHP, Stanford
Bubic has shown a propensity to get lots of weak contact in a conference loaded with future pro ball players thanks to a plus changeup and curveball. His fastball might be his worst pitch and even that is above average, sitting low 90’s with life, but it’s the change that is a real difference maker for the Cardinal. He will throw the changeup early and often and then surprise batters with a curveball after throwing consecutive changeups. With above average command, a smooth repeatable delivery Bubic screams number 3 starter to this author.
Keep on the lookout for a second post very soon, I will be posting picks 31 through 105 in a later post. You can tell me how wrong I am on twitter @RhysBWhite (don’t forget to follow). We are officially one month away from the first pick being announced by Rob Manfred so expect some more draft-related content from myself.
Photo Credit: Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics