It’s Major League Baseball draft time! This year’s draft begins on Monday, June 4 and runs through Wednesday, with the first round being aired on the MLB Network. While the MLB draft fails to draw even a fraction of the interest that the NFL and NBA drafts do, the next few days will still be life-changing moments for hundreds of amateur baseball players across the country.
The Detroit Tigers have 2018’s first pick, with the consensus believing they will select Auburn starting pitcher, Case Mize. However, predicting the MLB draft is extremely difficult, since teams do not draft for immediate need.
We try our hands at it anyway, providing you with our first round mock draft below. The notes on each player were compiled from 2080ball.com, Fangraphs, John Sickels and my own thoughts on players I have had the chance to watch.
- Detroit Tigers- RHP Casey Mize, Auburn
The Tigers took an SEC arm last year with their first-round pick, taking Florida’s Alex Faedo 18th overall. All signs point to Detroit doing the same this year and taking Auburn’s Casey Mize with the number one overall pick. With a fastball that reaches 97 mph and elite control of four pitches, including a “devastating breaking pitch,” Mize is a potential front-end of the rotation starter for the Tigers.
2. San Francisco Giants- C Joey Bart, Georgia Tech
San Francisco has just one catching prospect in their top 30, a 19-year-old international free agent from Venezuela. While it feels like Buster Posey has been around as long as Bartolo Colon, his time behind the plate is limited. At 6-3 and 225 pounds, Bart brings elite power and defense to whichever team drafts him. He may not hit for average, but he has true major league home run capabilities.
3. Philadelphia Phillies- RHP Brady Singer, Florida
The Phillies have a few top pitching prospects in Sixto Sanchez and Enyel De Los Santos, however, Singer has the potential to be a fast-rising pitcher in a pro system. Armed with a three-pitch mix, his changeup has reportedly developed greatly. The biggest question mark is Singer’s delivery, which may require a few small tweaks.
4. Chicago White Sox- 3B Alec Bohm, Wichita State
Chicago has lost a recent top draft pick, 3B Jake Burger, with his second torn ACL, a serious cause for concern for his future. Florida’s Jonathan India is another college bat that could go here, however, Bohm’s hit tool and in-game power profile better than India’s. The White Sox need more bats in their rebuild and Bohm is another potential fast-riser.
5. Cincinnati Reds- OF Jarred Kelenic, Waukesha High School (Wisconsin)
The Reds went prep arm last year with Hunter Greene and could dip into the high school ranks again with Kelenic. John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com calls Kelenic the most complete hitter in the draft, with the ability to stick in centerfield at the major league level. He also pitched in high school and has an elite arm in the outfield.
6. New York Mets- 3B Jonathan India, Florida
Another Gator off the board here as the Mets have been linked to a college bat in a lot of mock drafts. There is concern about India’s power playing at the next level, but there’s no question that he can hit. India has an advanced hit tool and may be the safest pick in the draft, in a good way.
7. San Diego Padres- LHP Matt Liberatore, Mountain Ridge HS (Arizona)
The Padres have the top farm system in the league and will go best player available. If there is a weakness in the system, it’s third base, however, if India and Bohm are off the board, it will be hard to leave the top prep arm just sitting there.
8. Atlanta Braves- RHP Carter Stewart, Eau Gallie High School (Florida)
Stewart has the best curveball in the entire draft and possibly at any level of baseball, including pro-ball. Only a small handful of MLB pitchers produce more revolutions on their curve than Stewart. He’s a high-risk pick, with some scouts concerned about his sudden increase in velocity, however, he has one of the higher ceilings in the draft.
9. Oakland Athletics- 2B Nick Madrigal, Oregon State
A small, speedy middle infielder with future Gold Glove potential, according to a few different reports. Madrigal doesn’t bring a lot of over-the-fence power, but he can drive the ball into the gaps. The A’s need bats and Madrigal could find himself in the majors within two years.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates- LHP Ryan Weathers, Loretto High School (Tennessee)
Weathers is the most polished high school arm in the draft, thanks to his bloodlines. His dad, David Weathers, is a former major league pitcher. Weathers has a high pitching IQ and features two plus-pitches (fastball, curveball) with a developing feel for more secondaries.
11. Baltimore Orioles- 3B Nolan Gorman, O’Connor High School (Arizona)
The Orioles suddenly have solid pitching depth in the low-minors but have zero top prospects at third base, shortstop or first base. Nolan Gorman has the most raw power in the draft, a skill set very few Orioles prospects have.
12. Toronto Blue Jays- LHP Logan Gilbert, Stetson
Toronto is loaded with hitting prospects, including some guy named Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Gilbert is a college arm with a good bit of projection left on his frame. He is a high strikeout guy, a tool he will need to compete in the AL East.
13. Miami Marlins- OF Connor Scott, Plant High School (Florida)
While I like Nick Schnell a little better (fellow high school outfield prospect), I would image the Marlins have seen Scott more than an Indiana prep player. Scott is a five-tool prospect that has received mixed reviews, however, Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs believes he has the highest upside of any HS outfielder.
14. Seattle Mariners-OF Travis Swaggerty, South Alabama
Anyone the Mariners select will be a welcomed addition to their farm system. Swaggerty is a name that goes fairly high in most mocks but is a product of prospect fatigue. He has an advanced feel for the strike zone and has elite speed. Swaggerty shows power but may become more of a line-drive hitter in the big leagues.
15. Texas Rangers- RHP Cole Winn, Orange Lutheran High School (California)
Winn appears to be one of the more athletic high school arms in this year’s draft. He has a fastball that can reach up to 96 mph, a plus-slider and a solid changeup. Like most elite HS arms, he hasn’t needed to use the change often enough to get good looks. Texas needs pitching depth and Winn is a perfect fit should he slide this far.
16. Tampa Bay Rays- OF Jordyn Adams, Green Hope High School (North Carolina)
Very few scouts believe Adams will sign, instead electing to honor his commitment to play football and baseball at UNC (his dad is a coach on the football team). Adams is very raw since he has never fully committed to baseball, but he owns good power and speed. If the Rays can flash the money, they might be able to persuade him.
17. Los Angeles Angels- RHP Ethan Hankins, Forsyth Central High School (Georgia)
The Angels seem connected to a number of different prep arms, and Hankins is the top one left in this scenario. The 6-6 pitcher is still returning from an injury but has 80 grades on his fastball by a few publications (20-80 scale). He isn’t just a flamethrower, Hankins has a four-pitch mix and exhibits some of the best command in the draft.
18. Kansas City Royals- 1B Triston Casas, American Heritage School (Florida)
Currently playing at third, Casas projects more as a first baseman. Scouts over at 2080ball point out his outstanding patience at the plate and potential for big pop. Other outlets have reported that he puts up some of the highest exit velocities in the draft. He is a future .250 hitter who puts up 30 HR a season.
19. St. Louis Cardinals- SS Brice Turang, Santiago High School (California)
Turang is, arguably, the best shortstop in this year’s draft. He is a multi-tool player, none of which are flashy, but work well. A scrappy hitter with line-drive ability across the field, Turang is the type of prospect every baseball team needs.
20. Minnesota Twins- RF Trevor Larnach, Oregon State
A power hitter who has a very polished approach at the plate. Larnach is another guy who isn’t very flashy but is a good baseball player. His arm is okay and he has average speed, but he is an athlete with a solid glove.
21. Milwaukee Brewers- LHP Shane McClanahan, South Florida
McClanahan is my favorite pitcher in the draft. He has touched 100 mph but sits in the high-90s. He has pinpoint control of his fastball to all parts of the plate and great athletic ability to defend his position. McClanahan struck out 117 hitters in 70-plus innings. Doubt he falls this far, but if he does, the Brewers have a future mid-rotation starter here.
22. Colorado Rockies- RHP Jackson Kowar, Florida
Reports indicate that General Manager Jeff Bridich is a fan of Kowar’s and has seen him in person. Kowar already has a great feel for his fastball and changeup. Scouts rave about the projection left on his frame and potential to be a fine ground ball pitcher.
23. New York Yankees- LHP Daniel Lynch, UVA
This is a big reach here, however, Lynch has shown a lot of promise as a lefty who can hit 93-94 mph. Lynch’s breaking balls lack enough bite at the moment, but his fastball/changeup combination plays well. Some mocks have him in the late-first round, others put him in the second or third.
24. Chicago Cubs- C Anthony Seigler, Cartersville High School (Georgia)
He can pitch as righty or lefty and is also a switch hitter! Seigler is the most athletic catcher in the draft and has very projectable catching tools. MLB Pipeline’s evaluation believes that he is a double-digit home run threat at the major league level.
25. Arizona Diamondbacks- OF Steele Walker, Oklahoma
One of the better hit tools in the draft, Walker is a high-contact hitter without much more going for him. However, his bat is so good that it overshadows his lack of power or outstanding defensive abilities.
26. Boston Red Sox- C Noah Naylor, Joan of Arc Catholic High School (Canada)
Naylor has one of the strongest arms in the draft with elite pop time. His hit tool is legit and he may add some power to his lanky frame once he develops. Naylor’s brother, Josh, is a top prospect in the Padres system.
27. Washington Nationals- RHP Mason Denaburg, Merritt Island High School (Florida)
A high-risk pick after an injury limited him in 2018. Denaburg flashed 97-98 mph on the mound and has played just about every position, including playing multiple positions in football. He is committed to Florida football so he may be hard to sign, however, if he wants to fully commit to baseball, the Nats have a fun project.
28. Houston Astros- RHP Tristan Beck, Stanford
Beck had an outstanding freshman season but missed his entire sophomore campaign due to a stress fracture in his back. He rebounded this year by putting up a 2.99 ERA. Beck doesn’t throw hard, but he does have outstanding command of all three of his pitches. Will be eased into work in the minors.
29. Cleveland Indians- OF Nick Schnell, Roncalli High School (Indiana)
Schnell isn’t a flashy prospect but is one of the top overall outfielders in the prep ranks. The left-handed hitter can go to all parts of the field and shows elite speed on the basepaths and in the outfield. Strong pitching arm could translate into a plus-outfield arm.
30. Los Angeles Dodgers- OF Griffin Conine, Duke
The son of Jeff Conine, Griffin began the 2018 season with a big slump, resulting in a major cooling off of his draft hype. He is a legit, left-handed power hitter who will slot in well in a corner outfield spot. The seasoned vet could potentially be a fast riser if he finds early success.