The 2018 MLB Draft is quickly approaching, as it begins on June 4. Although the MLB Draft doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, it is a critical part for sustained success for major league teams.
The teams in baseball who consistently compete and make the playoffs are the ones who draft well and develop talent from within. Here’s how I see the first round playing out in the 2018 MLB Draft, as of May 25:
1. Detroit Tigers: Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn
Casey Mize has been the top prospect in the 2018 MLB Draft class for the last two months. But the Tigers are also considering Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart and maybe Wisconsin prep outfielder Jarred Kelenic.
Read an in-depth story about the Auburn right-handed pitcher here.
2. San Francisco Giants: Brady Singer, RHP, Florida
The Giants have also been linked to Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart. However, Singer is the second-best prospect in this year’s draft class and provides the organization with a pitching prospect with No. 1 starter potential.
3. Philadelphia Phillies: Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State
It appears Bohm is the Phillies pick, as he has the best raw power in the draft class and will have a chance to stick at third base in pro ball. Read an in-depth story about the Wichita State star draft prospect here.
4. Chicago White Sox: Nick Madrigal, SS/2B, Oregon State
Nick Madrigal is only 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, but will move quickly through the minor leagues due to his ability to hit for average and play solid defense.
The White Sox also are also interested in Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm and Florida righty Brady Singer.
5. Cincinnati Reds: Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
6. New York Mets: Jonathan India, 3B, Florida
7. San Diego Padres: Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (FL)
The Padres drafted prep lefty MacKenzie Gore with the third overall pick last year and will likely add another high-ceiling prep arm in this year’s MLB Draft. A 6-foot-6, 200-pound righty, Carter Stewart’s fastball velocity has increased to the mid-90s this spring, while also flashing the best curveball in the draft class.
Wisconsin prep outfielder Jarred Kelenic is an option here.
8. Atlanta Braves: Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge (Ariz.) HS
At 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Matthew Liberatore has the potential to have three above-average offerings, as he throws a low-90s fastball, curveball and changeup, which is his best pitch.
9. Oakland Athletics: Travis Swaggerty, OF, South Alabama
Despite playing at a mid-major school, Travis Swaggerty is one of the top college outfielders in the 2018 MLB Draft, after strong collegiate seasons and summer performances. Read an in-depth story on the South Alabama outfielder here.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates: Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha West (Wis.) HS
The Pirates have been connected with prep arms this spring. Right-handers Carter Stewart, Cole Winn and Grayson Rodriguez are options here.
If Kelenic is on the board, don’t be surprised if the Pirates draft him, as he has five-tool potential. Read an in-depth story about Kelenic and his development here.
11. Baltimore Orioles: Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights (Tex.) HS
Grayson Rodriguez is soaring up MLB Draft boards this spring. One reason the 6-foot-5, 240-pound hurler is generating an increased buzz from professional scouts is because of the uptick in his fastball velocity.
Read an in-depth feature on the well-regarded prep right-hander here.
12. Toronto Blue Jays: Shane McClanahan, LHP, South Florida
A 6-foot-1, 173-pound lefty, Shane McClanahan throws a three-pitch mix, featuring a fastball that sits 97-100 mph. A knock on him has been his poor mechanics and a lack of command, which could mean he’s destined for a role as a reliever.
13. Miami Marlins: Triston Casas, 1B/3B American Heritage (Fla.)
Triston Casas has tons of upside and possesses tons of raw power. He has room to grow with consistency at the plate and in the field.
14. Seattle Mariners: Ryan Rolison, LHP, Mississippi
The Mariners have taken a college player with each of their last five first-round picks. Ryan Rolison is a draft-eligible sophomore and has an improving three-pitch mix. He was the top pitcher in the Cape Cod League last summer. Read a feature story on the Mississippi left-hander here.
15. Texas Rangers: Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran (Calif.) HS
Cole Winn has moved up draft boards this spring. He has a three-pitch mix, featuring a mid-90s fastball, slider and changeup. All three pitches are above-average offerings. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound righty has a clean and low-effort delivery.
16. Tampa Bay Rays: Nolan Gorman, 3B, O’Connor (Ariz.) HS
Nolan Gorman is a left-handed hitting third baseman and possesses as much raw power as anyone in the 2018 MLB Draft class. Early on in the spring, scouts regarded Gorman as a top-10 pick. But an inconsistent spring has slightly hurt his draft stock.
17. Los Angeles Angels: Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto (Tenn.) HS
A 6-foot-2, 210-pound lefty, Ryan Weathers has a smooth delivery and throws strikes with ease, while possessing top-of-the-rotation potential. He’s the son of former major leaguer David Weathers.
Read an in-depth feature on the highly-regarded prep left-hander here.
18. Kansas City Royals: Jordan Groshans, 3B, Magnolia (Tex.) HS
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Brice Turang, SS, Santiago (Calif.) HS
Brice Turang is a well-rounded player on both sides of the ball. He makes hard, consistent contact from the left side of the plate and is a quick defender with a strong arm at shortstop.
Committed to LSU, Turang has had a pedestrian spring, which has hurt his draft stock.
20. Minnesota Twins: Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida
Jackson Kowar has a clean and easy delivery that allows him to throw his fastball consistently in the mid-90s. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound righty also throws a curveball and changeup, which is his best off-speed pitch.
21. Milwaukee Brewers: Logan Gilbert, RHP, Stetson
Stetson has produced two of the top pitchers in baseball in right-handers Jacob deGrom and Corey Kluber in the last 10 years. Logan Gilbert is the program’s latest well-regarded draft prospect, as he has four-pitch mix, featuring a mid-90s fastball.
Read an in-depth feature on the Stetson right-hander here.
22. Colorado Rockies: Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS, (Ga.)
Kumar Rocker is an imposing figure on the mound, standing 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, and is one of the top prep arms in the class. Possessing a low-effort delivery, Rocker has a three-pitch mix, featuring a 98 mph fastball, a sharp breaking mid-80s slider and an improving changeup.
23. New York Yankees: Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
Tristan Beck could’ve been the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, but a stress fracture in his back kept him off the mound the entire spring. Even though he was destined to return to Stanford, the Yankees selected him in the 28th round
24. Chicago Cubs: Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State
Although the Cubs have targeted college arms in the last couple years, Trevor Larnach has been Oregon State’s best hitter this spring, especially when Nick Madrigal was out with an injury.
25. Arizona Diamondbacks: Steele Walker, OF, Oklahoma
Steele Walker is known for his ability at the plate. He has a strong wood bat track record, performing well in the Northwoods League and with Team USA the last two summers.
26. Boston Red Sox: Seth Beer, 1B, Clemson
Baseball fans have had their sights set on Seth Beer for the last three years. He hits for power and gets on base at a high clip, but a lack of a future defensive position has hurt his value.
Read an in-depth feature story on the Clemson star here.
27. Washington Nationals: Mason Denaburg, RHP, Merritt Island (Fla.) HS
Mason Denaburg would’ve been a top-15 pick, but a biceps issue has hurt his draft stock this spring.
28. Houston Astros: Connor Scott, OF, Plant (Fla.) HS
Connor Scott has five-tool potential, already possessing elite speed and solid ability defensively. He’s more of a gap-to-gap hitter, as he has below-average power.
29. Cleveland Indians: Alek Thomas, OF, Mount Carmel (Ill.) HS
The Indians are likely eyeing a prep bat. Prep catcher Noah Naylor is also an option here. Alex Thomas has above-average speed and is a gap-to-gap hitter who will stick in center field.
30. Los Angeles Dodgers: Jameson Hannah, OF, Dallas Baptist
Jameson Hannah is a center fielder with above-average speed. He is more of an average hitter but scouts believe he can hit at least 15 home runs in the professional ranks.
31. Tampa Bay Rays: Jordyn Adams, OF, Green Hope (N.C.) HS
Jordyn Adams signed a National Letter of Intent with North Carolina to play football and baseball beginning in the fall. A team will have to pay him a large bonus to convince him to head straight to pro ball, which the Rays are capable of doing.
32. Tampa Bay Rays: Jeremy Eierman, SS, Missouri State
Jeremy Eierman is one of the top college position players in the 2018 MLB Draft. Although he isn’t the quickest player, he will have a chance to stick a shortstop in the professional ranks due to his arm strength. Read a feature story on the Missouri State shortstop here.
33. Kansas City Royals: Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central (Ga.) HS
Ethan Hankins has the talent to go No. 1 overall, but a shoulder issue and mixed results this spring have hurt his draft stock.
Hankins has the potential to become an ace caliber pitcher in professional baseball. He possesses the best fastball in the draft class, which sits in the mid-to-upper-90s, and also throws a curveball, slider and changeup.
34. Kansas City Royals: Noah Naylor, C, St. Joan of Arc Catholic (Ont.) HS
Noah Naylor is one of the top prep bats in the year’s draft class. He is athletic and possesses a strong arm, but scouts are torn on if he will stick at catcher long-term.
35. Cleveland Indians: Xavier Edwards, SS, North Broward Prep (Fla.)
Xavier Edwards doesn’t posses a ton of home run power. But he has elite speed to hit atop a batting lineup and will hit for average in pro ball. He’s also an outstanding defender.