2018 MLB Mock Draft
The MLB Draft is on the other side of the weekend and you’ll be able to watch it Monday night. Sure, your teams won’t see these players for a few years in most cases, and most fantasy leagues aren’t deep enough to warrant owning any of these players, but think of all the times you missed out on players like Cody Bellinger, Carlos Correa, Mike Trout and the many other rookies who took the fantasy world by storm. It certainly never hurts to familiarize yourselves with these players and their profiles so you know who they are when they eventually get the call to the bigs. Plus, the strategy that goes into the MLB draft is substantially more advanced than what see in the other major sports. A number of the top prospects will either cost more money than their slot indicates or choose not to sign altogether. As a result, teams will be forced to select players much higher than their rankings and craft ways to squeeze the best grouping of players under their budget. Welcome to the MLB Draft. Let me tell you a little about the players and how I see the first round (plus compensation and competitive balance picks) playing out.
#1 Tigers (Casey Mize, RHP – Auburn)
–Mize is the best player in this draft, but never count out signability swinging even the first pick to another name.
#2 Giants (Joey Bart, C – Georgia Tech)
–San Francisco has been tied to Bart for quite some time. Adding him would work well with Posey’s eventual transition to first base.
#3 Phillies (Matthew Liberatore, LHP – Arizona HS)
–Many are expecting Bohm, Madrigal or Singer to end up here, but Philadelphia has been tracking the amateur lefty extensively.
#5 Reds (Brady Singer, RHP – Florida)
–Formerly thought to be the favorite to go first overall. Singer is polished and should move fast through the minors.
#6 Mets (Alec Bohm, 3B – Wichita St)
–There is a strong chance Bohm is taken second or third so the Mets would be thrilled if he dropped this far.
#7 Padres (Ryan Weathers, LHP – Tennessee HS)
–The Padres love two things in drafts: upside and signability. Drafting Weathers gives both and should enable them to gamble with future picks too.
#8 Braves (Travis Swaggerty, OF – South Alabama)
–Atlanta is linked to prep talents, but if Swaggerty fell to #8, they likely wouldn’t think twice about scooping him up.
#9 Athletics (Nolan Gorman, 3B – Arizona HS)
–Don’t be surprised if Oakland makes a surprise pick here to save some money in order to grab one or two tough-to-sign prepsters later on. Gorman dropping would likely put a cap on that idea though.
#10 Pirates (Carter Stewart, RHP – Florida HS)
–There is some risk that comes with taking amateur pitchers, but Stewart’s ceiling is immense and he may come with the best breaking ball in the class.
#11 Orioles (Cole Winn, RHP – California HS)
–Apparently, Winn’s helium may now have him going as high as #2. If he lasts this long, expect Baltimore to snatch him up.
#12 Blue Jays (Jarred Kelenic, OF – Wisconsin HS)
–Not so long ago, Kelenic was in play as a potential first overall pick. Toronto would be licking their chops if he slips past Oakland at #9.
#13 Marlins (Connor Scott, OF – Florida HS)
–Scott’s upside is among the top of this class. Miami is linked to young upside players, so that and his proximity seem like an ideal fit.
#14 Mariners (Jonathan India, 3B – Florida)
–While he may not possess the highest ceiling, India is among the safest players. He could end up in the top five as a result.
#15 Rangers (Jordyn Adams, OF – North Carolina HS)
–There may be no better athlete in the draft than Adams, who is expected to be difficult to sign away from UNC on a dual-sport scholarship.
#16 Rays (Jackson Kowar, RHP – Florida)
–It wouldn’t be a surprise if Kowar went as early as #9 or as late as #25. He has a rare combination of safety and potential.
#17 Angels (Logan Gilbert, RHP – Stetson)
–Nobody has been surging up boards as quickly as Gilbert, so don’t be shocked if he ends up within the top 10 Monday.
#18 Royals (Cole Wilcox, RHP – Georgia HS)
–The Royals have four picks in the top forty and are likely to take some gambles on talented high schoolers like Wilcox.
#19 Cardinals (Triston Casas, 3B/1B – Florida HS)
–St. Louis is expected to add more starting pitcher depth, but if an elite bat like Casas is there, they just might change their plans.
#20 Twins (Trevor Larnach, OF – Oregon St)
–This is among the most advanced college bats in the draft class. Larnach may be able to make an impact at the major league level within 15 months.
#21 Brewers (Shane McClanahan, LHP – So Florida)
–If there is one thing we know about Milwaukee, it is that they love tools and upside. McClanahan regularly hits triple-digits so you can bet he is on their radar if he falls.
#22 Rockies (Ethan Hankins, RHP – Georgia HS)
–When all is said and done, Hankins may be the best pitcher in the class. Some shoulder concerns have dropped him into the late first or even second round, though.
#24 Cubs (Ryan Rolison, LHP – Ole Miss)
–The Cubs’ pitching staff is aging and their minor league options are bare. They’ll look to add whichever college starter drops to #24.
#25 Diamondbacks (Greyson Jenista, OF – Wichita St)
–Jenista may drop into the second round, but there have been enough teams toward the late-end of the first round who appear interested that he will likely be swiped up around here.
#26 Red Sox (Jeremy Eierman, SS – Missouri St)
–While Boston has their answer at shortstop for years to come, you can never discount teams adding depth or taking their best player available as future trade bait.
#27 Nationals (Mason Denaburg, RHP – Florida HS)
–Denaburg was expected to be a high-end first round pick prior to arm troubles that ended his season early. Some team will take a chance on the upside in the first round.
#28 Astros (Kumar Rocker, RHP – Georgia HS)
-Rocker will be difficult to sign, but if an organization like Houston pays up for him, we may just see this elite prospect in the minor leagues this year.
#29 Indians (Grayson Rodriguez, RHP – Texas HS)
–While he doesn’t exactly have the upside of a Rocker or Hankins, Rodriguez has the tools to warrant a mid to late first round selection.
#30 Dodgers (Parker Meadows, OF – Georgia HS)
–Austin’s younger brother has several suitors at this range in the draft and would likely be grabbed in the next four picks should L.A. pass on him.
Compensation and Competitive Balance Picks
#31 Rays (Brice Turang, SS – California HS)
#32 Rays (Noah Naylor, C – Canada HS)
#33 Royals (Kyler Murray, OF – Oklahoma)
#34 Royals (Jeremiah Jackson, SS – Alabama)
#35 Indians (Steele Walker, OF – Oklahoma)
#36 Pirates (Xavier Edwards, 2B – Florida HS)
#37 Orioles (Nader de Sedas, SS – Florida HS)
#38 Padres (Seth Beer, 1B – Clemson)
#39 Diamondbacks (J.T. Ginn, RHP – Mississippi HS)
#40 Royals (Jordan Groshans, 3B – Texas HS)
#41 Indians (Jameson Hannah, OF – Dallas Baptist)
#42 Rockies (Alec Thomas, OF – Illinois HS)
#43 Cardinals (Joe Gray Jr, OF – Mississippi HS)
Others who may be selected before the second round: Anthony Seigler (C), Sean Hjelle (RHP), Nick Schnell (OF), Nico Hoerner (SS), Lenny Torres (RHP), Mike Vasil (RHP), Will Banfield (C), Tristan Beck (RHP), Ryder Green (OF), Kris Bubic (LHP)