2018 MLB Mock Draft v 2.0

It’s been almost a month since our last (partial) mock draft, so it’s probably time to collect all of our notes and take another try at this. Updated, expanded, and sortable draft rankings will be coming soon, but you can get an idea of the industry consensus rankings from all the clues and team connections below as a teaser. As we’ve mentioned many times before, this draft stands out most for the unusually prep-heavy concentration of talent in the picks 20 to 50 area. For reference, here’s the full draft order.

1. Detroit Tigers – Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn
Mize is still the heavy favorite here, with the backup options appearing to be Georgia Tech C Joey Bart and Florida RHP Brady Singer, while Wisconsin prep CF Jarred Kelenic has faded from contention. Teams outside the top five picks don’t expect to get Mize’s MRI (he missed time last spring with an arm issue and some clubs were worried about his health as far back as high school), and it’s possible no one other than Detroit will get it. GM Al Avila saw the Mize/Singer matchup three weekends ago; saw Bart, Georgia prep CF Parker Meadows, and Wichita State 3B Alec Bohm two weekends ago; and Oregon State 2B Nick Madrigal last week. Mississippi prep RHP J.T. Ginn is a target in the second round, as are any of the leftover prep outfielders, like Pennsylvania prep CF Mike Siani.

2. San Francisco Giants – Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
Bart has long been connected to the Giants. They’ve scouted him arguably as much as any team has scouted any player this spring, and in recent weeks, he’s emerged as the heavy favorite at this pick, with Singer and South Alabama CF Travis Swaggerty representing backup options. GM Bobby Evans and other top club execs saw Mize (at Vanderbilt) and Bart (at Georgia Tech) two weekends ago while the team big-league team was in Atlanta playing the Braves. Skyscraping Kentucky RHP Sean Hjelle is a target in the second round.

3. Philadelphia Phillies – Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State
We think they’re zeroed in on Bohm, rolling deep at most of his games, with Madrigal and Swaggerty as backup options. They’ve also scouted Arizona prep lefty Matthew Liberatore heavily enough that he’s worth a mention here, but it would be a surprise this early.

4. Chicago White Sox – Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State
The White Sox had their scouting director, GM Rick Hahn, and president Kenny Williams at the Mize/Singer matchup three weeks ago, and Singer has emerged as one of their preferred options here. That said, we’ve been told Madrigal is the guy they’ve wanted for over a month, and they’ve been on Swaggerty all spring in the event Madrigal doesn’t get here.

5. Cincinnati Reds – Brady Singer, RHP, Florida
The Reds have been on Singer for months, as well, with their scouting director seeing him three to four times this spring and president Dick Williams joining him at the Mize/Singer matchup. There’s a chance Singer goes ahead of this pick, but he’s likely on the board here and is likely to be the pick. The Reds also like Bart here and have been scouting prep pitchers Liberatore and Carter Stewart, but they seem unlikely here. At later picks, Cincinnati has been tied to Georgia prep righties Kumar Rocker and Cole Wilcox all spring, and the club had heat there when the pitchers matched up in the playoffs two weeks ago, a game in which Wilcox shined. Williams was among the GM/president types who were in to see Canadian prep catcher Noah Naylor earlier this spring. Naylor would also be an option if he gets to their second pick.

6. N.Y. Mets – Travis Swaggerty, CF, South Alabama
The Mets are almost exclusively on college prospects here, with Kelenic and Liberatore the two preps under consideration. This is the first pick at which Florida 3B Jonathan India is in play. Bart was a target about a month ago, and Ole Miss lefty Ryan Rolison was under consideration here until he gave up 11 runs at South Carolina two weeks ago. The Mets have had heat in to see Swaggerty recently and he makes the most sense here. Teams believe the Mets are looking at upside prep prospects for their second pick, with heat in to see Meadows and New York prep righty Lenny Torres recently.

7. San Diego Padres – Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto HS (TN)
Most feel like the Padres are down to prep arms Liberatore, Stewart, and Weathers here, with the last of those most likely, but the San Diego is still scouting Swaggerty like he may get here and there’s rumors that they’d consider some well-under-slot prep candidates here. If Weathers doesn’t go here, he may last until the 15-20 area, so he would come at a discount. GM A.J. Preller has seen so many players this spring it’s hardly worth noting, but we’ve heard that he’s attended games for all the players mentioned here and most, if not all, of the players projected ahead of them. The club been connected to Rocker all spring, and he’s slipping a bit after a down final start, so we have them buying the tough sign to their second pick with some of the savings from picking Weathers here.

8. Atlanta Braves – Nolan Gorman, 3B, O’Connor HS (AZ)
It’s still unclear what the Braves’ draft direction will be under a new GM, but they’ve been tied to all the usual prep names this spring aside from Bart, who won’t make it this far. California prep righty Cole Winn is in play starting around this pick, and Kelenic is also being considered, along with a number of other prep arms.

9. Oakland Athletics – Shane McClanahan, LHP, USF
Oakland is open-minded here, but prep arms seem unlikely with the polished college prospects and less risky asset classes available. Oregon State RF Trevor Larnach and McClanahan would be leading options here, with Gorman a real possibility, too, if he’s available. Kelenic may fit here, while Florida prep 2B Xavier Edwards is a dark horse.

10. Pittsburgh Pirates – Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (FL)
Stewart fits their prep-arm preferences, featuring length, extension, and spin rate. If he makes it this far, it’s probably due to finishing the season on somewhat of a down note. Larnach, Liberatore, and Winn all fit Pittsburgh’s type here and have been scouted late.

11. Baltimore Orioles – Jonathan India, 3B, Florida
The O’s have been tied mostly to college players, with heat in to see Rolison’s last two starts, so he has a chance to go here. This sounds like the second spot at which India is under serious consideration. Gilbert and Larnach have both been mentioned here, as well.

12. Toronto Jays – Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS (AZ)
Toronto is believed to be interested in a prep player here, meaning both Gorman and Liberatore would make sense if they’re still available. The Jays are also the first team on Florida prep CF Connor Scott. Edwards and Kelenic are both in play, as well.

13. Miami Marlins – Jarred Kelenic, CF, Waukesha West HS (WI)
The Marlins have been tied mostly to high-school players, with Edwards and Florida prep 1B Triston Casas both mentioned a lot and Winn also a possibility. The organization has also had heat at Liberatore and Weathers’ appeareances in the last couple weeks, but neither are likely to remain available this long. Florida prep SS Blaze Alexander is a target with Miami’s second pick.

14. Seattle Mariners – Trevor Larnach, RF, Oregon State
The M’s are looking almost exclusively at quick-moving college players here, like India, Larnach, and Stetson righty Logan Gilbert. They’ve been tied to prep pitching in the second round, with a strategy like the Mets’, and Seattle has also been on Torres.

15. Texas Rangers – Jordyn Adams, CF, Green Hope HS (NC)
As usual, Texas has been tied mostly to upside prep types. Adams is the upsidiest prospect on the board and the Rangers have been linked to him since NHSI in March, so we’ll go with that here. Rocker and Scott are also in play at this point, while tooled-up prep outfielders Ryder Green and Max Marusak are targets for the club’s second pick.

16. Tampa Bay Rays – Cole Wilcox, RHP, Heritage HS (GA)
Tampa has a huge bonus pool, second only to Kansas City’s, and the best way to leverage that monetary advantage is with high-school players. Almost all the names with which we’ve heard them connected are toolsy high schoolers. Adams, Meadows, Rocker, and Wilcox are among those and two of Tampa’s top evaluators watched Wilcox beat Rocker in Wilcox’s best start of the season two weeks ago. If the Rays sprinkle a college player among their early picks, Florida righty Jackson Kowar fits the org’s preference for changeup guys.

17. Los Angeles Angels – Logan Gilbert, RHP, Stetson
We have the Angels mostly on college players here, with Gilbert representing the most consistent rumor but either one of Kowar or Rolison also representing a fit. The club is also on Alabama prep SS Jeremiah Jackson, possibly at this pick. He’s likely off the board by their second selection, though.

18. K.C. Royals – Jordan Groshans, 3B, Magnolia HS (TX)
The Royals have the biggest pool in the draft this year and have had top scouts at almost every high-profile matchup this year because they can conceivably get all but a half-dozen players to this pick if they really want to. They’re also tied to lots of the same players as Tampa Bay due to similar preferences and bonus-pool size. Given the significance of the draft, GM Dayton Moore is out seeing players, including Rolison and Weathers last week. The Royals have also been tied to Adams, Groshans, Meadows, Rocker, and Wilcox and will likely try to get one of those players to their next pick.

19. St. Louis Cardinals – Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS (CA)
Winn is in play at a number of picks before this one, so he probably won’t make it this far. Prep righties tend to fall, however. If he does, he’d be great value for St. Louis here. Otherwise, we have the Cardinals on college pitching — arms like Gilbert, Kowar, and Rolison, if they’re here. Regarding their next pick, St. Louis has been linked to New Jersey prep RF Nick Decker and Stanford SS Nico Hoerner.

20. Minnesota Twins – Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (CA)
The Twins have been tied to all kinds of different players, with a big contingent in to see Rocker’s last regular-season start a few weeks back and some heat to see Weathers last week. Turang’s combination of tools and track record fits with the Twins’ strategy.

21. Milwaukee Brewers – Connor Scott, CF, Plant HS (FL)
The Brewers have been tied to a wide swath of players this spring and typically play value rather than specific demographics with high picks. They’re near the top of a run of prep bats at this point. They’ve been tied to a few names, but Scott is probably the best on the board here.

22. Colorado Rockies – Greyson Jenista, RF, Wichita State
GM Jeff Bridich scouted Georgia prep RHP Ethan Hankins last month (whom we’ve heard has a clean medical, by the way), with heat also recently seeing Jenista, Meadows, Rocker, Rolison, Wilcox, and Oklahoma RF Steele Walker.

23. N.Y. Yankees – Xavier Edwards, 2B, North Broward Prep HS (FL)
Like Oakland, the Yankees keep an open mind with high picks but likely aren’t looking for a high-school pitcher here unless one of the better prep arms falls here for some reason. Edwards is in play at a number of picks higher than this one and has the electrifying 80-grade speed to play everyday in Yankee Stadium. Pennsylvania prep CF Mike Siani has also been mentioned here.

24. Chicago Cubs – Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida
The Cubs have taken almost nothing but college pitching recently, and we think that mostly continues. We also have heard them tied to Steele Walker, possibly for this pick, and Arizona State CF Gage Canning, who is a target for later.

25. Arizona D’backs – Jeremy Eierman, SS, Missouri State
GM Mike Hazen was at the high-profile matchup between Stewart and Florida prep RHP Mason Denaburg in March, so a gamble on the currently injured Denaburg could happen here. Arizona is more analytically inclined than in years past, though, and Eierman’s offensive upside fits their profile.

26. Boston Red Sox – Ryan Rolison, LHP, Ole Miss
We’ve heard mostly college players going here, and it makes sense for Boston to sit back and pounce on value at this juncture, making either Kowar or Rolison a logical fit if either of them get here. Eierman is another player linked to this pick.

27. Wash. Nationals – Mason Denaburg, RHP, Merritt Island HS (FL)
Washington has a history of taking injured or questionable arms with premium stuff, and Denaburg was seen as a top-15 pick until being shut down with biceps tendinitis last month. Denaburg and Massachusetts prep RHP Mike Vasil are both injured, may require arm surgery, and were ticketed for the mid-first round when healthy, but clubs don’t have the full details yet on either situation. We’re assuming they’ll end up going somewhere in the 20-50 area regardless of diagnosis, but they could both end up going to school (Florida and Virginia, respectively). Wilcox has long been a target here, but his stock has risen lately, while Ginn and Hjelle have also been mentioned at this pick but are likely to go a little later.

28. Houston Astros – Mike Siani, CF, William Penn Charter HS (PA)
Houston is tied mostly to analytics-friendly prep talents, either high-exit-velo types (Casas) or young Northern bats (Siani/Thomas) along with prep arms with high spin rates/velocity (Winn/Rocker).

29. Cleveland Indians – Alek Thomas, CF, Mount Carmel HS (IL)
Cleveland is also on Siani and Thomas, along with Oklahoma RF Steele Walker, and is tied mostly to prep talents for their multiple early picks.

30. Los Angeles Dodgers – Anthony Seigler, C, Cartersville HS (GA)
Siegler fits the Dodgers’ organizational catching preference for athletes who can frame and play multiple positions (Austin Barnes, Kyle Farmer, Will Smith, Connor Wong). They’ve been on him all spring and he’ll go right around this pick. The Dodgers have also been on Meadows all spring.

Compensation Picks

31. Tampa Bay Rays – Noah Naylor, C, St. Joan of Arc HS (CAN)

32. Tampa Bay Rays – Parker Meadows, CF, Grayson HS (GA)

33. K.C. Royals – Jeremiah Jackson, SS, St. Luke’s Episcopal HS (AL)

34. K.C. Royals – Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights HS (TX)

35. Cleveland Indians – Steele Walker, RF, Oklahoma

Competitive Balance Round A

36. Pittsburgh Pirates – Triston Casas, 1B, American Heritage HS (FL)

37. Baltimore Orioles – Nick Schnell, CF, Roncalli HS (IN)

38. San Diego Padres – Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (GA)

39. Arizona D’backs – Mike Vasil, RHP, Boston College HS (MA)

40. Kansas City Royals – Nico Hoerner, SS, Stanford

41. Cleveland Indians – Lenny Torres, RHP, Beacon HS (NY)

42. Colorado Rockies – Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (GA)

43. St. Louis Cardinals – Nick Decker, RF, Seneca HS (NJ)

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5 years ago

On Ryan Weathers – while a large check could indeed change things, info I have is that he is almost a lock to head for Vandy.