Below is what will probably be our final full-text mock draft for 2018. Unless, over the weekend, something happens that necessitates longer explanation, a final mock on Monday will probably just have names and skeleton text. We think Casey Mize remains the favorite to go first, with the only potential pitfalls being a Mize injury at regionals or that Detroit reaches a breaking point with Mize’s bonus demands. We don’t think that scenario is likely, but that it has something like a 5-10% chance to happen at this point, so we’ve included the way we think the dominoes fall if it does happen, which ends up being only four picks changing. Remember, you can learn about the players we talk about here on our 2018 Draft Board.
1. Detroit Tigers – Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn
Less likely alternate scenario: Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
If something happens with Mize, then we think the pick is Joey Bart, but ultimately we think Detroit will pick Mize and sign him for a bonus between $7.4 million (slot at 2) and $8.1 million (slot at 1), likely toward the lower end of that range. The Tigers have been tied to Georgia prep center fielder Parker Meadows, Pennsylvania prep center fielder Mike Siani, and Mississippi prep righty J.T. Ginn for their second pick. Wisconsin OF Jarred Kelenic has been mentioned as a name they’d like to move back there as well, but we don’t think that’s feasible as he seems signable and has too many suitors between here and Detroit’s next pick.
2. San Francisco Giants – Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
Less likely alternate scenario: Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS (CA)
Again, it’s likely that Mize goes first, and if that happens we strongly believe Bart goes here. If Bart goes first, then this spot will be California prep righty Cole Winn, well under slot. We’re hearing the Giants would only take Mize here on a discount, and Mize’s camp won’t discuss one at 2, for reasons we’ll cover at the next pick. In the event the Giants go well under slot with Winn, they may try to move a mid-first-round prep talent like Florida 1B Triston Casas to their second pick, but they have been mentioned with Kentucky righty Sean Hjelle otherwise.
3. Philadelphia Phillies – Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State
Less likely alternate scenario: Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn
If we were Philly, we’d be trying to figure out a way to get Mize here because of how well he fits the hastening competitive timeline, as it’s possible he could be in a rotation as early as next year. Our rankings have the gap between Bohm (93rd on the updated top 100) and Mize (33rd) as pretty large, especially when considering the bonuses for Philly wouldn’t be anywhere near as large as the gap in talent.
The way this would happen would involve Detroit blinking at Mize’s price, which we (again, if we were the Phillies) could inflate by letting Mize’s camp know we’ve got an over-slot bonus waiting for him at the third pick. If Detroit is very conscious of the money left for their next pick, this could become a larger factor, though we’re told they still prefer Mize to Bart if money is no factor. It’s possible somewhere in the mid-$7 millions could do this, and Philly could make this work by going way under slot later (maybe a few times) by paying a $100,000 bonus at their next pick, in the 4th round, to a senior.
Philadelphia doesn’t have a bunch of comp or second-round picks that they need money to sign, so mortgaging part of the rest of their draft to take Mize and a bunch of college performers makes sense if you love Mize and his fit with your young club. In short, we think Philadelphia has incentive to try to move on Mize, and we’re hearing that if Mize doesn’t go first, this is where he will land. The buzz is that Mize’s camp is driving a hard bargain without real interest at pick No. 2, so this makes perfect sense given all the information we have, but there isn’t evidence the Phillies are actively trying to make this happen behind the scenes.
If Mize isn’t there, we’re told Bohm will be the pick, which is still overwhelmingly the most likely thing to happen. It’s worth noting that Bart may be the Phillies’ second-ranked player, but he won’t get to this pick in any scenario. One reason why we think Mize still goes first is that Bart’s fallback to going pick No. 1 is that he goes pick No. 2, so his price should be full slot at the 2nd pick and thus not much lower than Mize’s price. Detroit would bite the slightly larger-than-expected financial bullet and take Mize, whom they prefer to Bart.
4. Chicago White Sox – Brady Singer, RHP, Florida
We think there’s a split in the room between Singer and Nick Madrigal, but we think the more decorated people in the room lean this way.
5. Cincinnati Reds – Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State
Whomever doesn’t go fourth will go here, with Arizona prep lefty Matthew Liberatore a distant third possibility. Both picks 4 and 5 likely play out this way even if it goes Bart-Winn-Mize and Bohm is available at these picks. The Reds have been tied to Canadian prep catcher Noah Naylor, Florida prep center fielder Connor Scott, Illinois prep center fielder Alek Thomas, and Georgia prep righties Kumar Rocker and Cole Wilcox for their second pick, though it’s possible none of them get there. Either Madrigal or Singer should be close to slot value here.
6. New York Mets – Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha HS (WI)
We think this is Kelenic or Florida third baseman Jonathan India, with late and hard momentum to Kelenic here for slightly below slot. If for some reason Mize doesn’t go No. 1 and goes at No. 3, that means Bohm is here, and they may prefer him to Kelenic, and it sounds like they do prefer him to India. They’ve been tied to some upside prep names in the second round like New York prep righty Lenny Torres, and they have been mentioned with Southern Miss righty Nick Sandlin in the third.
7. San Diego Padres – Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto HS (TN)
Less likely alternate scenario: Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State
The Padres bought a comp pick by taking on some of Phil Hughes’ contract, and we think they take an underslot prep arm here. The buzz is that San Diego wants to shave off of slot here unless Bohm gets to them, which sounds like a strong possibility if Philly doesn’t take Bohm at No. 3. In the event Bohm doesn’t get here, they’ll take the cheapest of the players they have evaluated similarly, and that’s likely Weathers over fellow prep arms Liberatore and Carter Stewart.
Kelenic is not in play here if he’s on the board, and it sounds like the Padres prefer Weathers to South Alabama center fielder Travis Swaggerty, who would also be below slot here. Liberatore might also be a slight underslot pick here if he isn’t otherwise going to be picked until No. 9 or 10, just at much less savings than Weathers. For their next couple picks, the Padres are targeting Torres, Rocker, Naylor, Oklahoma left fielder Steele Walker, Tennessee prep right fielder Ryder Green, Georgia prep right fielder Lawrence Butler, and Georgia prep righty Ethan Hankins.
8. Atlanta Braves – Nolan Gorman, 3B, O’Connor HS (AZ)
There are a few names in contention here, with nearly every prep arm (Winn, Stewart) on the board, along with Gorman and Kelenic and a sliding Swaggerty. It likely comes down to Gorman vs. the cheapest of the similar prep arms, and Gorman has the edge at this point.
9. Oakland Athletics – Travis Swaggerty, CF, South Alabama
This is the first spot and only one for awhile where USF lefty Shane McClanahan is the mix, so he could be a cut-rate option. If Gorman doesn’t go at No. 8, he’s a leading candidate here. We’ve heard conflicting information about if Oakland would take Swaggerty, but he’ll go somewhere between here and pick 12 or 13. India and Kelenic could be in the mix here, but we don’t think think any of the prep arms are. Given that Swaggerty’s market has dried up in the past few weeks, he could come at a discount here.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates – Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS (AZ)
We’ve heard the Pirates tied to tons of names, but it sounds like Swaggerty, Liberatore, Stewart, Stetson righty Logan Gilbert, and North Carolina dual-sport sensation CF Jordyn Adams are the options, and all but one are on the board in this scenario. It sounds like the Pirates slightly prefer Liberatore to Stewart, but this one is still seen as tough to handicap by the industry. Florida prep righty Gunnar Hoglund and Thomas are targets for their comp pick.
11. Baltimore Orioles – Jonathan India, 3B, Florida
We’ve heard the Orioles all over the map. Weathers is a possibility if he gets here, and they’ve been heavy at recent starts by Ole Miss LHP Ryan Roliso and have also been tied to the top tier of college bats if one is still around, such as India in this mock. Baltimore has been mentioned with New Jersey prep right fielder Nick Decker in the second and Pennsylvania prep shortstop Sean Guilbe in the third.
12. Toronto Jays – Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS (CA)
The Jays have been tied mostly to prep prospects (like Liberatore and Kelenic) that we have coming off ahead of them. They are also on Florida prep righty Mason Denaburg, are seen as the stopping point for a Swaggerty slide, are also on Ole Miss lefty Ryan Rolison, and have some interest in Rocker.
13. Miami Marlins – Xavier Edwards, 2B, North Broward Prep HS (FL)
The Marlins have been tied to all kinds of players, with Scott, Edwards and Casas the three most persistent names, Scott having the most late momentum. They had a recent workout that included Kelenic and Texas prep third baseman Jordan Groshans and another with Scott. They’ve also been mentioned all spring with Florida prep shortstop Blaze Alexander in the second round.
14. Seattle Mariners – Logan Gilbert, RHP, Stetson
It’s been mostly college names for Seattle here, and with Swaggerty and India off the board, Gilbert is the leading candidate considering his velo has been trending back up lately. Naylor is also a dark horse here, while Alabama prep shortstop Jeremiah Jackson is a target in the second round and perhaps Torres if he’s still around.
15. Texas Rangers – Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (FL)
Stewart had no chance to get here about a month ago, so the Rangers are glad that some prep arms we really like are going to slide, including Stewart, who closed his season on a bit of a down note. Adams and Texas prep righty Grayson Rodriguez are other top candidates here.
16. Tampa Bay Rays – Mason Denaburg, RHP, Merritt Island HS (FL)
The Rays have a huge draft pool and have cast a wide net surrounding mostly the top prep players. They had two of their top evaluators at Denaburg’s sterling playoff outing vs. Casas, then they brought the whole draft room to his next outing in the state semifinals this week. They also brought most of their top evaluators to see McClanahan’s mediocre conference tournament appearance. Other targets for their multiple picks include: Indiana prep center fielder Nick Schnell, Florida prep center fielder Connor Scott, Thomas, Hoglund, Naylor, Adams, and Casas. We think they’ll mix in a college pick somewhere, like RHP Jackson Kowar of Florida.
17. Los Angeles Angels – Jordyn Adams, CF, Green Hope HS (NC)
The Angels were seen as a landing spot for Gilbert when his stuff was down midseason, but he’s bounced back and is off the board here. Los Angeles and Kansas City behind them seem to be the floor for Adams. The Angels had been somewhat risk-averse in their first draft under GM Billy Eppler, then riskier picks like Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, and Griffin Canning have all worked out better than expected, so it appears their risk tolerance has shifted. Jackson is a target in the second round.
18. Kansas City Royals – Nick Schnell, CF, Roncalli HS (IN)
The Royals, like the Rays, have a huge pool and are mostly targeting the top prep talents so they can use their draft pool to move players around. Schnell, Naylor, Adams, Casas, Groshans, Denaburg, Hoglund, and Georgia prep righties Wilcox, Hankins, and Rocker are the wide field of candidates in play here and the next couple picks, with Rolison also in the mix as a college player, likely only at this pick.
19. St. Louis Cardinals – Ryan Rolison, LHP, Ole Miss
The Cardinals have been tied mostly to college talent, and a few will slide with prep-oriented teams picking ahead of them. Rolison had been up-and-down the second half of the season, but St. Louis has a track record of improving inconsistent college starters. Regarding their next pick, St. Louis has been linked to Decker and Stanford SS Nico Hoerner.
20. Minnesota Twins – Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (CA)
The Twins have been tied to all kinds of players but figure to be more value-oriented than focused on a specific demographic. Turang looked like a potential 1-1 guy a year ago, and he’s in play at a number of picks before and after this one.
21. Milwaukee Brewers – Trevor Larnach, RF, Oregon State
The Brewers are historically one of the most value-oriented, demographically open-minded clubs in the draft and, in this scenario, Larnach has slipped too far. The Brew Crew are also on Adams, Casas, and Scott.
22. Colorado Rockies – Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida
The Rockies prefer pitchers with a sinker/ground-ball lean, and Kowar fits the bill. Colorado has also been tied to a number of different players because, at this point in the draft, teams are ready for anything, but mostly college names have been mentioned. Specifically, their GM has seen Hankins in person.
23. New York Yankees – Anthony Seigler, C, Cartersville HS (GA)
The Yankees have been heavily tied to Virginia lefty Daniel Lynch and Seigler at this pick, along with New Hampshire prep first baseman Grant Lavigne at this pick and their second pick, if he gets there. In the event he doesn’t, there’s buzz that Virginia prep catcher Adam Hackenberg, who has a significant seven-figure asking price, would be a candidate.
24. Chicago Cubs – Daniel Lynch, LHP, Virginia
The Cubs are kicking the tires on a number of prep players that don’t get to this pick in our scenario (Schnell, Seigler, Edwards, Turang), with two of their top evaluators at the Denaburg start vs. Casas. They’re also on some college players like Walker and Kowar. The Cubs are also on Georgia prep catcher Will Banfield, who may also get to their next pick.
25. Arizona Diamondbacks – Steele Walker, LF, Oklahoma
The D-Backs had their GM and VP at the Big 12 tourney to see Walker, who was scratched late with a reported injury. They’re also on Denaburg and Thomas and probably one of the Stanford prospects. Our guess is Hoerner.
26. Boston Red Sox – Triston Casas, 1B, American Heritage HS (FL)
The Red Sox have been tied mostly to college players, but in this scenario, a few of the top prep players slide through with some college picks just ahead of them, and they’ve been on Casas all spring. Rolison also could fit here.
27. Washington Nationals – Cole Wilcox, RHP, Heritage HS (GA)
The Nationals have been chasing mostly injured or tough-sign prep players. They prefer Wilcox to Denaburg and also have some interest in Ginn and Thomas.
28. Houston Astros – Alek Thomas, CF, Mount Carmel HS (IL)
The Astros were on Siani most of the spring but appear to have shifted to another northern prep center fielder in Thomas. Siani has a big number and he isn’t picked in this mock, as his odds are now higher than almost any other prep player of going to school. Schnell and Casas are targets but not here in this mock scenario, Hoglund is an option, and they’ve been tied to Alexander and Stanford righty Tristan Beck at their second pick.
29. Cleveland Indians – Greyson Jenista, RF, Wichita State
The Indians have multiple picks and some pool money to play with here. Two main targets, Walker and Thomas, have gone right ahead of them in the mock. Torres, Hankins, Texas prep righty Adam Kloffenstein, Hankins and Hoglund are all options for their first-day picks along with Arizona prep shortstop Jonathan Ornelas and California prep center fielder Osiris Johnson. We think a college bat fits in somewhere, and that demographic’s scarcity means they pounce on one here and let good high schoolers fall.
30. Los Angeles Dodgers – Parker Meadows, CF, Grayson HS (GA)
The Dodgers have been tied mostly to prep players that are mostly off the board in this scenario — Seigler, Schnell, Thomas, and Denaburg — but Meadows is on the board here.
31. Tampa Bay Rays – Connor Scott, CF, Plant HS (FL)
32. Tampa Bay Rays – Noah Naylor, C, St. Joan of Arc HS (CAN)
33. Kansas City Royals – Jordan Groshans, 3B, Magnolia HS (TX)
34. Kansas City Royals – Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights HS (TX)
35. Cleveland Indians – Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (GA)
Competitive Balance Round A
36. Pittsburgh Pirates – Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Fivay HS (FL)
37. Baltimore Orioles – Shane McClanahan, LHP, USF
38. San Diego Padres – Lenny Torres, RHP, Beacon HS (NY)
39. Arizona Diamondbacks – Nick Decker, RF, Seneca HS (NJ)
40. Kansas City Royals – Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (GA)
41. Cleveland Indians – Jake McCarthy, CF, Virginia
42. Colorado Rockies – Griffin Conine, RF, Duke
43. St. Louis Cardinals – Jeremy Eierman, SS, Missouri State
44. Detroit Tigers – J.T. Ginn, RHP, Brandon HS (MS)
45. San Francisco Giants – Sean Hjelle, RHP, Kentucky
46. Chicago White Sox – Jeremiah Jackson, SS, St. Luke’s HS (AL)
47. Cincinnati Reds – Nico Hoerner, SS, Stanford
48. New York Mets – Kyle Isbel, CF, UNLV
49. Atlanta Braves – Owen White, RHP, Carson HS (NC)
50. Oakland Athletics – Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, Magnolia HS (TX)
51. Pittsburgh Pirates – Jonathan Ornelas, SS, Kellis HS (AZ)
52. Toronto Blue Jays – Seth Beer, DH, Clemson
53. Miami Marlins – Blaze Alexander, SS, IMG Academy HS (FL)
54. Seattle Mariners – Jameson Hannah, CF, Dallas Baptist
55. Texas Rangers – Cadyn Grenier, SS, Oregon State
56. Tampa Bay Rays – Matt McLain, 2B, Beckman HS (CA)
57. Los Angeles Angels – Kris Bubic, LHP, Stanford
58. Kansas City Royals – Josh Breaux, C, McLennan JC (TX)
59. Minnesota Twins – Konnor Pilkington, LHP, Mississippi State
60. Milwaukee Brewers – Cole Sands, RHP, Florida State
61. New York Yankees – Grant Lavigne, 1B, Bedford HS (NH)
62. Chicago Cubs – Lyon Richardson, RHP, Jensen Beach HS (FL)
63. Arizona D’Backs – Blaine Knight, RHP, Arkansas
64. Boston Red Sox – Durbin Feltman, RHP, TCU
65. Washington Nationals – Zack Hess, RHP, LSU
66. Houston Astros – Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
67. Cleveland Indians – Osiris Johnson, CF, Encinal HS (CA)
68. Los Angeles Dodgers – Tanner Dodson, RHP, California
69. Miami Marlins – Aaron Hernandez, RHP, Texas A&M CC
70. Oakland Athletics – Grant Little, 3B, Texas Tech
71. Tampa Bay Rays – Tyler Frank, 2B, Florida Atlantic
72. Cincinnati Reds – Zach Watson, CF, LSU
73. Milwaukee Brewers – Richie Palacios, 2B, Towson
74. San Diego Padres – Ryder Green, RF, Karns HS (TN)
75. St. Louis Cardinals – Cal Raleigh, C, Florida State
76. Colorado Rockies – Brennan Davis, CF, Basha HS (AZ)
77. Chicago Cubs – Will Banfield, C, Brookwood HS (GA)
78. Chicago Cubs – Gage Canning, CF, Arizona State