Updated 2018 MLB Draft Rankings

It’s still a little early in the process to reach any firm conclusions, but with the field beginning to take shape, now seems like an appropriate time to update our preseason draft rankings. This list came together after speaking with dozens of scouts over the last few months and seeing most of the players ourselves either last summer or this spring. We went as deep as we felt was appropriate given the information on hand. In this case, that ended up being 55 players — or, most of the draft’s top two rounds. We’ve noted the prep players whom we’ve heard will be a challenge to sign (Adams, Banfield, Denaburg, Hoglund, Kloffenstein, Rocker, Thomas, and Wilcox), although typically, with players ranked this high, all but one or two of will end up reaching an agreement with a club.

We will publish an early mock draft later this week with some player/team connections we’ve been hearing, but it won’t be the whole first round since most teams in the top 10 are still unsure of who will be on the board or what their asking prices will be. In a hard-slotted, bonus-dependent world, these prices dictate most of the first round and almost all of the picks outside of the top ten.

For those prospects about whom we’ve already written (and taken video) this spring, we’ve included a link to the report in question in the player’s name. As for future looks, Kiley is currently driving around Georgia seeing prep prospects — Hankins on Monday, Wilcox on Tuesday, Rocker tonight, Seigler tomorrow, and Mize on Friday is this trip’s agenda, weather permitting — and will see Mize face Singer the weekend after. Eric is covering the West, meanwhile, and will see a loaded Stanford team soon. He also has a Midwest trip coming up, so the in-person looks and fresh video will cover about 75% of this list when the sortable board version of these rankings becomes available in the near future.

2018 MLB Draft Rankings
Player Pos Age School State Commitment
1 Casey Mize RHP 21.1 Auburn AL
Mize missed some time last year with an arm issue, but he’s been healthy and steadily improving since then, working in the mid-90s with his sinker while also flashing a plus slider and splitter as he rolls through the SEC.
2 Nick Madrigal 2B 21.2 Oregon State OR
Madrigal hasn’t played since the second weekend of the season due to a fracture in his hand, but he was electric for those two weekends and does everything you can ask of a player (plus hit, plus run, plus glove, gets to all his power) once you stop caring that he’s little.
3 Alec Bohm 3B 21.8 Wichita State KS
Bohm has the hands, arm, and athleticism to handle third — as well as 70 raw power — and is walking twice as much as he strikes out against good college competition.
4 Travis Swaggerty CF 20.8 South Alabama AL
Swaggerty has risen up the board after showing (new) plus raw power this spring, getting to much of it in-game, and continuing to show he’ll stick in center. That said, his contact ability has been inconsistent the last month.
5 Carter Stewart RHP 18.6 Eau Gallie HS FL Mississippi State
Stewart entered the spring as a helium candidate if his 88-92 mph fastball added velo; he’s now sitting mid-90s with a plus-plus curveball, physical projection, and the changeup and command to start.
6 Shane McClanahan LHP 21.1 USF FL
McClanahan came roaring out of the gates week one, dominating UNC with a fastball up to 100 mph and two above-average offspeed pitches. In the last month, though, he’s been hit around and has regressed across the board.
7 Matthew Liberatore LHP 18.6 Mountain Ridge HS AZ Arizona
The quality of Liberatore’s stuff waxes and wanes throughout his outings. At his best, though, he’s a lefty with a mid-90s fastball, a plus curveball, above-average changeup, and feel to pitch along with projection on his frame.
8 Jarred Kelenic CF 18.9 Waukesha West HS WI Louisville
There’s some doubt about Kelenic’s ability to stay in center field long term, but most scouts think he will and he has the best all-fields contact and power combination among this year’s prep hitters.
9 Joey Bart C 21.5 Georgia Tech GA
Bart has been soaring up boards with some moon shots — one off the roof in left field at Georgia Tech about which some scouts are still talking — but the reason he’s this high is that he calls his own games and has an above-average arm and glove behind the dish.
10 Connor Scott CF 18.7 Plant HS FL Florida
Scott has been dogged by a couple minor injuries this spring, but his upside is arguably the highest amongst prep bats. He’s 6-foot-4, 170 pounds, with 70 speed and projects for above-average raw power and an above-average hit tool.
11 Nolan Gorman 3B 18.1 O’Connor HS AZ Arizona
Gorman’s frame thickened during the offseason, robbing him of some of the twitch and flexibility he showed last summer. He hasn’t looked good at third base and is swinging over breaking stuff, but still has 70 raw power and could easily bounce back physically after the draft.
12 Kumar Rocker RHP 18.5 North Oconee HS GA Vanderbilt
Rocker is built like J.R. Richard and his stuff is almost as good, as he wields two potential plus-plus pitches in his fastball and two-planed breaker. Rumor is he’s going to be a tough sign, even in the top half of the first round.
13 Trevor Larnach RF 21.3 Oregon State OR
Larnach has hit a bunch of balls in excess of 100 mph this spring and is getting to his power without taking high-effort swings. He’s not a great corner outfielder but he’s performing, has corner-worthy pop, and has the potential to access additional power with a more athletic, lofted cut.
14 Ryan Rolison LHP 20.9 Ole Miss MS
Rolison is a little stiff, his command comes and goes, and SEC hitters have knocked him around, but he’s also a college lefty up to 96 with a plus breaking ball and above-average changeup. He may be a couple delivery adjustments from breaking out.
15 Brady Singer RHP 21.8 Florida FL
Singer has some negatives — lower velo early in the spring, unconventional mechanics with a late arm load, and age relative to class — but he’s performed for three years injury-free in the SEC and slings above-average stuff from a low slot.
16 Logan Gilbert RHP 21.1 Stetson FL
Gilbert had top-10 momentum after throwing 92-96 mph on the Cape but has been more 90-93, touching 95 mph this spring. He has a bag full of 50s and 55s, while his sturdy frame and above average command make him a safe pick.
17 Brice Turang SS 18.5 Santiago HS CA LSU
Turang has been tracking as a first-rounder since he was a sophomore. While his bat hasn’t developed as many had hoped, he still projects as a plus defender at short and has the talent to do damage offensively if the right player-development group gets a hold of him.
18 Cole Winn RHP 18.5 Orange Lutheran HS CA  Mississippi State
Winn isn’t as projectable as most high-school pitching prospects. He also doesn’t have to be, though, because he’s already up to 96 with three good secondaries (headlined by a plus curveball), an advanced idea of how to use them, and down-mound extension that allows them all to play up.
19 Ryan Weathers LHP 18.6 Loretto HS TN Vanderbilt
Weathers just threw 87-92 mph on three days rest in 30 degree weather at Vanderbilt’s stadium on Monday, but he’s been up to 96 mph this spring. He’s deceptively athletic — a standout hoops player who came out late for baseball — with the potential to have all 55 to 60 pitches and solid-average command.
20 Greyson Jenista RF 21.5 Wichita State KS
Jenista draws comps to MLB players in their 30s due to his 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame, but he’s actually an average runner who also features loud 65 raw power from the left side. With more loft to his swing, he could be a middle-of-the-order masher in short order.
21 Jackson Kowar RHP 21.7 Florida FL
Kowar has been about the same pitcher since his freshman year in Gainesville — a lanky athlete with a 92-95 mph fastball, plus changeup, enough command to start, and a fringy, inconsistent slider — but pro instruction may tease out that missing element.
22 Mike Vasil RHP 18.2 Boston College HS MA Virginia
Vasil was a favorite of some scouts over the summer. A couple outings into the season, he’s been into the mid-90s with his fastball while also showing an above-average breaker and starter traits. A couple more strong starts could move him up further in a deep prep pitching class.
23 Grayson Rodriguez RHP 18.6 Central Heights HS TX Texas A&M
Rodriguez was up to 92 last summer but has been up to 98 mph regularly this spring after he dropped about 25 pounds during the offseason. His slider is above average to plus and he has four average or better offerings, along with the feel to start.
24 Jonathan India 3B 21.5 Florida FL
India was known as a prep underclassman for possessing average tools and a feel for the game but didn’t progress much in Gainesville until busting out this spring with a slimmed-down frame, better approach, and 55 raw power that’s led to dominating the SEC statistically.
25 Xavier Edwards 2B 18.8 North Broward Prep HS FL  Vanderbilt
He doesn’t have Madrigal’s bat control, but Edwards is another undersized infielder with great feel for the game, true 80 speed, and the ability to play the middle infield. He also has sneaky power for his size and enough natural loft to get to it from both sides of the plate.
26 Jeremy Eierman SS 21.7 Missouri State MO
After a slow start, Eierman is now tearing the cover off the ball and has some of the better exit velos in the class. He projects to third base in a vacuum due to mediocre lateral range, which probably means half-a-dozen orgs would probably be fine with him playing shortstop.
27 Mason Denaburg RHP 18.8 Merritt Island HS FL Florida
Denaburg has had two successful, highly scouted matchups with Stewart that had him ticketed for picks 10-15 until a velo drop and injury (biceps tendinitis) shut him down. How he fares on pre-draft medicals will dictate if this ranking goes up or down 10-15 slots.
28 Anthony Seigler C 19.0 Cartersville HS GA Florida
Seigler is in the mold of the Dodgers’ multi-positional, athletic catchers (Austin Barnes being the most well known): an average runner with solid-average raw power, an above-average bat, above-average defense and great-feel for the game.
29 Mike Siani CF 18.9 William Penn Charter HS PA Virginia
Siani’s baseball instincts, especially his feel for contact, are advanced for a cold-weather prospect. His speed enables him to profile comfortably in center field, and he’s probably going to hit for whatever power he grows into because the bat control is already in place and his swing has natural loft.
30 Jordan Groshans 3B 18.6 Magnolia HS TX Kansas
Groshans is a tooled-up infield prospect with a good frame and big present raw power who is performing against tough Texas competition this spring despite a flat-planed swing. An adjustment could yield even more power in pro ball.
31 Ethan Hankins RHP 18.0 Forsyth Central HS GA Vanderbilt
Hankins was 93-96 mph with plus life and a newly developed plus slider late in the summer, propelling him to a top-five overall pick projection. This spring has been rocky, though: he’s missed weeks with a sore shoulder, ditched his slider for a fringey curveball, and endured a velo dip into the mid-80s just weeks ago. That said, he hit 96 mph in front of lots of heat on Monday.
32 Parker Meadows CF 18.6 Grayson HS GA Clemson
The younger brother of Austin is one of the easiest players to comp in this year’s class, as Parker is the spitting image of Indians CF Bradley Zimmer. Meadows has plus raw power and deceptively plus speed in a lanky frame, but his long limbs could create contact issues.
33 Jordyn Adams CF 18.6 Green Hope HS NC North Carolina
Adams was an almost undraftable prospect before late March’s NHSI tournament — he’s a top-100 football recruit as a wide receiver, headed to UNC where his dad coaches — so he wasn’t worth the price it would take to buy him out of football. At NHSI, though, Adams showed 80 speed in a 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame, average raw power, and actions comparable to those possessed by Mariners CF Kyle Lewis and 2017 No. 1 overall pick Twins CF Royce Lewis, so teams are now interested in meeting his heavy seven-figure price.
34 Lineras Torres, Jr. RHP 17.6 Beacon HS NY St. John’s
Torres is one of the younger high-school prospects in the draft and also has one of the quickest arms, as he’s been up to 98 with a plus, late-breaking slider, though there is some relief risk.
35 Tristan Beck RHP 21.9 Stanford CA
Beck has had a litany of somewhat bizarre injuries dating back to high school, but few of them have been arm related. He has a four-pitch mix and has been up to 95 mph with a 55 slider.
36 Cole Wilcox RHP 18.9 Heritage HS GA Georgia
Wilcox will be a tough sign, but a team is likely meet his price after a strong spring, during which he’s been working 92-95 mph with an above-average to plus changeup, solid-average breaker, great athleticism, and the command to start, despite mechanics that need some adjustments.
37 Alek Thomas CF 18.1 Mount Carmel HS IL
Thomas’s father Allen is the White Sox director of conditioning and Alek has had outstanding feel for the game for years at high-profile events. He fits in center field with plus speed and a line-drive approach with gap power.
38 Jake McCarthy CF 20.8 Virginia VA
McCarthy will need a swing adjustment in pro ball from the ground-ball-oriented instruction at Virginia, but he’s a plus runner with solid-average raw power and feel to hit. He should be returning soon from a wrist injury sustained in early March.
39 Nico Hoerner 2B 21.1 Stanford CA
Hoerner isn’t twitchy enough to stay at short but he does enough to stay on the dirt, has grown into doubles power that could be home-run power with more loft to his swing, and now has a two-year track record of strong offensive performance that includes more walks than strikeouts this year.
40 Will Banfield C 18.5 Brookwood HS GA Vanderbilt
Banfield was famous last year as a precocious prep catcher. He’s mostly the same player now, with above-average defensive projection and raw power but some questions about the contact. There’s also a real chance he goes to school.
41 Kris Bubic LHP 20.8 Stanford CA
Bubic has an odd, almost Kershaw-ish delivery that looks especially weird from the stretch, but he’s gotten good results and his velo is up a bit this year, now more in the 90-93 mph early in starts, which pairs with his plus changeup and average breaking ball.
42 Lyon Richardson RHP 18.4 Jensen Beach HS FL Florida
Richardson was already an intriguing two-way athlete over the summer with a clean delivery and average stuff. That stuff took a big step forward this spring with added strength, and now he’s sitting 91-96 mph with an above-average breaking ball.
43 Griffin Conine RF 20.9 Duke NC
The son of Jeff Conine posts huge exit velos and performed well on the Cape last summer, but is out of sorts this spring, selling out for power and not making much contact. He’ll still go day one due to track record, tools, and pedigree.
44 Blaze Alexander SS 19.0 IMG Academy HS FL South Carolina
Blaze is old for the class, but he has a chance to stick at shortstop, has above-average raw power, has been hitting all spring, and also has a 70 arm that plays anywhere on the field
45 Steele Walker RF 21.8 Oklahoma OK
Walker is a bit of a tweener who fits in right field defensively with solid-average raw power, but he’s been hitting enough to get to that power in games.
46 Konnor Pilkington LHP 20.7 Mississippi State MS
Pilkington flashes three above-average pitches with good plane and feel to pitch, though there isn’t a plus and, at times last spring and summer, he had more average stuff, possibly due to overuse.
47 Kyle Isbel CF 21.3 UNLV NV
There’s some doubt that Isbel stays in center field, but he can hit and gets to his 55 raw power in games with little effort — in part due to his advanced feel for the game and buoyed by average to above tools across the board.
48 Triston Casas 1B 18.4 American Heritage HS FL Miami
Casas has 70 or 80 raw power from the left side but has been hard to scout this spring since he’s a late-count power-oriented hitter who either gets pitched around or is drawing walks. His gaudy exit velos and solid summer should help his case, but he’s a first-base-only fit.
49 Nick Decker RF 18.7 Seneca HS NJ Maryland
Decker is part of a deep class of northern prep standouts who could go on day one, and he’s showing above-average to plus raw power from the left side in a compact frame, along with enough contact skills to get to it in games.
50 Adam Kloffenstein RHP 17.8 Magnolia HS TX TCU
Kloffenstein is very young for the class and scouting-wise is a prototypical Texas prep arm, standing at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds. He runs his heater up to 96 mph and also has an above-average breaker, solid athleticism, and feel to start. He will be a tough sign as well.
51 J.T. Ginn RHP 19.0 Brandon HS MS Mississippi State
Ginn is very old for the class and doesn’t have an ideal projectable frame or quiet delivery, but he’ll flash two 70 pitches in his heater and sharp breaking ball, the former of which has been recorded in the high 90 this spring (and 100 mph on some guns).
52 Gunnar Hoglund RHP 18.5 Fivay HS FL Ole Miss
Hoglund was mostly 88-91 mph with a soft curveball last summer, but he’s grown into his frame and is working 90-94, hitting 96 mph, this spring with a breaking ball that flashes 55 along with starter traits. He’s looking for seven figures and may well get it.
53 Jonathan Ornelas SS 18.0 Kellis HS AZ Tennessee
Ornelas doesn’t wield any elite physical tools but has a well-rounded skillset that includes viable defense at shortstop and chance to hit for some pull power. He’s also young for the class.
54 Simeon Woods-Richardson RHP 17.7 Kempner HS TX Texas
An athletic two-way player, Woods-Richardson runs his heater up to 96 mph and has plus changeup projection, but his delivery and breaking ball need some work.
55 Grant Little SS 21.2 Texas Tech TX
Little doesn’t have loud tools, mostly average across the board, but he can play almost every position on the field, has advanced feel to hit, and has put up the sort of gaudy numbers that should tempt an analytically inclined team to select him in the second or early third round.

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6 years ago

It’s hard to tell how much sliding around is within the same grade vs. major changes in stock, but here are a few that I saw:

Ethan Hankins down from #3 to #31, Nander de Sedas from #14 off the list, Griffin Conine from #12 to #43.

I’m not that surprised Conine fell based on the scouting report you delivered. I’m a little surprised Hankins fell that far since all the problems are easy to explain (injury, trying a new pitch)…he seems like the kind of guy who won’t slide too far because someone will draft him on upside alone. A little curious about what happened to de Sedas.

6 years ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

The Hawkins injury is a shoulder injury, so…

Kiley McDanielmember
6 years ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

in a deep class of prep pitching, if one guy has a fringe breaker and a medical issue along with limited projection, he’s going to fall, especially if he’s going in the wrong direction when the other guys are improving.

kowar has a fringe breaker with two 60’s, clean health and SEC performance, should hankins be even close to him?

there isn’t upside just because hankins was ranked high once–his stuff is worse and it seems like the slider hurts his arm and that’s why he isn’t throwing it–he’s a different guy.

denaburg may just have a temporary issue and he may fall 20 spots just because of the uncertainty.

de sedas just isn’t hitting, but he’d be on a slightly longer list,

6 years ago
Reply to  Kiley McDaniel

If it’s the case that the slider hurts his arm then yes, that would be a reason to knock him down. I hadn’t seen that here or anywhere else though. Good information.

The question is whether that plus slider is gone forever. I had assumed it was not, but it sounds like it is gone. And the sore shoulder…how serious is it if he isn’t being shut down? But it sounds like the slider is gone, and that’s an issue.