By JOEL REUTER
MAY 29, 2018
The 2018 MLB draft is now less than a week away, as the latest crop of prospects will begin to hear their names called on June 4.
This year’s draft is stocked with college bats and prep arms, though the top prospect in the class is a college right-hander with a wicked splitter.
With draft buzz starting to heat up around the league, it’s time for an updated mock draft. Our last mock was published back on May 23.
Let’s get to it.
1. Detroit Tigers: Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn
In a draft that is loaded with prep arms, Mize is the clear standout among the college crop and for a Tigers team that is building from the ground up, he offers both a high floor and considerable upside. He didn’t have his best stuff in his last two starts, but he’s still the heavy favorite to go No. 1 overall. Joey Bart, Alec Bohm, Brady Singer and Jarred Kelenic appear to be the other options if they decide to pivot away from Mize.
2. San Francisco Giants: Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
We haven’t seen a college catching prospect as hyped as Bart since Mike Zunino went No. 3 overall in 2012. He would become the immediate heir to Buster Posey in San Francisco and the top prospect in a farm system that’s thin on impact talent. Like Zunino and Posey before him, Bart might not need much time in the minors before he’s ready to go.
3. Philadelphia Phillies: Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State
The Phillies went with a college bat in Adam Haseley at No. 8 overall last year and it looks like they’ll take a similar approach in this year’s draft and choose between Bohm and Nick Madrigal. Bohm is the best power-hitting prospect among this year’s college bats and a polished offensive player. While he’ll likely move across the diamond to first base as a pro, he’d be a welcome addition to a system that’s heavy on arms.
4. Chicago White Sox: Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State
Madrigal is the draft’s best pure hitter and as safe a pick as any to turn into a productive MLB player. A broken wrist cost him time early, but he’s picked up right where he left off since returning and the injury should have no impact on his draft stock. While Yoan Moncada is entrenched at second base, Madrigal has the defensive tools to handle shortstop and he could slide over and push Tim Anderson in short order.
5. Cincinnati Reds: Brady Singer, RHP, Florida
The Reds have had a tough time developing pitching prospects into legitimate MLB contributors since they began rebuilding a few years. It’s no surprise to see them targeting arms and Singer is the best available at this point. The Florida ace was a candidate to go No. 1 overall before a slow start to his junior season, but he still offers ace-caliber upside with a relatively high floor. If Singer is already off the board, prep left-hander Matthew Liberatore could be the pick here.
6. New York Mets: Jonathan India, 3B, Florida
A whopping 13 different players have started at least one game at third base for the Mets since David Wright last took the field on May 27, 2016. With no clear long-term answer in the system and Todd Frazier signed to just a two-year deal, India makes sense as the potential answer. Unlike Bohn, there’s no doubt India will remain at third base, and his bat is just as polished—albeit with less raw power.
7. San Diego Padres: Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS (Ariz.)
The Padres have taken a high school left-hander two of the past three times they’ve selected inside the top 10, including MacKenzie Gore at No. 3 overall last year. They’d have their pick of the high school arms here with six college players going before them. Liberatore offers far and away the best pitchability of this year’s prep arms and while there’s some projection left in his 6’5″, 200-pound frame, he’s close to a finished product and looks like as safe a pick as you’ll see from the high school ranks. Carter Stewart, Ryan Weathers, Cole Winn and Grayson Rodriguez could also be in play here.
8. Atlanta Braves: Nolan Gorman, 3B, O’Connor HS (Ariz.)
After the early run on college prospects, look for the Braves to go the high school route here, and it could come down to Gorman or Kelenic. Kelenic is the more complete prospect and the safer selection, but Gorman possesses the best raw power in this class and that gives him a higher offensive ceiling. Austin Riley still looks like the present and future at third base in Atlanta, but Gorman’s bat will play anywhere if he develops as hoped.
9. Oakland Athletics: Shane McClanahan, LHP, South Florida
McClanahan has the best fastball in the draft. He regularly touches triple digits and backs it with a plus changeup and average slider. The A’s rolled the dice on A.J. Puk’s upside a few years ago, and this looks like a similar opportunity. His command needs work, as he’s walked batters at a 5.3 BB/9 clip this spring, but the payoff could be huge if everything clicks. There have been more than a few Chris Sale comps placed on the South Florida left-hander.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates: Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights HS (Texas)
Rodriguez has more helium than any player in this year’s draft and he’s been heavily linked to the Pirates in recent weeks. There’s a lot to like, as the big 6’5″, 230-pound right-hander can touch 98 with a heavy fastball that features excellent late life. The Pirates develop pitching as well as any organization and he could be their next homegrown standout. Kelenic and Stewart could also be options here, but expect the Pirates to go the high school route.
11. Baltimore Orioles: Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS (Calif.)
Baseball America noted: “Baltimore has drafted out of the high school ranks more than any team in the last five years in the top five rounds.” They almost have to go after an arm with their first selection given the overwhelming lack of pitching talent throughout the organization. Winn has had an excellent spring and offers a healthy balance of floor and upside.
12. Toronto Blue Jays: Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha West HS (Wis.)
The Blue Jays are in a position at No. 12 to wait and see who falls, and this should be the floor for Kelenic. The Wisconsin prep is a candidate to go No. 1 overall if the Tigers try to swing a below-slot deal and it’s easy to see why with his five-tool potential. Throw in Toronto’s lengthy history of plucking toolsy outfielders from the high school ranks at the top of their drafts, and this makes a lot of sense.
13. Miami Marlins: Triston Casas, 1B, American Heritage School (Fla.)
As a Miami-area kid who’s committed to the University of Miami, the Marlins are no doubt well-acquainted with Casas. A first-base-only defensive profile limits his overall value, but there’s no question he’s one the top prep bats in this class. He’s perhaps the only high school hitter who can rival Gorman in terms of raw power, and while he has some swing-and-miss to his game, he also shows a solid all-around approach. He could develop into a franchise cornerstone for the rebuilding club.
14. Seattle Mariners: Travis Swaggerty, OF, South Alabama
Swaggerty is a candidate to go as high as No. 4 overall and could be the steal of the draft if he’s still on the board at No. 14. The Mariners have taken college hitters with four of their last five first-round picks—Evan White (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), D.J. Peterson (2013) and Mike Zunino (2012) from the college ranks with four of their last five first-round picks. Swaggerty is far and away the best college bat on the board here with advanced plate discipline and sneaky power that gives him a top-of-the-order profile.
15. Texas Rangers: Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (Fla.)
The Rangers have never been afraid to go with a high-upside high schooler in the first round. With a projectable 6’6″, 200-pound frame and a dynamic fastball/curveball pairing, it’s easy to dream about Stewart’s frontline potential. The pure stuff is electric, even if he still needs to smooth out his mechanics and refine his changeup. He shot into the upper tier of prep arms with improved velocity this spring.
To read the rest of the mock draft, visit http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2778250-2018-mlb-mock-draft-update-with-1-week-remaining