By Mike Rosenbaum | MLB.com | @GoldenSombrero
2:18 PM ET
With less than a week remaining until the Draft, teams are continuing to hone in on specific players and lining up their Draft boards as they attempt to gain a better sense of who the best players are at each position.
Opinions will vary based on each club’s scouting efforts and organizational needs, but there’s growing consensus that each top-ranked player at his respective position will come off the board in the first round.
The 2018 Draft will take place on June 4-6, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, June 4. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.
Here’s a look at the top player at each position, using MLB Pipeline’s Top 200 Draft list as a guide.
C: Joey Bart, Georgia Tech (No. 6 on Draft Top 200)
Bart is hands-down the top catching prospect available in the 2018 Draft. The Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year and defensive player of the year, Bart projects to hit for both average and power from the right side of the plate as he did this spring, when he slashed .359/.471/.632 with a career-high 16 homers while doubling his walk rate from his sophomore year. The 21-year-old has made similar strides defensively, too, showing improved receiving abilities to go along with the strong arm that helped nab nearly 39 percent of attempted basestealers during his college career. Canadian Noah Naylor, the brother of 2015 first-rounder Josh Naylor (No. 28), could be the first prep backstop to have his name called.
1B: Triston Casas, American Heritage (Fla.) HS (No. 20 Overall)
Casas was named the Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Confederation U-18 Baseball World Cup (and the WBSC International Baseball Player of the Year) after he helped power Team USA to a gold medal by leading the tournament in home runs and RBIs. A physically strong left-handed hitter, Casas’ raw power is among the best in the class and enables him to hit the ball out of the park from line to line. While some scouts question the pure hitting ability as well as his future defensive value, Casas, a University of Miami commit, has the requisite offensive ceiling for a career at first base.
2B: Nick Madrigal, Oregon State (No. 3)
It’s easy to knock Madrigal for being undersized (5-foot-7), but there might not be a better pure hitter in the class. He returned from a broken hamate in his hand this spring and batted .395, giving Madrigal a .367 mark in 138 games for his college career. He doesn’t offer much in the way of power but produces consistently hard contact and good pop to the gaps, with a disciplined approach that netted him more walks (54) than strikeouts (35). Defensively, Madrigal has spent his collegiate career at second and although some scouts feel he could handle shortstop, he also has Gold Glove potential at the keystone.
To see videos and read more, visit https://www.mlb.com/news/best-2018-mlb-draft-prospects-at-each-position/c-278971856