The 2018 MLB Draft is underway in Secaucus, N.J., as the first 78 selections go off the board today. MLB.com Draft and prospect expert Jim Callis analyzes every pick from the first round.
1. Detroit Tigers: RHP Casey Mize, Auburn University
As expected, MLB Pipeline’s top-rated prospect goes No. 1 overall. You can’t argue with this selection. Mize has the best pitch in the Draft — a nearly-unhittable splitter. He has the best combination of stuff and polish of any pitcher in the 2018 Draft class.
2. San Francisco Giants: C Joey Bart, Georgia Tech
Bart stands out as easily the best catcher in a Draft thin at that position. His power was evident going back to his days at Buford (Ga.) HS and he’s improved tremendously as a hitter in three years at Georgia Tech. Similarly, he’s gotten better behind the plate, developing into a solid receiver with a plus arm.
3. Philadelphia Phillies: 3B Alec Bohm, Wichita State University
The players taken with the first three picks have been tied to these three teams for almost two months. Among college hitters, Bohm may offer the best combination of hitting for average and power. He also is a magnet for walks, which endears him to analytically minded teams, though he probably will wind up at first base in the long run.
4. Chicago White Sox: 2B Nick Madrigal, Oregon State University
Madrigal is the best player in college baseball, and he’s the best pure hitter in this Draft, hitting a cool .406 this year for the Beavers with 13 walks and just five strikeouts. He may be only 5-foot-8, but size isn’t an issue because he can hit, he can really run and he can really play second base. The Jose Altuve comparisons are a bit much because Madrigal doesn’t have that kind of power, but he’s not a slap-hitter, either.
5. Cincinnati Reds: 3B Jonathan India, University of Florida
He was the breakout player in college baseball’s best conference (the SEC) this year. He’s got close to solid tools across the board, starting with the ability to hit, growing power and a fine approach at the plate. His defensive versatility intrigues me, and I wonder if the Reds might try him in the middle infield. They already have Eugenio Suarez at third, which is also the natural position of Nick Senzel, the second overall pick in 2016 and their No. 1 prospect. Senzel is also seeing time at second this year.
6. New York Mets: OF Jarred Kelenic, Waukesha West (Wis.) HS
Kelenic is a high-upside selection, as he’s the best prep hitter available and has developing power and a chance to stay in center field. One of my favorite comps I got in this Draft was when a scout compared Kelenic to a more athletic Mark Kotsay.
7. San Diego Padres: LHP Ryan Weathers, Loretto (Tenn.) HS
He is one of the two best left-handers in this Draft, along with Phoenix high schooler Matthew Liberatore. Weathers has solid pitches — a riding 90-95 mph fastball, a hard curveball and an advanced changeup. The son of 19-year big leaguer David Weathers, Ryan has a good delivery, repeats it well and has deceptive athleticism.
8. Atlanta Braves: RHP Carter Stewart, Eau Gallie (Fla.) HS
He has the best breaking ball in this Draft class, with the spin rate on his curve reportedly exceeding 3,000 rpm, which is Charlie Morton territory. Stewart also has touched 97-98 mph on his fastball throughout the spring, giving him one of the more impressive two-pitch combinations in the Draft. Stewart should fit in nicely with Atlanta’s collection of outstanding pitching prospects.
9. Oakland Athletics: OF Kyler Murray, University of Oklahoma
Here’s our first stunner of the night. A few weeks ago it was unthinkable that Murray — the quarterback at Oklahoma with Baker Mayfield now in the NFL — would go this high. But over the last couple of days it became clear that Murray was interested in pursuing a baseball career and would sign. The expectation is that he will play quarterback at OU in the fall and then focus solely on baseball. He would’ve been an easy first-round pick out of high school three years ago if he’d been signable, and he’s arguably the best athlete in the Draft. What also sticks out about Murray is that he made a dramatic improvement this year with the Sooners after not playing much baseball the previous two seasons.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates: OF Travis Swaggerty, University of South Alabama
Up-the-middle college athletes are hard to find, and Swaggerty is the best in the 2018 Draft class. He’s got a chance to have solid or better tools across the board, as his sneaky power and plus speed could make him a 20-20 player. He has a penchant for drawing walks but also can get overly aggressive at times. Swaggerty is definitely going to stay in center field, but he has the arm for right field if needed.
11. Baltimore Orioles: RHP Grayson Rodriguez, Central Heights (Texas) HS
Rodriguez’s stuff took off over the past year as he got in better shape, and his stock improved accordingly. His best pitch is a heavy 92-94 mph fastball that will break bats, and both his slider and curveball are solid options.
12. Toronto Blue Jays: SS Jordan Groshans, Magnolia (Texas) HS
Groshans has some of the best raw power in this Draft, and what I really like about it is he knows he doesn’t have to sell out for home runs. He makes a lot of hard contact, and there’s room to add a lot of strength to his 6-foot-4 frame, so he’s gonna do a lot of damage. Groshans may get the opportunity to play shortstop as he breaks into pro ball, but he projects as a third baseman in the long run.
13. Miami Marlins: OF Connor Scott, Plant (Fla.) HS
He is from the same high school as star Astros prospect Kyle Tucker and his brother, Preston, of the Braves. Like those two, Scott is also an outfielder — but a different type of player. His plus-plus speed is his best tool, and it makes him dangerous on the bases and an asset in center field. His hit tool stands out more than his power, and his fastball has been clocked at up to 93 mph on the mound.
14. Seattle Mariners: RHP Logan Gilbert, Stetson University
Gilbert excels at missing bats. His velocity was down early in the season, and he still racked up strikeouts — then he was back in the mid-90s and touching 97 mph by the end of the year after making a mechanical adjustment. Both his slider and changeup are solid offerings that make it difficult to sit on his fastball.
15. Texas Rangers: RHP Cole Winn, Orange Lutheran (Calif.) HS
Winn is more polished than the typical high schooler, but we shouldn’t sell his stuff short. He’s got a low-90s fastball that hits 96, a pair of quality breaking balls and some feel for a changeup. He’s got an exceptionally high floor for a prep pitcher.
16. Tampa Bay Rays: LHP Matthew Liberatore, Mountain Ridge (Ariz.) HS
I’m stunned that Liberatore lasted this long, because I think you could have argued for him going as early as No. 2 overall. His stuff is so advanced that he’s more like a college pitcher than a high school one. Liberatore already has four solid pitches that could become plus pitches as his 6-foot-5 frame gets stronger. He has tremendous feel for pitching — and a lot of moxie.
17. Los Angeles Angels: OF Jordyn Adams, Green Hope HS (N.C.)
18. Kansas City Royals
19. St. Louis Cardinals
20. Minnesota Twins
21. Milwaukee Brewers
22. Colorado Rockies
23. New York Yankees
24. Chicago Cubs
25. Arizona Diamondbacks
26. Boston Red Sox
27. Washington Nationals
28. Houston Astros
29. Cleveland Indians
30. Los Angeles Dodgers
If a team that loses a qualifying free agent is a revenue-sharing recipient, then the team — if and only if the lost player signs for at least $50 million — is awarded a compensatory pick between the first round and Competitive Balance Round A. If the player signs for less than $50 million, the compensation pick for the team comes after Competitive Balance Round B .
31. Tampa Bay Rays (Compensation for Alex Cobb, who signed with the Orioles. Baltimore forfeited its second-round pick.)
32. Tampa Bay Rays (compensation for not signing Drew Rasmussen)
33. Kansas City Royals (Compensation for Lorenzo Cain, who signed with the Brewers. Milwaukee forfeited its third-round pick.)
34. Kansas City Royals (Compensation for Eric Hosmer, who signed with the Padres. San Diego forfeited its second-round pick.)
35. Cleveland Indians (Compensation for Carlos Santana, who signed with the Phillies. Philadelphia forfeited its second-round pick.)
COMPETITIVE BALANCE ROUND A
All teams that have either one of the 10 smallest markets or 10 smallest revenue pools receive an additional pick at the end of the first or second round. In 2017, six picks were assigned between the first and second rounds based on a formula that considers winning percentage and revenue. The remaining eight eligible teams received a supplemental selection between the second and third rounds. In 2018, the groups of teams switch places, meaning there will be eight Comp Round A picks and six in Round B.
Competitive Balance picks may be traded and are not subject to forfeiture.
36. Pittsburgh Pirates
37. Baltimore Orioles
38. San Diego Padres
39. Arizona Diamondbacks
40. Kansas City Royals
41. Cleveland Indians
42. Colorado Rockies
43. St. Louis Cardinals
44. Detroit Tigers
45. San Francisco Giants
46. Chicago White Sox
47. Cincinnati Reds
48. New York Mets
49. Atlanta Braves
50. Oakland Athletics
51. Pittsburgh Pirates
52. Toronto Blue Jays
53. Miami Marlins
54. Seattle Mariners
55. Texas Rangers
56. Tampa Bay Rays
57. Los Angeles Angels
58. Kansas City Royals
59. Minnesota Twins
60. Milwaukee Brewers
61. New York Yankees
62. Chicago Cubs
63. Arizona Diamondbacks
64. Boston Red Sox
65. Washington Nationals
66. Houston Astros
67. Cleveland Indians
68. Los Angeles Dodgers
COMPETITIVE BALANCE ROUND B
69. Miami Marlins
70. Oakland Athletics
71. Tampa Bay Rays
72. Cincinnati Reds
73. Milwaukee Brewers
74. San Diego Padres (Received from Twins in trade)
75. St. Louis Cardinals (Compensation for Lance Lynn, who signed with the Twins. Minnesota forfeited its third-round pick.)
76. Colorado Rockies (Compensation for Greg Holland, who signed with the Cardinals. St. Louis forfeited its second-round pick.)
77. Chicago Cubs (Compensation for Wade Davis, who signed with the Rockies. Colorado forfeited its second-round pick.)
78. Chicago Cubs (Compensation for Jake Arrieta, who signed with the Phillies. Philadelphia forfeited its third-round pick.)
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Copyright or Author: Jim Callis
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