The Baseball Draft Report

2018 MLB Draft Profile – Georgia Tech

From a stuff standpoint Tommy John surgery survivor RHP/1B Tristin English profiles very similarly to RHP Jonathan Hughes. Both guys have fastballs that can hit 96 MPH (87-94 regularly) with average or better sliders. Hughes has the edge with his third pitch, another average or better offering (changeup), but English’s top tier athleticism tip the scales back to him. There are some who prefer English as a hitter, but I think his future, as is the case with most guys who can throw mid-90s heat, is on the mound. Like Hughes there are still plenty of kinks to be worked out, but the upside is considerable. For what it’s worth, I LOVED English coming out of Pike County HS in 2015. The love has cooled a bit — two years away from the mound will do that — but remembering why he was considered such a big-time prospect in the first place can help rekindle those old feelings. A young, healthy English flashed a plus slider, promising curve, and usable changeup, all in addition to that fastball that topped out in the mid-90s. If he can get back to that just a little bit — he’s already there with the aforementioned fastball and slider — then he has a chance to be pretty special.

Patience is needed with Hughes as he also works himself back from Tommy John surgery. Patience and understanding. Hughes’s raw stuff (good!) has long outpaced his peripherals (bad!) all while putting up impressive run prevention stats (good…but maybe not all that predictive). It’s a damn confusing overall package. His return to the mound so far in 2018 just muddles the waters even more. Hughes has upped his K/9 to a still below-average 6.28 while his BB/9 has rocketed to 9.42. It’s a really small sample, but the fact he’s done that and still has an ERA of just 2.08 is pretty wacky. I have no idea what to make of Hughes just yet. The good news is we might not need to make any grand conclusions on him considering his three years of eligibility left. It would be a major upset if he used all three years, but certainly not a stretch to see him back at a fine academic institution like Georgia Tech for his academic senior year in 2019.

RHP Patrick Wiseman is a super deep sleeper who hasn’t pitched much at all since enrolling due to a variety of injuries. When healthy, the 6-5, 225 pound hurler can run his fastball up to 95 MPH. RHP Bailey Combs, RHP Jake Lee (16.45 K/9 + 1.94 BB/9 = 11.57 ERA in 9.1 IP, somehow), and RHP Micah Carpenter all live in the upper-80s with decent secondary stuff. RHP Keyton Gibson is a half-grade ahead in both velocity (89-93) and overall prospect stock.

C/1B Joey Bart is really good. I know a lot of people who think he’s the best college catching prospect and a potential first round pick. I can’t disagree. He’s part of the large group of college catchers all battling it out to be the first of their kind off the board. Bart’s power and arm strength are exactly what teams are drawn to at the position. His approach has taken a big step forward early this season — something many smart onlookers (i.e., not me but the people who occasionally tell me things) expected on some level — and if it’s a real change and not a small sample blip, then his already high stock will shoot up even higher. I still think there are some rough edges defensively that need polishing, but the same can honestly be said of just about any 21-year-old catching prospect with the offensive talent to start in the big leagues.

It’s stunning to me to see 2B/SS Wade Bailey back at Georgia Tech after the junior season he had. Pro ball’s loss is our gain (temporarily) as we get to talk about Bailey for another few months before losing him to minor league prospect writers who specialize in super duper deep sleepers. Bailey is good at second, playable at short, and has hit every single season of his life. I like prospects like that.

SS/OF Carter Hall is a lot of fun for a lot of reasons. My favorite reason is that I honestly don’t know what to make of him yet. He’s a redshirt-sophomore who figures to remain in school at least another year and likely longer than that — guys who go to school to play for their dad don’t tend to leave early — so we at least have a year or three to figure it out. Hall is also fun because he’s a blazing fast runner with the kind of defensive chops to handle both middle infield spots and chase down balls in the gaps in center. A player like that who has impressed in his small sample opportunities at the plate gets interesting in a hurry. I’m here for Carter Hall even if it means waiting a year or two until his signability comes into clearer focus.

I’m just about out of words to say about 1B/OF Kel Johnson. He’s a really good college player who was burdened with outsized expectations going back to his prep days, but he’s now settled into a really tough 1B/LF only righthanded power bat with way too much swing-and-miss in his game. That’s a really, really tough profile to love.

The ultra-athletic OF Chase Murray is a really good looking young hitter who can run and defend. The leap he’s made in his approach is really exciting as Murray has gone from striking out in 20.5 % of his plate appearances to doing the same in just 8.8% of his plate appearances so far in 2018. It’s a really small sample (25 AB), but C Kyle McCann hitting .400/.583/1.120 is so good that I can’t not mention it. I have a weird suspicion that those numbers will dip some as the year progresses, but with two carrying tools (above-average power, plus arm) he’s a fun backstop to track heading into next year’s draft. RHP Garrett Gooden and LHP Connor Thomas are good 2019 prospects, but RHP/SS Xzavion Curry is potentially a great one.

rSO RHP Jonathan Hughes (2018)
rSO RHP/1B Tristin English (2018)
SR RHP Patrick Wiseman (2018)
rSR RHP Ben Schniederjans (2018)
SR RHP Jared Datoc (2018)
JR RHP Robert Winborne (2018)
JR RHP Micah Carpenter (2018)
JR RHP Jake Lee (2018)
JR RHP Keyton Gibson (2018)
JR RHP Bailey Combs (2018)
JR C/1B Joey Bart (2018)
SR 1B/OF Kel Johnson (2018)
SR 2B/SS Wade Bailey (2018)
rSO SS/OF Carter Hall (2018)
SO RHP Garrett Gooden (2019)
SO LHP Connor Thomas (2019)
SO RHP/SS Xzavion Curry (2019)
SO RHP/2B Austin Wilhite (2019)
SO LHP/OF Nick Wilhite (2019)
SO C Kyle McCann (2019)
SO OF Chase Murray (2019)
FR RHP Hugh Chapman (2020)
FR LHP Brant Hurter (2020)
FR LHP/OF Will Shirah (2020)
FR SS/RHP Oscar Serratos (2020)
FR OF Colin Hall (2020)
FR OF Baron Radcliff (2020)
FR INF Luke Waddell (2020)
FR OF Michael Guldberg (2020)
FR OF Colin Hall (2020)

2018 MLB Draft Profile – Florida State

When I think of Florida State, I think hitting. The Seminoles routinely rank among the nation’s best in OBP and their position player prospects consistently arrive in pro ball as some of the most mature, patient hitters in the country. I love Florida State hitters. But should I? Is gaudy college production blinding me to more meaningful scouting concerns that have held back recent Florida State bats?

The days of JD Drew, Stephen Drew, Buster Posey (and Paul Sorrento and Doug Mientkiewicz before that) may be over, but picks going back to since I’ve started here in 2009 such as Tyler Holt, James Ramsey, Devon Travis, Jayce Boyd, DJ Stewart, and Ben DeLuzio (an unsigned FA) have carried on the Seminole tradition. Kind of. Of those six names only Travis (when healthy) has made a mark on the big leagues. There’s still time for Stewart and DeLuzio, but, much as I’ve liked both guys in the past, it’s more than fair to point out that neither rank particularly high on present prospect lists. The group of less than impressive Florida State alums in the pros probably doesn’t mean anything in a big picture sense — it’s neither all that large a sample nor all that damning a hit/miss rate in the first place — but it makes me a little curious about whether my own appreciation for Seminole hitters at the college level gets in the way of fairly evaluating them as potential professionals.

For the record, I don’t think a prospect should be judged by the players who came before him at the same school. So maybe this analysis is all for naught. It is, however, interesting to me to look at Florida State hitters specifically because the approach taught in Tallahassee is an outlier in the same way the Virginia crouch and the Stanford swing have proven to be. Here’s the six aforementioned recent Seminole bats with the initial number being my pre-draft ranking and the second number being where they were eventually selected…

38 – Holt – 300
86 – Ramsey – 23
240 – Travis – 424
193 – Boyd – 200
26 – Stewart – 25
343 – DeLuzio – 1217

Loved Holt, Travis, and DeLuzio way more than the pros did. So far only Travis has justified that love. Lower on Ramsey than the pros and about the same for Boyd and Stewart. So do I have a history of overranking Florida State hitters? Maybe! I honestly went into this thinking it would be a definitive yes and that the conclusion would actually tell me something useful about my own scouting proclivities. No such luck, but I’m not about to dump a half-hour of work for nothing.

Anyway, the 2018 Florida State team is loaded with pitching. How’s that for a segueway? As of this writing the Florida State staff has struck out 13.57 batters per nine innings. Damn. The two biggest arms coming into the year were LHP Tyler Holton and RHP Cole Sands. Unfortunately, Holton went down early in the season with an injury that necessitated Tommy John surgery. He’ll be a fascinating player to watch this June as teams make their best educated guesses about his signability. A top junior going down just 4.2 innings into the season is interesting in its own right, but Holton was a draft-eligible sophomore last season and selected in the 35th round by Miami. Stands to reason that teams got a pretty good feel for his signability based on that, but who really knows. A healthy Holton is a top prospect Holton. What he lacks in velocity (85-90 FB, 92 peak) he more than makes up for with pitchability, command, athleticism, and a pair of quality offspeed pitches (average upper-70s breaking ball, above-average 76-80 changeup that flashes plus). I had a dream — seriously — that Cleveland drafted and signed Holton last year (probably because they one drafted Tyler Holt), so, you know, if that happens then don’t forget you heard it here first.

Sands, a more conventionally appealing prospect than Holton, is healthy and throwing really well for Florida State to kick off his 2018. He’ll run his fastball up to the mid-90s (89-94, 96 peak) and features a breaking ball (78-82) that will flash above-average. Toss in a changeup and a mid-80s cut-slider and it’s easy to see why he’s considered an intriguing potential big league starting pitcher.

RHP Andrew Karp was really good last year despite a less than great ERA. He’s got the build, fastball (up to 94), and putaway offspeed pitch (above-average 79-82 changeup, flashes plus) to go far. The way 2018 has started for RHP Cobi Johnson is comical. No lie, I literally laughed out loud when I saw his numbers so far. As of this writing, he’s struck out 22 batters in 8.2 innings pitched. Johnson throws about as hard as Karp, but features a plus low-70s curveball as his go-to offspeed pitch. He can also mix in an average changeup and an interesting low-80s cut-slider. With numbers like that and the knowledge he’s not doing it with smoke and mirrors, Johnson has a rocket ship strapped to his prospect stock in my eyes.

(As I post this, Johnson’s sitting at 24 strikeouts in 10.1 innings pitched. He’s already slowing down!)

Neither RHP Ed Voyles nor RHP Will Zirzow has pitched yet this year, but both have the stuff and track record to get drafted by teams willing to take the long view on their respective prospect stocks. RHP Chase Haney, like Holton out for the year after Tommy John surgery, is a fun sidearming sinkerballer who could pitch his way to senior-sign status down the line.

I know a few individuals who have OF/RHP Steven Wells as a pitcher first and foremost on their boards. Most of my notes on him detail his ability on the mound (89-93 FB, mid-70s CB), so I guess there’s some logic to it. Four innings and 170+ at bats in his college career later, it’s pretty clear Wells should be judged as a hitter. A hot start to his 2018 — his 17 BB/8 K mark is notable even for a Seminole — is a point in his favor. He’s like a less accomplished version of former Seminole Mike McGee.

Finally, after a million words and a misleading introduction, we’ve finally gotten to a big-time hitting prospect. Simply put, C Cal Raleigh has star upside. I had him as a potential first rounder and the first college catcher off the board back when I did my initial 2018 MLB Mock Draft back in October. I stand by it. Raleigh’s blend of power, patience, and high likelihood of sticking behind the plate (where he’s admittedly more good than great and perhaps not for everyone) is tough to top. Let the overrating of another Florida State batter begin!

In all honesty, Raleigh is a tough player to overrate. Catchers on the whole are tough to overrate. A more fitting candidate to be overranked by me is OF/C Jackson Lueck. Lueck doesn’t have a true carrying tool, but is a well-rounded switch-hitter who has hit a ton since day one. If a team buys into him as a potential catching conversion, he’ll shoot up boards. As an outfielder he’s a bit of a tweener in almost every respect, for better or worse.

Auburn transfer C/1B Jonathan Foster is a steady hand behind the plate with enough power at it to be worth a follow. 1B/OF Rhett Aplin has some pop and plenty of arm strength, so a team that still sees him as a primary outfielder could take a chance on him late. How much SS Mike Salvatore will show with the bat remains to be seen, but his glove is solid enough to get him a look in a class weak in true shortstops. 2B Rafael Bournigal was a classic Florida State hitter even before setting foot on campus. The former Belmont Bruin has great patience at the plate and is a reliable defender at the keystone. His path to the big leagues will be tough as a second baseman with limited experience elsewhere (note: I’m unsure if he can play elsewhere, just pointing out that he hasn’t), but he makes a lot of sense to me as a late-round senior-sign based on his track record as a hitter. I mean, somebody has to play second base for you in the minors, right? Might as well be a patient, mature hitter with big league bloodlines.

Looking ahead, there’s predictably a lot to like in the 2019 and 2020 classes. 3B Drew Mendoza = superstar. OF/RHP JC Flowers isn’t too far behind. I really like LHP/OF Drew Parrish, RHP CJ Van Eyk, and LHP Austin Pollock as well. The Florida State machine rolls on and I can’t wait to overrate every last prospect here.

rJR RHP Andrew Karp (2018)
JR LHP Tyler Holton (2018)
rJR RHP Cobi Johnson (2018)
JR RHP Cole Sands (2018)
rSR RHP Ed Voyles (2018)
rSR RHP Will Zirzow (2018)
JR RHP Chase Haney (2018)
rJR RHP Alex Carpenter (2018)
rSO RHP Ronnie Ramirez (2018)
SR OF/RHP Steven Wells (2018)
JR C Cal Raleigh (2018)
JR OF/C Jackson Lueck (2018)
JR C/1B Jonathan Foster (2018)
JR SS Mike Salvatore (2018)
SR 1B/OF Rhett Aplin (2018)
rSR 1B Kyle Cavanaugh (2018)
rSR 2B Rafael Bournigal (2018)
SO LHP Clayton Kwiatkowski (2019)
SO LHP/OF Drew Parrish (2019)
SO OF/RHP JC Flowers (2019)
SO 3B Drew Mendoza (2019)
SO 2B/OF Nick Derr (2019)
SO SS Tyler Daughtry (2019)
FR LHP/OF Jonah Scolaro (2020)
FR LHP Shane Drohan (2020)
FR RHP CJ Van Eyk (2020)
FR LHP Austin Pollock (2020)
FR RHP Tyler Ahearn (2020)
FR RHP Conor Grady (2020)
FR SS Cooper Swanson (2020)
FR OF Reese Albert (2020)

2018 MLB Draft Profile – Duke

OF Griffin Conine is hitting .211 through eleven games as of this writing. This is normally the time where you expect me to bring up how there’s more to life than batting average (true) and an eleven game sample is not something to get worked up over (true, again). Instead, let’s go the other way. In fact, let’s go the other way completely. Conine hitting .211 at this stage of the season is important. Not only that, it’s a good thing. Hear me out. For most hitters, hitting .211, small sample or not, would be a disaster. However, Conine’s .211 is far from an empty .211. His complete triple slash: .211/.354/.421. He’s still walking at an impressive clip (just about one per game) and his ISO is north of .200. The mini-lesson is here is that Conine is such a damn good hitter that he can provide offensive value even when the hits aren’t falling. Conine can be an above-average hitter even when batting .211. Imagine him at .250. Or .275. Or even .300. When you consider many, myself included, think Conine has a plus hit tool then that means big league seasons hitting .280+ could very well be in his future. Give me that with his plus raw power (25+ homers), average to above-average speed (closer to average raw, but it definitely plays up), the athleticism and arm strength to excel in right field…yeah, I’m pretty happy with that. Perfect Game has mentioned two-thirds of the Mets outfield as possible comps (Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce) while I’ve gotten “better Phil Plantier” as a possibility. The Conforto comparison is particularly interesting when you look at their respective sophomore seasons…

.328/.447/.526 – 41 BB/47 K – 6/11 SB
.298/.425/.546 – 41 BB/45 K – 9/9 SB

Conforto on top, Conine on bottom. Pretty close! Conforto went tenth overall in 2014. That may be a little rich for Conine in this particular class, but it’s not crazy. As one of this class’s cleanest prospects — seriously, there’s no real hole in his game to pick at unless you want to ding him for not being able to play center — Conine offers some of the same high floor certainty that makes Seth Beer appealing to me. High floor, good shot at being an above-average regular, and a chance of a star peak. Pretty, pretty good.

Also good: OF Jimmy Herron. I love watching Herron play baseball and think he’s one of the draft’s best outfield talents. If I had to nitpick, I guess I’d question whether or not his arm is consistently strong and accurate enough to play regularly in center field. Besides that, he’s golden. Herron can run, defend, and, most importantly, hit. He makes a ton of quality contact with enough pop to keep opposing pitching honest and a discerning eye that has led him to a very comforting career (so far) 66 BB/63 K mark. Herron’s final ranking on this site is very likely going to wind up higher than anywhere else on the internet. He’s really good.

OF Kennie Taylor has many of the same strengths (speed, CF range, athleticism) and weaknesses (arm strength) as Herron, but is a step behind him as a hitter, especially in the plate discipline department. His tool set may be too good for teams to pass up this June, but I think his game looks even better as a potential 2019 senior-sign. Up-the-middle defenders who can run tend to get more benefit of the doubt as seniors since it’s fairly easy to envision roles for them in pro ball.

I love SS/3B Zack Kone almost as much as I love Herron. His approach is a definite work in progress — though early returns are promising — but the physical gifts are all there. He’s a no-doubt shortstop with enough arm and speed to play the position well in the pros. As a hitter, he’s begun to make the leap as he’s begun to find more of his natural power while fighting through longer, better at bats so far this spring. His defense gives him a high floor (utility infielder?) while his offensive upside is enough to make him a potential starter in the big leagues. It’s repeated all the time, but it’s true: with very few exceptions, college shortstops who can remain at the position in pro ball are a dying breed. Kone is an exception.

C Chris Proctor is a nice little sleeper — in as much as any starting ACC catcher can be a sleeper — who doesn’t wow as a defender, but gets the job done behind the dish. Same can be said for him as a hitter, though a quality start to 2018 could suggest an expected power uptick coming to fruition is more real than not. It doesn’t add up to a potential starter for me, but there are some big league tools to work with all the same.

3B/RHP Jack Labosky has long been a favorite, but I’ve cooled on him a bit now that it’s becoming clearer his approach is always going to be a little more “grip it and rip it” than I personally like. That doesn’t make Labosky a lesser prospect on the whole, just less appealing to me personally. I’d still go to bat for his athleticism, power, and defensive talent even though he’s more of a solid mid- to late-round candidate than a sleeper top ten round senior-sign pick like I may have once thought. 2B/SS Max Miller is a sensational defensive player who can’t hit. I don’t know if the former will outweigh the latter for some teams, but my hunch is probably not. 2B/OF Peter Zyla‘s positional versatility makes him a little interesting, especially if a team is willing to try him behind the plate again.

LHP Chris McGrath is a wild lefty with a nice enough fastball/slider combo. LHP Mitch Stallings has a touch less velocity (87-91 as opposed to McGrath peaking at 93), but has a more well-rounded arsenal including a solid 79-81 changeup. RHP Al Pesto was great in 2016, but that feels like a long time ago for the junior pitcher. Jimmy’s nephew (probably) has enough of a fastball/slider mix to at least get in the conversation as a potential relief prospect if he can get back on the mound. RHP Hunter Davis has similar stuff, but I like him a little less since he offers no lame Bob’s Burgers joke for me to make. RHP Ethan DeCaster is a ton of fun as a sidearmer with a long track record of success as a Creighton Bluejay. I can’t speak to his stuff (yet!), but he’s definitely a player worth investigating this spring.

Years of waiting for RHP/SS Ryan Day to break out might finally be paying off. The senior pitcher is off to a sizzling start so far in 2018. I’ve long been a believer in his athleticism (he was once a standout defender at short with as impressive an arm for the position as you’ll find) and his fastball/slider one-two punch is among my favorite of its kind in his class. Day’s fastball doesn’t have premium velocity at 87-92 (94 peak), but the movement he routinely gets on it makes it a plus pitch. His slider is more of a cut-slider and is a really tough pitch for opposing hitters to square up. At 82-85, it’s already an average offering with plus upside as he works to refine it. A fastball known as much for movement and command as velocity + a knockout secondary pitch + elite athleticism = an easy Baseball Draft Report FAVORITE.

SR LHP Chris McGrath (2018)
SR LHP Mitch Stallings (2018)
JR RHP Al Pesto (2018)
JR RHP Hunter Davis (2018)
rSR RHP Ethan DeCaster (2018)
SR RHP/SS Ryan Day (2018)
SR 3B/RHP Jack Labosky (2018)
JR OF Jimmy Herron (2018)
JR OF Griffin Conine (2018)
JR OF Kennie Taylor (2018)
JR SS/3B Zack Kone (2018)
JR C Chris Proctor (2018)
SR 2B/SS Max Miller (2018)
SR 2B/OF Peter Zyla (2018)
SR 1B/OF Michael Smicicklas (2018)
SO LHP Graeme Stinson (2019)
SO LHP Adam Laskey (2019)
SO RHP Coleman Williams (2019)
SO LHP Bill Chillari (2019)
SO RHP Cam Kovachik (2019)
SO RHP/1B Matt Mervis (2019)
SO C Chris Dutra (2019)
SO OF Chase Creek (2019)
SO 3B Erikson Nichols (2019)
FR RHP Bryce Jarvis (2020)
FR RHP Josh Nifong (2020)
FR OF Steve Mann (2020)
FR C/1B Mike Rothenberg (2020)
FR 1B Chris Crabtree (2020)
FR 1B Joey Loperfido (2020)

2018 MLB Draft Profile – Clemson

1B/OF Seth Beer is the obvious headliner. Lost in the all the nitpicking about his game in recent months is the fact that he’s a really, really good hitter. His “down” sophomore season was when he hit .298/.478/.606 with 64 BB/35 K in 218 AB. I think taking a step back and appreciating the fact that a year like that can in any way be considered disappointing is necessary to fully understand where Beer stands as a prospect. I’ve mentioned this before, but it feels as if there’s some backlash about Beer among draft writers for reasons that go beyond what occurs on the field. Beer is a popular name for baseball fans who typically don’t worry much about amateur ball, and I think certain segments of the draft writing world don’t like it when their corner of the internet gets exposed to mainstream fans. Scoffing at those who really only name Beer on name value — “he’s a nice college slugger, but nothing special as a pro prospect,” they say — gives them some of the gatekeeping credibility that so many baseball prospect types seem to crave.

Of course, the possibility that the narrative outlined above exists only in my head is real. If we pretend the premise above is totally wrong, then we can at least get back to talking about Beer as a baseball prospect only. That might be for the best as I probably should try to avoid burning any more bridges than I already have. The criticisms about Beer’s game come in two forms. There are the knocks on him as a hitter and athlete coming from those who don’t think he has the physical traits needed to continue to hit at a high level as he advances against better pitching. There are also those who focus on his limited utility as a fielder. Many look at him as either a bad first baseman or a bad left fielder with not a whole lot of hope of ever improving on that side of the ball. As with all criticism, I find that such remarks tend to reveal more about the critic than the subject.

It’s true that Beer may not be able to keep this up against better pitching. I’d argue that’s true of any amateur, but that’s something nobody wants to hear. I’ll also concede that the scouting points made against him (ordinary bat speed, more passive than patient, less than ideal swing mechanics, lack of athleticism) are all at least arguable in their own right. HOWEVER, I’d also argue — sacrilege alert! — that a lot of those factors are so overwhelmingly subjective in nature that separating one’s personal biases from what one sees on the field in real time is almost impossible. If you are predisposed to liking Beer, his bat speed is fine. If you’re not a fan, then it could be his fatal flaw. Same with his swing mechanics; most, but not all, of the scouts I know (admittedly younger and more pragmatic than the majority, at least in my view) subscribe to the belief that if the swing gets results, then it’s pretty enough. Some, however, can watch a guy hit .800 over a weekend series against three future pro starting pitchers and still walk away complaining about something he saw that he didn’t like. There’s obvious value in those who look at the finer points of the game and see patterns that help them make judgments on micro-level issues that have macro-level ramifications. But there’s also value in stepping back and looking at the big picture body of work a player has produced, and using that data to inform larger decisions. I don’t mean to say that only facets of the game that can be quantified have worth, but rather that the opinions of scouts and internet draft writing wannabes (like me!) should not be taken as gospel when the larger body of work suggests something different.

If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a big fan of Beer as an offensive talent. Ultimately, it’s important to realize that Beer isn’t a 17-year-old high school kid facing low-80s (at best) pitching on all-dirt infields at parks without fences. He’s a mature 21-year-old college star who has dominated all comers for two full seasons (and counting) while playing for one of the best programs in the country in an ultra-competitive conference. I can understand why Beer freaks some people out. The very livelihood of scouts depends on projection. With Beer, there’s a lot less to project than most early round draft prospects. He’s done it. He’s doing it now. And there’s little to suggest he won’t keep doing it in the pros. The extent to which he does it remains a fun open question, but I’m buying him as a strong enough all-around hitter (contact, power, and patience all grade out high, with no qualms at all about his quick bat and well-balanced swing) to profile as a regular (at least) at whatever position he settles in at. Speaking of…

The defensive issues are harder to defend. Best case scenario puts him as a playable left fielder. Medium case scenario gives you an average or so defensive first baseman. Worst case scenario leaves you with a below-average first baseman that you’d probably rather stick at designated hitter. When the good outcome is just okay and the bad outcome is extremely concerning, you’re in a tough spot. We all know how high the bar is for any hitter who lives on that end of the defensive spectrum. If you have any of the doubts about his bat as outlined above, then passing on Beer early in the draft is justifiable. I don’t, though I can admit that I’m more sure about his hopeful floor (average regular) than his ceiling.

Not for nothing, but I really like the Perfect Game comparison of Beer to Ben Grieve. I’ve sat here for an embarrassing amount of time trying to think of a better name, but I’ve got nothing. Leaner Lucas Duda? Lefty Jason Bay? Less athletic (and hopefully less allergic to lefties) Matt Joyce? Logan Morrison? As for his draft standing, well, if Brent Rooker could go 35th in last year’s draft, why can’t Beer do the same? I like Beer as a high-probability future regular with a better than average shot at being an above-average overall player with an outside chance at offensive stardom. The all-around package comes built in with a nice mix of certainty (in as much as any prospect is certain, so not really at all) and upside.

C/1B Chris Williams has long been a player where the scouting reports have outpaced his on-field production. I was guilty of buying in last year with the expectation being he’d show some signs of maturity as a hitter and continue to develop into a reliable defender behind the dish. The two things more or less happened as Williams cut down on his strikeouts (but didn’t exactly bump up his BB%) and cemented himself as a steady enough presence defensively to remain a catcher through the early part of his pro career. It’s early in the process, but it’s hard to imagine too many senior-sign catchers more attractive than Williams. One fun comp I recently got for Williams: Chase Vallot.

SS/2B Grayson Byrd still has some utility infielder possibility, though I admit that last year’s underwhelming output has those odds slipping. A slow start to his 2018 season certainly doesn’t help. On the other end of the spectrum there’s 3B Patrick Cromwell. Cromwell didn’t do much in his first shot at college draft eligibility, but now finds himself off to a scorching start as a senior. I really like him from a scouting standpoint as a true third base prospect in a class lacking in that area. Cromwell may not have a carrying tool, but he’s so damn well-rounded that it’s hard to find a reason not to like him. OF Drew Wharton is a similar player in that vein — above-average speed and arm, solid athlete, pro size — who had yet to do much as a collegiate player coming into this season. Like Cromwell, he’s off to a strong start in 2018 that could be enough to get him a shot as a senior-sign even without the type of track record of success typically associated with the type. It’s early, but I’m buying.

OF/C Robert Jolly is my kind of college hitter (53 BB/49 K and counting), but is limited enough otherwise (notably in the power department) that he’ll likely need to convince a team he can still catch to be a viable draft prospect. I’ve heard similar chatter surrounding OF/2B Jordan Greene, another versatile, athletic, and undersized college utility player who could benefit greatly from being thought as a primary catcher as a professional. If nothing else, I’d like to see Greene tried as a catcher because he’d instantly be one of the fastest backstops in pro ball. 3B/1B Justin Hawkins would see his stock rise if teams buy into him at the hot corner. He certainly has the arm and athleticism for it, so it becomes more of a matter of gaining consistency through repetition.

I love Ryley Gilliam, one of the draft’s clear top relief prospects. He’s always had a quality heater (88-94, up to 96) and a plus breaking ball (77-81 curve), and he’s now added a hard upper-80s cutter with legitimate plus upside. Two fun names have come up when talking Gilliam: Will Clinard from Vanderbilt and Scott Bittle from Ole Miss. Bittle is one of my all-time favorite draft prospects and a really intriguing recent “what if” among prospect obsessives, so hearing that named tied to Gilliam is pretty damn exciting.

RHP/1B Brooks Crawford has been a standout performer in his two plus years at Clemson. He’ll give you great size (6-5, 220), a solid fastball (87-92, 94 peak), and a pair of quality offspeed pitches (average 77-82 breaking ball with plus upside, above-average 80-85 changeup). Crawford also gets really high marks for his raw power dating back to his high school days. The overall package of stuff, size, and athleticism is easy to fall for, though I admit I have no feel whatsoever how Crawford is viewed within the industry. As appealing as he is to me, there’s been little to no buzz about him so far this spring. Maybe I’m off, but there seem to be a lot of ingredients for a backend starter/good middle reliever here.

LHP Jake Higginbotham may not be for every team as an small lefthander without premium velocity, but his breaking ball is good enough that some will overlook the rest. LHP Mitchell Miller needs innings, but the flashes of quality stuff (88-94 heat, 78-81 breaking ball with above-average upside, burgeoning 84-86 changeup) make him a name to know. Florida Atlantic transfer and Tommy John surgery survivor RHP Ryan Miller is a solid middle relief prospect who can hit the mid-90s with his fastball.

Looking ahead to future years is more exciting at some schools than others. There’s plenty to like at Clemson for 2018, but the next two classes are at least as much fun. Beyond the super obvious love for top prospect SS Logan Davidson everybody feels (myself included), I’m really excited about RHP Owen Griffith next year. Even beyond that, the 2020 class looks stacked. LHP/OF Sam Weatherly, RHP Spencer Strider, OF Kier Meredith, and OF Bryce Teodosio all have early round upside.

2018 MLB Draft Profile – Boston College

It feels that RHP Jacob Stevens has been around forever, but he’s still only a 22-year-old third-year junior. I guess getting drafted by my hometown team (Phillies) out of high school and then being an draft-eligible sophomore (and Yankees draft pick) has kept him in the draft conversation a bit more than your typical New England area college prospect. Or maybe it’s just because the ACC is typically the first conference I write about each year and Boston College is the first team alphabetically in the conference, so…here we are again. Whatever the reason, Stevens has been on the draft map for years now, though it looks as though he’s just a few months away from finally making his pro debut. Stevens’s sophomore season wasn’t as pretty as his freshman campaign, but his peripherals remained more or less the same. More importantly, by all accounts his stuff looked more like what his high school self threw. As a three-pitch righthander with strong fastball command and ideal pro size, Stevens seems ready to make the leap in 2018 both as a college performer and draft prospect. It’s hard to say where a potential backend starting pitcher/quality middle reliever like this fits on a big board without stacking it all up, but I’d have to think he’d get some top ten round consideration for teams that value certainty over ceiling.

RHP Brendan Spagnuolo‘s past as a Vanderbilt transfer gives him a little something extra to get excited about. I’ve long said that drafting from schools with sterling recruiting reputations — both by poaching their on-field talent and the names on their incoming recruiting sheets — would produce a damn interesting draft class. Even better for a lazy man like me, doing this would come with the added bonus of being a heck of a lot easier for your scouting staff. In fact, why have a scouting staff at all when you can outsource all the work to the Tim Corbin’s, Kevin O’Sullivan’s, and Mike Fox’s of the world? Think of the money you’d save! Jokes aside, there is something to the idea that the Vanderbilt (or Florida or North Carolina or whatever program sits atop your personal ranking) seal of approval means something. When a staff that has had so much success identifying quality high school prospects comes after you, then you might just have a little talent after all. Spagnuolo’s pedigree makes him intriguing, especially when tacked on to his existing solid fastball/breaking ball combination. Now he has to show it on the field.

I’m shocked that RHP Brian Rapp, who has decidedly done it on the field already, is back for his senior season and not in Florida or Arizona getting ready for his first full year in pro ball. As mentioned, the 2018 MLB Draft big board is but a twinkle in this author’s eye at this point but it doesn’t feel like a stretch at all to call Rapp one of my favorite senior-signs for 2018. Rapp has power stuff with a fastball that can reach the mid-90s and two breaking balls that flash above-average. The big thing holding him back (I’d assume) is his frame. No matter how smart baseball gets, the bias against short righthanders remains. Rapp’s power stuff doesn’t come in a body (5-11, 200 pounds) we typically associate with power stuff. That’s not a problem for me, but maybe that’s easier to say when you’re not in a position where you need to sell anybody else (besides the readers on a free website, of course) on who you like and dislike as a prospect. I’m happy to advocate for Rapp and players like him as long as I’m around.

RHP Thomas Lane is a big man (6-5, 255 pounds) with a hard sinking low-90s fastball. RHP John Witkowski has the size teams like and a sinker/slider combination with promise, but the results last year weren’t pretty. RHP Sean Hughes can crank it up to 94 MPH. Over/under on how many of these three get popped this June is 1.5. I lean towards the over, but I skew optimistic like that.

C Gian Martellini has his fans, but I think the powerful backstop fits best as a 2019 senior-sign. Catchers are always in demand, however, so it would be no surprise to see him selected way earlier than I’ll likely have him ranked. If he does wind up a senior-sign, then he’d be lucky to be as high priority a follow as present senior-sign extraordinaire 2B/3B Jake Palomaki. When it comes to senior-signs and mid-round value picks (who aren’t technically “senior-signs” because senior-signs, to me, have to be top ten round types who both have the talent to warrant such a draft spot AND save their drafting team money by taking underslot bonuses), it’s important to identify players with skill sets that can work in pro ball. Palomaki’s defensive versatility (he’s steady at all the infield spots) and patient approach at the plate give him a path to playing time at the next level. He’ll not a star and very likely not a starting caliber prospect, but what he does well gives him an honest floor as a useful minor league plug-and-play type with the upside as a utility infielder. Franchises need to fill out low-level minor league teams every summer. Getting a guy like Palomaki who can play multiple spots in the minors (thus helping out the development of others as his versatility could allow other more highly regarded prospects time to play their natural spots, not to mention other meaningful benefits as outlined in this very cool recent piece at Baseball America) while also being skilled enough to potentially develop into something a little more than just your friendly neighborhood org guy could be a very nice win for a team picking late. In any event, Palomaki is my favorite 2018 MLB Draft position player prospect on the Eagles.

JR RHP Jacob Stevens (2018)
JR RHP Thomas Lane (2018)
rJR RHP Brendan Spagnuolo (2018)
JR RHP John Witkowski (2018)
SR RHP Brian Rapp (2018)
SR LHP Carmen Giampetruzzi (2018)
JR LHP Dan Metzdorf (2018)
JR LHP Zach Stromberg (2018)
JR RHP Sean Hughes (2018)
JR RHP Jack Nelson (2018)
SR 1B/LHP Mitch Bigras (2018)
JR C Gian Martellini (2018)
SR 2B/3B Jake Palomaki (2018)
rJR OF Scott Braren (2018)
JR 2B/OF Jake Alu (2018)
SO RHP Matt Gill (2019)
rFR LHP Joey Walsh (2019)
SO OF/RHP Jack Cunningham (2019)
SO OF Dante Baldelli (2019)
SO SS Brian Dempsey (2019)
SO C Aaron Soucy (2019)
SO OF Jacob Yish (2019)
FR RHP Jack Hodgson (2020)
FR OF Chris Galland (2020)

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Fresh 2018 MLB Draft content coming soon…

2018 MLB Draft – HS Pitcher Follow List

So this one took me a little bit longer than expected.

We’re still about eight months away from the 2018 MLB Draft, but it’s never too early to start doing some homework on the best and the brightest prospects at each position. That’s exactly what I set out to do with what you see below. If there’s a prospect of note among prep pitchers that isn’t on this list, let me know.

LHP Antoine Kelly (Maine East HS, Illinois)
LHP Bailey Mantilla (American Heritage HS, Florida)
LHP Ben Cruikshank (Belleville East HS, Illinois)
LHP Ben Harris (Milton HS, Georgia)
LHP Benjamin Hyndman (De La Salle Collegiate HS, Michigan)
LHP Billy Price (Delbarton HS, New Jersey)
LHP Blake Peyton (El Capitan HS, California)
LHP Boston Mabeus (Coronado HS, Nevada)
LHP Brandon Deskins (Friendswood HS, Texas)
LHP Brandon Mitchell (Elsik HS, Texas)
LHP Brandon Neeck (Greeley HS, New York)
LHP Brandt Sundean (Jenkins HS, Florida)
LHP Brett Hansen (Foothill HS, California)
LHP Carter Lohman (Hamilton Southeastern HS, Indiana)
LHP Charles Cottongame (Perry County Central HS, Kentucky)
LHP Chris Gerard (Bergen Catholic HS, New Jersey)
LHP Christian MacLeod (Huntsville HS, Alabama)
LHP Christopher Goossens (Minnechaug HS, Massachusetts)
LHP Christopher Williams (River Ridge HS, Georgia)
LHP Daniel Livnat (The Weber School, Georgia)
LHP Dawson Sweatt (Starrs Mill HS, Georgia)
LHP Destin Dotson (Scotlandville HS, Louisiana)
LHP Drew Rom (Highlands HS, Kentucky)
LHP Duncan Lavine (Worcester Academy, Massachusetts)
LHP Easton McMurray (Liberty HS, California)
LHP Erik Tolman (El Toro HS, California)
LHP Evan Taylor (Florence HS, Alabama)
LHP Franklin Parra (Lindenhurst HS, New York)
LHP Garrett McDaniels (Pee Dee Academy, South Carolina)
LHP Garrett Wade (Hartselle HS, Alabama)
LHP Geoff Mosseau (Bedford HS, New Hampshire)
LHP Harrison Stovern (Tompkins HS, Texas)
LHP Hunter Milam (Russell HS, Alabama)
LHP Jack Pawloski (Lexington HS, Massachusetts)
LHP Jack Sellinger (Spring Valley Christian Academy, Nevada)
LHP Jacob Gilcrest (Center Grove HS, Indiana)
LHP Jacob Smith (Calera HS, Alabama)
LHP Jake Sweeney (Hobart HS, Indiana)
LHP Joe Miller (La Salle HS, Pennsylvania)
LHP Jonathan Childress (Forney HS, Texas)
LHP Jonathan Gates (Nature Coast Tech HS, Florida)
LHP Joseph Menefee (George Ranch HS, Texas)
LHP Josiah Sighler (Swansea HS, South Carolina)
LHP Julian Bosnic (Berkeley Prep, Florida)
LHP Justin Wrobleski (Sequoyah HS, Georgia)
LHP Kaleb Hill (Watson Chapel HS, Arkansas)
LHP Kevin Santana (Norco HS, California)
LHP Keyshawn Askew (McEachern HS, Georgia)
LHP Kyle Petri (Pompano Beach HS, Florida)
LHP Leonardo Palacios (Hayden HS, Arizona)
LHP Liam Henry (Park Hills HS, Missouri)
LHP Luke Bartnicki (Walton HS, Georgia)
LHP Luke Little (East Mecklenburg HS, North Carolina)
LHP Luke Rettig (Wilmington Christian HS, Pennsylvania)
LHP Mark McCabe (Naperville North HS, Illinois)
LHP Mason Ronan (Penn Cambria HS, Pennsylvania)
LHP Matt Voda (Central HS, Florida)
LHP Matthew Liberatore (Mountain Ridge HS, Arizona)
LHP Michael Esposito (The Gunnery, New York)
LHP Mitchell Parker (Manzano HS, New Mexico)
LHP Nate Lamb (Chesnee HS, South Carolina)
LHP Nathan Mapstone (Alexander HS, Georgia)
LHP Nicholas Parrish (Trinity HS, Kentucky)
LHP Patrick Wicklander (Valley Christian HS, California)
LHP Peyton Carson (Shawnee Heights HS, Kansas)
LHP Peyton Zachry (Anderson HS, Texas)
LHP Randy Abshier (Otay Ranch HS, California)
LHP Ricardo Rivera (Colegio De La Salle HS, Puerto Rico)
LHP Ryan DuBord (Old Saybrook HS, Connecticut)
LHP Ryan Kircher (Plum HS, Pennsylvania)
LHP Ryan Weathers (Loretto HS, Tennessee)
LHP Sasha Sneider (Thunderbird HS, Arizona)
LHP Steve Hajjar (Central Catholic HS, Massachusetts)
LHP Steven Sanchez (Mundelein HS, Illinois)
LHP Trace Moore (Nova HS, Florida)
LHP Trae Robertson (Columbia-Hickman HS, Missouri)
LHP Travis Shaff-Brown (Paloma Valley HS, California)
LHP Tyler Morrison (Oldham County HS, Kentucky)
LHP Will Sandy (Leesville Road HS, North Carolina)
LHP Will Shirah (Fannin County HS, Georgia)
LHP William Dennis (Blue Valley Northwest HS, Kansas)
LHP/1B Holden Laws (South Granville HS, North Carolina)
LHP/OF Caden Monke (Mt. Olive HS, Illinois)
LHP/OF Doug Nikhazy (West Orange HS, Florida)
LHP/OF Julian Boyd (St. John Bosco HS, California)
LHP/OF Pablo Garabitos (Lakewood Ranch HS, Florida)
RHP Michael Gerwitz (Southwest Florida Christian Academy, Florida)
RHP Aaron Eden (Norco HS, California)
RHP Aaron Shiflet (Mountain Brook HS, Alabama)
RHP Adam Kloffenstein (Magnolia HS, Texas)
RHP AG Yowell (Dripping Springs HS, Texas)
RHP Aidan Maldonado (Rosemount HS, Minnesota)
RHP AJ Stinson (Hattiesburg HS, Mississippi)
RHP Alaska Abney (Mill Creek HS, Georgia)
RHP Alberto Gonzalez (Alexander HS, Texas)
RHP Alex Franklin (Bloomington South HS, Indiana)
RHP Alex Havlicek (Indian Hills HS, New Jersey)
RHP Alex Hayes (Woodstock HS, Georgia)
RHP Alex Rao (Oxbridge Academy, Florida)
RHP Alex Williams (Redwood Christian HS, California)
RHP Andre Orselli (Lake Orion Community HS, Michigan)
RHP Andrew Curtin (Flowery Branch HS, Georgia)
RHP Andrew Funovits (Seneca Valley HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP Andrew Moore (Jackson HS, Georgia)
RHP Andrew Tillery (Glenwood HS, Georgia)
RHP Andrew Williamson (Christ’s Church Academy, Florida)
RHP Anthony Sasso (Colts Neck HS, New Jersey)
RHP Arlo Marynczak (Bethlehem Central HS, New York)
RHP Austin Becker (Big Walnut HS, Ohio)
RHP Austin Elliott (Cape Henlopen HS, Delaware)
RHP Bay Witcher (Loganville HS, Georgia)
RHP Ben Abram (Georgetown SS, Ontario)
RHP Ben Ferrer (South Forsyth HS, Georgia)
RHP Benjamin Specht (Evangelical Christian HS, Florida)
RHP Bennett Shoptaw (Little Rock Christian Academy, Arkansas)
RHP Blaise Sclafani (Souderton HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP Blake Burzell (Laguna Beach HS, California)
RHP Blake Dockery (Hickory Ridge HS, North Carolina)
RHP Bo Blessie (Lee HS, Texas)
RHP Bowen Bock (West Forsyth HS, Georgia)
RHP Braden Albright (West Forsyth HS, Georgia)
RHP Brady Devereux (Malvern Prep, Pennsylvania)
RHP Braedyn McLaughlin (Staley HS, Missouri)
RHP Brandon Birdsell (Conroe HS, Texas)
RHP Brandon Dumas (Ridgeview HS, Florida)
RHP Brandon Pettinati (Klein HS, Texas)
RHP Brandon Schrepf (Gulf Breeze HS, Florida)
RHP Brant Brown (Venice HS, Florida)
RHP Braxton Ashcraft (Robinson HS, Texas)
RHP Braxton Kelly (Johnson Central HS, Kentucky)
RHP Brayden Lloyd (Owasso HS, Oklahoma)
RHP Braydon Fisher (Clear Falls HS, Texas)
RHP Brendan Bell (Park Vista Community HS, Florida)
RHP Brendan Koester (Eastern HS, Kentucky)
RHP Brett Kerry (Wesleyan Christian Academy, North Carolina)
RHP Brian Janetka (Souderton HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP Brock Helverson (Perkiomen Valley HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP Bryce Jackson (Abbeville HS, North Carolina)
RHP Cade Middleton (Bishop Verot HS, Florida)
RHP Camden Sewell (Cleveland HS, Tennessee)
RHP Carlos Lequerica (Terra Environmental Research Institute, Florida)
RHP Carlos Tumpkin (Brother Rice HS, Michigan)
RHP Carson King (Estero HS, Florida)
RHP Carson Lambert (Newbury Park HS, California)
RHP Chance Denson (West Lauderdale HS, Mississippi)
RHP Chance Huff (Niceville HS, Florida)
RHP Chance Roach (Nazareth HS, Illinois)
RHP Chandler Arnold (Horn HS, Texas)
RHP Chandler Champlain (Santa Margarita Catholic HS, California)
RHP Charles Wood (Fenwick HS, Illinois)
RHP Chase Costello (Pompano Beach HS, Florida)
RHP Chase Webster (Mesquite HS, Arizona)
RHP Christopher Murdock (The Hun School, New Jersey)
RHP Clayton Nettleton (Davenport West HS, Iowa)
RHP Cody Jensen (Jesuit HS, California)
RHP Colby Gomes (Millward West HS, Nebraska)
RHP Cole Ayers (Loveland HS, Ohio)
RHP Cole Garrett (Kennesaw Mountain HS, Georgia)
RHP Cole Henry (Florence HS, Alabama)
RHP Cole Wilcox (Heritage HS, Georgia)
RHP Cole Winn (Orange Lutheran HS, California)
RHP Collin Camarigg (Gulf Coast HS, Florida)
RHP Collin Foster (Wilson HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP Conner Noland (Greenwood HS, Arkansas)
RHP Connor Crotty (San Juan Hills HS, California)
RHP Connor Shamblin (Briarcrest Christian HS, Tennessee)
RHP Connor Van Scoyoc (Jefferson HS, Iowa)
RHP Cooper Davidson (South Forsyth HS, Georgia)
RHP Cooper Stinson (Norcross HS, Georgia)
RHP Corbitt Cimadevilla (Northgate HS, Georgia)
RHP Cort Roedig (Phillips HS, Florida)
RHP Coy Cobb (Katy HS, Texas)
RHP Cristian Sanchez (Centreville HS, Virginia)
RHP Dalton Baker (Sebring HS, Florida)
RHP Dalton Chandler (Lamar HS, Colorado)
RHP Dalton Mall (Shawnee Mission East HS, Kansas)
RHP Dalton Wood (Second Baptist HS, Texas)
RHP Dan Kirwin (North Penn HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP Daniel Lloyd (Summerville HS, South Carolina)
RHP Daniel Ouderkirk (Spotswood HS, Virginia)
RHP Danny Garcia (West Broward HS, Florida)
RHP David Erickson (Cape Henlopen HS, Delaware)
RHP David Luethje (Vero Beach HS, Florida)
RHP David Reckers (Aptos HS, California)
RHP David Roderick (Minnetonka HS, Minnesota)
RHP Dawson Magar (Donegal HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP Dennis Boatman (Woodcreek HS, California)
RHP Derrick Cherry (Goose Creek Memorial HS, Texas)
RHP Dillon Abell (Pompano Beach HS, Florida)
RHP Dillon Nowicki (Stoughton HS, Wisconsin)
RHP DJ Ackley (Poway HS, California)
RHP Dominic Pipkin (Pinole Valley HS, California)
RHP Drew Hayes (Arapahoe HS, Colorado)
RHP Duncan Davitt (Indianola HS, Iowa)
RHP Dylan Kelley (Branford HS, Florida)
RHP Dylan Smith (Stafford HS, Texas)
RHP Elijah Pleasants (Rossview HS, Tennessee)
RHP Ethan Axman (Bishop Miege HS, Kansas)
RHP Ethan Blinka (Caldwell HS, Texas)
RHP Ethan Brodsky (Trabuco Hills HS, California)
RHP Ethan Christianson (Rocky Mountain HS, Colorado)
RHP Ethan Clough (Temecula Valley HS, California)
RHP Ethan Collick (Saline HS, Michigan)
RHP Ethan Hankins (Forsyth Central HS, Georgia)
RHP Ethan Reed (Aliso Niguel HS, California)
RHP Ethan Smith (Mount Juliet HS, Tennessee)
RHP Ethan Stewart (Eau Gallie HS, Florida)
RHP Ethan Texiera (Millbury HS, Massachusetts)
RHP Franco Aleman (Alonso HS, Florida)
RHP Gabe Bierman (Jeffersonville HS, Indiana)
RHP Gabe Partridge (Carrollwood Day HS, Florida)
RHP Gabriel Kurtzhals (Boswell HS, Texas)
RHP Gage Edwards (Jordan HS, Utah)
RHP Garrett Glover (Buford HS, Georgia)
RHP Garrison Price (Powell HS, Tennessee)
RHP George Arias (Tucson Magnet HS, Arizona)
RHP Graham Firoved (First Colonial HS, Virginia)
RHP Greg Strickland (Millbrook HS, North Carolina)
RHP Griffin Gilbert (Concord HS, New Hampshire)
RHP Gunnar Hoglund (Dayspring Christian Academy, Florida)
RHP Gus Radel (Sioux Falls Roosevelt HS, South Dakota)
RHP Harrison Haley (Germantown HS, Mississippi)
RHP Hayden Thomas (Rouse HS, Texas)
RHP Hunter Dreves (Highlands HS, Kentucky)
RHP Hunter Goodwin (Worth County HS, Georgia)
RHP Hunter Rigsby (Rockcastle County HS, Kentucky)
RHP Ian Landreneau (John Curtis Christian HS, Louisiana)
RHP Ian Mejia (Sahuarita HS, Arizona)
RHP Ian Villers (Northgate HS, California)
RHP Isaac Dirker (Howards Grove HS, Wisconsin)
RHP Israel Gutierrez (Palo Verde HS, Nevada)
RHP Jack Anderson (Tampa Jesuit HS, Florida)
RHP Jack Billings (St. Augustine Prep, New Jersey)
RHP Jack Carey (St. Peter’s Prep, New Jersey)
RHP Jack Friedman (Paideia HS, Georgia)
RHP Jack Gowen (Charlton County HS, Georgia)
RHP Jack Metzger (Fredericksburg HS, Texas)
RHP Jack Perkins (Kokomo HS, Indiana)
RHP Jack Steele (Worcester Academy, Massachusetts)
RHP Jack Wolgast (Rocky Bayou Christian HS, Florida)
RHP Jackson Spiller (Flagler-Palm Coast HS, Florida)
RHP Jacob Gilliland (Next Level Academy, Mississippi)
RHP Jacob Hardney (Gonzaga HS, Virginia)
RHP Jacob Pfennigs (Post Falls HS, Idaho)
RHP Jacob Seipenko (Salem HS, Michigan)
RHP Jaden Hill (Ashdown HS, Arkansas)
RHP Jake Friedman (Scotch Plains Fanwood HS, New Jersey)
RHP Jalon Long (Marbury HS, Alabama)
RHP Jarrett Blunt (Ottumwa HS, Iowa)
RHP Jason Hudak (Southlake Christian Academy, North Carolina)
RHP Javan Smitherman (Kilgore HS, Texas)
RHP Jaydon Berry (Henry County HS, Kentucky)
RHP Jayson Schroeder (Juanita HS, Washington)
RHP Jesse Bergin (Harvard-Westlake HS, California)
RHP Joey Bock (Burroughs HS, Missouri)
RHP Joey Butler (O’Dea HS, Washington)
RHP John MacDonald (Boston College HS, Massachusetts)
RHP Jonathan Acosta
RHP Jonathan Alexander (Scotts Hill HS, Tennessee)
RHP Jonathan Edwards (Eagle’s Landing HS, Georgia)
RHP Jordan Rodriguez (Flanagan HS, Florida)
RHP Jorge Zambrano (Trinity Christian Academy, Florida)
RHP Joseph Ammirato (Bellarmine Prep, California)
RHP Joseph Sprake (Middletown South HS, New Jersey)
RHP Josh Cordova (Antioch HS, California)
RHP Josh Dotson (AC Reynolds HS, North Carolina)
RHP Josh Mollerus (Bellarmine Prep, California)
RHP Josh Weber (Braden River HS, Florida)
RHP JT Ginn (Brandon HS, Mississippi)
RHP Juan Teixeira (Somerset Academy, Florida)
RHP Julian Tristan (Northwood HS, California)
RHP Justice Paraiso-Caceres (Berkeley HS, California)
RHP Justin Jarvis (Mooresville HS, North Carolina)
RHP Justin Rivero (Palm Beach Central HS, Florida)
RHP Justin Ruble (Tomball Memorial HS, Texas)
RHP Justin Stewart (Bartow HS, Florida)
RHP Justin Tucker (Hazen HS, Washington)
RHP Kain Kiser (East Surry HS, North Carolina)
RHP Kerry Wright (Montverde Academy, Florida)
RHP Kolby Kubichek (Bryan HS, Texas)
RHP Kris Pirozzi (Lampeter-Strasburg HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP Krishna Raj (Palm Beach Central HS, Florida)
RHP Kumar Rocker (North Oconee HS, Georgia)
RHP Kyle Hall (Coronado HS, Nevada)
RHP Kyle Iarrobino (Key West HS, Florida)
RHP Kyle Mott (Fuquay-Varina HS, North Carolina)
RHP Kyle Rich (Keller HS, Texas)
RHP Landon Dorman (New Diana HS, Texas)
RHP Landon Marceaux (Destrehan HS, Louisiana)
RHP Lane Flamm (New Richmond HS, Ohio)
RHP Levi Kelly (IMG Academy, Florida)
RHP Lineras Torres (Beach HS, New York)
RHP Logan Jarosz (Eastern Alamance HS, North Carolina)
RHP Logan Whitaker (Ledford HS, North Carolina)
RHP Logan Wynalda (Hudsonville HS, Michigan)
RHP Luke Lamm (Plainfield East HS, Illinois)
RHP Luke Murphy (East Robertson HS, Tennessee)
RHP Luke Patzner (Urbandale HS, Iowa)
RHP Luke Tillman (Archbishop Mitty HS, California)
RHP Luke Ziegler (Valor Christian HS, Colorado)
RHP Lyon Richardson (Jensen Beach HS, Florida)
RHP Makenzie Stills (Fayette County HS, Georgia)
RHP Marcelo Perez (Alexander HS, Texas)
RHP Marcus Eusebio (Passaic HS, New Jersey)
RHP Mario Vargas (Burlingame HS, California)
RHP Marty Neal (Garfield HS, Virginia)
RHP Mason Bryant (McCallum HS, Texas)
RHP Mason Englert (Forney HS, Texas)
RHP Mason Meeks (Lake Dallas HS, Texas)
RHP Mason Pelio (Rancho Bernardo HS, California)
RHP Matt Rudis (Madisonville HS, Texas)
RHP Matt Taylor (Dobyns-Bennett HS, Tennessee)
RHP Matthew Dickey (North Florida Christian HS, Florida)
RHP Matthew Semon (Don Bosco Prep, New York)
RHP Matthew Wyatt Beddow (IMG Academy, Florida)
RHP Max Alba (Franklin HS, Wisconsin)
RHP Micah Dallas (Texas)
RHP Michael Bacica (Windermere Prep, Florida)
RHP Michael Burrows (Waterford HS, Connecticut)
RHP Michael Caldwell (Dominion Christian HS, Georgia)
RHP Michael Knorr (Carlsbad HS, California)
RHP Michael Materetsky (Somerset Academy, Florida)
RHP Mike Doherty (Middlesex HS, Massachusetts)
RHP Mike Vasil (Boston College HS, Massachusetts)
RHP Mitch Megias (Gahanna Lincoln HS, Ohio)
RHP Nathan Price (Starrs Mill HS, Georgia)
RHP Nic McCay (Carlisle HS, Iowa)
RHP Nicholas Daniels (East Lake HS, Florida)
RHP Nick Hohenstein (Christian Brothers Academy, New Jersey)
RHP Nick Love (Yulee HS, Florida)
RHP Nick Nastrini (Cathedral Catholic HS, California)
RHP Nick Pogue (Eau Gallie HS, Florida)
RHP Nick Pogue (Eau Gallie HS, Florida)
RHP Nick Swanson (Mt. Paran Christian HS, Georgia)
RHP Nick Thwaits (Fort Recovery HS, Ohio)
RHP Nicolas Yglesia-Rivero (Crockett HS, Texas)
RHP Noah Owen (Cathedral Catholic HS, California)
RHP Nolan Daniel (West Laurens HS, Georgia)
RHP Owen Langan (Xaverian Brothers HS, Massachusetts)
RHP Owen Meaney (St. Thomas HS, Texas)
RHP Owen White (Carson HS, North Carolina)
RHP Peyton Maple (Great Oak HS, California)
RHP Phillip Dull (Chestnut Ridge HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP Reese Olson (North Hall HS, Georgia)
RHP Regi Grace (Madison Central HS, Mississippi)
RHP Rhett Daniel (Carrollton HS, Georgia)
RHP Richie Holetz (Edina HS, Minnesota)
RHP Ricky Mineo (Slippery Rock HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP Riley Teevens (Thayer Academy, Massachusetts)
RHP Riley Watkins (Chelsea HS, Alabama)
RHP Robert Wegielnik (Cypress Lake HS, Florida)
RHP Ryan Bergert (Glenoak HS, Ohio)
RHP Ryan Cusick (Lincoln-Sudbury Regional HS, Massachusetts)
RHP Ryan Segner (Fredericksburg HS, Texas)
RHP Ryan Wimbush (Dwyer HS, Florida)
RHP Rye Gunter (Coppell HS, Texas)
RHP Sam Knowlton (Corner HS, Alabama)
RHP Sean Burke (St. John’s HS, Maryland)
RHP Sen Kenneally (Phillips Exeter HS, North Carolina)
RHP Shane Smith (Governor Dummer Academy, Massachusetts)
RHP Simen Restad (Prior Lake HS, Minnesota)
RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson, (Kempner HS, Texas)
RHP Slade Cecconi (Trinity Prep HS, Florida)
RHP Spencer Arrighetti (Cinco Ranch HS, Texas)
RHP Spencer Cochran (Prosper HS, Texas)
RHP Spencer Oliver (Hand HS, Connecticut)
RHP Stephen Pelli (St. Mary’s HS, Maryland)
RHP Steven Colon (Sarasota HS, Florida)
RHP Steven Walker (Milton Academy, Massachusetts)
RHP TA Crumbaugh (Franklin County HS, Kentucky)
RHP Tony Bullard (North HS, California)
RHP Travis Hester (College Station HS, Texas)
RHP Travis Lane (Phillips Academy, Massachusetts)
RHP Trevor Rosenlicht (Commack HS, New York)
RHP Trey Bostic (Midlothian Heritage HS, Texas)
RHP Trey Robinson (Dacula HS, Georgia)
RHP Tristan McDonough (Decatur HS, Maryland)
RHP Tristen Roehrich (West Fargo HS, North Dakota)
RHP Tristin Lively (Las Cruces HS, New Mexico)
RHP Ty Madden (Cypress Ranch HS, Texas)
RHP Ty Rybarczyk (Hall HS, Illinois)
RHP Tyler Burchett (Red Lion Area HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP Tyler Guilfoil (Lafayette HS, Kentucky)
RHP Tyler Ingram (Copperas Cove HS, Texas)
RHP Tyler Jarrett (Tunstall HS, Virginia)
RHP Tyler Lewis (West Des Moines HS, Iowa)
RHP Tyler Olah (Lawton Chiles HS, Florida)
RHP Tyler Ras (Middletown North HS, New Jersey)
RHP Tyler Thornton (Santa Fe Christian HS, California)
RHP Tyler Woessner (Pinnacle HS, Arizona)
RHP Tyrin Pacheco (Hobbs HS, New Mexico)
RHP Victor Vodnik (Rialto HS, California)
RHP Wade Beasley (Hortio HS, Arkansas)
RHP Wesley Sweatt (Northwestern HS, South Carolina)
RHP Will Christophersen (Pleasant Valley HS, Iowa)
RHP Will Gambino (Paul VI Catholic HS, New Jersey)
RHP Will Glock (Loyola-Blakefield HS, Maryland)
RHP Will Ohme (Newsome HS, Florida)
RHP Will Ripoll (John Curtis Christian HS, Louisiana)
RHP William Duncan (Richardson HS, Texas)
RHP William Pawlosky (Mercer Island HS, Washington)
RHP Wyatt Olds (McLoud HS, Oklahoma)
RHP Yeankarlos Lleras (Leadership Christian Academy, Puerto Rico)
RHP Yomil Maysonet (PJ Educational HS, Puerto Rico)
RHP Zach Messinger (Castle HS, Indiana)
RHP Zach Stephenson (Cypress Falls HS, Texas)
RHP Zach Young (Sebastian River HS, Florida)
RHP Zach Zdimal (Notre Dame Prep, Arizona)
RHP Zack Hunsicker (Howell HS, Missouri)
RHP/1B Angel Tiburcio (Trinity Christian HS, Florida)
RHP/1B Christian Scott (Calvary Christian Academy, Florida)
RHP/1B Grant Holman (Eastlake HS, California)
RHP/1B Grayson Rodriguez (Central Heights HS, Texas)
RHP/1B Trae Harmon (Somerset HS, Kentucky)
RHP/1B Troy Balko (Sunrise Mountain HS, Arizona)
RHP/1B Zachary Nash (Choctawhatchee HS, Florida)
RHP/2B William Bowdoin (Glynn Academy, Georgia)
RHP/3B Bayden Root (Kokomo HS, Indiana)
RHP/3B Carter Raffield (Bleckley County HS, Georgia)
RHP/3B Colten Panaranto (Roncalli HS, Indiana)
RHP/3B Davis Sharpe (Mill Creek HS, Georgia)
RHP/3B Francois Castillo (Clemente Community Academy, Illinois)
RHP/3B Jaden Hill (Ashdown HS, Arkansas)
RHP/3B Jake Lufft (Blue Springs HS, Missouri)
RHP/3B Lane McMaster (Hargrave HS, Texas)
RHP/3B Owen Sharts (Simi Valley HS, California)
RHP/3B Roberto Pena (Flanagan HS, Florida)
RHP/3B Ryan Miller (Fleetwood HS, Pennsylvania)
RHP/3B Scott Youngbrandt (Andrew HS, Illinois)
RHP/C Caleb Lanoux (Fleming Island HS, Georgia)
RHP/C Cameron Johnson (Copperas Cove HS, Texas)
RHP/C Dawson Woods (Corsica HS, Texas)
RHP/C Mason Denaburg (Merritt Island HS, Florida)
RHP/C Tyler Burton (Labelle HS, Florida)
RHP/OF Alejandro Diaz De Villegas (Coral Reef HS, Florida)
RHP/OF Carson Crowe (American Christian Academy, Alabama)
RHP/OF Joseph Charles (First Academy, Florida)
RHP/OF Matthew Boase (Tomball Memorial HS, Texas)
RHP/OF Peyton Bourque (North Fort Myers HS, Florida)
RHP/OF Preston Schumacher (Timber Creek HS, Florida)
RHP/OF Ryan Bush (Barnegat HS, New Jersey)
RHP/SS Chase Wilkerson (Headland HS, Alabama)
RHP/SS Connor Norby (East Forsyth HS, North Carolina)
RHP/SS Hueston Morrill (Suwannee HS, Florida)
RHP/SS Jacob Maton (Glenwood HS, Illinois)
RHP/SS Jake Moberg (Vista Murrieta HS, California)
RHP/SS John Kelly (Rutherford HS, New Jersey)
RHP/SS Kam’Ron Emmanuel Mays-Hunt (Bentonville HS, Arkansas)
RHP/SS Kevin Madden (St. Paul’s HS, Maryland)
RHP/SS Levi Shuck (Canterbury HS, Florida)
RHP/SS Logan Clayton (New Smyrna Beach HS, Florida)
RHP/SS Mason Nadolney (Minnetonka HS, Minnesota)
RHP/SS Mateo Gil (Timber Creek HS, Texas)
RHP/SS Seth Halvorsen (Heritage Christian Academy, Minnesota)
RHP/SS Spencer Schwellenbach (Heritage HS, Michigan)
RHP/SS Sterling Hayes (Parker HS, California)
RHP/SS Tanner Kohlhepp (Memorial HS, Wisconsin)
RHP/SS Zack Prajzner (San Marcos HS, California)

2018 MLB Draft – HS Outfielder Follow List

We’re still about eight months away from the 2018 MLB Draft, but it’s never too early to start doing some homework on the best and the brightest prospects at each position. That’s exactly what I set out to do with what you see below. If there’s a prospect of note among prep outfielder that isn’t on this list, let me know.

OF Adarius Myers (Seminary HS, Mississippi)
OF Alek Thomas (Mount Carmel HS, Illinois)
OF Anderson Needham (Midland Christian HS, Texas)
OF Andrew Lee (Florida)
OF Andrew Mathis (Jefferson HS, Florida)
OF Anthony Angelety (Our Lady of Mercy Catholic HS, Georgia)
OF Anthony Vilar (Westminster Christian HS, Florida)
OF Basiel Williams (Ponchatoula HS, Louisiana)
OF Ben Dekruyf (Urbandale HS, Iowa)
OF Benjamin Terry (Crossroads HS, California)
OF Brandon Foley (Pitman HS, New Jersey)
OF Brennen Davis (Basha HS, Arizona)
OF Brennen Oxford (Oyster River HS, New Hampshire)
OF Brett Steel (Cardinal Newman HS, Florida)
OF Brett Steinle (Seneca Valley HS, Pennsylvania)
OF Bryan Montanez (Central Pointe Christian HS, Florida)
OF Cabera Weaver (South Gwinnett HS, Georgia)
OF Cade Fergus (St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Florida)
OF Caleb McRoy (Wakefield HS, North Carolina)
OF Chase Hanson (Edison HS, California)
OF Chase Roberts (Lugoff HS, South Carolina)
OF Christian Franklin (Rockhurst HS, Missouri)
OF Christian Silvero-Jones (Arendell Parrott Academy, North Carolina)
OF Christopher Ruckdeschel (St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Florida)
OF Cody Wagner (Magnolia HS, Texas)
OF Cole Roederer (Hart HS, California)
OF Corey Hall (Champaign Centennial, Illinois)
OF Corey Rosier (Riverdale Baptist HS, Maryland)
OF Dakoda Grove (The First Academy, Florida)
OF Danny Cunningham (Canterbury HS, Florida)
OF Denzel Clark (Everest Academy, Ontario)
OF Dexter Jordan (Hattiesburg HS, Mississippi)
OF Drew Wilkerson (Fleming Island HS, Florida)
OF Dustin Garcia (South Kitsap HS, Washington)
OF Elijah Cabell (TNXL Academy, Florida)
OF Eric Kennedy (Calvary Christian HS, Florida)
OF Erick Rivera (Manuela Toro Moris HS, Puerto Rico)
OF Ethan Wilson (Andalusia HS, Alabama)
OF Evan Crawford (Pleasant Valley HS, Iowa)
OF Evan Jordan (Champaign Centennial, Illinois)
OF Garrison Price (Buford HS, Georgia)
OF George Gines (Pittsford-Mendon HS, New York)
OF Gerald Nervis (San Leandro HS, California)
OF Giovanni DiGiacomo (Canterbury HS, Florida)
OF Grant Burton (Mater Dei HS, California)
OF Grant Richardson (Bishop Dwenger HS, Indiana)
OF Gustavo Lino (Coral Glades HS, Florida)
OF Henry Camacho (Atherton HS, Kentucky)
OF Hudson Haskin (Avon Old Farms HS, Connecticut)
OF Isaiah Thomas (The Benjamin School, Florida)
OF Jack McCluskey (The Benjamin School, Florida)
OF Jack Zyska (Seton Hall Prep, New Jersey)
OF Jacob Allred (Cathedral Catholic HS, California)
OF Jacob Pitts (Whitfield Academy, Georgia)
OF Jake Goddard (Cathedral Catholic HS, California)
OF Jake McLean (Coronado HS, Nevada)
OF James Gamble (Greenway HS, Arizona)
OF Jared Hart (Lassiter HS, Georgia)
OF Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha West HS, Wisconsin)
OF Jarrett Hall (Cardinal Gibbons HS, Florida)
OF Jason Sharman (Desert Oasis HS, Nevada)
OF Joe Gray (Hattiesburg HS, Mississippi)
OF John Roberson (Massaponax HS, Virginia)
OF Jordan Lala (Steinbrenner HS, Florida)
OF Jordan Starkes (Berry Academy, North Carolina)
OF Josh Hall (Homewood HS, Alabama)
OF Josh Haygood (Baker County HS, Florida)
OF Jun Park (Pioneer HS, California)
OF Justice Thompson (King HS, Florida)
OF Justin Josey (Southwest Dekalb HS, Georgia)
OF Kendall Foster (Prosper HS, Texas)
OF Kendrick Calileo (The First Academy, Florida)
OF Kevin Ferrer (Stonington HS, Connecticut)
OF Kingston Liniak (Mission Hills HS, California)
OF Korey Holland (Langham Creek HS, Texas)
OF Kris Armstrong (The Benjamin School, Florida)
OF Kyle Hess (Donegal HS, Pennsylvania)
OF Levi Usher (Prairie HS, Iowa)
OF Logan O’Neil (Westminster Academy, Florida)
OF Luis Garcia (Eastside HS, New Jersey)
OF Marcus Gholston (Valparaiso HS, Indiana)
OF Markell Graham (Sandy Creek HS, Georgia)
OF Max Dineen (Pennsville Memorial HS, New Jersey)
OF Max Hundley (Northwood HS, North Carolina)
OF Max Rippl (Southwest Florida Christian Academy, Florida)
OF Micah Pietila-Wiggs (Eastlake HS, California)
OF Michael Brewer (Nelson HS, Indiana)
OF Michael Christian Herrera (Rio Mesa HS, California)
OF Michael Elrod (Somerset Academy, Florida)
OF Michael Pisacreta (Lassiter HS, Georgia)
OF Miguel Lavin (Trinity Christian Academy, Florida)
OF Miko Rodriguez (Forest Hills Central HS, Michigan)
OF Nathan Smothers (Lakeland Christian HS, Florida)
OF Nicholas Biddison (St. Christopher’s HS, Virginia)
OF Nick Decker (Seneca HS, New Jersey)
OF Nick Lucky (Cocalico HS, Pennsylvania)
OF Nick O’Day (Bishop Shanahan HS, Pennsylvania)
OF Nick Schnell (Roncalli HS, Indiana)
OF Nik Pry (Pinecrest HS, North Carolina)
OF Noah Dickerson (TNXL Academy, Florida)
OF Noah Williamson (Palo Verde HS, Nevada)
OF Parker Meadows (Grayson HS, Georgia)
OF PJ Hilson (Nettleton HS, Arkansas)
OF Porter Brown (Reagan HS, Texas)
OF Preston Hartsell (Corona Del Mar HS, California)
OF Ricky Shimko (Stoneman Douglas HS, Florida)
OF Robby Martin (Jefferson HS, Florida)
OF Ryan Holgate (Davis HS, California)
OF Ryan Miller (The Westminster Schools, Georgia)
OF Ryder Green (Knoxville Christian HS, Tennessee)
OF Sam Zayicek (Lake Norman HS, North Carolina)
OF Sean Power (Thousand Oaks HS, California)
OF Tanner Green (Loganville HS, Georgia)
OF TJ Reeves (Hueytown HS, Alabama)
OF Tre’ Jones (Jersey Village HS, Texas)
OF Trejen Fox-Birdwell (Rockledge HS, Florida)
OF Trevor Cadd (Martin Luther King HS, California)
OF Trevor Candelaria (Montverde Academy, Colorado)
OF Trey Harris (Little Rock Christian Academy, Arkansas)
OF Turner Shultz (Bishop Kenny HS, Florida)
OF Ty King Richards (Brookwood HS, Georgia)
OF Tyler Casagrande (Riverside HS, Virginia)
OF Tyler Evans (Flanagan HS, Florida)
OF Vinny Tosti (Cardinal Newman HS, California)
OF Wade Chandler (Middle Creek HS, North Carolina)
OF Will Arnold (St. Pius X Catholic HS, Georgia)
OF Willie Joe Garry (Pascagoula HS, Mississippi)
OF Xavier Bussey (Garner HS, North Carolina)
OF/1B Justin Olson (Pine Creek HS, Colorado)
OF/2B Jordyn Adams (Green Hope HS, North Carolina)
OF/2B Rakim Jones (Grace Christian HS, Louisiana)
OF/3B Carson Weekley (Berkeley Prep, Florida)
OF/C Adrian Del Valle (Glenbard West HS, Illinois)
OF/C Ben McCabe (Sarasota HS, Florida)
OF/LHP Brady Allen (Jenkins HS, Florida)
OF/LHP Brandon Boissere (Woodcrest Christian HS, California)
OF/LHP Connor Scott (Plant HS, Florida)
OF/LHP Mike Siani (Penn Charter, Pennsylvania)
OF/RHP Bennett Laurence (Rockwall HS, Texas)
OF/RHP Hunter Bratek (Creekside HS, Florida)
OF/RHP Jack Herman (Eastern HS, New Jersey)
OF/RHP Kevin Casey (The King’s Academy, Florida)
OF/RHP Patrick Hicks (Santa Fe Catholic HS, Florida)
OF/RHP Reese Trahey (Brother Rice HS, Michigan)
OF/RHP Taj Bradley (Redan HS, Georgia)
OF/RHP Tanner O’Tremba (Cherry Creek HS, Colorado)
OF/RHP William English (Western International HS, Michigan)
OF/SS Max Marusak (Amarillo HS, Texas)

2018 MLB Draft – HS Third Basemen Follow List

We’re still about eight months away from the 2018 MLB Draft, but it’s never too early to start doing some homework on the best and the brightest prospects at each position. That’s exactly what I set out to do with what you see below. If there’s a prospect of note among prep third basemen that isn’t on this list, let me know.

  • 3B Alex Binelas (Oak Creek HS, Wisconsin)
  • 3B Alex Bruce (Hughes Spring HS, Texas)
  • 3B Andre James (Sarasota HS, Florida)
  • 3B Blake Buckley (TNXL Academy, Florida)
  • 3B Caleb Flores (Frostproof HS, Texas)
  • 3B Cole Rasbury (Bellville HS, Texas)
  • 3B Cory Acton (American Heritage HS, Florida)
  • 3B Garett Wallace (Lake Mary HS, Florida)
  • 3B Hunter Watson (Pottsboro HS, Texas)
  • 3B Jack Filby (McClatchy HS, California)
  • 3B Jack Szachacz (Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, Florida)
  • 3B Jared McClain (McKinney North HS, Texas)
  • 3B Joe Muzio (St. John’s Prep, Massachusetts)
  • 3B Jonathan Clark (Mission Hills HS, California)
  • 3B Jose Rivera (Riverdale Baptist HS, Maryland)
  • 3B Justyn-Henry Malloy (St. Joseph’s Regional HS, New Jersey)
  • 3B Nicholas Toney (Royal Palm Beach HS, Florida)
  • 3B Nolan Gorman (Sandra Day O’Connor HS, Arizona)
  • 3B Ryan Archibald (Carroll HS, Maryland)
  • 3B Sawyer Chesley (Orange Lutheran HS, California)
  • 3B Shelby Becker (Giddings HS, Texas)
  • 3B/1B Bryce Bush (De La Salle Collegiate HS, Michigan)
  • 3B/1B Duncan Pastore (Wharton HS, Florida)
  • 3B/1B Jamarcus Lyons (King HS, Florida)
  • 3B/1B Michael Shcharber (Villa Park HS, California)
  • 3B/1B Thomas Miller (Nolan Catholic HS, Texas)
  • 3B/2B Bryce Reagan (Souhegan Coop HS, New Hampshire)
  • 3B/2B Jared Poland (Cathedral HS, Indiana)
  • 3B/OF Cole Phillips (Trion HS, Georgia)
  • 3B/OF Michael Wein (Kings Ridge HS, Georgia)
  • 3B/OF Paul Komistek (Knoxville HS, Tennessee)
  • 3B/OF Zach Goberville (North Broward Prep, Florida)
  • 3B/RHP Cade Hungate (Abingdon HS, Virginia)
  • 3B/RHP Corey King (Arabia Mountain HS, Georgia)
  • 3B/RHP Jack Dragum (Hanover HS, Virginia)
  • 3B/RHP Nick Northcut (Mason HS, Ohio)
  • 3B/SS Brandon Howlett (Jenkins HS, Florida)
  • 3B/SS Jacob Wilk (Salado HS, Texas)
  • 3B/SS Jordan Groshans (Magnolia HS, Texas)
  • 3B/SS Matthew McDade (Cape Coral HS, Florida)
  • 3B/SS Ricky Martinez (St. Francis HS, California)
  • 3B/SS Tim Borden (Our Lady of Providence HS, Indiana)
  • 3B/SS Zach Dezenzo (Marlington HS, Ohio)

2018 MLB Draft – HS Middle Infield Follow List

We’re still about eight months away from the 2018 MLB Draft, but it’s never too early to start doing some homework on the best and the brightest prospects at each position. That’s exactly what I set out to do with what you see below. If there’s a prospect of note among prep middle infielders that isn’t on this list, let me know.

  • 2B Leandro Alvarez (Sickles HS, Florida)
  • 2B Will Faust (Caldwell HS, Texas)
  • 2B Zack Heidenry (Lislie HS, Illinois)
  • 2B/C Jarred Greene (Servite HS, California)
  • 2B/OF Jeremy Gunter (West Nassau County HS, Florida)
  • 2B/RHP Gavin Dugas (Houma Christian HS, Louisiana)
  • 2B/SS Antonio Lorenzo Gauthier (Barbe HS, Louisiana)
  • 2B/SS Bryce Register (Port St. Joe HS, Florida)
  • 2B/SS Kevin Vanvalkenburg (Scott County HS, Kentucky)
  • 2B/SS Nick Mueckay (Nease HS, Florida)
  • 2B/SS Orlando Arevalo (Gaither HS, Florida)
  • SS Addison Barger (King HS, Florida)
  • SS AJ Orrico (Santaluces HS, Florida)
  • SS Alex Bello (City of Hialeah Education Academy, Florida)
  • SS Alfredo Soto (American Heritage HS, Florida)
  • SS Andrew Benefield (Siegel HS, Tennessee)
  • SS Blake Evans (Allatoona HS, Georgia)
  • SS Branden Comia (Sandburg HS, Illinois)
  • SS Brandon Auerbach (Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS, Florida)
  • SS Brandon Davis-Micheu (John Curtis Christian HS, Louisiana)
  • SS Brayden Frazier (Jefferson HS, Iowa)
  • SS Brendan Ryan (St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Kansas)
  • SS Cam McMillan (St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Kansas)
  • SS Colten Schild (Fox Valley Lutheran HS, Wisconsin)
  • SS Conner Banta (Kamiakin HS, Washington)
  • SS Daniel Southern (Georgia)
  • SS Danny Serretti (Governor Livingston HS, New Jersey)
  • SS Darius Gilliam (Riverdale Baptist HS, Maryland)
  • SS Derek Rascher (Palmetto Ridge HS, Florida)
  • SS Devin Warner (Cartersville HS, Georgia)
  • SS Donovan Whibbs (Pensacola Catholic HS, Florida)
  • SS Dylan Rodriguez (Eloisa Pascual HS, Puerto Rico)
  • SS Elijah Eusebe (Miami Southridge HS, Florida)
  • SS Elliot Rodriguez (Cypress Bay HS, Florida)
  • SS Emilio Rosas (Mater Dei HS, California)
  • SS Frankie Cistaro (Muskego HS, Wisconsin)
  • SS Grant Grodi (Forest HS, Florida)
  • SS Greg Ryan (Benedictine College Prep, Virginia)
  • SS Henry Anthony Vilar (Westminster Christian HS, Florida)
  • SS Hilton Brown (Reagan HS, Texas)
  • SS Hunter Fornari (Spruce Creek HS, Florida)
  • SS Isaiah Byars (Parkview HS, Georgia)
  • SS Jake Woodard (Lipscomb HS, Tennessee)
  • SS Jamal Boykin (Newton HS, Georgia)
  • SS Jayce Easley (Sandra Day O’Connor HS, Arizona)
  • SS Jeremiah Jackson (St. Luke’s Episcopal HS, Alabama)
  • SS Jerry Hammons (Knoxville Christian HS, Tennessee)
  • SS John Rodriguez (Stoneman Douglas HS, Florida)
  • SS Josh Strickland (Countryside HS, Florida)
  • SS Justice Panton (Desert Vista HS, Arizona)
  • SS Kaeber Rog (Trinity Christian Academy, Florida)
  • SS Kelvin Maldonado (PR Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
  • SS Kelvin Smith (Redan HS, Georgia)
  • SS Kendall Simmons (Tattnall Square Academy, Georgia)
  • SS Kenen Irizarry (PR Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
  • SS Kenneth Hirose (Eastside Catholic HS, Washington)
  • SS Kevin Vargas (International Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
  • SS Kody Darcy (Kentridge HS, Washington)
  • SS Luke Drumheller (Olympic HS, North Carolina)
  • SS Mark Evans (York HS, Virginia)
  • SS Matthew Mamatas (Ola HS, Georgia)
  • SS Michael Montes De Oca (Monsignor Edward Pace HS, Florida)
  • SS Michael Perez (Gahr HS, California)
  • SS Nic Kent (St. Anne’s Belfield HS, Virginia)
  • SS Preston Hagan (Buford HS, Georgia)
  • SS Ryan De Leon (Somerset Academy, Florida)
  • SS Ryan Rivera (Jensen Beach HS, Florida)
  • SS Stacey Bailey (Kerens HS, Texas)
  • SS Stephen Quigley (Silver Lake HS, Massachusetts)
  • SS Tate Kolwyck (Arlington HS, Tennessee)
  • SS Tevin Tucker (Prince George HS, Virginia)
  • SS TJ Berry (Whitewater HS, Georgia)
  • SS Travis Sankovich (Laurel Highlands HS, Pennsylvania)
  • SS Trayden Tamiya (Waiakea HS, Hawaii)
  • SS Trevon Flowers (Tucker HS, Kentucky)
  • SS Tyler Miller (Spanish Fort HS, Alabama)
  • SS Tyler Zayas (West Broward HS, Florida)
  • SS Will Schroeder (Loudoun County HS, Virginia)
  • SS Zachary Ellsworth (Pittsburg HS, California)
  • SS Zachary Lew (Orange Lutheran HS, California)
  • SS Zane Tarrance (Sickles HS, Florida)
  • SS/2B Aaron Sabato (Brunswick HS, New York)
  • SS/2B Brennan Rozell (Lincoln HS, California)
  • SS/2B Brice Turang (Santiago HS, California)
  • SS/2B Jackson Roberts (University HS, Florida)
  • SS/2B Jackson Westberry (Episcopal HS, Florida)
  • SS/2B Jarrett Ford (Decatur HS, Georgia)
  • SS/2B Jonathan Ornelas (Kellis HS, Arizona)
  • SS/2B Justin Fields (Harrison HS, Georgia)
  • SS/2B Lance Ford (Tivy HS, Texas)
  • SS/2B Luis Tuero (Archbishop McCarthy HS, Florida)
  • SS/2B Matt McLain (Beckman HS, California)
  • SS/2B Max Ferguson (The Bolles HS, Florida)
  • SS/2B Osiris Johnson (Encinal HS, California)
  • SS/2B Peyton Ringer (The Lovett School, Georgia)
  • SS/2B Raynel Delgado (Mater Academy, Florida)
  • SS/2B Ryan Bliss (Troup County HS, Georgia)
  • SS/2B Trevor Burkhart (Davenport HS, Iowa)
  • SS/2B Xavier Edwards (North Broward Prep, Florida)
  • SS/2B Xavier Wilson (Martin Luther King HS, Georgia)
  • SS/3B Alec Sanchez (Providence HS, Florida)
  • SS/3B Charles Mack (Williamsville East HS, New York)
  • SS/3B Drew Bianco (Oxford HS, Mississippi)
  • SS/3B Dru Baker (Memorial HS, Texas)
  • SS/3B Javier Landrau (International Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
  • SS/3B Lency Delgado (Doral Academy, Florida)
  • SS/3B Nander De Sedas (Montverde HS, Florida)
  • SS/3B Sean Guilbe (Berks Catholic HS, Pennsylvania)
  • SS/3B Tanner Carlson (Elk Grove HS, California)
  • SS/C Tyler McDonough (Moeller HS, Ohio)
  • SS/OF Will Huber (St. Benedict at Auburndale, Tennessee)
  • SS/RHP Blaze Alexander (Bishop Verot HS, Florida)
  • SS/RHP Brandon Dieter (South Hills HS, California)
  • SS/RHP Chase Stafford (Somerset HS, Massachusetts)
  • SS/RHP Drew Black (Blue Valley Northwest HS, Kansas)
  • SS/RHP Jacob Phelps (Newsome HS, Florida)
  • SS/RHP Jake Rucker (Pope John Paul II HS, Tennessee)
  • SS/RHP Jordan Compton (Albert HS, Oklahoma)
  • SS/RHP Noah Gomez (St. John Bosco HS, California)
  • SS/RHP Trevor Kniskern (Pompano Beach HS, Florida)
  • SS/RHP Zach Gelof (Cape Henlopen HS, Delaware)

2018 MLB Draft – HS First Basemen Follow List

We’re still about eight months away from the 2018 MLB Draft, but it’s never too early to start doing some homework on the best and the brightest prospects at each position. That’s exactly what I set out to do with what you see below. If there’s a prospect of note among prep first basemen that isn’t on this list, let me know.

  • 1B Ahzeem Santos (Cambridge Rindge and Latin HS, Massachusetts)
  • 1B AJ Miller (Casa Grande HS, California)
  • 1B Andrew Fox (Rockhurst HS, Kansas)
  • 1B Anthony Herron (Simeon Career Academy, Illinois)
  • 1B Braden Winget (Corner Canyon HS, Utah)
  • 1B Bryan Govostes (Woburn HS, Massachusetts)
  • 1B Charlie Von Werne (Dwyer HS, Florida)
  • 1B Chip Burch (Dodge County HS, Georgia)
  • 1B Christopher Vervoordt (TNXL Academy, Florida)
  • 1B CJ Schauwecker (Pinnacle HS, Arizona)
  • 1B Cole Jones (Legend HS, Colorado)
  • 1B Conner Ryle (Ryle HS, Kentucky)
  • 1B Dalton Jackson (Mercersburg Academy, Virginia)
  • 1B Garret Nielsen (Christian HS, California)
  • 1B Hogan Scoggins (Mill Creek HS, Georgia)
  • 1B Jacob Cook (East Paulding HS, Georgia)
  • 1B Jaren Potts (Boone HS, Florida)
  • 1B John Malcom (Detroit County HS, Michigan)
  • 1B Jonathan Alonso (Northside Christian HS, Florida)
  • 1B Jose Gonzalez (Klein HS, Texas)
  • 1B Jose Gutierrez (Lamar HS, Texas)
  • 1B Keylon Mack (Gladewater HS, Texas)
  • 1B Lennox Rivera (Ranchview HS, Texas)
  • 1B Matthew Byars (Durant HS, Florida)
  • 1B Max Harper (Spotsylvania HS, Virginia)
  • 1B Nick Hansen (El Modena HS, California)
  • 1B Noah Ledford (Buford HS, Georgia)
  • 1B Preston Colp (Palm Beach Gardens HS, Florida)
  • 1B Ross Mulhall (University HS, West Virginia)
  • 1B Trae McLemore (Riverdale HS, Tennessee)
  • 1B Wesley Diamantis (St. Pius X Catholic HS, Georgia)
  • 1B/3B Charlie Ludwick (Lakeside HS, Georgia)
  • 1B/3B Gabe Knight (Loganville HS, Georgia)
  • 1B/3B Grant Lavigne (Bedford HS, New Hampshire)
  • 1B/3B Kody Milton (Severna Park HS, Maryland)
  • 1B/3B Triston Casas (American Heritage HS, Florida)
  • 1B/LHP Taylor Pridgen (Eustis HS, Florida)
  • 1B/OF Carson Smith (Bishop Verot HS, Florida)
  • 1B/RHP Cade Brown (Cathedral Catholic HS, California)
  • 1B/RHP Tyler Willman (Sterling HS, Illinois)

2018 MLB Draft – HS Catcher Follow List

We’re still about eight months away from the 2018 MLB Draft, but it’s never too early to start doing some homework on the best and the brightest prospects at each position. That’s exactly what I set out to do with what you see below. If there’s a prospect of note among prep catchers that isn’t on this list, let me know.

  • C Adam Hackenberg (Miller HS, Virginia)
  • C Albert Hsiao (Leland HS, California)
  • C Alex Otero (Apopka HS, Florida)
  • C Allante Hall (Blue Springs HS, Missouri)
  • C Austin Gonzalez (Pasadena HS, Texas)
  • C Austin Schmitt (Valley Park HS, Missouri)
  • C Austin Vetter (Olympia HS, Florida)
  • C Austin Wells (Bishop Gorman HS, Nevada)
  • C Caden Cortese (Napa HS, California)
  • C Carson Kropp (Owasso HS, Oklahoma)
  • C Carter Andersen (Tampa Jesuit HS, Florida)
  • C Chris Collet (Holy Cross HS, Louisiana)
  • C Chris Schworer (Medfield HS, Massachusetts)
  • C Cody Duke (Spruce Creek HS, Florida)
  • C Colby Nash (Bethlehem Central HS, New York)
  • C Cole Kinman (Tualatin HS, Oregon)
  • C Cole Moore (Georgetown HS, Texas)
  • C Cole Stilwell (Rockwell-Heath HS, Texas)
  • C Colin Wetterau (Shawnee HS, New Jersey)
  • C Connor Pavolony (River Ridge HS, Georgia)
  • C David Smith (Allatoona HS, Georgia)
  • C Diego Millan (Montverde Academy, Puerto Rico)
  • C Dominic Keegan (Central Catholic HS, Massachusetts)
  • C Drew Hamrock (Milton HS, Georgia)
  • C Ethan Camps (Mandarin HS, Florida)
  • C Ethan Snow (Malakoff HS, Texas)
  • C Graham Barefoot (Arendell Parrott Academy, North Carolina)
  • C Gray Betts (Cardinal Gibbons HS, North Carolina)
  • C Hayden Jones (Caroll HS, Indiana)
  • C Henry Davis (Fox Lane HS, New York)
  • C Hogan McIntosh (Bondurant-Farrar HS, Iowa)
  • C Hunter Corbett (Deland HS, Florida)
  • C Indiana Stanley (West Forsyth HS, Georgia)
  • C Jack Alexander (Mount Paran Christian HS, Georgia)
  • C Jacob Campbell (Craig HS, Wisconsin)
  • C Jacob Igawa (Waiakea HS, Hawaii)
  • C Jakob Hines (Berkeley Prep, Florida)
  • C James Bell (Clovis North HS, California)
  • C Jared Smith (Gainesville HS, Georgia)
  • C Josh Spiegel (Penn Trafford HS, Pennsylvania)
  • C Julian Mungarro (Gahr HS, California)
  • C Julio Cortez (American Heritage HS, Florida)
  • C Justin Schaff (Toms River North HS, New Jersey)
  • C Kyle Richardson (Zionsville HS, Indiana)
  • C Leyton Pinckney (Veterans HS, Georgia)
  • C Luca Tresh (Clearwater Central Catholic HS, Florida)
  • C Luke Hancock (Houston HS, Mississippi)
  • C Luke Leisenring (Ralston Valley HS, Colorado)
  • C Martin Vincelli-Simard (Vauxhall Academy of Baseball, Quebec)
  • C Matheu Nelson (Calvary Christian HS, Florida)
  • C Matt Erickson (Mid-Pacific Institute, Hawaii)
  • C Nicholas Font (HS for Construction, Architecture, and Engineering, New York)
  • C Noah Naylor (St. Joan of Arc Catholic SS, Ontario)
  • C Noel Bustos (Sunnyside HS, California)
  • C Omar Baldo (Keys Gate HS, Florida)
  • C Patrick Winkel (Amity Regional HS, Connecticut)
  • C PJ Heintz (Green Hope HS, North Carolina)
  • C Ramon Cordero (Venice HS, Florida)
  • C Rob Sarmanian (Manchester Essex Regional HS, Massachusetts)
  • C Rodrigo Montenegro (Carrollwood Day HS, Florida)
  • C Sam Runyan (Badin HS, Ohio)
  • C Sam Thompson (Bremen HS, Georgia)
  • C Shane Marshall (Gulf Coast HS, Florida)
  • C Stephen Garcia (Hialeah HS, Florida)
  • C Tony Barreca (North Scott HS, Iowa)
  • C Trevor Brooks (Mt. Paran Christian HS, Georgia)
  • C Tyler McKay (Nease HS, Florida)
  • C Tyler Tolve (Sprayberry HS, Georgia)
  • C Will Banfield (Brookwood HS, Georgia)
  • C Will Pudik (Peoria Notre Dame HS, Illinois)
  • C Xavier Valentin (Leadership Christian Academy, Puerto Rico)
  • C Zac Vooletich (Brandeis HS, Texas)
  • C Zachary Gagnon (Ecole Secondaire De Mortagne, Quebec)
  • C/1B Adrian Del Castillo (Gulliver HS, Florida)
  • C/1B Michael Yourg (Parker HS, California)
  • C/1B Warren Sammons (Oak Ridge HS, Texas)
  • C/3B Andrew Cossetti (La Salle HS, Pennsylvania)
  • C/BHP Anthony Seigler (Cartersville HS, Georgia)
  • C/OF Connor Wironen (Cushing Academy, Massachusetts)
  • C/OF Kameron Ojeda (St. John Bosco HS, California)
  • C/RHP Andrew Shoultz (Scurry-Rosser HS, Texas)
  • C/RHP CJ Willis (Ruston HS, Louisiana)
  • C/RHP Colin Sanders (North Forsyth HS, Georgia)

2018 MLB Mock Draft

(The mock itself is at the bottom buried under 9000+ words of attempted quantitative and qualitative analysis. Skipping to it won’t hurt my feelings, I promise.)

(Also, I’m back. Took a little extra time “off” over the summer than planned. Time away was well spent, both in terms of the work I’ve been able to compile without having to worry about updating the site — I’m more on top of this high school class than I have been in years — and in the good old fashioned battery recharging department. I’m ready to go. That said, I have no idea how my schedule will look now that there’s a human being who depends on me and doesn’t understand how punching away at a laptop could possibly be more important than reading Good Night Moon for the thousandth time. I mean, are you saying no to this face?

IMG_0334

But I’m going to do my best to keep the site up and running as long as I can. We’ve come too far to shut it down now. So even though I don’t know the exact future of the site, I can say with a high degree of certainty that the 2018 MLB Draft [and likely beyond] will be covered in as much depth as time allows. This dumb thing is a part of me now, and I really can’t imagine life without it.)

(I really appreciate all of the messages and emails over the last few months. I enjoy doing this for entirely selfish reasons, but knowing that other people enjoy it really does make my day. I’ll respond to everybody within the next week or so. In the meantime, the big question that I keep getting asked — are you doing 2017 draft reviews? — doesn’t have an answer yet. I want to, but there’s no way I can do them as I did last year and still a) function as a normal human these next few months, and b) get the kind of 2018 draft preview content up that I want. So, I’m on the fence right now. I think the most likely outcome is a modified version of the reviews, streamlined somewhat…but that suggests that I know how to self-edit, and that’s something we know I can’t [or won’t] do. So…we’ll see? There will be something for 2017, but I just don’t know what exactly.) 

This upcoming draft will be my tenth since starting the site. Hard to believe, but true. One of the best parts about being around so long is having a bit more perspective to look back on past drafts and determine if there are any worthwhile trends to share. I’ve long thought that draft trends function better as fun discussion starters than meaningful predictive tools, so don’t take my attempt at using simple math to make this research feel more scientific as anything but a nice little way to kick off the 2018 draft season conversation.

In the nine drafts covered on this site to date, there have been 295 total first round picks. Let’s look at some demographic information on those lucky 295 players…

HS catchers – 8
HS first basemen – 3
HS second basemen – 2
HS third basemen – 5
HS shortstops – 24
HS outfielders – 37
HS pitchers – 61

HS total = 140 (47.5%)

College catchers – 9
College first basemen – 6
College second basemen – 4
College third basemen – 12
College shortstops – 14
College outfielders – 27
College pitchers – 83

College total = 155 (52.5%)

Now let’s talk averages. Who doesn’t love data landmarks? It’s fifth grade math class all over again. We’ve got means, modes, medians, and ranges to get to. Let’s start with the mode for each demographic subsection…

HS catchers – 0
HS first basemen – 0
HS second basemen – 0
HS third basemen – 1
HS shortstops – 2
HS outfielders – 5
HS pitchers – 7

College catchers – 1
College first basemen – 0
College second basemen – 0
College third basemen – 1
College shortstops – 1
College outfielders – 2
College pitchers – 9 and 10

More often than not, we’re getting first rounds with no HS catchers, HS first basemen, HS second basemen, college first basemen, and college second basemen. Interesting! And now the medians…

HS catchers – 1
HS first basemen – 0
HS second basemen – 0
HS third basemen – 1
HS shortstops – 2
HS outfielders – 4
HS pitchers – 7

College catchers – 1
College first basemen – 0
College second basemen – 0
College third basemen – 1
College shortstops – 1
College outfielders – 3
College pitchers – 9

Not sure how useful this data is because we’re dealing with such a small sample to begin with, but I typed it all up so we might as well use it. Let’s look at the ranges next and hope for something a bit more meaningful…

HS catchers – 2 (0 to 2)
HS first basemen – 1 (0 to 1)
HS second basemen – 1 (0 to 1)
HS third basemen – 1 (0 to 1)
HS shortstops – 2 (2 to 4)
HS outfielders – 4 (2 to 6)
HS pitchers – 5 (5 to 10)

College catchers – 3 (0 to 3)
College first basemen – 3 (0 to 3)
College second basemen – 2 (0 to 2)
College third basemen – 4 (0 to 4)
College shortstops – 5 (0 to 5)
College outfielders – 3 (2 to 5)
College pitchers – 4 (7 to 11)

I like this. We can now see that there’s never been a year with more than one HS first baseman, HS second baseman, or HS third baseman. The large spread of high school pitchers and college shortstops is fun, too. You never really know what you’re going to get with those two groups. Finally, everybody’s favorite, the means…

HS catchers – 0.9
HS first basemen – 0.3
HS second basemen – 0.2
HS third basemen – 0.6
HS shortstops – 2.7
HS outfielders – 4.1
HS pitchers – 6.8

College catchers – 1.0
College first basemen – 0.7
College second basemen – 0.4
College third basemen – 1.3
College shortstops – 1.6
College outfielders – 3.0
College pitchers – 9.2

This is the data we’ll do most of our work off of going forward. We’ll come back to it soon. In the meantime, let’s look at all of the data put together (with rounded means)…

HS catchers – 0, 1, 2, 1
HS first basemen – 0, 0, 1, 0
HS second basemen – 0, 0, 1, 0
HS third basemen – 1, 1, 1, 1
HS shortstops – 2, 2, 2, 3
HS outfielders – 5, 4, 4, 4
HS pitchers – 7, 7, 5, 7

College catchers – 1, 1, 3, 1
College first basemen – 0, 0, 3, 1
College second basemen – 0, 0, 2, 0
College third basemen – 1, 1, 4, 1
College shortstops – 1, 1, 5, 2
College outfielders – 2, 3, 3, 3
College pitchers – 9/10, 9, 4, 9

Some pretty clear data landmark trends seem to have developed. That’s always comforting to see. Let’s finish this math off. If we take the original means that produced a 32.8 player first round on average and adjust them to our upcoming 30 player first round, we get these figures…

HS catchers – 0.8
College catchers – 0.9
First basemen – 0.9
Second basemen – 0.5
Third basemen – 1.7
Shortstops – 3.9
HS outfielders – 3.8
College outfielders – 2.7
HS pitchers – 6.2
College pitchers – 8.4

Some logical combinations were also made along the way, clearly. If we then round everything off, we see we’re at 31 players in this year’s first round. That’s one too many, so somebody is going to get unfairly cut along the way. It probably makes the most sense to dump one of the pitchers, but we’ll play it by ear and see what make actually makes sense once we get started. Maybe we can find a sneaky way to slip that thirty-first player in. We’ll see. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the prospective names that match up with the numbers…

HS Catcher (1)

Will Banfield (Brookwood HS, Georgia), Noah Naylor (St. Joan of Arc Catholic SS, Ontario), and Anthony Seigler (Cartersville HS, Georgia) have separated themselves from the rest of the prep catching class by a pretty healthy margin at this point. All three are sensational athletes with the clear defensive tools and understanding of the nuances of the game to remain behind the plate. Many would argue that Banfield’s last calendar year was so impressive that he belongs in a tier unto himself. I’m not quite there as Naylor is his near equal athletically and Seigler can more than hang with him as a hitter, but I can appreciate the sentiment.

If we had to bet on only one of these high school catchers getting drafted in June, Banfield is the smart present choice. Of course, two prep catchers were selected in each of the 2010, 2012, and 2013 drafts, so one of those two top guys joining Banfield (or even Naylor and Seigler squeezing out Banfield altogether) can’t be ruled out. You also can’t discount the possibility of all three catchers going in the first round, but allowing for the possibility amounts to ignoring recent draft history. I checked every single MLB Draft in my literal lifetime (i.e., since 1985) and could not find a single first round with three prep catchers. Maybe we make history this year…but probably not.

Prediction: Banfield

Others: Naylor, Seigler

College C (1)

If you read the site regularly, you know I love college catchers. I’m pretty sure I write about them a disproportionate amount compared to what they are actual worth, but I don’t care. I think college catchers are fun. That’s why it pains me to say that this year’s class isn’t really grabbing me in the same way recent classes have. Part of that is my admitted lack of love for some of the consensus top guys, something that can change quickly as we move closer to the actual draft and the contrarian impulses begin to die down a bit. My favorite current guys include Nick Fortes (Mississippi), Ryan Jeffers (UNC Wilmington), Nick Meyer (Cal Poly), and Cal Raleigh (Florida State). Fortes has the feel of a player on the verge of a major breakout; give him steady playing time, good health, and all the opportunities to show off for scouts that come with playing in the SEC (and catching some premium draft arms to boot)…and watch out. Meyer is somewhat similar in terms of defensive upside and athleticism, but with the plus of a longer track record and the minus of less functional present power. It may be a career backup catcher profile if he proves unable to drive the ball with consistency, but a three-tool catcher like him is pretty interesting regardless. I can’t pretend to know all that much about Jeffers’s defensive acumen (“above-average to plus arm” is all I have on him for now), but his offensive profile (plus raw power, unique physical strength) and stellar sophomore season have me intrigued to learn more.

All in all, I think the most interesting college catcher in the class is Raleigh. He’s got the best blend of power, patience, and likelihood of sticking defensively for me. His intersection of upside and certainty is pretty exciting, though the knocks (too big for the position, too much swing-and-miss) are valid. I can’t tell if the fact there are a half-dozen worthy contenders for the college catcher throne speaks to the quality depth at the position or the lack of star power. Little bit of both, I suppose.

Prediction: Raleigh

Others: Fortes, Jeffers, Meyer, Nick Dalesandro (Purdue), Colin Simpson (Oklahoma State), Vito Friscia (Hofstra), Dominic DiCaprio (Rice), Garrett Wolforth (Dallas Baptist), Grant Koch (Arkansas), Michael Curry (Georgia), Kole Cottam (Kentucky), Chris Cullen (South Carolina), Josh Breaux (McLennan JC)

First Basemen (1)

In a typical year, just one first basemen is selected in the draft’s first round. Actually, that’s not entirely true because four of the last nine years saw no first base prospect at all selected in the first round, but one per year has been the statistical mean over the last nine years so let’s go with that. Either way, the presence of Seth Beer (Clemson) makes this an atypical year. Much has been written about Beer already and plenty more will be said between now and June. My quick take coming from an individual who consumes far too much draft-related content: Beer is this year’s (or one of this year’s) properly rated to overhyped to underrated prospect. Every draft cycle there are a couple of prospects who capture the imagination of mainstream baseball fans. Beer, thanks to a fun last name and monster freshman numbers, became one of those very prospects for 2018. Verdict? Properly rated. That fame (and, to be fair, that ridiculous freshman season) had some fans thinking of Beer as a potential 1-1 candidate. Survey says…overhyped! Now we see early draft rankings and general prospect-related buzz that puts Beer well outside the draft’s first round. To me, this feels a little bit like an overcorrection based on wanting to show the “non-draft” people who were excited about Beer that he’s really not as good as they think. Maybe I’m off on that guess and people aren’t nearly as petty as I think they are (or, more accurately, as I know I am), but it does seem weird to me that a player who has hit the way Beer has these last two seasons can’t find a place in the top thirty or so picks. While I think Beer has a good shot of being a first round pick even as a first baseman, the fact that he has an outside shot to work himself into shape as a playable corner outfielder just sweetens the whole deal. Barring an offensive collapse (not likely) or serious injury, I think Beer can safely be called a future first round pick.

Alec Bohm (Wichita State) is pretty great, too. He’d be a slam dunk first round candidate any other year. He’s also another player that we’re currently calling a first baseman that may not actually be announced that way (third base and corner outfield are both possibilities for him) come June. If you like plus raw power and a discerning batting eye, Bohm is your guy. Could be recency bias infected our heads, but I’ve heard the name Rhys Hoskins mentioned multiple times (two is multiple!) as a point of comparison to what Bohm could be in pro ball.

I’m as excited about Triston Casas (American Heritage HS, Florida) as can be, but will admit to being a bit gun-shy after last year’s version (Alex Toral) went from expected first round pick (by me) to very much not a first round pick and on campus at Miami. I realize that’s not a very fair way to judge a prospect and Casas’s virtues (power and patience, mainly) are entirely his own, but nobody ever said prospect analysis was fair. The history of high school first basemen going in the first round isn’t very kind, but Casas has enough early buzz that a big spring could carry him all the way into the top thirty.

Prediction: Beer

Others: Bohm, Casas, Luken Baker (TCU), Nick Patten (Delaware), Mickey Gasper (Bryant)

Second Basemen (1)

Nick Madrigal (Oregon State) is a first round lock. He’s a true five-tool talent with a legitimate plus hit tool, double-digit home run pop, plus speed, and all the defensive skills (athleticism, hands, arm) to project as an impact talent in the middle infield. The only way he doesn’t wind up as this year’s only first round second baseman is if he’s announced on draft day as a shortstop, a position that he might just have enough arm talent to play in pro ball. This may be a little too out there as far as predictions go and I’m spoiling a pick on the “mock” already, but why not: Madrigal follows the Alex Bregman route to pro ball by getting himself selected second overall in June. Quick performance comparison between the two using Bregman’s junior year (top) and Madrigal’s sophomore year (bottom)…

.323/.412/.535 – 36 BB/22 K – 38/48 SB – 260 AB
.380/.449/.532 – 27 BB/16 K – 16/20 SB – 237 AB

There hasn’t been a prep second baseman drafted in the first round since 2010. That doesn’t seem likely to change in 2018. It’s Madrigal or bust this year.

Prediction: Madrigal

Others: Devin Mann (Louisville), Nick Dunn (Maryland), Ako Thomas (Michigan), Terrin Vavra (Minnesota), Ryne Ogren (Elon), Cobie Vance (Arkansas)

Third Basemen (2)

It’s early, but, wow, does it look like a rough class for college third basemen. I guess I’d go with Brendan Donovan (South Alabama) as my top guy for now, but that’s without the benefit of knowing as much as I’d like about his defense (some peg him as a future outfielder) or with the full confidence that his sophomore year jump in production can be sustained. I’m quite bullish on the guy, but there’s still little denying that his place on the top of the heap is owed to a lack of competition as much as anything he’s done.

On the bright side, the high school class of third basemen looks excellent. I currently count seven prospects at the hot corner who could challenge for first round consideration. Of that seven, I’d say three are obvious and four are slightly more sleeper-ish. Forgive the cliché, but Nolan Gorman (Sandra Day O’Connor HS, Arizona) has the scout favored classic “light-tower power” that makes scouts, coaches, teammates, and fans weak in the knees. As nice as the power is, it’s Gorman’s mature approach as a hitter, above-average to plus arm, and solid defensive tools that give him a shot to be a long-term fixture at third base. Then there’s Jordan Groshans (Magnolia HS, Texas), a rangy 6-4, 190 pounder with a big arm, above-average speed, game-changing power, and the kind of electric bat speed that gets even a guy typically ambivalent about bat speed to take notice. Then there’s arguably my favorite prep third baseman of them all, Nick Northcut (Mason HS, Ohio). I swear I had this comp before Perfect Game mentioned it (good call by them, by the way), but Northcut’s profile reminds me a whole heck of a lot of a young Nolan Arenado. Northcut is a wildly athletic defender with one of the best prep hit tools around. Him getting the Vanderbilt seal of approval doesn’t hurt, either. Beyond those three, Hunter Watson (Pottsboro HS, Texas), Cory Acton (American Heritage HS, Florida), Tim Borden (Our Lady of Providence HS, Indiana), and Bryce Bush (De La Salle Collegiate HS, Michigan) all stand out for one reason or another as potential sleeper-ish first round talents.

Watson has plus raw power and, contradictory or not, a pro-ready body with plenty of projection left. Acton’s hit tool is so advanced that I’ve had more than one contact (two is more than one!) wonder aloud if batting titles were in his future. A separate contact predicted Borden would wind up at Louisville and come out the other side as a top ten pick. Finally, Bush’s power and sneaky athleticism — some have him earmarked for first base, but I think he can hang at third or at least an outfield corner — make him a high-priority follow as we enter the spring season. The depth and impact talent at the top of the prep third base class makes it likely that we’ll see more than one of these guys off the board in the first thirty picks or so.

Prediction: Gorman, Northcut

Others: Donovan, Groshans, Watson, Acton, Borden, Bush, Romy Gonzalez (Miami), Kyle Datres (North Carolina), Jordan Verdon (San Diego State), Jonathan India (Florida)

Shortstops (4)

We need four first round shortstops to hit the nine-year mean. I think we get there with room to spare. Two high school players stand out at the top of the class: Brice Turang (Santiago HS, California) and Nander De Sedas (Montverde HS, Florida). Turang has generated some of the most interesting comps of any player in recent memory including Christian Yelich (everybody), Roberto Alomar (Sam Monroy), and Dansby Swanson (BA). I could see his absolute best case scenario looking a little bit like a lefthanded Mookie Betts, though that could have something to do with my subconscious lumping them together because both are excellent amateur bowlers. I’m all in on Turang as a hitter — he makes tons of hard contact (most of the time…), sprays it to all fields, knows how to run hitter-friendly counts and take what the pitcher gives him — but the rest of his game has some catching up to do. I’m fine with bat-first college hitters, but bat-first prep players make me a little nervous. Turang is a good runner, but can he kick his speed up a notch and become a true base stealing threat? His defensive tools have flashed, but will he have the arm strength to consistently make the throw from the deep in the hole at short? Will his swing, body, and approach ever result in enough power to keep pro pitching honest? The fact that there remain so many questions about his game make him something closer to a mid-first round pick than top five guy as we sit here in early October. That’s doesn’t preclude him from rising back up nor is it a knock on where he currently sits — being a mid-first round pick is really good! — but I think the hype on him is a little bit louder than the reality. Or maybe I’m falling into the same pitfalls I’ve accused others of when it comes to Seth Beer. We’ll see.

What is known about De Sedas is really damn exciting: real deal hit tool, plus raw power, rocket arm, plus defensive tools. So much about his profile reminds me of some of the big name shortstops out of Puerto Rico in recent drafts like Correa, Lindor, Baez, and Perez. There’s also the Floridian connection comparison out there with Manny Machado. Heady stuff, I realize, but big comps are the norm (for me, anyway) this early in the draft process. It’s fun to get excited about players, after all. De Sedas’s upside is thrilling, though it is worth acknowledging that his pop-up status — in as much as any player can “pop up” this early in the process — allows him to come out of the early stages of draft evaluation relatively free from the scrutiny that players who have been in the spotlight longer have been up against. Compare him to Turang, a prospect pegged as a potential 1-1 candidate for well over a year now, who has had loads of time on the big stage where evaluators (and wannabes like me) can pick apart the most minute negatives in his game. The longer you’re a prospect, the more holes in your game they’ll try to poke. When you’re new and exciting, you get the benefit of the doubt. It’s just the way things are, fair or not.

With a high degree of confidence that Turang and De Sedas wind up as first round pick, we’re left only searching for two more six-spotters. Xavier Edwards (North Broward Prep, Florida) and Brandon Dieter (South Hills, California) would be my next two personal prep picks to crash the first round party. Edwards is a standout defender with the speed and approach to excel as a leadoff hitter at the highest level. Dieter just flat knows how to hit. There may not have been a player more fun to watch at the plate all summer than him. So good.

Collegiately there are plenty of options, but no sure things. Jeremy Eierman (Missouri State) has the power and speed (above-average to plus, both) to shoot up boards this spring. Cadyn Grenier (Oregon State) brings pedigree and a well-rounded skill set that grows on you the more you see him play. I personally like Ford Proctor (Rice), Richard Palacios (Towson), and Jax Biggers (Arkansas) more than I probably should. Proctor is steady across the board, Palacios has serious speed and flashes considerable power, and Biggers brings an intriguing blend of contact, pop, and patience with at least average defense up the middle defense. It’s a slightly better group at the top than last year with a clear edge in depth. That said, it wouldn’t be a total shock to college shortstops get squeezed out of the first round entirely for the second year in a row. This group could match last year’s one first round pick or it could get shutout like 2016’s class, but it definitely won’t approach the magic of 2015.

Prediction: Turang, De Sedas, Dieter, Eierman

Others: Edwards, Grenier, Proctor, Palacios, Biggers, Turner Brown (East Carolina), Luke Manzo (College of Charleston), Nick Mascelli (Wagner), Reid Leonard (Morehead State), Nico Hoerner (Stanford), Charles Mack (Williamsville East HS, New York), Jeremiah Jackson (St. Luke’s Episcopal HS, Alabama), Kendall Simmons (Tattnall Square Academy, Georgia), Blaze Alexander (Bishop Verot HS, Florida)

HS Outfielders (4)

What this prep outfield class lacks in clear present star power, it more than makes up for it with depth all over the place. It’s early enough in the process that I don’t feel too guilty about having no idea who the top outfielder is or will be in this group. I have my favorites, sure, but I’m glad nobody is forcing me to choose a top guy or five just yet.

Mike Siani (Penn Charter, Pennsylvania) plays his home games a short drive from me, so I’ll be seeing a lot of him this spring. Though I’ve seen him a few times in the past already, I’m still pumped to see the plus throwing, plus running, incredibly athletic center fielder hit and throw and run and pitch and spit seeds and mingle with teammates and just generally do things teenage baseball players do. Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha West HS, Wisconsin) is currently suffering a bit from the same issues Brice Turang is facing: backlash from being nitpicked as one of the draft’s sneaky 1-1 prospects going back over a full year. He’s no less of a player than he was when his prospect stock was at its pick, but his flaws are more magnified now than his many draft peers.

Connor Scott (Plant HS, Florida) saw his profile rise every single time he stepped on the field this past summer. The persistent comparisons to Kyle Tucker (noted by both D1 and PG) paint the picture of a long, lean outfielder who is both a glider in the bases and in the outfield as well as a projectable power hitter. Scott also has legitimate two-way intrigue as a three-pitch power lefthander who flashes an above-average low-80s changeup already. Ryder Green (Knoxville Christian HS, Tennessee) is really good. Watching him makes this pretty clear as he’ll show you three above-average or better tools regularly (power, speed, arm), but, as mentioned with Nick Northcut above, the Vanderbilt stamp of approval doesn’t hurt.

Joe Gray (Hattiesburg HS, Mississippi) might remind you of some of the top prep outfield prospects in recent years. I’m thinking Jordon Adell specifically, though not enough so that I’d use him as a comp just yet. Anyway, like that classic teenage high school prospect archetype we all know and love, Gray has monster raw power, a big arm, and enough quicks to stick in center. The big question for him centers on whether or not he’ll hit enough to make all of his loud tools sing. If he hits, he’s scary. If he doesn’t, he’s still pretty enticing. That’s the nice thing about betting on tools and athleticism. Less toolsy but surer bats include Nick Schnell (Roncalli HS, Indiana) and Nick Decker (Seneca HS, New Jersey). Alek Thomas (Mount Carmel HS, Illinois) is a future plus defender in center with blazing speed and worlds of athleticism. Parker Meadows (Grayson HS, Georgia) lurks as my “sleeper” (note: there’s really no such thing as a sleeper if you follow this stuff as much as we do…and you really can’t be a sleeper when your brother was a recent first round pick anyway) to slip into the draft’s first round. His power and speed combination is at or near the top of this class for any position player. My hunch is that he explodes this spring in a way not entirely dissimilar to what his brother once did, so he takes the fourth and final projected first round spot for now.

Prediction: Kelenic, Scott, Green, Meadows

Others: Siani, Gray, Schnell, Decker, Thomas

College Outfielders (3)

The mean of around three college outfielders per draft since 2009 blows my mind; I would have guessed it would have been significantly higher. Maybe something closer to the range of five to seven. I guess that doesn’t make a ton of logical sense considering the high cost of first round real estate — with only thirty or so spots, getting 10% of that market share for your position isn’t too shabby — but it still feels like college outfielders, a relatively safe investment if recent draft history can be trusted, are underrepresented on draft day. That’s where math comes in handy, right? When things feel a certain way but aren’t actually that way, math is there to open our eyes to what’s real. More surprising than the mean is the fact that the high end of the college outfielder range since 2009 was five…and that was all the way back in 2009. The five back then were Dustin Ackley (1-2), AJ Pollock (1-17), Jared Mitchell (1-23), Brett Jackson (1-31), and Tim Wheeler (1-32). So even the high water mark came in a year where it took the literal last two picks of the round to get there. That class is also a pretty fair representation of why maybe college outfielders aren’t quite as safe as one might think. A quick look…

’09 – Ackley, Pollock, Mitchell, Jackson, Wheeler = one hit, four misses
’10 – Bryce Harper, Michael Choice, Gary Brown, Kyle Parker = one hit, three misses
’11 – George Springer, Mikie Mahtook = one hit, one whatever it is Mahtook is (useful player is fair, I think)
’12 – Tyler Naquin, James Ramsey, Victor Roache = one whatever it is Naquin is (useful player weirdly banished to the minors again), two misses
’13 – Hunter Renfroe, Phillip Ervin, Aaron Judge = one hit, two maybe’s
’14 – Michael Conforto, Bradley Zimmer = one hit, one maybe
’15 – Andrew Benintendi, Ian Happ, DJ Stewart, Christin Stewart – two hits, two maybe’s

Too soon to bother trying to evaluate the last two drafts (and possibly even 2015, but oh well), so that leaves us with seven drafts, twenty-three players, seven hits, five guys in the early stages of the sink-or-swim portions of their careers (Mahtook, Naquin, Renfroe, Ervin, Zimmer), two guys young enough we really don’t know yet (Stewart and Stewart), and nine misses. Without the context of how every other position/class has fared, this data isn’t super useful…but it’s enough for me to argue that college outfielders aren’t as much of a sure-thing (in as much as any draft pick is a “sure-thing”) as I might have first thought. Interesting but probably just a coincidence that there was one hit and one hit only in every year but 2015. Even in the year with five first round outfielders, we only had one hit. Coincidence or not, that’s a little weird.

Anyway, all of that is a long way of saying that I think this year’s class has an outside shot of reaching five college first round picks, especially if some creative bookkeeping (e.g., a player like Seth Beer gets announced as an outfielder and not a first baseman) takes place. The two top guys in this class as of now look like Griffin Conine (Duke) and Travis Swaggerty (South Alabama). Conine’s big sophomore season in the ACC put him on the prospect map, but it was his showing on the Cape that made him a potential star in the eyes of so many. My secret confession: I think performance during summer wood bat leagues, namely the Cape Cod League, are wildly overrated when assessing a player’s overall body of work. They are a piece of the puzzle, clearly, but that’s it. The prestige and romance of playing on the Cape can get normally level-headed baseball prospect writers woozy with hyperbole for each season’s summer league stars. Baseball on the Cape is baseball in its purest form, we hear. They aren’t entirely wrong, but still…gross. There’s a lot of great baseball being played outside of New England that counts just the same in the grand scheme of things. I get that the competition is particularly tough up there, but sometimes all the romanticizing about the whole experience is just too much for me. Maybe I’m just a bad baseball fan. I don’t know.

All that said, I’m willing to ignore my own warnings and go all-in on Conine this year. He’s great not just because of what he did on the Cape, but because of everything that he’s done (including mashing this past summer!) dating back to his prep days. Conine’s body of work is unimpeachable. The fact that we’re talking about a college hitter who doesn’t play an up-the-middle defensive position as a sure-thing first round pick speaks to how much of an impression Conine made on all who saw him these past few months. He’s the modern prototype for what a right fielder should be, a hit over power offensive standout (who also happens to have plus raw power) that takes consistent professional quality at bats and leverages an above-average to plus throwing arm and average to above-average speed to play damn fine defense in a corner. What more could you want?

Well, maybe you want the guy who can do many of the same things as Conine while also manning center field. That’s Swaggerty. It should be noted that the qualifier “many” in that initial sentence is an important one: you’re pretty clearly trading some of Conine’s power for some of Swaggerty’s speed, so pretending as if the two have similar offensive profiles does both young hitters a disservice. Still, Swaggerty, like Conine, is a highly advanced hitter who controls the strike zone like a wily veteran and never wastes an at bat. He doesn’t have quite the same game-changing speed and the two men obviously play different positions (brief foray in the big leagues for our comp notwithstanding), but I see a little bit of Trea Turner in Swaggerty’s game.

The race for the third college outfielder spot is wide open. Greyson Jenista (Wichita State), Tristan Pompey (Kentucky), Alex McKenna (Cal Poly), and Trevor Larnach (Oregon State) are all jostling for the spot. McKenna can make a case for best pure hit tool in the college class. Jenista might be one of the ones who can challenge him. Same with Alfonso Rivas (Arizona) for that matter. Brock Hale (BYU) has mashed for two years, but now it’ll be time for scouts to really start bearing down on him as a hitter to determine how much is real and how much is due to park/league adjusted inflation. I’m buying, but am also glad to have another season to make a more informed decision on what kind of player he really is. Pompey was a big summer away from launching himself into the “no doubt about it” first round stratosphere (i.e., he could have been Griffin Conine if Griffin Conine wasn’t Griffin Conining the Cape Cod League), but things didn’t really work out. He’s still as talented as ever, so the breakout might just happen a few months later than we were hoping. I’m not typically one to get too worked up over a hitter’s swing, but, damn, is Larnach’s stroke aesthetically pleasing. It’s the kind of swing that’s so pretty that you’d find it almost impossible to believe he won’t hit at the pro level.

I’m not sure Carlos Cortes (South Carolina) can mash his way to the first round, but I’m also not sure he can’t. It’s not a comp per se, but there are some shades of Keston Hiura there. Lars Nootbaar (USC) has the name to make him a fan favorite on the internet and the game (above-average raw power, elite athleticism) to make him a fan favorite on the field.

The absence of a clear-cut third guy — and, for the record, you could argue that even the top two are more up for grabs than I’m making it seem and I wouldn’t put up much of a fight — gives me the opportunity to get a little weird with pushing some personal favorites. DJ Artis (Liberty) already got some love around here back when I thought I could write every day while also taking care of a two-month old baby. Artis is a great athlete who can run, defend, and throw…and he has a 114 BB/58 K ratio through two college seasons. I have no idea how pro teams will value him come June, but I love him and would want my favorite team to draft him without hesitation. Same for Andrew Moritz (North Carolina Greensboro), a plus runner who covers loads of ground in center with a damn near ideal approach needed to excel as a leadoff hitter in pro ball. Count me in. Jameson Hannah (Dallas Baptist) is a highly instinctual player in both center and on the base paths. Beyond that, his power (above-average to plus), speed (ditto), and keen understanding of his strengths and weaknesses as a hitter make him one of this year’s most interesting underhyped college bats.

I happened upon Ashton Bardzell (Hartford) one time while he was in high school. I really liked him then. That look (plus all the other information obtained via various means along the way, but let’s pretend it was mostly that look since I’m such an eagle-eye) was enough for me to rank him 204th in his class out of high school. Now I’m patiently waiting for the 2018 Hartford schedule to be announced so I can happen upon him again (this time on purpose…long story on that HS viewing) and run him even higher up the draft rankings this time around. Bardzell is a really impressive athlete with above-average raw power, above-average to plus wheels, an easy plus arm, and solid range in the outfield. I think he has a chance to become a major college star this season and a top three (minimum) round pick. I’d buy up all the imaginary Ashton Bardzell stock with all my imaginary money (just kidding, I have a kid now so even in my wildest imagination I’m broke) if an imaginary baseball draft prospect stock market existed. In fact, let me go on the record real quick…

Prediction: Conine, Swaggerty, Bardzell

Others: Artis, McKenna, Larnach, Nootbaar, Rivas, Pompey, Cortes, Moritz, Hale, Jake McCarthy (Virginia), Jimmy Herron (Duke), Jackson Lueck (Florida State), Josh Stowers (Louisville), Cameron Simmons (Virginia), Robert Neustrom (Iowa), Marty Bechina (Michigan State), Jawuan Harris (Rutgers), Kyler Murray (Oklahoma), Steele Walker (Oklahoma), Tyler Williams (Arizona State), Steven Kwan (Oregon State), DaShawn Keirsey (Utah), Eric Cole (Arkansas), Antoine Duplantis (LSU), Zach Watson (LSU), Diandre Amion (Alabama State), CJ Newsome (Jackson State), Niko Decolati (Loyola Marymount), Kyle Dean (BYU)

High School Pitchers (7)

The draft is still eight months away, so your best bet here is to throw the top thirty or so high school pitching names in a hat, pull out five to ten names (mean is seven), and loudly declare that those will be the first round prep pitching prospects come June. It’s as good a method as any, I think. One name that probably doesn’t deserve the hat is Ethan Hankins (Forsyth Central HS, Georgia), the present and likely future top pitcher in the high school ranks and a real threat to become the first ever prep righthander to go first overall. Hankins is pretty much what you’d get if you programmed the transmogrifier to the “Projectable High School Pitcher” setting and put it on full power. High heat, a weaponized curve, a nascent but interesting change, and a brand new slider because hey why not add a slider…yeah, that’ll work. Player development is non-linear and I know I fall for this trap more often than I should, BUT if Hankins is this good now with his frame, athleticism, work ethic, and aptitude for learning new things then it’s a whole lot of fun to picture where he could be at in two to three years.

Fellow Peach Stater Kumar Rocker (North Oconee HS, Georgia) is more of a fully realized physical specimen. There’s a part of me that looks at Rocker’s massive 6-5, 250 pound defensive end frame and feels some trepidation wondering about how he’ll look three to five years down the line, but that’s a problem for future me to worry about. Present me loves the stuff Rocker already possesses — no projection needed with his fastball/slider, and his change has looked better the more he’s used it (imagine that…) — and is willing to believe that his size won’t be an issue going forward because of his athletic profile and bloodlines. A fun comp I got on Rocker recently: Jimmy Nelson of the Brewers. Lots of time between now and June to make that look silly, but I don’t hate it for now.

Judging on feedback I’ve gotten on this list already, it appears I’m particularly bullish on Austin Becker (Big Walnut HS, Ohio). He’s a Vanderbilt commit (like both Hankins and Rocker) who already shows command of three easy above-average pitches. That alone sounds pretty good to me. His frame and athleticism suggest he could sit in the mid-90s one day, but he might not even need that kind of premium velocity if his breaking ball (above-average already, chance to be plus) and changeup (not ready to put a grade on it, but it’s really good) continue to progress. Matthew Liberatore (Mountain Ridge HS, Arizona) got better every time he took the mound all summer long. In the early days of the site, I used to talk about how much I loved pitchers without big velocity who got by with superior offspeed stuff and great command suddenly growing into velocity and retaining all the other aspects of their game that made them great originally. It’s like when a talented yet normal-sized basketball player with guard skills shoots up to 6’10” in high school. That’s Liberatore. He’s 6’10” now. Not literally, but you get the idea…I hope.

Slade Cecconi (Trinity Prep, Florida) has a one-two punch (mid-90s sinking fastball, 80-85 cut-slider with plus upside) as good as any arm in the class. Carter Stewart (Eau Gallie HS, Florida) throws a curve so good that I’ll be telling my incredibly bored grandkids about the first time I saw it in action. I’ve heard the name Kluber whispered as a possible comp, especially when he has that curve working. I’ve also heard Luke Bartnicki (Walton HS, Georgia) has a stronger than you’d think commitment to Georgia Tech, but there’s no way a pitcher as talented as him (89-95 FB, 79-85 SL, mid-80s CU, everything down) turns down a first day paycheck. I’m totally enamored with Landon Marceaux (Destrehan HS, Louisiana), a pitcher with command beyond his years who reminds me a lot of Aaron Nola for reasons both meaningful and superficial. Fellow LSU commit Jaden Hill (Ashdown HS, Arkansas) has a potentially special changeup and incredible athleticism. Mike Vasil (Boston College HS, Massachusetts) is the best cold-weather pitcher here. You can count on him for three average or better pitches already. JT Ginn (Brandon HS, Mississippi) is the obligatory “reliever delivery, but stuff to start” prospect in the class. There has to be one every year, right? If it doesn’t work out for Ginn as a starter, his fastball/breaking ball combo in short bursts could get him to the big leagues as fast as any prep pitcher here.

I’m running out of angles for the rest of these pitchers, but rest assured that every name mentioned in the “Others” section below is really damn good. This is a legitimately great year for high school pitching. You’ll see first round talents in most years fall a few rounds past that as teams reach for other, shallower positions under the assumption they can still get quality teenage pitching later.

Fun aside: in my copying/pasting haste, I lost all of my notes on every high school pitcher you see listed below from Hankins to Ashcraft. Good work by me. There’s enough time to rebuild between now and June, but, damn, do I hate myself right now.

Prediction: Hankins, Liberatore, Becker, Cecconi, Rocker, Stewart

Others: Bartnicki, Marceaux, Hill, Vasil, Ginn, Cole Winn (Orange Lutheran HS, California), Jonathan Childress (Forney HS, Texas), Ryan Weathers (Loretto HS, Tennessee), Cole Wilcox (Heritage HS, Georgia), Adam Kloffenstein (Magnolia HS, Texas), Mason Denaburg (Merritt Island HS, Florida), Tyler Ras (Middletown North HS, New Jersey), Jack Perkins (Kokomo HS, Indiana), Simeon Woods-Richardson, (Kempner HS, Texas), Braxton Ashcraft (Robinson HS, Texas), Brandon Birdsell (Conroe HS, Texas), Lineras Torres (Beach HS, New York), Jonathan Gates (Nature Coast Tech HS, Florida), Drew Rom (Highlands HS, Kentucky), Bo Blessie (Lee HS, Texas), Dominic Pipken (Pinole Valley HS, California), Garrett Wade (Hartselle HS, Alabama), Angel Tiburcio (Trinity Christian HS, Florida), Seth Halvorsen (Heritage Christian Academy, Minnesota)

College Pitchers (9)

Depending on who you talk to, Logan Gilbert (Stetson) is either a stealth 1-1 contender or a borderline first round pick. Since you’re talking to me (or whatever the writing/reading equivalent is), you’re going to hear about Gilbert as arguably the top current prospect in this draft. One of the patterns I’ve noticed in successful pitching prospects is a common ability to excel at the “little things.” The scare quotes are needed here because a) these aren’t little things at all, and b) for many people, these aren’t even considered little things. When I get asked about pitchers, the questions are almost always the same. How hard does he throw? What’s his breaking ball like? Can he throw an effective changeup? Tell me about his size, his mechanics, his injury history, his track record on the field…that sort of stuff. Little things like deception, extension, and athleticism are often overlooked. Well, that’s not entirely true. Were overlooked is a more fair way of putting it. Athleticism has always been critically important, but it is being talked about (and measured) in different ways today. Same thing with deception and extension, especially with the proliferation of TrackMan data collection and PitchFX and all the other fancy stuff now being used for pitchers as early as middle school (!) these days.

This is all a long way of saying that Gilbert’s “little things” come up huge. He’s a fantastic athlete by any measure. Picking up the ball on him seems like it would be a nightmare. His extension is just silly as opposing hitters have remarked it looks like he’s handing the ball to the catcher at times. As important as all of this stuff is, he wouldn’t be a 1-1 contender if it weren’t for also excelling at the “big things.” Fastball? He’ll sit anywhere from 89-95 and touch 97, but the pitch hops up another full grade because of the ridiculous natural movement he gets on it. Breaking ball? There’s an average 74-80 curve that will flash better and an above-average 79-82 slider that comes in as a plus pitch at times. The two breakers can run together at times — enough so that I know some just call it a hybrid — but I think the two distinct velo bands speak to the differentiation in break of the two. Changeup? I’d like to see more here this spring, but he has one at 82-85 that has looked fine enough in small doses so far. Size, mechanics, injury history, track record? Check, check, check, and check.

So why are some relatively down on Gilbert at this point? It could be that they aren’t weighing those “little things” as heavily as I am. It could also be some risk-aversion when looking at some of the fair concerns hidden in all of the positivity above. Gilbert’s breaking ball (or balls, depending on your view) can be a devastating pitch, but the consistency isn’t there yet. Same thing with the changeup, though that pitch is more of an unknown than anything else. Not having a reliable knockout offspeed pitch is normally enough to disqualify a guy from early first round talk, so what gives with Gilbert’s lofty rating? It’s all about that fastball. I’ve written a lot of words on the guy already, but it really could have just been one: FASTBALL. Gilbert’s fastball is such a dominating pitch that he could throw it almost exclusively and still get through a lineup multiple times. The fact that he has the makings of a really good breaking ball (or balls) and a serviceable change is akin to icing on the cake. Between the way he pitches off the heat, his build, and the way he gets the most of his “little things,” I can see a bit of both Justin Verlander and Jacob DeGrom in him.

Since I’ve used up all my words for the week already, we’ll do our best to be brief with the remaining college arms. There’s zero chance that this will happen after so much time away, but let’s pretend that it’s possible to help preserve my own sanity. One of my big questions heading into the 2018 college season is pretty straightforward: are we really going to get a Friday night rivalry game with Konnor Pilkington (Mississippi State) and Ryan Rolison (Mississippi) head-to-head this season? I’m truly wondering as I have no idea how these teams are planning on setting up their (stacked) rotations, but, man, wouldn’t that be great? Rolison is the bigger current name thanks to his star turn on the Cape this past summer. Turns out that scouts like lefties with above-average velocity (88-94, 95 peak), stellar hybrid breaking balls (a 76-84 offering that takes the best parts of a good slider and a good curve and turns into something special), and command not typically seen at the amateur level. Pilkington is a little less famous…for now. This port-sider has a similar fastball to Rolison, a better present changeup, and a step or so less breaking ball and command. Add it all up and the two are really close. Two additional fun quirks besides their status as bitter college rivals: 1) Rolison, a draft-eligible sophomore, is old for his class, while Pilkington, a typical draft-eligible junior, is young for his class; despite being a year apart in terms of academics, the two are only two months apart in age, and 2) take a peek at what each pitcher did last season…

KP – 9.3 K/9 – 3.9 BB/9 – 3.08 ERA
RR – 9.4 K/9 – 3.5 BB/9 – 3.07 ERA

We’re not exactly entering The Twilight Zone just yet, but that’s at least a little freaky, right? For the record, the two teams square off on April 6 at Mississippi State. Do you think I can convince the wife that Stark Vegas is an appropriate place for the baby’s first real vacation?

Casey Mize (Auburn) is awesome and maybe a tad overlooked because Auburn isn’t quite Florida or Vanderbilt or Mississippi State, but I’d put his mid-80s split-change up against any offspeed pitch in this class. Mize vs Pilkington or Rolison or Singer would be a pretty nice consolation prize if I can’t sneak my way into the baseball version of the Egg Bowl. In any event, it’s worth noting that Mize put up the best sophomore season (11.7 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9 leading to a 2.04 ERA in 83.2 IP) of any of this year’s top college pitchers. When stuff like his converges with major on-field success, you’re looking at a clear top of the first round talent. Health permitting, naturally.

Speaking of health, Shane McClanahan (South Florida) has a few red flags he can’t help — Tommy John surgery already under his belt and a lack of ideal size (6-1, 175 pounds) — so he might be a little scary for some, but the payoff (mid-90s heat, nasty upper-70s slider, solid mid-80s change) is worth rolling the dice. I loved Blaine Knight (Arkansas) last year. Nothing has changed to make me love him any less. His frame screams projection and, at his best, his stuff is ace-caliber.

Brady Singer (Florida) is the people’s favorite for 1-1 among my quick and dirty random sampling of the Top Five Pick Internet. I get it. Between comparisons by the Florida coaching staff (via D1 and BA) to Aaron Nola, a Cape Cod League coach comparing him to Jeff Hoffman (per MLB.com), and the out of left field but great comp by Brett Myers (!) to Kevin Brown, there’s a ton of support for Singer having a long, successful pro career by those who have seen him up close. No argument from me. As those disparate comps might suggest, Singer fits so many different pitcher archetypes that he’s hard to pin down as a prospect. He’s got the plus command to make you think that’s how he gets by (like the prospect version of Nola). But then he shows a big fastball (up to 97) with a power breaking ball (77-83), so you’re thinking power pitcher (a la Hoffman). Finally he starts using his explosive sinker to get ground ball outs (hence the evocation of Brown). One name that I’ve heard is the now fully realized version of Charlie Morton. Isn’t it wild that drafting Charlie Morton 2.0 with the first pick in a really good draft doesn’t sound crazy?

Singer’s Gator teammate Jackson Kowar (Florida) isn’t quite the same finished product, but the upside might be a half-step higher. When he’s rolling, Kowar will show three true plus pitches: a 90-95 FB (97 peak) that dances, a filthy 81-86 split-change, and an 82-84 slider. His reacclimation to a starter’s workload last season came with a few hiccups, but if he can put it all together in 2018…damn. Much of the same can be said for Jason Bilous (Coastal Carolina), though his main performance issue is (and always has been, if we’re being honest) control. This is in no way a comparison of abilities, but a guy like Bilous reminds me of Michael Cederoth from San Diego State a few years back.

I did a mock draft for 2014 just days after the 2013 draft concluded with Cederoth, the hard throwing but wild reliever poised to make the full-time switch to the rotation, in the two spot. The rest of the list was pretty solid including Trea Turner at three, Carlos Rodon at four, Kyle Schwarber at 8, and on and on and on (plus some bad misses or TBD picks like Touki Toussaint at one, Gareth Morgan at fifteen, and Karsten Whitson at sixteen). Anyway, Cederoth wasn’t the second best player in his class a full year ahead of the draft. Nobody would have argued that. But the perfect world outcome of Cederoth? Now that’s a different story. I feel similarly about Bilous. His best-case outcome is a top five pick; that’s where his talent (like Kowar, a potential three plus pitch starter) pushes him. But his red flags — scattered command and control, Tommy John surgery in the rear-view — and the persistent on-field inconsistencies could knock him down to the same area (third round) where Cederoth was eventually picked. Generally speaking, putting players like this high up on draft rankings early in the process is a smart move. It’s different, but justifiable. It also has a massive payout if you’re right…and if you’re wrong, as I was with Cederoth, it’s easy to sweep under the rug by never bringing it up again. Except when you bring it up on your own three years later. Don’t do that.

Prediction: Gilbert, Mize, Singer, McClanahan, Kowar, Bilous, Pilkington, Rolison

Others: Knight, Tim Cate (Connecticut), Kris Bubic (Stanford), Adam Hill (South Carolina), Colton Eastman (Cal State Fullerton), Austin Bergner (North Carolina), Tarik Skubal (Seattle), Tristan Beck (Stanford), Bryce Tucker (Central Florida), Ryan Feltner (Ohio State), Jensen Elliott (Oklahoma State), Durbin Feltman (TCU), Steven Gingery (Texas Tech), Davis Martin (Texas Tech), Kyle Molnar (UCLA), Tanner Dodson (California), Matt Mercer (Oregon), Nick Sprengel (San Diego), Brooks Crawford (Clemson), Tyler Holton (Florida State), Andrew Cabezas (Miami), Greg Veliz (Miami), Griffin Roberts (Wake Forest), Jackson Goddard (Kansas), Michael Grove (West Virginia), Jack DeGroat (Liberty), Brett Conine (Cal State Fullerton), Noah Davis (UC Santa Barbara), John Rooney (Hofstra), Alex Royalty (UNC Wilmington), Dylan Coleman (Missouri State), Cody Deason (Arizona), Jonathan Olsen (UCLA), Justin Hooper (UCLA), Evan Lee (Arkansas), Davis Daniel (Auburn), Ryan Avidano (Georgia), Kevin Smith (Georgia), Justin Lewis (Kentucky), Sean Hjelle (Kentucky), Christopher Machamer (Kentucky), Zack Hess (LSU), Dallas Woolfork (Mississippi), James McArthur (Mississippi), Zach Linginfelter (Tennessee), Stephen Kolek (Texas A&M), Hogan Harris (Louisiana), Nick Lee (Louisiana), Josiah Gray (Le Moyne)

So now we have our player pool based on a combination of math that isn’t really predictive (unless it is!), my subjective list of the best 2018 draft prospects, and the freshly minted 2018 MLB Draft order. The last minor faux-scientific move is to look at who goes where. I don’t have have the patience to go beyond the top ten, but here’s what I found. These are the demographic groups that have had more than one player selected in each spot in the top five since 2009…

1.1 – College pitcher and HS shortstop
1.2 – HS pitcher and college third baseman
1.3 – College pitcher and HS pitcher and HS shortstop
1.4 – HS pitcher and college pitcher and college catcher
1.5 – College pitcher and HS outfielder

We’ll follow those rules with the one little exception of 1-2…but at least we kept it as a college infielder. If we expand the view for picks six through ten, we see that these are the five demographic groups represented more than three times total in that six to ten range since 2009…

College outfielder, HS pitcher, HS outfielder, college outfielder, HS shortstop

Using all of that, we wind up with this…

1-1 Detroit – RHP Logan Gilbert
1-2 San Francisco – 2B/SS Nick Madrigal
1-3 Philadelphia – RHP Brady Singer
1-4 White Sox – RHP Ethan Hankins
1-5 Cincinnati – LHP Ryan Rolison
1-6 Mets – OF Griffin Conine
1-7 San Diego – SS Nander De Sedas
1-8 Atlanta – LHP Matthew Liberatore
1-9 Oakland – OF Jarred Kelenic
1-10 Pittsburgh – RHP Casey Mize
1-11 Baltimore – RHP Kumar Rocker
1-12 Toronto – SS Brice Turang
1-13 Miami – RHP Austin Becker
1-14 Seattle – 3B Nolan Gorman
1-15 Texas – RHP Slade Cecconi
1-16 Tampa Bay – C Will Banfield
1-17 Angels – OF Parker Meadows
18 Kansas City – 1B Seth Beer
19 St. Louis – OF Ryder Green
20 Minnesota – LHP Shane McClanahan
21 Milwaukee – OF Connor Scott
22 Colorado – OF Travis Swaggerty
23 N.Y. Yankees – RHP Ethan Stewart
24 Chicago Cubs – RHP Jason Bilous
25 Arizona – RHP Jackson Kowar
26 Boston – SS Jeremy Eierman
27 Washington – LHP Konnor Pilkington
28 Houston – 3B Nick Northcut
29 Cleveland – SS Brandon Dieter
30 L.A. Dodgers – OF Ashton Bardzell

…and we’ll skip an unknown pick (31, team TBD) to throw in Tampa’s comp selection for being unable to come to terms with Drew Rasmussen.

31 – Tampa – C Cal Raleigh

Yes, the Rays are doubling up on catchers. No, this mock draft isn’t nearly as scientific as we’re making it out to be. But it’s fun. As importantly, hopefully the avalanche of words above have provided a little more clarity on what makes the players in this year’s draft so exciting.

FAVORITES – Part IV

Lost about a month’s worth of work because I’m stupid and Microsoft Word apparently no longer autosaves. So I’m a bit bummed and behind where I want to be on 2018 draft coverage already. Plenty of time to catch up, so I guess that’s the positive to be gleaned in an otherwise annoying situation. Anyway, here are some FAVORITES…

Morehead State SR 2B/SS Braxton Morris

There Is No Such Thing As A Second Base Prospect, so don’t burn an early pick and instead spend some draft capital on a second base senior-sign and call it a day. Morris is a good looking young hitter who can really pick it. If he can clean up his approach even a little bit, he’d fine in nicely as a potential 2018 value pick.

Southern Illinois Edwardsville rSR 1B/OF Jared McCunn

High hopes for McCunn in 2017 didn’t quite pan out as expected, but another year of eligibility gives him another shot at making his mark on the college game.

Tennessee-Martin rSR OF Collin Edwards

Edwards didn’t hit in 2017 — not saying he struggled, he literally didn’t hit — so him going undrafted is hardly a surprise. We’ll run it back in 2018 and see how it goes.

Arizona SR OF Cal Stevenson

I’m a big fan of Stevenson’s game. That should go without saying since he’s sitting here on a list of FAVORITES, but I said it anyway. The Wildcat can hit, run, throw, and defend in center.

Arizona SR OF/2B Mitchell Morimoto

I’m still on the Morimoto bandwagon, though I’d be more into him as a prospect if he could hang in the infield (as some still think) than if he was instead confined to a life in the outfield.

Oregon JR RHP Matt Mercer

Athleticism and a really fast arm (up to 97 MPH) have made Mercer a FAVORITE. Surprisingly low strikeout numbers through two seasons as a Duck haven’t quite scared me off yet, but they are worth investigating further. A big draft season seems well within range. I certainly hope that’s the case because I hate having to figure out what to make of great stuff/iffy peripherals college pitchers.

Oregon State JR SS Cadyn Grenier

Everybody rightfully loves Nick Madrigal (see below), but, hey, Cadyn Grenier is really good too!

Oregon State JR SS/2B Nick Madrigal

Pedroia, Bregman, Altuve. Let those three comps — first two from Baseball America, last one from Aaron Fitt at D1Baseball — sink in for a bit. There’s no better pure hitter in college ball than Madrigal. Seeing how high his stock climbs as a likely primary second base prospect is going to be fascinating.

Oregon State JR OF Trevor Larnach

Owner of one of college ball’s prettiest swings, Larnach is a really well-rounded player with a chance for three average better or tools (hit, power, arm). He’ll be overshadowed some on a stacked Beavers squad, but he’s a solid outfield prospect in a class that could use some.

USC rJR RHP Bryce Dyrda

Dydra is an undersized righthander (strike one) with questionable control (strike two), but he has a solid sinking 88-94 MPH fastball (ball one?) and a deceptive delivery (ball two). He’s also coming off a sophomore season where he missed more than his fair share of bats. So that’s a full count, I guess. Now we wait for the payoff pitch…

Friday Nonsense

And now for something totally different. It’s summer, so I’ve kind of taken an “anything goes” approach to the site that should last for about another six weeks or so. The following is not for everyone, I bet, but it’s a) about baseball, and b) tangentially related to the draft. Back to regularly scheduled 2018 MLB Draft programming on Monday…

*****

A friend of mine asked me recently what I thought about Pat Neshek’s trade value. That led me to the realization that I have no idea what Neshek’s trade value is. I pride myself on answering questions when asked — even if it’s a simple “honestly, I don’t know but I’ll try to find out — so I got to work in trying to give a quality answer. A wise man once told me that the best way make sense of the unfamiliar is to find comps. That wise man was me. I told myself that. So here we are.

We started with all the relievers traded in the weeks leading up to the deadline over the past three years. Then we tried to find the ones who had statistical years closest to Neshek’s first half. Finally, we examined the return for each traded reliever and how it could be related back to present day prospect value. Simple enough, right?

In a fun twist, the reliever most similar to Neshek dealt in the last three years is none other than old friend Jonathan Papelbon. A comparison with Neshek on top and Papelbon on bottom…

9.17 K/9 – 1.27 BB/9 – 1.27 ERA – 2.27 FIP – 35.1 IP
9.08 K/9 – 1.82 BB/9 – 1.59 ERA – 3.01 FIP – 39.2 IP

Now obviously Papelbon had the sizable perceived edge as being a VETERAN CHAMPIONSHIP CLOSER, but he also came with the risk (or reward, I suppose) of another guaranteed year (after negotiating this part of the deal with Washington) at $11 million on the books. The return for Papelbon was impressive at the time and now looks like an absolute home run. Nick Pivetta is really good. Worth noting that the Phillies paid for Papelbon for that first half-season (minus the minimum) and left the Nats on the hook for the full season thereafter (which they predictably partially deferred…but that’s a whole other thing).

Other closers at the time dealt away with similar numbers to Neshek…

9.17 K/9 – 1.27 BB/9 – 1.27 ERA – 2.27 FIP – 35.1 IP
7.90 K/9 – 2.41 BB/9 – 2.85 ERA – 4.87 FIP – 41.0 IP
8.84 K/9 – 4.89 BB/9 – 2.79 ERA – 3.96 FIP – 38.2 IP
11.34 K/9 – 1.08 BB/9 – 2.70 ERA – 1.06 FIP – 33.1 IP

Here we have Neshek at the top followed by 2015 Joakim Soria, 2015 Tyler Clippard, and 2014 Joakim Soria. The return for 2015 Soria was JaCoby Jones. 2015 Clippard fetched Casey Meisner. 2014 Soria brought back Jake Thompson (!) and Corey Knebel. In a fun coincidence that may or may not actually be a coincidence, Baseball America’s midseason rankings had Jones as the Pirates 10th best prospect before being dealt. He was MLB.com’s 12th best prospect. Nick Pivetta was also ranked 10th (BA) and 12th (MLB). And the return for Zach Duke? Well, Charlie Tilson was ranked 10th (BA) and 12th (MLB). That’s weird, right?

It also brings us to Duke. He, along with Clippard (again!), were the two pitchers closest to Neshek dealt at last year’s deadline. The numbers going from Neshek to Duke to 2016 Clippard…

9.17 K/9 – 1.27 BB/9 – 1.27 ERA – 2.27 FIP – 35.1 IP
10.04 K/9 – 3.82 BB/9 – 2.63 ERA – 3.04 FIP – 37.2 IP
10.99 K/9 – 3.58 BB/9 – 4.30 ERA – 4.31 FIP – 37.2 IP

Duke is a really interesting comparison for Neshek, I think. Both pitchers were seen as specialists, but were dealt (or will be dealt in Neshek’s case) during a season they put up unexpectedly strong numbers against opposite-handed hitters. As mentioned earlier, the return was a guy ranked 10th (BA) and 12th (MLB) on the top major industry lists updated during the season. As for this version of Clippard, he returned MLB.com’s 14th ranked prospect from New York (Vicente Campos). Worth noting that both Duke and Clippard were not closing at the time of their respective trades — like Neshek, Duke has never closed, FWIW — and were owed monies ($5.5 million for Duke, $6.15 million for Clippard) for one season beyond the in-season move.

9.17 K/9 – 1.27 BB/9 – 1.27 ERA – 2.27 FIP – 35.1 IP
11.75 K/9 – 2.75 BB/9 – 1.00 ERA – 1.88 FIP – 36.0 IP
7.88 K/9 – 3.94 BB/9 – 4.50 ERA – 3.51 FIP – 32.0 IP

Top is Neshek (figure you’ve caught on by now, but just in case), middle is Mark Lowe, bottom is Steve Cishek. Lowe is another really interesting comparison for Neshek. Both were/are non-closers, pending free agents, and in the midst of stellar seasons judged by literally any measure. The return on Lowe: Jake Brentz, Nick Wells, and Rob Rasmussen. Cishek, who wasn’t closing at that point, had two years of team control left but wound up being non-tendered by the Cardinals anyway. There’s a chance he’s only included here because my subconscious mind wants the two similarly named relievers linked forever in such a momentous email. Whatever the reason for his inclusion may be, he’s neither a great nor horrible comp for Neshek. The return for him was Kyle Barraclough.

Conclusions from this are pretty straightforward. There’s something magical about players ranked both 10th (BA) and 12th (MLB), so if you can find a guy to hit on those exact spots on each list then he’s the one. If past schedules can be trusted, then those updates should be out next week. In the meantime, let’s look at the returns and how they ranked before the season they were dealt to try to figure out a realistic return. We have the following names to consider: Nick Pivetta, JaCoby Jones, Casey Meisner, Jake Thompson/Corey Knebel, Charlie Tilson, Vicente Campos, Jake Brentz/Nick Wells/Rob Rasmussen, and Kyle Barraclough.

Pivetta – 10th
Jones – 13th
Meisner – 21st
Thompson – 4th, Knebel – 6th
Tilson – 13th
Campos – 20th
Brentz – UR, Wells – 28th, Rasmussen – UR
Barraclough – UR

We can work with three methodologies here. First, a simple mean of all the prospects dealt. I averaged players dealt in the same package and considered anybody unranked to be the 31st best prospect in the system. That got us an average of just under 18th. This could be useful, especially if we’re trying to be conservative with our expected return. We could also look at the wider range of outcomes. Players were ranked as high as 4th and as low as “31st.” That’s probably too wide a range to be useful. However, if we toss out the unranked players — not that big a deal since Cishek wasn’t a great comparable in the first place, plus two of the other unranked guys were part of a larger package anyway — then that gives us a range from 4th to 21st. That makes sense as both a reasonable ceiling and floor. We could also focus on our three favorite comps for Neshek (Papelbon, Duke, and Lowe) to help narrow down the eventual search field. The Lowe trade was weird in that it was more about quantity than quality — though Brentz, unranked here, was one seen as a pretty big draft overslot draft prospect — so Pivetta (10th) and Tilson (13th) wind up as the most useful points of reference.

The four teams publicly connected to Neshek so far this season have been Boston, Kansas City, New York, and Washington. We’ll take a look at each team’s 10th to 13th best prospects as noted by Baseball America prior to the season. For reference’s sake, here’s what the Phillies list looked like…

OF Dylan Cozens
RHP Kevin Gowdy
RHP Nick Pivetta
2B Daniel Brito

Not bad, right? You’d happily take any of those guys for Neshek in a second. Thankfully, all of those guys are already here. Let’s see what else is out there. We’ll run through Boston, Kansas City, New York, and Washington in that order. I included notes from each player’s time as an amateur (if applicable) and then followed that up with present day thoughts on their current value.

Boston

1B Josh Okimey

1B Josh Ockimey (Neumann-Goretti HS, Pennsylvania): good athlete; power upside; interesting hit tool; slow; 6-4, 220 pounds

3B Michael Chavis

3B/2B Michael Chavis (Sprayberry HS, Georgia): good approach; above-average to plus defender; can’t throw it fast enough for him; very real right-handed power, at least above-average and plus for me; average speed; average or better arm; good athlete; bat speed is nuts; could be catcher convert; PG comp: Javier Baez; not perfect, but reminds me of Cavan Biggio last year; Callis comp: Jedd Gyorko; I can see maybe RHH Robin Ventura; have heard Blake DeWitt as warning; 5-10, 200 pounds

RHP Mike Shawaryn

Shawaryn’s big 2015 (10.71 K/9 and 1.71 ERA in 116.0 IP) set him up as a potential first round pick coming into the year, but a slight dip in production and stuff has many cooler on him now than before. He’s always been in that ten to fifteen range for him as a 2016 college arm, so the recent downtick in stuff isn’t something I’m too worked up about. At his best, he’s got enough fastball (87-94, 95 peak), a changeup with big upside, and a breaking ball that seemingly improves every time out (even as he’s had some rocky starts this year). Breaking down his individual pitches is obviously important, but the main selling point with Shawaryn was always going to be his above-average to plus command, standout control, and deceptive motion. Assuming his decline is more fatigue – he’s approaching almost 250 college innings in his career; for context’s sake, that’s about a hundred more than AJ Puk and over twice as many as Alec Hansen – than injury (though separating the two can be tricky without proper pre-draft medical screening), Shawaryn might be the perfect candidate for a team in round two (or three if they are lucky) willing to draft a potential mid-rotation starting pitcher with the intent not to pitch him competitively the summer after signing. Draft him, sign him, get him working with your top player development staffers, and focus more about 2017 rather than getting onto the field immediately. If it turns out he’s feeling good and looking good sooner rather than later, so be it. But he’s the type of smart young pitcher that could begin his first professional season at High-A without much concern. That’s the path I’d consider taking with him, but maybe I’m making more out of a few good rather than great starts than I really ought to.

RHP Travis Lakins

RHP Travis Lakins (353) is an athletic young arm with less miles on it as a draft-eligible sophomore than many of his peers. I view him as a really good potential reliever, but I can see why one would look at his athleticism, frame with some projection left, and fastball command and think otherwise.

Ockimey is a local guy (Neumann-Goretti) who has hit for three straight years including a strong showing this year in A+ as a 21-year-old. He’d be a more than fair return for Neshek in a vacuum, but, as a guy locked into first base, doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Phillies specific organizational needs. I’d still be pleased with the return, but could see why others might be less than thrilled.

The ideal target might just be Chavis. Of course, if he’s the guy you really want, then the odds of actually getting him decrease. That’s the first rule of making up trades on the internet. If it seems like you’re getting the obvious better end of the deal, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Chavis broke out in a major way at High-A and has since held his own in AA the past few weeks. He’d instantly be the best third base prospect in the system and become an immediate — assuming you’re cool bending the definition of “immediate” to “within a year” — threat to Maikel Franco’s job. He’d be a perfect piece for the rebuild.

Shawaryn and Lakins are both college arms who feel a little overrated on this list. Shawaryn reminds me a lot of a righthanded version of Cole Irvin: strong collegiate track record, fifth round picks in last year’s draft, better than the High-A competition but still has plenty to prove in AA. Like Irvin, Shawaryn has fifth starter upside with a decent fallback of middle relief. I’d be underwhelmed if he was coming back for Neshek. Lakins has a little more upside if everything breaks just right, but a far riskier overall profile. I tend to think he’s a middle reliever in the long fun, so I’d pass on him for Neshek. He was really good in High-A, but has experienced the equal and opposite result so far in AA.

Kansas City

RHP Kyle Zimmer

3. San Francisco JR RHP Kyle Zimmer: 91-94 FB, 95-97 peak but can get it up to 99 when amped up; some of the best FB command of any amateur you’ll ever see; there is some talk of inconsistency with his fastball, but I’m not taking that bait: looking at start-by-start velocity shows that he most commonly sat 93-96, even late in games; he was down to the upper-80s in one start (92 peak), but rebounded to show 92-93 (95 peak) the next Friday; inconsistent but really good 81-86 SL with cutter action that could become plus pitch in time; 76-81 kCB that flashes above-average to plus, presently his strongest secondary offering; raw 78-86 CU that he used more frequently with each game, both picking and hitting his spots better as the year progressed – he often used the change early in counts to set hitters up as he is unafraid to pitch backwards when necessary; one nitpick: command of breaking stuff comes and goes; relatively new to pitching, so he has the benefits (and potential injury downside) of a fresh (or unready) arm – I can understand those who are worried that he has done too much too soon on the mound developmentally, but believe that with proper care in pro ball he’ll be fine; outstanding athlete with the chance for three (or four) plus pitches, an arm with limited mileage, and pinpoint fastball command all sounds like a potential first overall pick and frontline MLB starting pitcher; 6-4, 220 pounds

OF Seuly Matias

OF Khalil Lee

If you’re going to go safe with the first pick, then it only makes sense to swing for the fences with the next one. Highly athletic two-way prep star Khalil Lee (170) certainly qualifies as a big cut from the heels that could either result in a majestic home run or the cooling breeze of a major whiff and miss. Of course, that presupposes that boom/bust prospects result in all-or-nothing players; a swing for the fence can just as easily result in a double high off the wall or a sac fly. Prospect evaluation can mean many things to many people, but one thing it ain’t (or shouldn’t be) is an exercise in projecting binary outcomes. Anyway, Lee’s upside is considerable and the arrow on his likelihood of getting there is pointing up after a tremendous pro debut that saw him turn tools to skills quicker than just about anybody outside of the Kansas City front office could have anticipated.

Lee has the physical ability to be a star if he can remain in center feel as expected. He’d still have above-average regular upside in a corner — we know he has more than enough arm for right field — but the thought of him maintaining enough quickness and flexibility as he fills out to stick up the middle is particularly exciting. Offensively, Lee has the bat speed, swing plane, and muscle to hit for real power, average speed to do a little damage on the bases, and the keen understanding of the strike zone one might expect from a legitimate pitching prospect. There’s a lot to like when the overall package is taken into account.

SS Nicky Lopez

From that point on, Lopez grew on me a little bit with every passing day. Guys who hit .306/.417/.444 with twice as many walks (26) as strikeouts (13) in their draft year tend to do that. Beyond the obvious awesome plate discipline indicators, what I liked about Lopez is the steady increase in functional power (.038 ISO in 2014, .089 ISO in 2015, .138 ISO in 2016) and continued strong base running (83.3% career success rate). Those kind of secondary offensive skills and his longstanding quality defense at short — above-average range, plus arm, soft hands — elevate Lopez’s ceiling to a potential regular at short. If that’s too rich for you, then Lopez’s hot start should at least up the odds of him reaching his existing upside as a high-level utility guy.

Zimmer is one of my all-time favorite draft prospects, so you think I’d be into taking a chance on him for Neshek. Unfortunately, his career has been completely derailed due to injury. Hopefully he can come out the other side a productive big league contributor, but I’d let another team take that gamble. International guys are always a weak spot for me, so I’m hardly an expert on Matias…but everything I now know about him I like. His profile reminds me a little bit of the Royals version of Jhailyn Ortiz. Big July 2 bonus, monster power, deceptively fast, lots of swing and miss, solid walk rate…I’m in. The fact that he’s a bit further away from the big leagues is actually a plus in that Rule 5 roster concerns can be pushed back a few extra years.

Same logic would apply for Lee, who is killing it in full-season ball at just a few months older than Matias. He’s striking out a ton, but everything else in both his scouting and statistical profile looks great. Either him or Matias would be a coup for Neshek. Lopez wouldn’t be quite the same home run, but it’s hard to dislike a player who has hit at every stop in his pro career AND has skyrocketed to AA just thirteen months after being drafted. His ceiling and his floor run into each other a bit — reminds me of the house they built in “Hurricane Neddy” — but getting a young, cheap future utility player for Neshek wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

New York

OF Dustin Fowler

78. OF Dustin Fowler (West Laurens HS, Georgia): average speed; average arm; pretty swing; upside with bat; 6-1, 170 pounds

RHP Domingo Acevedo

3B Miguel Andujar

LHP Jordan Montgomery

The first and last players listed above are pretty much non-starters, but for totally different reasons. What can you say about poor Dustin Fowler? A ruptured patella tendon is no joke. Hope he makes it back. On a more positive note (for New York), Jordan Montgomery is too big a part of both the Yankees present and future for them to even consider moving him for a middle reliever like Neshek. Bummer. The one silver lining in eliminating two names off the bat is that it gives us more space to gush about Domingo Acevedo. Simply put, Acevedo is really, really exciting and the prospect of getting an arm like his, slim as it may be, for PAT NESHEK astounds me. The big righthander is another international guy I didn’t know a ton about before doing some digging, but he sounds awesome. Cashman apparently calls him “Little Pineda.” I’m not trying to make it out that Acevedo is under the radar — he pitched in the Futures Game, so he’s a pretty big deal — but I’m still a bit surprised how a Yankee who has a plus fastball — he once hit 103 MPH! — with an above-average changeup and emerging slider packed into a 6-7, 250 pound frame isn’t getting way more hype than he is. This is a potential dream return.

Finally, there’s Andujar. His profile reminds me a little bit of the America’s Choice prospect version of Maikel Franco. Feels like a fair return to me — sometimes those knockoff cereals are even better than the name brand stuff — with the added bonus of playing a position of need within the organization. Maybe the Yankees look to sell high on him now that he’s off to a blazing MLB start (380 wRC+) through a whopping five plate appearances. I’d be pretty happy with Andujar for Neshek if I didn’t have my hopes up already that Acevedo could be had.

Washington

RHP Austin Voth

Washington JR RHP Austin Voth: 89-93 FB, 94 peak with plus command; good mid-70s CB; Cape 2012: 89-91 FB, 93 peak; 77-79 CB; plus 82-84 SL; solid 81 CU; FB can get too straight and command wavers; 6-1, 190 pounds (2011: 7.27 K/9 | 69.1 IP) (2012: 8.55 K/9 | 2.81 BB/9 | 3.86 FIP | 67.1 IP) (2013: 8.72 K/9 | 3.08 BB/9 | 3.74 FIP | 105.1 IP)

OF Rafael Bautista

3B Drew Ward

3B/1B Drew Ward (Leedy HS, Oklahoma): very strong; good athlete; untapped upside; intriguing natural talent with bat; big raw power; impressive pitch tracking and recognition; really like his approach; could be a catcher long term; strong arm, but mechanics out of whack; PG comp Jim Thome; profile reminds me some of Phil Nevin; 6-4, 200 pounds

RHP AJ Cole

The popular industry comp of Porcello works in a lot of ways, but I much prefer sizing the young Florida righthander up with Porcello’s Detroit teammate, Justin Verlander. Verlander represents Cole’s ultimate upside as a big leaguer, but it’s interesting to compare the two pitchers at similar points in their development. Despite possessing a 93 MPH peak velocity fastball, Verlander wasn’t even drafted coming out of Goochland HS (VA). Scouts questioned his shaky control and inconsistent mechanics while also citing concerns over how his 6-4, 170 pound high school frame would hold up as a professional. He embarked on an intense workout program upon enrolling at Old Dominion that helped move him closer to the finished product that we see today. Cole offers a similar velocity floor (low-90s) when compared to the high school version of Verlander, but has the edge when it comes to prep peak velocity as he has been clocked as high as 96-98 MPH at various stages in the past year. So, Cole has a better fastball at this point in his development, plus more consistent breaking stuff and a more advanced overall feel for pitching. If, and it is admittedly a pretty sizable if, Cole’s 6-5, 190 pound frame fills out like Verlander’s similarly projectable high school frame did, then you could eventually be talking about two very similar pitching prospects come draft time. With a little more muscle packed on, Cole’s fastball has the potential to be one of the signature pitches in all of baseball much in the same way Verlander’s heater has emerged as a special offering.

Voth is fine enough, but too dull for me as another fifth starter/middle relief type. The system has too many of those guys as is at the moment. Bautista is a fascinating prospect in that he’s got some of the very best speed in all of the minor leagues…and some of the tiniest power around. He hasn’t had an above-average year at the plate since 2014, so a speed/defense fifth outfielder seems like the most realistic outcome. Ward would be a realistic return for Neshek. I wouldn’t necessarily jump for joy, but it’s a logical enough fit — capable defender at third base, track record of hitting (until AA), strong draft pedigree — that it would be hard to hate.

Like Kyle Zimmer above, Cole will go down as one of my all-time favorite draft prospects. I mean, I may or may not have compared his ceiling to Justin Verlander at one point. Fine, I did. And I even quoted my past self to prove it. Anyway, he’d be a bit of an awkward fit here as a 25-year-old up-and-down arm with only about fifty big league innings under his belt, but if the scouting and player development staff came together claiming they saw something correctable about his mechanics that would help unlock his full upside (a theory I’ve heard about why they really pushed for Mark Appel in the Giles deal) then I’d trust them to give it a shot. I mean, maybe I shouldn’t because of the Appel thing, but if I hired them then I should listen to them and trust them to do their jobs, right?

If I had to rank all the potential returns, it would look like this…

1 – RHP Domingo Acevedo
2 – OF Seuly Matias
3 – 3B Michael Chavis
4 – OF Khalil Lee
5 – 3B Miguel Andujar
6 – 1B Josh Ockimey
7 – SS Nicky Lopez
8 – 3B Drew Ward
9 – RHP Mike Shawaryn
10 – RHP AJ Cole
11 – RHP Kyle Zimmer –
12 – RHP Travis Lakins
13 – RHP Austin Voth
14 – OF Rafael Bautista

The Acevedo, Matias, Chavis tier is a clear cut above the rest. Any order of those three can easily be defended since all are really good. I’d build a statue of Matt Klentak if he can pull something like that off. It would be small and I’d probably use aluminum foil, but it would still count. The hitters from Lee through Ward would probably make up the second tier. No statue for that, but I’d still be pleased. I think that tier represents the fairest value for Neshek, especially if you take Lee out of the equation. The rest would be tier three. Those would be last resort type deals for me. I’d be fine holding out until the very last minute of the deadline for something better even if it meant risking losing the deal and getting nothing for Neshek back. Not getting any of those guys would be worth the risk of potentially getting something better.

Quick disclaimer: nothing about the above was particularly scientific. The player pool from which the Phillies should be negotiating is much, much larger than my artificial sample. The odds are great that the player(s) the Phillies wind up getting for Neshek won’t actually be from among the sixteen (fourteen, really) listed above. I just wanted to bring a little order to the chaotic world of pretend GM trade nonsense that is the perfect mix of fun and pointless. It’s pretty much the non-porn reason why the internet exists.

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