The Tigers have loaded up with three consecutive first round pitchers in each of the last three MLB Drafts. Detroit takes one more arm here with the best player on the board being apitcher.
The 6-5 200 lb Brady Singer went 9-5 with a 3.21 ERA in 2016. Can get down 3-0 in the count and still get a strikeout. Singer also had 129 strikeouts in 126 innings pitched. Singer was a #2 starter behind Alex Faedo, but was huge for Florida during their 2017 College World Series Championship team with 21 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched during the 2017 College World Series. Singer has a 94-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 93-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a 92-mile per hour splitter, a 91-mile per hour cutter fastball, a 83-mile per hour slider, a 81-mile per hour curveball, and a 79-mile per hour changeup.
So far in six starts in 2018, Brady Singer is 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA with 39 strikeouts in those six starts. Singer began the season 5-0 before a rough outing against Arkansas where he gave up 6 runs.
Singer has improve his command and improved his ERA as the #1 guy in 2018. Those were the two big issues you wanted to see Singer fix on tape.
A lot of his mistakes on the mound due to him placing his feet on the mound too late before he fires the ball which is more of a mechanics and footwork. He's improved on this in 2018, and I expect him to have this issue corrected by the time he gets to the minors. Right now he's earned the right to be the top pick simply based on how much velocity he brings on his pitches along with how clutch he was during the 2017 College World Series.
One MLB scout believes Singer could be another Roger Clemens. I think Corey Kluber is a more realistic comparison at the moment though.
The Giants take the best player on their board at 2. That's South Florida pitcher Shane McClanahan who weighs 6-2 188 lbs.
Shane McClanahan redshirted in 2016 after dominating as a high school pitcher in Florida due to injuries. McClanahan went 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 2017 in his first full season as a starting pitcher.
McClanahan has pitched 34.2 innings with a 3-2 record so far in 2018 with a 1.56 ERA. He also has 1 perfect game which was a complete game shutout in 2018. McClanahan clocked at 100 miles per hour prior to the 2018 season so both his 4-seam fastball and 2-seam fastball can go up to 100 miles per hour. He possesses excellent delivery and command on his fastball.
Most of the time he throws a 96-mile per hour 4-seam fastball and a 95-mile per hour 2-seam fastball. He's capable of getting both up to 100 miles per hour. He also possesses a nice 85-mile per hour slider and a 75-mile per hour changeup. You want to see him develop his curveball more and improve his command on some pitches, but his delivery and mechanics are incredible. One scout believes his mechanics compare to Greg Maddux.
Shane McClanahan is the clear cut number two prospect after Brady Singer. I'd be shocked if he makes it past San Francisco at 2.
Toronto drafts the top pitcher on the board. The 6-3 208 lb Casey Mize led Auburn pitchers with the lowest ERA on the team with a 3.52 ERA as a true freshman. Mize went 8-2 with a 2.04 ERA as a sophomore in 2017.
Casey Mize has a 95-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 93-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a 84-mile per hour power curveball, a 83-mile per hour slider, and a 75-mile per hour curveball. Works from a low 3/4 arm slot. Casey Mize is a strikeout machine on tape and outpitched Brady Singer in 2017 so he deserves a top 10 grade heading into 2018.
The Phillies have loaded up on batters by taking a bat in the first round in four of the last five MLB Drafts. It's time for the Phillies to get a few more arms to compliment Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola.
Philadelphia drafts the top pitcher on the board. The 6-3 208 lb Casey Mize led Auburn pitchers with the lowest ERA on the team with a 3.52 ERA as a true freshman. Mize went 8-2 with a 2.04 ERA as a sophomore in 2017.
Casey Mize has a 95-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 93-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a 92-mile per hour splitter, a 91-mile per hour cutter fastball, a 84-mile per hour power curveball, a 83-mile per hour slider, and a 75-mile per hour curveball. Works from a low 3/4 arm slot. Casey Mize is a strikeout machine on tape and outpitched Brady Singer in 2017 so he deserves a top 10 grade heading into 2018.
Casey Mize is 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA and 1 complete game shutout so far in 2018. One scout compared him to Sandy Koufax, but that is a huge stretch. A friend of mine Brandon compared him to Dallas Keuchel and that's a more realistic comparison when you watch his splitter and everything this guy does on tape.
The 6-3 205 lb Ryan Rolison went 9-0 with a 0.12 ERA as a senior in High School before being drafted by the Padres out of high school. Rolison decided to enroll at Ole Miss and went 6-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 2017 in ten starts. He enters his second season as a starter and so far is 3-2 with a 2.88 ERA. Rolison will be 21 in July so he is draft eligible for the 2018 MLB Draft despite being a sophomore in College.
Rolison has a 94-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 91-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, an 82-mile per hour slider, an 81-mile per hour power curveball, a 75-mile per hour curveball, and a 75-mile per hour change up. He works from a 3/4 arm slot just like Casey Mize. Since he turns 21 he can leave Ole Miss after his sophomore season. Chicago usually goes for College pitchers and may draft him strictly based on his upside.
The Cincinnati Reds have dominated the last two MLB Drafts with as many as 20 future MLB prospects in their farm system including 13 future batters and 7 future pitchers giving them the luxury to bring batters up long-term and reload at pitcher as well. The fact that they are getting another top 5 pick is absolute highway robbery for the Reds since they are loaded with prospects despite a poor record.
The 6-5 190 lb Matthew Liberatore has a 94-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 93-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, and an 84-mile per hour changeup with a 3/4 arm slot.
Liberatore went 8-0 with a 0.79 ERA in 2017 with 96 strikeouts during his junior season. Liberatore is currently 2-1 with a 1.25 ERA with 3 starts in 2018. Cincinnati can stash Liberatore and develop the top high school pitcher in the 2018 MLB Draft in this draft class which is really top heavy at pitcher.
Previous Pick: Kumar Rocker, P, North Oconee HS (GA)
New York drafts a right fielder here. Heading into the season I thought Seth Beer had a chance to go first overall. I still believe he's one of the top batters in College Baseball.
Seth Beer is versatile enough to play left fielder, right fielder, third baseman, or first baseman. He dominated as a true freshman.
Beer had a .369 batting average, 57 runs, 18 home runs, 70 RBI's, and a .700 slugging percentage as a true freshman. Those numbers were simply unreal for a true freshman in 2016 which is why Seth Beer became the true freshman in College Baseball History to win the Dick Houser Award which is like the Heisman Trophy in College Baseball.
Previous Dick Howser Trophy Winners include David Price, Buster Posey, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon, Kris Bryant, and Andrew Benintendi. Brendan McKay won this award in 2017 after Beer failed to repeat as a sophomore. That's pretty good company to be in when you consider recent MLB success with Dick Howser Trophy Winners in the NCAA.
Beer had a .298 batting average, 51 runs, 17 home runs, 53 RBI's, and a .606 slugging percentage as a true sophomore in 2017. His numbers dropped, but he still has a career batting average of .333 and is a very consistent power hitter. Seth Beer is only batting .276 in 2018 with 8 home runs in 26 games so far.
I also have a film session of Seth Beer on my Youtube Channel. I'll post a video of it so you can watch the tape rather than reading these in depth write ups. The Beer video was my first MLB Draft video, so I hope you enjoy it. It's obvious Beer isn't top pick material now seeing how his 2018 season is unfolding. I still believe he's the top College Batter in the class, but that may change over time. If you'd like me to post any other MLB Draft videos go ahead and request that in the comments section below.
The Padres missed out on local Hunter Greene who was taken second overall in the 2017 MLB Draft. Now they get Ethan Hankins here with the seventh overall selection.
The 6-6 210 lb Ethan Hankins has a 97-mile per hour 4-seam fastball and a 92-mile per hour 2-seam fastball. Hankins went 5-2 with a 0.90 ERA in 9 starts. Great 3/4 arm slot. Hankins is also dominating Summer Showcase games as well with a lot of strikeouts.
Ethan Hankins left his first start of the year with an injury. He's 2-0 as a starter since returning from his injury early in the season. Right now he's got a 0.75 ERA through three starts in 2018.
Atlanta gets the best overall player on the board at 8. The Braves love to draft locals and they get another one here in Kumar Rocker.
The 6-5 240 lb Kumar Rocker is a two sport athlete. He was a starting pitcher at North Oconee High School as well as their edge rusher at defensive end with 10 career sacks and 20 quarterback hurries in two seasons of High School Football before committing to baseball full time in 2017.
Rocker went 5-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 2017. He has a 98-mile per hour 4-seam fastball and a 95-mile per hour 2-seam fastball. Rocker has posted a 1.98 ERA with a 4-2 record in 2018, but still has huge upside. Rocker is a boom or bust prospect, but he's someone the Braves have the luxury of gambling on at 8 here. His dad was a former assistant coach for Kirby Smart at Georgia.
Previous Pick: Jarred Kelenic, LF, Waukesha West HS (WI)
The Athletics are in a position where they have the luxury to ignore need and take the top player on the board with most of the premium pitchers off the board. Brice Turang is the top player on the board here.
Brice Turang is the son of former MLB Draft pick Brian Turang who was taken in the 51st round of the MLB Draft only to work his way up to the MLB. Brian Turang had five different kids that played sports and Brice was the youngest one so he got to watch everyone in his family develop as athletes with four older sisters that played soccer, softball, volleyball, and basketball. Each one of Brice's sisters played one of those different sports.
Brice Turang is 6-1 172 lbs and is a two-sport athlete that plays football and baseball in High School, but expects to commit to baseball once he gets drafted in the MLB. He batted .485 in High School last season and only struck out once in 101 batting appearances so his batter discipline at the plate as well as overall discipline is through the roof despite his lack of size.
Brice Turang is off to a strong start once again. Most scouts believe he's the top High School Batter in the 2018 Class.
The 6-4 210 lb Mike Vasil went 9-0 with a 0.51 ERA in 69.5 innings pitched in 2017. He will make his debut for 2018 on Monday. I saw him on tape and he went 46 minutes without giving up a run in a game of his that I watched on tape. Keep an eye on Mike Vasil because he has the tools to be a starting pitcher. Vasil has a 91-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 90-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, an 87-mile per hour power curve ball, a 74-mile per hour curveball with late break plus sharpness, and a 77 mile per hour sinker. Mike Vasil is someone with sound footwork on the mound as well. I see a pitcher with all the tools to be a top 10 pick when I watch his tape plus he's someone the Pirates can offer less money to when negotiating. We all know how cheap the Pirates are.
Previous Pick: Konnor Pilkington, P, Mississippi State
The 6-1 210 lb Nolan Gorman has back-to-back seasons of 11 home runs. Gorman is one of the best power hitters in this class. He has a career high .500 batting average so far in 2018. This guy is someone Baltimore can develop for the future only to get a huge steal. Once Manny Machado moves on to greener pastures, Nolan Gorman will be Baltimore's star infielder for years to come.
Previous Pick: Tristan Casas, 1B, American Heritage HS (FL)
Toronto drafts the top outfielder on the board. Some youth in the outfield definitely feels necessary.
Jarred Kelenic finished third in the 2017 High School Home Run Derby. He's a complete 5-tool bat that can hit home runs, line drives, grounders, bunts, maintain a .300 batting average, steal bases, throw well, and field well.
He's versatile enough to play left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder. He plays center fielder at Waukesha West High School, but he projects better as a corner outfielder plus he's slightly undersized at 5-11 184 lbs. He's certainly a top 15 talent, but he's not the top 5 pick that people hyped him up to be last Summer.
The 6-4 200 lb Tristan Pompey is a great batter he can hit home runs, line drives, grounders, or bunts. Pompey is one of the more complete batters in this class and Kentucky has done an awesome job the past few years developing batters for the MLB Draft.
Pompey had a rough freshman season. His best season came in 2017 when he had a .361 batting average, 10 home runs, 46 RBI's, and 70 runs scored. He showed the ability to hit home runs, line drives, grounders, and bunts. Pompey showcased 5-tool ability in 2017. Pompey is batting .394 in 2018. He may end up jumping Jarred Kelenic and Seth Beer if he continues to play at such a dominant level.
Previous Pick: Sean Guilbe, SS, Berks Catholic HS (PA)
Seattle gets a second baseman to develop. Nick Madrigal is the best player on the board at this point. The 5-7 161 lb Nick Madigral may be undersized, but he's versatile enough to play third base, shortstop, second base, or first base like Nick Senzel was.
dd>Madrigal is an excellent defender. He batted .380 with 20 doubles, 40 RBI's and 16 stolen bases winning PAC 12 player of the year in 2017. Madrigal began 2018 batting .560 with 8 RBI's and 3 stolen bases in his first six games before injuries too a toll. Madrigal is close to returning for Oregon State.
Texas drafts a pitcher here. They get the 6-5 180 lb Jackson Kowar who went 12-0 as a starter before losing his final start of the year to TCU. Also was used out of the bullpen and got the Gators a sae that clinched them the 2017 College World Series. With all the injuries the Mets had, they could use a guy like Kowar here. Kowar's ERA over 4.00 may be shaky, but the guy was a winner in 2017 and having a fastball that can go up to 97-miles per hour helped him out last season.
Jackson Kowar is 4-1 with a 3.13 ERA in 2018. Kowar still needs to work on some things. He could be a nice number two starter down the road with the right development though.
Tampa Bay needs more starting pitchers in their rotation. Logan Gilbert out of Stetson is the best prospect Stetson has had since Corey Kluber. Kluber was a fourth round pick who had a first round ERA, but fell to the fourth round mainly due to the fact that nobody knew where Stetson was. Now that Kluber is a Cy Young winner, someone will draft Gilbert in the first round hoping they land a pitcher of Corey Kluber's caliber.
Logan Gilbert went 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA as a true freshman in 2016. Gilbert improved on that with a career season in 2017 where he went 10-0 with a 2.02 ERA and 107 strikeouts in his sophomore season joining Corey Kluber in 2007 and Kurt Schluter in 2011 as the ASUN Pitcher of the Year.
So far in 2018, Gilbert is 5-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 6 starts. Gilbert is showing why he's a first round prospect with his strong start this season.
The 6-2 215 lb Ryan Weathers pitched 69 innings with a 0.11 ERA and went 8-0 in 8 starts in 2017 with 113 strikeouts last season. Weathers is currently 5-0 in 2018.
The son of David Weathers who pitched on the 1996 New York Yankees World Series team has a 94-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 91-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a 87-mile per hour power curveball, a 79-mile per hour curveball, a 80-mile per hour slider, and 77-mile per hour changeup. Weathers also plays basketball and is a two sport athlete.
The Royals get Lorenzo Cain's replacement here. Some believe South Alabama center fielder Travis Swaggerty could sneak into the top 10 so if he falls to Kansas City, the Royals would pull the trigger in a heartbeat and add him to their farm system.
The 5-11 180 lb Travis Swaggerty had a .412 batting average and 20 stolen bases in 2016. Swaggerty had a .356 batting average, 56 RBi's and 19 stolen bases in 2017. So far in 2018, Swaggerty has a .306 batting average, but leads South Alabama with 5 home runs in 2018. Swaggerty may be receiving top 10 hype, but when you consider how his battting average has decreased in all three seasons you can argue 18 to Kansas City who needs youth at center fielder is a much better spot for him.
The 6-0 195 lb Jonathan India hit .303 as a true freshman. His batting average decreased as a sophomore, but he was .339 with runners in scoring position which is one reason why Florida won the 2017 College World Series. India is also a great defensive player. India stole 13 bases without getting caught once in 2017.
Jonathan India is batting .430 in 2018 with 9 home runs. India is playing like the top 20 prospect and last Summer I said how he did in 2018 would ultimately determine his draft stock. I see a 5-tool batter if he can add some muscle and power to his swing. Durability is another concern, but potential is there.
The 6-4 220 lb Grayson Jenista had a .326 batting average in 2016 as a true freshman. Jenista batted .320 in 2017 with 9 home runs, 45 runs, 73 hits, and 41 RBI's. Jenista is batting .326 with 6 home runs in 2018. Jenista is a very consistent batter and seems like the perfect successor for Minnesota to groom to be Joe Mauer's eventual replacement at first baseman. Jenista has a power bat and can blast line drives as well to bring in runs.
Previous Pick: Jon Gray Jr., CF, Hattiesburg HS (MS)
The 6-4 195 lb Mason Denaburg can play both pitcher and catcher. Milwaukee could use a prospect like this in their farm system. Mason Denaburg has a 97-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 94-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a 79-mile per hour curveball, and a 77-mile per hour slider. His variety of pitches along with the fact that he can play catcher and bat effectively makes him a great find for the Milwaukee Brewers here.
Colorado gets a developmental catcher here. The 6-3 225 lb Joey Bart hit 13 home runs in 2017. He's finally got a batting average above .300 in 2018 with a .344 batting average and 8 home runs so far in 2018. Bart could be a great late first round prospect for Colorado to add to their farm system.
The Yankees get the top relief pitcher in the class. Their bullpen is strong for the most part, but has a glaring weakness at long reliever. Tristan Beck has experience as both a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher so he can solve the Yankees woes at long reliever and take a deadly bullpen and make that bullpen nearly unstoppable.
Tyler Chatwood seems like a mediocre number five starter. The Cubs can use this pick to upgrade over him long-term. You also have to consider that both Jon Lester and Yu Darvish are in their thirties now so you need to reload your farm system with pitchers so when Chicago's premium batters approach their late twenties and early thirties you got pitchers who can keep this team competitive so things don't fall apart.
The 6-11 215 Sean Hjelle was Kentucky's closer as a true freshman in 2016. He went 11-4 with a 3.89 ERA in 17 starts in 2017. Hjelle won 2017 SEC Pitcher of the year too beating out both Brady Singer and Casey Mize. Hjelle is 4-1 with a 2.97 ERA in 2018 so far in 6 starts.
Hjelle has a 91-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 90-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, and a 81-mile per hour knuckle curveball. He's probably the only pitcher in this class that has mastered the knuckle curveball at such an early age.
Hjelle can be used in either the starting rotation or the bullpen plus its hard to find a pitcher that tall who has the command Hjelle does. Hjelle also has remarkable coordination for such a tall pitcher. He's improved his velocity too and can now max out at 96-miles per hour with both of his fastballs.
The Arizona Diamondbacks could use a long-term catcher in their farm system. Will Banfield batted .409 with 33 RBI's and 7 home runs in 2017. He's also the most well rounded catcher defensively and has a terrific arm too making him more than worthy of a top 25 selection.
Previous Pick: Ethan Hankins, P, Forsyth Central HS (GA)
I feel like Boston could still use a first baseman. Maybe Luken Baker could be the answer here. The 6-4 265 lb Luken Baker is one of the most consistent power hitters in the NCAA when healthy. His .294 batting average in 2018 is disappointing, but he has a great power bat and home run ability if you can develop him in the minors.
Washington can take the best player on the board here and ignore need. Tristan Casas is the top player on the board at this point late in the first round.
The 6-4 235 lb Tristan Casas had a .446 batting average, 4 home runs, and 18 RBI's in 2017. He's versatile enough to play first base, third base, left fielder, or right fielder. He has excellent defensive skills and seems like a star in the making. He began the 2017 season batting over .600 in his first ten games. Casas was supposed to graduate in 2019, but he reclassified for the 2018 MLB Draft so he is now a first round pick as a result, and he may even go higher than this.
Previous Pick: Will Banfield, C, Brookwood HS (GA)
The Houston Astros have a pretty complete team for the most part. Getting youth in the outfield to develop in their farm system as well as getting some middle relievers to add to their farm system have to be Houston's top two priorities. The rest of this team is set and the opportunity for the Astros to be great for many seasons is there.
The 5-11 190 lb Steele Walker batted .332 with 8 home runs in 2017. Walker is only batting .326 in 2018. He's got a 1.000 fielding percentage for the second year in a row showing you that he's very sound defensively. Houston can add him to their core of power batters since he fits right in with the rest of the Astros.
The Cleveland Indians are the only one of my favorite sports teams that hasn't won a championship in my lifetime. I realize this is the last year the Indians will wear the Wahoo logo on their jerseys and that kind of sucks because I loved their logo growing up as a kid. The thing is that logo carries so much history and tradition and I know a lot of people that aren't really offended by the logo so I'll compromise and agree to put the C up and update this logo by removing Chief Wahoo once the Cleveland Indians break their World Series drought by winning a championship because I don't agree with the MLB's decision on this issue at all, plus I want the C on Cleveland's logo to imply we're the champs for that season.
With that drama out of the way let's get to Cleveland's pick. I'm gonna keep things simple by giving Cleveland the top batter on the board. Our pitching is awesome and my team has some great batters. They just rough games sometimes and don't hit consistently.
Jose Ramirez is a fantastic third baseman. He should remain the starter for the long-term. Alec Bohm out of Wichita State is the top batter on the board. The 6-3 225 lb Alec Bohm has a batting average of .360 and leads Wichita State with 7 home runs so far in 2018. Cleveland can stash Bohm in their farm system and develop him.