2018 MLB Mock Draft: Early Predictions for Top 1st-Round Baseball Prospects

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2017

Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during the Major League Baseball draft, Thursday, June 9, 2016, in Secaucus, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

While the 2017 Major League Baseball draft is still ongoing, all 30 teams are also starting their preparations for next year's class. 

A mock draft for what will happen next year is meant to serve as a gauge for where the top prospects currently stand. Many things are going to change over the next 12 months, with players falling due to injuries or poor performance and others rising with a sudden uptick in fastball velocity or a surge in power. 

Here's how the current crop of players in the 2018 MLB draft class stand with one year to solidify their status. 

2018 MLB Mock Draft (Order Based on Division Standings as of June 13)

1. Philadelphia Phillies: Brady Singer, RHP, Florida

2. San Diego Padres: Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (GA)

3. San Francisco Giants: Seth Beer, OF, Clemson

4. Chicago White Sox: Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida

5. Oakland Athletics: Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (CA)

6. Miami Marlins: Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha West HS (WI)

7. Atlanta Braves: Joe Gray Jr., OF, Hattiesburg HS (MS)

8. Pittsburgh Pirates: Chandler Day, RHP, Vanderbilt

9. Kansas City Royals: Kendall Simmons, SS, Tattnall Square Academy (GA)

10. New York Mets: Konnor Pilkington, LHP, Mississippi State

11. Cincinnati Reds: Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State

12. St. Louis Cardinals: Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (GA)

13. Texas Rangers: Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State

14. Detroit Tigers: Jason Bilous, RHP, Coastal Carolina

15. Seattle Mariners: Will Banfield, C, Brookwood HS (GA)

16. Toronto Blue Jays: Mateo Gil, SS, Timber Creek HS (TX)

17. Chicago Cubs: Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn

18. Los Angeles Angels: Owen Meaney, RHP, St. Thomas HS (TX)

19. Baltimore Orioles: Jimmy Glowenke, SS, Marcus HS (TX)

20. Tampa Bay Rays: Bryan Hoeing, RHP, Louisville

21. Milwaukee Brewers: Jake Mangum, OF, Mississippi State

22. Cleveland Indians: Davis Sharpe, RHP, Mill Creek HS (GA)

23. Minnesota Twins: Justin Hooper, LHP, UCLA

24. Boston Red Sox: Sean Guilbe, SS, Berks Catholic HS (PA)

25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Charles Mack, SS, Williamsville East (NY)

26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Dallas Woolfork, RHP, Mississippi

27. Washington Nationals: Josh Stowers, OF, Louisville

28. New York Yankees: Nolan Gorman, SS, O'Connor HS (AZ)

29. Colorado Rockies: Elijah Cabell, OF, Winter Park HS (FL)

30. Houston Astros: Triston Casas, 1B, Plantation HS (FL)

Best Player: Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (GA)

With Hunter Greene making headlines this year as the consensus best player available, another high school right-handed pitcher could occupy the top spot in 2018. 

Georgia prep righty Kumar Rocker is already generating buzz for his big arm and imposing frame on the mound. He's already listed at 6'4" and 240 pounds, which could impact his overall status in the next 12 months. 

Because Rocker already looks the part of a workhorse starter at 17 years old, his body doesn't have much physical projection left. 

Fortunately, the scouting reports also match Rocker's appearance on the mound. 

"He features a 94 mph fastball, an improving slider and changeup," Manny Randhawa of MLB.com wrote about Rocker in May. "He also hits for power from the right side. He's the son of former NFL defensive tackle Tracy Rocker."

The only reason to have trepidation about Rocker's potential as the No. 1 pick in 2018 is figuring out what his body will look like by the time he gets to the big leagues. 

Being the son of a former NFL defensive lineman does bode well for Rocker's athletic prowess, as does understanding how to properly condition himself so that his stamina becomes an issue. 

Best Hitter: Seth Beer, OF, Clemson

Beer burst onto the scene in 2016 when he started for Clemson as a freshman. The left-handed slugger was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's best player and became the first freshman to win the Dick Howser Trophy after hitting .369/.535/.700.

Baseball America's J.J. Cooper didn't think Beer would be the No. 1 pick in 2017 if he were eligible in response to a mailbag question, but did offer this player comparison of the Tigers' star:

"The most similar player to Beer to be taken 1-1 is Miami third baseman Pat Burrell, the pick of the Phillies in 1998. Like Beer, Burrell was the Baseball America Freshman of the Year. Burrell played third base at Miami, but it was expected that he'd have to move off the position as a pro, which he did. Burrell tried first base in the minors, but eventually moved to left field, the position he played almost exclusively as a big leaguer."

Burrell had a successful 12-year MLB career in which he hit .253/.361/.472. He never became a star that a team wants from the No. 1 pick but did have four 30-homer seasons and helped the Philadelphia Phillies win the 2008 World Series.

Beer figures to be a first baseman or corner outfielder in professional baseball, putting more pressure on his bat to carry him. He's never been anything less than brilliant as an offensive player, including a robust .298/.478/.606 slash line in 2017 and has the makings of a terrific hitter wherever he plays.

 

Rising Star: Kendall Simmons, SS, Tattnall Square Academy (GA)

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 10: A bag of baseballs is seen in the dugout during the spring training game between the San Francisco Giants and the Cleveland Indians at Scottsdale Stadium on March 11, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Image
Tim Warner/Getty Images

With teams always on the lookout for tools in the draft, Georgia prep shortstop Kendall Simmons has the potential to hear his name called very early in 2018. 

Simmons has a lean and athletic frame at 6'2" and 185 pounds with plenty of physical projection remaining. He has played both shortstop and pitcher in his high school career, even hitting 94 mph, per Baseball Factory's Matt Lund

Despite the potential Simmons has displayed on the mound, his future is as a middle-of-the-diamond star. 

Perfect Game had this glowing scouting report about Simmons' talents during the 2016 Perfect Game Underclass All-American Games:

"Wiry square shouldered athletic build, good present strength with more to come. Right handed hitter, has outstanding raw bat speed, hands are lightning quick, big leg raise trigger impacts timing occasionally, ball explodes off the bat when squared up, big power potential. Has loose actions defensively, athleticism is obvious, big arm strength, still mastering the fundamentals but has a high defensive ceiling when he does."

Taking a teenager with bat speed, raw power projection and the defensive prowess to play shortstop reads like a player who will eventually be in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick. 

Simmons isn't quite there at this point, but a strong summer showcase in 2017 and a big senior year in high school could make him the player teams picking at the top of the draft will be salivating to get their hands on. 

     

Player height and weight via Perfect Game