2018 MLB Mock Draft: Predictions for This Year's Elite Prospects

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2018

Auburn pitcher Casey Mize throws a pitch during the first inning of a Southeastern Conference tournament NCAA college baseball game against Texas A&M, Thursday, May 24, 2018, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

The 2018 MLB draft is almost here, meaning fans are about to see what the future holds for their respective teams.

More importantly, though, it means draft prospects are finally going to find out where they will begin their professional careers.

This year's draft class has some depth at the top of the board, although one player has seemingly separated himself from his peers. Fortunately for teams that don't have the No. 1 overall pick, there will be plenty of talent to choose from.

With the draft quickly approaching, here's a look at what is in store for the top prospects:

                 

2018 MLB Mock Draft

1. Detroit Tigers: Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn

2. San Francisco Giants: Brady Singer, RHP, Florida

3. Philadelphia Phillies: Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State

4. Chicago White Sox: Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State

5. Cincinnati Reds: Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech

6. New York Mets: Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (Melbourne, Florida)

7. San Diego Padres: Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS (Arizona)

8. Atlanta Braves: Jonathan India, 3B, Florida

9. Oakland Athletics: Travis Swaggerty, OF, South Alabama

10. Pittsburgh Pirates: Shane McClanahan, LHP, South Florida

11. Baltimore Orioles: Nolan Gorman, 3B, O'Connor HS (Arizona)

12. Toronto Blue Jays: Ryan Rolison, LHP, Mississippi

13. Miami Marlins: Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS (California)

14. Seattle Mariners: Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha West HS (Wisconsin)

15. Texas Rangers: Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State

16. Tampa Bay Rays: Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto HS (Tennessee)

17. Los Angeles Angels: Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida

18. Kansas City Royals: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Heritage HS (Georgia)

19. St. Louis Cardinals: Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (Georgia)

20. Minnesota Twins: Connor Scott, OF, Plant HS (Florida)

21. Milwaukee Brewers: Jordyn Adams, OF, Green Hope HS (North Carolina)

22. Colorado Rockies: Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights HS (Texas)

23. New York Yankees: Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (Georgia)

24. Chicago Cubs: Logan Gilbert, RHP, Stetson

25. Arizona Diamondbacks: Steele Walker, OF, Oklahoma

26. Boston Red Sox: Mason Denaburg, RHP, Merritt Island HS (Florida)

27. Washington Nationals: Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (California)

28. Houston Astros: Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State

29. Cleveland Indians: Greyson Jenista, OF, Wichita State 

30. Los Angeles Dodgers: Anthony Seigler, C, Cartersville HS (Georgia)

        

Highlights

Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn (No. 1, Detroit Tigers)

In a class that has struggled to sort itself out, Auburn Tigers right-hander Casey Mize has become the front-runner for the No. 1 overall pick thanks to another superb season.

After going 8-2 with a 2.04 ERA as a sophomore, Mize has carried an even bigger load this season. Through 16 starts, he is 10-5 with a 2.95 ERA. Those impressive numbers don't even include his three complete games, one shutout and 151 strikeouts in 109.2 innings of work.

One key note: Mize's batting average against has gone down with each passing season. He started out at .249 as a freshman, got it down to .210 in his second season and dropped it down to below the Mendoza Line at .195 as a junior.

There's a lot to like with this 6'3", 208-pound pitcher. Mize has three above-average pitches in his mid-to-upper-90s fastball, his slider and his splitter. Not only that, but he also has incredible command of his pitches.

He ranked second in all of college baseball with a 14-to-1 (140 punchouts, 10 bases on balls) strikeout-to-walk ratio. Make no mistake about it—this season was no aberration. He has struck out 319 batters while issuing only 39 free passes in his three-year career.

Mize has had some arm injuries in the past, but he has put those concerns to rest by showing he can shoulder a heavy load this season. 

In other words, look for Mize to remain a Tiger.

Brady Singer, RHP, Florida (No. 2, San Francisco Giants)

While Mize appears to have established himself as the top pitcher in the class, there was a time in which Florida Gators right-hander Brady Singer was in the mix to go No. 1 overall.

In 14 starts this season, Singer went 11-1 with a 2.27 ERA. He notched one complete game (a shutout) and held opposing hitters to a .188 average in 95 innings. Also, he struck out 98 batters while walking just 19.

He also helped his Gators win the national championship as a sophomore and even earned a spot on the All-College World Series suqad.

Singer has an impressive repertoire that features three above-average pitches. His fastball sits around 95 mph, his slider is a nice complement and his changeup can also be a weapon. To top it off, as his numbers show, he possesses good control.

The 6'5", 180-pound right-hander got off to a bit of a slow start to his junior season, allowing three-plus runs in two of his first three starts. However, he quickly put a stop to those struggles by shutting opposing offenses down. He had five starts where opponents failed to get more than two hits against him.

Mize may be the top prospect, but Singer isn't a bad a consolation prize for San Francisco.

                      

Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (No. 6, New York Mets)

One of the draft's most intriguing prospects comes in the form of Carter Stewart. 

The 18-year-old possesses plenty of talent in his arm, owning a nasty one-two punch. He packs a heater that touches 98 mph, and he has arguably the best curveball in the draft that helps keep hitters honest. If his changeup improves, hitters will have a tough time figuring him out.

Per MLB.com's Manny Randhawa, in 11 games, Stewart went 6-4 with a 0.91 ERA with 128 strikeouts in 61.2 innings this season.

Taking Stewart would be out of the normal for New York. The Mets have not taken a high school pitcher in the first round since 2011, when they took Michael Fulmer with a supplemental pick. However, when they go on the clock, the best players available could be high school arms like Stewart and Matthew Liberatore.

Every prospect carries a risk entering the draft, regardless of the league or level they played at prior to turning pro. But in baseball, high school pitchers can be viewed as somewhat of unknown commodities. The Mets have stayed away from taking a chance on high school pitchers with top picks in recent years, but Stewart's filthy arsenal could be too good to pass up, depending on how the top of the draft plays out. 

        

All stats are courtesy of NCAA.com unless otherwise noted. Video for Mize and Singer are via Baseball America, and Stewart's video is via MLB.com.

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