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2018 MLB Mock Draft: B/R's Final Round 1 Picks

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2018

Casey Mize
Casey MizeAuburn Athletics

The 2018 MLB draft is upon us.

The Detroit Tigers will be selecting No. 1 overall for the first time since 1997, when they made the ill-advised decision to select hard-throwing right-hander Matt Anderson ahead of J.D. Drew, Troy Glaus, Vernon Wells and a handful of others.

While this year's draft class is loaded with college bats and high school arms, the consensus top prospect on the board is a college right-hander with a filthy splitter and a polished overall game.

So before the draft begins on Monday night, it's time to unveil our final mock draft.

Let's get to it.

      

1. Detroit Tigers: Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn

No change here as Casey Mize still looks the clear favorite to go No. 1 overall. It sounds like Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart is Plan B and prep outfielder Jarred Kelenic would be the guy if they go below-slot to save money for later. The Tigers system already features a number of promising arms—Franklin Perez, Matt Manning, Beau Burrows and 2017 first-round pick Alex Faedo—and Mize has the present polish and future upside to jump to the top of that list.

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2. San Francisco Giants: Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech

Joey Bart
Joey BartDanny Karnik/GT Athletics

With no clear heir to Buster Posey in the system, it's hard to see the Giants passing on Bart if he doesn't go No. 1 overall. The Georgia Tech standout is a stud on both sides of the ball and arguably the best collegiate catching prospect since Posey himself. He hit .359/.471/.632 with 16 home runs this spring and should be one of the first players from this class to reach the majors.

         

3. Philadelphia Phillies: Brady Singer, RHP, Florida

Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm has been a popular name here for the Phillies, but the upside of Singer might be too good to pass up. The Florida ace was one of the leading candidates to go No. 1 overall before a shaky start to his junior season. That said, he still finished the regular season 10-1 with a 2.25 ERA and a 92-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 88 innings. He has the upside to join Aaron Nola atop the staff if he develops as hoped.

        

4. Chicago White Sox: Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State

This could come down to whether the White Sox think Madrigal can handle shortstop at the next level. With arguably the best defensive infielder in the draft—Cadyn Grenier—manning shortstop for the Beavers, Madrigal has been slotted at second base throughout his career. He's undersized at 5'7" and doesn't have the strongest arm, but the range and instincts are there and there's no question his bat would play as he's perhaps the best pure hitter in the entire class.

     

5. Cincinnati Reds: Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS (Ariz.)

The Reds have had a tough time developing pitching prospects into MLB contributors. Liberatore is one of the most polished prep arms in recent memory with an advanced four-pitch mix, plus command and a 6'5" 200-pound frame that still offers some projectability. Cincinnati might be tempted to grab Bohm if he slips this far, but Liberatore makes the most sense given the current state of the franchise.

         

6. New York Mets: Jonathan India, 3B, Florida

Jonathan India
Jonathan IndiaAllison Curry

Third base has been a revolving door for the Mets since David Wright last took the field on May 27, 2016, with 13 different players starting at least one game at the position. India has been ultra-productive playing in the nation's best conference with a .362/.502/.723 line and 17 home runs this spring. And unlike Bohm, there's no question he'll stay at third defensively.

     

7. San Diego Padres: Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto HS (Tenn.)

Weathers won Gatorade Player of the Year honors after going 11-0 with a 0.09 ERA and 148 strikeouts in 76 innings. He allowed just 24 hits, 10 walks and one earned run all season. The lefty doesn't offer the same projection as some of the other high school arms in this class, but his present skill set is more than good enough to justify a top-10 selection. The son of MLB veteran David Weathers, he also has big league bloodlines.

     

8. Atlanta Braves: Nolan Gorman, 3B, O'Connor HS (Ariz.)

Gorman has the best raw power in the draft and unless someone slides, he looks like the clear front-runner to be taken by the Braves. Some scouts have gone as high as a 70-grade on his power, according to MLB.com. Austin Riley appears to be the present and future at third base, but Gorman's bat would play anywhere and this is a situation where you get your guy now and figure out where he plays later.

     

9. Oakland Athletics: Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State

Alec Bohm
Alec BohmWichita State Athletics

Bohm could go as high as No. 3 overall to the Phillies and this looks to be his floor. The A's did a nice job scooping up A.J. Puk when he slid in the 2016 draft, and they could find similar value here with the Wichita State slugger. Bohm has some of the best power among the college crop and a solid all-around approach. The biggest knock on him is that he'll likely need to move across the diamond to first base before he reaches the majors—which could be sooner than later thanks to his offensive polish.

     

10. Pittsburgh Pirates: Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS (Calif.)

With a pair of high school lefties already off the board, the Pirates have their pick among the right-handed prep crop here at No. 10 overall. That includes the likes of Winn, Grayson Rodriguez, Carter Stewart and Cole Wilcox, as well as college arms Shane McClanahan and Logan Gilbert if they're particularly enamored with either. With an advanced three-pitch mix, plus command, smooth mechanics and a strong on-field showing against top competition, Winn appears to be the front-runner.

     

11. Baltimore Orioles: Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights HS (Texas)

The Orioles figure to be picking from the same group of arms the Pirates will be targeting, and Rodriguez has as much helium as any pitcher in this class. The big 6'5", 230-pound Texas high schooler sits in the mid-90s and touches 98 with a heavy fastball and backs it with a slider/curveball/changeup mix that should all play at the next level. The O's need arms in the worst way, and Rodriguez offers a nice mix of floor and upside. 

     

12. Toronto Blue Jays: Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha West HS (Wisc.)

Kelenic has a 60-grade hit tool and the potential to grow into some intriguing raw power, giving him as much five-tool potential as any player in this class. Scouts have had a tough time seeing the Wisconsin high schooler this spring, but that hasn't kept him out of the conversation to go No. 1 overall. The Blue Jays are in prime position to see who slips and this is probably the floor for Kelenic.

     

13. Miami Marlins: Connor Scott, OF, Plant HS (Fla.)

The rebuilding Marlins have no choice but to go best-available with the No. 13 overall pick as they're thin on young impact talent at the MLB level and working with a thin farm system. A case can be made that Scott has a higher ceiling than the aforementioned Kelenic, though he's also further from being a finished product. More of a top-of-the-lineup threat now thanks to 70-grade speed, he also offers some intriguing five-tool potential as his 6'4", 180-pound frame fills out.

        

14. Seattle Mariners: Travis Swaggerty, OF, South Alabama

Swaggerty could go as high as No. 9 overall to Oakland, but his stock has slipped a bit after he finished his junior season with a .296 batting average against lesser competition in the Sun Belt Conference. There's still a lot to like, though, as he posted a .981 OPS, popped 13 home runs and tallied more walks (54) than strikeouts (38). The Mariners have taken college hitters with four of their last five first-round picks—Evan White (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), D.J. Peterson (2013) and Mike Zunino (2012).

     

15. Texas Rangers: Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (Fla.)

Carter Stewart
Carter StewartEau Gallie Athletics

While Hans Crouse and Cole Ragans offer some interesting upside, the Rangers system is lacking a true top-tier pitching prospect. In terms of pure stuff, Stewart stacks up to any pitcher in this class, and his 6'6", 200-pound frame is far from a finished product. Smoothing out his mechanics and the development of his changeup top the to-do list, but the upside is well worth the gamble here at No. 15 overall.

     

16. Tampa Bay Rays: Jordyn Adams, OF, Green Hope HS (NC)

The Rays have three of the first 32 picks and as they continue retooling the roster at the MLB level, they should start swinging for the fences here. Adams is a two-sport standout who is also a 4-star wide receiver committed to play both sports at North Carolina. This should be high enough to sign him away from that commitment, and once he turns his full attention to baseball, he could take off.

     

17. Los Angeles Angels: Logan Gilbert, RHP, Stetson

The Angels look like a prime candidate to start a run on the second tier of college arms. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder there, as a case can be made for each of McClanahan, Gilbert, Ryan Rolison and Jackson Kowar being the pick. Gilbert is the safest option among that group and still offers middle-of-the-rotation upside and a high floor. The 6'5" right-hander has four quality pitches and mixes them well, helping him punch out 143 batters in 100 innings this spring.

        

18. Kansas City Royals: Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State

The Royals have the highest bonus pool in this year's draft. While that should put them in a prime position to target an above-slot candidate with their two picks at the back of the first round, it will be tough to pass on Larnach here at No. 18 overall. After hitting just three home runs as a sophomore, the Oregon State standout has crushed 17 this year while hitting .324/.447/.637. Taking a high-floor college bat looks the perfect way to mitigate some risk later in the round.

        

19. St. Louis Cardinals: Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida

Jackson Kowar
Jackson KowarAllison Curry

Kowar is a bit different than the rest of the first-round college armshe's as much projection as present stuff. He already easily touches 98 mph on his fastball and there's still plenty of room to grow into his 6'5", 180-pound frame. The Cardinals develop pitching talent as well as anyone, and they've gone the college route before at No. 19 overall with Marco Gonzales (2012) and Michael Wacha (2013).

     

20. Minnesota Twins: Noah Naylor, C, St. Joan of Arc Catholic SS (Ont.)

Who is the catcher of the future in Minnesota? 2016 second-round pick Ben Rortvedt is currently the only backstop who checks in among the team's top 30 prospects at No. 23 overall, according to MLB.com. Naylor offers some of the best offensive tools among this year's prep class and could quickly emerge as a top-10 talent if he proves he can stick behind the plate. He's shown enough this spring that it at least looks like a possibility, and the upside of his hit/power tools makes him well worth the risk this late.

     

21. Milwaukee Brewers: Shane McClanahan, LHP, South Florida

McClanahan has the best fastball in the class, an equally filthy changeup and a solid slider that looks like a playable third offering. That was enough to put him in the discussion to go No. 1 overall heading into his junior campaign. However, a 5.5 BB/9 walk rate is a clear indication he has work to do if he hopes to reach his lofty ceiling. He could go much higher if a team thinks it has the answer to improving his command, and the Brewers would likely be thrilled to scoop him up this late.

        

22. Colorado Rockies: Ryan Rolison, LHP, Ole Miss

The Rockies have been strongly linked to prep catcher Anthony Seigler for much of the spring and there's a good chance he's the pick unless someone they expected to be gone slips. That someone could be Rolison, who at times this spring looked like part of the top-tier of college arms but struggled with his consistency. Armed with a four-pitch arsenal that includes one of the best curveballs in the class, he is still developing from a pitchability standpoint and that gives him intriguing upside.

     

23. New York Yankees: Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (Calif.)

It makes sense for the Yankees to target a bat here with a farm system that's overflowing with pitching talent. Turang was once viewed as the top prep player in this class, and he may have been hurt more by oversaturation and unreasonable expectations than anything. He's still the consensus top shortstop on the board and if nothing else, his hit tool, speed and defense should all play at the highest level. Triston Casas could also be in play here.

     

24. Chicago Cubs: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Heritage HS (Ga.)

It could take an above-slot bonus to sign Wilcox as he'll be draft-eligible as a sophomore and therefore has a bit more leverage than most high schoolers. However, his upside might be too good to pass up for a Cubs system in need of pitching talent. With a three-pitch mix that could be 60-grade across the board and a projectable 6'5", 220-pound frame, he's boosted his stock as much as anyone dating back to his strong showing with Team USA last fall.

     

25. Arizona Diamondbacks: Jameson Hannah, OF, Dallas Baptist

Jameson Hannah
Jameson HannahShane Roper

The Diamondbacks could start a run on second-tier college bats here at No. 25 overall, with Hannah, Oklahoma outfielder Steele Walker and Clemson slugger Seth Beer headlining that group. Hannah has elite speed, an advanced hit tool, sneaky pop and the defensive instincts to stay in center field going forward. That defensive upside could be what pushes him ahead of Walker, who looks like he'll be limited to left field.

     

26. Boston Red Sox: Seth Beer, 1B, Clemson

MLB.com called Beer the "most polarizing prospect in the class" after he looked like a legitimate candidate to go No. 1 overall in this draft on the heels of a dominant freshman season in 2016. A bottom-of-the-scale athlete with no defensive value, he will go as far as his bat carries him. That bat has crushed 54 home runs in three seasons on campus, including 20 this spring to go along with a .316/.471/.656 line.

          

27. Washington Nationals: Mason Denaburg, RHP, Merritt Island HS (Fla.)

Thanks to their recent history of rolling the dice on injury risks, the Nationals have been a popular landing spot in mock drafts for both Denaburg and Ethan Hankins—a pair of high-ceiling prep pitchers who were shelved for much of the spring. The 6'3", 190-pound Denaburg already features a plus fastball/curveball pairing and has shown a feel for his changeup. A strong return in May has helped alleviate some of the risk.

     

28. Houston Astros: Nick Schnell, OF, Roncalli HS (Ind.)

"A high school bat who slides is the best option for Houston," wrote Jim Callis of MLB.com. The top prep hitters left in this scenario include Schnell, Casas, Jordan Groshans, Alek Thomas and Parker Meadows. Schnell has had as much helium as anyone this spring and with true five-tool potential, he offers the highest ceiling from that aforementioned group.

     

29. Cleveland Indians: Alek Thomas, OF, Mount Carmel HS (Ill.)

Alek Thomas
Alek ThomasMount Carmel Athletics

The Indians have a history of taking toolsy outfielders in the first round, and Thomas fits the mold. A plus athlete, he's also committed to play both baseball and football at TCU where he'll also serve as a slot receiver if he makes it to campus. An advanced hit tool and plus speed are his best present tools and he shows a better overall feel for the game than a lot of two-sport standouts. MLB.com compared him to Andrew Benintendi and Jacoby Ellsbury at the same stage in their careers.

     

30. Los Angeles Dodgers: Jordan Groshans, 3B, Magnolia HS (Texas)

Physical projection is talked about a lot on the pitching side of things, but it's also a factor when scouting a prep power hitter. The 6'4", 190-pound Groshans has as much remaining projection as any prep bat, and he has only begun to tap into what could be 60-grade raw power. Improved defense that should allow him to stick at third base has pushed him squarely into the first-round conversation.

          

All college stats courtesy of The Baseball Cube and current through Sunday's games. Referenced tool grades come courtesy of MLB.com's Prospect Watch. Portions of the above prospect profiles originally appeared in an earlier mock draft.

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