2018 MLB Draft Grades: Best and Worst Picks from Monday Results

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 5, 2018

Matthew Liberatore
Matthew LiberatorePhoto Credit: Luke Liberatore

The first 78 selections of the 2018 MLB draft are done and dusted after Day 1 kicked off the three-day event on Monday night.

Predicting how the MLB draft will play out is always nothing short of a fool's errand, and even in the first round of the 40-round event, there are always a handful of surprises.

Before the draft moves forward with Rounds 3-10 on Tuesday afternoon, let's take a quick look at some of the best and worst picks from Monday.

     

Best Picks

16. Tampa Bay Rays: Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge (Ariz.) HS

The most polished arm in this classand arguably in yearsLiberatore has four above-average offerings he commands well across the board.

He doesn't have the same upside of guys such as Carter Stewart, Cole Winn and Grayson Rodriguez among the prep arms, but he has a middle-of-the-rotation floor and the potential for more. He could have gone as high as No. 7 to the Padres, and the Rays happily scooped him up nine picks later.

       

18. Kansas City Royals: Brady Singer, RHP, Florida

Even after falling out of the conversation to go No. 1 overall, Singer still looked a safe bet to be off the board within the first five picks.

The right-hander has an electric fastball, wipeout slider and developing changeup, and he has solid overall command of his full repertoire.

The Royals will have to go above-slot to sign him here, but they have the largest bonus pool in the draft and should be able to sign him and teammate Jackson Kowar to headline the class.

         

46. Chicago White Sox: Steele Walker, OF, Oklahoma

A candidate to go at the end of the first round, Walker hit .352/.441/.606 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI in 54 games this spring.

His advanced plate discipline and emerging power give him one of the highest floors among college bats, and while he'll be limited to left field defensively, he's still one of the best bats in this class.

MLB.com noted: "Thanks to his hand-eye coordination, pitch recognition and controlled approach, Walker repeatedly laces line drives to all fields. He's not big but he has a quick left-handed swing and some deceptive strength that should produce at least average power. Though he makes contact so easily, he continues to hone his plate discipline and draws his share of walks."

     

50. Oakland Athletics: Jameson Hannah, OF, Dallas Baptist

Despite now being the highest-drafted player in Dallas Baptist history, Hannah slipped much further than expected after looking like a candidate to be selected at the end of the first round.

The 5'9", 184-pound outfielder hit .360/.444/.555 with 31 extra-base hits this spring, walking and striking out at an identical 12.6 percent clip in the process.

His advanced approach should allow him to move quickly, and he's still learning to use his plus speed to his full advantage on the base paths. The defensive chops to stick in center field only further add to his value here at No. 50 overall.

             

63. Arizona Diamondbacks: Alek Thomas, OF Mount Carmel (Ill.) HS

Alek Thomas
Alek ThomasMount Carmel Athletics

The D-backs set themselves up perfectly to make a major above-slot play, reaching for Matt McLain and Jake McCarthy with their first two picks before taking Alek Thomas.

The No. 63 overall pick carries a slot value of $1,035,500 and it will take significantly more to sign him away from a strong commitment to TCU where he's slated to play both baseball and football as a standout slot receiver on the gridiron.

Thomas already has a plus hit tool, and his impressive athleticism serves him well both in the field and on the base paths.

He's the classic toolsy outfielder who could take off once he turns his full attention to baseball.

         

Worst Picks

3. Philadelphia Phillies: Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State

Alec Bohm
Alec BohmWichita State Athletics

Bohm hit .339/.436/.625 with 16 home runs and 55 RBI this season, and he possesses perhaps the best power among this year's crop of college bats.

The question here is where he fits defensively.

Carlos Santana is signed through the 2020 season with a team option for 2021, and Rhys Hoskins would ideally move back to first base at some point, as he's a borderline liability defensively in the outfield.

Going with one of the prep arms or Singer, or scooping up a potential five-tool high school bat such as Jarred Kelenic and Connor Scott all seemed a better use of this pick.

         

5. Cincinnati Reds: Jonathan India, 3B, Florida

India was one of the safest picks in the draft as a polished college hitter who should move quickly and has the requisite defensive tools to be a standout defender at third base.

Where does he fit with the Reds, though?

Eugenio Suarez just signed a long-term deal to play third base, forcing Nick Senzel to second base where he looks like a long-term piece in his own right.

Rather than grabbing India, a high-floor/high-ceiling prep arm such as Liberatore or Ryan Weathers would have been a welcome addition to a system that has had a tough time developing pitching prospects into MLB contributors in recent seasons.

            

All stats courtesy of The Baseball Cube unless otherwise noted.

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