Since Mock Draft 3.0 there has been news regarding some of the top picks for next week’s MLB Draft.
- Auburn’s Casey Mize health will be the most significant factor in where he will be taken. Speaking to sources that have insight on the Detroit Tigers plans, general manager Al Avila seems to be content with Mize’s health record. Expectations are that Mize will now go number one overall as long as he looks healthy after his projected start on Friday in the Regionals.
- Georgia Tech’s Joey Bart is still the dream pick for the San Francisco Giants at second overall, but as you heard on the Sox Machine Podcast from guest Eric Longenhagen, the Giants are contemplating selecting Cole Winn, RHP from Orange Luthern HS. If San Francisco does go with the under-slot deal, Bart could fall to the New York Mets at pick 6.
- Many still believe it’s a coin flip decision for the White Sox at pick four between Oregon State’s 2B Nick Madrigal and Florida’s RHP Brady Singer. The Cincinnati Reds are expected to take whomever the White Sox don’t with pick five. That could help general manager Rick Hahn with negotiations as he could offer slightly more in a bonus than the Cincinnati Reds slot amount which is $5,946,500. With a slot value of $6,411,400, the Sox could sign Madrigal or Singer to $6-$6.1 million and save $300,000+ to use later in the draft. Something to keep in mind when the Sox make their final decision next Monday.
- On Sunday, prep RHP Mike Vasil withdrew from the MLB Draft. Ranked #30 on the MLB Draft Average Rankings, Vasil will be attending the University of Virginia and someone to track when he is next to eligible to be picked in the 2021 MLB Draft.
— Michael Vasil (@mvasil17) May 27, 2018
With the recent news and rumors, here is an update to the mock draft which we will call it version 3.5.
|1||Detroit Tigers||Casey Mize||Auburn||RHP|
|2||San Francisco Giants||Joey Bart||Georgia Tech||C|
|3||Philadelphia Phillies||Alec Bohm||Wichita State||3B|
|4||Chicago White Sox||Brady Singer||Florida||RHP|
|5||Cincinnati Reds||Nick Madrigal||Oregon State||2B|
|6||New York Mets||Jonathan India||Florida||3B|
|7||San Diego Padres||Matthew Liberatore||Mountain Ridge HS||LHP|
|8||Atlanta Braves||Nolan Gorman||Sandra Day O’Connor HS||3B|
|9||Oakland Athletics||Travis Swaggerty||South Alabama||OF|
|10||Pittsburgh Pirates||Carter Stewart||Eau Gallie HS||RHP|
|11||Baltimore Orioles||Shane McClanahan||South Florida||LHP|
|12||Toronto Blue Jays||Logan Gilbert||Stetson||RHP|
|13||Miami Marlins||Connor Scott||Plant HS||OF|
|14||Seattle Mariners||Trevor Larnach||Oregon State||OF|
|15||Texas Rangers||Grayson Rodriquez||Central Heights HS||RHP|
|16||Tampa Bay Rays||Jarred Kelenic||Waukesha West HS||OF|
|17||Los Angeles Angels||Cole Winn||Orange Luthern HS||RHP|
|18||Kansas City Royals||Ryan Weathers||Loretto HS||LHP|
|19||St. Louis Cardinals||Jackson Kowar||Florida||RHP|
|20||Minnesota Twins||Ethan Hankins||Forsyth Central HS||RHP|
|21||Milwaukee Brewers||Kumar Rocker||North Oconee HS||RHP|
|22||Colorado Rockies||Triston Casas||American Heritage HS||1B|
|23||New York Yankees||Cole Wilcox||Heritage HS||RHP|
|24||Chicago Cubs||Ryan Rolison||Ole Miss||LHP|
|25||Arizona Diamondbacks||J.T. Ginn||Brandon HS||RHP|
|26||Boston Red Sox||Brice Turang||Santiago HS||SS|
|27||Washington Nationals||Jake McCarthy||Virginia||OF|
|28||Houston Astros||Anthony Seigler||Cartersville HS||C|
|29||Cleveland Indians||Alek Thomas||Mount Carmel HS||OF|
|30||Los Angeles Dodgers||Jordan Groshans||Magnolia HS||3B|
Yesterday, the NCAA released their 64-team, 16 regional brackets. Games start on Friday, June 1st and ending on June 4th, which is the same day as the MLB Draft. If you plan on watching the games, I’ve listed a couple of players from each regional that you should watch leading up to the draft.
Brady Singer, RHP, Florida – As you may have noticed above, I switched who I think the White Sox will select on Monday fourth overall. There are some in the industry who seem convinced that Singer will be the guy as the White Sox love his stuff, competitiveness, and the way he performed at the College World Series. Yes, this is the same thing they said about Carson Fulmer.
Singer missed his last scheduled regular-season start against Mississippi State and this past weekend’s SEC Tournament due to hamstring tightness. If the hamstring is fine, he’ll be slotted to pitch either on Friday or Saturday. Season numbers: 10-1, 2.25 ERA, 88 IP, 59 H, 92 K, 18 BB.
Tyler Frank, SS, Florida Atlantic – 87th ranked prospect in the Sox Machine Average Draft Prospect Database (ADPD for short), Tyler Frank could be a third-round target for the White Sox who need to supply more middle infield depth within the pipeline. He has the arm to make all of the throws at shortstop and is a line drive hitter that might have some untapped power potential if he leverages launch angle in his swing. Season numbers: .315/.459/.586, 19 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 34 RBI, 51 BB, 33 K
Josh’s Regional Winner: Florida
Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn – All Casey Mize has riding on his start is proving he deserves to be selected first overall for the Detroit Tigers. What will help Mize is facing Northeastern, who he no-hit earlier this season with 13 strikeouts. This will be a tough regional for Auburn as they have to get through NC State at their home field. That might require Mize making two appearances in this Regional and extra stress on his arm. Something to watch for on how Auburn handles Mize. Season numbers: 9-5, 3.07 ERA, 102.2 IP, 73 H, 140 K, 10 BB
Brett Kinneman, OF, NC State – An outfielder that has plus power but below average contact skills, NC State’s Brett Kinneman could use this postseason opportunity to demonstrate he can hit against better pitching. He’ll play left field for the Wolfpack, but some think he has the arm to play in right field. NC State strikes out a lot, but they have five hitters with 11+ home runs on the year with Kinneman leading the way at 17 home runs. Season numbers: .27,9/.394/.607, 13 2B, 4 3B, 17 HR, 60 RBI, 42 BB, 61 K
Josh’s Regional Winner: Auburn
Joey Murray, RHP, Kent State – In 2017, Kent State’s Joey Murray was the MAC’s Conference Pitcher of the Year with 110 strikeouts in 75 innings over the course of 14 starts. While the strikeout numbers were impressive, one common note about Murray was moving into his Junior year he needed to get deeper into games while his stuff maintains. He’s done that in 2018 pitching 94.2 innings over 15 starts while putting up gaudy K to BB numbers (139 K to 38 BB). His fastball ranges from 91 to 93 mph and pairs it with a plus curveball. A good target for ball clubs as I think he lands somewhere between the fourth and sixth round. Season numbers: 9-1, 1.71 ERA, 94.2 IP, 47 H, 139 K, 38 BB
Josh Stowers, OF, Louisville – An impressive 2017 College World Series performance has helped Josh Stowers launch into a successful 2018 campaign. Not quite a five-tool player as Stowers arm is best suited for left field long-term, but Stowers possess terrific athleticism. As of late, Stowers has been flexing the muscles as he showed off some of his power ability during the ACC Tournament. He’ll be a second-day pick, and could be a target for the White Sox ranging in the third to fifth rounds. Season numbers: .341/.470/.572, 13 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 59 RBI, 46 BB, 35 K, 33-out-40 in steals
Josh’s Regional Winner: Louisville
Griffin Conine, OF, Duke – Son of former Florida Marlins great Jeff Conine, Griffin was a preseason #16 ADPD who has slid to #39 ADPD due to a poor start in his Junior season. Still, Conine is a plus-power left-handed bat that has found it’s groove in the second half of 2018. Not exactly the most fleet of foot, Conine projects as a right fielder as he does have a strong arm. A good weekend could solidify his status as someone to be selected in the late first round. Season numbers: .277/.402/.585, 13 2B, 1 3B, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 37 BB, 61 K
Brandon Lockridge, 2B/OF, Troy – Ranking 194th on Baseball America’s Top 500, Troy’s Brandon Lockridge has adapted well moving from second base to center field in 2018. Lockridge has 60 to 65 grade speed but is still raw in the outfield as he needs to work on routes to the ball, but that will come with more experience. Lockridge saw a dip in his batting average in 2018 but increased his on-base percentage taking more walks. His draft range will be between the fifth and eighth rounds. Season numbers: .298/.424/.447 14 2B, 7 3B, 2 HR, 37 RBI, 35 BB, 41 K, 25-for-27 in steals.
Josh’s Regional Winner: Georgia
Jameson Hannah, OF, Dallas Baptist: Ranking #49 on the ADPD, Jameson Hannah is an outfield prospect that was under-the-radar coming into 2018. A bit undersized at 5’9″, Hannah is a plus-plus runner who has improved on his contact skills this season. Despite being a 60 runner, Hannah doesn’t steal as many bases one would think so there is an opportunity for an MLB club to help him be more aggressive on the base paths. Also, with 22 doubles in 2018, there might be an opportunity to get more home run power out of his swing. There is some ceiling to work with for Hannah who projects to be a second-round pick. Season numbers: .360/.444/.555, 22 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 45 RBI, 35 BB, 35 K, 8-for-9 in steals.
Blaine Knight, RHP, Arkansas – The SEC’s Rodney Dangerfield, Blaine Knight has gone toe-to-toe with Brady Singer and Casey Mize in 2018. Against Florida, Knight pitched 6.2 innings allowing five hits, three earned runs and had ten strikeouts to four walks beating Singer (who allowed 6 ER in 7 IP). In a terrific pitcher’s duel against Auburn, Knight pitched 6.1 IP allowing six hits, one earned run and had six strikeouts to one walk as Arkansas handed Mize’s his first loss of the season. The reason why you don’t hear more about Knight is that of his thin frame at 6’3″ 165 lbs. I’ve seen his fastball reach consistently at 94 mph and strikes hitters out with a slider against right-handers, and change against lefties. Knight ranks #55 on the ADPD, but I think he could be a steal in the second round for a team. Season numbers: 10-0, 2.78 ERA, 87.1 IP, 76 H, 86 K, 21 BB.
Josh’s Regional Winner: Arkansas
Adam Hill, RHP, South Carolina – Adam Hill caught my eye when he struck out 14 against Clemson back on March 2nd. The highlight of that day was Seth Beer’s two-run homer against Hill, but that is all the damage a talented offensive ball club could do against Hill. His fastball has late movement as it sits around 93 mph mixing in a changeup and slider. Consistency is the issue for Hill who I watched get wild against Kentucky on April 6th. Again, the highlight was Kentucky’s SP Sean Hjelle great outing, but Hill walked seven batters in three innings, allowing six earned runs. If an MLB team can help smooth Hill out by being more consistent with his command, there could be some potential here. A good regional would go a long way to helping Hill be an early second-day pick. Season numbers: 7-5, 4.08 ERA, 75 IP, 49 H, 92 K, 46 BB.
Ryan Feltner, RHP, Ohio State – College reliever turned to starting pitcher in 2018, Ohio State’s Ryan Feltner has adjusted well to the role. As the closer during the Cape Cod League, scouts had Feltner clocked at 98 mph with his fastball. When watching Feltner’s starts this year for the Buckeyes, he was sitting at 94 mph during his starts. He has a good changeup that the Big Ten Network broadcast was a split-change which adds some complexity to the pitch. Feltner’s will need to work on his slider to be a professional starter. That pitch mix is what makes Feltner enticing to an MLB club. You could select Feltner and continue his development as a starter, or you could put Feltner in the bullpen with his 98 mph fastball / split change combo and watch him move through the system quickly. Good option for teams between the fifth and eighth rounds. Season numbers: 5-4, 4.62 ERA, 85.2 IP, 92 H, 82 K, 41 BB.
Josh’s Regional Winner: South Carolina
Kody Clemens, 2B, Texas – The son of Roger Clemens, Kody had a monster season for the Texas Longhorns in winning Big 12 Player of the Year honors. I didn’t think much of Clemens when watching him on TV in 2017 (He faced Greg Maddux’s son, Chase), but whatever he changed during the summer has worked in a big way. Playing second base, Clemens almost quadrupled his home run total from 2017 (5 HR in 2017 to 19 HR in 2018), increased his batting average by 100 points and his slugging by 322 points (!). His brothers, Koby and Kacy, were selected in the eighth round but I think Kody will easily beat that mark. A good option in the second day for an MLB club who might be getting a slugging infielder if his 2018 numbers aren’t a mirage. Season numbers: .341/.431/.687, 12 2B, 3 3B, 19 HR, 61 RBI, 34 BB, 41 K.
Mitchell Kilkenny, RHP, Texas A&M – Every time I watch Mitchell Kilkenny he seems to be getting better. A nice, repeatable delivery with an arsenal of 93 mph fastball paired with an average slider and changeup with good control of his pitches. Ranks #110 on the ADPD which falls in the third to fourth round range, Kilkenny has an opportunity against outstanding hitting teams in this Regional to improve his stock. Season numbers: 8-4, 3.00 ERA, 93 IP, 82 H, 87 K, 22 BB
Josh’s Regional Winner: Texas A&M
Ryan Rolison, LHP, Ole Miss – Ranked #17 on the ADPD, Ryan Rolison had a solid but not spectacular 2018. Redshirt Sophomore, Rolison did reach 90 innings pitched which is a good sign as scouts wanted to see Rolison consistently go deep into his starts. You can watch Rolison’s pitch mix in my MLB Draft Report earlier this season.
At this moment, I think Rolison is a mid-to-late first round pick, currently mocking him to the Chicago Cubs at 24. Season numbers: 9-4, 3.79 ERA, 90.1 IP, 84 H, 107 K, 42 BB.
Jeremy Eierman, SS, Missouri State – If only Jeremy Eierman duplicated his 2017 season we would be talking about how the Chicago White Sox could have drafted the Missouri State’s left side of the infield in back-to-back drafts. Instead, Eierman’s production dropped considerably. His slash line is good, but after hitting 23 home runs in 2017 Eierman’s only hit 10 in 2018. Still might be considered a late first round pick, a good regional performance would help solidify that status. If he has a bad weekend, he might be available for the White Sox to pick at 46th overall. Season numbers: .292/.383/.533, 17 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 25 BB, 45 K, 20-for-23 in steals.
Josh’s Regional Winner: Ole Miss
Nico Hoerner, SS, Stanford – Stanford will have three Top-50 selections in this upcoming draft with pitchers Kris Bubic (#41 ADPD) and Tristan Beck (#42 ADPD), and shortstop Nico Hoerner (#47 ADPD). When watching Stanford this season, I grew to like Hoerner’s game. Solid defensively with a strong arm, Hoerner is a 50-grade hitter who consistently puts the ball in play. His numbers offensively all took a step forward, and Hoerner was a bit more aggressive on the basepath’s this season. If the White Sox do decide to take Brady Singer at fourth overall, Hoerner would be a good option at pick 46 to help supply more middle infield depth. Season numbers: .349/.396/.498, 16 2B, 5 3B, 2 HR, 39 RBI, 19 BB, 21 K, 14-for-18 in steals.
Colton Eastman, RHP, Cal State Fullerton – One thing you’ll hear about with Colton Eastman (#84 ADPD) is the spin rate with his curve. TrackMan data has Easton’s breaking pitch about major league average at 2800, but I think his best pitch is the changeup as it just fools left-handed hitters. The fastball is nothing special as it sits around 90 mph, but Eastman has good command for all of his pitches. He’s been focusing on improving against the third time against the lineup from this OC Register story. Season numbers: 9-3, 2.26 ERA, 103.2 IP, 73 H, 108 K, 26 BB.
Josh’s Regional Winner: Stanford
Tim Cate, LHP, Connecticut – Preseason #36 on the ADPD, Connecticut’s Tim Cate is a good left-handed pitcher with injury concerns. Already had Tommy John in High School, Cate missed significant time in 2018 with forearm tightness but returned to the Huskies earlier this month. His best pitch and probably the source of his arm injuries is the curve which MLBPipeline grades at 65. It’s a 12 to 6 drop that pairs nicely with his 92 mph fastball. When watching Cate you can see he has a great feel for his curve, but at just 6 feet tall, he will have to learn to get downward plane on his fastball and changeup. If injuries prevent Cate from being a big league starter, any MLB club could convert Cate to an effective reliever who could give left-handed hitters headaches. Season numbers: 4-4, 3.23 ERA, 47.1 IP, 48 H, 61 K, 17 BB.
Jason Bilous, RHP, Coastal Carolina – A big contributor to the Chanticleers first College World Series title in 2016, Jason Bilous has been inconsistent the past two seasons. He has a big fastball ranging from 94-96 mph, and like most college pitchers, only throws the sliders against right-handers and changeups against lefties. Bilous has taken a step forward in 2018, but walks are still an issue. If the Chanticleers are going to make it back to the College World Series, they need Bilous to step up his game. Season numbers: 7-2, 3.39 ERA, 79.2 IP, 54 H, 102 K, 64 BB.
Josh’s Regional Pick: Connecticut
Seth Beer, OF/1B, Clemson – What? You thought I would go all college season without at least one blurb about former future White Sox first round pick, Seth Beer? Ha!
In all seriousness, Seth Beer (#51 ADPD) might be the hottest hitter in the college ranks heading to Regionals. He reached the 20 home run mark while continuing to show advanced strike zone recognition skills for the third year in a row. Many MLB teams are trying to figure out which metrics help to determine projections for college players transition to professional baseball. Beer checks off several boxes except for not performing well in wood bat leagues. Beer still could go in the first round, but I don’t expect him to be on the board when the White Sox make their second-round pick. While you are watching Beer, keep an eye on Clemson SS Logan Davidson. He’ll get some hype for the preseason top 2019 MLB Draft prospects. Season numbers: .316/.471/.656, 11 2B, 20 HR, 52 RBI, 52 BB, 31 K.
Patrick Raby, RHP, Vanderbilt – Ranked 191st in Baseball America’s Top 500, Patrick Raby is good college starter who knows how to pitch, but his stuff has taken a step back in 2018. Raby has a hard time reaching 90 mph with his fastball, and his offspeed pitches are not as crisp as they were in 2017. I still think he is worthwhile for MLB teams to selected between the fifth and tenth rounds in the draft, but if Raby can have a strong performance in Regionals that could help his draft stock. Season numbers: 4-5, 3.47 ERA, 62.1 IP, 63 H, 52 K, 28 BB.
Josh’s Regional Winner: Clemson
Steele Walker, OF, Oklahoma – Steele Walker (#35 ADPD) had a terrific Team USA performance hitting .333/.417/.514 with two home runs and 11 RBI. He outperformed Travis Swaggerty, Nick Madrigal, Seth Beer, Jake McCarthy, and Jeremy Eierman. His defense is why Walker is not considered a Top-20 prospect as he doesn’t have a strong arm and limited athleticism will make him a left fielder long-term. Walker can hit though, and that should make him a late first-round selection. If somehow he drops to pick 46 for the White Sox, don’t be surprised if Nick Hostetler jumps at the opportunity to select him. Walker checks off a lot of the boxes the Sox look for from college hitters. Season numbers: .352/.441/.606, 14 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 31 BB, 48 K, 7-for-10 in steals.
Cal Raleigh, C, Florida State – Cal Raleigh reminds me a bit of Seby Zavala. A catcher that you are not sure if they have average defensive skills but you know they can hit well enough to merit time at the position. After a very disappointing 2017, Raleigh has bounced back quite nicely showcasing his power from both sides of the plate and improving his strike zone recognition. He’s no Joey Bart, but Raleigh is someone that could rise through a team’s farm system and find himself as a backup catcher in the Majors. While you’re watching Raleigh, keep an eye on 3B Drew Mendoza, who will get recognition as one of the better 2019 MLB Draft prospects. Season numbers: .317/.442/.495, 16 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 43 RBI, 45 BB, 61 K.
Josh’s Regional Winner: Florida State
Chapel Hill Regional
You can skip watching this regional. Unless you went to Purdue. I hope the Cinderella season continues because it’s a pretty impressive season for the Boilermakers.
Josh’s Regional Winner: North Carolina
Logan Gilbert, RHP, Stetson – While you watch Stetson’s opening round game, you’ll probably hear at least twice on how Logan Gilbert (#14 ADPD) is following the footsteps of Corey Kluber and Jacob DeGrom who both went to Stetson. Gilbert has an impressive arsenal with his fastball getting back on track to leveling off in the mid-90’s, a curveball that would be rated as average as it often gets hung up in the zone, and his slider. Boy, when Gilbert has his slider on point, it’s going to be a real tough day for opposing hitters. One of the more impressive things that Gilbert does is he tunnels his pitches very well. Hard to tell what the pitch is before it reaches the plate with late movement. Season numbers: 10-1, 2.52 ERA, 100 IP, 60 H, 143 K, 20 BB.
Shane McClanahan, LHP, South Florida – Perhaps the most frustrating player I’ve watched this college season, Shane McClanahan (#8 ADPD) could dominate a team’s best hitter, and then walk the bases loaded. His arm is electric, often hitting 97 mph in starts I watched and paired with a wipeout slider. It’s easy to think that McClanahan could be like Chris Sale or Carlos Rodon, but unlike those two McClanahan has below average command. My scouting line would be 70 fastball, 60 slider, 50 changeup, 45 control. Any team that selects McClanahan will need to work with him on getting pitches in the strike zone. If he can’t locate his fastball, he could put South Florida in danger of not reaching the Super Regionals. Season numbers: 5-6, 3.41 ERA, 71.1 IP, 46 H, 117 K, 44 BB.
Josh’s Regional Winner: South Florida
Terrin Vavra, SS, Minnesota – Son of former Minnesota Twins hitting coach, Joe Vavra, Terrin is the offensive cog for the impressive Minnesota Golden Gophers in 2018. Always could make solid contact, Vavra has seen his power numbers spike from just hitting two home runs in 2017 to 10 home runs in 2018. Improving his plate discipline (29 BB to 17 K), Vavra has a knack for getting a key hit with runners in scoring position. I’m always skeptical of Big Ten hitters because they don’t face the best pitching within the conference, but if Vavra can rake in this Regional against Gonzaga and UCLA, that should boost his draft stock to be selected in the first ten rounds. Season numbers: .385/.458/.620, 11 2B, 3 3B, 10 HR, 55 RBI, 29 BB, 17 K.
Jake Bird, RHP, UCLA – Leading UCLA in innings, Jake Bird is making the transition from pitching mostly out of the bullpen in 2016 and 2017, to starter in 2018. As a Senior, Bird has limited teams offensively while not relying on strikeouts. He is crafty in throwing his off-speed pitches in any count to induce weak contact. Most likely a player that would sign for $10,000 in the draft, Bird could be worth taking a flyer on starting the eighth round. Season numbers: 7-4, 1.99 ERA, 104 IP, 105 H, 59 K, 31 BB.
Josh’s Regional Winner: UCLA
Cadyn Grenier, SS, Oregon State – Of course, White Sox fans should watch Oregon State’s second baseman Nick Madrigal as he could be the first round selection, but also pay attention to Cadyn Grenier. Most likely a second-round pick, Grenier is the reason why Madrigal is at second base as he is a plus-defender at shortstop. Demonstrating excellent range moving to his left, and a strong enough arm to make the throws covering the third base hole. Offensively, there is work to be done as Grenier wasn’t effective for Team USA (.158/.333/.283), but he’s improved this spring raising his slash line across the board. Grenier’s strength is his defense, but if a team can help him develop better offensively, there could be a major league caliber starting shortstop here. Season numbers: .335/.420/.477, 15 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 42 RBI, 27 BB, 43 K
Zack Hess, RHP, LSU – Watch out for LSU in this postseason because this young team is finding it’s groove, and starting pitcher Zack Hess is a big part of that. Dominate in the SEC Semifinal against Arkansas, Hess only allowed one hit, and one earned run over seven innings while striking out seven and walking two. A fastball that runs 95 mph and devastating slider, Hess reminds me of Alec Hansen who uses his big frame (6’6″) to get downhill on his pitches. The arrow is pointing up for Hess, and if he has another outstanding performance in this Regional, could be an early second-day pick. Season numbers: 7-5, 4.43 ERA, 89.1 IP, 75 H, 101 K, 45 BB.
Josh’s Regional Winner: Oregon State
College World Series pick: Florida over Stanford