To-Do Lists were written by Carlos Collazo and Teddy Cahill in consultation with scouts and evaluators from major league clubs.
The release of our Top 200 Draft Prospects list is the start of draft season, not the end. Much will change over the next five months before Rob Manfred announces the No. 1 pick. With that in mind, here are “to-do lists” for each of the players currently projected to be picked in the first round. Some players have extremely advanced hit tools and power projection at the next level but have defensive questions. Others are high school pitchers with advanced stuff but perhaps need to make some mechanical tweaks or show more consistency this spring.
We'll have full scouting reports on all of these players in the annual Baseball America 500 as we get closer to the draft, but for now here is what the top 31 players in the 2018 class need to improve in the next five months to solidify their spot at the top of draft boards or make another jump.
1. Brady Singer, RHP, Florida: Stay consistent
For the third straight year, a Florida pitcher enters the year as a favorite to be the first overall pick. Singer will look to succeed where his former teammates A.J. Puk and Alex Faedo stumbled and finish the year atop draft boards. Puk slid in the draft after an inconsistent spring, while Faedo's fall was precipitated by a slow start to the season. Listed at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Singer has electric stuff and throws from a tough arm slot. He runs his fastball in the low to mid 90s with plenty of run and sink and he adds in a sharp slider with a developing changeup in reserve. If Singer can avoid those problems and repeat his excellent 2017 season, when he went 9-5, 3.21 with 129 strikeouts in 126 innings and helped the Gators win the national championship, he should finish the season as the top player in the class.
2. Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS, Cumming, Ga.: Improve breaking ball
After dominating high school batters both domestically and internationally--he struck out 27 batters and walked just three in 12 innings with Team USA's 18U gold-medal winning club--last summer, scouts will be out en masse to see the 6-foot-6 righthander at Forsyth Central (Cumming, Ga.) High this spring. There's not much for Hankins to do other than stay healthy and continue pitching like he did in 2017 to stick here, although continuing to make progress with his breaking ball will factor into whether Hankins becomes the first prep righthander ever drafted at 1-1. With plenty of room to add strength, many evaluators are expecting Hankins to get into the triple digits with his fastball during the season.