Baseball America's Top 100 High School prospects for the 2018 draft was compiled by Carlos Collazo in consultation with scouts and evaluators from major league clubs. It follows the end of the showcase season as well as the early signing period, as the list reflects the college choices of the players. It's early in the draft process, so this order will change as more information emerges about the players and as the spring season begins.
College baseball's early signing period ended Wednesday, which marks Baseball America's annual early list of Top 100 Prospects. The list is designed to give an early look at the composition of the 2018 class, with the caveat that a lot can change with 199 more days until the actual draft, which starts on June 4, 2018.
Early in the summer, scouts believed that this year's high school class was heavy on pitching, with the southeast region of the country being particularly strong across the board--both on depth and with impact players at the top. If our list at this point is any indication, that remains the case.
Using the last four BA top 100 high school lists as a proxy, let's take a look at how the top 25 of this year's class compares to the previous four years.
The first thing that stands out is righthanded pitching. That is clearly the strength of the 2018 high school class, with 11 righthanders* landing in the top 25--more than any of the previous four years with the closest class being a 2015 group that had 10 righthanded pitchers among the top 25.
When looking at the strength of pitching overall (including lefties and righties), the 2018 class still stands out with 14 pitchers among the top 25. The previous classes are close, and remarkably consistent, with 13 pitchers in the top 25 in each of the last four draft classes going back to 2014.
Another strength of the 2018 class, relative to the previous four classes, is at catcher. There was just one catching prospect on the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 top 100 lists, compared to three on this year's list with Will Banfield (10), Noah Naylor (22) and Anthony Seigler (23). The catchers on the previous years' lists were Alex Jackson (No. 2, 2014), Chris Betts (No. 7, 2015), Cooper Johnson (No. 22, 2016) and M.J. Melendez (No. 15, 2017). High school catching is historically one of the most risky demographics in the draft, which makes the top catchers in the 2018 class exciting and also difficult to rank as there tends to be less of a consensus on where these players fall than other positions.
Outfield is less represented at the top of the 2018 class, with just three outfielders (No. 5 Jarred Kelenic, No. 19 Joe Gray Jr. and No. 20 Mike Siani) among the top 25, compared to an average of five during the last four years. The 2017 and 2015 lists had six outfielders among the top 25, while the 2016 and 2014 classes both had four apiece.
Geographically, it is a down year for California, which places just two players in the top 25 (No. 2 Brice Turang and No. 17 Cole Winn, who actually moved from Colorado this summer). No other class going back to 2014 had fewer than four players representing the golden state, and last year's 2017 class had almost a third of the list (8) made up of players from California.
That's not to say there are no prospects from California this year. The depth of the state remains solid with 14 players making the top 100. But there's an obvious lack of top-tier California prospects compared to the norm for the state, which stands out even more given the standout 2017 crop.
Georgia has six players on the list, which is more than any of the previous four classes. Florida has six players as well, tying the 2014 class with the most Top 25 sunshine state prospects in the last few years.
*When dealing with players listed at multiple positions, the primary position listed for each player was used to determine demographics. For example, this year Mason Denaburg is listed as a RHP/C. For our purposes here, we are looking at him as if he were solely a RHP, as that is where the industry currently sees him as having a higher ceiling.
1. RHP Ethan Hankins | 6-6 | 215 | (Forsyth Central HS, Cumming, Ga.) | Vanderbilt 📹
2. SS Brice Turang | 6-1 | 165 | (Santiago HS, Corona, Calif.) | LSU 📹
3. 3B Nolan Gorman | 6-1 | 210 | (Sandra Day O’Connor HS, Phoenix) | Arizona 📹
4. LHP Matthew Liberatore | 6-5 | 200 | (Mountain Ridge HS, Riverdale, Ariz.) | Arizona
5. OF Jarred Kelenic | 6-1 | 196 | (Waukesha (Wisc.) West HS) | Louisville 📹
6. SS Nander De Sedas | 6-1 | 190 | (Montverde (Fla.) Academy) | FSU 📹
7. RHP Kumar Rocker | 6-4 | 240 | (North Oconee HS, Bogart, Ga.) | Vanderbilt
8. LHP Ryan Weathers | 6-2 | 210 | (Loretto (Tenn.) HS) | Vanderbilt
9. RHP/C Mason Denaburg | 6-3 | 190 | (Merritt Island (Fla.) HS) | Florida 📹
10. C Will Banfield | 6-0 | 200 | (Brookwood HS, Snellville, Ga.) | Vanderbilt 📹
11. 1B Triston Casas | 6-4 | 238 | (American Heritage School, Plantation, Fla.) | Miami 📹
12. RHP Mike Vasil | 6-4 | 210 | (Boston College HS) | Virginia
13. RHP Carter Stewart | 6-6 | 200 | (Eau Gallie HS, Melbourne, Fla.) | Miss. State 📹
14. RHP Cole Wilcox | 6-5 | 220 | (Heritage HS, Ringgold, Ga.) | Georgia 📹
15. SS Xavier Edwards | 5-10 | 155 | (North Broward Prep, Coconut Creek, Fla.) | Vanderbilt
16. RHP Slade Cecconi | 6-4 | 193 | (Trinity Prep, Winter Park, Fla.) | Miami
17. RHP Cole Winn | 6-2 | 195 | (Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS) | Miss. State
18. RHP Austin Becker | 6-6 | 185 | (Big Walnut HS, Sunbury, Ohio) | Vanderbilt 📹
19. OF Joe Gray Jr. | 6-3 | 195 | (Hattiesburg (Miss.) HS) | Mississippi 📹
20. OF Mike Siani | 6-0 | 180 | (William Penn Charter, Glenside, Pa.) | Virginia 📹
21. RHP Braxton Ashcraft | 6-5 | 195 | (Robinson (Texas) HS) | Baylor
22. C Noah Naylor | 6-0 | 195 | (St. Joan of Arc Catholic SS, Mississauga, Ont.) | Texas A&M 📹
23. C Anthony Seigler | 5-11 | 200 | (Cartersville (Ga.) HS) | Florida 📹
24. LHP Luke Bartnicki | 6-3 | 210 | (Walton HS, Marietta, Ga.) | Georgia Tech 📹
25. RHP Landon Marceaux | 6-0 | 180 | (Destrehan (La.) HS) | LSU