Top High School Prospects
The high school class remains extremely deep just a few weeks away from the 2018 draft, though injuries and a lack of big spring performances has prevented prep players from climbing up boards, and it’s unlikely that a high school product will be the first overall pick for the third straight year.
At times throughout this draft cycle shortstop Brice Turang and righthander Ethan Hankins looked like they had real chances to be the top player picked in the draft, but both seem like middle of the first round selections at this point thanks to middle-of-the-road spring performances and injury, respectively.
Arizona lefthander Matthew Liberatore is seen as the top high school player in the 2018 class who took a step forward with his velocity this spring—though it has been inconsistent—and has three potential plus pitches with a projectable frame. Pitching is the strength of the high school class with more than half of the players ranked among the BA 500 prospects on the mound.
The amount of prep righthanders ranked toward the top of the class will create an interesting dilemma for major league teams, as they will be forced to weigh the risk of taking one of the least successful demographics with the high-upside ceilings that many of these prospects have. The number of high school righties picked in the first round has trended every year since 2014 (when six prep righties were taken) to last year when Hunter Greene and Shane Baz were the only two prep righties off the board in the first round.
There will be more than two selected this year, with a chance to match or exceed the bar set this decade—when seven prep righties were taken in the first round of the 2011 draft—depending on the risk-aversion of clubs this June.