2018 MLB Mock Draft: Picks 1-35
A little less than a month before the draft, the scouting industry feels very confident about one thing: Casey Mize is the best player in this draft class and everyone will be shocked if he’s not picked No. 1 overall by the Tigers.
After that? Chaos.
“There’s one player that will be first on all 30 draft boards,” said one scouting director. “And the second player will be totally different on all 30 boards.”
There is no clear No. 2 player in this class right now, and the second player on one preference list may be 10th on someone else’s board. That kind of uncertainty will likely lead to plenty of deal-making. As one agent put it, the top 10 will be filled with players making below-slot deals, finding the best landing spot they can in a draft where teams may not be completely sold on anyone.
As we get closer and closer to the draft, the college bats are rising to the top. Players like Jonathan India, Joey Bart and Alec Bohm have the kind of production against top-level competition that can make analytics departments happy, with the tools to appeal to scouts as well.
“I would be shocked if a high school guy went within the first four picks,” said a second scouting director. “I think this year is a little bit different, just from the standpoint that no one has really separated themselves. In years past—like last year—we had a sense of Royce Lewis. We knew Brendan McKay, Kyle Wright. We had a pretty good consensus of the top five guys.”
Noah Naylor is the high school bat on a rapid rise as well. In a high school class with few bats that have stood out at the top of the class, Naylor has earned his helium. Roncalli (Indanapolis) High outfielder Nick Schnell has also been rising in recent weeks, going on a home run binge in front of significant crowds of evaluators.
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Nine of Baseball America’s top 10 high school players will be at the event.