Top 10 College Righthanders
Throughout the season, Baseball America will present position rankings of the best college players in the 2018 draft class. Here we focus on righthanders. As is often the case, college pitching is one of the strengths of the draft class.
1. Casey Mize, Auburn: Mize this season has allayed lingering concerns about his health with a sensational start to his junior year. He went 5-0, 2.04 with 63 strikeouts and three walks through 39.2 innings and was moving to the top of draft boards.
2. Brady Singer, Florida: Singer, an unsigned second-round pick in 2015, entered the year as the top-ranked player in the draft class and has gotten off to a strong start this season. His low arm slot is unconventional, but his fastball/slider combination is electric.
3. Jackson Kowar, Florida: Kowar does things a little more conventionally than his rotation-mate Singer and has a long, lean frame at a listed 6-foot-6, 185 pounds. He hasn’t quite matched Singer’s high bar as a weekend starter, but his easy low-90s fastball and above-average slider and changeup all play.
4. Logan Gilbert, Stetson: Gilbert was mostly a third baseman in high school and has blossomed as a pitcher while in college.Listed at 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, He generates easy velocity with a loose, simple delivery and runs his fastball up to 97 mph to go with a sharp breaking ball.
5. Tristan Beck, Stanford: He burst onto the college scene in 2016 when he joined Mike Mussina and Cal Quantrill as the only pitchers in the last 30 years to start for Stanford on Opening Day as freshmen. Beck was eligible for the 2017 draft but missed the whole season due to a back injury and chose to return to school for his junior year. He picked up where he left off and was running his fastball into the mid-90s.
6. Blaine Knight, Arkansas: Knight was one of last spring’s biggest breakout draft prospects and ranked No. 87 on the BA500 predraft ranking as an eligible sophomore. He returned to school for his junior season and continued to excel this spring. His fastball/breaking ball combination is above-average and he has worked to improve his changeup.
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7. Sean Hjelle, Kentucky: Hjelle was named Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year after a strong sophomore season and is again leading Kentucky’s rotation this spring. He’s listed at 6-foot-11 but pitches with more control than most exceptionally tall pitchers thanks to his athleticism.
8. Griffin Roberts, Wake Forest: He was a draft-eligible sophomore in 2017 and ranked No. 217 while pitching out of the Demon Deacons’ bullpen. He returned to school for his junior year and has moved into the rotation, excelling in his new role. Roberts’ performance as a starter has him climbing draft boards this spring.
9. Isaiah Campbell, Arkansas: Campbell missed nearly all of his sophomore year due to bone spurs in his elbow but has been solid as he has returned to action this season. Listed at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, he has ideal physicality and the powerful fastball to match.
10. Cole Sands, Florida State: Sands ranked No. 79 on the BA500 in 2015 when coming out of high school and has been a fixture in Florida State’s rotation throughout his college career. He has taken over this spring as the Seminoles’ ace and has a solid three-pitch mix.