Top 2018 MLB Draft Prospects In Michigan
1. William English, RHP, Western International HS, Detroit (BA Rank: 185)
HS • 6-4 • 190 • R-R •
English is one of the youngest players in this year’s draft class and he’s a legit 6-foot-4, so there’s a lot of reasons to believe that his best pitching is ahead of him. He has a 90-93 mph fastball that has touched 95 and every now and then he will break off a quality breaking ball, but everything is seen in flashes right now. He’s far from a finished product and would likely need multiple years in the complex leagues if he signed out of high school. A Tennessee signee, English also has potential as an outfielder. He’s a plus runner with power potential.
2. John Malcom, 1B, Detroit Country Day HS (BA Rank: 325)
HS • 6-4 • 220 • L-L •
There have been just two Michigan high school position players taken in the top five rounds of the draft this century and Nick Plummer, a first-rounder in 2015, is stuck in low Class A in his fourth pro season. So Malcolm, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound lefthanded-hitting first baseman with plus raw power, is having to buck a lot of draft history. But the Vanderbilt signee has done what he can to impress. He’s done a good job of reducing his load and shortening his stride to improve his ability to make contact while still maintaining his power. The late winter weather hasn’t helped anyone in the upper Midwest, and even though Malcolm has six home runs in a relatively fast start to his senior season, he’s likely to make it to Vanderbilt.
3. Jonathan Engelmann, OF, Michigan (BA Rank: 334)
4YR • 6-3 • 200 • R-R •
A 28th-round pick of the Twins out of high school in 2015, Engelmann should go earlier in this year’s draft on the heels of an extremely productive junior season that has seen him hit .359/.442/.530 with 21 steals in 29 attempts at the end of the regular season. Engelmann is a plus runner who covers plenty of ground in center field and is adept at going back on balls. He also has an above-average arm that would fit in right field as well. Despite his productive season, there are scouts who are concerned that good velocity can beat him. But his tools package and breakout junior season should sway a team to buy in on his development.
4. Miko Rodriguez, OF/INF, Forest Hills Central HS, Grand Rapids, Mich. (BA Rank: 349)
HS • 6-1 • 200 • R-R •
The late winter made it hard for scouts to get a good look at Rodriguez, but there’s a lot to like. Rodriguez has a swing scouts can love with plus raw power. Rodriguez is mainly a right fielder with a plus arm that plays out there, but there are some evaluators who wouldn’t mind trying him out at third base. He’s an average runner and a Texas A&M signee. Michigan high school hitters often make it to school and they sometimes take a little time to get adjusted to college ball, but Rodriguez has the tools to be a name to watch in three years, if he doesn’t get snapped up this year.
5. Michael Brettell, RHP, Central Michigan (BA Rank: 359)
4YR • Jr. • 6-3 • 210 • R-R •
When Brettell’s stuff is at its best, it’s pretty impressive. His 92-93 mph fastball has excellent sink and he can also get some late life up in the zone. He also gets good late drop on his 81-84 mph changeup that generates average grades. But Brettell’s below-average slider is a little slurvy and he doesn’t have much confidence in it. Brettell’ stuff is very hittable when he struggles to generate sink and his margin of error is small, which is why he’ll likely last until day three of the draft.
6. Bryce Bush, 3B/1B, De La Salle Collegiate HS, Warren, Mich. (BA Rank: 402)
HS • 6-0 • 205 • R-R •
Bush has some of the best pure bat speed in the 2018 class, with lightning quick hands through the zone that he uses to produce lots of hard contact and above-average power. His swing is extremely unorthodox however, with a very low handset and drop in his load and he gets into his launch position at seemingly the last possible second. Combined with a steep uphill bat path, scouts are worried about how Bush’s swing will play as he gets to more advanced levels, though he’s made it work against high-end velocity at times over the summer. A righthanded corner infielder, Bush has an outside shot to stick at third, but most evaluators see him as a first baseman, which makes his profile even more daunting and risky. He could do well to clean up his swing at Michigan and prove the bat speed is enough to project as an impact hitter.
7. Will Tribucher, LHP, Michigan (BA Rank: 437)
4YR • Jr. • 6-3 • 200 • L-L •
Tribucher has the stuff to be a useful lefty reliever and he was impressive last summer pitching for Yarmouth-Dennis in the Cape Cod League. But this spring his control has been sporadic and unreliable. He mixes a 90-93 mph fastball and a curve that is especially effective against lefties. He also has a changeup that gives him a survival skill against righthanders. Tribucher’s stuff is good enough to work around some wildness, but improving his control will be key to having pro success.
8. Spencer Schwellenbach, RHP/SS, Heritage High, Saginaw, Mich. (BA Rank: 458)
HS • 6-0 • 185 • R-R •
A Nebraska signee, Schwellenbach has plenty of arm speed (his fastball has touched 94-95 mph), but he has to improve his command and control and the quality of his secondary offerings, which is why he’s likely to make it to Nebraska.
9. Daniel Robinson, OF, Central Michigan (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 6-3 • 209 • L-L •
Robinson has the tools to be a pro including plus-plus speed and he hit .310/.400/.400 this season. His defense hasn't been up to his previous levels this year, but he has the tools to be an above-average defender in the outfield.
10. Connor Smith, 2B, Western Michigan (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 5-10 • 175 • R-R •
Smith can hit–he's hit between .330-.340 each of the past three years. But he faces questions about what position he can handle defensively in pro ball. He's an above-average runner who may fit best in the outfield.
11. Grant Wolfram, LHP, Davenport (Mich.) (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 6-7 • 235 • L-L •
Wolfram has yet to have consistent success in college but he has a massive frame and struck out 12.4 batters per nine innings this year.
12. Ako Thomas, 2B, Michigan (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 5-8 • 160 • R-R •
Thomas couldn't match his outstanding sophomore season this year, but he is a pesky hitter with some on-base skills.
13. Nic Laio, RHP, Western Michigan (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 6-5 • 205 • R-R •
14. Dazon Cole, RHP, Central Michigan (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 5-10 • 177 • R-R •
Cole is a short righthander with a low-90s fastball, and an at-times hard-biting slider, but his control need further refinement. He's also athletic enough to have gotten some time in the outfield.
15. Riley McCauley, RHP, Michigan State (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 5-11 • 205 • R-R •
. Marty Bechina, 3B/OF, Michigan State (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 6-0 • 200 • R-R •
Mets Fail To Sign Kumar Rocker By Signing Deadline
The Mets and first round righthander Kumar Rocker failed to come to terms on a deal, and with the August 1, 5 p.m. ET signing deadline now in the rearview mirror, the Mets are the only team that failed to come to terms with its first overall pick in the 2021 draft.