2018 MLB Draft First Round Grades and Rankings

The first round of the 2018 MLB draft is in the books, and oh boy! What a first round it was! Let’s take a deeper dive at each of the first 43 picks and assign a grade for how we feel each team did with each selection. Also, we’ll include where we would rank each player among their team’s top 30 prospects, as ranked by MLB.com.

You can navigate to each team’s top 30 list by clicking on the team’s name to the left of the player they drafted.

 

# Team Player Pos School/University Grade
1 Detroit Tigers Casey Mize RHP Auburn University A+
In the end, Detroit didn’t overthink things, despite the fact that Mize, our #1 rated prospect, might command the entire bonus for this spot, a whopping $8.1 million. The way he’s pitched this year, he might be worth every penny. Ultimately, we think he’ll settle for just under that amount, giving the team a few extra hundred-thousand to put towards their second-round pick, Parker Meadows. Mize should become the #1 prospect in Detroit’s farm system.
2 San Francisco Giants Joey Bart C Georgia Institute of Technology A
Despite having a five-time All-Star, a three-time World Series champ and the 2012 National League MVP behind the plate, the Giants selected Bart, our #13 rated prospect. An accomplished hitter with great savvy behind the plate, he should fly through the minors, needing roughly the same amount of games (189) that former Tech catcher Matt Wieters required to reach the majors. Bart should become the #1 prospect in San Francisco’s farm system.
3 Philadelphia Phillies Alec Bohm 3B Wichita State University A
Another team that didn’t overthink things. The Phillies had been linked to Bohm, our #12 rated prospect, for months, drooling over his ability to hit for both average and power. They drafted him as a third baseman, and while they’ll give him every chance to stick, he’s a first baseman at the big-league level. Wherever he plays, he should advance rapidly through the minors. Bohm should become the #2 prospect in Philadelphia’s farm system.
4 Chicago White Sox Nick Madrigal 2B Oregon State University A
The Sox coveted all of the top college hitters and were able to get one in Madrigal. The draft’s best pure hitter, and our #3 rated prospect, he should start out in High-A and could reach the majors as soon as summer-2019. Where he plays when he gets there is anyone’s guess, with Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson entrenched at second base and shortstop, respectively. Madrigal should become the #3 prospect in Chicago’s farm system.
5 Cincinnati Reds Jonathan India 3B University of Florida B+
Our #8 rated prospect, India makes three infielders in three years for the Reds. Now they just have to figure out where everyone will play assuming he, Nick Senzel (#2 in 2016) and Jeter Downs (#32 in 2017) all reach the majors. Excluding Senzel, India’s bat is the best in the system, so the Reds will make room, even if that means forcing him off his preference and over to second. India should become the #3 prospect in Cincinnati’s farm system.
6 New York Mets Jarred Kelenic OF Waukesha West HS (WI) A
The Mets had several appealing options but ultimately decided on Kelenic, our #4 rated prospect. He brings some much needed upside to a farm system that has degraded rapidly over the past few years. That’s not to say he comes without risk, but we think he’s a better talent that Brandon Nimmo, who has become an important piece of an aging roster. Kelenic should become the #1 prospect in New York’s farm system.
7 San Diego Padres Ryan Weathers LHP Loretto HS (TN) A
Despite ranking as the second-best lefty in this class, Weathers, our #14 rated prospect, was the first off the board. An incredible athlete, despite his stocky appearance, Weathers should advance quicker than most prep pitchers, thanks to an advanced feel for pitching and smooth, repeatable mechanics. It will be fun to chart his rise alongside last year’s pick, MacKenzie Gore. Weathers should become the #5 prospect in San Diego’s farm system.
8 Atlanta Braves Carter Stewart RHP Eau Gallie HS (FL) A
The Braves were linked to several prep pitchers, and they ended up with Stewart, our #7 rated prospect. Carter has arguably the best breaking ball in this year’s class and if his velocity continues to sit in the mid-90s at the pro level, and he can work out the kinks in his delivery, there will be seven teams wishing they had taken him. Stewart should become the #3 prospect in Atlanta’s farm system.
9 Oakland Athletics Kyler Murray OF University of Oklahoma B
Oakland seems confident they can sign Murray for close to slot, with the condition that he’s allowed to play out the season as the starting quarterback at Oklahoma before turning to baseball full-time. Murray was a projected first round pick three years ago, and was sensational this year (.296/.398/.556), despite getting just 49 at-bats the two previous years. Murray should become the #3 prospect in Oakland’s farm system.
10 Pittsburgh Pirates Travis Swaggerty OF University of South Alabama A
You have to love Swaggerty’s attitude. There’s more than one reason his teammates call him “Swaggy.” The junior, our #6 rated prospect, almost slipped out of the top ten after a difficult campaign that saw all of his offensive numbers drop. The Pirates don’t seem too concerned, and with above-average speed and hitting ability, he’s likely to reward their faith. Swaggerty should become the #3 prospect in Pittsburgh’s farm system.
11 Baltimore Orioles Grayson Rodriguez RHP Central Heights HS (TX) C+
This is the first pick that had us scratching our heads. Rodriguez, our #26 rated prospect, gives Baltimore a lot to work with, including a mid-to-high-90s fastball, but they could have done better with this pick. Further complicating matters is their track record with prep arms. Hint…it’s not good. Having said that, the Orioles’ system is pretty bare, and as a result Rodriguez should become the #2 prospect in Baltimore’s farm system.
12 Toronto Blue Jays Jordan Groshans SS Magnolia HS (TX) B
Toronto could have gone any number of directions here, but they ended up going with Groshans, one of the better pure hitters among the high school crop and our #36 rated prospect. We had five other prep hitters ranked ahead of him and, despite the fact that the Jays introduced him as a shortstop, we’re not sold he’ll be able to remain there long-term, hence the B-grade. Groshans should become the #6 prospect in Toronto’s farm system.
13 Miami Marlins Connor Scott OF Plant HS (FL) B+
After considering all their options, including several prospects within driving distance of Marlins Park, Miami settled on Connor Scott, our #20 rated prospect. The young outfielder has plus speed and a plus arm capable of hitting the mid-90s on the mound. He has the instincts and skills to play centerfield, and if his bat develops, we could be looking at a Kyle Tucker clone. Scott should become the #2 prospect in Miami’s farm system.
14 Seattle Mariners Logan Gilbert RHP Stetson University A
We liked Gilbert much more than others, ranking him as the #5 prospect in our final rankings. His fastball can hit the mid-90s, but it plays up even in the 90-93 range thanks to his extension. His curveball is a plus offering and his slider and changeup have potential too. On top of it all, he’s a proven winner with a bulldog mentality on the mound. Seattle got a steal. Gilbert should become the #2 prospect in Seattle’s farm system.
15 Texas Rangers Cole Winn RHP Orange Lutheran HS (CA)
16 Tampa Bay Rays Matthew Liberatore LHP Mountain Ridge HS (AZ)
17 Los Angeles Angels Jordyn Adams OF Green Hope HS (NC)
18 Kansas City Royals Brady Singer RHP University of Florida
19 St. Louis Cardinals Nolan Gorman 3B Sandra Day O’Connor HS (AZ)
20 Minnesota Twins Trevor Larnach OF Oregon State University
21 Milwaukee Brewers Brice Turang SS Santiago HS (CA)
22 Colorado Rockies Ryan Rolison LHP University of Mississippi
23 New York Yankees Anthony Seigler C Cartersville HS (GA)
24 Chicago Cubs Nico Hoerner SS Stanford University
25 Arizona Diamondbacks Matt McLain SS Arnold O. Beckman HS (CA)
26 Boston Red Sox Triston Casas 1B American Heritage HS (FL)
27 Washington Nationals Mason Denaburg RHP Merritt Island HS (FL)
28 Houston Astros Seth Beer 1B/OF Clemson University
29 Cleveland Indians Noah Naylor C St. Joan of Arc SS (Canada)
30 Los Angeles Dodgers J.T. Ginn RHP Brandon HS (MS)
31 Tampa Bay Rays Shane McClanahan LHP University of South Florida
32 Tampa Bay Rays Nick Schnell OF Roncalli HS (IN)
33 Kansas City Royals Jackson Kowar RHP University of Florida
34 Kansas City Royals Daniel Lynch LHP University of Virginia
35 Cleveland Indians Ethan Hankins RHP Forsyth Central HS (GA)
36 Pittsburgh Pirates Gunnar Hoglund RHP Dayspring Christian Academy (FL)
37 Baltimore Orioles Cadyn Grenier SS Oregon State University
38 San Diego Padres Xavier Edwards SS/2B North Broward Prep (FL)
39 Arizona Diamondbacks Jake McCarthy OF University of Virginia
40 Kansas City Royals Kris Bubic LHP Stanford University
41 Cleveland Indians Lenny Torres Jr. RHP Beacon HS (NY)
42 Colorado Rockies Grant Lavigne 1B Bedford HS (NH)
43 St. Louis Cardinals Griffin Roberts RHP Wake Forest
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