With less than a week remaining until the Draft, teams are continuing to hone in on specific players and lining up their Draft boards as they attempt to gain a better sense of who the best players are at each position.Opinions will vary based on each club's scouting efforts and
With less than a week remaining until the Draft, teams are continuing to hone in on specific players and lining up their Draft boards as they attempt to gain a better sense of who the best players are at each position.
Opinions will vary based on each club's scouting efforts and organizational needs, but there's growing consensus that each top-ranked player at his respective position will come off the board in the first round.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
The 2018 Draft will take place on June 4-6, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, June 4. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.
Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, mock drafts, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.
Here's a look at the top player at each position, using MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft list as a guide.
C: Joey Bart, Georgia Tech (No. 6 on Draft Top 200)
Bart is hands-down the top catching prospect available in the 2018 Draft. The Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year and defensive player of the year, Bart projects to hit for both average and power from the right side of the plate as he did this spring, when he slashed .359/.471/.632 with a career-high 16 homers while doubling his walk rate from his sophomore year. The 21-year-old has made similar strides defensively, too, showing improved receiving abilities to go along with the strong arm that helped nab nearly 39 percent of attempted basestealers during his college career. Canadian Noah Naylor, the brother of 2015 first-rounder Josh Naylor (No. 28), could be the first prep backstop to have his name called.
1B: Triston Casas, American Heritage (Fla.) HS (No. 20)
Casas was named the Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Confederation U-18 Baseball World Cup (and the WBSC International Baseball Player of the Year) after he helped power Team USA to a gold medal by leading the tournament in home runs and RBIs. A physically strong left-handed hitter, Casas' raw power is among the best in the class and enables him to hit the ball out of the park from line to line. While some scouts question the pure hitting ability as well as his future defensive value, Casas, a University of Miami commit, has the requisite offensive ceiling for a career at first base.
2B: Nick Madrigal, Oregon State (No. 3)
It's easy to knock Madrigal for being undersized (5-foot-7), but there might not be a better pure hitter in the class. He returned from a broken hamate in his hand this spring and batted .395, giving Madrigal a .367 mark in 138 games for his college career. He doesn't offer much in the way of power but produces consistently hard contact and good pop to the gaps, with a disciplined approach that netted him more walks (54) than strikeouts (35). Defensively, Madrigal has spent his collegiate career at second and although some scouts feel he could handle shortstop, he also has Gold Glove potential at the keystone.
3B: Alec Bohm, Wichita State (No. 7)
Bohm got to his raw power more consistently this spring as he connected on a career-best 16 home runs while slashing .339/.436/.625 in 57 games with the Shockers. That power is his calling card, though Bohm also shows good feel to hit and a patient approach. He's less advanced defensively, with hands, range and arm strength that all grade as average and portend a future move to first base. Florida's Jonathan India (No. 8) is a better pure hitter and defender than Bohm and could come off the board around the same time in the first round, perhaps even earlier.
SS: Brice Turang, Santiago (Calif.) HS (No. 25)
Viewed as a candidate to go No. 1 overall before last summer, Turang has seen his stock fall in the past year as he's struggled to live up to high expectations. That being said, the Louisiana State recruit does everything fairly well on the field and shows the makings of becoming a plus left-handed hitter who has a chance to stick at shortstop -- qualities that have proved a separator for him in a class thin on middle infielders. Turang, along with prepster Xavier Edwards (No. 28) and Missouri State's Jeremy Eierman (No. 29), could be the first shortstops selected in this year's Draft.
OF: Jarred Kelenic, Waukesha (Wisc.) HS (No. 10)
After endearing himself to scouts with his plus hitting ability and defensive prowess in the outfield, Kelenic, a Louisville commit, could become the first Wisconsin native to be selected inside the top 10 picks. He's arguably the best prep hitter in the class, possessing a combination of bat speed, barrel awareness and overall feel to hit that could help him become an impact player at any of the three outfield positions.
OF: Travis Swaggerty, South Alabama (No. 11)
Swaggerty's power numbers ticked up in each of his three collegiate seasons en route to a career-high 13 homers in 54 games this spring. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder also has shown strong on-base skills in his career, albeit with some contact issues and swing-and-miss tendencies, and earns at least above-average grades from scouts for his speed, arm strength and defense as a center fielder. Expected to be among the first college position players picked in the Draft, Swaggerty could become the first South Alabama player since 1991 to be selected as a first-round pick.
OF: Connor Scott, Plant (Fla.) HS (No. 18)
With five legitimate tools, Scott boasts one of the highest ceilings in the 2018 class. A physically projectable 6-foot-4 left-handed hitter, Scott has the potential to add power to his offense, possibly soon pairing a muscled bat with plus-plus speed and a solid outfield arm. The Florida commit is a rangy defender in center field but could end up in either right or left, depending on his physical development.
RHP: Casey Mize, Auburn (No. 1)
Owner of the best combination of stuff and control among college pitchers in the 2018 Draft, Mize piles up strikeouts with three different pitches that grade as plus or better in a 92-97 mph fastball (60), a mid-80s slider (60) and a truly exceptional splitter (70). The 21-year-old right-hander's feel for his stuff is equally impressive: After pacing all NCAA Division I pitchers in 2017 with a 12.1 K/BB ratio, Mize improved that mark to 14.0 this spring, good for second among D-I hurlers, and did so while issuing fewer than one walk-per-nine for a second straight season.
LHP: Matthew Liberatore, Mountain Ridge (Ariz.) HS (No. 4)
Liberatore, an Arizona commit, is the only left-hander who could land inside the top 10 picks in the first round. At 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Liberatore uses his size to create downhill plane on a low-to-mid 90s fastball that's been up to 96-97 mph in the past. He pairs his heater with a plus breaking ball, a potential out pitch with 12-to-6 bite and a newly developed slider, giving Liberatore a solid three-pitch foundation. That pure stuff made LIberatore a force this spring, as the Arizona prepster pitched to a 0.93 ERA with 104 strikeouts and a .134 BAA in 60 1/3 frames.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.