With slightly more than three weeks remaining before the Draft kicks off on June 4, Casey Mize continues to dominate and remain the prohibitive favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Tigers. The right-hander tied an Auburn record with 15 strikeouts in his last start against Vanderbilt, boosting his K/BB ratio to an otherworldly 119/7.
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While there's little consensus among clubs as to which players should line up right behind Mize, it's becoming increasingly apparent that college players will dominate the top of the Draft. Whether it's a desire for more advanced players who should reach the big leagues sooner, or a comfort level with college performers putting up big numbers, the first six picks, and perhaps the first eight, could come from the college ranks.
• Mize talks Draft on Pipeline Podcast
As teams try to sort what is a relatively deep, but confusing crop of talent, uncertainty surrounding high school right-handers isn't helping matters. Carter Stewart, MLB Pipeline's top-ranked prep righty, hasn't been as sharp lately as he was earlier in the year, and the same is true of Kumar Rocker.
Ethan Hankins, who entered the year with a chance to become the first high school right-hander ever taken No. 1 overall, has battled a muscular issue in his shoulder area and his stuff has fluctuated. Potential mid-first-rounders Mason Denaburg (biceps tendinitis) and Mike Vasil (elbow soreness) haven't returned to the mound since getting sidelined last month.
Here's our latest projection for the entire first round:
1. Tigers: Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn
Detroit will continue to monitor backup plans, but Mize is firmly entrenched at No. 1 right now.
2. Giants: Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
This looks like a choice between Bart, easily the standout among a weak group of catchers, and Florida RHP Brady Singer, who began the year as MLB Pipeline's No. 1-ranked Draft prospect.
3. Phillies: Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita State
A year after taking a college performer at No. 8 in Adam Haseley, Philadelphia is focusing on the same phylum. Bohm is the front-runner, with Bart, Florida 3B Jonathan India, Oregon State 2B Nick Madrigal and South Alabama OF Travis Swaggerty also in consideration.
4. White Sox: Nick Madrigal, 2B, Oregon State
Chicago figures to pick from the same group of hitters as Philadelphia, though it also is looking at Singer, South Florida LHP Shane McClanahan and Wisconsin high school OF Jarred Kelenic.
5. Reds: Brady Singer, RHP, Florida
Cincinnati will grab the other half of the Bart/Singer equation that San Francisco is pondering, with India as a Plan B.
6. Mets: Jonathan India, 3B, Florida
Of the first six choices we project here, New York likely will take whichever one remains on the board, in this case India. If the Mets go the high school route, they'd take Kelenic or Arizona LHP Matt Liberatore.
7. Padres: Matt Liberatore, LHP, Mountain Ridge HS (Glendale, Ariz.)
San Diego could keep the college train rolling with Swaggerty. Instead, the Padres will get their pick of high school arms from among lefties Liberatore and Ryan Weathers (Tennessee) and righties Carter Stewart (Florida) and Cole Winn (California).
8. Braves: Nolan Gorman, 3B, O'Connor HS (Phoenix)
Atlanta would love a shot at local product Bart, but will have to settle for choosing from among Gorman, who has as much power as any high schooler, Kelenic, Stewart and Swaggerty.
9. Athletics: Travis Swaggerty, OF, South Alabama
Swaggerty has better all-around tools than each of the college players projected ahead of him and plays a premium position (center field), making him a nice value at No. 9. Oakland also has monitored the top high school arms and McClanahan.
10. Pirates: Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha (Wis.) West HS
Pittsburgh is less afraid to take a high school pitcher than most clubs, so all the arms in play with San Diego will be here as well. The Pirates also have an affinity for athletic outfielders, and Kelenic and Swaggerty fit that bill.
11. Orioles: Cole Winn, RHP, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS
Winn is a prep righty with positive momentum and he has excelled all spring. Baltimore gets associated with a lot of arms, both high school (Stewart, Georgia RHPs Ethan Hankins and Cole Wilcox) and college (McClanahan, Stetson RHP Logan Gilbert).
12. Blue Jays: Shane McClanahan, LHP, South Florida
Toronto also looks to be honing in on college and high school pitchers and could grab McClanahan, the Draft's hardest-throwing southpaw but also an inconsistent performer this spring.
13. Marlins: Triston Casas, 1B, American Heritage School (Plantation, Fla.)
Stewart and Weathers could be the most talented options on the board at this point, but can Miami really take another prep arm after watching two first-rounders Tyler Kolek (2014) and Braxton Garrett (2016) succumb to Tommy John surgery and still awaiting another, Trevor Rogers (2017), to actually make his pro debut?
14. Mariners: Logan Gilbert, RHP, Stetson
It took a while for Gilbert to reclaim the mid-90s fastball he showed in the Cape Cod League last summer, but he's doing so after a mechanical adjustment and surging back up Draft boards. Seattle gets linked to a lot of college players, including Florida RHP Jackson Kowar, Oregon State OF Trevor Larnach and LHP Ryan Rolison.
15. Rangers: Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (Melbourne, Fla.)
Stewart hit 98 mph earlier in the season, and his fastball pales in comparison to his super-spin-rate curveball. If he shows that stuff again before the start of the Draft, he could go about 10 selections higher. Texas likes high-risk, high-reward talents, so this could be the peak for North Carolina prep OF Jordyn Adams, who's also a four-star wide receiver recruit.
16. Rays: Noah Naylor, C, St. Joan of Arc Catholic SS (Mississauga, Ontario)
The younger brother of former Marlins first-rounder and current Padres prospect Josh Naylor, Noah has similar power potential and more defensive value as a possible catcher or third baseman. He's one of several prep hitters mentioned here, along with Adams, Casas and Florida OF Connor Scott.
17. Angels: Ryan Weathers, LHP, Loretto (Tenn.) HS
This pick could come down to Weathers, who has the potential for three solid or better pitches to go with pitchability and big league bloodlines (father David), or Hankins, who has shown his usual velocity (but not always his trademark electric life) in recent outings. If Adams convinces teams he'll give up the opportunity to play football at North Carolina, where his father, Deke, is a defensive line coach, Los Angeles is one of several in the teens who'll consider him.
18. Royals: Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (Cumming, Ga.)
Hankins has a clean MRI, and if he regains his form from last summer, this would be a coup for pitching-hungry Kansas City. The Royals also could snap up the prep arms projected in front of them if one of them falls, or go for collegians Kowar or Rolison.
19. Cardinals: Ryan Rolison, LHP, Mississippi
Once a projected top-10 choice, Rolison has lacked consistency and gave up 11 runs against South Carolina last Friday before beating Auburn on Wednesday. St. Louis isn't wed to college pitchers and could consider the right prep arm.
20. Twins: Jackson Kowar, RHP, Florida
Count Minnesota among the teams targeting pitchers. Some scouts like Kowar more than Gators teammate Brady Singer because he has more stuff if less polish. The Twins are also intrigued by some of the high school hurlers, so Texas RHP Grayson Rodriguez and Georgia RHP Cole Wilcox could fit here.
21. Brewers: Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State
Part of the second tier of college performers, Larnach would replenish some of the outfield prospect depth Milwaukee sacrificed when it included Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison in the Christian Yelich trade.
22. Rockies: Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Central Heights HS (Nacogdoches, Texas)
Rodriguez's heavy fastball gets up to 98 mph and pair of quality breaking pitches has thrust him into the first round, and he conceivably could go 10 or so choices ahead of Colorado. The Rockies have followed several prep arms, including Georgia RHPs Kumar Rocker and Wilcox.
23. Yankees: Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (Corona, Calif.)
Right after the 2017 Draft ended, we projected Turang as this year's possible No. 1 overall selection. That won't happen because he's not hitting well, but the son of former big leaguer Brian Turang is still a lock to stay at shortstop with speed and bat-to-ball skills.
24. Cubs: Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)
Chicago has pounded college pitching in each of the last two Drafts and still could use more arms, though this time the prep route might be more attractive in the first round. A hamstring injury has slowed Rocker down the stretch, giving the Cubs an unexpected shot at a guy who can bring mid-90s heat and a wipeout slider at his best. Rodriguez and Wilcox are two more comparable options.
25. Diamondbacks: Steele Walker, OF, Oklahoma
Arizona grabbed a college performer with Pavin Smith at No. 7 a year ago and could have one of the best pure hitters available if Walker falls into its lap at No. 25. His Oklahoma outfieldmate Kyler Murray also would be a first-rounder if he weren't dead set on playing quarterback for the Sooners.
26. Red Sox: Seth Beer, 1B, Clemson
The most polarizing potential first-rounder, Beer is viewed as either college baseball's most productive hitter over the last three years or a poor athlete with no history of success with wood bats. Boston also could go in the other direction and gamble on Turang's upside if he falls this far.
27. Nationals: Cole Wilcox, RHP, Heritage HS (Ringgold, Ga.)
This might be too low for Wilcox, who outclassed Rocker in a Georgia 4-A playoff game last week and has a better arsenal (albeit with a rougher delivery) than either Rocker or Hankins. All three Peach State prepsters could be in play, as could another in switch-hitting and switch-throwing C Anthony Seigler.
28. Astros: Connor Scott, OF, Plant HS (Tampa)
Scott, who comes from the same high school as Houston's top position prospect (2015 first-rounder Kyle Tucker), could sneak into the teens. Several prep outfielders will start to come into play around here: Adams (if he's still available), Parker Meadows (Georgia), Nick Schnell (Indiana), Mike Siani (Pennsylvania) and Alek Thomas (Illinois). Seigler would address an organizational need.
29. Indians: Alek Thomas, OF, Mount Carmel HS (Chicago)
If the Draft unfolds like this, Cleveland likely will choose an outfielder from among the high school mix, Walker and Dallas Baptist's Jameson Hannah ...
30. Dodgers: Jameson Hannah, OF, Dallas Baptist
... and Los Angeles may do the same thing.
31. Rays: Jordyn Adams, OF, Green Hope HS (Cary, N.C.)
With three first-round picks and the second-largest bonus pool at $12,415,600, the Rays are in as good a position as anyone to select and pay Adams. If he's gone, they could take another of the prep outfielders.
32. Rays: J.T. Ginn, RHP, Brandon (Miss.) HS
Ginn's fastball/slider combination is as good as it gets in this Draft, though the fact that he's an older high school righty who lacks size and a clean delivery will make him available this late in the first round.
33. Royals: Anthony Seigler, C, Cartersville (Ga.) HS
With three first-rounders of its own and the largest bonus pool at $12,781,900, Kansas City is another obvious fit for Adams. Seigler, whose ambidextrousness overshadows his hitting ability and defense, might be the Draft's best athlete at his position as well.
34. Royals: Jordan Groshans, 3B, Magnolia (Texas) HS
Kansas City could use some more pitching, though if the Draft plays out like this, Groshans' combination of hitting prowess and power would make him a better value than the available arms. If the Royals were determined to add an arm, they could still zero in on ...
35. Indians: Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, Magnolia (Texas) HS
Kloffenstein's combination of stuff, athleticism and projectability has him climbing Draft boards. He and Groshans could become the first high school teammates taken in the first round since Max Fried and Lucas Giolito in 2012.