The top of the first round of the 2018 Draft was filled with college players. If history is any indication, the start of Day 2 will feature plenty of players at the other end of the spectrum.• Draft Tracker: Follow every Draft pickDay 2 of the Draft, which starts with a
The top of the first round of the 2018 Draft was filled with college players. If history is any indication, the start of Day 2 will feature plenty of players at the other end of the spectrum.
• Draft Tracker: Follow every Draft pick
Day 2 of the Draft, which starts with a preview show on MLB.com at 12:30 p.m. ET with live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET, should feature plenty of high-end prep talent coming off the board early.
The first five picks of the first round on Monday night were college players, starting with Casey Mize, the standout Auburn right-hander, in the top spot (Tigers). He was followed by a run on college hitters: Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart (Giants), Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm (Phillies), Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal (White Sox) and Florida third baseman Jonathan India (Reds). The last time there was a run of advanced players like this was 2006, when Luke Hochevar, already out of college and pitching in independent ball when he was taken No. 1 overall, was followed by five straight college players.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
In 2005, high school phenom Justin Upton was the No. 1 overall pick. After that came eight straight collegians. The '11 Draft began with three college arms (Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen, Trevor Bauer) and the '13 Draft started with Mark Appel, Kristopher Bryant and Jon Gray.
A look at the top available players from MLB Pipeline's Top 200 list should explain why:
19. Cole Wilcox, RHP, Heritage HS (Ringgold, Ga.)
- Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)
- Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
- Mike Siani, OF, William Penn Charter School (Philadelphia)
- Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, Magnolia (Texas) HS
- Blaine Knight, RHP, Arkansas
- Tristan Pompey, OF, Kentucky
- Nander De Sedas, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy
- Konnor Pilkington, LHP, Mississippi State
- Slade Cecconi, RHP, Trinity Prep School (Winter Park, Fla.)
• Top remaining players
Six of the top 10 available are high schoolers with strong college commitments, meaning they could be tough signs. Wilcox and Rocker were once considered to be first-round candidates and it's possible the former could be headed to Georgia and the latter to Vanderbilt. Siani could have the chance to be a two-way player at the University of Virginia, Kloffenstein might head to TCU to pitch, De Sedas is committed to Florida State and Cecconi seems almost certain to head on to Miami.
But just because they're tough signs doesn't mean they won't sign. The start of the third round has proven to be fertile ground for some of these high schoolers who slide before being selected and receive above-pick value bonuses to sign.
Each pick in the first 10 rounds of the Draft has an assigned value -- get the full breakdown here -- and the total for each of a club's selections equals what it can spend in those rounds without incurring a penalty. Any bonus money above $125,000 given to an individual player picked in rounds 11-40 also counts against a team's allotment.
After Day 1 in last year's Draft, eight of the top 10 remaining players were high schoolers. Blayne Enlow, Nick Allen and Jacob Heatherly were three of the top four. Enlow was the first pick of Day 2 and got $2 million to sign (pick value was $755,500). Heatherly followed, and the Reds gave him $1,047,500 (pick value of $743,900) and Allen went four picks later, also receiving a $2 million bonus (pick value of $697,500). High schoolers Freddy Tarnok, Matt Tabor and Jacob Pearson, two right-handers and an outfielder, all received seven figures in the third round.
This was no different than what transpired in 2016, when Cole Stobbe, Thomas Jones and Nonie Williams all went in the opening round of Day 2 and signed. The lesson is clear: Pay attention. It may seem that because these high-end prepsters weren't taken off the board on Monday night that they are destined to head to college. If they don't hear their names called in the opening round, that's likely, but look for teams, particularly those with large bonus pools, to figure out a way to get a few of them signed.
Let's not ignore the college guys still available. A year ago, rumors circulated that Beck had a deal with a team, a reason he didn't throw bullpen sessions for scouts after missing the year with a stress fracture in his back. Instead, he didn't go until the 28th round and returned to Stanford. The redshirt sophomore was healthy this spring and could provide an interesting advanced arm for a team today.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.