9 key storylines from Day 1 of Draft

June 4th, 2018

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- The MLB Draft got underway Monday night, with the 30 clubs combining for 78 selections at MLB Network's Studio 42.
• 2018 MLB Draft Tracker
From the Tigers' selection of Casey Mize as the No. 1 pick to Nick Swisher announcing the Yankees' selection of a catcher named Breaux (Bro!), there were plenty of highlights on the first day of the three-day Draft. Here are nine key storylines from the first day of the Draft.
The Draft continues today with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m.

1. College craze
As expected, the Tigers selected Mize with the first overall pick, making him the first player since in 2009 to be taken with the No. 1 pick after going undrafted out of high school.

While Mize's selection was hardly a surprise, it did mark the beginning of a trend.
Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart went to the Giants at No. 2, followed by Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm, who was taken by the Phillies at No. 3. Bohm, one of the six potential draftees on hand Monday night at MLB Network's Studio 42, was relieved to hear his name called so early in the night.
"Now I can kind of sit back and relax," Bohm said. "You try not to be stressed about it, because there's really nothing to be stressed about, but it's kind of gut-wrenching over there."
Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal was selected at No. 4 by the White Sox, then Florida third baseman Jonathan India went No. 5 to the Reds. It marked the first time since 1992 that five players were selected out of college to open the Draft. (In 2006, was the No. 1 pick while pitching for an indepdent league team a year after leaving college, and he was followed by five collegians.)
Draft: Pick-by-pick, first-round analysis
2. A's surprise the industry by taking star QB
In the first major surprise of the night, the Athletics used the No. 9 pick to select two-sport star Kyler Murray, whose immediate future appears to include a stint as the presumptive favorite to replace Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick Baker Mayfield as the quarterback for the University of Oklahoma.

Until recently, most scouts didn't think Murray was prepared to commit to baseball, but on Monday morning, MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis reported that word had started to circulate within the industry that for the right price, Murray would agree to focus on baseball after playing football this fall for the Sooners.
Some believed that news could catapult Murray into the second round, but Oakland went one step further, taking him with the No. 9 pick. Murray, the son of former Brewers farmhand Kevin Murray and nephew of two-time first-rounder and five-year big leaguer Calvin Murray (coincidentally taken one pick after Derek Jeter in 1992), is hitting .296/.398/.556 with 10 home runs and 10 steals in 51 games.
"Oakland obviously feels that there are certain inherently appealing aspects to being a professional baseball player that puts us in a position to be competitive for the very best athletes," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "That's important for the future of our sport."
Bo Jackson, who represented the Royals at Monday's Draft, said the days of athletes playing two sports in the pros is over, suggesting two-sport players should pick a sport in college and work on perfecting that craft.

"Different era, different game," Jackson said. "Kids are training differently. They're bigger, stronger, faster. Try to do both, you're going to ride the bench in both, end of story."
As to whether Murray should pursue a career in baseball or football, Jackson didn't hesitate.
"Baseball should be clearly his future," Jackson said.
Murray wasn't the only two-sport star selected Monday night. The Angels used the No. 17 pick on Jordyn Adams, an outfielder from Green Hope (N.C.) High School. Adams, a four-star wide receiver recruit, has an offer to play both baseball and football at the University of North Carolina, where his father is the defensive line coach.
Watch Jordyn Adams show off his dunking skills
3. Singer's fall is K.C.'s gain
Brady Singer was ranked No. 2 in MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft Prospects list, but the Florida right-hander didn't hear his name called until the Royals took him with the No. 18 pick.
MLB Pipeline's Jonathan Mayo called Singer "one of the steals of the first round."

Fifteen picks later, Kansas City selected another Gators pitcher, right-hander Jackson Kowar. The Royals, who had five picks overall Monday night, took two more college pitchers at 34 and 40, selecting Virgina left-hander Daniel Lynch and Stanford southpaw Kris Bubic.
Although Singer didn't go in the top five, the fact that the Royals have the largest signing pool of any team ($12,781,900) means he could land a bonus in the $4 million to $5 million range -- which is more commensurate with a top-10 pick -- despite being picked 18th.
4. Three's company for the Gators
Singer and Kowar weren't the only Gators drafted in the first round, as India was taken at No. 5 by the Reds.

With India, Singer and Kowar all being selected in the first round, it marked the fourth consecutive Draft in which one school has produced three first-rounders (including the compensatory round). Florida joins North Carolina (2017), Louisville ('16) and Vanderbilt ('15) on that list.
5. Resourceful Rays at it again
The Royals weren't the only team with five selections Monday, as the Rays matched Kansas City for the most picks on the first day of the Draft.
Like Kansas City, Tampa Bay benefited from the unexpected drop of a top-ranked player as Matthew Liberatore -- a left-hander from Mountain Ridge High School (Glendale, Ariz.) -- was there for the Rays at No. 16.

Liberatore was ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the Draft by MLB Pipeline, but once he fell out of the top five, it made sense for a team with a larger signing pool such as Tampa Bay to snatch him up.
"We're very pleased with the outcome tonight," said Rob Metzler, the Rays' amateur scouting director. "We saw [Liberatore] as the top high school left-handed pitcher in the Draft. This is a great outcome for the organization."
Liberatore has committed to the University of Arizona, but Tampa Bay has the second-largest bonus pool at $12,415,600, giving it ample resources to sign the 18-year-old.
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The Rays also raised some eyebrows when they announced that Taylor Dodson, their second-round pick, would begin his career as a two-way player. Dodson, the 2018 Cape Cod League batting champ, was seen primarily as a pitching prospect, but he'll also get some reps in the outfield as Tampa Bay will see if his bat may have a higher ceiling. A year ago, the Rays took Louisville lefty/first baseman Brendan McKay No. 4 overall, and McKay has been relatively successful on both sides of the ball thus far in his pro career. McKay is hitting .238/.446/.307 across two Class A levels this season, with a 1.51 ERA in 41 2/3 innings.
6. In the year 2000 …
Nolan Gorman was the No. 12 prospect in the Draft according to MLB Pipeline, and although he wasn't taken until the Cardinals selected him at No. 19, he made history for a completely different reason.
Gorman, a third baseman from Sandra Day O'Connor High School (Phoenix), became the first player drafted who was born in the year 2000. He would be joined by four more 2000-born players in the opening round: Triston Casas (No. 26, Red Sox), Noah Naylor (No. 29, Indians), Nick Schnell (No. 32, Rays) and Ethan Hankins (No. 35, Indians).

7. Reaching new heights
The White Sox selected Oregon State's Madrigal with the No. 4 pick, adding the 5-foot-7 player to their talented system and making him the shortest player selected with a top-five pick in the June Draft.
The first three players selected Monday night stood 6-foot-3 and above, making Madrigal's selection stand out for his lack of height.
Five more players selected among the Top 38 picks stood no higher than 5-foot-11, including Xavier Edwards, the Padres' No. 38 pick who proudly stands 5-foot-9.

"Power is not my game; I'm 5-9 and 165," Edwards said. "If you need me to hit home runs, I guess you're in trouble. I'm looking to set the table. I'll run into a few, but the long ball is not my game."
The success of players such as , and has helped pave the way for shorter players such as Edwards who might have otherwise been ignored by scouts.
"Before I feel like the light wasn't shining on smaller guys, but now it is because the smaller guys are almost running this game and having so much success," Edwards said. "They're leading in average, small guys are leading in home runs; they're taking over. I'm looking to keep that going."

8. PDP paying dividends
In 2017, MLB launched the Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) in conjuction with USA Baseball. The program sets up regional showcases across the country that allow players to maximize exposure to MLB scouts. The benefits of the program were evident on Day 1, as 30 of the 78 players selected had participated in a PDP event over the past year, including eight of the top 20 picks: Jarred Kelenic (No. 6 overall, Mets), Carter Stewart (No. 8, Braves), Grayson Rodriguez (No. 11, Orioles), Connor Scott (No. 13, Marlins), Cole Winn (No. 15, Rangers), Liberatore (No. 16, Rays), Adams (No 17, Angels) and Gorman (No. 19, Cardinals).
At each PDP event, players undergo a unique athletic assessment consisting of sport performance vision screening, swing analysis and precise physical testing.

9. Studio drama
Last week, Hunter Greene -- last year's No. 2 pick by the Reds -- tweeted that any player invited to attend the Draft should take advantage of the opportunity. Six players were in the house Monday night, three of them going off the board within the first 10 selections.
"It's important for us," Manfred said. "It makes better television, it's great for the kids, great for the families. We like to think we show them a nice day while they're here in New York. I hope between schedule changes and just word of mouth, we continue to get more and more kids here for the Draft."
South Alabama outfielder Travis Swaggerty was taken at No. 10 by the Pirates.
"It's been a whirlwind of emotions," Swaggerty said. "It went from anxiety to nervous back to anxiety and everything in between."
Anthony Seigler, a catcher drafted 23rd by the Yankees, said it was "a no-doubter" for him to make the trip from Georgia to attend the Draft at MLB Network.
"You get the invitation, you only get to do this one time," Seigler said. "Why not come up here, spend the time with your family and get to know other people, too?"

And perhaps the highlight of the night was Edwards receiving a thunderous applause from his large contingent of family and friends when he went at No. 38 as the last player in the studio selected.