We're now less than two weeks away from the start of the 2018 Draft and the buzz in these parts has reached fever pitch. There are college conference tournaments going on, high school playoffs are wrapping up, teams are in and out of meetings while scouts are criss-crossing the country
We're now less than two weeks away from the start of the 2018 Draft and the buzz in these parts has reached fever pitch. There are college conference tournaments going on, high school playoffs are wrapping up, teams are in and out of meetings while scouts are criss-crossing the country to get last looks in.
In other words, it's the best time of the year for Draft fans, right? There's so much information to sift through, and MLB Pipeline is the place to find all of it, starting with a re-ranked and expanded Top 200 Draft prospects list, coming Friday.
Fans sent in some great Draft-related questions for this week's Inbox, so let's get right to them.
When in doubt, go high school pitching with a question like this. And if there are injury questions surrounding those pitchers, that's an even more solid answer. Check out the video above for my answer, but our first bit of Draft Buzz has more details on the two arms I picked for this answer.
There is no question his stock is on the rise, though I'd warn against putting too much weight behind high school statistics.
Now, I'm not saying hitting close to .500 isn't good. Obviously, a high school player has to go out and perform, but it goes well beyond something like what Edwards' batting average is, somewhat because it's not necessarily reflective of his tools. Scouts won't just look at how many base hits he has, but how he's impacted the baseball.
In this specific example, stats and evaluation match up. After having a strong summer showcase circuit, he's backed it up this spring. The nearly top-of-the-scale speed was a given, but he's continued to hit and, perhaps more importantly, his defense has continued to improve. Edwards has gone from a player who might be a second baseman, or maybe even a center fielder, to one who should stay at shortstop long-term. He's profiling as an impact leadoff-type at a premium position now. Needless to say, he's going to get a bump up in the rankings when our Top 200 comes out.
So, I'm not exactly sure where you've been checking, but it clearly hasn't been our recent mock drafts. I had Nick Madrigal going No. 3 way back on April 30, but that's the last time the Oregon State infielder's name has appeared in that spot. Jim Callis had Alec Bohm at No. 3 on May 11, as did I last week. Honestly, I haven't seen Madrigal's name associated with the Phillies anywhere of late.
Let's talk about the bats first. As I mentioned, most of us have had Bohm, the slugging corner infielder from Wichita State, at No. 3, and while there isn't consensus yet, a lot of people feel that's who the Phillies want. But I wouldn't dismiss Madrigal as a "non-impact" bat. No, he doesn't have 30-homer potential, but he's the best pure hitter in the class and can really run. But also why not look at catcher Joey Bart from Georgia Tech (many of us had him going No. 2).
As far as arms go, sure, Brady Singer could be a very good fit. And there are those who have made Aaron Nola type comps in terms of performance and feel for pitching (not to mention quickness to the big leagues). I haven't personally heard the Phillies looking at him, but it wouldn't surprise me. Frankly, when you pick that early, it should be about getting the best available player, regardless of what you need in your system.
In my video question above, I talked about injured high school pitchers and how their stock was somewhat up in the air as a result. Ethan Hankins was another one who dealt with a minor health issue, clouding things for the Georgia high schooler who was once thought to be the top high school arm in this Draft class.
That it was a shoulder problem made many teams pause initially. Unlike Mike Vasil and Mason Denaburg, though, Hankins had long since returned to action, making several appearances. He wasn't as sharp as he was previously, but the velocity was back and reports were his MRI was clean. So now it's just about comfort level for teams. Could he go above No. 15 (Rangers)? Yes, he sure could. But it's far from a slam dunk.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.