Organizations looking to add high-ceiling pitching prospects in the early rounds of this year's Draft will have plenty of options. That's especially true for clubs targeting right-handed hurlers, as they account for 86 of the 111 pitchers ranked in MLB Pipeline's freshly minted list of the Top 200 Draft Prospects.::
Organizations looking to add high-ceiling pitching prospects in the early rounds of this year's Draft will have plenty of options. That's especially true for clubs targeting right-handed hurlers, as they account for 86 of the 111 pitchers ranked in MLB Pipeline's freshly minted list of the Top 200 Draft Prospects.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
Auburn's Casey Mize and Florida's Brady Singer, the Nos. 1- and 2-ranked prospects, respectively, in the 2018 class, have been viewed as possible No. 1 overall picks for much of spring. While Singer's stock has slipped a little with the news that he would miss the Southeastern Conference tournament with a hamstring injury, Mize has continued to separate himself from his peers with a stellar junior campaign.
The talent in this year's class doesn't stop there, either. With 12 righties ranked inside the Top 30, a team seeking a dynamic arm in the first round should have their choice from a host of young pitching prospects, either from the prep or college ranks.
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. Then, 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 where the 10 best right-handed pitching prospect rank on the Top 200:
- Mize, Auburn
- Singer, Florida
- Carter Stewart, Eau Gallie HS (Melbourne, Fla.)
- Cole Winn, Orange Lutheran (Calif.) HS
- Jackson Kowar, Florida
- Logan Gilbert, Stetson
- Cole Wilcox, Heritage (Ga.) HS
- Ethan Hankins, Forsyth Central (Ga.) HS
- Grayson Rodriguez, Central Heights (Texas) HS
- Kumar Rocker, North Oconee (Ga.) HS
Best fastball: Hankins (80)
While a muscular issue behind Hankins' right shoulder has limited him this spring, he boasts the most dynamic heater in his class when healthy -- an elite, 80-grade offering, according to scouts. Hankins sits at 92-96 mph and reaches 98 mph, throwing the pitch with a combination of explosive late life, downhill trajectory and command that enables him to induce whiffs both in and out of the strike zone. And given his projectable 6-foot-6, 200-pound frame, many evaluators believe the Vanderbilt commit has more velocity in the tank.
Best curveball: Stewart (65)
Stewart owns the best true curveball in the 2018 Draft, a power offering thrown in the low 80s with an elite spin rate in the 3,500-RPM range. For context, only Angels righty Garrett Richards has eclipsed that spin-rate mark with his curveball this season. Needless to say, Stewart, a 6-foot-6 Mississippi State commit, consistently piles up whiffs with the pitch while inducing ugly, off-balanced swings from hitters on both sides of the plate.
Best slider: Griffin Roberts, Wake Forest (70)
That Roberts owns the best strikeout rate (12.4 K/9) in Wake Forest history speaks to the effectiveness of his nasty slider. He delivers the pitch in mid-80s, throwing it with a high spin rate that creates late two-plane break and enables him to miss bats with ease. It's a legitimate out pitch, one that will serve the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder well in the professional ranks in either a starting or bullpen role.
Best changeup/splitter: Mize (70)
With three pitches that grade as 60 or better, Mize has no shortage of weapons in his impressive arsenal. His mid-80s splitter/changeup, however, nets Mize the most whiffs. The pitch is a perfect complement to his fastball and slider, as the 6-foot-3 righty throws it from a similar slot, with late tumbling action that can make it untouchable at times.
Best control: Mize (60)
On top of his impressive stuff, Mize also has an advanced feel for his craft. After pacing all NCAA Division I pitchers last year with a 12.1 K/BB ratio, the 21-year-old has improved that mark to 14.0 in 2018, good for second among D-I hurlers, while issuing fewer than one walk-per-nine for a second straight season.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.