The MLB draft is always an exciting time for baseball. A lot of these players won’t provide anything for fantasy while some will be headlining championship teams in the 2020s.
Below you will find some of my thoughts on the players from the first round of the draft.
I have not physically scouted any of these players. All of my thoughts come from various scouting reports and videos I have seen over the past few months.
1. Mickey Moniak – OF La Costa Canyon HS (Phillies)
He has power potential, but it is something that is going to have to develop in the future. He is mainly a contact hitter with speed right now. If he develops power the upside is huge. If he doesn’t he will still develop into a pretty good average hitter with speed. Keep in mind one of the factors for his high draft position is his ability to play really good defense in centerfield. In Philly it should be a while until he makes his major league debut. They are in no hurry to bring him up, and as a high school bat expect an ETA of no earlier than 2019-2020.
2. Nick Senzel – 3B Tennessee (Reds)
He doesn’t have a lot of power right now, but he might be the best pure hitter in the draft. Right now there could be 15-20 home runs with a good average. Worst case scenario he is a double-digit home run hitter with a good average. He could move quickly and be in the majors by the end of the 2018 season with a chance to be an impact guy in 2019.
3. Ian Anderson – P Shenendehowa HS (Braves)
He has a mid-90s fastball with some nice upside. He throws a lot of strikes and has a couple of average off-speed pitches in a curveball and changeup. Some think he could be the best pitcher in this draft. While high school arms are risky, the ones that work out pay off nicely. As a high school arm expect him to be babied and on an innings limit for a while. An ETA in 2019 would be a hope, and expect him to be able to make a real impact without an innings limit in 2021.
4. Riley Pint – P St. Thomas Aquinas HS (Rockies)
I worry about hard throwing high school arms like Pint. Mainly because of how normal it seems for guys who throw hard to get Tommy John Surgery. The mechanics are a little scary because of how he puts extra work on his arm that could end up hurting him. I also worry a little bit about him going to Colorado. I love how the ball comes out of his hand and the movement his fastball can get. Like Anderson, don’t expect a major league impact for a while.
5. Corey Ray – OF Louisville (Brewers)
He is one of my favorite of the first day players. A college bat that can hit for average and some power with steals. He can move quickly through the system and has a pretty solid floor. He has 27 home runs and 82 steals over 170 collegiate games. The ceiling could be 20 homers and 30 steals. The solid ceiling mixed with a pretty high floor makes him the guy I want to have in my fantasy teams minor league system.
6. A.J. Puk – P Florida
Although he has a good fastball his control is an issue. There is enough risk with this college arm that I would prefer Groome over Puk, wherever Groome ends up. He could be a quick mover as a college arm and probably carries less risk than the high school arms before him. He has two plus pitches that could help him be a good MLB arm, but he isn’t as safe as a lot of college pitchers are.
7. Braxton Garrett – P Florence HS (Marlins)
The fastball isn’t elite, but the curveball is great. Coming from the left side as a high school arm he has some nice upside. Even as a high school pitcher he could move pretty quickly, maybe 2018. He is said to be one of the safer high school pitchers in the draft. I don’t know if he has a Cy Young future, but he can be a really good arm.
8. Cal Quantrill – P Stanford (Padres)
Here is the big arm that came into the draft with an injury issue. I thought he would fall more but he deserves to be a top-10 pick based on the talent. He could end up being one of the best arms in the draft when all is said and done, but there is risk.
9. Matt Manning – P Sheldon HS (Tigers)
He has an upper-90s fastball and could easily put on some weight to help add to his fastball. He has a good curve when he can command it. This is a slow burn like some of the other high school arms. There are some signability concerns; the Tigers might have to pay up in order to keep him from going to college.
10. Zach Collins – C Miami (White Sox)
He is a great hitter, but don’t expect him to be a catcher. His bat will move him through the minors quickly. He might end up as a DH or first baseman long-term. This is a really good hitter, just don’t expect catcher eligibility. This is one of those average and power bats that you really want to invest in for fantasy.
11.Kyle Lewis – OF Mercer (Mariners)
Probably the best power prospect in this years draft. Like a lot of power prospects he is going to strike out a lot. There will probably be an adjustment period while in the minors as he transitions from being a power swing and miss guy in college to that in the minors. I still like his future potential a lot. He is coming off of a 20 home run college season where he hit .395/.636/.731 in just 61 games. If I wanted to hit a home run (no pun intended) with a fantasy hitter from this draft class, Lewis is the guy I would go with.
12. Jason Groome – P Barnegat HS (Red Sox)
He has the potential to be a Cy Young level pitcher in the future. He has a good fastball already and a lot of scouts say he has one of the best curveballs they have ever seen. This will be a long wait before he reaches the majors = maybe four years, but I think he has the highest upside in the draft. I lean towards wanting a bat over an arm in fantasy because of how risky arms can be. However, overall, I think Groome is the best prospect in the draft.
13. Josh Lowe – 3B Pope HS (Rays)
I think there is more overall baseball promise here than for fantasy. There are a lot more prospects I would be excited about in the first round.
14. Will Benson – OF Westminster HS (Indians)
He can be great, but there is risk here to me. His swing has holes, but he has the upside if he can figure it out, and could have some nice power if he does. As a fantasy owner I want someone else in the first round.
15. Alex Kirilloff – OF Plum HS (Twins)
For a high school kid he looks like he should be a fairly quick mover. There is a good all around bat with some power and speed. There is 20/20 potential in his future.
16. Matt Thaiss – C Virginia (Angels)
He can hit and has the ability to stick at catcher. He could be an impact bat that moves quickly, and there is some really nice power potential here. Thaiss is going to be one of the big bats people want to have in fantasy leagues.
17. Forrest Whitley – P Alamo Heights HS (Astros)
The body type is perfect for a pitcher and he has a nice fastball already. If he can improve his changeup he could be a great starter.
18. Blake Rutherford – OF Chaminade Prep (Yankees)
From what I have heard and read about him I might actually like him more than Moniak for fantasy. I think he can develop into more future power than Moniak with similar ability to hit for average, however Moniak has more speed and steals are on the decline.
19. Justin Dunn – P Boston College (Mets)
He pitched against the Red Sox and performed well. The concern is he might not end up being a starter. He showed he could compete with major league competition in a small sample. I would grab one of the other arms in the first round. Too much concern that he goes to the bullpen.
20. Gavin Lux – SS Indian Trail HS (Dodgers)
For fantasy purposes I would just ignore Lux. It is going to be a long wait for him and I don’t see a ton of upside here.
21. T.J. Zeuch – P Pittsburgh (Blue Jays)
He isn’t a big time strikeout arm, but he has a lot of pitches at his disposal – one of those pitches is a fastball that can reach 97. I would take him over someone like Dunn if it comes down to those two.
22. Will Craig – P Wake Forest (Pirates)
I really hope he is treated as a hitter and not a pitcher – he was announced as one when drafted. He could be a great hitter if they let him do it. There is some nice average potential with high teens power. As a pitcher I would ignore him completely.
23. Delvin Perez – SS International Baseball Academy Puerto Rico (Padres)
I think he is more of an overall baseball prospect than a fantasy asset. He could have a decent average with a good amount of steals. Obviously the PED test is an issue. No suspension is coming, but he will now be tested more because of it.
24. Hudson Sanchez – SS Caroll HS (Padres)
This is going to be a pick that signs under slot if he signs, however, I don’t hate what he can do at the plate. He could be a bit of a steal with a lot of people assuming he isn’t good because he was drafted as a signable player. The bat is still solid.
25. Eric Lauer – P Kent State (Padres)
He has four average to above average pitches, but nothing that is going to overpower anyone. He is far down the list of pitchers I would want from this first round.
26. Zack Burdi – P Louisville (White Sox)
A great bullpen arm with a triple digit fastball. He could move quickly if they want him to be a reliever, possibly up this season. I would like to see what he can do if they let him start. This is a big risk reward fantasy pick. I wouldn’t want to pick a guy that is probably going to be a closer, they are a dime a dozen in fantasy.
27. Cody Sedlock – P Illinois (Orioles)
His best pitch is a mid-90s fastball that can reach 97 at times. I would prefer him over Burdi who was drafted before him.
28. Carter Kieboom – SS Walton HS (Nationals)
There are other players coming that I would much rather have then Kieboom. The upside could be OK, but the wait isn’t worth it.
29. Dane Dunning – P Florida (Nationals)
He has an above average fastball with a slider that could be an average to above average pitch. His numbers were better out of the bullpen (not surprisingly), but I think he ends up in the middle or back of an MLB rotation.
30. Cole Ragans – P North Florida Christian (Rangers)
I would have preferred a few other high school arms here. A little too inconsistent for me with not enough upside.
31. Anthony Kay – P Connecticut (Nationals)
He has a great changeup to go with a low to mid-90s fastball. The curveball is a solid third pitch. Don’t expect a ton of strikeouts if you invest, but he could move quickly. I do like his potential more than guys like Dunning, Dunn and Sedlock.
32. Will Smith – C Louisville (White Sox)
A defense first catcher in my eyes. I wouldn’t want him in even the deepest leagues.
33. Dylan Carlson – OF Elk Grove HS (Cardinals)
This is another under slot signing. Look elsewhere in the first round, unless you believe the Cardinals can do no wrong in terms of scouting.
34. Dakota Hudson – P Mississippi State (Cardinals)
This is a pick I have been waiting for a while to see. He can move quickly and has a great fastball slider combination. There is a good bit of risk reward here as he could end up in the bullpen. I bet on his talent over some of the pitchers drafted before him, I think he is a top-20 prospect from this draft.
Lottery and round 2
For the lottery and second round I am going to pick out a few of my favorites instead of going pick by pick.
Anfernee Grier – OF Auburn (Diamondbacks)
I like the power speed combination here. I am surprised he fell this far. He has more speed than power, but still is a good 20/20 threat.
Joey Wentz – P Shawnee Mission East HS (Braves)
He has a really nice fastball for a high school arm and is pretty well-developed for falling this far. He is getting Cole Hamels comparisons from a lot of scouts.
Logan Shore – P Florida (Athletics)
The actual number one starter on the Florida staff, ahead of still teammate A.J. Puk. The stuff isn’t as good as the guys drafted ahead of him, but it does say something that he slotted higher in the rotation than both Puk and Dunning. Low ceiling, but probably a solid floor.
Buddy Reed – OF Florida (Padres)
Reed has a decent bat and elite speed. This could be a future stolen base leader, and he loves Sour Patch Kids.
Alex Hansen – P Oklahoma (White Sox)
A high risk – high reward pick. I would go with his upside over some of the guys at the end of the first round.
Nolan Jones – SS Holy Ghost Prep (Indians)
He probably won’t stick at short with Lindor ahead of him, but the bat should be good enough to play just about anywhere in the field.
Ben Rortvedt – C Verona HS (Twins)
He has nice power for a high school player, and I think he can develop even more as he goes through the minors. He might have a little bit better chance to stay at catcher than the other two before him, but the defensive ability isn’t great. I can easily see him moving off the position.
Peter Alonso – 1B Florida (Mets)
Another guy with some really interesting power potential in the second round. I don’t like that he is already slotted as a first baseman and probably won’t be able to move to the outfield. The power potential is nice, but at first it might not be great.
Bryan Reynolds – OF Vanderbuilt (Giants)
Guess what he has? If you guessed above average or better power you’re right. He is probably going to strike out a lot, but he managed to hit 13 homers this past season in a tough SEC.
Connor Jones – P Virginia (Cardinals)
Very little strikeout upside here. He pitches to weak contact a lot and will be in a good system for development.
My favorite five hitters from day 1
- Kyle Lewis
- Nick Senzel
- Corey Ray
- Matt Thaiss
- Zach Collins
My favorite five pitchers from day 1
- Jason Groome
- Riley Pint
- Braxton Garrett
- Matt Mannning
- Ian Anderson
Five to keep an eye on in day 2
- Nonie Williams
- Heath Quinn
- Kyle Funkhouser
- Brandon McIlwain
- Drew Mendoza
For complete draft coverage, use the MBL Draft Tracker.
Head on over to Fantasy Rundown for additional minor league prospect news