The teams in baseball who consistently compete and make the playoffs are the ones who draft well and develop talent from within. Although the MLB First-Year Player Draft doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, it is a crucial part of building a competitive major league roster.
While the 2018 MLB Draft is just less than a year away, it’s never too early to look at the top prospects in next year’s draft. This list will change as scouts continue to observe and nitpick prospects, but here are the top 10 prospects in the 2018 MLB Draft:
- Brady Singer, RHP, Florida
For a third straight year, Florida has a pitching prospect who’s capable of going No. 1 overall in the draft. A.J. Puk and Alex Faedo failed to live up to expectations, but Singer has all the tools to do what his two former teammates couldn’t.
A 6-foot-5, 200-pound righty, Singer was a second-round pick out of high school by Toronto in 2015. He throws an electric mid-90s fastball, an effective slider and an improving changeup. He locates all his pitches well.
- Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (Corona, Calif.)
The son of Brian Turang, Brice is a well-rounded player on both sides of the ball. He makes hard, consistent contact from the left side of the plate and is a quick defender with a strong arm at shortstop.
Turang will be a student-athlete at LSU in fall 2018 if he passes on an opportunity to play pro baseball next June.
- Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha West HS (Waukesha, Wis.)
A 6-foot-1, 190-pound outfielder, Jarred Kelenic has room to improve but is already an advanced player with five-tool potential.
Defensively, his speed allows him to cover a lot of ground, and he has an accurate and strong arm the profiles well in right field. His best trait is his advance hitting ability. He’s more of a gap-to-gap hitter right now but has the potential to become a consistent home run threat.
During the summer Kelenic participated on the showcase tour, winning a gold medal with the 18U USA Baseball National Team, while playing in the Under Armour All-American Game and Perfect Game All-American Classic.
He’ll likely be one of the first prep players selected in the 2018 MLB Draft. Committed to the University of Louisville.
- Kumar Rocker, RHP, North Oconee HS (Bogart, Ga.)
The top prep pitcher in the 2018 MLB Draft class, Kumar Rocker is an imposing figure on the mound, standing 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds. Possessing a low effort delivery, Rocker has a three-pitch mix. His fastball reaches 98 mph to go along with a sharp breaking mid-80s slider and an improving changeup. Committed to Vanderbilt.
- Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (Cumming, Ga.)
Right up there with Rocker as the top high school pitcher, Ethan Hankins has a three-quarters arm slot and a four-pitch mix, featuring a 96 mph fastball, curveball, changeup and a slider, which he recently added to his arsenal. Committed to Vanderbilt.
- Seth Beer, 1B, Clemson
One of the top hitters in college baseball this past season, Seth Beer is regarded as the top college bat in the 2018 MLB Draft. Possessing elite power, Beer’s biggest question mark is where he profiles defensively in professional baseball. He’s played first base and in the outfield with Clemson, but figures to play first base or even DH in pro ball.
- Joe Gray Jr., OF, Hattiesburg HS (Hattiesburg, Miss.)
A speedster, Joe Gray Jr. has the best raw power in the draft and also has laser arm strength, which allows him to profile at all three outfield positions. Committed to Mississippi.
- Konnor Pilkington, LHP, Mississippi State
The top left-handed pitcher in the 2018 MLB Draft class, Konnor Pilkington is 6-foot-3 and 225-pounds. He has three above-average pitches in a mid-90s fastball, a curveball and changeup.
- Will Banfield, C, Brookwood HS (Snellville, Ga.)
Will Banfield is an elite prep catcher who is known for his work behind the plate and above-average arm strength. Committed to Vanderbilt.
- Carter Stewart, RHP, Eau Gallie HS (Melbourne, Fla.)
With a 6-foot-6, 200-pound frame, Carter Stewart has a low effort delivery and has arguably the best breaking ball in the 2018 prep class in his sharp breaking curveball. He also throws a low-90s fastball and a changeup. Committed to Mississippi State.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Kelenic