Featured Photo, Wil Banfield (Brookwood HS (Snellville, Ga.))
Nick J. Faleris and Burke Granger provide their preseason follow lists by position for the 2018 MLB Draft Class. For purposes of these lists, players fall into three categories: Top Follow (Potential Day One — Top 2 Rounds), High Follow (Potential Top 5 Rounds), and Follow (Potential Draftee/More Information Needed). Players are shifted from early designation on the pref list to a more specific “suggested slot/suggested investment” during the spring, leading up to draft day. These should be viewed as loose groupings at this point in the process. For purposes of these lists, the “Follow” category does not contain all players being tracked by 2080 Baseball.
Top Follow (Potential Day 1)
An advanced prep receiver with a plus arm, Banfield has plenty of experience handling premium velocity as the travel ball battery-mate of blue chip pitching prospects Ethan Hankins and Kumar Rocker for Georgia-based Team Elite. Though his defense is ahead of his bat, Banfield flashes above-average raw power potential and showed improved bat-to-ball skills this Fall.
Noah Naylor, C, St. Joan of Arc (Mississauga, Ont.)
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/200 B/T: R/L Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 3m
The younger brother of Padres’ prospect Josh Naylor, Noah flashes above-average raw power with the help of a strong lower half and quick hands. Though he has plenty of arm for the position, his receiving needs refinement to stay behind the plate professionally.
Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/225 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 5m
A well-rounded backstop, Bart slashed .296/.370/.575 last season while leading the Yellow Jackets with 13 home runs and flashing plus arm strength behind the plate.
Anthony Seigler, C, Cartersville (Cartersville, Ga.)
Ht/Wt: 5’11”/195 B/T: S/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 11m
When not catching, Siegler shines as an ambidextrous pitcher on the mound and would likely be a two-way player should he follow through on his commitment to the University of Florida. Professionally, he’s a better prospect behind the plate where he balances defensive athleticism and offensive polish. He’s also a capable utility option with defensive chops on the dirt and in the grass.
High Follow (Potential Top 5 Rounds)
Grant Koch, C, Univ. of Arkansas
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/190 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 3m
Koch parlayed a strong spring in which he slugged 13 home-runs into a stint with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team where he stood out as one of the better all-around performers on the team. Over the summer, Koch slashed .372/.500/.535 while flashing above-average arm strength and developing receiving skills.
Cal Raleigh, C, Florida State Univ.
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/205 B/T: R/S Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 6m
Though Raleigh struggled as a sophomore, slashing just .227/.330/.398, he’s a switch hitter with power from both sides and requisite leadership qualities behind the plate. He’s a bounce back candidate on a potent Florida State offense.
Zac Susi, C, Univ. of Connecticut
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/203 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 7m
A polished receiver with a solid average arm, Susi performed well at the Cape with the bat this summer too, slashing .267/.360/.467 with more home runs with wood bats (three) than he hit in his first two seasons on campus (two).
Christopher (C.J.) Willis, C/1B, Ruston (Ruston, La.)
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/185 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 17y, 11m
An LSU commit, Willis is tall and lean with an exaggerated open stance that he closes in time to barrel balls into either gap. Though he’s athletic for his size with plenty of arm, he may profile better at first base as he continues to mature physically.
Austin Wells, C, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/195 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 11m
A product of national powerhouse Bishop Gorman, Wells is part of a banner Univ. of Arizona recruiting class that includes potential first round selections Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore. Wells has soft, quick hands behind the plate and gets good extension with his powerful left-handed stroke.
Kameron Ojeda, C, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Ca.)
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/180 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 7m
A solid receiver with sound footwork and a strong, accurate arm, Ojeda has the tools to remain behind the plate professionally. Ultimately, Ojeda’s upside will be dictated by the development of his bat.
Josh Breaux, C/RHP, McLennan CC (Texas)
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/220 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 20y, 7m
One of the top Junior College players in this draft class, Breaux slashed .401/.473/.773 last season and was a 36th Round selection of the Houston Astros last June. He boasts big time raw power at the plate and a live arm on the bump.
Follow (Potential Draftee)
Jake Anchia, Nova Southeastern Univ. (Fla.)
Gabe Austin, Florence Darlington JC (S.C.)
Addison Barger, King (Tampa, Fla.)
Michael Bergland, Cisco JC (Texas)
Brett Bond, Univ. of Missouri
Noah Cardenas, Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills, Ca.)
Charlie Carpenter, Univ. of South Carolina Upstate
Brendt Citta, Univ. of Kansas
Steven Coe, Univ. of California San Diego
Hunter Coleman, Texas A&M
Kole Cottam, Univ. of Kentucky
Chris Cullen, Univ. of South Carolina
Michael Curry, Univ. of Georgia
Nick Dalesandro, Purdue Univ.
Henry Davis, Fox Lane (Mt. Kisco, N.Y.)
Adrian Del Castillo, Gulliver Schools (Pinecrest, Fla.)
Dominic DiCaprio, Rice Univ.
Matt Dyer, Central Arizona College
Hunter Feduccia, Louisiana State Univ.
Saul Garza, Howard College (Texas)
Adam Hackenberg, Miller School of Albemarle (Charlottesville, Va.)
Herbert Iser, San Jacinto JC (Texas)
Alex Isola, Yavapai JC (Ariz.)
Hayden Jones, Carrol (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Scott Kapers, Valparaiso Univ.
Caleb Knight, Univ. of Virginia
Dominic Keegan, Central Catholic (Lawrence, Mass.)
Lyle Lin, Arizona State Univ.
Willie MacIver, Univ. of Washington
Michael McCann, Univ. of Texas
Nick Meyer, Cal Poly
Zack Moeller, Univ. of Utah
James Morisano, Saint Louis Univ.
Matheu Nelson, Calvary Christian (Clearwater, Fla.)
Connor Pavolony, (Woodstock, Ga.)
Cesar Salazar, Univ. of Arizona
J.J. Schwarz, Univ. of Florida
Spencer Smith, Harford JC (Md.)
Troy Squires, Univ. of Kentucky
Patrick Winkel, Amity Regional Senior (Woodbridge, Conn.)
Chris Williams, Clemson Univ.
Garrett Wolforth, Dallas Baptist Univ.