Featured Photo, Nolan Gorman (Sandra Day O’Connor HS (Phoenix, Ariz.))
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)
Gorman had a huge summer, displaying plus raw power in batting practice, home run derbies (of which he won two), and within games. The Arizona commit has some of the quicker hands in this draft class and has a chance to be an above-average defender at third base to go with his impressive offensive skill set.
Alec Bohm, 3B/1B, Wichita State Univ.
Ht/Wt: 6’5”/225 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 10m
Bohm, who projects to above-average hit and double-plus power grades, slashed .305/.385/.519 last spring and carried that momentum into the Cape Cod League where he hit five home runs and slugged .513 for Falmouth. He has an average arm with solid carry but there’s some footwork and agility improvements needed to stick at the hot corner, long term.
Jordan Groshans, 3B/SS, Magnolia (Magnolia, Texas)
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/195 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 6m
Groshans showed well over the summer, consistently collecting extra base hits against some of the better prep arms in the class. While the Kansas commit plays all over the infield, he profiles best at third base where he has the tools to be an above-average defender.
One of the more polarizing players in this class, Beer posted huge numbers in each of the past two spring seasons, then struggled mightily in two stints with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team.
Cases represented USA Baseball in the 18U World Cup in each of the past two summers, earning MVP honors while helping the United States repeat as champions in 2017. The Miami commit has light tower power, though plate coverage can be an issue against more advanced arms.
Luken Baker, 1B, Texas Christian Univ.
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/265 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 2m
A two-way prospect in high school, Baker continued to star both on the mound and the plate for the Horned Frogs as a freshman in 2016 before giving up pitching last season. Now strictly a power hitting first baseman, Baker posted a .982 OPS and .211 ISO last season before missing the final part of the season and summer due to a fracture in his non-throwing arm.
High Follow (Potential Top 5 Rounds)
Nick Northcut, 3B, William Mason (Mason, Ohio)
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/200 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 11m
A Vanderbilt commit, Northcut offers a powerful right-handed stroke with plenty of bat speed and natural loft. His arm will be an asset at third base, as well, with the righty capable of reaching the low-90s on the bump.
Already an imposing figure, Malcom has tightened his physique this winter and looks the part of a masher. The Vandy commit shows big leverage, improved fluidity and good feel for the barrel in his swing, producing lots of very loud contact and easy power.
Jonathan India, 3B, Univ. of Florida
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/195 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 5m
While Florida’s pair of potential first round arms – Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar – garner most of the national attention, India enters this season as Gators’ most appealing offensive player and a potential Day 1 selection in his own right. Though he lacks a true standout tool, India is a capable defender at third with an average arm, polish at the plate, and developing power.
Bryce Bush, 3B, De La Salle Collegiate (Warren, Mich.)
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/205 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 5m
Committed to Mississippi State, Bush has a well-proportioned, muscular physique and uses the powerful frame to punish baseballs. Though his swing is relatively compact, Bush has bat speed and generates torque to dive balls into his pull-side gap.
Brandon Howlett, 3B/SS, George W. Jenkins (Lakeland, Fla.)
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/205 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 9m
Howlett saw his stock rise through the 2017 scouting circuit, with the FSU commit placing an exclamation point on his performance with a very loud showing in Jupiter, where he slashed .500/.733/1.733 over five games with 5 Star National. He shows fluid actions in the field and good carry on his throws.
Grant Lavigne, 1B/3B, Bedford (Bedford, N.H.)
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/230 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 9m
A left-handed hitter with an XL frame, Lavigne gets good extension through the zone with a pull-oriented uppercut swing path. The New England thumper is committed to Wake Forest.
Charles Mack, 3B/C, Williamsville East (Williamsville, N.Y.)
Ht/Wt: 5’11”/200 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 7m
The Clemson commit shows decent actions on the dirt to go with an above-average arm across the diamond. In the box, he keeps a quiet head and can really drive the ball when he squares it up.
Roberto Pena, 3B, Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/200 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 11m
The thickly-built Florida commit utilizes a compact but powerful swing to generate line drive contact, though he struggled towards the end of 2017 to square the ball up with regularity. He has also begun to draw some attention on the mound thanks to a fastball that reaches the low 90s and the makings of a solid slider. One of the older players in the high school class, Pena will be draft eligible as a sophomore if he reaches Gainesville.
Romy Gonzalez, 3B/UTL, Univ. of Miami (FL)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/210 lbs. B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 9m
Gonzalez saw action across the dirt this past summer on the Cape, showing the potential for an average glove at the hot corner and potential utility role in the future. At the plate Gonzalez has at least plus raw power and further impressed Cape evaluators by slashing .318/.342/.509 with four home runs and nine doubles, while also stealing 10 bases in 12 attempts.
John Aiello, 3B/SS, Wake Forest Univ.
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/210 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 3m
Playing in the cozy confines of Gene Hook Stadium, Aiello hit 20 home runs as a sophomore las Spring, though his healthy cuts and aggressive approach have landed him a 3.36 SO-to-BB ratio in his collegiate career thus far. He put together a solid summer on the Cape with Chatham, albeit with less power than anticipated, slashing .306/.405/.403.
Bryce Reagan, 3B/SS, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/190 B/T: B/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 8m
The New Hampshire transplant is a Texas commit with fluid defensive actions. Though he’s a capable switch hitter, there’s more polish from the right side at present.
Follow (Potential Draftee)
Cory Acton, 3B, American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.)
Alex Binelas, 3B, Oak Creek (Oak Creek, Wisc.)
George Callil, 3B/SS, McLennan CC (Texas)
John Cresto, 3B, Santa Clara Univ.
Kyle Datres, 3B/2B, Univ. of North Carolina
Brendan Donovan, 3B, Univ. of South Alabama
Trae Harmon, 1B, Somerset (Somerset, Ky.)
Justyn Henry-Malloy, 3B, St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.)
Anthony Herron, Jr., 1B/OF, Mount Carmel (Chicago, Ill.)
Brandon Hylton, 1B/OF, Ridge (Basking Ridge, N.J.)
Herbert Iser, C/1B, San Jacinto JC (Texas)
Matt Kroon, 3B/INF, Oklahoma State Univ.
Sergio Macias, 3B/SS/RHP, San Jacinto JC (Texas)
Michael Montes, 3B, Pace (Orlando, Fla.)
Lars Nootbaar, 1B, Univ. of Southern California
Alfonso Rivas, 1B, Univ. of Arizona
JJ Schwarz, 1B/C, Univ. of Florida
Hunter Watson, 3B, Pottsboro (Pottsboro, Texas)