Featured Photo, Seth Beer (Clemson University)
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)
Griffin Conine, OF, Duke Univ.
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/200 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 20y, 11m
One of the best offensive performers on the Cape last summer, Conine slashed .329/.406/.537 en route to leading the league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in (also finishing second in walks and tied for third in doubles). The Duke standout plays an athletic right field and projects to plus power and hit tools.
Steele Walker, OF, Univ. of Oklahoma
Ht/Wt: 5’11”/190 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 10m
Walker showed very well for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team last summer and enters the spring as one of the top pure hitters at the college ranks. He boasts excellent feel for the barrel and a chance to develop above-average to plus power.
Elijah Cabell, OF/RHP, TNXL Academy (Longwood, Fla.)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/190 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 11m
Cabell possesses the tools to grow into an above-average defender in right, including double-plus arm strength and above-average speed. The LSU commit shows good bat speed and power potential to go with his overall athleticism.
Tristan Pompey, OF, Univ. of Kentucky
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/205 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 2m
The tooled-up Kentucky outfielder wowed in his sophomore campaign for the Wildcats, slashing .361/.464/.541 in 2017 before struggling mightily to get his bat going on the Cape, where he slashed .230/.284/.345 for Wareham. His elite athleticism, quick twitch actions and impact potential across the board will allow evaluators to overlook the rough summer, as he remains one of the highest upside plays in the draft.
Niko Decolati, OF/3B, Loyola Marymount Univ.
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/215 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 20y, 9m
Decolati’s bat stood out on a talent Orleans squad last summer on the Cape, where the LMU standout earned All-Star honors and slashed .311/.346/.377. His aggressive approach can lead to bad-pitch contact and limit his in-game pop despite plus raw power displays.
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. He has among the best raw power in the draft class, slugging 34 home runs over his first two years at Clemson, with almost a quarter of his 140 hits leaving the yard.
High Follow (Potential Top 5 Rounds)
Trevor Larnach, OF/1B, Oregon State Univ.
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/213 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 3m
After a breakout spring for the Beavers in 2017, Larnach put together an impressive summer on the Cape, where he slashed .308/.390/.442 for Falmouth. He’s a favorite to jump into Day 1 consideration if he can demonstrate a more consistent approach this spring and drive the ball with more regularity.
Nick Decker, OF, Southampton (Southampton Township, N.J.)
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/200 B/T: L/L Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 8m
A participant in the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic, Decker flashes impact power from the left side to go with an easy right field arm. He’s committed to Maryland.
Stowers has evolved into one of the more well-rounded collegiate outfielders in the draft class, showing potential to hit for average and power while providing above-average defense in right field. If he can lift the ball more consistently this spring he should rocket up draft boards.
Carlos Cortes, OF/UTL, Univ. of South Carolina
Ht/Wt: 5’7”/197 B/T: L/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 20y, 11m
Cortes utilizes excellent trunk and core strength to produce plus raw power to the pull side, and demonstrates an ability to work for pitches he can drive. There are some plate coverage concerns, which were evident on the Cape last summer, but the raw materials are here for a big league contributor with the stick.
Jordyn Adams, OF, Green Hope (Cary, N.C.)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/185 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 7m
A North Carolina commit, Adams shows average foot speed but good feel on the grass to go with emerging power potential.
Lueck has performed very well at the plate as a two-year starter for FSU and projects to average power to go with an average or better hit tool.
Robert Neustrom, OF, Univ. of Iowa
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/208 B/T: L/L Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 6m
Neustrom has the size and speed to impact the game both at the plate and out in right field. He slashed .310/.358/.486 for the Hawkeyes last spring before earning All-Star honors on the Cape where he slashed .302/.346/.479 for Hyannis.
Walker has demonstrated impressive growth both in the box and in the outfield over the past nine months, including a cleaner arm action and more carry from the grass and a more compact swing with improved frequency of hard contact. His upside is that of an above-average right fielder with extra-base pop.
Miko Rodriguez, OF/RHP, Forest Hills Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/200 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 8m
Rodriguez flexes a strong right field arm to go with above-average speed and gap-to-gap present pop with room for growth. He’s committed to Texas A&M.
Follow (Potential Draftee)
Brady Allen, OF, George W. Jenkins (Lakeland, Fla.)
Oraj Anu, OF/DH, Wallace College – Dothan (Ala.)
Kendrick Calilao, OF, The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.)
Ruben Cardenas, OF, California State Univ. – Fullerton
Brendt Citta, OF, Univ. of Kansas
Denzel Clarke, OF, Everest Academy (Thornhill, Ont.)
Marty Costes, OF, Univ. of Maryland
Brock Deatherage, OF, North Carolina State Univ.
Andrew Eyster, OF, Santa Fe College (Florida)
Romy Gonzalez, 3B/OF/UTL, Univ. of Miami
Matthew Goodheart, OF, San Jacinto College (Texas)
Devlin Granberg, OF/UTL, Dallas Baptist Univ.
Bryce Greenly, OF/RHP, Milford (Milford, Del.)
Jake Guenther, OF/1B, Sacramento City College (Calif.)
Brock Hale, OF, Brigham Young Univ.
Cole Haring, OF, Baylor Univ.
Darius Hill, OF, Univ. of West Virginia
Matthew Hogan, OF/RHP, Half Hollow Hills East (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
Dexter Jordan Jr., OF/2B, Hattiesburg (Hattiesburg, Miss.)
Brett Kinneman, OF, North Carolina State Univ.
Dakota Kotowski, OF/1B, Providence Catholic (New Lenox, Ill.)
Jon Littell, OF, Oklahoma State Univ.
Nelson Maldonado, OF, Univ. of Florida
Stevie Mangrum, OF, Virginia Tech
Casey Maniglia, OF/RHP, Solon (Solon, Ohio)
Robby Martin, OF, Thomas Jefferson (Tampa, Fla.)
Nick O’Day, OF/RHP, Bishop Shanahan (Downington, Penn.)
Tanner O’Tremba, OF, Cherry Creek (Greenwood, Colo.)
James Outman, OF, Sacramento State Univ.
Parker Pillsbury, OF/LHP, Seven Rivers Christian (Lecanto, Fla.)
Luke Reynolds, OF/3B, Southern Mississippi Univ.
Brandon Riley, OF, Univ. of North Carolina
Erick Rivera, OF, Carlos Colon Burgos (Salinas, P.R.)
Brandon Schrepf (OF/RHP), Gulf Breeze (Gulf Breeze, Fla.)
Jaren Shelby, OF, State College of Florida – Manatee-Sarasota (Fla.)
Logan Sowers, OF, Indiana Univ.
Chandler Taylor, OF, Univ. of Alabama
Levi Usher, OF, Prairie (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Jake Vander Wal, OF, Central Arizona College (Ariz.)
Josh Watson, OF, Texas Christian Univ.
Dwanya Williams-Sutton, OF, East Carolina Univ.
Jack Yalowitz, OF/LHP, Univ. of Illinois