Featured Photo, Nander De Sedas (Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.))
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)
Nander De Sedas, SS, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/192 B/T: B/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 10m
A switch hitter with pop from both sides of the plate, De Sedas has a chance to be the first middle infielder off the board in June. While the Florida State commit is presently a smooth defender at shortstop, he has plenty of arm for third base should the need for a position change arise.
An LSU commit, Turang has plus speed, a fluid line drive swing, and he’s likely to stick at shortstop long term. His stock plateaued a bit after a solid but unspectacular summer and he’ll be a primary focus for decision-makers at this Spring’s loaded USA Baseball National High School Invitational.
Much will be made about Madrigal’s diminutive stature leading up to the draft, but he has some of the better bat-to-ball skills in the draft and excellent instincts both at on the bases and with the glove.
Eierman anchored a monster Missouri State lineup last year with 2017 White Sox draftee Jake Burger and could become the Bears’ second first rounder in as many years. Currently a shortstop, Eierman may ultimately fit best at third base where his plus arm and above-average power could profile nicely.
Xavier Edwards, SS, North Broward Prep (Coconut Creek, Fla.)
Ht/Wt: 5’10/165 B/T: B/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 9m
A switch-hitting shortstop who’s committed to Vanderbilt, Edwards is a plus runner with the requisite glove and arm to allow him to stick at shortstop long term.
Jonathan Ornelas, SS, Raymond S. Kellis (Glendale, Ariz.)
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/165 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 0m
Known for his smooth actions in the field, Ornelas also stood out with the bat in Jupiter as part of the AZ D-Backs Scout Team, slashing .417/.417/1.000 and utilizing an aggressive approach through his 24 plate appearances. He’s committed to Tennessee.
Kendall Logan Simmons, SS, Tattnall Square Academy (Macon, Ga.)
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/190 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 1m
Committed to Georgia Tech, Simmons has an athletic build with room to add strength as he matures. Currently a bat-first shortstop, he has the athleticism and arm strength to play third base or shift to the outfield down the road, if need be.
Jeremiah Jackson, SS, St. Luke’s Episcopal (Mobile, Ala.)
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/165 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 2m
An instinctual defender with above-average first step quickness, Jackson ranges well to either side. Offensively, the Mississippi State commit flashed raw power over the summer and improved his consistency in barreling the ball in the fall, displaying in-game pop with a big home run in Jupiter.
High Follow (Potential Top 5 Rounds)
Cadyn Grenier, 2B/SS, Oregon State Univ.
Ht/Wt: 5’10”/185 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 7m
Nick Madrigal’s double play partner at Oregon State, Grenier is a fundamentally sound defender who reads the ball well off the bat and delivers strong, accurate throws across the diamond with an above-average arm. While his glove is ahead of his bat, Grenier has shown marked improvement year-over-year offensively.
Nico Hoerner, SS/2B, Stanford Univ.
Ht/Wt: 5’11”/195 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 0m
A versatile infielder with plus speed, Hoerner hit .307 last season on his way to an All-Pac 12 selection. He carried that momentum into the summer where he slashed .300/.356/.456 for Yarmouth-Dennis in the Cape Cod League.
Osiris Johnson, SS/2B, Encinal HS (Alameda, Calif.)
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/185 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 17y, 7m
Johnson is one of the youngest players in this class and there is some corresponding rawness in his game. A Cal State Fullerton commit, Johnson has above-average bat speed and room to add strength to his athletic frame as he matures. He already flashes above-average power at the plate.
Blaze Alexander, SS, Bishop Verot (Ft. Myers, Fla.)
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/165 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 11m
Clocked as high as 99 mph in throws across the diamond in a showcase setting, Alexander has more than enough arm for shortstop (or any position). The South Carolina commit has quick hands and flashes-average power with a balanced, lofted swing to elevate with ease.
Raynel Delgado, SS/2B/3B, Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/180 B/T: B/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 2m
Born in Cuba, Delgado moved to Miami when he was seven years old. A switch hitter who plays all over the infield, his versatility earned the FIU commit a spot on the USA Baseball 18U National Team that won gold in the World Cup. He also stood out in Jupiter with a talented FTB/SF Giants Scout Team, slashing .348/.423/.858 over 26 plate appearances.
Kevin Vargas, SS/2B, International Baseball Academy (Las Mareas de Salinas, P.R.)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/175 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 3m
The top Puerto Rican player in this class, Vargas is a smooth defender at shortstop with a strong arm and above-average speed. The FIU commit utilizes a minimal load and leg lift with a swing that is presently geared more towards contact than power.
Brandon Dieter, SS/RHP, South Hills (West Covina, Calif.)
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/175 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 6m
Committed to Stanford, Deiter is a well-rounded prospect, showing athletic actions with the glove and explosive hands and impressive balance at the plate. He showed well with USA Baseball’s 18U National Team at the end of the summer.
George Janca, SS/3B, Texas A&M
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/190 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 0m
Janca served as the Aggies third baseman last season, but he had a strong summer at shortstop in the Cape Cod League and will compete for the spot there this spring. Though there’s some swing and miss to his game, Janca flashed above-average power last summer, hitting five homeruns.
Connor Kaiser, SS, Vanderbilt Univ.
Ht/Wt: 6’4”/205 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 6m
Kaiser’s glove and arm have helped him anchor down the starting shortstop position for the Commodores, but he’s struggled with the bat in each of his first two seasons. A strong summer at the Cape (.300/.403/.470) is cause for optimism heading into his junior season.
Mateo Gil, SS/RHP, Timber Creek (Fort Worth, Texas)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/190 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 17y, 11m
Gil utilizes a flat bat path with a moderately high finish to create good plane overlap in his swing and creating lots of opportunities for hard contact. The TCU commit is a solid defender at the six spot and projects on the mound, as well.
Tyler Frank, SS/2B, Florida Atlantic Univ.
Ht/Wt: 6’0”/185 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 21y, 4m
Having spent time at shortstop and catcher for Florida Atlantic, Frank further diversified his defensive portfolio in his stint with the Collegiate National Team by playing mostly third base and outfield. Offensively, Frank has a patient approach and surprising pop for his size.
Gavin Dugas, SS/2B, Houma Christian (Houma, La.)
Ht/Wt: 5’10”/195 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 0m
The LSU commit boasts a compact but powerful stroke from the right side, producing 100+ mph exit velo and projecting to above-average power. His arm may ultimately be a bit shy for shortstop, but his glove and footwork should continue to play well up-the-middle.
Sean Guilbe, SS/C/UTL, Muhlenberg (Reading, Pa.)
Ht/Wt: 6’2”/215 B/T: R/R Age (as of 2018 MLB Draft): 18y, 5m
Guilbe is a big, strong kid who doesn’t get cheated in the batter’s box, taking powerful hacks that successfully incorporate his lower half. His defensive home yet to be determined, though his average arm strength and below-average speed could shift him to a corner at the next level.
Follow (Potential Draftee)
Addison Barger, SS, King HS (Tampa, Fla.)
Andrew Benefield, SS, Siegel (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Jax Biggers, SS, Univ. of Arkansas
Ryan Bliss, SS, Troup County (LaGrange, Ga.)
Tim Borden, SS, Our Lady of Providence (Clarksville, Ind.)
Isaiah Byars, SS, Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.)
Lency Delgado, SS, Doral Academy Charter (Doral, Fla.)
Nick Dunn, 2B, Univ. of Maryland
Clay Fisher, SS, UC Santa Barbara
A.J. Graffanino, SS/2B, Univ. of Washington
Gunner Halter, SS, Seminole State JC (Fla.)
Seth Halvorsen, SS/RHP, Heritage Christian Acad. (Maple Grove, Minn.)
Korry Howell, SS, Kirkwood CC (Iowa)
Gage Hughes, SS, Greenup County (Greenup, Ky.)
Tate Kolwyck, SS, Arlington (Arlington, Tenn.)
Zack Kone, SS/3B, Duke Univ.
Matt McLain, SS/2B, Arnold O. Beckham (Irvin, Calif.)
Owen Miller, SS, Illinois State Univ.
Jake Moberg, SS, Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.)
Ethan Paul, 2B, Vanderbilt Univ.
Jeremy Pena, SS, Univ. of Maine
Jared Poland, SS/2B, Cathedral HS (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Ford Proctor, SS, Rice Univ.
Emilio Rosas, SS, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Alec Sanchez, 2B, Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Spencer Schwellenbach, SS/RHP, Heritage (Saginaw, Mich.)
Devin Warner, SS, Cartersville (Cartersville, Ga.)
Hunter Wolfe, Walters State CC (Tenn.)