Orioles Draft Primer
The 37th overall pick – Competitive Balance Round A
Slot Value: $1,923,500
This pick is much tougher to predict than the 11th overall. A few teams have multiple picks between 11 and 37, so it’ll be tough for the Orioles to target a specific player. Below I list some of the players who will be considered in the order I see them. Many will be gone by the time the O’s pick and some will have bonus demands that will be disqualifying. What direction the Orioles go with #37 will likely depend on who they take with #11 as they generally have tried to balance upside picks with safe picks in the past. It’s hard to imagine them taking two safe college bats or two projectable HS arms with the first two picks. List a couple of players that I’d love to see fall to them after the list.
Luke’s MLB Draft 2018 Preference List
Note: Rankings based on my personal video scouting of the players, reading of scouting reports, statistical analysis of the college players, etc. Sources of info/video include Fangraphs, 2080baseball, Baseball America, The Baseball Cube, and Perfect Game. These rankings probably will differ considerably from most rankings you see, I tried my best to not get influenced by group-think and instead give a true idea of how I see these players (For better or for worse). To view the statistics for college players, just click their name, I’ve linked their “The Baseball Cube” page.
To see #1-11, click here.
12. Ryan Weathers – LHP/Tennessee HS
A lefty with a fastball that t96, an above average changeup, and a solid breaking ball. He might have the best feel for pitching of all the HS arms and a solid arsenal to back it up.
13. Shane McClanahan – LHP/College Soph/South Florida
Best stuff in the draft, t100mph from the left side. Huge strikeout numbers, but control problems. He’s also a Tommy John survivor and there is some effort in the delivery. Big upside, but also big risk for this early in the draft.
14. Nick Schnell – CF/Indiana HS
A toolsy, projectable outfielder, Schnell already is a plus runner with a plus arm. He is showing solid raw pop as well with room to grow into more with added strength. There aren’t any wow tools and he doesn’t have quite the feel to hit and present strength of Kelenic, but it’s a very well-rounded CF profile with upside.
15. Griffin Conine – COF/College Jr/Duke
After dominating in the Cape Cod summer league, Conine was poised to be a top 10 pick. However, he got off to a horrendous start to the season, striking out a ton. So bad that many outlets had dropped him all the way to a late 2nd/3rd round pick. It was an overreaction, he’s come out of his funk and has been crushing the ball. He offers a potential impact LH power bat. He’s a good athlete and could even provide above average defense in an OF corner.
16. Joey Bart – C/College Jr/Georgia Tech
Bart will go earlier than this, maybe even in the top 3. He’s a polished college catcher with pop, those are always in high demand. I’m not sure about the hit tool and I think he may struggle to adjust against pro pitching. Great prospect, but too much hit tool risk for top 10 for me.
17. Kumar Rocker – RHP/Georgia HS
Huge kid, big stuff including a fastball in the mid-90s and a plus or better curveball. Rumored to be a tough sign.
18. Trevor Larnach – COF/College Jr/Oregon State
Probably a left fielder eventually, but he has the bat to play there. He’s hit as well as anyone in this class this year and has plus power that he gets to against tough competition.
19. Connor Scott – OF/Florida HS
Another toolsy HS outfielder. Might have more in the way of tools than Schnell, he’s very fast with excellent bat speed. The swing is a bit unorthdox, but that hasn’t stopped Kyle Tucker (went to the same HS and has a similar swing) from developing into a top prospect.
20. Nico Hoerner – SS/2B/College Jr/Stanford
A college performer in a tough conference with excellent bat to ball skills and a good chance to stick up the middle defensively. He’s primarily a gap power guy currently, but he has strong wrists and I think with a minor adjustment (similar to what the Orioles did with Hays after he was drafted) he could have average power, which would play very well with his hit tool and up the middle defense.
21. Anthony Seigler – C/Georgia HS
Switch-hitting and switch-pitching (dude is fully ambidextrous) catcher who is athletic enough to play 2B if he doesn’t switch behind the plate. His calling card is an advanced feel for hitting and knowledge of the game. He handles mid to upper 90s velocity as well as any HS bat.
22. Jeremiah Jackson – SS/Alabama HS
An athletic, smooth-fielding SS who should stick there. Had a pushy swing during the showcases last year but has clearly added strength this spring and is swinging the bat with much more authority. The only thing keeping him from ranking higher is the lack of facing tougher competition since his improvements this spring.
23. Ethan Hankins – RHP/Georgia HS
The top HS arm in the draft coming into the spring, Hankins at his best was t98 with electric life and a plus breaking ball with command, feel, and deception. Put that in a projectable frame and you’ve got yourself a top pitching prospect. The problem is, he’s dealt with shoulder issues this spring which caused his stuff to take a major step back. The medicals are reportedly clean now, and the velocity is coming back, but the breaking ball quality still isn’t there. So there is significant risk, but also potentially the best arm in the draft.
24. Travis Swaggerty – CF/College Jr/South Alabama
Probably the lowest you’ll see Swaggerty, I don’t think he’ll stick in CF and I think the bat is just good, not great. He is a patient hitter with good bat speed and newfound plus power, so if you like him in CF, you’d have him much higher.
25. Jordan Groshans – 3B/Texas HS
He plays SS now, but doesn’t have the quickness for it. His projectable frame fits well at the hot corner and has the arm/hands to play there. There is impact bat potential, there is already present strength and power with more likely on it’s way as he matures. There is some swing and miss in his game, but has performed against high level competition.
26. Matt McClain – SS/California HS
A well rounded HS shortstop, with a shot to stick at the position (although the frame might fit better at 2B). McClain offers no carrying tools but is average to above average across the board and that plays really well with up the middle defense.
27. Ryan Rolison – LHP/College Soph/Ole Miss
A draft eligible Sophomore who turned heads on the Cape last summer, Rolison’s arsenal features a fastball up to 96mph and a plus breaking ball that toes the line between slider and curveball. He can show feel for a changeup at times but like his command, it’s very inconsistent. There is mid-rotation starter written all over him if he develops well, but right now there is too much relief risk to rank him higher.
28. Nolan Gorman – 3B/1B/Arizona HS
Best raw power in the draft, hit against top competition last summer. He’s struggled some this spring with his approach as he’s been pitched around and that has raised some hit tool doubts. That isn’t what has him this low for me, I don’t think he sticks at 3B and I think the frame won’t age well. That puts enough pressure on the bat that he falls here.
29. Xavier Edwards – SS/Florida HS
Double plus runner, quick twitch athlete with a surprising amount of power in his small frame. The hit tool is a bit more raw than some of the other HS shortstops listed here, but the upside could be huge, I wouldn’t be surprised if a team that liked him popped him in the top 20 picks.
30. Mike Siani – CF/Pennsylvania HS
An advanced fielder and hitter, Siani is one of the high floor HS prospects. He’s going to hit and he’ll stick in CF, the only question is whether he’ll develop enough pop to profile as a regular. I like the swing plane and frame, so I think he does.
31. Triston Casas – 1B/Florida HS
The best hit/power combo in the class, he’s run into the same issues as Gorman with being continually pitched around, but has performed well despite it. He’s 1B only for me, so there is a lot of pressure on the bat, but it’s a really good bat.
32. Grayson Rodriguez – RHP/Texas HS
A big riser this spring, Rodriguez offers a 4 pitch mix headlined by a FB touching 98mph and an above average breaking ball. He also has a strong inning eater frame and an easy delivery. He could go much higher, but he’s lower on this list because he’s not as projectable or polished as the higher ranked prep arm.
33. Daniel Lynch – LHP/College Jr/UVA
Lynch is one of the more projectable college arms, he’s very thin, especially in the legs and hips. He looks like a guy who could add significant velocity with a stronger lower half. Right now the stuff and the results are good, not great, but he’s been up to 95mph and it’s easy to imagine him eventually sitting in the mid-90s with two above average secondaries if he can add strength/weight.
34. JT Ginn – RHP/Mississippi HS
Big stuff, upper 90s FB, plus breaking ball. Higher effort guy, some think he’s destined for the bullpen. I’m not as concerned, the effort is in the lower half and he uses it well.
35. Mason Denaburg – RHP/Florida HS
He has the stuff to be easily in the top 20. A stiff delivery and missing time with an arm injury drops him here.
36. Cole Wilcox – RHP/Georgia HS
Not my favorite delivery, but you can’t argue with the stuff. He has a fastball that sits near the mid-90s with heavy sink and late tail. Really good pitch, also has solid feel for a changeup for a HS pitcher in addition to a slider that projects to average.
37. Jackson Kowar – RHP/College Jr/Florida
Pure potential here, the tall, lanky Kowar can show you three plus pitches at times (FB/CH/CU) and has some room to add strength. That may be the best arsenal of anyone in the draft class when it’s clicking. Unfortunately, it rarely clicks. His command is also quite spotty and he doesn’t hold his stuff well. Another risk/reward guy.
38. Noah Naylor – C/Ontario HS
I’m not sure if he’s a catcher long-term, but his glove and bat could profile at the hot corner. There is some upside here, with potential for an impact power bat. If you think he sticks behind the plate, he could be much higher.
39. Jake McCarthy – CF/College Jr/Virginia
McCarthy will likely stick in CF, with excellent bat speed and solid raw power. Could be a plus hit tool here. The only reason he’s this low is that if you look at his swing, it’ll need an overhaul in order to get the ball in the air more often. That imparts some inherent risk, but if he can adjust to pro ball there is above average regular potential.
40. Jordyn Adams – CF/North Carolina HS
I’m sure some will have him much higher than this, but despite a good performance at the National HS Invitational, the two-sport athlete still very raw as a baseball player. The tools are there to be a potential plus everyday CF if a team can sign him away from a football scholarship and develop him.
41. Griffin Roberts – RHP/College Jr/Wake Forest
The owner of perhaps the best pitch in the draft, Roberts was transitioned into the rotation after serving as a relief ace as a Soph. The pitch I’m speaking of is his absolutely nasty slider, which he pairs with a nice running two-seam FB that sit in the low to mid 90s. I like him better as a fast moving multi-inning reliever, but someone will try him in a rotation.
42. Tim Cate – LHP/College Jr/Connecticut
This undersized lefty has the best curveball of all the college arms in the draft. Like Roberts, I like him as a fast moving multi-inning relief arm, but he’ll also get a chance to start. High floor player.
43. Steele Walker – OF/College Jr/Oklahoma
The carrying tool for Walker is his hit tool, he sprays the ball hard all over the field. The rest of the profile is just average, but he’s a polished college bat who should offer good defense in an outfield corner. There is some upside too if his newfound power stroke holds up with wood bats.
44. Lenny Torres Jr HS – RHP/New York HS
A projectable cold weather arm, Torres offers big upside with an upper 90s fastball and above average breaker and room to grow into more. The mechanics aren’t great, and there is relief risk though.
45. Jeremy Eierman – SS/3B/College Jr/Missouri State
Probably the best combination of raw power and a chance to play up the middle in the college class outside of Joey Bart. The glove is a better fit at 3B though and I question his ability to handle premium stuff. Likely a high strikeout guy at the next level.
46. Blaze Alexander – SS/3B/Florida HS
Currently a shortstop, but with a double plus arm, he profiles better at 3B. Some hit tool concerns, but a good frame, good bat speed, and potential to grow into plus power.
47. Gunnar Hoglund – RHP/Florida HS
Perhaps the best control in the HS class, Hoglund isn’t a no stuff guy nibbler. His fastball has touched 95 and his breaking ball which he just started throwing recently is already flashing above average (he was a fastball/changeup pitcher). It’s been reported that he’ll be tough to sign.
48. Sean Hjelle – RHP/College Jr/Kentucky
He’s 6’11” tall and gets truly elite extension. The stuff isn’t special but he’s not a junkballer and he commands the ball surprisingly well for someone his size.
49. Jameson Hannah – OF/College Jr/Dallas Baptist
A short, muscular, athletic outfielder, Hannah sprays the ball all over the field and has enough power to profile in an outfield corner. He has had contact issues, but has improved his pitch recognition significantly this spring and is striking out less as a result.
50. Cal Raleigh – C/College Jr/Florida State
This might be a little high for Raleigh but I wanted him on the list. He’s a polished college bat with an advanced approach and above average power that he gets to in game. He’s a good receiver and should stick behind the plate despite so-so physical tools. Raleigh is also a plus make-up player, a team leader who will be as good as his talent allows.
So of the guys who have at least a shot at sliding to #37, my favorites are Nick Schnell, Griffin Conine, Nico Hoerner, Anthony Seigler, Jeremiah Jackson, Jordan Groshans, and Matt McClain. Most of these guys are HS bats, which strengthens my belief the Orioles should take a college arm like Logan Gilbert at #11. They could save a little money and pop whatever HS bat falls to them at #37, their first choice might not be there, but I think one of the interesting HS bats will. If by chance, Conine, Hoerner, or another college bat falls, the Orioles could pop them at #37 and take a falling HS player with a bonus demand in the 3rd round.
Some changes after seeing additional looks at players since publication. Conine stock down, McClanahan down, Cate up.