2018 Draft - Mack – My Early Prediction for the Mets First Pick in the 2018 Draft


Good morning.           

I know this is early, but I thought you would like to see how my mind is working right now regarding the Mets first pick in the 2018 Draft.

A few things first…

Let’s remember one thing. You can’t pick your choice until five other teams pick theirs. And there is truly no way of predicting that in stone. SS Carlos Correa is one of the premier shortstops in the game, but it was a shock when he was picked 1.1 in the 2012 draft by the Houston Astros.

Another thing. Some teams pick a player because they may have someone else on their board as a higher pick, but they just feel they can’t afford to pass on a certain player and let another team pick them. This is how ‘runs’, by position, are created in rounds. Correa’s pick in 2012 caused four more shortstops to be picked in the first 25 picks of that draft.

Bur no position can create a run more often than starter pitching. Have two or three of them picked early and all of a sudden team execs are trembling not to get in on the action.

I’m not sure how deep the talent goes in this draft, but I do know one thing. There may never have been a better top 10 list of starters than the 2018 draft offers to teams.

It will be hard pass on a pitcher here.

Choices would be RHPs Brady Singer (Florida), Jackson Kowar (Florida), Casey Mize (Auburn), Kumar Rocker (N. Oconee HS – GA) and LHPs Shane McClanahan (USF), and Matt Liberatore (Mountain Ridge HS – AZ).

On the field, there really were only four players to pick from that have showed the talent to warrant a top five pick, and one, Oregon State 2B Nick Madrigal, hit the DL last week with a broken wrist. He’s still go in the first round, both not in the top five.

The other three are all shortstops…  Brice Turang (Santiago HS -CA, Nolan Gorman (O’Connor HS – AZ), and Nander De Sadas (Montverde Acacamy – FL).

Now, you know I’ve told you time and again that a team doesn’t draft early by position. They simply pick by best player available at the time of the pick. That being said, there is no whey in hell, with Amed Rosario in Queens, and Luis Guillorme, Gavin Cecchini, Andres Gimenez, Gregory Guerrero, and Ronny Mauricio in the pipeline, are the Mets going to bring in another one to play this position. It’s not going to happen. No way. Uh huh.

This leaves the Mets to pick from the pitchers left over that aren’t picked by the teams with the top five picks.

1.1      Detroit Tigers         -           RHP    Brady Singer           Univ. of Florida

The Tigers love pitchers with killer fastballs and there is no way in hell they are going to pass on Singer, who is the darling of just about every pundit that is posting their mock drafts on the net.

 Bless You Boys, a great Tigers blog, said this about Singer:

Singer, one of the top names from next year's draft class, is the master of a fastball with potent arm-side run that will draw ugly swings from batters and make fans drool. He sits in the low-to-mid 90s, but that's more than enough velocity to make it a real weapon. He pairs his brilliant fastball with a slider that he threw in high school, but refined in college with the help of Alex Faedo, another recent Tigers draft pick known for his vicious breaking ball.

Through the weekend ending 3-4, Singer is 3-starts, 19-IP, 3-0, 2.84, 17-K, 1-BB
The Tigers could surprise here and choose someone else, but I don’t think so. I’ve never seen a more solid lock at 1.1 in a draft.

1.2      San Francisco Giants        RHP    Ethan Hankins        Forsyth Central HS (GA)

There are great college pitchers like Kowar, Mize, and McClanahan still on the board, but Hankins is easily the best high school pitcher in the nation.

McCovey Chronicles said this about the possibility of the Giants picking Hankins:

Hankins, is ... 18 years old   A right-handed pitcher out of Georgia… 6’6”… able to throw a fastballs in the mid-90s with movement… able to throw wicked breaking balls… able to control them better than the typical high-schooler… Which are all things you would expect from a second-overall pick. Put it all together, and it looks like this:

M-C points out that things could change if someone comes out of nowhere and dominates the second half of their season (my guess: Liberatore), but, for now, Hankins is a lock for being the Giants pick at 1.2.

1.3      Philadelphia Phillies        SS        Brice Turang           Santiago HS (CA)

Now we go to the standout middle infield in the draft. Jonathan Mayo had this to say about Turang:

Turang entered the summer as perhaps the best player in the class, high school or otherwise, and he didn't do anything to diminish that evaluation. He's shown he can definitely stay at shortstop, while also proving adept at moving over to second if needed. Turang has an advanced approach at the plate, with power to come, and his speed plays on both sides of the ball.

The Good Phight, a Phiily Blog, said this about the possibility of them taking Turang in the draft:

I’ve said this is a weak draft, and I think it is, but it’s not bereft of talent. All of the talent is pretty flawed, but if that talent is able to address flaws this year there are 5 or 6 guys with real star potential and several possible MLB regulars. Most won’t pan out, so this is where the Scouts will make their money this year.

Brice Turang is a 6’0”, 165 lb. Left handed hitter who plays Shortstop from Corona, Ca. Somehow he’s the only top ranked High School prospect from California on most lists. That’s really bizarre for a state that typically litters the first round of the draft with players. Turang gets some interesting comps for a shortstop, the most common one I’ve seen is Christian Yelich. I can see it, we’ll talk tools more below, but they line up pretty well (if you project some Power as he fills out).

I agree with The Good Phight. The Phillies will pass on a pitcher and turn to the most talented infielder in the draft and a projected lock to be a big time star in this game.

1.4      Chicago White Sox                        LHP     Shane McClanahan          USF

For a long time, McClanahan had been projected as being available when the Mets pick would be coming up at #6 and they had guys like Rocker and Koward being picked ahead of him. Right now, McClanahan is the better pitcher of the three.
Through the weekend ending 3-4 - 3-starts, 18-IP, 2-1, 0.00, 3-R, 0-ER, 32-K, 7-BB
Did you catch the strikeouts and innings pitched just quotes? 32 in 18.

Southside Showdown is a CWS blog that says it’s not who you draft. But how you draft:

It’s fair to say that White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is building his team’s overall capital, a combination of developable and marketable (ie. tradeable) talent. With the amount of young starting pitching the team has amassed, would it make sense to continue adding starting pitching depth? Sure – if the team determines the player drafted would have the highest value to the team, or that starting pitching would be the most marketable talent to trade for those necessary assets the team isn’t able to develop or sign via free agency.

I agree. You can’t have too much great pitching, both to put on the mound and the create a quality trade, and right now, McClanahan out trumps both the rest of the pitchers plus all the field personnel.

1.5      Cincinnati Reds                  IF         Nolan Gorman       O’Connor HS – AZ

The Reds are pretty deep in their pipeline, created from being a team that has picked early over the last number of years. They don’t have to go in any particular direction, including pitching, which they have many of in their system (Hunter Greene, Tyler Mahle, Tony Santillan).

Drafting Gorman could allow the Reds to move their top prospect, 3B Nick Senzel, to move to second and creating a star studded future infield in the 2020s. Sort of what we are trying to do with Amed Rosario and Luis Guillorme.

I think they go infield here and Gorman would be the pick.

1.6 –   New York Mets                  RHP    Jackson Kowar       Florida

Frankly, we had a lot more to pick from here than we did a month ago when I projected McClanahan or Mize. Now it’s either Kowar or Kumar, as well as the other two (I still consider Liberatore a long shot here).

Let me say this… I don’t think any of them are a miss here, but I said that last year when I consistently called for the Mets to pick David Peterson.

Kumar is tempting, but you know I’m a sucker for a power college weekend starter. Kowar would easily be the Friday starter at Florida if it wasn’t because he was on the same roster as some guy named Singer.

Through the weekend ending 3-4 - 3-starts, 19.1-IP, 3-0, 18-K. 7-BB

Yeah… I’m going with the big guy here.


Mike Freire said...

Nice write up, Mack. I agree you go with the BPA in most cases, but you can never have enough pitching (as you point out). A college arm will pay off faster, it usually with less risk and and lower ceiling (more developed). A HS arm has more risk and potentially a higher ceiling as there is room to grow.

Tough choice since our system has some pitching in the short term. I like the kid from USF because he is a lefty and he is closer to Queens then some of the others. But he may be gone as you stated......the Rocker kid would be intriguing and it would backfill the pitching depth in the lower minors.

Either way, I like the choices at #6 and hope Sandy chooses wisely.

Mack Ade said...

Mike -


I'm usually wrong about these things, but I'm not wrong when I state who the top players are out there.

This is a great draft for picks 1-40.

I don't think the Mets will miss with their first pick and have a good chance of picking another good one with their 2nd round pick.

Tom Brennan said...

Hi, Mack, I prefer Gorman...give me a bat.

Matt Olson was the 47th pick in 2012...the 23 year old hit an astonishing 24 homers for Oakland in 189 At bats in his rookie debut. Mets need to look for THAT.

We, by the way, picked Cecchini at 12 and Plawecki at 35.

TexasGusCC said...

It’s very hard to predict how kids will develop in five years, so you just draft tools. For all the middle infielders the Mets have accumulated, none are star quality. Further, Mack you start by saying that you draft the best available player, but don’t follow your own rule. I’ve learned in life that is usually a regret. So, I’m sticking with the best offensive bat in a system that lacks offensive bats and taking Madrigal.

Would have preferred a stud outfielder, but, there aren’t any. Have really stockpiled in arms and may also get another good one in Round 2, but offensive guys that we have passed on have included Cory Saegar: No Way Again! For a backup plan, I like Banfield as stud catchers are hard to come by and the Metsies don’t have one, but catcher is also the hardest position to project.

Mack Ade said...


Picking as early as early as we do means we literally get 2 ++ players in the top 2 rounds.

I expect to go OL in both the 2nd and 3rd... Wait... That's the giants...

Mack Ade said...


You are wrong.

I am taking the BPA. None of the bats in this draft other than the ones I already projected, are projected higher than 3 to 4 pitchers out there

Madrigal did until he broke his wrist

Tom Brennan said...

If Madrigal's writs heals fine (I broke mine once and I never ever feel anything abnormal with it) and he is not deemed brittle, and plays well again pre-draft, I would not push him down in the rankings because of it.

I get a little concerned for a small guy - too easy to get hurt somewhat and have the skill set drop more than for a big guy.

TexasGusCC said...

Mack and Tom,
Madrigal is short but not necessarily small. He has a thick frame so the fact that they say he runs well surprises me. In fact, when I saw his highlights, he looked like Babe Ruth running around the bases. But then I remember Ruth was actually quite a good athlete himself and ran well.

Mack, if the pitcher is the best player available, fine. But in a system lacking offense because all they ever did was draft arms, they need offense. The Cubs and Dodgers buy the arms and are loaded with bats. Every year, the Mets lineup looks like the leftovers from the little baseball sister of the poor.

Mack Ade said...


Good points.

But I've been doing this for years and one thing is a constant.

There are 10 positions in baseball, if you include DH and RP as a position... and 60+% of the top 10 players picked over the last 20 years have been starters.

They offer a team two things... the quickest road to success and the chip needed to trade and fill any opening you have in the field.

No one wants a big bat drafted more than me... and it kills me to not pick Seth Beer here... but his defense is too flawed.

Past him, the only choice would be Jered Kelenic who would be at least 5 years away

I'm not wasting my 1.6 on a maybe.

Eddie Corona said...

Well said Mack...

Pablo Grullon said...

Hey Mack, you think the Mets would do an overdraft with pick 1.6? Meaning do you think they would draft Travis Swaggerty with their first pick at below slot $ so they can use the savings to spread their draft pool money on other high end prospects at pick #46 and beyond? Swaggerty is having a really good start to his season and as a college outfielder could arrive in time for when Cespedes and Bruce contracts expire?

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