This is the first version of my 2018 MLB Draft Big Board. Since the Dodgers are picking at No. 30, there won’t be any appearances by Matthew Liberatore, Nick Madrigal, Casey Mize or Brady Singer. Sure, one of them could fall, but it’s extremely unlikely.
Before we go too far, let’s look at Billy Gasparino‘s first-round draft history, which began in 2013 when he was with the Padres.
- 2013: Hunter Renfroe
- 2014: Trea Turner
- 2015: Walker Buehler, Kyle Funkhouser*
- 2016: Gavin Lux, Will Smith*, Jordan Sheffield*
- 2017: Jeren Kendall
*Funkhouser (didn’t sign), Smith and Sheffield were all supplemental 1st-round picks.
Renfroe was his first selection as Padres scouting director. His power is impressive, but the rest of his game has failed to come along. Turner was his second 1st-round pick, and he hit big on that one. He’s one of the more dynamic players in the game, even if the Padres have long since traded him to the Nationals in the 3-way trade that landed them Wil Myers.
Gasparino’s first selection as Dodgers’ farm director was the Buehler, and that has turned out well so far. His second (true) first-rounder was Lux, who is hitting well in High-A at age-20. He’s not the high-ceiling prospect we all wish he was, but the players selected between 20 (where Lux was popped) and 32 (where Smith was popped) don’t really stand out. I liked Delvin Perez, but he has struggled in the pros thus far. They were also said to be willing to give Blake Rutherford a big bonus, but he went the Yankees at 18 (and was later traded to the White Sox in the David Robertson deal).
Last year, the Dodgers grabbed Kendall, whose stock started falling about a week before the draft. He was seen as a Top 10-15 selection, but contact issues and a big bonus demand scared some teams off.
We’re almost four drafts in and Gasparino has yet to select a high school arm in the first round of the draft. That was something his predecessor Logan White did on multiple occasions. Despite that, you’re still going to see a couple of them on this board … for now.
My Big Board, v 1.0
1. SS Brice Turang, Santiago HS (Calif.)
2. RHP Ethan Hankins, Forsyth Central HS (Ga.)
3. CF Parker Meadows, Grayson HS (Ga.)
4. OF Connor Scott, Plant HS (Fla.)
5. RHP Cole Wilcox, Heritage HS (Ga.)
6. SS Jeremy Eierman, Missouri State
7. LHP Kris Bubic, Stanford
8. SS Xavier Edwards, North Broward Prep (Fla.)
9. OF Trevor Larnach, Oregon State
10. RHP Blaine Knight, Arkansas
11. CF Alek Thomas, Mount Carmel HS (Ill.)
12. OF Jameson Hannah, Dallas Baptist
13. RHP Tristian Beck, Stanford
14. RHP Griffin Roberts, Wake Forest
15. CF Jordyn Adams, Green Hope HS (N.C.)
Five prep players top this list. Never change, Dustin.
Turang was seen as a surefire Top 10 pick before the season, but the bat hasn’t developed as much as some hoped. He could slide, especially if his price tag scares some teams away. The Dodgers’ player development team could do wonders with him.
Hankins was seen as a Top 5-10 guy (and there was even talk of him being a 1-1 guy), but a shoulder injury has hampered his production this season. Despite that, he’s still a high-ceiling prospect that should interest every team.
Meadows, despite the concerns about power, seems to be one of the more advanced high school bats in the draft, and he has a little helium behind him.
Scott has all the raw tools scouts love, but on-field production has been lacking, and that could push him down the board.
Wilcox is a guy I expect to rise before draft day. He’s a lot like James Marinan (Dodgers’ 2017 4th-rounder), but even more advanced.
Eierman is a college performer with four plus-or-better tools. There are contact issues, but he has a strong arm and above-average power potential. He might have to move off shortstop at some point.
I’m a bit higher on Bubic than most. He has some Clayton Kershawness in his delivery, but his stuff, obviously, isn’t on that level. Still, he’s a college arm who could move quickly.
Edwards is the best athlete on this board. He should be able to stick at shortstop, but if he has to move to second, he should be more than capable there. He’s a legit double-plus runner.
Larnach reminds me a lot of Michael Conforto. It might be the Oregon State connection, but there are a lot of similarites. He’s a corner outfielder, though.
Knight was a guy I liked a lot last year, but he chose to go back for his redshirt junior season at Arkansas. His stuff has ticked up a bit since last year and would be a higher-ceiling college arm who’s not without his share of risk.
The Dodgers have been linked to Thomas, and he fits the Dodgers’ profile of athletic, up-the-middle players.
Hannah has been linked to the Dodgers by the MLB.com guys, and despite being a little undersized, he projects to be a solid offensive performer who should be able to stick in center field.
Beck was also a guy I liked last year, but he did the same thing as Knight, except he went back to Stanford. He has some of the best command/control in this draft class, but doesn’t have overpowering stuff.
Roberts is an intriguing arm from the ACC. He has one of the best sliders in the country and works with an above-average fastball. He might be a reliever in the long run, but there’s a chance he could still stick in the rotation.
Adams has the frame and athleticism that the Dodgers target in prep bats, even if there are some flaws. He one of the fastest players in the draft and uses it to steal bases and play an above-average center field.
With the way the Dodgers are playing this year, next year’s draft profiles might be a bit more interesting than this one. But for now, they’ll have to settle for the last pick of the first round. There’s still a good chance they’ll land a quality prospect.