Dynasty Dugout: 2018 First Year Player Draft Rankings
Ah, the first year player draft, or FYPD for short. This is the time of year that struggling dynasty teams can re-tool with the next wave of intriguing young talent from the NCAA, high school ball, and international players from across the world. Not only is it exciting for dynasty leaguers, it’s exciting times for prospect writers like myself. I get to break down this incoming wave and throw it all together into a Top-100 MLB Prospects rankings list for the world to see.
This year’s MLB Draft was stuffed full of high-upside talent. There might not have been a Carlos Correa or Bryce Harper in this draft, but still, high upside players up the wazoo, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Power bats are plentiful at the top of these rankings and toolsy prep outfielders as far as the eye can see.
Alright, enough intro. I don’t want to be too much of a tease. Here are my Top-100 MLB Draft rankings with international players included.
Note: These will vary a little from my Top-100 rankings as I focused more on overall upside here and my opinion of certain players has changed.
MLB Draft Player Rankings
1. Jonathan India (3B – CIN) | Selected: Round 1, #5 overall | ETA 2020
One of the top risers over the last 12 months, Jonathan India oozes fantasy goodness. All of his offensive tools are above-average with the potential to be plus across the board and his pitch selection vastly improved during his final collegiate season, raising his walk rate from 9.2% to 19.0%. There are some questions about his transition to wooden bats, especially after his lack of power in the Cape Cod League, but India has the tools to succeed once he gets his feet wet in the minors.
2. Nick Madrigal (SS/2B – CHW) | Selected: Round 1, #4 overall | ETA 2020
Say hello to the best hit tool in the draft. Madrigal has the kind of hit tool that wins you batting titles. At just 5’7 and 150 pounds on a good day, Madrigal won’t scare pitchers with his frame, but his bat sure as heck will strike fear in them. This is a hitter you’re likely going to see in the .320-plus range year in and year out in the future. Pair that with plus speed and double-digit pop, and you have a fantasy star in the making with a high floor as well.
3. Nolan Gorman (3B – STL) | Selected: Round 1, #19 overall | ETA 2021
The way Gorman has started his professional career just adds fuel to the fire that is my man crush on his offensive upside. While the term “plus power” is a compliment to most hitters, it’s an insult to Gorman, who has true 70-grade raw power and has wasted no time imposing his will on minor league pitching with seven home runs in his first 81 at-bats. Gorman won’t win any batting titles, or even hit over .300 in the Major Leagues, but has a good enough hit tool and plate approach to hit .280 with an OBP close to .400. And who doesn’t like a .280/.400/.600 bat with 40-plus homer upside?
— Perfect Game USA (@PerfectGameUSA) June 5, 2018
4. Jarred Kelenic (OF – NYM) | Selected: Round 1, #6 overall | ERA 2021
Owner of one of the prettiest swings from this year’s MLB Draft, Kelenic was the first prep bat off the board and his offensive upside is the reason why. Kelenic already has a plus hit tool and above-average speed, and his power has the potential to be plus down the road. There have been a lot of hot starters from this draft class, with Kelenic being one of the hottest. Through his first 18 games, he already has three home runs, six steals, and an OPS north of 1.000. That’s exactly the type of multi-category juice you should expect from Kelenic down the road.
5. Alec Bohm (3B – PHI) | Selected: Round 1, #3 overall | ETA 2020
While his interview skills need a little work (watch his draft interview), Bohm’s hitting skills are rock solid, or “on fleek” as the kids say these days. Bohm makes consistently hard contact from the right side with a swing geared for power as well as batting average. Plate approach isn’t a worry either as Bohm strikes out less than most sluggers his size and can draw a walk when he needs to. Whether he stays at the hot corner or slides across the diamond to first, Bohm’s special bat will make him a star at either position.
6. Casey Mize (RHP – DET) | Selected: Round 1, #1 overall | ETA 2019
We finally come to the first pitcher on the list. I fully endorse the Tigers selecting Mize with the top overall pick and consider him the only pitcher from this draft with true ace upside. But as we know, offense carries a little more weight in the fantasy world. Mize features three-plus pitches, including the best splitter I’ve seen since the days of Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling. A workhorse frame and clean, repeatable delivery will benefit Mize long-term and he should be a quick riser through the Detroit system.
7. Jordan Groshans (SS/3B – TOR) | Selected: Round 1, #12 overall | ETA 2021
The first prep infielder off the board, Groshans’ clean swing and quick wrists generate plenty of hard contact with his raw power becoming more and more apparent as he fills out and matures as a hitter. There’s still plenty of room to add more muscle and power to that 6’4″ frame of his, so be prepared to see his power numbers rise over the next few years. Groshans can also run a little, with 10-15 SB being a fair estimate for his annual speed output. All the tools are here to become a monster fantasy performer.
Want to learn more about Jordan Groshans?
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 5, 2018
8. Victor Victor Mesa (OF – Unsigned) | International Free Agent | ETA 2020/21
As soon as Victor Victor Mesa signs, he’s going to be one of the top prospects around. Mesa comes from a talented baseball family which includes his little brother (age 16) and father, Victor Mesa Sr., who was a talented hitter in Cuba for many years. Mesa (or V-Squared as I will likely call him) exhibits 60 to 70-grade speed upside with an above-average hit tool. His swing is geared more for line drives at the moment, but has shown flashes of a developing power stroke with 20 home runs possible down the road. . Everyone knows my prospect crush on Luis Robert. Well, Mesa isn’t far off from that and has a similar skill set, minus a little plate discipline.
9. Trevor Larnach (OF – MIN) | Selected: Round 1, #20 overall | ETA 2020
A teammate of Madrigal’s at Oregon State, Larnach was the thump in the middle of the Beaver lineup responsible for driving Madrigal and others in. And thump he did, swatting 19 doubles and 19 home runs during his final collegiate season, after not showing much power during his Freshman and Sophmore seasons. Larnach’s clean, slight uppercut swing is geared for power and his batting average is likely to be solid as well. Overall, we’re looking at a .280/.375/.550 middle of the order threat with 30-plus home run potential that can chip in double-digit steals as well.
10. Joey Bart (C – SFG) | Selected: Round 1, #2 overall | ETA 2020
Ranking a catcher high in any type of baseball, prospect, or fantasy baseball rankings is a risk. When doing so, you need to ask yourself one question; Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya? I’m one of the last people you’ll see rank a catcher this high, but when the shoe fits, slip that puppy on and go for a stroll. First and foremost, Bart is a strong individual. The type of strong that leads to 30-plus homer seasons. Bart has already begun to showcase that power, hitting seven homers in his first 65 at-bats. Pair that power with a potentially above-average hit tool and the ability to stay behind the plate long-term, and you have a star catcher in the making. Mark my words, at this time next year, Bart will be the top catching prospect in baseball. Go ahead, write that down.
11. Seth Beer (OF – HOU) | Selected: Round 1, #28 overall | ETA 2019/20
One of the most advanced collegiate bats in this class, Beer has wasted no time showing his immense offensive upside during his first taste of the minors. Beer profiles as a bat-only hitter, with the ability to hit for a decent average and plenty of power. The only problem is he could end up as a DH full-time as his defense at both first base and the outfield downright stink. That’s putting it nicely, too. There’s a chance Beer turns into Kyle Schwarber 2.0.
12. Kyler Murray (OF – OAK) | Selected: Round 1, #9 overall| ETA 2021
Being a two-way player is the hip, new thing that the kids are trying these days. Thanks Ohtani. But Murray is taking this two-way thing a little too far, with his other position being Quarterback of the Oklahoma Sooners. Playing outfield and QB shows the type of athleticism that Murray possesses. His speed is his most noteworthy tool, grading as plus-plus with the ability for 40-plus steals annually. Outside of that, Murray is very raw at the plate, but has solid power upside and should have at least an average hit tool, if not above-average. If Murray were a piece of steak, he’d be medium rare. But hey, that’s how I order my steak.
If you’re wondering where Carter Stewart would have landed if he had signed with Atlanta, it’d be right here. It’s too bad he didn’t sign, as he was one of the three pitchers I really liked from this draft class.
13. Marco Luciano (SS – SFG) | International Signing | ETA 2023
The fact that Luciano is this close to Mesa and is a full five years younger, speaks volumes to his ability as a hitter. Most 16-year-old hitters don’t have this combination or tools and polish. Luciano’s quick wrists and bat speed allow him to generate easy plus power to all fields while not sacrificing batting average. His defense is currently adequate enough to stay at short for now, but in the long run, he might end up in the outfield. Regardless of his position, his high offensive upside should make him a star. Just be patient and remember that he’s only 16 and not 21 like Mesa.
14. Travis Swaggerty (OF – PIT) | Selected: Round 1, #10 overall | ETA 2020
The draft was a mere five weeks ago and I’ve already come up with 463 nicknames for Travis Swaggerty, including Swaggalicious and Swaggalaggadingdong. Hey, I didn’t say they were all good nicknames. Swaggerty is a damn fine hitter, but lacks the high upside that the players ahead of him on this list possess. His speed and hit tool are both above average while his swing is geared more for line drives than home runs at the moment. Swaggerty should become a very safe and reliable fantasy hitter capable of hitting around .280 with 15-20 homers and 20-25 steals.
15. Brady Singer (RHP – KC) | Selected: Round 1, #18 overall | ETA 2020
Even though he slipped to the Royals at pick 18, there’s no doubting that Singer was a Top-10 talent. He already features a plus fastball and slider with his curve and a change not too far behind. Singer can control all of these pitches fairly well and maintain velocity and consistency deep into starts. There are only a few pitchers I would give “ace upside” to from this draft and Singer is one of them.
It’s time to multi-task! Keep up with all of our baseball coverage, but kick off your football prep and dig into our 2018 Fantasy Football Draft Kit. Then head on over to Fantrax and join a Fantasy Football league.
16. Jordyn Adams (OF – LAA) | Selected: Round 1, #17 overall | ETA 2022
This has been a ranking I’ve gone back and forth on. Adams’ speed is truly elite and will be highly valuable in the fantasy world. However, his hit tool is a work in progress. He’s gotten by with quick wrists so far, but his swing is long and will get burned by higher velocity until he simplifies it. If he does, look out. Adams currently profiles as a .250 hitter with 10-15 home runs and 40-plus steals, with the potential for much more if he can develop his hit tool. I’d hate to see his steal totals suppressed by a low OBP.
17. Nico Hoerner (SS – CHC) | Selected: Round 1, #24 overall | ETA 2020
While there’s not much power potential here, Hoerner has the ability to be a high average hitter with plenty of speed at the Major League level. He’s already swiped six bags in just seven attempts through his first 49 at-bats and has already progressed up two levels to full-season Single-A. While the speed is impressive, what’s even more impressive is Hoerner’s hit tool which grades as plus with an advanced plate approach to go along with it. Hoerner has walked twice as often as he’s struck out (8 to 4) so far.
18. Greyson Jenista (OF – ATL) | Selected: Round 2, #49 overall | ETA 2020
If early returns are any indication, the Braves got a steal at pick 49 with Jenista. A polished college bat, Jenista combines an above-average hit tool, with plus raw power that should become more and more apparent once he adds a little bit of loft to his line-drive swing. He’s going to be a special offensive talent if he does, as Jenista hits the ball hard to all fields and the added home runs would make him a borderline Top-10 player from this draft class.Oh yeah, he can run a bit too with double-digit steals being very attainable.
— KZOÑE images™ (@KZONEimages) June 18, 2018
19. Parker Meadows (OF – DET) | Selected: Round 2, #44 overall | ETA 2021
The younger brother of Austin Meadows, Parker is just as talented as his brother overall, just in different ways. While Austin is more of an average over power hitter, Parker profiles more as a .270 hitter with 25-30 HR pop. That is, if he continues to add muscle to that lanky 6’4 frame and adds a little loft to his swing. Don’t be surprised if the younger Meadows brother turns out to be better than big bro.
20. Tristan Casas (3B – BOS) | Selected: Round 1, #26 overall | ETA 2022
Making a Pablo Sandoval joke immediately after being drafted is a great way to endear yourself to Red Sox Nation. But give it some time, and that joke won’t be the only reason why Sox fans will come to love Tristan Casas. The power here is easily plus and could develop into 65 to 70-grade down the road with some development. Unfortunately, the hit tool is lagging behind and Casas strikes out more often than you would like, but that power sure is special. Casas injured his thumb during just his second professional game and will miss the remainder of the 2018 season.
21. Xavier Edwards (SS – SD) | Selected: Round 1 Comp, #38 overall | ETA 2021
While he doesn’t have much more than 10-12 HR pop, Edwards makes a ton of contact and runs wild once he gets on base. That 70-grade speed is why you’re going to want him on your fantasy team down the road. All he has to do is refine his plate approach a tad to maximize his OBP to put that speed to good use.
22. Griffin Conine (OF – TOR) | Selected: Round 2, #52 overall | ETA 2020
Though his college choice is questionable (I’m a UNC fan), Conine’s offensive abilities are not. Mainly, his plus-raw power from the left side. There’s some swing and miss concerns, but as long as he can stay in the .250-.260 range, that 35-plus home run power will play just fine.
23. Grant Lavigne (1B – COL) | Selected: Comp Balance A, #42 overall | ETA 2021
This was a perfect fit. Lavigne is a bat first prospect that will get to put his easy plus raw power on display at Coors Field in a few years. Beyond that, Lavigne has at least an average hit tool that should land him in the .260-.280 range more often than not. If you want a power bat outside the Top-20 in your FYPD, Lavigne is your guy.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) July 11, 2018
24. Matthew Liberatore (LHP – TB) | Selected: Round 1, #16 overall | ETA 2021
The first southpaw on the list, Liberatore pitches well beyond his age and has the arsenal to match. While he doesn’t have any elite offerings, all of his pitches are above-average with solid command of his entire arsenal. You don’t necessarily need to throw in the upper-90’s to become an ace in this league and Liberatore is a prime example of that.
25. Nick Schnell (OF – TB) | Selected: Round 1 Comp, #32 overall | ETA 2021
The Rays really had a solid, under the radar draft. Schnell is a toolsy prep outfielder with two potential plus tools; hit and speed. His swing is geared more for line drives right now, but he has enough raw power to blossom into a 20 home run hitter with some added loft.
26. Cole Winn (RHP – TEX) | Selected: Round 1, #15 overall | ETA 2021
One of the top prep arms in this draft, Winn features two plus pitches and can carry his velocity deep into his starts. His slider is currently his best secondary offering with late two-plane break that misses plenty of bats. He profiles as a borderline ace with high strikeout upside.
27. Orelvis Martinez (SS – TOR) | International Signing | ETA 2023
Oh look, another toolsy international shortstop. Martinez has a chance to be a special offensive talent at either short or third with plus raw power and an above-average hit tool thanks to a clean compact swing that generates good loft.
28. Alek Thomas (OF – ARI) | Selected: Round 2, #63 overall | ETA 2021
Very advanced and polished for a prep bat, Thomas features a plus hit tool and 30-steal wheels to go along with it. His swing is more gap than over the fence power, but Thomas should at lease produce 10-15 home runs annually, if not more.
29. Jeremy Eierman (SS – OAK) | Selected: Comp Balance B, #70 overall | ETA 2021
The power and speed sure are nice, but Eierman’s hit tool needs some work if he wants to put that 20/20 upside to good use. Eierman’s pitch selection has regressed over the last year and he hasn’t been using the whole field which has gotten him into some trouble. His offensive upside reminds me a lot of Franklin Barreto, which if you recall, I’m not overly high on.
30. Brice Turang (SS – MIL) | Selected: Round 1, #21 overall | ETA 2021
Already the eighth shortstop on the list, Turang is similar to Nico Hoerner offensively, except with less speed upside. The power will likely be capped in the 10-15 range, but Turang makes a ton of hard contact to all fields and is a fairly safe bet to become a solid fantasy performer.
31. Connor Scott (OF – MIA) | Selected: Round 1, #13 overall | ETA 2022
Hailing from the same high school as Kyle Tucker, Scott brings his own toolsy skill set to the minors. He’s big at 6’4 but doesn’t have a whole lot of power in that bat yet, rather focusing on contact and spraying line drives. If he can bulk up some and incorporate his lower half more consistently, 20-25 home runs aren’t out of the question to go along with his plus speed.
32. Noelvi Marte (SS – SEA) | International Signing | ETA 2023
Marte is similar to Martinez above, yet his tools aren’t quite as loud. Still, he projects as a run producer with above average power and batting average upside.
33. Jameson Hannah (OF – OAK) | Selected: Round 2, #50 overall | ETA 2021
Hailing from a college most people outside of Texas have never heard of, Hannah carries significant fantasy upside without much risk. He’s a hitter, through and through. Hannah has an advanced approach at the plate, reads pitches well, and makes plenty of hard contact. While his swing is more geared for line drives, Hannah’s strength should give him at least double-digit pop in the majors to go along with his near 70-grade speed.
34. Joe Gray (OF – MIL) | Selected: Round 2, #60 overall | ETA 2022
Gray is a player I’ve gone back and forth with quite a few times. He’s another one of those power and speed threats with a below-average hit tool and plate approach. Gray gets by now with quick bat speed but he’s going to have to tighten his swing up or his swing and miss tendencies will be attached by more advanced pitching.
35. Noah Naylor (C – CLE) | Selected: Round 1, #29 overall: ETA 2022
Our lone Canadian on the list, Naylor has the chance to hit for both average and power at the Major League level, though neither tool projects as plus. He should settle in as a .280/20 type of hitter which would likely make him a Top-10 catcher down the road if he remains at the position.
36. Shane McClanahan (LHP – TB) | Selected: Round 1 Comp, #31 overall | ETA 2020
This ranking might end up being way too low if McClanahan can harness his control and develop more of a breaking ball. He currently has a mid-90’s fastball from the left side and pairs that with an equally as effective changeup with fade. If he can develop slider into a true weapon, watch out.
37. Steele Walker (OF – CHW) | Selected: Round 2, #46 overall | ETA 2020
If you’re looking for a safe option, here he is. Walker has a plus hit tool and advanced feel for hitting, but his power and speed are merely average and will never likely grow past the 15-20 range each unless he changes his approach at the plate and adds some strength and loft.
38. Jake McCarthy (OF – ARI) | Comp Round A, #39 overall | ETA 2020
McCarthy isn’t the player that will wow you offensively, but he controls the strike zone well and should get on base at a high clip. That high OBP will allow him to showcase his plus wheels that helped him swipe 36 bags in 85 games at the University of Virginia.
39. Logan Gilbert (RHP – SEA) | Selected: Round 1, #14 overall | ETA 2020
Although he was selected in the Top-15, Gilbert is more of a safe, mid-rotation type, rather than a frontline starter. His fastball sits in the low-90’s with some life, but outside of thet Gilbert has a very pedestril arsenal with not one plus secondary offering.
40. Triston Pompey (OF – MIA) | Selected: Round 3, #89 overall | ETA 2020
Pompey could end up being one of the biggest sleepers from this MLB draft. He often gets undervalued due to not having one standout tool, but Pompey has a solid approach and quick, clean swing from both sides of the plate and has shown the ability to hit for power and steal bases. Basically, he does everything really well.
Rest of Top-100 & Full Rankings
|8||Victor Victor Mesa||OF||Unsigned||INTL||N/A||N/A|
|34||Joe Gray Jr.||OF||MIL||Prep||2||60|
|53||Jose De La Cruz||OF||DET||INTL||N/A||N/A|
|57||Lenny Torres Jr.||RHP||CLE||Prep||CBA||41|
|71||DaShawn Keirsey Jr.||OF||MIN||NCAA||4||124|