Dynasty Dugout: Top Infield Prospects from the 2018 MLB Draft
This year’s MLB draft was chock-full of intriguing hitting prospects in the first round. So much in fact, that I needed to break it up into two separate articles or risk this being a 4K word piece. When it comes to the top infield prospects taken this draft, the name of the game is power. The term “plus power” gets used a lot when talking about these guys and I even compared one to a young Troy Glaus. Interested? Even if power isn’t your thing, there are plenty of high contact hitters and a few speedsters below too.
Miss out of the pitchers’ breakdown last week? You can find that here.
2018 MLB Draft – Top Infield Prospects Taken
Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
Selected: 2nd – San Francisco Giants
When you watch Joey Bart at the plate, it’s easy to get a tad giddy about his offensive potential. First, Bart looks the part of a middle of the order slugger at 6’3 and 225 pounds and has the bat to back it up. Bart has a quick, slight uppercut swing and can generate easy loft and power to all fields. His impressive raw power doesn’t come at the expense of his batting average either as Bart has the upside to hit north of .270 annually. There’s not much here for speed, but hey, he’s a catcher after all.
The expectations will always be high for him after being drafted 2nd overall, but Bart has the ability to back it up and become one of the top offensive threats at the position within the next few years. He’s adequate enough defensively to stay behind the plate long-term as well, so don’t worry about a position change any time soon.
In 2018, Joey Bart led the ACC in batting average (.359), finished 2nd in slugging percentage (.632) & hits (79) and finished in the top 10 in HRs (16), runs scored (55), and on-base percentage (.471).
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) June 5, 2018
Alec Bohm, 3B, Wichita St
Selected: 3rd – Philadelphia Phillies
It wasn’t much of a shock that the Phillies took Wichita St. Shockers third baseman, Alec Bohm, with their first pick of the draft. Like with Bart above, Bohm is a presence at the plate, standing in at 6’5 and 240 pounds. At the plate is where Bohm is going to make a name for himself as his defense at the hot corner is suspect.
Bohm uses his big frame and quick wrists to generate easy plus raw power and makes hard contact more often than not. His plate approach improved every collegiate season to the point where he had a .436 OBP with more walks (39) than strikeouts (28) during his final season. Bohm’s big stick should allow him to become a Top-10 fantasy third baseman or first baseman if he’s forced to shift across the diamond, which is looking likely.
Nick Madrigal, SS, Oregon St
Selected: 4th – Chicago White Sox
Alright, how about we switch it up a little. Nick Madrigal is not going to hit in the middle of the order for the White Sox. No sir. Madrigal is a leadoff or No. 2 hitter to the bone. The easiest way to describe Madrigal at the plate is contact, contact, and more contact. He hit .406 during his final collegiate season and a robust .370 for his career as a Beaver. More impressively, Madrigal only struck out 35 times in his 565 career at-bats.
He uses a big leg kick to time pitches and his lightning-quick bat speed generates hard contact to all fields. Madrigal will likely never be a power threat, but there’s plenty of gap power here and the upside to win more than one batting title in his career while being a decent threat on the basepaths. Madrigal has leadoff or number two hitter written all over him which is something the White Sox currently lack. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better pure hitter in this draft class.
Nick Madrigal is going to be all of your favorite baseball players one day
— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) June 4, 2018
Jonathan India, 3B, Florida
Selected: 5th – Cincinnati Reds
At this time last year, India wasn’t looking like a player that would be drafted in the first five rounds, let alone the first five picks overall. Then he decided to go all bonkers on the SEC to the tune of a .360/.500/.729/1.229 slash line with 19 homers, 47 RBIs, 61 runs, and 12 steals in 203 at-bats. A lot of this breakout can be attributed to India’s much-improved plate approach which saw his walk rate more than double from 9.2% to 19.0% His strikeout rate also rose a tad, but still came in under 20 percent.
All those numbers are certainly impressive, but how much of that translates to wooden bats still remains to be seen. During his two summers in the wooden bat Cape Cod league, India only managed one dinger in 140 at-bats. He profiles as a .280-plus hitter with above-average speed, but the power will determine how much of a fantasy asset he eventually becomes. We would be looking at an Alex Bregman type of offensive performer if his 2018 power surge stays.
Jordan Groshans, SS/3B, Magnolia HS (Texas)
Selected: 12th – Toronto Blue Jays
This was an upside pick for the Blue Jays. Groshans is one of the top prep bats in this class, but has a long way to go to fully capitalize on his offensive potential. If he can reach his full potential, the Blue Jays will have ANOTHER impact bat on the left side of their infield to try and make room for. Groshans, like most of the infielders selected so far, is on the taller side at 6’4″, but hasn’t fully filled out that frame yet. Once he does, his already above-average raw power should become more of an asset than it already is.
Groshans doesn’t sacrifice average for power either. Isn’t that nice of him? He uses a substantial leg kick to time pitches and his plus bat speed generates hard contact to all fields. While more of a line drive hitter now, Groshans could develop into a 30-plus home run threat with some added loft to his swing.
Nolan Gorman, 3B, Sandra Day O’Connor HS (Arizona)
Selected: 19th – St. Louis Cardinals
If power hitters make you drool then you better grab a bib and a roll of bounty paper towels here. Heck, grab a mop while you’re at it. With all due respect to the other sluggers taken in this first round, Nolan Gorman has the most power. Is it 60-grade power you ask? Nope, try 65 or 70-grade. This kid can flat out mash the baseball with quick wrists and a clean swing that’s built for power. Loft is certainly not lacking from Gorman’s swing.
Now, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows here. Gorman does have a tendency to get into funks and has some swing and miss tendencies (but who doesn’t nowadays) that will suppress his average at times. However, he still profiles as a middle-of-the-order masher capable of hitting .260-.280 with 35-plus home runs annually. He reminds me a lot of a young left-handed Troy Glaus. Don’t make me regret that comp kid.
In first-year player drafts, Gorman shouldn’t be sliding out of the Top 5. He’s that good.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 5, 2018
Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (California)
Selected: 21st – Milwaukee Brewers
We go from one end of the spectrum with Gorman’s power to the other end with Brice Turang’s speed. That plus-speed is Turang’s best asset and is what fantasy owners are going to covet. Turang has a quick first step and reads pitchers well, which paired with his speed, should net him plenty of steals in his professional career.
It also helps that he’s an on-base machine with an advanced approach at the plate and a solid feel for hitting. Turang has a quick, line-drive swing and can use the entire field to his advantage. That swing isn’t geared for much power, but as he matures physically, Turang could settle in around 15 home runs per season to go along with a strong batting average and plenty of stolen bases.
Anthony Seigler, C, Cartersville HS (Georgia)
Selected: 23rd – New York Yankees
Seigler might have been the second catcher drafted this year, but he’s still miles behind Mr. Bart. However, that’s not to say that Seigler doesn’t have some offensive upside of his own. It’s just not the type of profile that gets us all excited to have him on our dynasty squads. First off, the power is below average and likely always will be. Seigler has more of a line drive swing and isn’t as strong as he lets on. He still makes hard contact to all fields, though, thanks to some quick bat speed, so expect some decent batting averages from Seigler in the future to go along with 10-15 homers and maybe even a handful of steals mixed in for good measure.
Nico Hoerner, SS, Stanford
Selected: 24th – Chicago Cubs
Just the other day, I was having a discussing with a colleague where he brought up the name Tommy La Stella when discussing Nico Hoerner. I then went onto describe Hoerner to say how he’s different and came away saying, “Damn, I basically just described Tommy La Stella”. If you add in more speed potential, you go from La Stella to Hoerner. The Stanford product has 40-grade power on a good day and will likely struggle to reach double-digit homers most seasons. However, he does make a lot of contact with a solid approach at the plate that should help him hit in the vicinity of .280-.300. In other words, don’t hurt yourself trying to get him in dynasty leagues.
Matt McLain, 2B, Beckman HS (California)
Selected: 25th – Arizona Diamondbacks
Though this pick was viewed as a bit of a reach, McLain shouldn’t be looked over in dynasty formats. The 5’10” middle infielder possesses a solid, yet unspectacular offensive profile. The first things you notice about McLain are his quick wrists and line drive swing that should turn into more home run power as he matures as a hitter. For now, he should hit for a high average around .300 and add in 20-plus steals.
Triston Casas, 3B, American Heritage School (Florida)
Selected: 26th – Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox got a great value pick when slugging third baseman, Triston Casas, fell into their laps. When you take Gorman out of the equation, Casas is in the running for best power in this first round. He uses a moderate leg kick and strong lower half to time pitches and drive them hard with natural loft. Unfortunately, he has more holes in his swing than the other sluggers above him and that could lead to some batting average troubles down the road. While he does strike out more than desired, Casas also can work a walk and should still register a strong OBP even if the average is a tad on the low side.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 5, 2018
Noah Naylor, C, St Joan of Arc Catholic SS (Canada)
Selected: 29th – Cleveland Indians
The Indians currently have the top catching prospect in the minors but decided to add another high upside catcher to their farm system with Josh Naylor’s little brother Noah. The Canadian lefty swinger combines a solid hit tool with above-average raw power and can even run a little bit for a catcher. His defensive abilities should keep him behind the plate long-term, which combined with his offensive upside, makes him a very intriguing prospect for dynasty leagues.
Cadyn Grenier, SS, Oregon St
Selected: 37th – Baltimore Orioles
Lets not sugar coat this one. Grenier was drafted more for his defensive abilities than his abilities with the lumber. The first thing I noticed was that Grenier has a slight hitch in his swing and can be a bit long to the ball in the strike zone. He can sometimes make up for this with his quick wrists, but he’s likely going to have a hard time with higher velocity as he progresses through the minors. Grenier has some speed which will help his fantasy value, but once you pair that with minimal power and a so-so hit tool, the overall package doesn’t look that appealing.
Xavier Edwards, SS, North Broward Prep HS (Florida)
Selected: 38th – San Diego Padres
Even though he almost fell into the second round, Xavier Edwards is one of the most intriguing middle infield prospects in this first round. Why? His elite speed, that’s why. We’re talking easy 70-grade speed and dare I say potentially 80-grade speed. A switch-hitter, Edwards makes a ton of contact with a quick, compact swing and can use the entire field. Once he gets on base, he’s an absolute menace. Expect some .280/40 steal seasons in his future as a top of the order dynamo. Just don’t expect him to crack double-digit homers any time soon.
Grant Lavigne, 1B, Bedford HS (New Hampshire)
Selected: 42nd – Colorado Rockies
Though it was a bit of a reach, I’m just ecstatic to see a fellow New Englander selected in the first round from a school just two hours away from where I sit right now. Hailing from Bedford, New Hampshire, Grant Lavigne is a beast at the plate and has the bat to back it up. His immense raw power is obvious from the get-go and he makes plenty of contact for a slugger his size, which will help him hit for a respectable average. Don’t sleep on Lavigne in dynasty leagues. Power hitters that make a lot of contact usually fair pretty damn well at Coors Field.
Stay tuned for the first round outfield prospects next week!