With the 2018 MLB Draft just over a week away, I want to highlight some names to keep an eye on as possibilities when the Dodgers draft with the 30th overall pick. Since Los Angeles only has two picks in the first 100 selections, their bonus pool is the smallest it has been in the Friedman/Gasparino era. That will likely rule out a handful of high school players with high bonus aspirations, but the draft is plenty deep in prep upside that should the Dodgers choose that route, as has been mentioned, they will have a handful of options.
Looking at the drafts under Gasparino though, it might be more plausible that the Dodgers elect to go the collegiate route early once again, and will likely do so predominantly on day two as well. With that in mind, here are 10 names worth monitoring at the back of the first round that might fit either profile.
Note, I will include my current big board ranking for each player, but I don’t plan on releasing the full 200-name board until next week.
Jordyn Adams, OF
Green Hope High School (NC) | Rank: 21
Adams might be the most athletic prep prospect in this year’s draft, bringing a projectable frame to grow into pop while also flashing plus speed and twitchiness. The athleticism has also made him a standout football player with a solid commitment to North Carolina to play both sports. Adams might be a tough sign for this reason, but his ceiling could make a team stretch their budget.
Adams’ offensive game is a little raw and his swing will need some cleaning up for professional ball. He has a fairly level plane and will need to add leverage to tap into his pop. He has plus bat speed and will only get stronger as he progresses, and with his speed, he has 30-30 potential. If he’s signable, there are enough teams ahead of Los Angeles with a track record of gambling on high ceiling athletes that seeing him fall to 30 could be little bit of a stretch.
Jeremy Eierman, SS
Missouri State | Rank: 23
Eierman has the profile of a Billy Gasparino pick. He entered the season with a much better national profile, but after a slow start, and hot starts by others, his name has faded on some national rankings. Eierman’s second half has shown more of the power that made him a top prospect for the draft, and his exit velocity should have Los Angeles’ attention.
Eierman might be a better fit defensively at third or even second base, but he’s a good athlete with arm strength for the left side. He has shown a stronger speed profile this season to go with his power, but swing and miss concerns will weigh on his draft stock. A middle infielder can hit for power and is capable of 20-20 seasons should go higher than 30, and he very well may, but his name in mock drafts has been creeping toward the back of the first round. I’d expect Gasparino to pounce if he was available.
Jordan Groshans, 3B
Magnolia High School (Tex.) | Rank: 24
I haven’t seen Los Angeles specifically linked to Groshans, but if they are considered to be onto other prep athletes I don’t see why they wouldn’t be interested in a toolshed like Groshans. A high school shortstop, Groshans could be left to try the position, but looks like the prototype of the athletic third baseman with solid quickness and arm strength. His bat has the potential to handle the demand of either position, with reportedly some of the stronger exit velocities on the summer circuit.
Groshans has a flatter, line drive approach presently, but you could easily see him adding loft to his current swing mechanics. He has the frame to add bulk and should grow into above average game power. Groshans profile isn’t too dissimilar to Corey Seager’s out of high school. A Kansas commit, Groshans would likely forego the chance to play with his brother for a year should he get the chance to sign for first round money.
Alek Thomas, OF
Mount Carmel High School (Ill.) | Rank: 25
One of the most polished hitters in the high school crop, Thomas shows a beautiful left handed stroke that is capable of hitting for both average and power. He has smooth, slight uppercut and generates above average bat speed with a quick trigger. Thomas’ bat is probably the most pro ready of the prep players linked to the Dodgers.
Though he’s not that athlete that Adams is, Thomas is also a two way player that has been signed to play football at Texas Christian, but could be signable with first round money. He’s not as projectable as the prep players above him, and he might eventually fit best in left field. She he develop as Los Angeles would hope, his bat will play regardless of where he ends up defensively, and Thomas is the one prep player on this list most likely to be available when the Dodgers select at 30.
Griffin Roberts, RHP
Wake Forest | Rank: 28
I might be the high man on Roberts, but since moving to the Friday night role for the Deacons, Roberts has translated his high strikeout percentage to longer stints and looks like a bonafide, fast moving mid rotation starter or late/multi-inning reliever. Roberts has arguably the best breaking ball in college baseball in his mid 80’s slider that he can manipulate for downer bite or sweeping action. Roberts 92-95 mph sinker is a capable secondary pitch, and his ¾ slot gives his changeup solid tumble.
Roberts has racked up the strikeouts but he hasn’t consistently suppressed hits or dominated, and that might be related to fatigue and usage. Roberts might look like a small reach on draft day, but he might represent some savings on slot and could move quickly through the organization, giving Los Angeles more financial leverage for later in the draft, and a more attractive asset to maneuver within the organization. With the proper development Roberts could develop as either a strikeout heavy mid rotation starter or even a middle inning stopper in the mold of Chris Devenski.
The last five names are what I’d consider long-shots, either because they won’t likely reach pick 30, or might represent too much risk for the organization given their limited amount of high draft selections this year.
Logan Gilbert, Stetson RHP (Rank: 7): Gilbert has been one of the best performers and leading whiff producers in college baseball this year, and even dominated the Cape Cod League. It’s hard to point to one pitch and give it an easy plus grade, but the complete package and track record makes him one of the safer arms in this draft. While I have him ranked quite high, Gilbert has drifted into the 20’s in many recent mock drafts. I still think there are enough data inclined teams ahead of Los Angeles that will elect to not pass up on a polished collegian with a high whiff rate.
Ryan Rolison, Ole Miss LHP (Rank: 16): Rolison was at one time tabbed as the Dodgers’ selection in a Baseball America mock draft, but his age (just a draft eligible sophomore), strikeout rates and left handedness should see him drafted in the mid 20’s.
JT Ginn, Brandon HS (Miss.) RHP (Rank: 19): The current projection on Baseball America’s mock, this may not feel like a long shot, but the risk/reward on a player like Ginn is high enough that I am not convinced the Dodgers would make the bet on a pitcher with just two picks in the top 100. Ginn is an undersized arm that reaches the upper 90’s and flashes a power breaking ball, but also looks like a reliever. He has Craig Kimbrel type upside in the pen, though.
Parker Meadows, Grayson HS (GA) OF (Rank: 35): The Dodgers have been linked to other toolsy prep outfielders, so Meadows makes sense, but like Ginn, he has some risk associated with him that might rule him out with limited picks. Meadows is not as fluid an athlete as either Adams or Thomas, and has enough swing and miss concern that I worry he might require more time to conquer the full season ball leap.
Anthony Siegler, Cartersville HS (GA) C (Rank: 38): Sieger is built like recent Dodgers catching draftees or trades like Will Smith and Austin Barnes, and catchers are always in demand. However, from an organizational hierarchy, you can have too much of a good thing, and with Smith, Keibert Ruiz, Connor Wong, and possibly top international signee for 2018 Diego Cartaya already preparing to man the position, high end catching is a very crowded field. I would ignore the logjam if I felt Siegler was special, but I think he’s “merely” very good, and he’s also been going ahead of pick 30 in recent mock drafts.