We’re less than two weeks away from the 2018 MLB Draft, another crucial opportunity for all 30 teams to add young talent to their farm systems. This year’s class is full of talented college players who could make an impact in the near future, including potential aces and middle-of-the-order sluggers.
Auburn pitcher Casey Mize is widely considered the top player in the class, and he’s the consensus first overall pick for the Tigers based on five mock drafts from prominent outlets. Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart, Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm, Florida pitcher Brady Singer and Oregon State infielder Nick Madrigal may give Mize a run, but he’s looking like the probable top pick right now.
The White Sox have the No. 4 overall pick, and that means they’ll get to pick someone from that group of elite college prospects listed above. Madrigal, a infielder who overcomes a small frame (5’7, 160 pounds) to put up big numbers, seems like an obvious target. He’s batting .435/.496/.620 with two home runs and eight stolen bases in 26 games this season.
But there’s a chance Madrigal off the board by the fourth pick, in which case GM Rick Hahn will need to go in a different direction.
Here’s a breakdown of the Sox’ projected picks.
ESPN: SS/2B Nick Madrigal, Oregon State
CBS Sports: SS/2B Nick Madrigal, Oregon State
The Athletic: 3B Alec Bohm, Wichita State
MLB.com: 3B Alec Bohm, Wichita State
Sporting News: SS/2B Nick Madrigal, Oregon State
Bohm is a power-hitting third baseman who could step into the middle of a fierce Sox batting order with Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada. He’s a bigger guy who doesn’t project to be a plus defensively at third and may need to move to first base eventually, but the bat should play well. Bohm has hit .332/.433/.616 with 15 home runs, 38 walks and 24 strikeouts in 54 games this season.
The Cubs won’t be able to get a prospect like that with the No. 24 overall pick, but they’re still going to add a good talent to the farm system. It’ll be an important pick after the team gave up much of its high-level prospect depth in recent seasons to trades and promotions.
There’s a lot more uncertainty when you’re talking about No. 24 versus No. 4, so the mock drafts aren’t on the same page with what the Cubs will do. Here are the projections.
ESPN: C Noah Taylor, St. Joan of Arc HS (Ontario)
CBS Sports: RHP Ethan Hankins, Forsyth Central HS (Georgia)
The Athletic: OF Greyson Jenista, Wichita State
MLB.com: RHP Sean Hjelle, Kentucky
Sporting News: OF Connor Scott, Plant HS (Florida)
Not only is there disagreement over the players being chosen, but they’re different types of players, too. There are a couple of high school hitters, a college outfielder, a high school pitcher and a college pitcher. So basically, nobody knows what the Cubs are going to do with that pick right now, and it may depend heavily on what happens with the 23 picks ahead of them.