As the 2018 MLB draft approaches there isn’t a lot of clarity in the top ten picks much less much further down the first round. Most publications put up some form of mock draft trying to match teams with things they’ve seen, and this is what has been put in print.
16th Overall Pick - $3,603,500
- Baseball America - 1B Triston Casas, American Heritage High School (Plantation, FL)
- ESPN.com (Keith Law) - IF Noah Naylor, St. Joan of Arc High School (Mississauga, Ontario)
- MLB.com (Jonathan Mayo) - 1B Triston Casas, American Heritage High School (Plantation, FL)
- MLB.com (Jim Callis) - 1B Triston Casas, American Heritage High School (Plantation, FL)
- Fangraphs.com (Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniels) - RHP Mason Denaburg, Merrit Island (FL) High School
- 2080 Baseball - RHP Mason Denaburg, Merrit Island (FL) High School
Three of the five mocks have the Rays taking high school first baseman Triston Casas. This seems like the complete opposite of what the Rays are likely to focus on their first three picks. Any high school athlete wouldn’t surprise me, but Casas absolutely would. I have no inside information and it’s possible they know something here.
Noah Naylor is a catcher who might have to move to third, but the bat should play anywhere. Naylor has been connected to the Rays in many mocks and would make sense with one of their top three picks.
Mason Denaburg missed about two months of his senior year due to arm injuries. It’s been reported that high level Rays decision makers saw his last two starts. Denaburg was dominant and an arm I expect to be in play at one of the top three picks.
The same group of players has been to connected to the Rays at all three of their top picks including high school outfielders Connor Scott, Alek Thomas, Jordyn Adams, and Nick Schnell along with high school short stops Brice Turang and Xavier Edwards.
31st Overall Pick - $2,224,400
- Baseball America - RHP Grayson Rodriguez, Central Heights High School (Nacogdoches, TX)
- MLB.com (Mayo) - RHP Mason Denaburg, Merrit Island (FL) High School
- MLB.com (Callis) - C/3B Noah Naylor, St. Joan of Arc High School (Mississauga, Ontario)
- Fangraphs (Longenhagen and McDaniels) - CF Connor Scott, Plant High School (Tampa, FL)
- 2080 Baseball - C/3B Noah Naylor, St. Joan of Arc High School (Mississauga, Ontario)
Grayson Rodriguez is a big high school right hander that has rocketed up draft boards with his velocity. He’s throwing mid 90s and has reached 98 with some feel for a breaking ball.
MLB.com has two picks going to the Rays at 16 falling to them at 31. either would be a good pickup.
Fangraphs has the Rays picking up the local kid from across the bay in center fielder Connor Scott. I would be pretty surprised if the Rays don’t end up with at least one of the first round type HS OF talents, but in most mocks it looks like to get Scott they might have to snag him with their pick at 16.
32nd Overall Pick - $2,171,700
- Baseball America - OF Steele Walker, University of Oklahoma
- MLB.com (Mayo) - OF Nick Schnell, Roncalli High School (Indianapolis, IN)
- MLB.com (Callis) - RHP JT Ginn, Brandon (MS) High School
- Fangraphs (Longenhagen and McDaniels) - C Noah Naylor, St. Joan of Arc High School (Mississauga, Ontario)
- 2080 Baseball - OF Trevor Larnach, Oregon State University
Steele Walker is the first college player mocked to go to the Rays. It looks like the Rays are mostly on high school players at the top of the draft which makes a lot of sense with their bonus pool. Walker is a power hitting outfielder that has a swing that can get a little long.
Nick Schnell is one of the high school outfielders that has had his name connected to a number of teams starting in the middle of the first round. Getting Schnell with this pick would be a positive outcome.
JT Ginn is a old for a high school draftee. He’s already 19 and maxed out physically. According to Longenhagen and McDaniels he has the best two-pitch mix in the draft with his fastball and slider; he also has a workable changeup. There is considerable risk however due to a high effort delivery.
Naylor was picked by five of the six mock drafts with Jonathan Mayo’s mock at MLB.com being the only holdout.
I am a big fan of Trevor Larnach. He has big power and is limited to the corner outfield. He’s very reminiscent of former Oregon State player Michael Conforto. It’s unlikely he’s available for the Rays at their second or third picks, but would be a great get if he is.
Fangraphs mocked out two rounds and had the Rays taking 2B Matt McClain out of Beckham (CA) High school and 2B Tyler Frank out of Florida Atlantic University with their 71st pick.
Which player would you like to see the Rays draft with the 16th pick?
This poll is closed
1B Triston Casas
IF Noah Naylor
RHP Mason Denaburg
CF Connor Scott
RHP Grayson Rodriguez
CF Nick Schnell
CF Jordyn Adams
CF Alek Thomas
SS Brice Turang
SS Xavier Edwards
Other (Comment below)