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MLB Draft 2018: Grades for all 30 teams

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Do you want to know how your team did in the 2018 MLB Draft? Uh, well, this is certainly one possible link you could have clicked.

Wade Rackley | Auburn Athletics

You’re here for MLB Draft grades. Specifically, grades for each team that participated in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft. Another way to put it is that you’re interested in 2018 MLB Draft grades. I can help you with that.

Except, I have to warn you, I keep getting in trouble for this. The first time I gave draft grades, I gave everyone an F. The year after that, I gave everyone an A, and people were still mad! Then I got a teensy bit creative and tried to describe the enduring mystery of every draft pick, and people got mad at that!

Last year, I turned in my draft grades before the draft actually started, which made my editor pretty upset.

This year, no more funny business. You got me. These are honest draft grades, and they’re the sum of my amateur baseball knowledge. Who won this year’s MLB Draft? Well, I have grades to determine this.

1. Detroit Tigers — Casey Mize, RHP

Mize will be worth 19.4 WAR for the Tigers over seven seasons, and although he’ll never win a championship with them, he’ll be a part of something memorable.

Let’s look at the first-overall picks who won a World Series with the team that drafted them:

  1. Chipper Jones
  2. Darryl Strawberry
  3. Darin Erstad
  4. Pat Burrell
  5. Carlos Correa

That’s out of 52 players drafted with the top pick in the draft. So there’s a 10-percent chance, roughly, that this shiny new Mize will contribute to a championship for the Tigers. If it doesn’t seem like a lot, that’s because it isn’t.

Except having a tunnel-vision definition of success that absolutely must include a World Series is unfair. More than that, it’s dumb. Do the Twins regret taking the hometown kid, the catcher who has built a potential Hall of Fame career? Don’t the Rays have fond memories of David Price, the best pitcher in the history of their franchise? And what of Ken Griffey, Jr., who came along when the Mariners were drawing under a million fans every year, and breathed life into the franchise?

When Mize takes the mound for the first time, he’ll be the embodiment of hope. The Tigers lost an awful lot of games to get this pick; here is their reward. There will be times — entire seasons, perhaps — when it will look like it was all worth it.

Right now, Tigers fans get to close their eyes and dream of better days. The first-overall pick is always an A. For a little while, at least.

Grade - A


2. San Francisco Giants — Joey Bart, C

On Oct. 31, 2024, Bart will fly out to shallow left-center field in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the World Series. It will be the second out of the inning, and the runners on first and second will not advance.

However, if Bart isn’t drafted in 2018, the person hitting seventh for the Giants in 2024 will be Michael Taylor, signed to a two-year deal the offseason before. Taylor would have had a fine season, but he also would have hit into a double play that ended the game and sent the World Series to a Game 7.

They would have lost Game 7.

With Bart hitting that fly ball and avoiding the double play, he will allow Steven Duggar to come up and hit one of the most memorable doubles in World Series history.

What a great, franchise-altering pick.

Grade - A


3. Philadelphia Phillies — Alec Bohm, 3B

He’ll be ready. Well, almost ready. Right when the Phillies need him, he’ll be ready. Probably.

Dang, maybe he’s not ready.

So in 2021, when the Phillies are in a fierce battle for the NL East, they’ll make a trade for another third baseman, just because they aren’t sure they can trust Bohm. Someone in the front office mumbles something about defense.

It’s a terrible decision. Bohm would have saved them. He would have justified their confidence. The player they’ll get in a trade instead (really, Evan Longoria?) will be a total flop, and they finish in second place.

Bohm ends up having a nice career with the Phillies, but you’ll always wonder what could have been.

Grade - C+


4. Chicago White Sox — Nick Madrigal, 2B

It will take a couple of years, but nobody will remember the controversy of 2057. That’s when Madrigal, a beloved announcer, regretfully says, “I just wish they would spend some of that Mars money to fix the potholes around this damned place, man” over a hot mic.

It will be a huge mistake.

The Mars Project, a nationalized effort that is widely considered the last-ditch effort to save humanity, is beyond criticism and beyond reproach at this point. It’s not funny to even joke about in the political climate of ‘57, and Madrigal almost loses his job.

But he doesn’t, and it’s a good thing. Madrigal continues as one of the most beloved color commentators in team history, regaling the masses with his wit and astute analysis. White Sox baseball is more enjoyable to watch because of this draft pick.

He’ll also be worth 34.2 WAR as a player.

Good pick.

Grade - A-


5. Cincinnati Reds — Jonathan India, 3B

India will be traded for a veteran at the deadline in 2020. It’s shocking now, but not at the time. Really, nobody expected the Reds to be contending, but nobody expected Billy Hamilton to be hitting .302/.389/.501 in the first half either.

When you’re dealt those cards, you push more in the middle of the pile. I can’t fault them for that.

Daniel Mengden won’t help a ton, and the Reds won’t win the Central, but you gotta shoot your shots.

India hits 238 career home runs, finishing in the top-10 for MVP voting twice. Just not for the Reds.

Grade - B-


6. New York Mets — Jerred Kelenic, OF

Look, you know I’m just goofing around, right? I have no idea how any of these kids are going to do, and this is all a long-winded reminder that the MLB Draft is a crapshoot. Any draft grade is going to look dumb. So if you’re a high school or college kid who was just drafted, or if you’re related to one of them, please note that this is satire. These grades are not serious. They will not explain how the lives of these teenagers and college kids will actually unfold.

To predict something like this with any degree of certainty would be absolutely foolish.

To predict something like this with any degree of certainty would be absolutely foolish.

That written, this Mets prospect was picked up in 2020 by a huge roc and dropped into a volcano. “Ow, my shoulder!”, he remarked as he disappeared over the horizon. Probably because of the huge roc talons that were digging into his shoulder.

It was his fault for getting drafted by the Mets.

Grade - D


7. San Diego Padres — Ryan Weathers, LHP

Weathers will never throw a no-hitter for the Padres.

Grade - B+


8. Atlanta Braves — Carter Stewart, RHP

On Opening Day, 2037, the Braves will welcome Stewart back. He’ll get a modest ovation in the pre-game introductions, but not because he’s a legacy Brave. His few seasons with the Braves were fine, but nothing that would put him on a wall of fame. He appreciated his time in Atlanta enough to seek them out when he was a free agent again, and the fit was right.

In a game on May 8 of that same year, someone will hit a pop up. The catcher will sprint toward the dugout and lunge over the railing to make the catch, and the only thing that will keep him from tumbling into the dugout is Stewart, who will need every ounce of his old-man strength to keep the catcher from falling face first.

Without Stewart on the team and in the dugout, the catcher would tear his labrum, and he would never be the same. An all-star career will have been snuffed out before it had a chance to get going. He would have floated around as a first baseman for a while, but everyone talks about the Gold Glove that would have been.

And that catcher’s name ... will be Telb Ammauro.

Trust me, that part will seem like a more dramatic reveal by 2044, when Ammauro is on a Hall of Fame path.

Without Stewart, who knows what the Braves would have done? Who would have become the best catcher of a generation instead?

We’ll never know.

And for that, the Braves will have Stewart — an older, wiser veteran version of that prospect from years ago — to thank.

You won’t believe the arm on Ammauro.

Grade - A


9. Oakland Athletics — Kyler Murray, OF

Did you know the A’s are going to build a danged gondola? Yep, it will take you from BART to the ballpark, which is both extremely handy and cool. And when this ballpark is built, when the A’s have finally polished their rough stone of a franchise, they’ll need a hero.

On Opening Night, here is that hero. Amidst the wonder and giddiness of a fan base that’s in disbelief that this ballpark is real, Murray will take Craig Kimbrel deep in the ninth inning of the first game at Shasta Cola Stadium.

It’s real. The A’s are staying, and they’ll probably stay for another 100 years. As the fireworks go off, Murray will hang out on the field for a few extra minutes, soaking up the cheers.

Experts will bicker about his value for the next 10 years, and whether he should have stuck with football, but A’s fans will always remember his walk-off homer on that night.

Grade — A-


10. Pittsburgh Pirates - Travis Swaggerty, OF

During the 2031 season, Swaggerty will make the All-Star Game with the Orioles. He’ll be their only representative, and by chance, the game will happen to be in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates fans can give him a round of applause for services rendered.

He will be a solid player for many years with the Pirates. Shirseys will be sold.

One day, you’ll look up, and a pudgy 63-year-old Swaggerty will be giving signs from the third-base coaching box, and you’ll wonder when that happened. Then you’ll look down, and guess what, you’ll be old and fat, too.

Grade — B


11. Baltimore Orioles - Grayson Rodriguez, RHP

Really, some of these grades should have capsules in which the players don’t make the majors. Most of these grades should have capsules in which the players don’t make the majors. Them’s the odds, right? But I don’t want some poor kid googling himself the day after the draft to see what people are saying, only to miss some internet hack’s dumb joke.

So instead, I’m going to lay off for a bit. This Orioles pick will win 217 games, and in 20 years, when someone does a redraft of the 2018 draft, Rodriguez will be the first-overall pick. What a career this kid will have.

It would be much easier to assume that the Orioles would draft a player who would get swallowed up by a sinkhole that swall the earth, but that’s what we know about the 2018 Orioles.

Maybe this is the player who turns it around for the franchise.

Grade — A+


12. Toronto Blue Jays - Jordan Groshans, SS

On July 31, 2021, with the seconds ticking down to the deadline, the Blue Jays will have a choice: They’ll have to trade Groshans, their best prospect, or they’ll have to stand pat.

Standing pat is brutal. After two straight ALCS berths but no pennant, the pressure will be on them to make some sort of deadline impact.

On the other hand, their farm system is in a bad way, with Groshans being the only real prospect that other teams want. Everyone else has graduated. So the other teams all ask for Groshans, even though the Blue Jays don’t want to give him up. He’s the only asset they have for an impact deal.

The deadline is coming. Tick tock. Tick tock.

They stand pat. No deal.

Groshans has a solid career with the Blue Jays, all things considered.

But they’ll lose in the ALDS this time, with their bullpen the culprit yet again. And they’ll always wonder about the trade they didn’t make.

It wasn’t Groshans’ fault that he was the best prospect in a bad system at the worst time.

But what if, you know? What if?

They wouldn’t have given up that homer to Josh Donaldson if they had swung that deal for Amir Garrett, that’s for sure.

Also, to be clear, Donaldson is on the Yankees in this scenario.

Grade — C-


13. Miami Marlins — Connor Scott, OF

Scott will hit for the cycle on June 28, 2029 in his first game against his old team, and the only possible reaction for Marlins fans will be wistful resignation. Is it better to have drafted and lost than never to have drafted at all? They’ll watch Scott’s highlights on MLB Facebook Live Channel Plus and wonder what could have been.

If you’re a Marlins fan, it’ll be hard to complain about anything, really, considering what happened in 2027, but you’ll wonder if it was all worth it, to come so close only to lose one of your favorite players in yet another fire sale. Diddy said that he would run things differently, but it was more of the same.

They still had the good times, though. They still had the good times.

Grade — B


14. Seattle Mariners — Logan Gilbert, RHP

Gilbert will be traded away in 2024, after years of disappointment. He’ll kick around with a couple different clubs, never really latching on, and then he’ll go to Japan.

Something will click.

After three seasons in NPB, Gilbert will come back and become one of baseball’s best stories. He’ll make the All-Star Game in his first year back, and he’ll make it three more times over the next five years. He’ll win one championship (and the ALCS MVP), becoming a fan favorite along the way.

Just not with the Mariners.

So how do you grade that? The Mariners were right about Gilbert’s talent ... just not right away. It wasn’t their fault that something didn’t click immediately.

Tough call, but ...

Grade — A


15. Texas Rangers — Cole Winn, RHP

When Winn comes up in 2024, he’ll be a little rough around the edges. When he finally comes into his own, he’ll become a useful player, but certainly not a superstar. He’ll be worth 1.2 rWAR (0.7 fWAR) in his first full season, for example.

Still, he’ll show promise enough to convince the Rangers to stick with him in 2026, despite the panicked cries of their fans, who want them to sign Michael Kopech to a huge deal instead. This will be a good thing for the Rangers, as they won’t be saddled with a huge, disappointing contract for their 2030 title run.

Winn will pitch just three innings in that World Series, but it’s his presence that will have allowed his team to sign Rhys Hoskins (.419, 4 HR, 9 RBI) to a much more sensible deal the previous offseason.

Put another way: the Rangers don’t win in ‘30 without ... Winn.

Also of note: This capsule was originally for the Mariners, but I accidentally copied and pasted a paragraph into the Rangers’ section, and I felt that it was very Mariners to lose an imaginary World Series title because of a copy-and-paste issue.

Grade — A


16. Tampa Bay Rays — Matthew Liberatore, LHP

Liberatore will be called up on May 29, 2022, and he’ll be worth 19.3 WAR over six seasons with the Rays. His first appearance will be in the seventh inning of a game against the Blue Jays, and he’ll settle down nicely after throwing three straight fastballs out of the zone. He doesn’t like cilantro now (thinks it tastes “soapy”), but it will start to grow on him after a while.

Grade - A-


17. Los Angeles Angels — Jordyn Adams, OF

In 2022, Adams will sneeze into his hands, not into his elbow (the “chicken-wing” mechanics that scouts prefer.) Because of this, his gross, snotty hands will touch a doorknob in the Angels clubhouse, getting infielder David Fletcher sick.

Fletcher, fighting for playing time, will ignore his fever and come to the clubhouse. He’ll get Mike Trout sick before a crucial series against the Astros.

Good move. The Astros will be starting rookie Dandel Orstado, who will have a horrible time controlling his fastball that night. When he chucks a head-high, outside 101-mph fastball to Shohei Ohtani that sails over the catcher’s mitt, the announcers will make the Bob Uecker joke, “Juuuuust a bit outside,” but they won’t really understand what just happened.

It would have been Trout in that right-handed batter’s box.

That ball would have been going right for his helmet.

Because Adams won’t wash his hands before eating, and because he didn’t sneeze like a productive member of society, he’ll be single-handedly responsible for all of the records that Trout eventually sets.

Adams will finish his Angels career with 118 WAR. Eighteen of them will be his, and 100 will be the remainder of Trout’s career that he unknowingly saved.

Great pick.

Certainly the most important pick.

Grade — A+


18. Kansas City Royals — Brady Singer, RHP

Brady Singer will be traded for Ian Ribaex in 2024 who will be traded for a pair of young pitchers in 2029. One of those pitchers, Hunter Idali, will leave as a free agent in 2036, and the compensatory pick the Royals get will turn into Creston Aare.

It’s the four (!) prospects they get from trading Aare that will turn the Royals from a struggling small-market team into a powerhouse. You can trace their World Series title in 2041 directly to Singer, who was pretty OK for the Royals while he was with them, too.

Great pick.

Grade - A


19. St. Louis Cardinals — Nolan Gorman, 3B

Yeah, he’ll probably be great or whatever, and he’ll come up and help the Cardinals exactly when they need him. I don’t even care at this point. Spoiler: They’ll pull this same crap next year, too.

Also, he’ll hit .555 against the Dodgers in two or three different NLCS. You don’t need more weird specifics. Just know that the Cardinals will weaponize him and then get rid of him before it’s too late.

Grade - A


20. Minnesota Twins — Trevor Larnach, RF

Larnach will do well. He’ll become something of a folk hero, and in his third season with the Twins, they will have Trevor Larnach Bobblehead Day.

You would think this is leading to an A grade. But it’s not that simple.

See, on Trevor Larnach Bobblehead Day, Larnach will lose a ball in the lights with two outs in the ninth inning and the bases loaded. If he catches it, the game’s over, and the Twins hold onto their tight one-game lead in the Central. But he won’t catch it, and the Twins will slip back into second place.

They never find the guy who threw the first bobblehead, but it won’t matter. Other bobbleheads will follow, one after the other, and after the Twins run off the field, the umpires will call the game. It will be a memorable and humiliating forfeit.

This is the start of how Twins fans get their reputation, you see. Where Phillies fans always sort of half-bristled at the idea that they were battery-chuckers who booed Santa Claus, the Twins fans lean into it. They’re tired of being the nice people who bake casseroles for their neighbors and thank each other in perfect Fargo-speak. They’ll want to throw shit. And they will, for years. It will be a disgrace.

Would that levee have broken without Larnach? Probably. They would have found another outlet.

It will all come back to that Larnach day, though. He’ll have a fine career, but while he’ll deserve more bobbleheads, he won’t get another one until he leaves the Twins.

What have you lost with this pick, Twins fans? What have you lost?

Grade - D


21. Milwaukee Brewers — Brice Turang, SS

In his first season, the veterans will make him go down Bernie Brewer’s slide along with all the other rookies. At the bottom will be pudding. Just an obscene amount of pudding.

A picture of the hazing will go viral, and that’s how he will become known as Puddin’ Brice Turang. This will usher in a new era of old-timey nonsense nicknames, which will be awesome.

It will all start with Puddin’ Brice Turang.

Great pick.

Grade - A


22. Colorado Rockies — Ryan Rolison, LHP

Rolison will turn his whole house into a humidor. It will be all moist and squishy, every square inch, because he just likes it that way. Nobody will know this, not even his teammates, until a Tom Verducci profile in Sports Illustrated.

People will think this is really weird.

Look, I’m 3,600 words in on an article where the joke was stale after the first 400 words, and I can’t really feel my fingers at this point. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one. Everything will be moist in the entire house. It will sound like you’re walking on a wet towel throughout the whole house, except he’ll have hardwood floors. There’s no way that thing will be up to code.

Grade - B (he will pitch pretty well, tho)


23. New York Yankees — Anthony Seigler, C

In the ninth inning of a blowout, Seigler will switch gloves and become the first to catch an inning as a left-handed catcher since Benny Distefano in 1989. He’ll do it because he’s ambidextrous and he can, dammit.

But the Red Sox won’t like this, and they’ll throw one at Seigler’s butt. To them, someone catching a game as a left-hander in a blowout is showing them up. It will be against the unwritten rules.

And I will get 590,000 page views.

Great pick.

Grade - A


24. Chicago Cubs — Nico Hoerner, SS

I mean, seriously, what do you expect from draft grades? I hate to lecture you for another year, but these picks will succeed and fail because of imperceptibly small margins. An adjustment that shaves a tenth of a second off a hitter’s reaction time. A delivery that gets smoother with repetition and superior muscle memory. You can’t possibly expect me to know which of these 18-year-olds has the kind of athleticism that will allow them to overcome the obstacles professional baseball will throw at them. Some of them went to their first rock concert, like, 24 months ago.

With that written, I guarantee that Nico Hoerner will collect 1,738 hits in his major league career.

Grade - B+


25. Arizona Diamondbacks — Matt McClain, 2B

Lightning round. His best season will be 2026, when he’ll hit .311/.388/.444 with 31 steals and punch out a mascot*.

* Orbit

Grade - B+


26. Boston Red Sox — Triston Casas, 3B

Casas will be traded in 2021 for Luis Castillo, who will go on the DL with a strained oblique that August and contribute very little to the postseason chase.

Grade - D


27. Washington Nationals — Mason Denaburg, RHP

I just looked at the vitals for all these kids, and most of them are huge. This dude is 6’4” and he’s a rowdy teen. I don’t want a bunch of rowdy 6’4” teens mad at me.

Grade - A


28. Houston Astros — Seth Beer, OF

On July 18, 2023, Seth Beer will hit a home run that clangs off the foul pole to give the Astros a 3-2 walk-off win. A staffer at MLB.com will post an article with a headline of “BEER BONG!” and be fired the next day.

A spirited internet campaign will get her job back.

You will make me proud, internet. For once.

Grade - B-


29. Cleveland Indians — Noah Naylor, C

With two outs in the ninth inning of a game in 2024, with Ryan Weathers just one out away from a perfect game and the first no-hitter in Padres history, Naylor will break his bat and loop a single down the line. The headline on MLB.com will read, “Noah No-No!”

Nobody will be fired.

A spirited internet campaign will not work.

The monster will keep his job.

I’ve already sent three emails, I’m so mad. And tired. Mostly tired.

Grade - B-


30. Los Angeles Dodgers — J.T. Ginn, RHP

Ginn will pitch with the Dodgers for 10 years, and he’ll pitch well, with a 141-113 record and a 3.53 ERA. In 2027, he will finish third in the NL Cy Young voting and make the second of his four all-star appearances.

This would appear to be a good pick.

However.

In El Segundo, there will be a boy. He’ll be born on November 3, 2020, and his parents will name him Jared Thomas, but he’ll go by J.T., mostly. When this boy is six, he’ll see a Dodgers game on TV at a pizza parlor.

“Daddy, is that man’s name J.T. too?”

Yes, the dad will reply after squinting at the screen. He didn’t follow baseball, really.

“Wow. I like him, daddy.”

And from that day on, this boy’s dream will be to become a major league baseball player. When he’s drafted in the first round in 2038 by the Giants, he will be closer to realizing that dream.

He will win two Cy Youngs for the Giants and be an instrumental part of their World Series wins in 2040, 2042, and 2044. The Dodgers’ World Series drought will extend to nearly 70 years by the time J.T. is finished with his brilliant Giants career.

In 2035, he’ll meet J.T. Ginn at a baseball camp, and he’ll be absolutely thrilled. “I’m playing baseball because of you,” he’ll say.

Grade - F