2018 MLB Draft Top 50 Prospect: 31-40
40. Tristan Pompey, Kentucky
Pos: OF | B/T: S/R | Height: 6’4” | Weight: 200 | Age: 21
Previously Drafted: 31st Round, 2015 (MIN)
Hit: 55 Power: 50 Run: 55 Arm: 45 Field: 45 Overall: 50
The Kentucky outfield prospect Tristan Pompey is one of the better hitting prospects in this draft. Pompey doesn’t hit for a lot of power, but he isn’t exactly lacking in that department either. Pompey brings the combination of speed and power to potentially become a 20-20 guy.
Pompey brings a patient eye to the plate as well. After finishing third in the SEC with a .464 On-Base Percentage in 2017, Pompey has followed that up with a .453 On-Base Percentage this year, which ranks third in the SEC this year.
Pompey plays most of his games in left field at Kentucky, and that is likely where he will stay as a professional. Pompey does have above average athleticism for a corner outfielder, but he isn’t quite good enough for center. Additionally, Pompey doesn’t have the arm to play in right field.
39. Noah Naylor, St. Joan of Arc (Ont.)
Pos: C | B/T: L/R | Height: 6’1” | Weight: 195 | Age: 18
Commitment: Texas A&M
Hit: 50 Power: 55 Run: 40 Arm: 55 Field: 45 Overall: 50
Noah Naylor is undoubtedly the best hitting catcher in the high school ranks in this year’s class. Naylor has the potential to be a catcher who has the rare ability to hit for both average and power. That power was on display last summer when he won the High School Home Run Derby as part of the MLB All-Star Weekend festivities last summer.
Naylor’s defensive abilities behind the plate aren’t as highly regarded as his hitting abilities are beside the plate. However, Naylor does feature an above average arm from the behind the plate that helps him control the run game.
Overall, Noah Naylor reminds me of a left-handed hitting only Carlos Santana when he first came up as a catcher. He will never provide a lot of value defensively behind the plate, and if he isn’t able to stick at catcher as he ages he could have the bat to be productive as a corner infielder.
38. Kris Bubic, Stanford
Pos: LHP | Height: 6’3” | Weight: 180 | Age: 20
Previously Drafted: Never
Fastball: 55 Curveball: 50 Changeup: 60 Control: 55 Overall: 50
The second of three Stanford Cardinal to make my top 50, Kris Bubic is a left-handed pitcher who has had tremendous production during his time in college. In not quite three seasons at Stanford he has a career 2.89 ERA over 205 2/3 innings. Bubic was also named the Cape Cod League Pitcher of the Year last summer after posting a 1.65 ERA while striking out 41 in 32.2 innings.
From a stuff perspective, Bubic’s changeup is easily his best pitch. The changeup serves as his go to strikeout pitch and is right up there as one of the best changeups in the class. His fastball receives a plus grade, though that mostly comes from the excellent control that he has with it, as the velocity tends to sit around 90.
When you watch him pitch, it is obvious that Bubic models his left-handed delivery after Clayton Kershaw, and, well, who could blame him, Kershaw has been the best pitcher in the game for the past decade and is known for his deceptive delivery.
37. Anthony Seigler, Catersville (GA)
Pos: C | B/T: S/S | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 200 | Age: 18
Hit: 55 Power: 40 Run: 45 Arm: 55 Field: 55 Overall: 50
No, Anthony Seigler being both a switch-hitter and a switch-thrower is not a typo. Seigler has gained a reputation as being high school baseball’s Pat Venditte because he can pitch with both his right hand and his left hand.
Unlike Venditte, however, Seigler will make his money in pro ball not as a pitcher, but as a catcher. Seigler is probably the most well-rounded catching prospect in this draft. He doesn’t possess the raw power like Noah Naylor, but he is a much better defensive catcher, and can hit for average.
Baseball skills aside, Seigler is one of those players in this draft that you can’t help but root for. He is a hard-working a well-spoken young man who one day could be the face of Major League Baseball for the Native American community. Just watch this video and tell me that he isn’t a player you would want to represent the Minnesota Twins for years to come.
36. Jordan Groshans, Magnolia (TX)
Pos: SS/3B | B/T: R/R | Height: 6’4” | Weight: 190 | Age: 18
Hit: 55 Power: 50 Run: 50 Arm: 55 Field: 50 Overall: 50
Jordan Groshans has primarily played shortstop through his high school career, but as he fills out his 6’4” frame scouts believe that he will transition into a third baseman. At the same time, however, Groshans filling out will help him become one of the better all-around hitters in this draft.
In the box, Groshans has a wide stance, and features a big leg kick that helps him generate his power. To me it resembles the swing of Josh Donaldson, though Groshans doesn’t crouch down to the extent that Donaldson does.
In the field, Groshans shouldn’t have any troubles moving over to third full time. He is an athletic kid who fields his position well. He does have a big arm that will play at third, however his throwing motion is too long for an infielder. Groshans will need to work on shortening that up as he moves up through the minors.
35. Cole Wilcox, Heritage (GA)
Pos: RHP | Height: 6’5” | Weight: 220 | Age: 18
Fastball: 60 Slider: 55 Changeup: 60 Control: 50 Overall: 50
A high school pitcher with three plus pitches is more of the exception rather than the rule, but that is exactly what Cole Wilcox has. His fastball will sit in the low to mid-90s with some sink. His best secondary offering is his changeup, though his slider isn’t that far behind.
At 6’5” and 220, Wilcox has the projectable frame that scouts rave over. As he continues to develop, adding a couple more ticks to his fastball isn’t out of the question.
Where teams are wary of Wilcox is in his delivery, that he brings back far behind his back and then comes through at more of a three-quarters arm slot. This is what helps Wilcox get the movement on his fastball, but at the same time could lead to both control and injury concerns down the road.
34. Xavier Edwards, North Broward (FL)
Pos: 2B/SS | B/T: S/R | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 155 | Age: 18
Hit: 50 Power: 40 Run: 70 Arm: 50 Field: 55 Overall: 50
When talking about the best athletes in this year’s class, you would be remiss to leave Xavier Edwards off that list. Edwards’ speed is game-changing on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. He will never be a guy with much power, but Edwards does have a compact swing that helps him line the ball all over the field.
Defensively, the range will never be the question for Edwards. What will be the question is his arm strength, which could force a move over to second. Edwards is a silky-smooth defender and with his range he should turn in his fair share of highlight reel defensive plays in the middle-infield.
To me Edwards is a much better comp to Dee Gordon than Nick Gordon ever was. His speed is higher end than Nick Gordon’s, and while Nick Gordon has shown more signs of pop in his bat, Edwards will likely remain a singles and doubles hitter like Dee Gordon.
33. Tristan Beck, Stanford
Pos: RHP | Height: 6’4” | Weight: 165 | Age: 21
Previously Drafted: 28th Round, 2017 (NYY)
Fastball: 55 Curveball: 50 Slider: 50 Changeup: 60 Control: 55 Overall: 50
The third and final Stanford Cardinal on the list, Tristan Beck is the Friday Night Ace of the Cardinal rotation. Beck was a highly acclaimed prospect as a draft-eligible sophomore last season but suffered a back injury that cause him to miss all of 2017.
Beck has returned to form this year with a 2.90 ERA and 59 strikeouts over 71 1/3 innings for the third ranked Stanford Cardinal. Beck’s control at Stanford has been impeccable, as he has walked just 7.5 percent of the batters he has faced in his career.
Beck’s fastball will sit in the low 90’s but it is a pitch that he has great control of. Beck features a big 12-6 curveball along with a sharp breaking slider. His best off-speed pitch is his changeup that gives Beck a complete four-pitch mix.
32. Will Banfield, Brookwood (GA)
Pos: C | B/T: R/R | Height: 6’1” | Weight: 200 | Age: 18
Hit: 45 Power: 50 Run: 35 Arm: 70 Field: 55 Overall: 50
I have already touched on Noah Naylor (the power hitting catcher) and Anthony Seigler (the all-around catcher), but there is a third highly regarded high school catching prospect in this year’s draft, Will Banfield.
Banfield has built himself a reputation as being one of the best defensive catchers in recent draft history. Not only is Banfield an excellent backstop, but he also has a cannon of an arm attached to his right shoulder.
Banfield is not slouch at the plate either. While he doesn’t have the hitting ability of Naylor or Seigler, he still has the potential to be an above average hitter for a catcher. If Banfield can take some of the swing and miss out of his bat he could be a star for years to come.
31. Sean Hjelle, Kentucky
Pos: RHP | Height: 6’11” | Weight: 215 | Age: 21
Previously Drafted: Never
Fastball: 55 Curveball: 60 Slider: 50 Changeup: 50 Control: 55 Overall: 50
It might be easy to compare Sean Hjelle to former Twins pitcher Alex Meyer. They are both tall (Hjelle is two-inches taller than Meyer) right-handers who come out of the University of Kentucky. However, that is where the similarities stop.
While Meyer is a pitcher with electric stuff but has some serious control issues, Hjelle is more of a pitch to contact pitcher with excellent command. Despite being 6’11” Hjelle’s fastball only sits in the low 90’s (occasionally touching the mid-90’s). His best pitch is his power 12-6 curveball. Hjelle does have a slider and a changeup as well, but neither pitch flashes all that much.
Hjelle is a wiry pitcher at just 215 pounds and will need to keep putting on more weight as he matures. Hjelle projects to be more of a three or four starter in an MLB rotation but if he can add some more velocity as he fills out that could change.
Rest of the 2018 MLB Draft Top 50
2018 MLB Draft Top 50 Prospect: 41-50
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