The MLB season is kicking off their pennant race of September and there is certainly a lot to watch for. Following the trade deadline, certain teams have climbed the ladder and find themselves contending for a playoff spot, while some have seen their season slip away. So what happens with all of the other teams like the Orioles, San Diego Padres, and Chicago White Sox that aren't looking like contenders this year? They look toward their futures! The draft is very important in teams replenishing their farm system, as it is the first step towards building a championship. Just look at the Houston Astros. They built their 2017 World Series team from the ground up and it started through solid drafting.
The 2018 MLB draft had a class of prospects that look to help out their respective teams in the nearby future. With any drafts, there are winners and losers, potential busts and potential steals galore. Of course, some teams like the Red Sox and Dodgers are in "win now" mode, so some of their players will be in the minors for a while. Other teams like the Kansas City Royals and Miami Marlins might be looking for their draft picks to tear it up in the minor leagues quickly to make it to the majors as soon as possible. Which picks were bad and which picks could end up being gems? Let's look at 10 MLB draft picks from the 2018 draft that will be busts and 10 that will be steals.
20 Bust: Brady Singer
The Kansas City Royals desperately need good pitching to get back to their championship ways. They used the 2018 draft to select starting pitcher Brady Singer from the University of Florida. Singer has a 6'5 frame and is lanky which a lot of MLB scouts and coaches have said they liked. He could very well be a bust, however.
In his profile and scoring from his scouting grades, he is lacking a little bit in the change-up and control categories by scoring a 55 out of 80.
The Royals are looking for a new direction and Singer looks to be their guy to help. But also remember, he was the second ranked player in this year's draft class and he went 18th overall. It makes you think.
19 Steal: Triston Casas
One of the best steals in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft went to the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox have Rafael Devers at third base who is only 21 years old. However, they do have a need for a power hitting first baseman. That is where Triston Casas comes into play. Casas comes from Florida and is a big prospect. He is 6'4, 240 pounds and can play both corner infield positions. He was the 20th overall ranked prospect and the Red Sox were able to steal him at 26. If he works out like people think he will, this is one prospect the Red Sox should keep.
18 Bust: Jordan Groshans
The Toronto Blue Jays are only a few years past their prime run in the AL East. Now, they are looking at being a bottom team in the division and are looking toward the future. They had the 12th overall pick and selected shortstop Jordan Groshan from Magnolia High School in Texas. The only problem is that he could be a huge bust for the Blue Jays. Groshans was considered the 31st overall prospect, so it is a little strange he went much earlier than people expected.
The draft was full of pitchers and the Blue Jays went with a shortstop. He has average speed and fielding numbers according to the scout. It doesn't appear as though Groshans will last for the Blue Jays.
17 Steal: Shane McClanahan
The Tampa Bay Rays are another team in the AL East that are struggling to compete with the likes of the Yankees and the Red Sox. They had the 31st pick in the draft and decided to take a chance on left handed pitcher Shane McClanahan. He was the 14th ranked prospect in the whole draft and 7th overall for pitchers.
McClanahan is a lefty that can throw anywhere from 97-100 miles per hour, and has a good change-up as well.
If he continues to develop his slider, then he can be a very good pitcher in the Rays system. What a steal McClanahan can be if all works out.
16 Bust: Kyler Murray
One of the hardest things to do in college is play a collegiate sport, let alone two. For Kyler Murray, that does not seem to be an issue. Besides being a part of the Oklahoma baseball team, you can also see Murray on the football field. He backed up Baker Mayfield this past season. He could have a lot of problems as his career goes on as he has had trouble with breaking pitches in the past. He also could go to focusing exclusively on football which would hurt the Oakland Athletics who took him 9th overall, considering he was the 36th best overall prospect in the draft pool. They better hope Murray commits to baseball for the foreseeable future.
15 Steal: Cole Winn
The Texas Rangers are trying to strengthen their minor league system in order to be the top team in the AL West once again. They had the 15th overall pick in the draft and selected Cole Winn from Orange Lutheran High School in California. He has a plus fastball along with a consistently developing slider and a very noticeable work ethic. He also is a smart pitcher which is hard to find at young, developing ages. He was considered the 9th best overall prospect, so getting him at 15 was a huge win for the Rangers organization. He can be a huge steal on the mound within a few years.
14 Bust: Simeon Woods-Richardson
The New York Mets are hoping to continuously build up their pitching staff and find the next Jacob DeGrom or Noah Syndeegard. They looked to get that in the second round of the 2018 draft Simeon Woods-Richardson. He is a 6'3 right-handed pitcher from Kempner High School in Texas.
The knock on this young man is that he can only last for so long. He could end up being a good bullpen piece if he proves he cannot sustain the energy necessary to be sharp for five to eight innings at a time.
He was the 160th overall prospect and was a 45 overall in scouting reports. The signs say bust for this hopeful in the Mets organization.
13 Steal: Ryan Weathers
Out of Loretto High School in Tennessee is a left-handed pitcher by the name of Ryan Weathers. Weathers was selected 7th overall by the San Diego Padres in the first round of the 2018 draft. Weathers could easily forget the major leagues and go to Vanderbilt like he committed to previously, but odds are he will go into the minors. He could be a big steal for the Padres. He is 6'2 and is above average in just about every category scouts look at in a pitcher. His fastball has touched consistently at 90-93 miles per hour while he has topped out before at 95. The Padres could have a huge steal in Weathers.
12 Bust: Grayson Rodriguez
The Baltimore Orioles are a team definitely looking forward to the future. They have the worst baseball this year and they just traded away cornerstone shortstop Manny Machado to the Dodgers. It is time to build for the future and they started that process by drafting right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez. He was selected 11th overall, even though he was ranked 22nd overall for prospects. Rodriguez has a plus fastball and has a combination of a slider and a curveball, which is rare amongst pitchers today. He also has shown flashes of a change-up. But, being in the Orioles organization and having only average control and a change-up can turn him into a bust.
11 Steal: Matthew Liberatore
The Tampa Bay Rays got an absolute steal in Matthew Liberatore. There is simply no other way to put it. Liberatore was the number four overall prospect in the draft and was considered the top left-handed pitcher in the crop.
He has a fastball that can touch 96-97 miles per hour along with having a good mix of off-speed pitches to match.
The fact that the Rays got him at number 16 overall is absolutely mind-boggling. This is a pitcher that can make a difference in the division in the next 3-5 years if he continues to develop. Tampa Bay made a great choice by taking Matthew Liberatore.
10 Bust: Seth Beer
The Houston Astros are in a prime position for the next few seasons to contend for more World Series titles. With the 28th pick in the 2018 draft, they wanted to add on to their minor league system and selected Seth Beer out of Clemson University. He can play outfield and has also played in the corner infield positions as well. He has been known to not be fast and be a little below average in fielding. This move is interesting considering the Astros have the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman for the next five years at least. Beer seems like a bust waiting to happen immediately.
9 Steal: Grant Lavigne
They say it is tough for New England baseball players to compete with teams in warm weather states because they don't play as much as the warm weather state players do. That didn't stop Grant Lavigne from finding his way onto the draft board. With a Collective Bargaining Agreement pick for the Rockies, they decided to go with Lavigne out of Bedford High School in New Hampshire. At 6'4 and being a big left handed presence at the plate, the Rockies could have a steal on their hands. Lavigne has plus power and that could benefit well for him as Coors Field has been known to see a lot of home runs leaving the yard. Just ask Nolan Arenado if he likes hitting in that ballpark!
8 Bust: Lenny Torres
The Cleveland Indians have made their identity based off of a good hitting lineup backed by extraordinary pitching. With guys like Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Mike Clevinger leading the way, the Indians look geared up for another postseason run. They also had the 41st overall pick and selected right-handed pitcher Lenny Torres out of Beacon High School in New York.
Torres has a lot of upside with a consistent 93 mph fastball that can top out at 96 or 97.
But the problem is that it could take a while to get up to the major leagues. He also needs to drastically improve his change-up and touch up his control. If he doesn't, he'll be a bust.
7 Steal: Connor Scott
It is no secret that the Miami Marlins are looking to rebuild after trading away all of their outfielders this past offseason. They had the 13th pick in the 2018 draft and decided to go with an outfielder. They chose Connor Scott out of H.B. Plant High School in Florida. Scott was given a 70 running score from the scouts which indicates he can steal bases and also received a 60 for his arm overall. This can be a steal for the Marlins considering he could have dropped to somebody else. Scott can also be a replacement for a Christian Yelich, Marcel Ozuna, or a Giancarlo Stanton potentially.
6 Bust: Alek Thomas
The Arizona Diamondbacks have quite the situation on their hands. They have been a surprise in the National League for the past few seasons, but yet they find themselves in a position where they are still trying to catch the Los Angeles Dodgers. They are trying to set themselves up for the future when they drafted outfielder Alek Thomas from Mount Carmel High School in Illinois. He is another fast outfielder who is a very good fielder. But he has a lot going against him with a below average arm and below average power as well. He also would have to deal with getting at bats with guys like A.J. Pollock and David Peralta playing similar positions as him. Smells like a bust is brewing!
5 Steal: Logan Gilbert
The Seattle Mariners are at that stage where they are not rebuilding, but they are also not fully contenders yet. They might get a wildcard spot, but they need some more depth to make another jump toward a postseason run. They had the 14th overall pick and selected Logan Gilbert, a right-handed pitcher out of Stetson University.
The Mariners might have gotten a steal here since he has a plus fastball, plus slider, and two different types of curveballs, one sharper than the other.
If he can get his control just a bit better and his fastball sitting consistently in the mid-90's, then he will be a complete steal long-term.
4 Bust: Steele Walker
The Chicago White Sox also went the route of picking somebody out of Oklahoma. They went with Steele Walker, a left-handed hitting outfielder. The White Sox certainly want their second round pick to pan out, because he has definite signs that he can be a bust. For an outfielder, he only has average speed and a below average arm. The White Sox have been loading up on prospects for a few years now and look to be a team gearing toward long-term success. The only problem is that it looks like Walker will be a part of the bust category for prospects.
3 Steal: Jonathan India
The next prospect has spent his whole baseball life in Florida, first in high school before playing baseball at the University of Florida. Now, Jonathan India looks to bring his talents from the hot corner to the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds had the number five overall pick and decided to go with India.
He is above average in all categories according to scouts and has better plate discipline hitting since he went to Florida. He can continue developing and making big strides, thus turning into a steal the Reds will love for many years to come. They certainly need some replenishment in talent.
2 Bust: Joey Bart
This could case a lot of debate, but Joey Bart could very well end up being a bust for the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are at a stage where they are starting to rebuild their franchise with young draft picks. There are a few problems with Hart that could end up being a bust for the Giants.
One, he is below average in the running department as he was given a 30 when the highest score can be an 80. Two, he would be dealing with Buster Posey in front of him.
Posey is only 31 years old, and the Giants surely won't sit Posey considering he has been vital to the Giants World Series success in the past, which would put a hold on Bart's progression. This pick could end up being a huge bust for a team that is used to consistent success.
1 Steal: Carter Stewart
The Atlanta Braves have been one of the biggest surprises in the MLB this season. They look to jump on the backs of veterans Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman as well as young stars Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies. Their pitching is adequate, with Mike Foltynewicz as their lone All-Star. They decided to go with Carter Stewart out of Eau Gallie High School in Florida. He was the 8th overall prospect and the Braves were able to get him at five. He is 6'6 with a plus fastball and curveball with a ton of upside. The Braves seem to be on their way up.