The 2018 MLB Draft is taking place from June 4-6.
In the meantime, we’re going to look at all 30 franchises and see who they should draft this year for their respective organizations. We conclude our series by looking at teams in the National League West.
The Diamondbacks are in a less-than-ideal situation this year, as they have a rather mediocre farm system — they dealt top prospects for J.D. Martinez and Steven Souza Jr. over the past year and now have just two prospects ranked among MLB Pipeline’s top 100 — and they select 25th in this year’s draft after making a surprising playoff run last season. They’re particularly short on talented lower-level pitching depth, so it would make sense for them to add a talented arm in the first round, but really their system is so depleted at this point that they’d be well-served to add depth at any position. More than anything, they just need some non-first-rounders to outperform expectations so they can get their farm system out of the cellar. Virginia outfielder Jake McCarthy has frequently been mocked to the D-Backs during the pre-draft process.
The Rockies have a deep, flourishing farm system, but with many of their top prospects reaching the majors over the past couple years, they need to add some more organizational talent. They’re not in the most ideal position to do that at pick No. 22, but considering the success they’ve had in recent drafts it won’t be too surprising if their first-rounder manages to outperform his draft status. Considering that they’ve advanced talented young players to the majors at virtually every position in recent years, they’d be wise to take a strict best-player-available approach. Mississippi high-school right-hander J.T. Ginn and Georgia high-school catcher Anthony Seigler have been linked to them in experts’ mock drafts.
After graduating prospects like Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo, Julio Urias, and Walker Buehler to the majors over the last few years and trading others such as Willie Calhoun, Jharel Cotton, Jose De Leon, and Grant Holmes in deals for established veterans, the Dodgers are at a point where they kind of need to restock their system. They have the last pick in every round, so they’re not in a great position to add a bunch of impactful prospects, but then again they’ve gotten steals with guys like Seager, Bellinger, and Buehler and could very well find some more diamonds in the rough. Two of the Dodgers’ oldest regulars are second baseman Logan Forsythe and third baseman Justin Turner and they’re light on highly-regarded infield prospects, so if they have any sort of positional focus in this draft it will likely be on the infield. Of course, no organization ever has enough pitching depth either, and with the beating that the Dodgers’ staff has taken this year, they may be wise to select some high-floor college starters who can advance through the minors rather quickly.
The Padres have quietly put together the best farm system in the division, complimeting a very young major-league roster with seven minor-leaguers who are ranked among MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects. Pretty much anything the Padres can do to continue bolstering that system would be considered a positive, but with a wealth of talented infielders and young pitchers, their greatest organizational need seems to be in the outfield (they could also stand to add an upper-echelon catching prospect, but neither of the draft’s top two backstops — Joey Bart and Noah Naylor — would seem to fit when the Padres pick at No. 7 overall). Guys like Wisconsin high-schooler Jarred Kelenic and South Alabama’s Travis Swaggerty would make sense if they’re looking for an outfielder. They’ve been linked to prep pitchers such as righty Carter Stewart and lefty Matthew Liberatore in the pre-draft process.
The Giants are in an exceptionally odd position with the No. 2 pick this year. They’ve been one of baseball’s most competitive teams this decade and are still intently focused on making the playoffs this year despite their 98-loss 2017 season. Thus, while most teams in their position would simply select the best player available with no questions asked, the Giants have some unique factors to consider. Future Hall of Fame backstop Buster Posey is signed through 2021 with a club option for 2022, and while he could move to first base at some point, that’d mean moving Brandon Belt, who is also signed through 2021 and is much more comfortable at first than anywhere else, to a corner-outfield spot. Multiple experts have projected Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart to the Giants, but with Bart being a very advanced prospect who is expected to skyrocket through the minors, it’s hard to see what kind of role he’d have in the organization. The Giants could instead opt to go after a polished college infielder such as Nick Madrigal or Alec Bohm, or they could consider a starting pitcher like Brady Singer, Matthew Liberatore, Carter Stewart, or Cole Winn (or projected No. 1 pick Casey Mize if the Tigers for some reason don’t take him). The only prospect in the Giants organization who’s viewed as having major long-term upside is 2017 first-rounder Heliot Ramos, so there’s really no way they can go wrong in terms of building up depth.