Hello everyone and good morning. Here are some early tidbits on three players from the 2018 MLB draft off to excellent starts. Yes, the caveat of course is “small sample” but a fast start is better than a slow one.
Seth Beer, OF-1B, Houston Astros: Drafted in the first round out of Clemson, Beer is well-known to college baseball fans for his enormous power but not all scouts were sure this would translate to wooden bats. That issue and questions about his defense dropped him down to 28th overall.
So far, Beer has had the last laugh in pro ball: he’s mashing at a .323/.426/.516 clip with seven homers, 21 walks, and 30 strikeouts in 161 at-bats between the New York-Penn, Midwest, and Carolina Leagues. He’s split his fielding time between left field, right field, and first base, and while his range remains a question he’s been error-less at all three positions.
Nolan Gorman, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals: Selected by the Cardinals in the first round out of high school in Phoenix, Arizona, Gorman was a top ten candidate at one point but fell to 19th overall. Like Beer, this was due to concerns about contact and defense.
And like Beer, Gorman has mashed thus far, hitting .325/.430/.623 with eight homers, 21 walks, and 32 strikeouts in 114 at-bats for Johnson City in the Appalachian League. He’s made eight errors in 25 games, which is a lot, but his range has been better than expected and he deserves a full trial at third.
Brice Turang, SS, Milwaukee Brewers: From high school in Corona, California, Turang was viewed as a possible first-overall talent a year ago but his stock dropped during the draft season for vague reasons that sounded a lot like nitpicking and prospect fatigue to me. The Brewers nabbed him at 21st overall and this could end up being the coup of the draft if the early results are any indication.
Turang opened in the Arizona Rookie League and hit .319/.421/.362 in 47 at-bats, showing excellent plate discipline (nine walks, six strikeouts), stealing eight bases in nine attempts, and showing impressive leather at shortstop. He was promoted to Helena in the Pioneer League yesterday and went 3-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base in his first game.