The 2018 MLB Draft begins tomorrow with the Astros picking 28th.
We may have seen the end of the early picks for a while after years during the process. The focus of the organization is to make decisions via analytics. Just ask Trevor Bauer, the Astros have loaded their rotation up with pitchers with high spin rates. The lineup has hitters with high exit velocities, so they will use analytics to chose the next star.
Whoever the Astros draft, they have a slot value of $2,399,400. In order to be able to sign a player out of high school, they typically need to get the full value. If they go with a college prospect, then they could possibly sign them below slot value.
With Kyle Tucker on the verge of making his debut over the next 12 months, they will want a similar player in the draft. We wrote earlier about Connor Scott, who graduated from Plant HS just like Tucker. The problem with Scott is that he may not drop to the Astros. So let’s take a look at other options.
Via a mock draft through CBS Sports, then have the Astros taking Nick Schnell from Roncalli HS in Indiana. According to Mike Axisa, Schnell is a two-sport (baseball/basketball) high school player. He has really improved his stock over the past few months as he rises up the rankings. Axisa says that Schnell is more of a gap hitter right now, but he could add more power to his game.
The left-handed hitter is committed to Louisville, but he appears to be set to be drafted early. If he is drafted, he will be the first ever drafted from his high school. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the 38th best player available in the draft. If the Astros see enough in him, they may reach for him. Baseball America ranks him as 34th overall.
MLB Pipeline has him as a good defender with plus speed. They warn that he could lose some of the speed as he gets stronger as he develops. The Astros will go with the best player available. If that is Schnell, then he fits what they are looking for. While we don’t know exactly what they need, I believe they will be looking for a high school player.
***Stats from MLB Pipeline***