The first round of the 2018 Major League Baseball player draft will get underway on Monday, June 4th, with the 40th round finishing up on Wednesday, June 6th. The Detroit Tigers get the first pick in this year’s draft. The draft will be held again in Secaucus, New Jersey. Last year, eight players from Historically Black College and University (HBCU) baseball players were drafted.
Black College Nines highlights some of the top HBCU prospects in the 2018 draft class based on our contact with scouts who attend HBCU and non-HBCU baseball games during both fall ball and during the past season. Below you’ll find our breakdown of our top five candidates in the draft, rumors and draft tendencies taken into consideration in our mock draft.
Last year Demetrius Sims from Bethune Cookman University was the first HBCU player taken in the 2017 draft in Round 14 (No. 419). This year there is a wealth of talent making this one of the strongest drafts in recent years.
Our five rising HBCU players are draft eligible and already showing the potential to go in this year’s draft…
Top Five For 2018
1 Marshawn Taylor, INF, Grambling State University
2 Ray Hernandez, INF, Alabama State University
3 Kamren Duke, OF, Texas Southern \University
4 Anthony Maldonado, RHP, Bethune-Cookman University
5 Jose Tirado, OF, Jackson State University
Teams that draft and sign players are looking to develop those with a high ceiling. Overall, scouts are looking for athletes. They want to evaluate a player who understands how to play the game, who have experience, competitive in nature, but mainly being coachable are the standouts who will get scouts excited. HBCU baseball players fit the bill.
Expect more position players to come out from HBCUs in the 2018 draft. Grambling State’s Marshawn Taylor is a defensive shortstop who can hit a ton. Alabama State’s Ray Hernandez is a good opposite field hitter with power and is 6’3″ 220 lbs. Texas Southern’s Kamren Dukes has the tools of a leadoff or number two-hitter in a line up plus speed at any outfield position and is 6’0″ 180 lbs. The two lone pitchers are capable of sitting in the 90s with quality breaking stuff and are crafty intense pitchers with raw talent. Jackson State right-hander Jose Tirado 6’2″ 220 lbs, who throws hard but was mainly used this year as a relief and closer, can be used as either a starter or a set-up pitcher. Bethune-Cookman’s Anthony Maldonado, a right-hander at 6’4″ 190 lbs, throws hard period and uses every square inch of the strike zone.
The 2018 class also offers a healthy number of talented all-around position players. That group is led by infielder Jesus Santana (6’3″ 215 lbs) of Jackson State. He can play either third or first base, bats left throws right and is a solid contact hitter with pop at the plate. David White, Jr., from Benedict College, has raw power to all fields. White, at 6’6″, has the height of a major league baseball player. Both are high-level athletes who grade out as average or better in all tool areas by MLB standards and are on the plus side with raw power, speed, arm strength, have shown pop in their bats in addition to plus speed and defensive skills.
Other potential names to watch for in the MLB Draft include:
Rafael Ramirez INF – Grambling State University
Joseph Estrada OF – Alabama State University
Darrius Wright RHP – Alabama State University
Aron Solis RHP – Texas Southern University
Miles Sewell OF – North Carolina A&T University
Devin Sweet RHP – North Carolina Central University
Xavius Burden INF – Miles College
Darrell Langston OF – Claflin University
Andrew McCoy OF – Benedict College
Carlos Lopez RHP – Alcorn State University
Marcus Hardy INF – Selma University
Jordan Pontious INF – Edward Waters College
Riliani Familia OF – Albany State University
Jahleel Sewer OF – Virginia State University
Josh McDaniel C – Stillman College
Dylan Johnson RHP – Miles College
Randy Norris OF – Winston Salem State University
Cameron Phelts OF – Texas College