2018 MLB Draft preview: Cole Wilcox scouting report.
With the 2018 MLB Draft less than two weeks away — the first round kicks off on June 4, 2018 — its time to start offering capsule looks at players the Texas Rangers could select with their top picks. The Rangers’ first round pick is at #15 and their second round pick is at #55 — they have no compensatory picks this year.
Leading up to draft day, we will be doing writeups of some of the players who could end up getting selected by the Rangers with one of their first two picks. Today, we are looking at Georgia high school pitcher Cole Wilcox.
Cole Wilcox is a 6’5”, 220 lb. righthanded pitcher out of Heritage High School in Chickamauga, Georgia. He checks the “big, athletic and projectable” boxes that prep righthanded pitchers usually need to go in the first round, though he’s a bit on the older side, turning 19 in July. Wilcox has a quality fastball that reports say sits in the low-90s and can reach 96, as well as a slider and changeup which some think can become plus pitches.
The negatives with Wilcox, aside from his age, are his mechanics. While the scouting reports indicate that he can repeat his delivery, there are concerns about his mechanics making him an injury risk. High school pitchers are inherently risky, and so a heightened concern about whether his mechanics are going to increase that risk could drop him out of the first round.
Among the most recent rankings, Keith Law is the high person on Wilcox, ranking him #13 on his top 100 list, though he notes the “unorthodox delivery” is going to scare some teams away. MLB Pipeline has Wilcox at #30, noting he has a better chance that many of “developing three solid pitches,” but also flagging the concerns that his mechanics and delivery raise. Fangraphs has Wilcox at #36, saying he will be “a tough sign,” praising his stuff and athleticism while noting the issues with his mechanics. Baseball America, meanwhile, has Wilcox at #38, with much the same view as the others -- great stuff, worrisome mechanics, greater potential risk of injury or having to move to the bullpen.
In Keith Law’s most recent mock draft, he has Wilcox going at #21. Fangraphs has the Rays taking Wilcox at #16, while Baseball America’s latest mock draft has Wilcox to the Nationals at #27. Jonathan Mayo’s latest mock doesn’t have Wilcox going in the first round.
The guy who comes to mind in reading about Wilcox is Hans Crouse, the Rangers’ second rounder in 2017, who had great stuff but fell in the draft due to concerns about his delivery and whether it would allow him to be a starter long-term. Wilcox seems like someone who would be unlikely to be a selection for the Rangers at 15, but who could, like Crouse, be a target in the second round if Texas were willing to pay him an above-slot bonus.