2019 MLB Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions for Where Top Prospects Will Land

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 1, 2019

Oregon State's Adley Rutschman leads off second base during an NCAA baseball game against Washington State on Friday, April 26, 2019 in Corvallis, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)
Chris Pietsch/Associated Press

Amid all 30 teams evaluating where they stand in the hierarchy, the 2019 Major League Baseball draft is rapidly approaching to offer hope for the future. 

This year's class is being defined by a sense of uncertainty. There is a clear separation between the top-tier players available, but it appears as if there are at least three candidates in the mix for the Baltimore Orioles with the No. 1 overall pick.

It's also not a great class in terms of star power, though there are a number of position players with high ceilings. There is quality depth for teams picking near the back of the first round to find players who can be contributors in the big leagues.


Heading into Monday's first round, here is a look at what to expect from all 32 picks:

1. Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State

2. Kansas City Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville Heritage HS (Texas) 

3. Chicago White Sox: Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California

4. Miami Marlins: JJ Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt

5. Detroit Tigers: Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (Florida)

6. San Diego Padres: C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (Georgia)

7. Cincinnati Reds: Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU

8. Texas Rangers: Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (Washington)

9. Atlanta Braves: Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State

10. San Francisco Giants: J.J. Goss, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (Texas)

11. Toronto Blue Jays: Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia

12. New York Mets: Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV

13. Minnesota Twins: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech

14. Philadelphia Phillies: Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor

15. Los Angeles Angels: Matt Allan, RHP Seminole HS (Florida) 

16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Gunnar Henderson, SS, John T. Morgan Academy (Alabama) 

17. Washington Nationals: Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto College

18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Florida)

19. St. Louis Cardinals: Maurice Hampton, OF, Memphis University HS (Tennessee)

20. Seattle Mariners: Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri

21. Atlanta Braves: Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove HS (Illinois)

22. Tampa Bay Rays: Braden Shewmake, SS, Texas A&M

23. Colorado Rockies: Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane

24. Cleveland Indians: Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy (Georgia)

25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson

26. Arizona Diamondbacks: George Kirby, RHP, Elon

27. Chicago Cubs: Michael Busch, 1B, North Carolina

28. Milwaukee Brewers: Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis HS (Texas)

29. Oakland Athletics: Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles School (Florida)

30. New York Yankees: Rece Hinds, 3B, IMG Academy (Florida)

31. Los Angeles Dodgers: Tyler Callihan, 3B, Providence HS (Florida)

32. Houston Astros: Logan Wyatt, 1B, Louisville 


Who will go No. 1 overall?

In a year without a lock at the top of the draft, the Orioles could go in any number of directions as they continue to reshape their farm system. 

ESPN.com's Keith Law highlighted Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman or Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn as potential options at No. 1, with the decision potentially coming down to "whichever of the two will sign for less and using the under-slot savings to go over with subsequent picks."

It's a strategy teams have employed in the past. The Houston Astros gave Carlos Correa an under-slot deal to give Lance McCullers a contract worth twice the slot value of the No. 41 overall pick in 2012. 

Based on talent and potential future value, Rutschman is more likely than Vaughn to be the best player in this class. He plays a premium position at a high levelMLB.com projects his arm and defense as plus tools—and his bat will be an asset in professional baseball. 

The 21-year-old has always shown good plate discipline in college with more walks than strikeouts (153-116). He added more power to his game this season with 17 homers, six more than he had in 2017-18 combined. 

The state of catching in MLB is dire right now. There haven't been more than six players at the position who qualified for the batting title in a single season since 2016. 

Vaughn's bat is certainly more advanced than Rutschman's—he's hit 38 combined homers with an OPS over 1.200 in each of the past two seasons—and he could be the first player from this class to reach the big leagues. 

But Baltimore is in a long-term rebuild and would be best served by taking the player with more potential, instead of trying to patch together a quicker fix. 


It's a good year for college position players

If you were to highlight one area of strength in this year's draft class, it would be with the college position players. 

Starting with Rutschman and Vaughn, it wouldn't be a total surprise to see them off the board within the first three picks. MLB.com's Jim Callis noted the Kansas City Royals taking Texas prep shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. at No. 2 overall "may be the biggest lock in the draft right now."

Beyond those first two names, Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday, Arizona State outfielder Hunter Bishop, UNLV shortstop Bryson Stott and Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers are all worthy of top-10 consideration. 

Despite Callis' comment about Witt seeming like a lock to the Royals, the biggest lock of the first round could be Bleday going to the Miami Marlins. 

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter got an up-close look at Bleday during the SEC tournament:

SEC Network @SECNetwork

Derek Jeter is in the building. #SECTourney https://t.co/WBcOwVhfGk

Per Adam Sparks of The Tennessean, the Marlins had a large contingent in a luxury box at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium on May 22. 

Even though there is a limited ceiling on each of those players, this is good news for teams that may be looking for quick fixes because this group has the ability to move swiftly through the minors. 

From that group, Bleday is the best bet to carve out a long and successful MLB career. He's had success in the best baseball conference in the country, added power to his game with a career-high 25 homers in 2019 and has the profile to be a starting right fielder in the big leagues.