2019 MLB Mock Draft with 2 Weeks Remaining
The 2019 MLB draft is less than two weeks away, as the latest crop of amateur talent anxiously waits for their names to be called.
This year's draft is stocked with middle infielders and outfielders but is thin on elite pitching talent, especially at the collegiate level.
There is a consensus No. 1 overall talent in Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, and there appears to be a clear top six prospects. However, anything can happen as teams look to make the most of their allocated bonus money.
So as the buzz around the June 3 event heats up, here is a look at our first 2019 MLB mock draft.
1. Baltimore Orioles: C Adley Rutschman, Oregon State
Rutschman is a switch-hitting catcher with a 60-grade hit tool, 60-grade power and above-average defensive skills. Players like him don't come along often. He's hitting .427/.584/.772 with 16 home runs and nearly two times more walks (69) than strikeouts (36) this spring. There's no reason for the O's to overthink things and consider cutting an under-slot deal when there's a clear No. 1 guy.
2. Kansas City Royals: SS Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville Heritage HS (Texas)
A potential five-tool talent with the glove to shine at shortstop and the offensive tools to be a 20-homer, 20-steal guy, Witt checks all the boxes as a top-of-the-draft middle infielder. He also has baseball bloodlines, as his father was the No. 3 overall pick in 1985 and played 16 MLB seasons. All signs indicate he'll best his dad's draft position.
3. Chicago White Sox: SS CJ Abrams, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (Ga.)
This is a flip of the coin between college slugger Andrew Vaughn and the tooled-up Abrams, who MLB.com likened to Dee Gordon while noting he has "considerably more pop" than the Seattle Mariners speedster. While Abrams is not a lock to stick at shortstop, he should get a chance to start his career there and has the athleticism to be a standout in center field if a shift becomes necessary.
4. Miami Marlins: 1B Andrew Vaughn, California
Vaughn will go down as one of the most prolific hitters in college baseball history. He was the 2018 Golden Spikes winner when he batted .402/.531/.819 with 23 home runs and a 44-to-18 walk-to-strikeout ratio as a sophomore, and he has continued to impress this spring, even with opposing pitchers consistently working around him. While he has below-average speed, he's a solid athlete, and he even pitched a little as a freshman. He could be in the majors before the 2020 season is over.
5. Detroit Tigers: OF Riley Greene, Hagerty HS (Fla.)
Assuming the top four picks go as expected, the Tigers will decide between Vanderbilt outfielder JJ Bleday and Greene. The Florida prep star's upside should make him the more appealing pick for a rebuilding team. He's arguably the best pure hitter among the high school crop with a 60-grade hit tool and the potential for plus power. With a below-average arm and average speed, he may wind up in left field, but his bat should play anywhere.
6. San Diego Padres: OF JJ Bleday, Vanderbilt
There seem to be a consensus top six prospects, which puts the Padres in position to sit back and scoop whoever is left at No. 6 overall. Always viewed as a polished hitter with a high floor, Bleday has answered questions about his power this spring by slugging 25 home runs after he hit just six in his first two seasons at Vanderbilt. He's batting .346/.461/.748 with a 16.7 percent walk rate this year and could compete with Vaughn to be the first hitter from the class to reach the majors.
7. Cincinnati Reds: LHP Nick Lodolo, TCU
In a weak draft for college pitchers—and pitching in general—Lodolo is the clear No. 1 arm. The 6'6" southpaw was the highest unsigned pick in the 2016 draft after he went No. 41 overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and it's clear he made the right decision. With a heavy mid-90s fastball, a polished slider-changeup pairing and clean mechanics, he checks all the boxes to be an impact MLB starter.
8. Texas Rangers: RHP Jackson Rutledge, San Jacinto JC (Texas)
Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs wrote: "For over a month, Texas has been rumored to be looking under-slot here," while listing Rutledge, prep third baseman Brett Baty and Tulane third baseman Kody Hoese as the likely targets if they go that route. If they opt against the under-slot approach, Arizona State outfielder Hunter Bishop is the likely pick. We'll go with Rutledge, who has huge upside with a 70-grade fastball, biting slider and a strong 6'8" frame but is still on the raw side.
9. Atlanta Braves: OF Hunter Bishop, Arizona State
After hitting just .250/.352/.407 with five home runs and an 18-to-50 BB-to-K ratio as a sophomore, Bishop reworked his swing in the Cape Cod League and came out as a different player this spring. He's batting .356/.482/.792 with 22 home runs and a 42-to-56 BB-to-K ratio, and he has shown the speed and acumen to man center field in the pros. He could climb as high as No. 7 overall if the Reds aren't enamored with Lodolo.
10. San Francisco Giants: RHP Alek Manoah, West Virginia
The Giants have been tough to peg in the predraft process. While they've been linked to UNLV shortstop Bryson Stott (per Jim Callis of MLB.com) and Missouri outfielder Kameron Misner (per FanGraphs), they may look for more upside. Prep right-hander Matthew Allan would fit the bill. We'll go with Manoah, though, who has an impressive three-pitch mix, a strong 6'6", 260-pound frame and some intriguing upside given his relatively short track record after he pitched mostly out of the bullpen his first two collegiate seasons. He's gone 8-3 with a 1.91 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 125 strikeouts in 94 innings this spring.
11. Toronto Blue Jays: OF Corbin Carroll, Lakeside HS (Wash.)
This pick might come down to UNLV shortstop Bryson Stott and Carroll. Provided the Blue Jays aren't scared off by the prep outfielder's undersized 5'11", 161-pound frame, Carroll has the higher ceiling and is the better fit in a system loaded with middle-infield talent. With a 60-grade hit tool, surprising pop and plus speed, Carroll has drawn comparisons to Jacoby Ellsbury as an athletic, speed-reliant player who may grow into his power.
12. New York Mets: LHP Zack Thompson, Kentucky
The Mets have been linked to college arms, per Callis, and with Lodolo, Rutledge and Manoah off the board in this scenario, Thompson is the best of the remaining crop. The Kentucky left-hander does come with some injury concerns after he failed a post-draft physical in 2016 and missed time as a sophomore with an elbow setback. However, none of that required surgery, and he has looked strong this spring, going 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 130 strikeouts in 90.0 innings thanks to a well-balanced four-pitch mix.
13. Minnesota Twins: C Shea Langeliers, Baylor
In almost any other draft, Langeliers would be the marquee catching prospect. Though he's blessed with a rocket arm, excellent receiving skills and the intangibles teams look for in a franchise backstop, his bat will determine his ceiling. MLB.com gives him a 50 grade for his hit tool and power, and he's batting .311/.376/.484 this spring, so there's reason for optimism. The Twins have a void at catcher across their system.
14. Philadelphia Phillies: SS Bryson Stott, UNLV
This might be the floor for Stott, who is squarely on the radar at No. 10 (SF) and No. 11 (TOR) overall. The two-way standout is the best of a deep crop of college shortstops, offering a 60-grade hit tool, above-average speed and the defensive chops to stick at shortstop. Stott is hitting .369/.498/.636 with 10 home runs this spring after tallying just five homers his first two seasons at UNLV.
15. Los Angeles Angels: RHP George Kirby, Elon
As MLB.com noted, this pick carries a $3.89 million slot assignment, which means it's the first selection that will take an above-slot deal to ink right-hander Matthew Allan to his $4 million asking price. However, Kirby looks like a safer pick. After a strong sophomore season, the small-school standout put himself on the national radar with a 1.38 ERA and 24-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 13 innings in the Cape Cod League.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Matthew Allan, Seminole HS (Fla.)
The D-backs have the largest bonus pool of any team at $16.09 million and have seven picks inside the first 77. That should give them plenty of flexibility to work in an above-slot deal for Allan, who as we mentioned earlier is seeking a $4 million bonus. This pick carries a $3.75 million slot assignment, so it won't even take a massive overage. With a strong 6'3" frame, three plus pitches, consistent mechanics and solid command, Allan has front-line potential and is the top high school arm in this class.
17. Washington Nationals: RHP Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove HS (Ill.)
Baseball America wrote: "Priester hasn't received much formal pitching instruction to this point, which makes him exceptionally intriguing considering his success and also speaks to his high aptitude for the game." The Nationals have consistently shown a willingness to take a chance on a pitcher when his upside outweighs the question marks that could turn other teams away. Priester might become the best arm in this class.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates: SS Gunnar Henderson, Morgan Academy (Ala.)
Every year there is a high school middle infielder or two who rides some late helium into the first round. The Pirates have been tied to Henderson, and there's a good chance he could be one of those guys. There's some question whether he'll be able to stay at shortstop once his 6'3", 195-pound frame fills out, but his 55-grade hit tool and budding raw power should make for an easy transition to third base if that winds up being the case.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: 3B Brett Baty, Lake Travis HS (Texas)
Last year, the Cardinals grabbed a prep third baseman with tremendous raw power who some expected to go higher with the No. 19 overall pick. Now Nolan Gorman is one of the fastest-rising prospects in baseball. Could they find themselves in a similar position this June? Baty also has plus raw power and a solid all-around offensive game, and while he could go as high as No. 8 overall to the Rangers, he slides to the Cardinals in this hypothetical.
20. Seattle Mariners: 3B Josh Jung, Texas Tech
The Mariners have gone the college route with six of their last seven first-round picks, including outfielder Kyle Lewis (Mercer, 2016), first baseman Evan White (Kentucky, 2017) and right-hander Logan Gilbert (Stetson, 2018) with their last three. Jung is the best college player left on the board, and there's a good chance this is his floor. With a smooth swing and advanced approach, he has hit .346/.452/.562 with more walks (121) than strikeouts (111) in his three years at Texas Tech. He still needs to work on making better use of his raw power.
21. Atlanta Braves: RHP Brennan Malone, IMG Academy (Fla.)
With a big fastball that touched 99 mph in his most recent outing and a wipeout slider headlining an electric four-pitch repertoire, Malone might have the best pure stuff in this year's class. He's still more of an athlete and a thrower than a polished pitcher, but he has made significant strides this spring, and his upside will be hard to ignore if he's still on the board outside the top 20.
22. Tampa Bay Rays: 3B Keoni Cavaco, Eastlake HS (Calif.)
Cavaco was unranked when Baseball America released its first top 200 draft prospects list of the year. Now he checks in at No. 34 with as much helium as any player in this year's class. He has huge raw power, runs well and is already a plus defender at third base. Questions surround his hit tool and limited track record against high-level competition on the showcase circuit. The Rays have been willing to roll the dice on boom-or-bust high school bats in the past, and he is just that.
23. Colorado Rockies: OF Kameron Misner, Missouri
Misner hit .360/.497/.576 with 16 extra-base hits and 13 steals as a sophomore and has what MLB.com called "the best tools package" of any college position player. However, he is hitting just .222/.353/.215 with a 29.3 percent strikeout rate over 133 plate appearances since SEC play started, and that has caused his stock to slip. He has more upside than Michael Busch and the other top college bats still on the board but comes with significant risk.
24. Cleveland Indians: 1B/OF Michael Busch, North Carolina
Busch won't provide much in the way of defensive value, and he's a below-average athlete, but the North Carolina junior can flat-out hit. He batted .322/.450/.567 with six home runs in 27 games with wood bats in the Cape Cod League, and he has a .967 OPS with 12 home runs and far more walks (54) than strikeouts (35) this spring. Plug him in a corner spot and watch him rake.
25. Los Angeles Dodgers: SS Logan Davidson, Clemson
In a deep crop of collegiate middle infielders, Davidson stands out for the plus power he generates with a strong 6'3", 185-pound frame, his solid wheels and his reliable glove at shortstop. Questions surround his hit tool, as his swing gets long sometimes, and he has struggled mightily in two runs through the Cape Cod League. At this spot in the draft, it's worth betting he can make the necessary adjustments.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks: OF Maurice Hampton, Memphis University HS (Tenn.)
A 4-star cornerback who is committed to play football and baseball at LSU, Hampton is expected to be an easier sign than fellow two-sport star Jerrion Ealy, per Jim Callis of MLB.com. Like most prep players who split their time between two sports, he's still raw, but the physical tools are there for him to develop into a five-tool center fielder. Again, the D-backs have a ton of picks and a lot of money to work with, making them a logical landing spot.
27. Chicago Cubs: RHP Seth Johnson, Campbell
A light-hitting JUCO shortstop in 2017 and 2018, Johnson made the move to the mound upon transferring to Campbell, and his raw stuff has sent him skyrocketing up draft boards this spring. He already shows two plus pitches among his four-pitch repertoire and has remarkably clean mechanics given his lack of experience on the mound. He's a project, but the Cubs have shown a willingness to take a chance on upside in the past.
28. Milwaukee Brewers: 3B Kody Hoese, Tulane
A 6'4", 200-pound third baseman with big right-handed power and the tools to be a plus defender at third base, Hoese is the best college bat left on the board. After posting a solid .803 OPS with five home runs last season, he has exploded for a .408/.498/.831 line with 19 doubles and 23 home runs this spring, making him one of the most productive hitters in the country.
29. Oakland Athletics: SS Will Wilson, NC State
With an affinity for college talent, the A's may be choosing between shortstops Will Wilson (NC State), Braden Shewmake (Texas A&M) and Greg Jones (UNC Wilmington) with this pick. While Shewmake has a better hit tool and Jones has game-changing speed, Wilson is the best all-around shortstop of the bunch. He's been highly productive in his three years at NC State and is hitting .361/.450/.703 with 19 doubles and 16 home runs this spring.
30. New York Yankees: 3B Tyler Callihan, Providence HS (Fla.)
Callihan is a prep prospect who will be 19 on draft day, which sometimes raises red flags. However, as the team at FanGraphs pointed out, that didn't scare the Yankees away from Blake Rutherford in 2016. With the potential for a plus hit tool and good power, Callihan has the offensive profile to make an impact. His bat will need to carry him, though, as he's a below-average athlete with questions about whether he can stick at third base.
31. Los Angeles Dodgers: RHP JJ Goss, Cypress Ranch HS (Texas)
If the Dodgers take a college bat at No. 25 overall as we predicted with the Logan Davidson selection, expect them to balance that with a prep arm at No. 31. Goss has a ton of projection remaining in his lanky 6'3", 185-pound frame, and he can already touch 96 mph with his fastball. He backs that with a 60-grade slider that ranks as one of the best breaking pitches in this class of high school arms and shows a good feel for his changeup. Patience will be the name of the game.
32. Houston Astros: RHP Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy (Ga.)
With limited projection remaining in his undersized frame (6'2", 200 lbs) and inconsistent mechanics, Espino might wind up in the bullpen. However, his 70-grade fastball and a pair of plus breaking pitches give him one of the best repertoires of any pitcher in this class. J.B. Bukauskas actually has a similar profile in a lot of ways, and the Astros didn't flinch when he was available at No. 15 overall in the 2017 draft.
All college stats courtesy of The Baseball Cube and current through Monday's games. Referenced tool grades come courtesy of MLB.com's Prospect Watch. Scouting information and reports linking teams to specific players come via the latest mock drafts at Baseball America, FanGraphs and MLB.com. Recruit rankings via 247Sports.