2019 MLB Mock Draft: Predictions for This Year's Elite Prospects

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 2, 2019

California first baseman Andrew Vaughn fields during an NCAA college baseball game between the University of California and the University of Utah, Friday, May 5, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Tyler Tate)
Tyler Tate/Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers selected Auburn right-handed pitcher Casey Mize with the first pick of the 2018 MLB draft, and all he's done this year is amass a 7-0 record and 0.89 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 70.2 innings over the Single- and Double-A levels.

Mize looks like a future All-Star, and the same can be said for Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, who is crushing Division I pitching to the tune of 17 home runs, 58 RBI and an 1.344 OPS. He will almost certainly be this year's top pick.

Rutschman symbolizes a different trend in this year's class, however: Position players are at the top of the ledger, so much so that none may go in the top five for the first time since 2005.

We'll see if this year's draft goes that route, but until then, here's a look at a first-round MLB mock draft as well as quick analysis on a trio of projected top-10 picks.


2019 MLB Mock Draft: Round 1

1. Baltimore Orioles: Oregon State C Adley Rutschman

2. Kansas City Royals: Colleyville Heritage HS SS Bobby Witt Jr.

3. Chicago White Sox: Cal 1B Andrew Vaughn

4. Miami Marlins: Blessed Trinity Catholic High School SS CJ Abrams

5. Detroit Tigers: Hagerty HS OF Riley Greene

6. San Diego Padres: Vanderbilt OF JJ Bleday

7. Cincinnati Reds: TCU LHP Nick Lodolo

8. Texas Rangers: Seminole HS RHP Matthew Allan

9. Atlanta Braves: Arizona State OF Hunter Bishop

10. San Francisco Giants: West Virginia RHP Alek Manoah

11. Toronto Blue Jays: San Jacinto JC RHP Jackson Rutledge

12. New York Mets: Kentucky LHP Zack Thompson

13. Minnesota Twins: IMG Academy RHP Brennan Malone

14. Philadelphia Phillies: Baylor C Shea Langeliers

15. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: UNLV SS Bryson Stott

16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Lake Travis HS 3B Brett Baty

17. Washington Nationals: Texas Tech 3B Josh Jung

18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Lakeside HS OF Corbin Carroll

19. St. Louis Cardinals: Elon RHP George Kirby

20. Seattle Mariners: Cary-Grove HS RHP Quinn Priester

21. Atlanta Braves: Georgia Premier Academy RHP Daniel Espino

22. Tampa Bay Rays: Missouri OF Kameron Misner

23. Colorado Rockies: UNC 1B/OF Michael Busch

24. Cleveland Indians: Cypress Ranch HS SP JJ Goss

25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Campbell RHP Seth Johnson

26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Clemson SS Logan Davidson

27. Chicago Cubs: Texas A&M SS Braden Shewmake

28. Milwaukee Brewers: NC State SS Will Wilson

29. Oakland Athletics: Tulane 3B Kody Hoese

30. New York Yankees: Delbarton HS RHP Jack Leiter

31. Los Angeles Dodgers: St. Thomas HS RHP Josh Wolf

32. Houston Astros: The Bolles School LHP Hunter Barco

33. Arizona Diamondbacks: Providence HS Tyler Callihan

34. Arizona Diamondbacks: Memphis University HS OF Maurice Hampton


3. Chicago White Sox: Cal 1B Andrew Vaughn

The Chicago White Sox are making the most interesting selection in the 2019 MLB draft.

As Mike Axisa of CBS Sports wrote on May 20, Rutschman is the "odds-on favorite" to go No. 1, while high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. to the Royals was called "the biggest lock in the 2019 draft at the moment."

Then it comes down to No. 3, and the guess here is Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn ends up being the pick.

Vaughn has fantastic offensive potential at the MLB level, hitting 15 home runs and managing a 1.260 OPS this season. MLB Pipeline's scouting report stated that Vaughn "could very well be the best all-around hitter in this draft class," and he's ranked No. 3 on its list of draft-eligible prospects. Baseball America placed him at No. 2.

As far as Vaughn's fit within the organization, it's fairly simple. The White Sox are rebuilding around some star prospects who have already hit the bigs, namely second baseman Yoan Moncada, left fielder Eloy Jimenez and right-handed starting pitcher Michael Kopech.

They don't have a first baseman of the future considering 32-year-old Jose Abreu, who currently mans the position, is a free agent after this season. Vaughn can join that young core to lead the White Sox into the 2020s.


4. Miami Marlins: Blessed Trinity Catholic High School SS CJ Abrams

High school shortstop CJ Abrams is a special player: Perfect Game called him an "outstanding runner" who is "going to lead some leagues in triples." They also credited his smooth footwork and athleticism.

Mike Axisa of CBS Sports said Abrams is "one of the best athletes and most exciting players in the draft class," and MLB Pipeline wrote that he compares well to Seattle Mariners speedster Dee Gordon (three-time stolen base leader) but with more pop.

Baseball America ranked him No. 4 on the list, calling him a "high-upside shortstop."

The key word is upside: The league-worst Marlins are rebuilding from scratch and need players with sky-high ceilings to have any chance at competing in an NL East that looks like it will be ruled by the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves for years given their young star talent.

The Marlins don't have a ton of high-upside players in their farm system right now: Of note, Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter ranked their farm system just 25th in baseball.

Abrams is a player the Marlins can build around, and he should be the pick here.


10. San Francisco Giants: West Virginia RHP Alek Manoah

The San Francisco Giants' starting rotation carried them to three World Series titles, but the current iteration has a 4.71 ERA, 11th-worst in MLB.

This isn't 2010, when the Giants could look forward to young pitching carrying them forward into the decade. Jeff Samardzija, Drew Pomeranz, Derek Holland and Johnny Cueto are all in their 30s. Holland is out of the rotation, and Cueto underwent Tommy John surgery.

The Giants' best bet is investing in young pitching talent early and often this season. West Virginia right-hander Alek Manoah, who is ranked as MLB Pipeline's top right-handed pitcher in this year's draft, is the best option at No. 10 here. The 6'6", 260-pound Mountaineer led the Cape Cod League in strikeouts with 48 in 33.1 innings last year.

MLB Pipeline's scouting report claims Manoah has a fastball in the 94-97 mph range as well as a solid slider and changeup.

Manoah's WVU career got off to a slow start after two seasons: He notably had a 4.00 ERA and allowed a .252 batting average against in 2018.

However, he posted a 9-4 record with 144 strikeouts in 108.1 innings and a 2.08 ERA this season. The batting average allowed dropped to .186.

Ultimately, the Giants need to take a chance and hope that Manoah has turned the corner and will continue to fulfill the potential that is there given his bigger frame and plus stuff.