2019 MLB Mock Draft Update with 1 Week Remaining
We are now less than one week away from the 2019 MLB draft, with a fresh wave of amateur talent set to hit farm systems across baseball.
This year's draft appears to have a consensus top six prospects, but as we've seen since the inception of bonus pool restrictions, teams often get creative with under-slot deals at the top in an effort to maximize their draft haul. In other words, anything can happen.
Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman is the overwhelming favorite to go No. 1 overall, while prep shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. is all but locked into the No. 2 spot. After that, things should get fun.
For now, it's time for our second mock draft of the year. The first one was published on May 22 and can be found here.
1. Baltimore Orioles: C Adley Rutschman, Oregon State
Rutschman is the best collegiate catching prospect to come along in quite some time, and that includes last year's No. 2 overall pick, Joey Bart. He's a switch-hitter with 60-grade power and a 60-grade hit tool, and he also profiles as a good defensive backstop with good receiving skills and a strong arm. Don't overthink it, Orioles.
2. Kansas City Royals: SS Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville Heritage HS (Texas)
A slick-fielding shortstop with a rocket arm, a solid hit tool and the power-speed combination to be a 20-20 MLB player, Witt would be a strong candidate to go No. 1 overall most years. Throw in his baseball bloodlines—his dad played 16 MLB seasons—and the Royals will happily scoop him up with the No. 2 pick.
3. Chicago White Sox: OF JJ Bleday, Vanderbilt
Bleday went 8-for-16 with two doubles and a home run in four games in the SEC tournament to help lead Vanderbilt to a conference tournament title. That strong showing in front of a sea of scouts has pushed him into the conversation here at No. 3 after it had previously looked like a two-man race between Georgia prep star CJ Abrams and Cal slugger Andrew Vaughn.
4. Miami Marlins: 1B Andrew Vaughn, California
Vaughn won Golden Spikes honors last season when he batted .402/.531/.819 with 23 home runs and a 44-to-18 walk-to-strikeout ratio as a sophomore. Teams have pitched around him all season, so his counting numbers are not quite as impressive this spring. Still, he has the offensive profile to be a middle-of-the-order force, and he should move through the minors quickly.
5. Detroit Tigers: SS CJ Abrams, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (Ga.)
The Tigers would be thrilled to see Abrams still on the board when their turn comes up. MLB.com likened him to Dee Gordon while noting he has "considerably more pop" than the Seattle Mariners speedster. He may eventually wind up at second base or in center field, but his game-changing speed and feel for hitting make him an attractive pick as a future table-setter.
6. San Diego Padres: OF Riley Greene, Hagerty HS (Fla.)
With a consensus top six prospects in this year's draft, the Padres are in position to sit back and see who falls to them. Greene is arguably the best pure hitter among the high school crop with a 60-grade hit tool and the potential for plus power. While he will likely be limited to left field defensively, his bat will be his carrying tool.
7. Cincinnati Reds: LHP Nick Lodolo, TCU
Lodolo made the right choice not signing as the No. 41 overall pick in the 2016 draft. He now stands as the top college pitcher in the 2019 class, and unless one of those top six bats slips for some reason, he won't make it past the Reds at No. 7 overall. The big 6'6" left-hander has used a polished three-pitch mix to post a 2.48 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and stellar 125-to-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 98.0 innings.
8. Texas Rangers: RHP Jackson Rutledge, San Jacinto JC (Texas)
The Rangers have been rumored to be exploring an under-slot deal here, according to Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs. Rutledge is among their potential targets if they go that route, and based purely on talent, the No. 8 spot isn't that much of a reach. With a 70-grade fastball and 65-grade slider, he might have the best pure stuff in the class. It will just take some patience to iron out his command and fill out his repertoire.
9. Atlanta Braves: OF Hunter Bishop, Arizona State
If anyone is going to crash the party for one of the top seven spots, Bishop is the most likely candidate. Regardless, he won't fall below this spot. Bishop reworked his swing in the Cape Cod League and came out as a different player this spring, hitting .356/.482/.792 with 22 home runs after he batted only .250 with five long balls as a sophomore.
10. San Francisco Giants: SS Bryson Stott, UNLV
UNLV shortstop Bryson Stott or West Virginia right-hander Alex Manoah? That has seemingly been the question for the Giants throughout the predraft process. Given the ongoing struggles of Brandon Crawford and the dearth of middle infield talent in their system, Stott makes a lot of sense. He's hitting .369/.498/.636 with 19 doubles and 10 home runs this spring, and he should have no problem sticking at shortstop.
11. Toronto Blue Jays: OF Corbin Carroll, Lakeside HS (Wash.)
If the Giants go with Manoah over Stott, he could be the pick here for the Blue Jays. Otherwise, Carroll has the combination of a plus hit tool and impressive athleticism to rank as one of the top prep bats in this class. He isn't physically imposing with a 5'11", 161-pound frame, but he has a smooth left-handed swing and sneaky power.
12. New York Mets: RHP Alek Manoah, West Virginia
The Mets have been frequently tied to Kentucky left-hander Zack Thompson, but that often assumes Manoah is already off the board, either to the Giants at No. 10 or the Blue Jays at No. 11. If he falls to No. 12, the burly 6'6", 260-pound right-hander brings similar polish and upside to Thompson without the medical red flags.
13. Minnesota Twins: C Shea Langeliers, Baylor
The Twins have not drafted a catcher in the first round since they took Joe Mauer with the No. 1 overall pick in 2001. Langeliers would be the top catching prospect almost any other year, and he's the premier defensive backstop in this class with a 70-grade arm and 60-grade glove. The progression of his offensive game will determine his ultimate ceiling, and with a .311/.376/.484 line this spring and 27 career home runs, there is reason for optimism in that regard.
14. Philadelphia Phillies: LHP Zack Thompson, Kentucky
Thompson failed a post-draft physical as an 11th-round pick out of high school, and he missed two months during his sophomore season with an elbow issue. He didn't have to undergo surgery and has been healthy this spring, but questions persist. Still, a left-hander with mid-90s heat and three solid off-speed pitches who has posted a 2.40 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 90 innings this spring is worth the risk.
15. Los Angeles Angels: RHP Matthew Allan, Seminole HS (Fla.)
This is the first spot where it will take an above-slot deal to ink right-hander Matthew Allan to his $4 million asking price, albeit not much above-slot with a $3.89 million slot assignment. The 6'3" right-hander already has three above-average pitches and legitimate frontline upside, making him the top prep arm in a thin class. For an Angels team desperate for pitching, it's a price worth paying.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: 3B Brett Baty, Lake Travis HS (Texas)
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 allow them to aggressively target whoever they like best with the No. 16 pick, and it could be Baty, who has some of the best raw power in this class. The 6'3" slugger could take an above-slot deal to sign since he would be draft-eligible as a sophomore. But with an advanced approach and the hit tool to match his enticing pop, he's worth the cost.
17. Washington Nationals: 3B Josh Jung, Texas Tech
With a stellar track record and an advanced approach, Jung is the best college bat on the board at this point. He has hit .346/.452/.562 during his three seasons at Texas Tech, and while he hasn't put up elite power numbers, his 55-grade hit tool and 55-grade raw power give him a strong offensive profile.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates: RHP Brennan Malone, IMG Academy (Fla.)
Malone rivals Jackson Rutledge for the best pure stuff in this year's class. His fastball was touching the upper 90s late in the spring, and his slider is already a plus pitch. He doesn't offer as much projection as some of the other top prep arms, but his present stuff makes that easy to overlook. With elite athleticism and clean mechanics, he just needs to refine his secondary stuff and improve his overall command.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: RHP George Kirby, Elon
While a prep arm like Daniel Espino or Quinn Priester offers intriguing upside here, the polish of Kirby may be too good for the Cardinals to pass up. This spring, albeit against lesser competition at Elon, he has posted a 2.07 ERA with a silly 105-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 82.2 innings. He has a durable 6'3", 205-pound frame, four average or better pitches and terrific command. He should move as quickly as anyone in the class toward a ceiling as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
20. Seattle Mariners: RHP Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove HS (Ill.)
The Mariners took a high-ceiling prep arm from the midwest in 2017 when they selected Sam Carlson out of Burnsville High School in Minnesota and signed him to an above-slot bonus of $2 million. Priester is not quite as polished, but he might have the highest ceiling of any prep arm in this class. The Mariners have a history of targeting college bats in the first round, but if Priester is still on the board, he may be too good to pass up.
21. Atlanta Braves: SS Logan Davidson, Clemson
This year's draft is unusually deep on college shortstop talent. None of them figures to be a top-10 selection, but several could hear their names in the first 32 picks. Davidson has the best raw power of the group, slugging 42 home runs in his three seasons at Clemson while hitting .291/.402/.535 and showing more than enough glove to stick at shortstop.
22. Tampa Bay Rays: 3B Keoni Cavaco, Eastlake HS (Calif.)
No one has had more helium this spring than Cavaco, who was unranked when Baseball America released its first top 200 draft prospects list of the year. His lack of track record on the showcase circuit makes him a bit of a wild card. But the Rays have shown a willingness to roll the dice on loud tools in the past, and he has them with huge raw power and a strong defensive profile at the hot corner.
23. Colorado Rockies: SS Will Wilson, NC State
Another member of the collegiate shortstop crop, Wilson is hitting .361/.450/.703 with 16 home runs this spring, building off a strong sophomore season in which he posted a .964 OPS with 15 homers. He has an aggressive but controlled approach at the plate and should continue to hit for a solid average and power. The Rockies have been linked to college bats throughout the predraft process, per Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, and Wilson looks like the best available.
24. Cleveland Indians: 1B/OF Michael Busch, North Carolina
Busch doesn't have the highest ceiling among college bats, but he might be the first from this class to reach the majors. With a smooth left-handed swing and the requisite bat speed to hit for power at the next level, he has posted a .281/.444/.523 line with 12 home runs this spring and walks at a 20.7 percent clip. His advanced approach and polish and the Indians' need for outfield help could put him in Cleveland before the 2020 season is over.
25. Los Angeles Dodgers: SS Gunnar Henderson, John T. Morgan Academy (Ala.)
Henderson has closed the gap between Bobby Witt Jr. and CJ Abrams at the top of the prep shortstop rankings, and he could wind up going much higher than this. As his 6'3", 195-pound frame fills out, a move to third base could become necessary. With a 55-grade hit tool and intriguing power potential, that shouldn't be a problem in terms of offensive profile. The Dodgers could also go with a prep arm here if someone like JJ Goss or Daniel Espino is high on their board.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy (Ga.)
Espino is one of the more polarizing prospects in the 2019 class. He has a big 70-grade fastball that has touched triple digits and a wipeout slider. But his command is inconsistent, there is some effort in his delivery and he's undersized (6'2", 200 lbs). The same things were said about Marcus Stroman when he came out of Duke and countless other smallish right-handed pitchers. Someone will take a chance. Why not the team with the most bonus money?
27. Chicago Cubs: 3B Kody Hoese, Tulane
Unless the Cubs become enamored with a high-ceiling project like Campbell right-hander Seth Johnson or think they can sign prep right-hander Jack Leiter away from his strong commitment to Vanderbilt, the pick here will most likely be a college bat. Hoese is a big 6'4", 200-pound third baseman with big right-handed power who has hit .392/.487/.789 with 23 home runs this spring to push his way into the first-round conversation.
28. Milwaukee Brewers: RHP JJ Goss, Cypress Ranch HS (Texas)
The Brewers are in a position to go with the best player available at No. 28 overall. In this hypothetical, that appears to be Goss, a 6'3", 172-pound Texas high schooler who is among the most projectable arms in the 2019 class. His 60-grade slider is his best present pitch, and his fastball already touches 96 mph. It's just a matter of refining his changeup and packing on some muscle.
29. Oakland Athletics: SS Greg Jones, UNC Wilmington
Carlos Collazo of Baseball America wrote: "We're hearing a lot of noise about Jones to the Athletics at this point, and this continues their recent strategy of going for high-upside players in the first round." With legitimate 80-grade speed and intriguing offensive upside, he has real impact potential.
30. New York Yankees: 3B Tyler Callihan, Providence HS (Fla.)
With a 55-grade hit tool and the power potential to be an impact run producer, Callihan is the kind of high-ceiling bat the Yankees have often targeted when picking late in the first round. Missouri Tigers outfielder Kameron Misner is also a potential fit here, though his struggles in conference play have sent him sliding down draft boards.
31. Los Angeles Dodgers: OF Kameron Misner, Missouri
How far will Misner fall? The 6'4" outfielder has legitimate five-tool potential, and he was expected to be one of the top college bats in the class after hitting .360/.497/.576 during his sophomore season at Missouri. After a strong start this spring, he has slumped badly to a .222/.353/.315 line with 39 strikeouts in 133 plate appearances in SEC play. His upside could still be enough for him to slide in the first round, though, and the Dodgers look like a good fit given their two first-round selections.
32. Houston Astros: RHP Seth Johnson, Campbell
Johnson just started pitching this spring after transferring to Campbell following two seasons as a light-hitting JUCO shortstop. His raw stuff and two present plus pitches give him a high ceiling, and his clean mechanics belie his lack of experience on the mound. The 6'1" right-hander has racked up 69 strikeouts in 56 innings, and he may be just scratching the surface.