2019 MLB Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions for Most Coveted Baseball Prospects

John HealyContributor IJune 3, 2019

Omaha, NE - JUNE 27:  Catcher Adley Rutschman #35 of the Oregon State Beavers celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Arkansas Razorbacks during game two of the College World Series Championship Series on June 27, 2018 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The MLB draft, perhaps the most unique draft in professional sports, is set to begin Monday at 7 p.m. ET, with the Baltimore Orioles on the clock for the first overall pick. 

Unlike the NFL and NBA, the MLB draft is held midseason and lasts 40 rounds. It consists of both college and high school prospects, with the latter often difficult to predict if they will sign or continue to refine their skills at the collegiate level. 

Players are also immediately placed into the teams' farm systems and are usually at least two or more years away from reaching the majors. 

The first MLB draft was implemented in 1965 in an effort to prevent wealthier teams, such as the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals, from stockpiling young talent by offering them contracts, according to the Baseball Almanac. The draft was also divided into three drafts, too. 

The first would occur in June for high school graduates and college seniors, while the second took place in January for high school and college players who graduated in the winter. There was a third held in August for players who participated in summer amateur leagues, but it lasted just two years. 

The draft finally became just one in 1986. 


2019 Mock Draft

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

2. Kansas City Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville HS (TX)

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

4. Miami Marlins: JJ Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt

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

6. San Diego Padres: CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (GA)

7. Cincinnati Reds: Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU

8. Texas Rangers: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech 

9. Atlanta Braves (comp for unsigned 2018 first-round pick): Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto College (TX)

10. San Francisco Giants: Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV

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

12. New York Mets: Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky

13. Minnesota Twins: Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State

14. Philadelphia Phillies: Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (WA)

15. Los Angeles Angels: George Kirby, RHP, Elon

16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor

17. Washington Nationals: Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy (GA)

18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove HS (IL)

19. St. Louis Cardinals: Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (FL)

20. Seattle Mariners: Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane

21. Atlanta Braves: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy 

22. Tampa Bay Rays: Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson

23. Colorado Rockies: Michael Busch, 1B/OF, North Carolina

24. Cleveland Indians: Will Wilson, SS, North Carolina State

25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Gunnar Henderson, SS, John T. Morgan Academy

26. Arizona Diamondbacks (comp for unsigned 2018 first-round pick): Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis HS (TX)

27. Chicago CubsJJ Goss, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (TX)

28: Milwaukee Brewers: Seth Johnson, RHP, Campbell

29. Oakland Athletics: Greg Jones, SS, UNC-Wilmington

30. New York Yankees: Tyler Callihan, 3B, Providence HS (FL)

31. Los Angeles Dodgers (comp for unsigned 2018 first-round pick): Maurice Hampton, OF, Memphis University HS (TN)

32. Houston Astros: Mike Toglia, 1B, UCLA


Top College Players Available

Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State

Finding a franchise-changing catcher in the draft is one of the most difficult things to do. The Twins did it with Joe Mauer in 2001 and the Giants did it with Buster Posey in 2008, and the Orioles may just be able to do it with Rutschman in 2019. 

The 22-year-old is a baseball unicorn—a switch-hitting catcher with power to all sides of the field:

Pac-12 Network @Pac12Network

He knew it. #BeaverNation knew it. @BeaverBaseball's Adley Rutschman crushes homer No. 17 of the year. Watch #Pac12BSB: https://t.co/7bV5KkFKBD https://t.co/JAQEuafLm9

Baseball America has dubbed him the best prospect since Bryce Harper, while Jim Callis of MLB.com posed the same question. 

Rutschman has put up monster numbers in his junior year, hitting a slash line of .417/.580/.765 with 17 home runs and 57 RBI. He has thrown out 13 of 26 baserunners in 55 games and even got the Barry Bonds treatment during the College World Series regional opening round, where he was intentionally walked with the bases loaded. 

He could be a generational talent who would be impossible to pass up on, although the Orioles have said they have narrowed down their options to four prospects with the No. 1 pick, per Nathan Ruiz of the Baltimore Sun.


Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville HS (TX)

Witt was the Gatorade National Player of the Year and comes from a baseball family.

His father was drafted third overall by the Texas Rangers in 1985 and pitched 16 seasons in the majors, while his uncle, Doug Witt, is a scout for the Orioles, signaling they could well choose the 18-year-old shortstop over Rutschman. 

Like Rutschman, Witt is heading into the draft with tons of praise, none higher than from former MLB scout Ryan Nelson, who told The Athletic: "There's no doubt in my mind that whoever ends up drafting him, in five to seven years, he's going to be Mike Trout. He's going to be that guy that's just everywhere, like Derek Jeter."

Those are some high expectations to live up to, but by all indications from scouts, Witt is a potential five-tool shortstop:

Baseball America @BaseballAmerica

Scouts think Bobby Witt Jr. is the best prep defensive infielder in the country. https://t.co/tlkF9eYAyq https://t.co/3qgb1w8HSW

He is committed to play at Oklahoma next year, but it is more likely he will be on the fast track to the majors in somebody's farm system, most likely the Royals. 


Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California

Vaughn may well be the next-best prospect after Rutschman and Witt, although there are some concerns over him.

Perhaps the biggest question mark surrounds his height. The 21-year-old has been listed anywhere between 5'10" and 6'0", which is traditionally considered small for a first baseman. No right-handed hitting first baseman has been taken in the top-five of the draft, either. 

But Vaughn could be the guy to break convention. He may be the best hitting prospect in the draft and his raw power is undeniable, hitting 50 home runs over three seasons at California:

Cal Baseball @CalBaseball

Bears trail by a run in B8, and then Andrew Vaughn does this ... #CalBaseball #GoldenSpikes https://t.co/LTWMard2Kw

He also has incredible plate discipline. He ranks third in the NCAA in on-base percentage this season at .549 and has a 23 percent walk rate, which has only been achieved by Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds since the 1994 MLB strike, according to Zach Kram of The Ringer

If the White Sox don't select him at No. 3, any team he falls to would be snagging someone who has the potential to be an elite power hitter in the majors.