MLB Draft 2019: Selection Order and Predictions for 1st-Round Baseball Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 3, 2019

FILE  - In this June 28, 2018, file photo, Oregon State's Adley Rutschman hits an RBI single to score Cadyn Grenier during the third inning of Game 3 against Arkansas in the NCAA College World Series baseball finals, in Omaha, Neb. The Baltimore Orioles lead off the Major League Baseball Draft for the first time in 30 years and Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman is a heavy favorite to be selected No. 1 on Monday night, June 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)
Nati Harnik/Associated Press

The pressure is on the Baltimore Orioles Monday night to make the right decision at the top of the 2019 MLB draft. 

For months, Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman has been considered the top prospect in the draft pool. 

Baltimore is expected to take the junior with the No. 1 overall pick, but there is still a slight chance it throws a curveball and selects one of the other top prospects. 

Regardless of which player lands No. 1, hitters are projected to dominate the start of the first round, and there is a chance a pitcher is not taken until the back end of the top 10. 


2019 MLB 1st-Round Mock Draft

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

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

3. Chicago White Sox: CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity HS (Georgia) 

4. Miami Marlins: Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California

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

6. San Diego Padres: JJ Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt

7. Cincinnati Reds: Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU

8. Texas Rangers: Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis HS (Texas) 

9. Atlanta Braves: Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto College

10. San Francisco Giants: Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State

11. Toronto Blue Jays: George Kirby, RHP, Elon

12. New York Mets: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech 

13. Minnesota Twins: Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV

14. Philadelphia Phillies: Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia

15. Los Angeles Angels: Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky

16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (Washington)

17. Washington Nationals: Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor

18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane

19. St. Louis Cardinals: Will Wilson, SS, NC State

20. Seattle Mariners: Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove HS (Illinois) 

21. Atlanta Braves: Matt Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (Florida) 

22. Tampa Bay Rays: Tyler Callihan, IF/C, Providence HS (Florida) 

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

24. Cleveland Indians: Keoni Cavaco, 3B, Eastlake HS (California) 

25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Daniel Espino, RHP, Premier Academy HS (Georgia) 

26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Maurice Hampton, OF, Memphis University HS (Tennessee) 

27. Chicago Cubs: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Florida) 

28. Milwaukee Brewers: JJ Goss, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (Texas) 

29. Oakland Athletics: Gunnar Henderson, SS, Morgan Academy HS (Alabama) 

30. New York Yankees: Greg Jones, SS, UNC Wilmington

31. Los Angeles Dodgers: Kyren Paris, SS, Freedom HS (California) 

32. Houston Astros: Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri 


Orioles Still Exploring All Options

The consensus in most mock drafts is the Orioles will land Rutschman once the draft begins Monday night.

Nati Harnik/Associated Press

However, there has been some buzz to suggest otherwise in the buildup to the selection process, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.

Mayo reported that two high-level scouts for teams with picks later in the first round were insistent the Orioles were not taking the 21-year-old. 

Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn and Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday would be the alternatives to Rutschman if the Orioles decide to buck conventional wisdom. 

Of course, all of this buzz could just be misinformation spread by scouts and others across baseball to strum up more excitement about a decision that could have been made months ago. 

As for Rutschman, he could join the Orioles immediately, after Oregon State was knocked out of the NCAA baseball tournament Saturday. 

The catcher's teammates are 100 percent behind him landing with the Orioles at the top of the first round, as Oregon State first baseman Zak Taylor told The Oregonian's Bob Lundeberg. 

"I think a team's dumb not to take him first overall, but that's just my opinion," he said.

In Mayo's latest mock draft on MLB.com, he noted there is not enough noise out there to change his prediction from Rutschman to another prospect, which could be a sign this is all posturing by those in the know of Baltimore's decision. 

Drafting Rutschman is the best decision Baltimore could make, as he carries the most upside of the top prospects in the draft and has a terrific two-way skill set that could benefit the team sooner rather than later. 


1st Round Should Be Dominated By Position Players

The best prospects in the draft class are mostly hitters. 

Even if Rutschman does not go off the board at No. 1 to Baltimore, it will select one of a few standout position players. 

In fact, there is a good chance the top six players taken Monday night are hitters, with Vaughn, Bleday and high school players Bobby Witt Jr., C.J. Abrams and Riley Greene expected to be taken in some order. 

Wade Payne/Associated Press

It is likely TCU's Nick Lodolo is the first pitcher taken, but where he lands remains to be seen. 

Cincinnati appears to be a good landing spot for the 21-year-old, but if the Reds want to chase a bat, the lefty pitcher could drop down the draft board. 

West Virginia's Alek Manoah and Jackson Rutledge out of San Jacinto College are two of the other top pitching prospects teams could nab at the back end of the top 10. 

The high ratio of hitters to pitchers in the first round would continue a trend set over the last two years in the MLB draft. 

In 2017 and 2018, six pitchers were taken in the top 10, including 2018 No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize, which is a decline from the six pitchers who were taken in the top 10 in 2016. 

In every draft this decade, at least three pitchers have gone in the top 10 selections, but if Lodolo does not land at No. 7 and drops one or two spots, there is a good chance of that run coming to an end. 


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