2019 MLB Draft Grades: Best and Worst Picks from Monday Results

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2019

Michael Busch
Michael BuschUNC Athletic Communications

The first 78 selections of the 2019 MLB draft are complete after Day 1 kicked off the three-day event on Monday night.

Predicting how the MLB draft will play out is always nothing short of a fool's errand, and even in the first round of the 40-round event, there are always a handful of surprises.

For a full breakdown of each Day 1 pick with grades and analysis for each selection, check out this article.

Before the draft moves forward with Rounds 3-10 on Tuesday afternoon, let's take a closer look at some of the best and worst picks from Monday based on overall value relative to draft position.


Best Picks

Isaiah Campbell
Isaiah CampbellPeter Aiken/Getty Images

31. 1B/OF Michael Busch, Los Angeles Dodgers

Busch has a smooth left-handed swing and an advanced approach at the plate with a walk rate north of 20 percent during his time at North Carolina. That gives him one of the highest floors among all college hitters and should allow him to reach the majors in short order.

He hit .290/.441/.567 with 14 doubles and 16 home runs this spring, and he has proven capable of playing first base and both corner outfield spots.

Busch was a candidate to be drafted in the early 20s, and it would not have been a reach at all for the Dodgers to have taken him with their first pick at No. 25 overall. Grabbing a pair of polished college bats with their two first-round picks also allowed the Dodgers to take a chance on extremely projectable 6'6" prep right-hander Jimmy Lewis with the No. 78 overall pick.


36. RHP JJ Goss, Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are as good as any team in baseball at developing pitching talent and they landed one of the highest ceilings in the class when Goss slipped to No. 36 overall.

The lanky 6'3", 185-pound right-hander has a ton of projection left in his frame, and he can already touch 96 mph with his fastball. He backs that with a 60-grade slider that is one of the best breaking pitches in this class of high school arms and also shows a good feel for his changeup.

The Rays took UNC Wilmington speedster Greg Jones with their first-round pick and pop-up Campbell right-hander at No. 40 overall, making Goss the perfect high-ceiling prep to sandwich between a pair of boom-or-bust college players.


42. SS Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles

The O's got the top player in the draft in Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman at No. 1 overall and they also landed one of the biggest steals in the draft when Henderson slipped to No. 42 overall.

There were some rumblings that he could go as high as No. 18 overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and a strong case can be made that he was the third-best prep shortstop in a deep class behind Bobby Witt Jr. and CJ Abrams.

He could eventually be forced to slide over to third base as his 6'3", 195-pound frame continues to fill out. That said, he has a good enough offensive profile with some intriguing raw power that his bat should fit just fine at the hot corner.


65. LHP Antonie Kelly, Milwaukee Brewers

MLB.com wrote of Kelly: "He may have the biggest gap between his ceiling and floor of any player in the draft."

The lanky 6'6", 205-pound JUCO left-hander was up to 98 mph this spring and it's easy to envision that reaching triple-digits as he adds more strength. He doesn't have a reliable second pitch at this point and his mechanics need further refinement, but in terms of pure power, he rivals any pitcher in this class.

After taking one of the safer college arms in the class in Mississippi State ace Ethan Small with their first-round pick, this was a terrific swing for the fences by the Brewers to round out their Day 1 haul.


76. RHP Isaiah Campbell, Seattle Mariners

A case can be made that Campbell was one of the 10 best college pitchers in this draft, so the fact that he was still on the board at No. 76 overall was a huge win for the Mariners.

The Arkansas ace sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and can reach back for 98 mph, backing that with a terrific slider-splitter pairing. He also has smooth mechanics and a durable 6'4", 225-pound frame, which all adds up to middle-of-the-rotation profile with a chance for more.

The Mariners also picked up college hurlers George Kirby (Elon) and Brandon Williamson (TCU) with a Day 1 approach that looks similar to what the Kansas City Royals took did a year ago.


Worst Picks

Will Wilson
Will WilsonBen McKeown/Associated Press

15. SS Will Wilson, Los Angeles Angels

Wilson was one of the better middle infield players in this draft from an offensive standpoint. The NC State standout is hitting .335/.425/.661 with 16 home runs this spring, building off a strong sophomore season in which he posted a .964 OPS with 15 homers.

However, this was a reach given his second base profile defensive and one of the available arms made way more sense for a pitching-needy Angels organization.

Jackson Rutledge (No. 17, WAS), Quinn Priester (No. 18, PIT), Zack Thompson (No. 19, STL) and George Kirby (No. 20, SEA) all would have been better picks.


23. 1B Michael Toglia, Colorado Rockies

Toglia is an imposing 6'5", 201-pound slugger with some of the best raw power in the 2019 draft class.

However, there are questions about his hit tool due to inconsistent swing mechanics, and the fit here doesn't make a lick of sense.

The Rockies just locked up third baseman Nolan Arenado long-term and they already have Colton Welker, Tyler Nevin, and 2018 first-round pick Grant Lavigne as corner infield options, not to mention Ryan McMahon.


27. RHP Ryan Jensen, Chicago Cubs

Jensen gives the Cubs a power arm that can touch 98 mph with his fastball and backs it with a wipeout slider.

He has more of a reliever profile at this point, though, and there's a really good chance he would have still been on the board when they picked again at No. 64 overall.

The Cubs passing on polished North Carolina first baseman/outfielder was one of the biggest surprises of Day 1. He perfectly fits the profile of players they have grabbed in the first round in recent years and was still available after slipping a bit.


All stats courtesy of The Baseball Cube unless otherwise noted.