We are just a short couple months away from the 2019 Draft. With the college season under way, and high school’s right around the corner, the first round is starting to take shape. And, because of that, we are already onto version 3 of our 2019 MLB Mock Draft. Two words should summarize this year’s first round: ‘big bats’.
View our previous Mock Draft here.
Pick 1. Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
There’s a rise in big-hitting catchers the past few years. For the longest time, only defensive gems with hitting potential would slide into the first rounds. Rutschman eerily compares to newest Giant Joey Bart. He’s the best all-around backstop in his class. Scouts rate him a plus defender with a rifle for an arm, and he’s a switch-hitter with raw power that GM’s will drool over in this 2019 baseball draft.
This season he’s off to a good start, slugging .429 with eight homers and 22 RBIs.
Pick 2. Kansas City Royals: Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
While Rutschman is the top catcher in the 2019 Baseball Draft class, Langeliers isn’t far behind. He, too, is a great defensive catcher with a great arm and pop in his bat. Langeliers can drive to all fields and can hit for average and power.
Salvador Perez’s season-ending injury proves the Royals need to look to the future for their next great catcher. Langeliers is a guy who can come in and make an impact right away. He’s pretty polished and shouldn’t spend too many years in the minors.
Pick 3. Chicago White Sox: Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California
Coming in third in our 2019 MLB Mock Draft is Andrew Vaughn. No one knew who Vaughn was coming out of high school. After his freshman year at California, he’s the talk of the state now. He brought home Freshman of the Year honors after the season. Some say Vaughn is the best all-around hitter in this Draft class, but that term is always thrown around with top-10 picks.
In the 23 games he has played this season, his triple slash is jaw-dropping: .372/.542/.756. slash line. And for the White Sox, who need a corner guy with power, Vaughn fits the mold perfectly. Jose Abreu’s days of playing first base for the Sox are coming to an end.
Pick 4. Miami Marlins: Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville Heritage HS (TX) (Commit: Oklahoma)
Reminiscent of Brewers pick Brice Turang in 2017, Witt has a lot of hype coming into 2019. He’s everything a team would want with a high first round pick. Good makeup, five-tool potential and strong MLB bloodlines, I can see Derek Jeter pushing to pick Witt, who has a similar skill set that he had coming up when he played.
High school position players are tough to evaluate in their junior years as they’re still growing into their bodies, so it’s difficult to say if Witt will remain a top-five pick in the 2019 baseball draft, or if he’ll fall like Turang did.
Pick 5. Detroit Tigers: Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (FL) (Commit: Florida)
Rounding out the top five in our 2019 MLB Mock Draft is Riley Greene. There’s a lot to like about Greene. Of course many say he’s the best pure hitter in the class, but that’s an overstatement for a senior in high school. Greene is a left-handed hitter with recently developed-power and a plus hit tool. In my 2.0 mock draft, I noted that Greene was an average defender who will most likely end up in one of the corners of the outfield. While I do think he is destined for a corner spot in the outfield, his defensive tools are better at second glance. It’s all about development and he’s only 18. From the outfield his arm was recently clocked at 92 MPH. And his 60 time of 6.62 wasn’t bad either (94th percentile for the prep class per perfect game and a 60 speed rating by fangraphs standard).
Detroit needs more hitters in their system. Can you imagine a future outfield featuring Daz Cameron, Parker Meadows and Riley Greene in 2022 or 2023? That sounds too good for them to pass up Greene at the fifth-spot.
Pick 6. San Diego Padres: Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri
Misner is this year’s Travis Swaggerty. Though he hasn’t gotten much hype from high school til now, his track record of performance should speak for itself. He can hit for power and average and would fit nicely in San Diego’s outfield. This season at Missouri, his strikeouts have increased quite a bit, however. He’ll need to learn patience at the plate.
Pick 7. Cincinnati Reds: CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (Commit: Alabama)
Abrams is a tremendous athlete with a plus arm to go along with his 75 speed rating. His ceiling is extremely high. There’s some comparison here to Nander De Sedas, who at one time was considered a top-10 in 2018 but drastically fell in the draft and decided to commit to Florida State. Abrams also fills the void left after the Reds traded away their best shortstop prospect Jeter Downs. Imagine a future infield of Nick Senzel, Jonathan India and CJ Abrams. Sounds good to me!
Pick 8. Texas Rangers: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
Let’s face it, the Rangers need more hitting infielders, and it’s by luck he’s the best player available at this spot too. Jung is a decorated collegiate player who can absolutely rip the ball. There is no doubt he’s one of the more well-rounded offensive players in this draft. He’s a patient hitter and knows how to find the barrel to the ball and his frame allows him to possess explosive power.
Pick 9. (Compensation) Atlanta Braves: Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (WA) (Commit: UCLA)
Carroll’s hit and run tools are his most notable. There is some leverage he has that most prospects in this draft don’t, especially among prep hitters, is that he can spray the ball to all fields. He is small (5’11”, 161 lbs.) and lacks power, which draws comparisons to Jacoby Ellsbury. The Braves won’t make the mistake of taking Carter Stewart here, who I mocked earlier. Their system is loaded with arms, so they’ll look for a positional player most likely. They will hope Misner drops this far, but for now it’s Carroll.
Pick 10. San Francisco Giants: Carter Stewart, RHP, Eastern Florida State JC
Do I think the first pitcher off the board will be at 10? No. But this version of our 2019 MLB Mock Draft just compliments how offensively sound this draft class is. I still think Carter Stewart was one of the better arms to come out of high school in 2018. The Braves selected him eighth overall, but Stewart didn’t sign after concerns of his health, which lowered the agreement he was offered. The Giants need to pump pitching life into their farm. Stewart is 6’6″ and throws hard. He can touch 97 with his fastball and the life on his throws is ridiculous.
2019 MLB Mock Draft: Picks 11-20
Pick 11. Toronto Blue Jays: Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy (Commit: LSU)
During last summer’s showcase, Espino broke Hunter Greene‘s Under Armour All-American Game record with a fastball that was clocked at 99 mph. We know he can also touch triple digits, as he’s done the feat before, but he usually stays in the 94-97 range. Although he can throw fire through water, his control and command are inconsistent.
There are more red flags with other prep pitchers that will scare some teams. Espino seems the more sure fire selection than the rest, at this point. He has developed quite nice since last summer and his awesome slider is the main reason he has jumped up in my mock.
Pick 12. New York Mets: Jerrion Ealy, OF, Jackson Prep (MS) (Commit: Mississippi)
Ealy is a tremendous athlete. If he can put it all together he can be a 20-homer guy who steals a lot of bases. He plays football at his school too and has committed to become a two-sport athlete at Mississippi, which could hinder his signability. The Mets lost their 2018 pick, Jarred Kelenic, to Seattle in the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade, so they’ll look to replace him with another solid-hitting high school outfielder at 12 in our 2019 MLB Mock Draft.
Pick 13. Minnesota Twins: Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU
The big lefty was snagged by the Pirates in the 2016 Baseball Draft with the 41st pick. He opted to go back to school, which has proved to be a heck of a choice. He’s become the veteran leader of his TCU rotation with a mid-90s fastball and an improving breaking ball. Even at 6’6” many say he’s still growing, which is scary. There are command issues at times, which he will look to fix this coming season.
The Twins make this pick by solely stocking their farm with arms. Some will challenge if Lodolo is the best southpaw in this class, but he’s been the most consistent and won’t spend as much time in the minors as others. For the Twins, who are looking to make an impact sooner than later, he’s a perfect fit for them.
Pick 14. Philadelphia Phillies: Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV
Too many times has Stott been compared to a young Brandon Crawford. Not just because of his hair flow, but his tools too. He’s a solid all-around player across the board with not one tool that stands out above the others. The Phillies lost J.P. Crawford in an off-season trade, so their search will end with his replacement in this draft. Down the line, when he’s promoted to the show, he’ll compete with Jean Segura, who can easily be moved to second.
If the Phillies don’t select Stott, they will probably select a pitcher. GM Mike Klentak has gone with bats with all three of his first round picks as a GM the last two years.
Pick 15. Los Angeles Angels: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (FL) (Commit: North Carolina)
His fastball consistently runs up to 96-97 mph with a quick arm and an athletic 6’3″ frame. He also has a plus curve and a changeup, though he barely throws it. His command could use a lot of work though.
The Angels need to stockpile more pitchers in their organization. Malone will be a great pick at 15; not a steal. His ceiling, though, is quite high for a prep righty and, therefore, breaks into the top 15 in our 2019 MLB Mock Draft.
Pick 16. Arizona Diamondbacks: JJ Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt churns outfielders out like butter (Jeren Kendall, Bryan Reynolds, Rhett Wiseman), and Bleday has a higher ceiling at the plate than all of them. He’s a pure hitter and if he adds onto his impressive sophomore season, will improve his draft stock further.
Pick 17. Washington Nationals: Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky
Thompson was highly touted out of high school. He was one of the best left-handed pitchers in the country in 2016. Concerns about his shoulder and his love for UK made the southpaw slip to the Rays in the 11th. He has four pitches, each just as good as the other. Washington will continue to add to their system with game-changing arms.
Pick 18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Spencer Jones, LHP/1B, La Costa Canyon HS (CA) (Commit: Vanderbilt)
Spencer Jones is a unique prospect. He’s about as good as a pitcher as he is a positional player. No one really knows where his future lies at the moment. He has a wallop of a swing but he’s pretty unpolished as an overall hitter. He’s a plus runner, which is abnormal for a 6’7″ player. On the mound, his fastball sits in the early-90s and his curveball is solid, which could eventually be a plus pitch. It’s safe to say his upside is huge, more so than anyone in this 2019 baseball draft. Pittsburgh loves projects and Jones will be their latest, if they pick him at 18.
Pick 19. St. Louis Cardinals: Grame Stinson, LHP, Duke
I do believe Stinson might drop even further here (in future versions of our 2019 MLB Mock Draft). I’m not high on him. Maybe it’s because he’s a tough player to project. He’s a decent pitcher, not great. His best pitch is his slider that’s considered a plus-plus pitch. He reminds me of Kyle Funkhouser, who was the 115th selection by the Detroit Tigers in the 2016 draft. Could he be selected sooner than 19? Sure. But I feel there are better pitchers in this class that will be favored as we approach June, and as his season progresses.
Pick 20. Seattle Mariners: Rece Hinds, 3B, IMG Academy (FL) (Commit: LSU)
This might be a Kyler Murray sort of reach here, but I’m big on Hinds. And let’s face it, the Mariners need more corner guys who can hit. The sort of raw power Hinds has is special and he’s quickly developing into a corner guy teams wish they had. To go along with his power bat he has a plus arm. He has played short but his size and arm strength are surely better for the hot corner. The LSU Tigers made sure to get this stud-recruit to commit quickly, however, if he’s selected in the first round, it might be harder for him to go to school.
Pick 21. Atlanta Braves: Brett Baty, 3B/1B, Lake Travis HS (TX) (Commit: Texas)
Baty has been compared to fellow Texan Josh Jung without the college marks and is also a less defender. Baty has sneaky power that goes above his 55 grade at times and has been noted by scouts as being an advanced hitter. The Braves would gladly take Hinds over Baty, but this could end up being a steal of a pick. Pending on how his senior season goes, he could remain in the top-25.
Pick 22. Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Tyler Dyson, RHP, Florida
The Florida Gators have been a pitcher factory, churning out some great arms in the past five years. Whether these arms provide legitimate impact for their respected teams is a wait-and-see kind of process for now. He’s 6’3” and still developing with a lively fastball. Much like other pitchers in this year’s class, his command and control need some work.
Pick 23. Colorado Rockies: Michael Busch, 1B, North Carolina
Michael Busch is another prospect that looks to rise from this current draft position. He compares somewhat to Seth Beer from the 2018 class. Busch’s power and hit ability are in line for starting material one day. He’s not very big for a first baseman, and will need much polish. There’s enough here to develop him into a solid every day player.
Pick 24. Cleveland Indians: Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia
Alek Manoah is an imposing figure, who stands 6’6″ and weighs 260. He lives in the 93-95 range with his fastball that has touched 98 at times. He uses his long limbs and frame to get good extension and the perceived velocity should be even higher. His secondary pitch is a nasty slider that should generate heavy swing and miss. The Indians need to replenish their organization with pitchers
Pick 25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Hunter Barco, LHP/OF/1B, TCU
Hunter Barco is a two-way southpaw who has been on scouts’ radars for years now. Scouts are split on him, with some still seeing him as a top-five talent and others seeing a comp. round player. Barco is a plus athlete who throws an almost side-armed low 90’s heater with exceptional movement. On the other side of the ball, Barco plays 1B and OF and offers tremendous raw power, but it comes with some swings and misses. Many scouts prefer him as an arm. He compares well to Tampa Bay Rays prospect Brendan McKay.
Pick 26 (Compensation) Arizona Diamondbacks: Braden Shewmake, SS, Texas A&M
Braden Shewmake isn’t flashy, nor does one tool giant any other. Shewmake always makes good contact with the ball and does everything right. While he’s a decent shortstop, his arm is more accurate than strong, so second base might be his calling in the pros. Shewmake short currently, but once he fills out his 6’4″ 180 frame, we should expect a move to third base, where he projects as a plus defender.
Pick 27. Chicago Cubs: Tyler Callihan, 3B/1B, Province High School (FL)
Tyler Callihan gets high marks for his character and leadership skills, but it’s his bat that gets him drafted here. He finds a way to get maximum barrel speed quickly, allowing him to get to and drive velocity and spin at an advanced rate for his age. Callihan isn’t just a slap hitter by any means though, hitting towering shots against high end prep arms. The concern here is defense.
Pick 28. Milwaukee Brewers: Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (FL) (Commit: Florida)
The biggest thing that scouts like about Allan is his consistency. His style doesn’t change and he delivers the same ever time. That’s something coaches can work with. He’s got a good frame and can touch the high-90s with his fastball. He is a Florida commit and it might be hard to sign him if he’s drafted this low though.
Pick 29. Oakland A’s: Matthew Thompson, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (TX) (Commit: Texas A&M)
He’s a gunslinger– through-and-through. He has ultra-quick arm action and a very athletic delivery that helps his fastball fluctuate from low-90s to 97 mph. There’s not much life to his fastball and at times his curve flattens into a slider, so there is work to be done with this selection. Oakland needs more arms in their system and with this low of a pick, and with pitchers dropping their stocks, they should get a pretty solid arm, regardless
Pick 30. New York Yankees: Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton HS (NJ) (Commit: Vanderbilt)
Another prospect with good MLB bloodlines, Jack Leiter is the son of 19-year big-leaguer Al Leiter. Leiter has a strong four-pitch mix and knows what to do with all of his offerings. He’s not going to blow anyone away with his velocity but he’s an intelligent pitcher, which says a lot for a high-schooler.
Pick 31. (Compensation) Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Wallner, OF, Southern Mississippi
Wallner is a two-way player but primarily an outfielder. His bat is too good for the mound, but make no mistake, his arm is no joke. He’s a closer for Southern Miss and has a mid-to-upper 90s fastball with serious life. His bat, however, is intriguing. And for his 6’5″ frame, he’s uniquely athletic. In other drafts he has been dropping, so we’ll watch that.
Pick 32. Houston Astros: Will Holland, SS, Auburn
One of the best things about Holland is that he gets better every year. He’s a coaches dream, really. His power is better than his hitting ability, which makes him a bit lopsided. It might be because of his unconventional right-handed swing and his over aggressive approach. He also has plus speed but isn’t much of a threat on the bases.
Pick 33. Boston Red Sox: George Kirby, RHP, Elon
A collegiate pitcher makes a lot of sense here in our 2019 MLB Mock Draft and George Kirby is the best one on the board. Kirby is the rare high profile small college arm. He already throws 92-94 MPH, reaching 97 at times. He pairs his plus heat with a sick slider and a solid change. He also throws a curve that lags but could improve as the year goes on.