Final 2019 MLB Mock Draft: Version 4.0

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 if you can believe it, he’s a switch-hitter with raw power that the Orioles will utilize and love, love, love!

Pick 2. Kansas City Royals: 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. This is the kind of pick that can change an organization.

Witt will take a few years to develop. But the pay off could be huge for KC. They lack any big time shortstops or second basemen on the farm and picking Witt will give them the talent the desperately need.

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

Selected third in our 2019 MLB Mock Draft is Andrew Vaughn. Hard to believe no one knew who Vaughn was coming out of high school. After his freshman year at California now he’s the talk of the state. Some say Vaughn is the best all-around hitter in this Draft class, but that term is always thrown around with top-10 picks.

There are also some who believe the Sox would prefer prep shortstop CJ Abrams to Vaughn, but there isn’t much of a chance they pass on the best college hitter in decades. Also, Jose Abreu’s days of playing first base for the Sox are coming to an end. Vaughn will rise through the ranks pretty fast, just in time to replace him.

Pick 4. Miami Marlins: JJ Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt churns outfielders out like butter (Jeren KendallBryan ReynoldsRhett Wiseman), and Bleday has a higher ceiling at the plate than all of them. He’s a pure hitter with power, that has given him comparisons to former Marlin favorite Giancarlo Stanton. Out of any college prospect, he has improved his stock the most this season. There is no secret that the Marlins have scouted Bleday heavily and fell in love him. If he falls to them, he will be their selection.

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 plenty to like about Greene. Of course, many say he’s the best pure hitter in the class, but that’s an overstatement for any senior in high school. Here are the facts: Greene is a left-handed hitter with recently developed-power and a plus hit tool. In my past mocks, I noted that Greene was an average defender. 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 consistent hitters, with power, in their system. If everything falls into place, Greene could be apart of a future stud outfield. That sounds too good for Detroit to pass up Greene at the fifth-spot.

Pick 6. San Diego Padres: 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 instead. Imagine a future infield of Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and CJ Abrams. Looks great on paper, doesn’t it?

Pick 7. Cincinnati Reds: Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU

The big lefty was snagged by the Pirates in the 2016 Draft with the 41st pick. He opted to return to school, which has proven to be a heck of a choice. He’s become the veteran leader of his TCU rotation, displaying a mid-90s fastball and an improving breaking ball. Even at 6’6” many say he’s still growing, which is scary to think about. There are command issues at times, which he will look to fix once he gets to the pros.

The Reds make this pick out of necessity. 2017 pick Hunter Greene hasn’t been on the fast track to developing, now battling a season-ending injury. Lodolo is a good pick that will soar through the minors pretty quickly.

Pick 8. Texas Rangers: 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.

Texas has been linked to a slew of picks such as Josh Jung, Bishop Hunter and Brett Baty. Carroll is a pick that the Rangers don’t have to rush to bring up, and if developed right, could be a problem for rival AL West teams when he gets to the bigs.

Pick 9. (Compensation Pick) Atlanta Braves: Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State

Bishop sort of came out of nowhere. His killer season this year at ASU has catapulted him to a top-10 pick. Watching him, Bishop can do it all. The only knock against him is he doesn’t have the track record. He can play anywhere you put him in the outfield and produce. How good he can be is yet to be determined.

Pending on how much the Rangers value Carroll, I wouldn’t be surprised if they snag Bishop with the 8th pick. But if they don’t, expect the Braves to run to the podium. Unless, they fall in love with a pitcher, which let’s be honest, they always do.

Pick 10. San Fransisco Giants: Alex Manoah, RHP, West Virginia

In my last mock, I had Manoah being chosen in the 9-12 range. While I still believe he floats somewhere within those picks, I could even see him being selected over Lodolo. Manoah is a workhorse. He has solid power but is crafty when he needs to be. His fastball has good sink and his changeup improvements have paid off this season, putting West Virginia as a team to beat.

San Fransisco needs more arms on the farm. Instead of trading them away, or overworking them, they need to use them wisely this time and take some pointers from the Braves and stockpile. Like they had done with Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner in the past, maybe this Manoah pick could lead them to the next great Giants team.

Pick 11. Toronto Blue Jays: Jackson Rutledge, San Jacnito JC (TX) (Commit: Kentucky)

The Blue Jays’ organization is filled with game-changing positional players. What they lack is pitching. Now it’s time to address that need. By selecting Rutledge, who would be the first JC player off the board, they will get a big pitcher with the maturity of a five-year veteran. Rutledge has great arm angles and hot fastball to add to his big frame.

Pick 12. New York Mets: Zach Thompson, LHP, Kentucky

Thompson was highly touted out of high school. At one time he was considered 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 comes with four pitches, each just as good as the other. The Mets needs to think of the future of their rotation and Thompson can be a piece of that.

Pick 13. Minnesota Twins: 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. Whether his power matures more is yet to be determined, and if he becomes a smarter hitter, his ceiling could become the best catching prospect in the Twins system since Joe Mauer.

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 since being hired.

Pick 15. Los Angeles Angels: Matthaw Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (FL) (Commit: Florida)

The Angels need pitching bad. The biggest thing that scouts like about Allan is his consistency. His style doesn’t change and he delivers the same every 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, however.

Pick 16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech

Let’s face it, the Diamondbacks need more hitting infielders, and it’s by luck Jung is the best player available at this spot. 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.

There really isn’t a reason he’s continued to drop in my mocks, other than more intriguing prospects, mostly out of high school, keep surpassing him. I think Jung is easily a top-10 pick. Whether other teams think so, we’ll find out Monday.

Pick 17. Washington Nationals: George Kirby, RHP, Eaton

A collegiate pitcher makes a lot of sense here in my mock 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.

Washington has an interesting crop of talented young players that will keep them relevant for the next decade. Adding Kirby to the mix will improve pitching on the farm for sure.

Pick 18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (FL) (Commit: North Carolina)

This looks like a Pirates pick, no doubt, right? They gave up Tyler Glasnow and rising prospect Shane Baz to the Rays last year, including phenom prospect Austin Meadows. Yeah, they did that. I truly feel bad for Pittsburgh fans. Selecting Malone is a necessary pick to inject some legit pitching talent into the system. Malone’s fastball consistently runs up to 96-97 mph, due in part to his quick arm and 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 too.

Malone is 50-50 at this point. He could go within the first 20 or drop. It just depends on which team values him the most. Malone has an “it-factor” that shouldn’t be overlooked, though. Good coaching will go a long way in his development. He reminds me a lot of Ethan Hankins, a Cleveland pick, from last year’s draft.

Pick 19. St. Louis Cardinals: Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri

Misner is this year’s Travis Swaggerty. Though his Junior season hasn’t been what he had hoped for, his ceiling shouldn’t be overlooked as there’s plenty to work with here. While his stock has dropped, he’s still one of the most impressive athletes in this draft class. He can hit for power and average and would be a hometown favorite, if selected by the Cardinals. This season his strikeouts have increased quite a bit, however. He’ll need to learn patience at the plate and take advantage of good pitches. Out of everyone in this draft, he is my biggest sleeper.

Pick 20. Seattle Mariners: Brett Baty, 3B/1B, Lake Travis HS (TX) (Commit: Texas)

Baty has been compared to fellow Texan Josh Jung without the college marks, but is a less defender. The Texas native has sneaky power that goes above his 55 grade at times and has been noted by scouts as being an advanced hitter. Seattle would gladly take Jung over Baty, but this could end up being a steal of a pick.

Pick 21. Atlanta Braves: Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove HS (Ill) (Commit: TCU)

I can’t see the Braves taking two bats with their two picks in the first round. The past five seasons they have bet the farm on pitchers, and that won’t change anytime soon. They have always prided themselves in finding golden arms.

Priester is a late riser this year. A few months ago, he wasn’t even projected to crack the first round. Now, he’s seeing himself chosen in the top-25. This would be a good and inexpensive pick for Atlanta.

Pick 22. Tampa Bay Rays: Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane

Another Josh Jung/Brett Baty mold, Hoese has scouts talking, since his impressive collegiate season. Tulane hasn’t seen this big of an offensive threat since the early 2000s. He slugs the ball from gap to gap with ease, while he maintains a disciplined approach at the plate that has led to more walks than strikeouts.

Hoese isn’t going to be a base burner, more of a station to station kind of player. The Rays could care less. Hoese could add to a Rays lineup that looks to hit a lot of home runs in the future.

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

Nolan Arenado didn’t sign an extension with the Rockies to lose. There isn’t time bring up more high-schoolers. The Rockies get their college bat here who will rise through the ranks quickly to be apart of an already stacked infield of Arenado, Trevor Story and soon-to-be-star Brendan Rodgers.

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. His height shouldn’t be as much of a concern though. There’s enough here to develop him into a solid every day player.

Pick 24. Cleveland Indians: Daniel Espino, RHP, Premier Academy (GA) (Commit: LSU)

Personally, I don’t think Espino will fall this far. He has the best velocity out of any pitcher in this draft, and like speed is in the NFL, a pitcher that can touch triple digits on the radar is hard to pass up.

Cleveland could go many ways with the 24th pick. If they were smart, a pitcher would be it here. They have talented fielders on the farm. Yes, they could use some more power but pitching depth is of greater concern.

Pick 25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Will Wilson, SS, NC State

Will Wilson is a safe pick here. Wilson was very consistent at NC State at the plate and in the field. With Corey Seager’s negotiations coming up, there is a chance they could lose him. If so, they’ll need a pick like Wilson who can fly through the minors and add production early on for them.

Wilson doesn’t have a ton of raw power. He does get on base though. A big reason for this is his patience at the plate and understanding what pitches to hit.

Pick 26 (Compensation Pick). Arizona Diamondbacks: Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles HS (FL) (Commit: Florida)

And Barco comes off the board! A risky pick? Possibly. Entering the beginning of the season, Barco was practically a celebrity, being the only pitching name seen in this year’s draft, over and over. Reality hit, and scouts seen some holes in his game. Will these holes give concern to teams who look to draft him? Maybe. But Barco is just a high school kid. It’s incredibly hard to take any high-schooler in the first round, let alone a pitcher. There’s so much risk but the reward can be high. Case in point Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, Madison Bumgarner and Blake Snell, among many more.

Pick 27. Chicago Cubs: JJ Gross, RHP, Cypress Ranch (TX) (Commit: Texas A&M)

Chicago’s focus in the first couple rounds should be pitching. They have one of the weaker pitching prospects in all of baseball. Gross was relatively unknown entering his senior season but came on strong out of the gate. His fastball isn’t nuts and he needs some polish and needs to add some strength but he has the makings of being a solid middle of the rotation guy.

Pick 28. Milwaukee Brewers: Seth Johnson, RHP, Campbell

I’m not comparing Johnson to this guy, but he does have some of the same qualities this guy had out of college. Max Scherzer. Both threw effortless. Both knew how to work batters. Both stayed cool under pressure. Both had similar releases out of college. Johnson still needs some work, especially his curveball, but if Milwaukee can scoop him up, they’ll be able to get him to the level he has the potential to be at.

Pick 29. Oakland A’s: Mike Toglia, 1B, UCLA

Oakland selects not only the best player available here, but fills a need also. They need a legit first baseman in their system. Toglia has stupid power. A very interesting prospect to watch, he does make those normal mistakes a young hitter makes, but when he gets ahold of a ball, it just sounds different. He has future run producer written all over him.

Pick 30. New York Yankees: Gunnar Henderson, SS, Morgan Academy (AL) (Commit: Auburn)

The next Jeter? Slow down. However, it’s hard not to be excited about this pick. He fits the Jeter mold of a big shortstop with hitting tools. Whether it materializes into that is yet to be determined. Henderson is on the radar of many teams this point of the year. He could sneak into the top-20, if there is a team that really loves this kid. If not, the Yankees found themselves a hell of a sleeper that can actually hit and not “project to hit”.

Pick 31. Los Angeles Dodgers: Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton HS (NJ) (Commit: Vanderbilt)

I think the last name matters here. I think the work ethic matters here. And I think the fact that he isn’t flashy matters here. What the Dodgers will get, and need, is a pitcher who will come in, go six or seven, and give them all he’s got. That’s the potential Leiter has.

He is the son of 19-year big-leaguer Al Leiter. Those are big shoes to fill. Little 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 32. Houston Astros: Matthew Lugo, SS, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (P.R.) (Commit: Miami)

I have Houston selecting Lugo here for a couple reasons. One, there’s ties here to the organization. Two, he’s a player in the mold of a Carlos Correa, though not as talented of a prospect as he was. Houston has more talent than they know what to do with. With that comes hefty contracts. In the next five-six years they may have to cut bait with one of their stars. If Correa is the odd man out in favor of Jose Altuve, George Springer or even Alex Bregman, than Lugo could be a guy that could step in and become the next Correa for the team.

Pick 33 (Compensation Pick). Arizona Diamondbacks: Maurice Hampton, OF, Memphis University HS (TN) (Commit: LSU)

Aside from his raw power, Hampton has incredible tools. He’s an exciting player to watch. It’s easy to notice he’s over-eager at the plate and will have to learn patience when he gets to the pros. The Diamondbacks have many picks in the upcoming draft and selecting Hampton with one of them will go along way towards improving their outfield that was, at one time, very good.

Pick 34 (Compensation Pick). Arizona Diamondbacks: Braden Schewmake, SS, Texas A&M

The Diamondbacks could go anywhere with this pick. A pitcher, a corner infielder, a corner outfielder, who knows. They need a lot. Schewmake would be a quality pick to end the first round. He’s a mature college bat, though he has an unorthadox approach, who finds ways to put good barrel on the ball. He’s also a shifty base-stealer without the speed. There are some who feel he would be best suited as a second baseman, but it’s hard to tell until he gets on the field as a pro.

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