2019 MLB Draft Primer
The MLB Draft is coming up quickly with just 10 more days to count down. You may not see an immediate fantasy impact, although top-end prospects can make for stellar trade chips in a dynasty championship run. Apart from the fantasy relevancy, however, this is a much underappreciated day on the sports calendar every year. Just three years ago, Pete Alonso and Nick Senzel had their names called, and with Keston Hiura recently making his debut, the influx of talent from the 2017 class is starting to make its way into the bigs. As the Cubs and now Astros can tell you, the MLB Draft can quickly change the course of your franchise. I know most of you don’t know the first thing about the players so let me introduce you to a few of my favorites before we dive into a mock draft next Friday.
Who has the highest fantasy potential?
#1 Bobby Witt Jr. (SS – TX High School)
It seems likely that the Orioles will go with all-around catcher, Adley Rutschman number one, but Witt is in the conversation. He possess 40-steal speed with tantalizing exit-velocities and perhaps even better defense at shortstop. He is a lock to stick at the position and carries the type of upside to put up Adalberto Mondesi and Trea Turner type of numbers if he continues progressing into his virtually unlimited potential.
Who are the safest players?
#1 Andrew Vaughn (1B – Cal)
If Vaughn played any other position, you could bet on him going 1.1 this year. First basemen are rarely selected that high, however. He is your typical masher with a heavy build, and has the most certain college bat we’ve seen in years. If he doesn’t hit .300 with 30 homers at some point down the road, I’d be absolutely astonished. Think of a right-handed Prince Fielder with a better body.
Who are the big lottery tickets?
#1 Daniel Espino (SP – GA High School)
Like other high-upside pitchers before him, Espino has some command issues that he needs to get in order. His delivery is clean but an MLB team may need to tweak his mechanics to get more consistent results. If they do, he has two potential plus breaking balls to go with a heater that touches triple-digits. I don’t need to tell you that a combination like that could turn into a future ace. More than likely, he will come off the board between picks 15 and 30 but don’t sleep on him honoring his commitment to LSU and returning to the draft in a few years once he boosts his stock.
What does next year’s draft class look like?
While much can and will change in 12 months, as of now, it seems to be among the weaker classes in the last decade. There is no true elite prospect and only a handful who scream first round locks. The real talent is in the 2021 class as Kumar Rocker looks like a possible Justin Verlander-type prospect and Blaze Jordan is the best power-bat since Bryce Harper. If you want to take a look at the current top-five, these are the players to pay attention to: