2019 MLB Mock Draft
We are now just a weekend away from the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft. You won’t see a lot of these players for years in most cases but if you play in dynasty leagues, your window to win in 5 years may depend on whether you can nab the next Cody Bellinger or Blake Snell. Even if you aren’t in a dynasty league, the strategy within the draft is a spectacle in itself and as we’ve seen with the Cubs and Astros, an MLB organization can quickly turn the ship around if they nail next week’s picks. Let me tell you a little about the players and how I see the first round (plus compensation and competitive balance picks) playing out.
#1 Orioles (Adley Rutschman – C, Oregon St)
–There is still a chance Witt, Vaughn or even Bleday is the pick but the Orioles appear to be settled on this polished catcher who doesn’t have any weaknesses.
#2 Royals (Bobby Witt Jr. – SS, TX HS)
–Witt is raw compared to Rutschman but has significantly more upside. The best case scenario is that he profiles as Trea Turner with 25 homer pop and multiple gold gloves.
#3 White Sox (Andrew Vaughn – 1B, Cal)
–Imagine Prince Fielder but in shape. First basemen rarely go this high, but Vaughn’s bat is going to make him a perennial all-star before long.
#4 Marlins (C.J. Abrams – SS, GA HS)
–Like Witt, Abrams may have stolen base titles in his future. He will never have power, but for a prep shortstop, the floor is fairly safe.
#5 Tigers (Riley Greene – OF, FL HS)
–Greene is a hitter through and through. If he continues progressing toward his ceiling, we may see another version of Michael Brantley in the AL Central before long.
#6 Padres (J.J. Bleday – OF, Vanderbilt)
–San Diego would do well to grab the safest player in the draft besides Rutschman. Bleday will never be a five-tool player but a Michael Conforto clone is certainly possible.
#7 Reds (George Kirby – SP, Elon)
–Most see Kirby landing in the teens, but with several upside prospects demanding big money, a team like Cincy may draft Kirby early for an underslot bonus so they have extra money for later in the draft.
#8 Rangers (Brett Baty – 3B, TX HS)
–Baty has considerable power, but is otherwise outside the top 15 on my big board. Like Kirby, his ticket into the top 10 would be extreme signability.
#9 Braves (Quinn Priester – SP, IL HS)
–Priester is a total wild card, as some teams adore him while most see him lasting into the late teens or even 20s. Atlanta keeps their cards close to their chest so don’t be surprised to see this high-upside high school arm go in the top 10.
#10 Giants (Will Wilson – SS, North Carolina St)
–You can bank on a college bat here. Wilson might be a reach, but he profiles as a typical Giant selection with production and safety behind his name.
#11 Blue Jays (Corbin Carroll – OF, HS WA)
–Toronto is tough to peg at this pick because they’ve been linked to so many names. Carroll is a potential five-tool talent if he can grow into some power.
#12 Mets (Hunter Bishop – OF, Arizona St)
–Bishop could go as high as #4 and this is likely the furthest he falls. He has bonkers power and plenty of tools but is a bit volatile for a typical top 10 pick.
#13 Twins (Bryson Stott – SS, UNLV)
–If I had to bet my reputation on one player starting five seasons in the bigs, it would be Stott, who has top-notch intangibles and no holes in his game. The upside is limited but Stott will rise quickly.
#14 Phillies (Jackson Rutledge – SP, San Jacinto JC)
–If you are looking for upside, the Phillies would have it here with Rutledge, who is 6’8″ and nearly touches triple-digits. He seems like a candidate to end up at the back-end of a bullpen, however.
#15 Angels (Alex Manoah – SP, West Virginia)
–Manoah is a safety pick who profiles similarly to Lance Lynn. Don’t forget, Lynn carried a 3.37 ERA with 61 wins in his first 5 seasons before undergoing the knife.
#16 Diamondbacks (Matthew Allan – SP, FL HS)
–Arizona has four picks in the top 34 so they’ll have plenty of money to throw around for a bonus baby like Allan, who could be an ace if everything clicks. They’ll have to convince him to forgo a commitment to Florida, though.
#17 Nationals (Josh Jung – 3B, Texas Tech)
–Jung has a polished bat that should move quickly. He may eventually put together a similar career to Kyle Seager but doesn’t possess a ton of upside.
#18 Pirates (Nick Lodolo – SP, TCU)
–The Pirates actually drafted Lodolo at #41 three years back and would be thrilled if the potential top 10 pick fell to them at 18 this year.
#19 Cardinals (Shea Langeliers – C, Baylor)
–If Langeliers drops to 19, the Cardinals would run to the podium like when Nolan Gorman fell last year. A hamate injury ruined his production and knocked him out of the top 5. St. Louis may finally have their heir to Yadi Molina if they land Shea.
#20 Mariners (J.J. Goss – SP, TX HS)
–Goss is built like Jake Odorizzi and also has two potential plus off-speed pitches to go with command of all his pitches. The ceiling is likely similar to Odorizzi’s, but the floor is high for a prep arm.
#21 Braves (Zack Thompson – SP, Kentucky)
–Thompson could go in the top 10, perhaps even to Atlanta, but his medical history could have teams hesitant to make that kind of investment. If all goes right, however, Thompson could develop into a top 40 pitcher in baseball.
#22 Rays (Spencer Jones – 1B/LHP, CA HS)
–Jones may fall to the 20th round, as often happens with prospects who have high bonus demands. More than likely, however, someone in the top 50 picks will take their chances on this player who may have the most upside in the draft.
#23 Rockies (Michael Busch – 1B/2B/OF, North Carolina)
–Colorado would do well do draft a great polished bat here. The comp for Busch is Hunter Renfroe which would play excellent in Coors.
#24 Indians (Daniel Espino – SP, GA HS)
–Espino comes with some major question marks but if a team can harness his stuff, we may be looking at a true ace. He has the best fastball in the draft and flashes multiple plus breaking balls at times.
#25 Dodgers (Jack Leiter – SP, NJ HS)
–L.A. tends to take risks in the late first round and it often pays off. Leiter’s talent isn’t a question, but his signability is thanks to a strong commit to Vanderbilt. Thanks to another first round pick, the Dodgers may be able to make it work financially.
#26 Diamondbacks (Brennan Malone – FL HS)
–With four early picks, Arizona can afford to take some chances. Malone would make plenty of sense as he has a workhorse build and the raw stuff to back it up.
#27 Cubs (Kody Hoese – 3B, Tulane)
–The fact that Hoese is likely to sign underslot may carry him into the top 10. If he drops, the big power hitter would be a great get for Chicago at 27.
#28 Brewers (Hunter Barco – SP, FL HS)
–If not for a shoulder issue and signability concerns, Barco would likely be a top 10 lock. Milwaukee may not be able to pry him away from Florida, but Barco is the type of player they tend to target.
#29 Athletics (Logan Davidson – SS, Clemson)
–Davidson offers a rare combination of both safety and upside. The most likely scenario is that Oakland would get a big leaguer similar to Asdrubal Cabrera in the long run.
#30 Yankees (Rece Hinds – 3B, FL HS)
–Hinds was once regarded as a big name in this class. Many now have him falling to the 2nd or 3rd round thanks to some holes in his swing. A team like the Yankees may fall in love with him like Jo Adell and the Angels two years ago. Hinds has potential plus-plus power if a team can sign him away from LSU.
#31 Dodgers (Matt Wallner – OF, So. Mississippi)
–If the Dodgers do go with Leiter, Matthew Allan or Spencer Jones at 25, chances are high that they’ll draft a relatively unknown college bat to sign underslot. Wallner fits the bill as a power bat and power arm who could potentially return first round value.
#32 Astros (Trejyn Fletcher – OF, ME HS)
–Houston isn’t shy about reaching for “their guys”. Espino would be the pick if he falls, but otherwise, don’t be shocked if they reach like we saw with Seth Beer last year. Fletcher was thought to be a top 2020 pick before he reclassified to the 2019 class. He has insane upside but is far from a sure thing.
Compensation & Competitive Balance Picks
33) Diamondbacks: Maurice Hampton (OF, TN HS)
34) Diamondbacks: Nick Quintana (3B, Arizona)
35) Marlins: Kyren Paris (SS, CA HS)
36) Rays: Brady McConnell (SS, Florida)
37) Pirates: Gunnar Henderson (SS, AL HS)
38) Yankees: Kameron Misner (OF, Missouri)
39) Twins: Keoni Cavaco (3B, CA HS)
40) Rays: Drew Mendoza (3B, Florida St)
41) Rangers: Braden Shewmake (SS, Texas A&M)