John Lepore | June 3rd, 2019
The Baltimore Orioles will make their first pick tonight to start off the First-Year Player Draft. The number of picks varies from the Arizona Diamondbacks having four in the first 34 to the Boston Red Sox not picking until #43. There are many things for teams to consider when deciding who to take. Signability based on commitment and/or bonus pool money is a key. Teams shouldn’t and generally don’t draft to need as in other sports because a need today may not be one a few years down the line when these kids will be ready to hit the Show. Here is a great article from Jim Callis which runs down each team’s pool money and the full draft order including compensatory picks.
1. Baltimore Orioles
Adley Rutschman – C – Oregon State: This pick should be a no-brainer for the Orioles. Rutschman is a switch-hitting catcher who slashed .418/.580/.764 this season with 17 HRs and 58 RBI in 56 games. Plate discipline? Yeah. How about 75/37 BB/K rate. This kid plays elite defense as well. The last catcher picked number one overall was Joe Mauer in 2001.
2. Kansas City Royals
Bobby Witt Jr. – SS – Colleyville Heritage HS (TX): He just won the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award. In his senior year, he slashed .500/.571/.1.103 with 15 HRs and 17 SBs in just 38 games. He has speed to spare, can play excellent defense and the power upside is real as he fills out over the next couple of years.
3. Chicago White Sox
C.J. Abrams – SS – Blessed Trinity HS (GA): Abrams played all four years on the varsity team. In 142 games he slashed .418/.482/.606 with 100 SBs. While he only had eight home runs, he will probably be able to hit double-digits as he fills out. He is an excellent shortstop and may be the fastest player in the draft running a 6.29 60-yard dash.
4. Miami Marlins
Riley Greene – OF – Hagerty HS (FL): Arguably the best High School bat in the draft, Greene hits the ball really hard. He averaged an exit velocity of 100 mph while his class average was 83 mph. He has above average speed running a 6.62 60-yard dash. One of the best pure athletes in the draft.
5. Detroit Tigers
Andrew Vaughn – 1B – California: Arguably the best overall hitter in the draft, Vaughn is an absolute beast at the plate. In 156 games at the collegiate level, he slashed .377/.495/.695 with 50 HRs and 163 RBI. He also had an impressive 116/72 BB/K rate.
6. San Diego Padres
J.J. Bleday – OF – Vanderbilt: The best college outfielder in the draft, he led NCAA Division I with 26 homers. He has a lightning-quick left-handed swing and at 6’3, his power should translate to the next level and beyond. Bleday has a strong arm and while he isn’t too fast, he is a good enough fielder to man right field for a long time.
7. Cincinnati Reds
Shea Langeliers – C – Baylor: The second-best catcher in the draft by far is Langeliers. He is a solid hitter who plays excellent defense. He profiles to stick behind the plate and should hit well enough to help the Reds on that side of the ball also.
8. Texas Rangers
Corbin Carroll – OF – Lakeside HS (WA): He is small at 5’10 and only 165 lbs. but he can fly. He has a good bat and sprays the ball well and adds very good defense in center field. Should realize a bit more power once he fills out. Carroll has drawn comparisons to Jacoby Ellsbury.
9. Atlanta Braves
Daniel Espino – RHP – Bulloch Academy HS (GA): One of the liveliest arms in the draft, Espino sits upper-90s with his fastball and has a low-80s slider. His curveball and changeup are works in progress. He will have to work on his command but has plenty of time.
10. San Francisco Giants
Bryson Stott – SS – UNLV: A well-rounded player, Stott has excellent bat control and can spray the ball to all fields. His contact skills and plate discipline are well above average walking more than he struck out in his college career. While his power is likely capped at 10-15 HRs, Stott projects as a very good all-around SS.
11. Toronto Blue Jays
Zack Thompson – LHP – Kentucky: Concerns about his health, particularly of his elbow, may keep a few teams from taking him early. He has proved that a failed physical in 2016 is behind him as he hasn’t missed a start this season. The solid lefty has excellent spin on his slider and curveball and both have depth if not elite velocity. With further improved command, he could slot as a number two or three starter at the big league level.
12. New York Mets
Nick Lodolo – LHP – TCU: The tall lefty has improved his command. He sits low-to-mid-90s with his fastball and has a plus slider and a plus changeup which he has been locating better. If he adds a little more weight to his frame, he could very well be a solid and consistent starter for years to come.
13. Minnesota Twins
Jackson Rutledge – RHP – San Jacinto JC: The 6’8 right-hander has three plus pitches and possibly the best natural arsenal in the draft. Command and consistency both tend to be issues with tall pitchers as those skills tend to take a bit longer to hone. Rutledge is a little different as he has a short-armed approach and can maintain velocity late in starts. He could be a true workhorse at the MLB level.
14. Philadelphia Phillies
Hunter Bishop – OF – Arizona State: A very well-rounded player, Bishop can do it all. He plays a solid center field, runs very well, and due to a change in his stance, has tapped into his prodigious power by improving his contact skills. He should be the third OF off the board.
15. Los Angeles Angels
Brennan Malone – RHP – Porter Ridge HS (NC): One of the most polished prep pitchers in the draft, Malone improved on his slider, has a 12-6 hammer, and can throw mid-90s consistently. Smarts, command, and stuff should propel Malone to be an MLB number two.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks
Josh Jung – 3B – Texas Tech: Jung has very good bat speed and strength without sacrificing mechanics. He isn’t very fast but should stick at third base due to his strong arm and baseball IQ.
17. Washington Nationals
Will Holland – SS – Auburn: He is an aggressive hitter who has more power than probably all of the shortstops in the draft. He will need to improve his approach but should stick at shortstop due to his soft hands and plus speed.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates
Alek Manoah – RHP – West Virginia: Manoah is a huge man at 6’6 and 260 lbs. He has very good sink on his 94-96 mph fastball and his slider is a plus pitch. He has been used more as a starter recently but if he doesn’t stay in the rotation at the big league level, he could be a top closer for a while.
19. St. Louis Cardinals
J.J. Goss – RHP – Cypress Ranch HS (TX): He could add velocity as he fills out his 6’3 frame. Goss has a very solid and repeatable delivery and an excellent slider which is an out pitch. His breaking ball is above average for a pitcher his age.
20. Seattle Mariners
Keoni Cavaco – 3B – Eastlake HS (CA): His defense is top-notch and his speed is excellent. The power is also there when he puts the bat on the ball. He is a gifted athlete but needs to have a more balanced approach at the plate.
21. Atlanta Braves
Kody Hoese – 3B – Tulane: Hoese’s power showed up big-time this year as he blasted Division I with 23 bombs. He lifts the ball well from the right side and has an above-average arm which should keep him at third base as long as his agility holds up.
22. Tampa Bay Rays
Josh Wolf – RHP – St. Thomas HS (TX): The kid is throwing 97 mph and is strong as an ox despite him being 6’2 and only 165 lbs. He has a nasty curveball and with increased weight could overmatch enough hitters to at least be a strong bullpen arm.
23. Colorado Rockies
Matthew Allan – RHP – Seminole HS (FL): An excellent prep arm, Allan has three very good pitches which he can throw for strikes. He maintains velocity well into starts and has an advanced feel for pitching. In the right system, Allan could turn into a front-of-the-rotation ace.
24. Cleveland Indians
Kameron Misner – OF – Missouri: An all-around athlete who has looked solid in center field this year, Misner profiles as a 25-25 threat in the majors as his ceiling. He takes his walks, drives the ball, and has sufficient lift. At 6’4 220 lbs. he should turn into a middle-of-the-order bat.
25. Los Angeles Dodgers
Brett Baty – 3B – Lake Travis HS (TX): The Texas teenager has very good power and an arm that could keep him at third base. He would need to maintain his conditioning to stay there, but his bat will keep him in the lineup.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks
George Kirby – RHP – Elon: He has a solid four-pitch repertoire to make it as a starter but relies on his 98 mph fastball most of the time. If he refines his secondary pitches he could stick in a rotation.
27. Chicago Cubs
Jerrion Ealy – OF – Jackson Prep HS (MS): The Ole Miss commit is a five-star running back and could be a starter from day one. Ealy has talent but could drop due to signability issues. Although if picked in the first round he might take the bonus money thrown his way.
28. Milwaukee Brewers
Logan Davidson – SS – Clemson: The Tigers’ shortstop is a tall and lanky 6’3. As he fills out the power will come. The questions remain about his timing and swing path but the rest of his game is good. Davidson plays very good defense and his speed profiles to a 25-30 SB guy at the major league level.
29. Oakland Athletics
Quinn Priester – RHP – Cary-Grove HS (IL): A wide receiver and defensive back for his HS team, Priester has top-notch athleticism. He has a 97 mph fastball and a devastating curveball. He also has the baseball IQ to be coached up, learn a new pitch, and understand how to get hitters out.
30. New York Yankees
Will Wilson – 2B – NC State: He is actually a shortstop but many scouts have him moving to second base long-term because of his below-average speed. The kid can put the bat on the ball though and has shown some raw power. What he lacks in speed, he makes up for in quickness and hands on the field.
31. Los Angeles Dodgers
Ethan Small – LHP – Mississippi State: He had Tommy John Surgery in 2016 but has rebounded. He has learned more how to pitch than just throw. His fastball sits in the low-90s but his curveball is above average and his changeup has developed as well.
32. Houston Astros
Rece Hinds – 3B – Niceville HS (FL): Hinds is a big righty who has the pop to go with his frame. That power comes with swing-and-miss at-bats but today’s game can deal with that. He may stick at third base due to his strong arm but he will need to work on his footwork.
33. Arizona Diamondbacks
Isaiah Campbell – RHP – Arkansas: After some elbow concerns, Campbell has pitched well. He started throwing strikes and has gotten back to his 95 mph fastball. He throws a cutter and a solid splitter. With work, he could be a mid-rotation pitcher.
34. Arizona Diamondbacks
Seth Johnson – RHP – Campbell: Johnson is new to pitching as he only started last year after being a SS at Louisburg JC (NC). He needs some work but a patient team should be able to see the ease in which he throws 95 mph.
35. Miami Marlins
Tyler Callihan – 3B – Providence Christian HS (FL): It’s all about the bat. Callihan is one of the best high school hitters in the class. He may stick at third base if he can improve his quickness but either way, his bat will be something that will keep him in a lineup.
36. Tampa Bay Rays
Michael Busch – 1B – UNC: He has played second base and left field so he is kind of a player without a position. His bat will certainly play anywhere though. He mashed in the Cape Cod League with the wood bats and has a fluid swing with balance.
37. Pittsburgh Pirates
Braden Shewmake – SS – Texas A&M: Although he is tall at 6’4, Shewmake is more of a put-the-ball-in-play guy. He is one of the most fundamentally sound players in the draft which makes up for what he lacks in arm strength and power.
38. New York Yankees
John Doxakis – LHP – Texas A&M: This kid’s command is what is getting him picked in the first round. He sits around 90-92 mph but has excellent command and mixes in a plus slider. He knows how to pitch and should develop into a mid-rotation starter.
39. Minnesota Twins
Matthew Thompson – RHP – Cypress Ranch HS (TX): If he can put it all together he can be a very solid starter in the majors. Thompson has shown flashes of a very good three-pitch mix. It will be a matter of command and having all things working to get Thompson to his ceiling of a number two or three starter.
40. Tampa Bay Rays
Nick Quintana – 3B – Arizona: A streaky hitter due to his approach, Quintana could develop into a very good player. He is a converted SS and should excel defensively at third. If he can refine his swing the power will come naturally and he could produce on the average front.
41. Texas Rangers
Michael Toglia – OF – UCLA: Toglia can play the corners in the outfield and first base with ease. He has excellent power but, as with many young players, it is raw and he will need to refine his approach at the plate to put it into game action.
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