The Orioles get the best player in this years class to rebuild their team which is in a dire state. The 6-2 207 lb Adley Rutschman is the top player in this draft. The three time catcher at Oregon State helped Oregon State as an MVP during the 2018 College World Series which Oregon State won.
Rutschman can hit home runs, line drives, grounders, and bunts. Rutschman had a .408 batting average, 9 home runs, 83 RBI's, a .628 slugging percentage, and a .987 fielding percentage in 2018. Rutschman has a .427 batting average, 16 home runs, 55 RBI's .772 slugging percentage, and a .990 fielding percentage so far in 2019.
This is a no brainer for the Baltimore Orioles to secure this 5-tool batter considering I have him graded ahead of Nick Madrigal and Joey Bart. Bart got drafted ahead of Madrigal, but I had Madrigal graded higher then Georgia Tech's catcher. I got Rutschman graded higher then both of my top 2 College Batters making him an ideal first pick to begin my 2019 MLB Mock Draft.
This years draft has 40 batters in my top 50. Most preliminary 2020 MLB Mock Drafts have 18 pitchers going in the first round and only 12 batters going in the first round. That's why teams out of contention should load up on batters in all 40 rounds of the 2019 MLB Draft and then load up on pitchers in 2020.
With the Baltimore Orioles pushing the Miami Marlins for the top pick next year, taking the best player on your board is the smartest thing you can do. Adley Rutschman goes to Baltimore and becomes their best catcher since Matt Wieters.
Adley Rutschman is a special player. He's considered a better catcher prospect than San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey who went fifth overall out of Florida State after winning the Dick Howser Award for the top player in College Baseball. Posey has three World Series Championships during his career.
I also have a film session of Adley Rutschman on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus UCLA.
The Royals appear to have outstanding pitching for the future. You got one good starter in Danny Duffy locked up to an extension plus all four of the pitchers they drafted in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft including Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch, and Kris Bubic have done well in the minor leagues so far. As a Cleveland Indians fan this scares me because when Kluber and Lindor leave in 2021, the Royals will be one of the teams pushing for the AL Central each year in the next decade starting in 2020 or 2021 depending on when their prospects arrive.
Without Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas in the infield, it is time to rebuild the infield. With this being a batter heavy draft, the Royals can do that with this second overall pick.
Bobby Witt Jr. can hit home runs, line drives, grounders, and bunts. Bobby Witt Jr. has a batting average of .521 with 14 home runs in 2019. His 16 stolen bases and .989 fielding percentage in 2019 is also pretty impressive. Bobby Witt Jr. is a 5-tool batter and the top High School batter in this draft class. He is also the first High School Player to be named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award.
With Bobby Witt Jr., you can move shortstop Adalberto Mondesi to his natural position at second base. You will also have Hunter Dozier replacing Moustakas at third base after being a 2013 first round pick. You will also have Nick Pratto, a 2017 first round pick, replacing Hosmer. Salvador Perez will remain catcher until 2022.
This gives the Kansas City Royals potentially a stronger infield core then their team that won the 2015 World Series down the road if the Royals keep doing an awesome job of developing players in their farm system. Kansas City can load up on batters in this draft and find some bullpen arms in the later rounds. Kansas City is also pushing Miami and Baltimore for a top pick in the 2020 MLB Draft so they could get another really good prospect in next years class as well.
Bobby Witt Jr. is a special player for a High School prospect. Since 1987, the only one shorstop had a higher grade entering the MLB Draft and that shorstop was Alex Rodriguez. This guy is graded higher then Derek Jeter was coming out of High School even though that sounds crazy.
I also have a film session of Bobby Witt Jr. on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Grapevine.
Outside of Lucas Giolito, who has stepped up this year, the rest of Chicago's starting rotation is awful. Despite impressing early in 2019, this is not a team I see contending anytime soon even though they are building a similar core of batters to what the Cleveland Indians have done with Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez.
The Chicago White Sox draft a first baseman. They get Jose Abreu's successor. Putting Andrew Vaughn with Nick Madrigal and Tim Anderson gives the White Sox a sick infield for years to come.
The 6-0 214 lb Andrew Vaughn has a .385 batting average and 15 home runs in 2019. Vaughn had 12 home runs in 2017 as a freshman and 23 home runs in 2018 as a sophomore. Vaughn may not be the base stealer with good speed like the top 3 batters in this class. At the same time you could argue he's the top home run hitter in this entire draft class which is why the White Sox should draft Vaughn. Vaughn also has gold glove ability with a fielding percentage of above .990 in all three seasons at California.
I also have a film session of Andrew Vaughn on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Washington.
Miami drafts the best player on their board. Sources close to the Marlins had Bleday fourth on their board behind Andrew Vaughn earlier today, but I put no stock into that news. I think Riley Greene is the best outfielder in this draft after watching Bleday struggle on tape versus Georgia, but the Marlins liked Bleday so they took their guy hoping he's the next Giancarlo Stanton.
The 6-3 205 lb J.J. Bleday had a .368 batting average, a 1.000 fielding percentage which is perfect, and won SEC Player of the year in 2018. This season Bleday only has a batting average of .346, but Bleday has also broke out with 25 home runs this season along with a .957 fielding percentage.
I also have a film session of J.J. Bleday on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Georgia.
Riley Greene is a pure hitter with game-changing speed. He's not the home run hitter Andrew Vaughn is, but everything about his game except for his home run hitting checks out. The 6-2 180 lb prospect is both an outfielder and pitcher at Hagerty High School. You can go to our 2019 MLB Draft Game for an in depth look at our rankings.
Detroit has Casey Mize, Alex Faedo, Beau Borrows, Matt Manning, and Franklin Perez in their farm system on their AA team the Erie Wolves pushing each other for roster spots. Once these guys get called up and once Ron Gardenhire gets fired, this is another team that will have a chance to challenge the Cleveland Indians for the AL Central much like the Kansas City Royals.
Detroit, like Kansas City can get another batter in the 2020 MLB Draft considering they are worse then the Chicago White Sox record wise in 2019. Detroit uses this pick on the best available player in Riley Greene at 5.
None of Detroit's batters have more then 4 home runs. Greene has 0 home runs with Hagerty this season, but he swings the ball with elite contact and you can argue he's a top 5 prep hitter in this class just based on how he swings and makes contact with the ball so effortlessly. Riley Greene is someone Detroit can develop into a home run hitter.
I also have a film session of Riley Greene on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Timber Creek.
C.J. Abrams is the best player on the board. This was a no brainer for the Padres at 6.
Abrams may not be a home run hitter. He has game-changing speed for a batter and ran a 6.29 60-yard dash. The three sport athlete plays football, basketball, and baseball and ran a 4.40 40-yard dash.
Abrams has had a career batting average of .402 or higher in all four seasons at Blessed Trinity High School. Abrams also has 100 career stolen bases in his four year career at Blessed Trinity High School.
The 6-1 179 lb shortstop has speed that you just can't teach. His fielding percentage is down this year, but still respectable at .917. Abrams has 100 career RBI's in addition to his 100 stolen bases.
I also have a film session of C.J. Abrams on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Westminster.
Cincinnati drafts Nick Lodolo to be a future starting pitcher. The 6-6 185 lb pitcher can develop in the minor leagues. Lodolo needed 11 minutes to escape the first inning versus Oklahoma and gave up 4 runs in the film cut I did. The Reds took my thirteenth best player at 7 and my second best pitcher at 7 so from a value standpoint this pick gets a C+ Grade.
Back in the 2016 MLB Draft, Nick Lodolo was a third round prospect on my rankings when the Pittsburgh Pirates reached for him in the compensation portion of the first round. Lodolo wisely turned down a deal with the Pirates to go play College Baseball at TCU.
Most experts have Lodolo as the top pitcher in this years draft even though I like Daniel Espino more from an upside standpoint. Nick Lodolo put everything together in 2019 so far in 14 starts going 6-4 with 4 no decisions and a 2.18 ERA. Lodolo had ERA's of 4.35 and 4.32 prior to 2019 which is one reason why I'm lower on Lodolo then most scouts. I think the concerns with Daniel Espino are being overblown while the concerns with Lodolo are getting underlooked.
One thing I'll give Lodolo credit for is improving his strikeout total each season from 72 as a freshman in 2017, to 96 as as sophomore in 2018, and so far in 2019, Lodolo has 113 strikeouts. Lodolo has a 94-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 90-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a 96-mile per hour sinker, arguably the best changeup in this class at 70-miles per hour, and a 75-mile per hour curveball that needs to improve.
I also have a film session of Nick Lodolo on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Oklahoma.
The Rangers will take the best player on their board at 8. Hunter Bishop, Kameron Misner, and Josh Jung all would have warranted A+ grades at 8.
The 6-2 215 lb Josh Jung had a .306 batting average with 6 home runs as a freshman in 2017. In 2018, Jung had a .392 batting average with 12 home runs getting Texas Tech to the College World Series. Jung was so impressive as a sophomore that he got promoted to team captain as a junior. Jung has a .333 batting average and 9 home runs in 2019.
His play in 2019 has decreased from his sophomore season due to some of the responsibilities as a team captain, but he's still posting a batting average of .333 and hit 9 home runs in 2019. At the same time, Josh Jung is someone that the Rangers are capable of grooming for the future since Texas probably knows more about the in-state product then any other MLB team.
I also have a film session of Josh Jung on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus West Virginia.
Atlanta drafts a catcher for the future. The 6-0 190 lb Shea Langeliers is batting .311 in 2019. He also helped Baylor sweep TCU, who has the best MLB Draft pitching prospect in the NCAA in Nick Lodolo.
I also have a film session of Shea Langeliers on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus Oklahoma State.
The Giants land a steal and get a guy I mocked to the Padres at 6. He's also the best player on my board. I had him as the seventh best player available after everyone in my top 6 got selected in the first six picks. The 6-5 210 lb Hunter Bishop has a .356 batting average, 22 home runs, and 11 stolen bases in 2019.
I also have a film session of Hunter Bishop on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus UCLA.
The 6-6 260 lb Alek Manoah is the Friday Night Starter for West Virginia. His 8-3 record, 1.91 ERA, and 125 strikeouts in 2019 are jaw dropping. I had Manoah at eighteen on my board and Toronto reached for him at 11 so I'll give the Blue Jays a C grade here.
Alek Manoah has a 97-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 94-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, a 95-mile per hour sinker, a 84-mile per hour slider, and a 55-mile per hour changeup that could develop into a 70-mile per hour changeup if he improves his velocity on his changeup. Despite not having good velocity on his changeup, he has excellent command and control of that pitch even with his massive frame.
Manoah also played out of the bullpen in High School playing long reliever, middle reliever, set-up pitcher, and closer in High School. He even earned his way up the ladder to become West Virginia's Friday Night Starter and ace pitcher once enrolling in West Virginia.
Manoah's biggest issue is his ability to pitch in big games. He's 1/5 in big games as a Friday Night Starter with his best game being a complete game shutout against Texas Tech where he had 15 strikeouts in 9 innings. Texas Tech made the 2018 College World Series as one of the final 8 teams which is why this game makes his MLB Draft resume so impressive.
His other big games involved a loss to Oregon State, the defending College World Series Champions where he had an ERA of 18.00 in that game. He also lost to Baylor with a 6.14 ERA in that contest despite pitching 7 1/3 innings against Baylor's star catcher Shea Langliers. He also lost a heads up pitchers duel to Nick Lodolo, who turned down a contract with the Pirates as a first round pick coming out of High School. Manoah had an ERA of 6.00 VS TCU in that pitchers duel between the two best NCAA pitching prospects in the Big 12 as well as the 2019 MLB Draft. Manoah lost the rematch to Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament after dominating Texas Tech in the regular season.
I mocked Jonathan India to the Mets last year. He was gone a pick earlier. If New York feels like Baty can be their future third baseman, I cannot fault this selection since I had him going thirteenth to the Minnesota Twins.
Bret Baty has a .658 batting average, 16 home runs, and 9 stolen bases for Lake Travis High School in 2019. His fielding percentage needs work, but from a hitting standpoint Bret Baty can hit home runs, line drives, grounders, and bunts. He bats like a 5-tool player, but he will need to improve as a defender when it comes to throwing quicker and fielding better in the minor leagues.
Philadelphia has good batting and pitching so far in 2019. It's only May, but the Phillies look like a team that could emerge as a challenger to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League if they keep this level of play up in October. They get the best player on my board at 14.
The 6-3 200 lb Bryson Stott had a career high .971 fielding percentage as a freshman in 2017. He didn't really excel as a batter right away. In 2018, he improved his batting average from .294 to .365 and had 14 stolen bases. So far in 2019, Stott has a .361 batting average, 10 home runs, and 15 stolen bases with a .967 fielding percentage.
Bryson Stott is a top 10 player on my board. The Phillies are getting a massive steal at 14.
The Angels get the best player on the board here. Will Wilson gives the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim a future starting shortstop. Wilson is also one of the most consistent players in this years draft class and he could go even earlier than this.
The 6-0 184 lb Will Wilson had a batting average of .300 with 8 home runs, 21 doubles, 48 RBI's, a .504 slugging percentage, and a .973 fielding percentage as a freshman. Will Wilson improved in different categories including a .307 batting average, 15 home runs, 53 RBI's, and a .588 slugging percentage. Wilson still had 16 doubles and a .923 fielding percentage after having more errors as a sophomore in 2018.
Will Wilson has a .356 batting average and 16 home runs so far in 2019. Wilson has the ability to hit with power and generate home runs and line drives at will. He relies on his strength and his bat to help teams win. He's a good defender, but his timing on throws and his speed are two things Wilson will need to improve in the minor leagues. He's consistent enough at the plate to succeed as a batter despite being undersized and that's why Will Wilson is a top 15 prospect.
Corbin Carroll can do everything on tape except hit home runs with power. He can hit line drives, grounders, and bunts. He also has deadly speed and the ability to steal bases consistently.
Carroll has a good arm as well as experience at left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder. He also considered the best High School prospect at hitting pitches on the left side of the strike zone in the entire draft class. That's probably why I've seen some mocks project Carroll in the top 5 let alone the top 10 depsite not being a consistent power hitter yet who blasts home runs constantly. This pick gets a B grade since it's a solid pick.
Washington drafts a future pitcher to compliment Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Matthew Corbin. The 6-8 250 lb Jackson Rutledge has a 95-mile per hour 4-seam fastball and a 95-mile per hour 2-seam fastball that can go up to 99-miles per hour when Rutledge warms up out of the bullpen. He also displays a curveball and slider that could be developed into plus pitches down the road.
Jackson Rutledge pitched out of the bullpen in High School before enrolling into Arkansas with experience at long reliever, middle reliever, set-up pitcher, and closer. Rutledge was 3-0 at Arkansas in 2018 with a 3.45 ERA before transferring to Jacinto Junior College in Texas where he's 9-2 in 13 starts with 4 complete games, a 0.87 ERA, 82.2 innings pitched, 134 strikeouts, 14.5 strikeouts per game, and 30 walks in 2019. Washington could certainly use the top junior college pitcher in this class as a future prospect.
Pittsburgh's done a fantastic job with batting. Chris Archer is the only pitcher who has struggled in the starting rotation.
The 6-4 205 lb Quinn Priester has an ERA of 1.15 with 80 strikeouts in 54 innings pitched in 2019. Priester helped Cary Grove win a regional tournament game with 78 pitches, 7 strikeouts, and 7 and 1/3 innings pitched. Priester is 7-2 in 2019.
Priester obtained experience at long reliever, middle reliever, set-up pitcher, and closer as a freshman before earning his way into the starting rotation. Priester finally took over as Cary Grove's number one starter as a junior in 2018.
Priester has a 97-mile per hour 4-seam fastball and a 97-mile per hour 2-seam fastball. He also has three different variatians of curveballs including a regular curveball which is considered the best curveball in the draft, a power curveball, and a slurveball which acts as a slider curveball.
Priester has 0 saves despite having experience in all four reliever roles. I'm looking at a pitcher who projects as a long reliever or middle reliever out of the bullpen in the worst case scenario. Best case scenario you get a quality back-end starter who can be a future starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Zack Thompson gave up 4 runs a game just like the rest of the St. Louis Cardinals starting rotation in 2018. Also not in my top 50 despite being a consensus first round pick. This selection gets my second F grade of the evening. Thompson's done better in 2019, but I feel like he will bust in the MLB.
Seattle gets a future pitcher. The 6-4 201 lb George Kirby has a 2.07 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 82 2/3 innings pitched in 2019. Kirby is 8-1 on the year with Elon and had 2 no decisions in two games that Elon lost thanks to having one of the worst bullpens. Elon also doesn't face any Division 1 teams so that's another thing scouts will use against him. Despite that, Kirby is probably the best prospect to ever come out of Elon. He's also expected to be the highest draft pick to ever be drafted out of Elon.
Atlanta drafts for upside. The 6-4 190 lb Braden Shewmake gives Arizona a future shortstop.
Braden Shewmake dominated as a freshman with a .335 batting average, 11 home runs, 17 doubles, 68 RBI's, and a .986 fielding percentage in 2017. Shewmake declined in every category in 2018, after winning NCAA freshman of the year. Despite this, Shewmake still won the Lorane B. and William B "Breazy" Breazeale RBI award for the second year in a row.
Braden Shewmake improved his batting average to .314 in 2019 as a junior. Atlanta drafts Shewmake as a prospect to develop for the future in case they cannot re-sign Dansby Swanson when his rookie deal is up allowing them to reload at shortstop while saving money in the process.
The Tampa Bay Rays draft the 6-2 190 lb sophomore out of UNC Wilmington who is draft eligible despite being a sophomore. Tampa Bay needed a shortstop, but they only get a C grade since they took someone in the top 50.
Clevelanad gets the best pitcher on the board at 24 and my highest graded pitcher in the entire draft. The 6-2 200 lb Daniel Espino has the ability to pitch in warm weather and in the cold despite being a high school arm.
Daniel Espino has a 99-mile per hour 4-seam fastball, a 98-mile per hour 2-seam fastball, an 85-mile per hour slider, and a 75-mile per hour curveball. Espino is also 9-0 with a 0.32 ERA and 1 complete game shutout in 9 starts this season at Georgia Premier Academy.
Espino has a good breaking ball as well as some bite on his slider and curveball. Espino has the velocity and command that you want in a starting pitcher anchoring your rotation.
The tape and the stats are congruent with each other and despite this scouts are knocking his game worried he will be injured after traveling to four different High Schools before Espino found his home at Georgia Premier Academy in 2019.
Some scouts think his lack of command may make him a better option for the bullpen. He's a starter.
Cleveland has Carlos Carasco, Mike Clevinger, and Shane Bieber locked up until 2023. Cleveland now has my top High School pitcher from the 2018 MLB Draft Ethan Hankins and my top High School Pitcher in the 2019 MLB Draft in Daniel Espino. I think Cleveland will be fine as far as reloading with pitchers go as long as they develop Hankins and Espino correctly by being patient with them.
I also have a film session of Daniel Espino on my Youtube Channel. I posted his tape versus All Star Baseball Academy.
The Dodgers get Justin Turner's successor here. The 6-4 200 lb Kody Hoese did not do much in his first two seasons. Hoese has dominated with Tulane in 2019 with a .388 batting average, 23 home runs, 87 hits, and 60 RBI's so far this season.
He's someone that the Dodgers could groom for the future to replace Turner. He's also the best player on my board making this an easy pick for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Oakland Atheltics get a shorstop I mocked at 22 and the twenty first best player on my board at 29. Logan Davidson had 12 home runs as a freshman in 2017 and did so well that he got named co-captain behind Seth Beer as a sophomore in 2018 when he hit 15 home runs. He already matched his home run total as Clemson's team captain in 2019. Davidson never had a batting average of .300 at Clemson and that's the big concern with Davidson despite his impressive 42 career home runs in 3 seasons at Clemson so far.