Five years later: Here's each team's best Draft pick from 2019

May 22nd, 2024

The 2019 Draft wasn’t one filled with a ton of suspense.

It was widely accepted that the Orioles would take Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman – one of the Draft’s best-ever backstops – first overall, and that’s precisely what Mike Elias & Co. did on June 3. Bobby Witt Jr. (Royals), Andrew Vaughn (White Sox), J.J. Bleday (Marlins) and Riley Greene (Tigers) filled out the top five, and they are all in the Majors five years later. In fact, the first nine picks have already reached The Show, with No. 10 Hunter Bishop (Giants) the highest 2019 pick still awaiting that debut.

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As predictable as the top of the Draft may have been, we have five years of hindsight. Below are our selections for every system’s best pick from that year. Sixteen of the 30 come from the first round, meaning the other 14 dug a little deeper to find solid value in the Draft process.


Blue Jays: , RHP
It’s certainly been a bumpy past two years for the 2019 11th overall pick, but he already has an All-Star appearance and a Top 3 Cy Young finish on his resume. The second pitcher taken in the Draft, Manoah also has a 7.7 career bWAR that ranks fifth-best in the entire class. He’s showing promising signs of a turnaround since his return to the Majors on May 5, and even if he doesn’t get back to his full 2022 self, the West Virginia product can still be a contributor to Toronto’s rotation for years ahead.

Orioles: , C
When you pick 1-1, you want to make sure you get it right. It looks like the Orioles did in getting a “face of the franchise” type of player in Rutschman, who leads all 2019 draftees with 11.5 bWAR so far in his career (Shout out to the O’s second-rounder that year, Gunnar Henderson, who is second at 10.4.). He already has an All-Star nod and a Silver Slugger Award on his resume, with many more sure to come.

Rays: Seth Johnson, RHP (BAL No. 10)
Tampa Bay had three Top 40 picks in 2019 and came away with shortstop Greg Jones, prep righty JJ Goss and Campbell starter Johnson. While Joe La Sorsa and Brett Wisely are the only members of the class to make the Majors so far, it’s still Johnson – now the No. 10 prospect in the Orioles’ system – who has the most upside. Acquired from the Rays in a three-team deal in 2022, the 25-year-old right-hander shows a mid-90s fastball and 86-89 mph slider that can generate whiffs and have earned him a 40-man spot on Baltimore’s loaded roster.

Red Sox: , LHP
The Red Sox gave shortstops Cam Cannon and Matthew Lugo seven-figure bonuses with their top two picks in the second round, but so far their only big leaguers are sixth-rounder Murphy (4.91 ERA in 47 2/3 innings) and 26th-rounder Brandon Walter (6.26 ERA in 23 frames). Murphy set a San Diego record and led the West Coast Conference with 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 2019, but he dropped in the Draft because of unreliable control. A potential back-of-the-rotation starter, he had Tommy John surgery in April.

Yankees: , SS
Many clubs considered Volpe a higher-floor, lower-ceiling type when the Yankees made him a first-round pick (30th overall) out of a New Jersey high school, but he transformed his body and his swing after turning pro. His modest .209/.283/.383 line as a rookie belied his 21 homers, 24 steals and Gold Glove, and he's putting up better numbers (.269/.341/.421) this season. New York signed five more big leaguers but traded them all, most notably Josh Smith (third round), Ken Waldichuk (fifth) and Hayden Wesneski (sixth).


Guardians: , RHP
Guardians first-rounder Daniel Espino's stuff is as good as anyone in the Minors, but he hasn't pitched since May 2022 because of injuries. Cleveland's most productive choice has been 19th-rounder Kevin Kelly from James Madison, a sinkerballing reliever who has logged a 3.14 ERA with the Rays the last two seasons after being lost in the Rule 5 Draft. Outfielder Will Brennan (eighth round) and Xzavion Curry (seventh) are the best draftees who have remained with the Guardians.

Royals: , SS
The Texas native was the most tooled-up player in the 2019 class and made for a fairly easy call for Kansas City at No. 2 once Rutschman went first to Baltimore. Now in his third Major League season, the 23-year-old shortstop, who is coming off a 30-49 campaign in 2022, is matching his considerable hype as one of the game’s best power-speed players, and he should be a serious AL MVP candidate for the breakout Royals. KC signed Witt to an extension for 11 years, $288 million guaranteed and that could reach up to $377 million through 2037, locking him in as the club’s current and future superstar.

Tigers: , OF
You could certainly make an argument for Kerry Carpenter’s journey from the 19th round to 20-homer hitter in the Majors here, but we’ll stick with Detroit’s selection at No. 5 overall for his overall production to this point and place as a cornerstone for the franchise. Still only 23, Greene – owner of a 111 OPS+ in the Majors – grades out well for his bat speed, loud contact, barrel rate and approach in the Majors, and he’s been impressive defensively since moving full time to left field. He remains a key part of Detroit’s pursuit of a postseason return.

Twins: , 2B/1B
It didn’t become clear until fairly last minute that Julien was eligible for the 2019 Draft and the Twins took a shot in Round 18 and signed him out of Auburn for an over-slot $493,000. He flew under the radar a bit, though he led the Minors in walks in 2021 with 110, until he posted a .931 OPS in Double-A in 2022, then hit .400/.563/.686 in the Arizona Fall League that year. That paved the way for him to spend most of the 2023 season in the big leagues, where his 16 homers and .381 OBP earned him AL Rookie of the Year votes.

White Sox: , 1B
Vaughn reached Chicago as quickly as expected, but he hasn't really lived up to the expectations that came with getting drafted third overall out of California and signing for a franchise-record $7,221,200. The 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner was one of the best offensive prospects in college baseball from the last decade, yet he's a career .249/.308/.407 hitter with 56 homers in 460 big league games and is struggling in 2024.


Angels: Davis Daniel, RHP (LAA No. 28)
This hasn’t been a bumper crop for the Angels thus far, with only three players from the class touching the big leagues and only Daniel with a positive WAR (0.5) to date. A seventh-rounder out of Auburn, Daniel worked his way through a shoulder injury in 2023 to make his big league debut, three solid outings out of the bullpen, then threw well in the Arizona Fall League. He’s part of the Triple-A Salt Lake rotation, waiting for another chance to impact the big league staff.

Astros: , RHP
Brown matched Anthony Bass as the highest pick ever (fifth round) out of NCAA Division II Wayne State (Mich.) and earned a World Series ring as a reliever on the 2022 champions. He led American League rookies in wins (11), innings (155 2/3) and strikeouts (178) last season, though he has been pounded this year. First-rounder Korey Lee struggled in brief playing time with the Astros before going to the White Sox in the Kendall Graveman trade last summer.

Athletics: , C
It’s taken a little while for McCann to reach Oakland, struggling offensively over his first two seasons of pro ball after the A’s took him in the fourth round (though he did hit 20 homers in Double-A in 2022). He upped his numbers with Triple-A Las Vegas last year (.824 OPS), setting the stage for him to serve as Shea Langeliers’ backup this year and posting a .304/.373/.522 line over his first 51 plate appearances.

Mariners: , RHP
Kirby was the second of three straight college pitchers the Mariners took in the first round, following Logan Gilbert and ahead of Emerson Hancock. After leaving Elon University with a reputation as an extreme strike-thrower (0.6 BB/9 in ’19), he’s continued to fill up the zone with even better stuff. Kirby has walked just 1.1 per nine in his career to go along with a 3.46 ERA to help him amass 5.7 WAR over 66 starts.

Rangers: , 3B
Though injuries delayed Jung's arrival in Texas, last year he became the first Rangers rookie ever to start the All-Star Game and starred in the postseason as the franchise won its first-ever World Series championship. The No. 8 overall pick out of Texas Tech got off to a 7-for-17 start with two homers in four games this April before an errant pitch broke his right wrist.


Braves: , OF
Many teams liked Harris, a two-way player from the Georgia prep ranks, better as a pitcher than a hitter as the Draft approached. The Braves liked him as a position player, and it looks like they went in the right direction. He’s third among all members of his Draft class with 9.3 WAR, earned 2022 NL Rookie of the Year honors and has hit 37 homers with 40 steals over his first two seasons of big league action, all while playing an outstanding center field.

Marlins: , OF
Bleday led Vanderbilt to the 2019 College World Series championship while topping NCAA Division I with 27 homers and 192 total bases, then went fourth overall in the Draft. He never got going with the Marlins, scuffling in the Minors and hitting .167/.277/.309 in 65 games with Miami in 2022. He posted similar numbers with the Athletics last year after getting dealt for A.J. Puk, but has taken a step forward and is slashing .247/.323/.441 with five homers in 50 games this spring.

Mets: , 3B
The 12th overall pick in 2019, Baty has gotten the bulk of the third-base reps in Queens this spring, but with a .228/.295/.316 line through 43 games, he hasn’t taken off quite as hoped in his third Major League season. Still, he’s the only player from New York’s 2019 Draft class to have reached The Show. On the optimistic side, his defense at the hot corner looks improved in 2024, and he possesses above-average bat speed that could help his promising power play in time.

Nationals: Jackson Rutledge, RHP (WSH No. 15)
The 6-foot-8 right-hander out of San Jacinto Junior College may have been the tallest person in the MLB Network Studio when Washington selected him 17th overall five years ago. He made his Major League debut with four starts last season and came up for a brief doubleheader relief appearance earlier this month. He throws a pair of mid-90s fastballs and also sports a slider, curveball, changeup and splitter, though only the slider might be above-average at this point.

Phillies: , 2B/SS
The Phillies’ first-rounder out of UNLV, Stott has been a steady performer for two-plus years now on a team that has reached the World Series and NLCS in consecutive years. He plays every day offering solid defense at second and the ability to fill in at short, all while showing the ability to be a productive hitter, coming off a second season in 2023 with 15 homers and 31 steals.


Brewers: , LHP
Of Milwaukee’s 2019 class, only first-rounder Ethan Small and eighth-rounder David Hamilton have seen the Majors, but second-rounder Kelly still has the potential to carve out a significant role in a Major League bullpen. Traded to the Rangers in 2022, the 6-foot-5 southpaw pairs a mid-90s fastball with a wicked 82-85 mph sweeping slider that generates strikeouts. He’s now at Triple-A Round Rock and could impact the Texas relief corps by the second half.

Cardinals: Pedro Pagés, C (STL No. 15)
Pitchers Zack Thompson and Andre Pallante have seen more of the Majors at this point, but Pagés – a sixth-round selection out of Florida Atlantic – could be the better long-term pickup for St. Louis from 2019. The backstop’s defense behind the plate has long been Major League-ready, and he can limit the running game with a strong throwing arm. While early MLB results haven’t been great, he has enough power to provide value at the dish too and could be a backup option even when Willson Contreras is back.

Cubs: DJ Herz, LHP (WSH No. 12)
The Cubs whiffed on first-rounder Ryan Jensen and their lone big leaguer to date from the 2019 Draft is 13th-rounder Porter Hodge, who was called up last Friday but has yet to pitch in a game. Sent to the Nationals in the Jeimer Candelario trade last summer, Herz has one of the best changeups in the Minors and the most upside in Chicago's Draft class. He lasted eight rounds as a North Carolina high schooler because of murky signability, landed fourth-round money ($500,000) and has 440 strikeouts in 307 1/3 pro innings while limiting opponents to a .180 average.

Pirates: , 2B/3B
The Pirates’ selection in Competitive Balance Round B, Triolo made a solid first big league impression last year, hitting .290 with a .388 OBP over 54 games. He hasn’t been as productive at the plate this year, but offers plus defense at second and third and has collected 3.1 WAR in total.

Reds: , LHP
Lodolo was the first pitcher taken in this Draft with the thought he could move fairly quickly through a system and while injuries slowed him a bit in the Minors, he was up making his big league debut at the start of the 2022 season. He got Rookie of the Year votes for his efforts that season, but a stress fracture limited him to seven starts in 2023 and a groin strain has shelved him this year. Tip of the cap to Graham Ashcraft, the club’s sixth-rounder, who has matched Lodolo’s WAR total (3.4).


D-backs: , OF
Carroll wasn’t completely slept on as a diminutive outfielder from the Pacific Northwest; the D-backs did select him 16th overall after all. But the reigning NL champs may have still gotten the steal of the Draft at that spot, even considering Carroll’s down start to 2024. The left-handed slugger has the foundation of a perennial MVP candidate with power and speed to burn, and Arizona signed him to an eight-year extension before last year because of how much they believe he’ll be the face of the franchise for much of the next decade.

Dodgers: , 1B
Though Busch was one of the top college performers and best all-around offensive prospects in the 2019 Draft, the North Carolina star lasted 31 picks because of questions about his defensive home. He tore up the upper levels on the Minors the last two seasons and won Triple-A Pacific Coast League MVP accolades in 2023, but he was blocked in Los Angeles. Traded to the Cubs along with Yency Almonte for prospects Jackson Ferris and Zyhir Hope in January, Busch tops all rookies in homers (seven), runs (26) and walks (19) while batting .242/.329/.450 in 46 games. The Dodgers also scored with third-rounder Ryan Pepiot, whom they shipped to the Rays in a deal for Tyler Glasnow in December.

Giants: , OF/SS
Injuries have waylaid first-rounder Hunter Bishop's career, and the Giants still have hopes for third-rounder Grant McCray and 11th-rounder Trevor McDonald. But their best pick so far has been fourth-rounder Tyler Fitzgerald, a shortstop from Louisville who has started games at four different positions and played three others already this year. The son of former big leaguer Mike Fitzgerald, he's coming off consecutive 20-20 seasons in the upper Minors and is hitting .269/.309/.442 in a utility role.

Padres: , SS
San Diego had high hopes when it selected Abrams sixth overall in 2019, and it kept him on an accelerated timeline with a Major League debut at just 21 years old in 2022. The shortstop was a key piece of the Juan Soto trade later that year, and he’s in the midst of a breakout age-24 season now with the Nationals, thanks to improved power and continued elite speed. He’ll be a key piece of Washington’s core and hopeful return to contention.

Rockies: , OF
Doyle came out of Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia, showing off an intriguing power-speed combination to help him land in the fourth round. The bat has developed slowly in the big leagues, though he’s hitting .274 through 45 games in 2024, and he did have 10 homers and 22 steals in his rookie season last year. His best value comes in traversing the vast center field area at Coors Field, earning a Gold Glove in 2023.