Days ahead of the Draft, here's our latest mock
We may not know for sure whom the Orioles will take with the top pick until shortly before the Draft begins at 7 p.m. ET on Monday night.
Baltimore GM Mike Elias worked for the Astros when they had three consecutive No. 1 overall selections from 2012-14, and Houston annually waited until late in the process to discuss financial terms with players. That strategy prevented the Astros' offers from being shopped around elsewhere.
In the end, the Orioles figure to grab the best player available, Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. He also was my projection for the No. 1 choice in my May 3 and May 17 mock drafts. Likewise, I'm standing pat with Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. going No. 2 to the Royals and projecting a record number of position players at the top of the Draft (six) and in the first round (23).
Beyond that, much has changed in my third attempt to prognosticate all 34 first-round selections, with more shuffling expected between now and when I present my final mock draft (names only) on Monday afternoon. For detailed scouting reports on all of these players, check out MLB Pipeline's Prospect Watch.
1. Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Baltimore won't tip its hand, but other clubs don't believe it will look away from a guy who would be the best prospect taken No. 1 overall since Bryce Harper in 2010. If the Orioles go in a different direction, it would snag another top talent in Witt or California first baseman Andrew Vaughn rather than seeking a deep discount.
2. Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS
Witt to Kansas City continues to seem like a bit more of a certainty than Rutschman to the Orioles. This would make Witt and his father Bobby Sr. (No. 3 overall in 1985) the highest-drafted father-son duo ever, surpassing the Grieves (Tom, No. 6 in 1966; Ben, No. 2 in 1994).
3. White Sox: Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California
This pick will dictate what happens at Nos. 5 and 6. If Chicago opts for a college bat for the fourth straight year in Vaughn, then Hagerty HS (Oviedo, Fla.) outfielder Riley Greene lands with Detroit and Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (Roswell, Ga.) shortstop CJ Abrams winds up with San Diego. If the White Sox scratch their itch for an up-the-middle athlete with Abrams, then Vaughn goes to the Tigers and Greene to the Padres.
4. Marlins: JJ Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt
Miami would consider Abrams and Greene but may prefer a college bat. The guess here is the Marlins would take Bleday over Vaughn if presented with both options, and they're also kicking the tires on Arizona State center fielder Hunter Bishop.
5. Tigers: Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (Oviedo, Fla.)
Rutschman, Witt, Vaughn, Bleday, Greene and Abrams figure to be the first six selections in a variety of possible orders. If that doesn't happen, it could be Detroit that looks elsewhere. The Tigers do like Greene but could be tempted by a faster-arriving collegian such as Bishop or Texas Christian left-hander Nick Lodolo.
6. Padres: CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (Roswell, Ga.)
If San Diego were choosing third with Rutschman and Witt off the board, Greene would be the favorite. He gets to No. 6 if Chicago takes Abrams. The Padres likely will take whichever of the top six position players remains, and it's not clear who the alternative might be.
7. Reds: Nick Lodolo, LHP, Texas Christian
Cincinnati would pounce on any of the top six hitters who fell to No. 7, with the exception of Abrams. The Reds have been linked to the consensus top college pitcher (Lodolo) all spring yet still are doing their due diligence on the other college arms (San Jacinto JC right-hander Jackson Rutledge, West Virginia righty Alex Manoah, Kentucky left-hander Zack Thompson). Don't rule out the best remaining college position players, such as Bishop and Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers.
8. Rangers: Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State
There are all kinds of rumors surrounding Texas, including that it's looking to save money here or locked in on Texas Tech third baseman Jung. The Rangers are more apt to prioritize a high-ceiling talent such as Bishop. They have been tied to Lake Travis HS (Austin, Texas) third baseman Brett Baty, who has one of the best bats available and could come with a discount because his age (19 1/2) turns off several clubs.
9. Braves: Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (Seattle)
(Compensation for failure to sign 2018 first-rounder Carter Stewart)
With Bishop gone, Atlanta's choice would come down to Carroll versus Rutledge, with Langeliers and Manoah on the back burner.
10. Giants: Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto (Texas) JC
San Francisco likely will take whomever it deems is the best remaining college arm, but the Giants are also checking out college bats such as Langeliers, UNLV shortstop Bryson Stott and Missouri outfielder Kameron Misner. This is the high-water mark for those last two, as well as the top prep pitcher (Seminole HS, Sanford, Fla., right-hander Matthew Allan) and fast-rising Eastlake High (Chula Vista, Calif.) third baseman Keoni Cavaco.
11. Blue Jays: Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia
With only five college pitchers considered lock first-rounders, they'll get snapped up quickly after the top six position players come off the board. Manoah fits between Nos. 9-12, with Carroll, Langeliers and Thompson alternatives for Toronto.
12. Mets: Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky
New York is in play for the top four college arms. If none of them get to 12 or Thompson fails to check out medically after having a shoulder injury in high school and elbow issues last year, the Mets will turn to Langeliers, Stott or Baty.
13. Twins: Keoni Cavaco, 3B, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, Calif.)
No first-rounder has more helium at the moment than Cavaco. While he had the chance to get to Minnesota's second selection at No. 39 a month ago, that's impossible now. If the Twins want a more experienced bat, Langeliers and Jung are the front-runners.
14. Phillies: Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
This feels like the floor for Langeliers, with Tulane third baseman Kody Hoese and Morgan Academy (Selma, Ala.) shortstop Gunnar Henderson as backup plans.
15. Angels: George Kirby, RHP, Elon
Once Kirby gets popped, it will be several picks before the next college arm gets called. Los Angeles wouldn't mind a shot at Cavaco but gets associated with arms, including prepsters Allan, Quinn Priester (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.), JJ Goss (Cypress Ranch HS, Texas) and Daniel Espino (Georgia Premier Academy, Statesboro, Ga.).
16. D-backs: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
With four picks in the first round, seven of the first 75 choices and an MLB-high $16,093,700 bonus pool, Arizona has more ammunition than any club. The D-backs probably can push some expensive players down toward the end of the first round and take someone here who won't get to their next selection at No. 26. The best talent value figures to be one of the second-tier college hitters still on the board, such as Jung or Stott. If Carroll doesn't go to the Braves or Jays, he could land here.
17. Nationals: Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (Sanford, Fla.)
Allan's talent belongs closer to the top 10, but teams are leery of high school right-handers, especially those with $4 million asking prices. Washington would love a shot at one of the top five college pitchers and will scope out the second tier of college hitters.
18. Pirates: Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove HS (Cary, Ill.)
Priester fits the Pittsburgh mold of athletic, projectable pitchers so easily that we keep projecting him at No. 18. The Pirates do get mentioned as the ceiling for college bats such as North Carolina first baseman/outfielder Michael Busch, UNC Wilmington shortstop Greg Jones and UCLA first baseman Michael Toglia.
19. Cardinals: Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV
One of the second-tier college hitters has a chance to unexpectedly drop close to the 20s, and in this scenario it's Stott, who also could go as high as No. 7 or 8. If he's gone, St. Louis could turn to Busch, North Carolina State shortstop Will Wilson or Misner.
20. Mariners: Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane
Cavaco absolutely wouldn't get past Seattle. Hoese keeps rising up boards and will be considered by almost every team behind the Mariners until he gets selected. Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.) right-hander Jack Leiter is virtually unsignable and many clubs believe his teammate, shortstop Anthony Volpe, will be as well, though Volpe's name repeatedly comes up at No. 20. Jones has helium, too, and could fit here, as could Baty. Infielders seem to be the focus.
21. Braves: Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri
The most enigmatic first-round prospect, Misner has the best tools of any college player available but also hit .222 with 39 strikeouts in 30 Southeastern Conference games. He's the third straight college position player in this projection, and get ready for several more throughout the 20s.
22. Rays: Gunnar Henderson, SS, Morgan Academy (Selma, Ala.)
Henderson is one of many shortstops associated with Tampa Bay, a group that also includes Cavaco, Jones, Brooks Lee (San Luis Obispo, Calif., HS), Matthew Lugo (Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, Florida, P.R.) and Nasim Nunez (Collins Hill HS, Suwanee, Ga.). The Rays look like the floor for Carroll and Hoese, and their affinity for high school arms makes Priester and IMG Academy (Brandenton, Fla.) right-hander Brennan Malone two more possibilities.
23. Rockies: Greg Jones, SS, UNC Wilmington
Colorado favors college bats, including Hoese, Jones, Wilson, Misner and Texas A&M shortstop Braden Shewmake.
24. Indians: Michael Busch, 1B/OF, North Carolina
More college bats here, with Hoese, Misner, Busch, Wilson, Clemson shortstop Logan Davidson, Toglia and Shewmake among the targets. Espino's live arm could prove hard to resist.
25. Dodgers: Will Wilson, SS, North Carolina State
Los Angeles could duplicate the strategy we mapped out for Arizona, taking someone here who wouldn't last to its next choice at No. 31, then using that one on someone whose high price tag could scare clubs off. So let's keep the college position player train rolling with Hoese, Busch, Wilson or Davidson.
26. D-backs: Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis HS (Austin, Texas)
(Compensation for failure to sign 2018 first-rounder Matt McLain)
Baty shouldn't last this long because at worst, he's the fifth-best all-around hitter in the 2019 Draft. There are clubs that insist he belongs in the first 15 selections and will go there, while others wouldn't take him in the first round because of his age.
27. Cubs: Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson
Most of Chicago's recent first-round success has come with college bats, and the strength of this Draft could dictate another trip down that road with the same candidates we have mentioned throughout the 20s. The Cubs' need for pitching could point them toward Campbell right-hander Seth Johnson.
28. Brewers: Seth Johnson, RHP, Campbell
If you're counting, that's 13 picks between college arms. Johnson's lack of history -- he didn't become a full-time pitcher until this year -- puts off some clubs, but Milwaukee is all about high ceilings. That philosophy also puts Memphis (Tenn.) University HS outfielder Maurice Hampton, IMG Academy third baseman Rece Hinds and some of the high school arms in play.
29. Athletics: Braden Shewmake, SS, Texas A&M
Oakland seemed locked in on Jones until his banner performance at the Colonial Athletic Association tournament last weekend made it increasingly unlikely that he'll last until No. 29. Shewmake and Toglia are two more college position players who could interest the A's.
30. Yankees: Tyler Callihan, 3B, Providence HS, Jacksonville, Fla.
This is the absolute floor for Hoese and Baty, who have little chance of getting to New York, but Callihan has a lot of similarities to Baty. New York isn't necessarily looking for a prep infielder but gets mentioned with a lot of them: Baty, Callihan, Henderson, Lugo, Volpe and Freedom HS (Oakley, Calif.) shortstop Kyren Paris.
31. Dodgers: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
(Compensation for failure to sign 2018 first-rounder J.T. Ginn)
Los Angeles could go big here and act on its known interest in Malone, Lee or Espino. The Dodgers also could be the first team that might take Florida shortstop Brady McConnell or Mississippi State left-hander Ethan Small.
32. Astros: JJ Goss, RHP, Cypress (Texas) Ranch HS
Four names come up more often than most with Houston: Goss, Espino, Davidson and Toglia.
33. D-backs: Maurice Hampton, OF, Memphis (Tenn.) University HS
(Compensation for loss of free agent Patrick Corbin)
Now it's time for Arizona to wield its financial muscle. Hampton is one of the top athletes in the Draft and possesses extra leverage as a four-star cornerback recruit with a football scholarship from Louisiana State.
34. D-backs: Blake Walston, LHP, New Hanover HS (Wilmington, N.C.)
(Compensation for loss of free agent A.J. Pollock)
Let's finish with back-to-back huge-upside picks for Arizona. One of the most projectable and athletic high school pitchers available, Walston will be a tough sign who could be one of the first picks in the 2022 Draft if he goes to North Carolina State and develops as expected.
Four more names with at least a little first-round buzz who didn’t get mentioned above (listed alphabetically): Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.); Drey Jameson, RHP, Ball State; Matt Wallner, OF, Southern Mississippi; Josh Wolf, RHP, St. Thomas HS (Houston).