With MLB Pipeline's Top 50 Draft prospects list out, all 30 teams should be ready to just have the Draft now, no?OK, so maybe that's a tad premature, as most scouting departments will happily take the spring to continue to evaluate the top amateur talent available for the 2019 Draft.
With MLB Pipeline's Top 50 Draft prospects list out, all 30 teams should be ready to just have the Draft now, no?
OK, so maybe that's a tad premature, as most scouting departments will happily take the spring to continue to evaluate the top amateur talent available for the 2019 Draft. Teams won't truly try to line up their boards until much closer to June, but there is a good sense of who would be at the top if the Draft were today.
:: 2019 Draft coverage ::
Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, after a huge junior season and a very strong stint with USA Baseball, has separated himself at the very top, while high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn aren't too far behind. Using that pairing to kick things off, here is a quick look at what the top 10 might look like. There are just two pitchers and eight hitters on the list, a reflection of what this class looks like at present.
One huge wild card not in this top 10 mock is Carter Stewart, the Braves' first-round pick from a year ago. If Stewart is healthy and goes on to East Florida State Junior College, as many expect, there's a good chance he'll show up in the top 10, if not the top five, of mock drafts this spring.
1. Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Rutschman is the complete package, with the ability to hit for average and power, along with outstanding defensive tools behind the plate. The last time the Orioles took a college catcher in the first round (Matt Wieters), it worked out pretty well.
2. Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS
The son of the former big league pitcher, Witt Jr. has a fantastic combination of tools and makeup. He's fresh off winning MVP honors at the Pan American Championship in Panama, helping USA Baseball's 18 and Under squad bring home a gold medal.
3. White Sox: Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California
Vaughn won the Golden Spikes Award as a sophomore and might be the best all-around hitter in the class with an advanced approach, the ability to hit for average and plenty of in-game power. The White Sox have taken college bats in the first round in each of the last three drafts and haven't taken a high school player first since 2012.
4. Marlins: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
The Marlins have been much more high school heavy at the top, taking a prepster No. 1 five years running. But the chance to add an advanced bat with pop like Jung's could be too difficult to pass up as he could quickly advance to play the hot corner in Miami.
5. Tigers: Graeme Stinson, LHP, Duke
It's a weak crop of pitching, particularly among the college ranks, but Stinson is poised to be the top college arm (or any arm in this scenario) selected with his plus fastball and slider. The Tigers have taken a pitcher with their first selection four years in a row and went the college route last June and in 2017.
6. Padres: C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity HS (Roswell, Ga.)
One of the toolsiest players in the Draft, Abrams has tremendous speed and that, along with his plus arm, give him the chance to stick at shortstop. Combine that with some serious offensive upside, there's no question he belongs in top 10 conversations.
7. Reds: Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
Given his outstanding defensive skills and power potential, a strong spring could move Langeliers up higher than this as the 1A to Rutschman's 1 on the college catching list. The Reds have taken a college bat in the first round in four of the six previous drafts.
8. Rangers: Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (Oviedo, Fla.)
An argument can be made that Greene is the best pure hitter in the Draft class, high school or college. He can flat out rake with a smooth left-handed swing, one that will produce plenty of power in the future. That corner outfield profile is sure to come off the board early.
9. Braves: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
This is a compensation pick for the Braves not signing last year's first-rounder Carter Stewart. But don't expect that to mean Atlanta will be conservative here. The Braves don't shy away from high school pitching and Malone's combination of arm strength and velocity will be very intriguing.
10. Giants: Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (Seattle, Wash.)
Carroll made as big a leap as anyone with his performances across several summer showcase events. He's one of the faster guys in the Draft, can really hit and has shown he has more pop than you'd think at first glance.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.