2019 Draft: Top 10 College OF
This year’s outfield class is one of the stronger aspects of the college position player group, with four likely first-round picks. The top three players on this list—Hunter Bishop, JJ Bleday and Kameron Misner—are projected to be top 20 picks. Both the four first-rounders and three top-20 picks would match last year’s class and make this one of the most prolific groups of college outfielders in the last 20 years.
This year’s outfield class trends more toward corner outfielders than center fielders, even among the projected first-rounders, which is unusual because teams typically favor athletic center fielders. Half the players in the top 10 are not playing center field in college. Paired with last year, when corner bats Seth Beer and Trevor Larnach were picked in the first round, it seems that major league teams are more willing to draft players slightly lower on the defensive spectrum who can offset that with their offensive potential.
- 1Arizona State OFNotes:
Bishop, the younger brother of Mariners prospect Braden Bishop, nearly played football in college but changed his mind late and committed to baseball. He’s always stood out for his raw tools, but this year he has put it all together and taken a big leap forward. He’s an above-average runner with plus raw power and athleticism, giving him plenty of upside.
- 2Vanderbilt OFNotes:
Bleday has produced a long track record of hitting in college, both at Vanderbilt and in the Cape Cod League. The lefthanded hitter does a good job of consistently barreling the ball and has plus raw power. He profiles as a right fielder.
- 3Missouri OFNotes:
Listed at 6-foot-4, 213 pounds, Misner stands out for his size and athleticism. After playing first base and left field out of necessity the first two years of his career, he’s manning center field this season and brings a strong offensive tool set as well.
- 4North Carolina OFNotes:
Busch has an excellent feel for hitting and has walked more than he has struck out in college. He also has plus power that he does a good job of getting to. Busch moved to left field from first base this season and has the athleticism to make it an option as a pro.
- 5Southern Miss. OFNotes:
The 2017 Freshman of the Year came to Southern Miss as a two-way player and quickly made a big impact. He’s battled an injury this season and has scuffled at the plate, but his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame and plus lefthanded power give him the look of a prototypical right fielder.
- 6Arkansas OFNotes:
Fletcher, the younger brother of Angels infielder David Fletcher, has been a consistent member of Arkansas’ lineup for the last three years. He has more power than his 5-foot-9, 175-pound frame suggests and he’s an above-average defender in center fielder.
- 7LSU OFNotes:
Watson last year was a draft-eligible sophomore but opted to instead return to LSU for his junior season. A career .300 hitter in college, the switch-hitter is having his best offensive season yet and continuing to play strong defense in center field.
- 8Creighton OFNotes:
Robertson raised his profile last summer with a standout performance in the Cape Cod League. His lefthanded swing is geared to hitting line drives and he has above-average raw power that he will tap into in time. He fits best defensively in left field, which puts more pressure on his bat.
- 9Stanford OFNotes:
Stowers had a breakout 2018 both at Stanford and the Cape, showing above-average power in both leagues. He got off to a slow start to his junior year, but the lefthanded hitter has been better since conference play began. He fits well in either outfield corner.
- 10Ole Miss OFNotes:
Dillard has hit in the heart of the Ole Miss lineup the last two years and stands out for his big power as a switch-hitter. He’s a patient hitter who has worked to cut his strikeout rate this season. Dillard fits best as a left fielder but also is the Rebels’ second catcher.