MLB Mock Draft
By Carlos Collazo
With just 10 days to go until the 2019 draft, things are slowly starting to solidify at the top of the first round.
We’ve had a good idea of the top six players for a few weeks, and now the list of names who will be top 10 picks is starting to get a bit more narrow. A few pitchers are starting to solidifying themselves in this range—or at least being talked about more heavily than the past.
There will be a few pivot points in this year’s class that can shake things up and change the direction of the first round, starting with the Reds and Rangers, who pick right after the top six players come off the board in some order.
After that, there’s a smaller group of names that gets bandied about in the 7-10 range. A run on college pitching should come around the 10th pick and into the early teens.
After that, the D-backs hold the keys to the draft. With far and away the most bonus pool money, the D-backs have the picks and the financial muscle to get creative with an underslot deal at a number of picks or become the landing spot for a player further up the board who starts sliding—as was the case with both the Rays and the Royals a year ago.
The middle of the first round could get wild. Teams in that range are still bearing down on a wide group of players from varying demographics who are seen as roughly being on the same level throughout the industry.
We hope to find more clarity as the draft gets closer, but for now here’s our best shot at projecting the first round of the draft.
- 2Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS SSNotes:
Like the preceding pick, Witt Jr. is the favorite here at No. 2. The Royals like Witt enough that even if Rutschman somehow falls, they’d have to think long and hard about their choice.
- 3Blessed Trinity (Roswell, Ga.) HS SSNotes:
Abrams' name continues to be most common with the White Sox at No. 3, giving them back-to-back shortstops at the top of the draft, although Abrams has a much different profile than 2018 first-round pick Nick Madrigal.
- 4Vanderbilt OFNotes:
Bleday could be in the mix a spot higher given how well he’s closed out the season, but the Marlins were rolling deep during Vanderbilt’s game against Auburn in the SEC Tournament, when he went 5-for-5 with a pair of doubles. It's worth noting that Marlins brass, again headlined by Derek Jeter, also watched Hunter Bishop on Thursday night.
- 5California 1BNotes:
It sounds like Detroit really likes Riley Greene, but in this situation it would be hard to pass up Vaughn. Like Greene, Vaughn is a bat-first prospect with weaker supplemental tools, but his bat is much more proven and possesses much more impact potential. Getting Vaughn here could give the organization another fast-moving, impact prospect to go along with 2018 No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize.
- 6Hagerty (Oviedo, Fla.) HS OFNotes:
Most sources we talk to think that Greene is in the group of six players already mentioned that will be off the board first, in some order.
- 7Texas Christian LHPNotes:
While the top six players have been established for some time now, Lodolo has finished the season strong—to the point that some include him with the top tier of players and don’t think there’s a chance he’s available when the Rangers are on the clock with the No. 8 pick. The Reds have been tied to Lodolo for a while now and would be happy to take him here, although if one of the six hitters in front happens to fall, they’d likely go that route instead. If Lodolo goes here, it will set a draft record. The latest the first pitcher off the board has been drafted is sixth overall, when the Blue Jays selected Ricky Romero with that pick in 2005.
- 8San Jacinto (Texas) JC RHPNotes:
Rumors continue to swirl that Texas is looking for an underslot deal here. Perhaps they can make that happen with Rutledge, who would become the highest drafted JuCo pitcher this century. The deal might not be too sweet though, as teams from this range through 14 sound heavily interested in the 6-foot-8 flamethrower. The success that Nate Pearson is having after being drafted out of JC of Central Florida in the first round in 2017 could give teams more confidence in Rutledge. They share some similarities as big, hard-throwing righthanders who went to Division I programs before transferring to junior colleges and seeing their draft stock explode.
- 9Arizona State OFNotes:
This might be the ideal scenario for Atlanta, who has been tied to Hunter Bishop throughout the spring. The Braves are also in on Rutledge and have scouted prep outfielder Corbin Carroll heavily, though this is probably the high mark for Carroll at this point. In Bishop, the Braves would get one of the toolsiest college players in the class, and while his strikeout rate might be a concern, his power and upside make him worth any risk that comes with his less-than-ideal track record.
- 10Nevada-Las Vegas SSNotes:
Things start to open up more here, but the Giants sound interested in Stott, West Virginia righthander Alek Manoah and the top prep pitcher in the class, Matthew Allan.
- 11West Virginia RHPNotes:
It sounds like Toronto is targeting a number of college pitchers here, and in this scenario they get their pick of the group, sans Lodolo. Manoah is coming off of a big performance against Texas Tech in the Big 12 Championship. It’s also possible that Toronto is another team looking for an underslot deal, similar to what they did a year ago with Jordan Groshans.
- 12Kentucky LHPNotes:
The 11 names that are off the board in front of New York are the ones we’ve been hearing most frequently in the 1-11 range. Some teams are lower on Stott than the Giants and Blue Jays, while others think Kentucky lefthander Zack Thompson needs to be in this group. With him available here, the Mets could get a pitcher comparable in talent to Manoah and Lodolo, though his medical history could make things more complicated. From here on out we’re in dicier territory and the board can open up in a big way.
- 13Baylor CNotes:
Minnesota continues to get tied to college bats, and in this scenario Langeliers could be the best option. Clemson shortstop Logan Davidson and Texas Tech third baseman Josh Jung could make sense here, while the Twins also might like Elon righthander George Kirby, who’s starting to get pushed up boards.
- 14Elon RHPNotes:
It’s sounding more and more likely that Philadelphia doesn’t get a shot at Rutledge, although if he does make it to No. 14 he would likely be the pick. The Phillies are being linked heavily with Thompson and Kirby, and there have been some rumors that they are intrigued with Davidson as well.
- 15Seminole HS, Sanford, Fla. RHPNotes:
Allan could go off the board in the 10-15 range, and GM Billy Eppler was at one of Allan’s recent starts. Eppler has also seen North Carolina prep lefthander Blake Walston, but he would make more sense for their second-round pick.
- 16Lakeside HS, Seattle OFNotes:
Another pivot point for the draft, the D-backs can push their pool money around if they want, forcing a player who starts to slide down to No. 16. That could be the case with Carroll, who plenty of teams in front of the D-backs like and have scouted heavily. Carroll fits Arizona’s preference for track record and a high quality hit tool.
- 17Lake Travis (Texas) High 3BNotes:
It’s harder to pin down Baty than most players because some teams’ draft models will penalize his age and simply have him off boards, but he makes sense throughout the teens. The Nationals might have wanted a pitcher who’s already off the board, and they could go after a prep arm or one of the college bats as well.
- 18IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. RHPNotes:
Malone checks some of the boxes that the Pirates have previously gone after with prep arms early in the draft, and this is the range that his name, and Quinn Priester’s, start to come up more. Logan Davidson could still be a possibility here.
- 19Clemson SSNotes:
We’re hearing college hitters with St. Louis lately, so Davidson, North Carolina’s Michael Busch, Jung and fellow shortstop Will Wilson could all make sense with this pick. The Cardinals also sound like one of the teams interested in projectable Puerto Rican shortstop Matthew Lugo. They had evaluators go see him late in the process, but that seems a bit rich at No. 19.
- 20Texas Tech 3BNotes:
A run on the second-tier college bats could start in the late teens and early 20s.
- 21Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill. RHPNotes:
After having gone the college bat route at No. 9, the Braves could add yet another high-upside arm to their system in Priester or Malone, if he falls. They should still be in on the college bats going around this range as well.
- 22North Carolina 1B/OFNotes:
After targeting pitching last year, there’s no obvious arm in this scenario for the Rays to go after here, unless they are infatuated with prep pitchers J.J. Goss or Daniel Espino. Both of those names fit here on talent, but they have been mentioned closer toward the supplemental round.
- 23Missouri OFNotes:
Misner’s tools are comparable to Hunter Bishop’s, but his performance has been lacking this spring with a passive approach that's led to too many strikeouts. Sources believe a team in the 20s will stop Misner's fall, however, simply based on his tools and upside. We'll continue to sing the Rockies' development team's praises here and say there are as well-equipped as any to figure him out.
- 24NC State SSNotes:
We’ve mocked Busch here plenty of times and think Cleveland still likes his track record and feel to hit if he gets here. Will Wilson has some of those same traits and has more defensive value as a middle infielder.
- 25Morgan Academy, Selma, Ala. SSNotes:
We’re sticking with last mock’s pick of Henderson here.