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Throughout the day, follow along as J.J. Cooper and Carlos Collazo drop some observations. To see all of our 2019 draft coverage in one place, click here.
6:59 pm. Late Drop?
Even as the draft begins we haven’t heard who is going 1-1. But we are hearing that Arizona State’s Hunter Bishop may be sliding out of the top 10 thanks to concerns about his contact rates.
1:36 p.m.: Sliding? Or Smoke?
For months, we have heard about how there is a clear Top 6-8 in this year’s draft class with the top high school and college bats. Arizona State’s Hunter Bishop and Texas Christian’s Nick Lodolo have been the outer edges of that grouping.
But now on draft day, there are some rumblings that shortstop C.J. Abrams (currently ranked No. 4 on Baseball America’s rankings) is the one player in that grouping who could slide tonight. It is impossible to fully discern whether this is simply a rumor that is getting passed around or if there is some truth to it. But we have heard from multiple sources that Abrams could slip out of the top seven.
And if someone’s moving down, someone has to be moving up. The name we’re hearing from multiple sources may have late helium is Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers. Langeliers got off to a late start because of a hamate injury, but his three-home run game at the NCAA regionals was a well-timed showcase for an excellent defensive catcher whose biggest concerns revolve around the bat.
–J.J. Cooper and Carlos Collazo
12:15 p.m ET: Deals To Be Made
There have been plenty of rumblings that after the top six/seven players are off the board, this could be a draft where many deals are made. After all, a well-below slot deal in the early teens could be a lot more money than the same player would receive at full slot if they slid to the 20s.
The combination of a very limited number of top college pitchers, a top group of college hitters that will likely be exhausted by the early 20s, a group of second-tier college pitchers/hitters and many interesting high school prospects who could fit in that range mean that deals will be done.
“I think this will be known as the “Costco” draft when all is said and done,” is how one agent described his expectations for tonight.
12:05 p.m. ET: Few College First Rounders Are Still Playing
Only three college players among our Top 25 draft prospects play for teams that are still alive. Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday (No. 6), Texas Tech shortstop/third baseman Josh Jung (No. 17) and North Carolina outfielder first baseman Michael Busch (No. 24) play for teams that have already advanced to super regionals.
The early exits also ensure that if the cream of the college class comes to quick deals, they could get a half season of pro ball in this year. That’s less important for the pitchers who will likely be limited by workload concerns. But for the position players, it may help them get enough experience to start next year a step higher up the minor league ladder than a player who got a late start.