2019 MLB Draft: Top 50 NCAA Baseball Prospects
The college top 50 was compiled in consultation with major league scouts, front office executives, scouting directors and other professional evaluators. The list is an attempt to gauge the industry’s consensus on the 2019 college draft talent at the current moment, but with so much time between now and the draft, much is sure to change. However, this does provide a general overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the 2019 college class. The list also only accounts for four-year universities. Junior college prospects will be added when we merge our high school and college lists into one draft list.
After releasing our High School Top 50 Draft Prospects last week, today Baseball America releases the first comprehensive talent ranking of the 2019 college crop—the College Top 50 Draft Prospects.
Major League scouts have a much longer history with these players than the prep class for obvious reasons, and teams got plenty of looks at the college group over the past few months as most of the top players competed on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team and in various summer leagues.
Overall, scouts believe the 2019 college class is solid among position players and below-average in regards to pitching. When looking at the split between hitters and pitchers from last year to this year, it’s the exact opposite. Last year at this time, BA’s top 50 consisted of 30 pitchers and 20 hitters. The 2019 top 50 currently has 20 pitchers and 30 hitters, however.
While righthanded pitchers are still the most common position group (when splitting into C, corner INF, middle INF, OF, RHP and LHP position groups), they represent just 28 percent of the list, compared to 42 percent at this point last year.
There are significantly more infielders in the top 50 this year, with 20 infielders making up 40 percent of the current list, compared to just nine infielders (18 percent) in 2018.
The full positional breakdown for both years can be found below.
2019 Positional Group Breakdown
- Catcher: 2 (4%)
- Corner Infield: 7 (14%)
- Middle Infield: 13 (26%)
- Outfield: 8 (16%)
- Righthanded Pitchers: 14 (28%)
- Lefthanded Pitchers: 6 (12%)
2018 Positional Group Breakdown
- Catcher: 0 (0%)
- Corner Infield: 4 (8%)
- Middle Infield: 5 (10%)
- Outfield: 11 (22%)
- Righthanded Pitchers: 21 (42%)
- Lefthanded Pitchers: 9 (18%)
The specific strength of this year’s college class is with catchers, with consensus No. 1 prospect Adley Rutschman holding down the top spot and Baylor backstop Shea Langeliers checking in at No. 3. You would have to go back to the 2011 draft to get as much college catching talent at the top of the class, when Bryce Harper ranked No. 1 as a catcher out of JC of Southern Nevada and Yasmani Grandal clocked in at No. 13 out of Miami.
In between Rutschman and Langeliers is the 2018 Golden Spikes award winner, California first baseman Andrew Vaughn. Vaughn might be the best all-around hitter in the class and has a chance to be drafted among the first five picks in the draft.
Aside from Brendan McKay, who garnered significant interest because of his two-way abilities as both a hitter and pitcher, no first baseman has managed to be drafted in the top five since Pat Burrell (No. 1, Phillies) in 1998. If Burrell’s status as the University of Miami’s third baseman eliminates him, then you would have to go back to San Diego State first baseman Travis Lee (No. 2, Twins) in 1996 to find a college first baseman selected in the top five.
Full scouting reports on each of the top 50 college prospects for the 2019 draft can be found below, as well as related video for numerous players.