2019 MLB Mock Draft V 0.1: Bobby Witt Jr. Projected First Overall
The 2018 draft saw five college players selected with the first five picks, but a year from now there could easily be an up the middle prep player gone within the first five picks, like most draft classes this decade.
We’re still digesting the 2018 class, so it’s much too early to project the 2019 group—but here at Baseball America we love looking ahead. At this point in time, the top of next year’s class looks to be much heavier on position players at both the high school and college levels.
The favorite to go No. 1, at least here in Durham, N.C., is Heritage High (Colleyville, Texas) shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., who is committed to Oklahoma. Witt will draw comparisons to Southern California shortstop Brice Turang—simply for the fact that they are/were seen as top-of-the-class prospects early in the draft cycle—but they are very different players.
Where Turang is a polished, lefthanded hitting shortstop with a slight frame but one of the best pure hit tools in the 2018 class, Witt is a righthanded hitting shortstop who grades out with better tools across the board outside of pure hitting ability. He’s an elite runner who posts 80-grade home-to-first times, projects to have plus raw power, has plus arm strength and all of the glove skill needed to stick at shortstop at the next level. How much he hits over the course of the summer and spring will determine how high he goes, but he’s tooled up at a premium defensive position.
- Orioles (18-41) - Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Heritage HS, Colleyville, Texas.
Witt’s father of the same name was a righthanded pitcher in the majors for 16 years, so he’s grown up around the game which gives him another edge—as if his physical tools weren’t enough of a head start.
- White Sox (19-39) - Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Rutschman came to Oregon State as a kicker/catcher and played both sports as freshman, specializing in kickoffs on the gridiron and standing out for his defense on the diamond. He gave up football this year, however, and broke out at the plate to earn All-American honors. Listed at 6-foot-2, 216 pounds, Rutschman is a big, physical, switch-hitting catcher who provides plus defense and arm strength, an enticing package.
- Reds (21-40) - Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles School, Jacksonville
Prep lefties are always a coveted demographic and Barco could be an elite talent out of The Bolles School—the same school of Hall of Famer Chipper Jones. The Virginia commit was one of the most impressive pitchers at the World Wood Bat Association World Championship last fall in Jupiter as an underclassman. He has a fastball in the low 90s, a sharp, late-breaking slider with bite and feel for a low 80s split-changeup as well.
- Royals (21-40) - Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
Langeliers in 2017 was a first-team Freshman All-American and followed that up with a strong summer in the Cape Cod League, where he stood out as the best catcher despite his youth. The righthanded hitter has above-average power and arm strength and has improved behind the plate in the last year.
- Marlins (21-39) - Braden Shewmake, SS, Texas A&M
Shewmake has been one of Texas A&M’s top hitters the last two years and will this summer play for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team for the second year in a row. Listed at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, Shewmake is long and lean and has above-average hittability. He’s still a work in progress at shortstop, but his hit tool, above-average speed and ability to play in the infield will make him highly sought after.
- Rangers (26-37) - Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla.
An all-around outfielder committed to Florida, Greene has a smooth swing from the left side with hittability and power. He’s a plus runner in the outfield and can easily handle covering ground in center field.
- Blue Jays (26-34) - Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
Jung immediately stepped into Texas Tech’s lineup as a freshman and has done nothing but hit for the last two years. Listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, the righthanded hitter provides an impressive all-around skill set with the ability to hit for both average and power while also providing solid defense at the hot corner.
- Padres (28-35) - Rece Hinds, 3B, Niceville (Fla.) HS.
Hinds will join Witt as a two-time member of the Under Armour All-America Game later this summer. He possesses some of the most raw power of any prep player in the 2019 class and also has easy plus arm strength that will fit nicely at the hot corner. Hinds is committed to Louisiana State.
- Twins (26-31) - C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity HS, Roswell, Ga.
A twitchy, lefthanded hitting shortstop, Abrams follows up a strong 2018 Georgia class as the top prospect in the state. He’s got a simple swing and is a plus runner with intriguing defensive potential.
- Mets (27-31) - Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson
Seth Beer got all the attention at Clemson the last few couple years, but Davidson is the Tigers’ best prospect. A switch-hitter, Davidson has above-average power and a good chance to stay at shortstop.