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2019 MLB Draft Chat (3/7/19)

With the college season underway and most of the high school circuit also beginning play, we're fully in draft mode at Baseball America. So Carlos Collazo is stopping by at 12 p.m. ET to chat the prospects you need to know as draft season kicks up.

Also, if you've missed any draft coverage...

Carlos Collazo: Hey guys, sorry I'm a few minutes late, just got off the phone with a scout talking about some players, but I'm pumped to be here with you guys talking draft! You can still get your questions in if you haven't done so yet. Not sure how long I'll be around this afternoon, but we should be able to get through a good number of them! Let's do it.

Aaron (Atlanta): 

    Which HS players are starting to jump in rankings? Any significant jumps like Gore did 2 years ago or someone like Nick Schnell last year?

Carlos Collazo: Yes, there are a few guys who are moving up. I don't think there's anyone who has Gore's type of helium at this point, but there's a pop-up guy who came out of nowhere in California named Keoni Cavaco who has some early Day 2 buzz and could go Day 1 if he performs with higher-ups watching this spring. 3B with arm strength and some real power in the bat. Florida pitchers Matthew Allan and Hunter Barco have both been good and I've also started hearing some buzz on NorCal SS Kyren Paris, who is going to look really good on many teams' models because he's one of the younger players in the class. So, no Gore type juice, but those are a few guys who are doing well for themselves.

Bored Lawyer, Esq. (Office): 

    How does Nick Lodolo compare to Daniel Lynch from last year? Lynch prior to his post-draft velo uptick, anyway.

Carlos Collazo: He's better. Lodolo entered the year with more pedigree and has better stuff across the board than Lynch before he popped. He's been one of the few top college arms who has done well this season. The stuff has looked good, he's missing bats, he's walking fewer batters and he's not getting hit as much. It's early, but he's a solid pick to be the first college arm off the board at this point as a college lefty who still has projection with his body type.

Tim Devers (Sacramento, California): 

    When will the next updated BA draft rankings come out? & what are some names of players unranked that could jump into the top 200?

Carlos Collazo: We're going to update our rankings and expand to 300 players at the end of the month. Currently doing a lot of calls for that and we'll be getting feedback on lists over the next few days and weeks. Tulane 3B Kody Hoese is a guy who's not ranking right now but is likely to be on that list and probably top 200. Cavaco who I mentioned above will be higher than that and isn't currently ranked. Noah Song (Navy) and Drey Jameson (Ball State) are a couple college arms who have done well. The former we've liked for a while here at BA and he's back to his usual stuff this year, while Jameson has been racking up strikeouts. Those are a few names, but there are a ton of new guys you'll get just because we're adding 100.

Jeff Jones (Alabama): 

    How high do you see Gunnar Henderson from Morgan Academy Selma Ala being drafted? Also what do you like about him?

Carlos Collazo: Gunnar Henderson has been good so far this spring. We have him ranked 49 at the moment, but it sounds like he needs to move up a tick in our update. He's hit well, he's grown a bit and there are some people who think he might be able to stick at shortstop. Potential to be an average bat with plus power and he's got arm strength. If you think he's a shortstop with those tools he's going to go quick. If you think he's a third baseman it's still very interesting.

Andrew Vaughn (Golden Bear California): 

    With my insanely hot start (7 HR's 1800 OPS)am I in the mix to go #1 overall despite the fact I am a righthanded first baseman? Do you project me to Mash in the Major Leagues at some point in my career?

Alan (Rancho Cucamonga): 

    We all know that Andrew Vaughn has no problem with the stick, but how is he defensively? Will he be an asset at 1B? Just acceptable? I also noticed in BA's Vaughn piece he notes he's open to playing 3B or OF. Is that truly feasible from an evaluator's standpoint?

Kevin (New York): 

    Can you compare Andrew Vaughn to the last few years top college hitters? ex: Kris Bryant, Alex Bregman, Nick Senzel, etc.

Carlos Collazo: A lot of Andrew Vaughn questions for good reason, so I'll tackle them all here. A month ago I would have told you that the only player in consideration to go 1-1 was Adley Rutschman, but based on the conversations I've had lately with guys who've seen Vaughn, there's a legitimate shot he could go there as well. I'd still consider Adley the favorite to get picked first because he has a great track record of hitting AND plays a position of value, but if Baltimore wants the best hitter and doesn't care about position? Sure, go for Vaughn. I don't think it would be crazy, though it would be one of the more unusual first overall picks recently simply because of the profile. I don't think he is going to play third base at the next level. He's a first baseman for me, and while he's not going to be an Evan White defender there I think he could be just fine. Just going off the numbers, Vaughn has been a better hitter than Bregman and Senzel in college and he's comparable to Bryant but with fewer strikeouts. I actually had an evaluator recently say he's on a Bryant-like tear, so that's a great call to bring him up.

Cwill (Chicago): 

    Who do you think the Whitesox will draft

Carlos Collazo: It's early, but one of Adley Rutschman/Andrew Vaughn/Bobby Witt/C.J. Abrams.

Walt (UCSD): 

    Can you foresee Andrew Vaughn slipping to the Padres at 6th, given that the industry is low on 1B only prospects.

Carlos Collazo: No. I would be shocked if he got passed the White Sox at three. I think his bat is special enough that people aren't going to care much that he's a first baseman.

Neptune (California): 

    Last year The Royals got a guy who was largely considered a top 5 talent. This year the D-Backs are in a very similar situation with all (16th pick, large pool money), do you think they could drag a top 5 talent down to themselves? Also where would Singer rank in this class?

Carlos Collazo: Yep, I think you saw that with both the Royals and the Rays last year. We had Liberatore ranked No. 2 overall and we had Singer ranked No. 4. They went 16 and 18. It's tougher to get players to slide than it used to be but we just saw last year that it's possible for teams with a ton of pool money and the D-Backs fit that, as you mention. So sure, it's possible they could get someone down to 16. Singer would probably rank somewhere in the top 10 of this class be the top pitcher on the board.

Aaron (Atlanta): 

    Would the Braves be crazy to pass on college bats like Stott or Misner for an advanced HS bat like Greene (assuming all 3 are there at 9)?

Carlos Collazo: No, if their evaluators think Greene is the best player on the board and all three of those guys are available then you take the guy you like the best. I think all of those names are guys who will be in consideration for Atlanta though, and that they will go for a bat over an arm for the first time in a while with their first pick.

J.P. (Springfield, IL): 

    Thanks for chatting, Carlos. Which potential 5-tool outfielders from this class should we be keeping our eyes on?

Carlos Collazo: There aren't a ton of tooled-up center fielders in this class, but Kameron Misner (Missouri) and Hunter Bishop (Arizona State) are the two guys who have really impressed out of the gates. Sounds like Bishop has really figured something out this year. He's going to be much higher on our updated ranking.

Old Timer (Raleigh NC): 

    The A's pick late in the first round this year. Do you see them going for a safer, lower ceiling college player or a high ceiling high schooler? Thanks.

Carlos Collazo: The A's have gone for high-upside guys lately with their first picks, but that doesn't necessarily mean high school vs. college. Kyler Murray was a high ceiling college player, but he wasn't safe just because he was drafted out of college. Obviously that didn't work out for them, but I think they are a team who's not afraid to take a risk with their first pick and I don't have any reason to think that will change just because of the Murray situation. It just depends who's available for them when they pick. Hard to tell at this point for a team picking that late.

Shawn (Kansas): 

    Bobby Witt Jr is on the older side for a high school senior, as he will turn 19 shortly after the draft. Does this potentially drop his stock a bit?

John (New Jersey): 

    How has Bobby Witt's hit took looked so far this spring? Still the favorite for the Royals at 2?

Matt (Chicago): 

    Bobby Witt Jr. Obviously a great talent. There has been some negative reports on him lately. Is this more "he is not progressing and producing" or "you are on top for so long that eventually scouts nitpick and come up with false negatives."

Carlos Collazo: A number of Bobby Witt comments, as always, so let's get to them here. I'll have a lot more specific information on him next week after a few calls, but I have not heard negative reports on him to this point this spring. He just got started up recently and it sounds like the same Bobby Witt. His age is a factor, but it's only one data point that teams are looking at. If there was a player with the same toolset and track record who was younger, sure, go with the younger player, but his toolset is special and no one else in this class has it. I don't think it will hurt him much at all. In my brief time doing this, I think there is definitely some "prospect fatigue" that happens with the top-end guys who scouts have seen over and over and over again. Maybe you start really get critical because you are expecting him to be the best player in the country every time you see him. That happened with Brice Turang last year. I don't think it's happened to that extent with Witt because he's hit with impact during high-level games throughout the summer and fall and his tools always stand out, whether that's offensively, defensively, or on the bases. Personally, I still think he has the highest upside in the class.

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Trey (Miami, FL): 

    Hey Carlos, thanks for doing the chat. Regarding CJ Abrams, is Royce Lewis in 2017 a good comp? I know he has top end speed, but is there a good comp for his profile so far?

Carlos Collazo: Not a bad comp at all. I had a scout bring that one up with him recently actually. They are both at least 70-grade runners though Abrams might be a tick quicker. The one thing Lewis showed more in high school was power, although it sounds like Abrams has been impacting the ball more this spring. The fact that both are great athletes who can run well and have SS/CF defensive questions makes it perfectly respectable to me, though I do think they are different hitters.

Tiffythetitan (Oakland, CA): 

    Hi, it's early but what would be the best case scenario for the SF Giants at #10? Do you think we'll see a different type of pick under the new regime?

Carlos Collazo: The best case scenario is for everyone in front of them to lose their minds and not pick Adley Rutschman. It will be interesting to see if there are any noticeable changes in how the team drafts, though John Barr is still around and I'm sure his voice will be valued. It's a cop out answer, but this one is more wait and see.

DR (MD): 

    Thomas Dillard has been having a scorching start to the season and has been playing an at least competent OF. If he keeps raking could he be a 2nd/3rd round pick to a team that values college performance?

Carlos Collazo: Yeah, he's been mashing. It's possible of course, but I think the industry will still see him a bit lower than that because his defensive profile is so bad. If he could catch this would be an entirely different conversation. Corner outfield type and might have to go to first.

Matt (Michigan): 

    What have been the reports on Carter Stewart and Zach Thompson so far? Do you still expect them to be some of the first arms off the board or have there been any other arms you would expect to be drafted in the Top 10?

Carlos Collazo: Stewart hasn't been as good since his first start and the injury questions might drop him down boards. They still could be some of the first taken though. There's no real obvious top 10 arm at the moment unless you're buying Lodolo or one of the prep pitchers in Daniel Espino/Brennan Malone/Hunter Barco/Matthew Allan and I still don't know if I would go there just yet. That's the big question with this year's draft class.

Gary Thomas (Long Beach, California): 

    Who are the top 5 Junior College position player prospects for the draft?

Dan (Raleigh): 

    Rank the draft eligible starting pitchers from the Carolinas in the order where you think they will get picked, just top 5-10

Carlos Collazo: You guys can see where everyone ranks of any demographic or subset by going to this link. For specific ranking questions that's probably where I'm going to direct people. Just command/control f and type in "JC" to find those juco guys. Sorry if that's difficult but we do spend a lot of time trying to get these lists correct for subscribers so I'll just direct you there. Update and 300 coming later this month.

Gerald (Here.): 

    Hello friends. Wondering if there is any major helium yet for college pitchers. There seems to be a huge lack of it in this year's draft class. Are there any potential college pitchers that could work there way into a top 5 pick?

LeBron (Los Angeles): 

    If George Kirby continues to show plus stuff, can he be the top 10 pick this June?

Carlos Collazo: I really liked Kirby and like the overall package of stuff and the pitchability that I saw with him after checking him out Week 1. I think he has the best combination of stuff, command, delivery and track record of the college arms and while it might not be as loud as some of the first college arms off the board in previous classes, it might be enough to make it happen this year if he throws well throughout. Top 5 and Top 10 seem rich though.

Evan T. (Chicago): 

    Carlos, a lot of obvious talk lately about some of the top HS arms down south ie Malone, Espino, Barco, and Allan because they've had multiple starts. However we've been hearing up north that RHP Quinn Priester from Chicago has a chance to be a top 30 pick as well when his season starts. You hearing the same?

Carlos Collazo: Top 30 is a bit steep at this point based on what I'm hearing but definitely a day one consideration kind of guy.

Brad Durham (North Carolina): 

    During the fall and early spring their have been lots of different upper level scouts (Area, Cross-checker and even Scouting Directors) at the ECU games. What is your take on a few of them Jake Agnos, Bryant Packard and Spencer Brickhouse? Day 1 or Day 2 for them?

Carlos Collazo: I'll have a better answer for you after this weekend when I get a look at those guys, but Packard has the best shot at being a Day 1 of the group. Lots of guys to see with the Pirates this year.

Nick's song (North Carolina): 

    I knew it's early, but my man Gianluca Dalatri had pro pitcher body and excellcent stats. Could he be the day 1 pick this year?

Carlos Collazo: I'd be stunned if Dalatri is a day one pick. The stuff is just not that big.

Carlos Collazo: Alright guys, that's going to have to do it. Sorry if I couldn't get to your question, but we're going to start having these chats weekly, so hopefully I'll be able to get to you next time! As always, I'm extremely grateful for all of you being here and showing enthusiasm for the draft and BA. You're much appreciated! Feel free to ask me questions on Twitter @CarlosACollazo if you want.

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