Image credit: Logan Davidson (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
Every year at the conclusion of the regular season, Baseball America revisits each teams’ most recent draft class. Each class has its no-doubt, high-profile names to keep an eye on, but our annual draft report cards highlight the best tools, best debuts, late-round steals and more. Here are the names you need to know from every organization’s 2019 draft.
Best Pure Hitter: The quality of SS Logan Davidson’s (1) hit tool was always the biggest question heading into the draft, as he showed some swing-and-miss issues and never hit above .300 at Clemson, but he has the power and speed to become a solid offensive player even if he’s never a plus hitter. OF Marcus Smith (3) has a chance to be an above-average hitter.
Best Power Hitter: The Athletics drafted C Kyle McCann (4) because of his powerful bat. He’s got easy 60-grade raw power from the left side and some scouts have put a 70 on it. He’ll need to make more contact in the future to regularly tap into his power at the pro level. He hit nine home runs in the Arizona and New York-Penn leagues in a 60-game pro debut.
Fastest Runner: At his best, Smith is 70-grade runner who uses that speed in the outfield, where he’s a plus defender. His wheels haven’t yet translated to base stealing prowess, as he went just 1-for-2 in stolen base attempts through 29 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
Best Defensive Player: Smith would be a candidate for best defensive player as well thanks to his athleticism in the outfield, but Davidson has athleticism, above-average speed and a plus arm at shortstop. He’s got a big frame—6-foot-3, 185 pounds—but that’s becoming more typical of the position at the big league level.
Best Athlete: Smith and Davidson both have cases for this category, though Smith might edge out the first-round pick for his standout athleticism, which should translate to a number of impressive plays in the outfield.
Best Fastball: RHP Tyler Baum (2) has a plus fastball that typically sits in the 91-94 mph range throughout starts, but he can ratchet the pitch into the upper 90s at any point if he needs the extra velocity.
Best Secondary Pitch: Baum also has an impressive curveball, a sharp offering in the 79-81 mph range that has tight, 11-to-5 shape and could become a plus offering with more consistency.
Best Pro Debut: Smith hit .361/.466/.443 with 20 walks, 29 strikeouts and six doubles in the Arizona League as an 18-year-old. 1B/3B Dustin Harris (11) played in the Arizona and New York Penn leagues and excelled in both. The St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC product hit .325/.403/.407 across both leagues with 25 walks and 39 strikeouts.
Most Intriguing Background: Davidson’s father, Mark Davidson, played in the majors for six years with the Twins and the Astros.
Closest To The Majors: Baum will need to improve his consistency from outing to outing, but he has the stuff and enough strike-throwing ability to be a quick-mover. While he has a chance to start, the A’s could speed up his timeline if they wanted to push him as a reliever, and he has the pure stuff for that role as well.
Best Late-Round Pick: Oakland has done a solid job developing position players and it’ll be interesting to see what they do with Harris, who is a strong corner infielder with impressive feel to hit. His bat is his carrying tool, but he’ll need to put in the work to give himself a chance to play third base full time. Most of his innings came as a first baseman in his debut season.