Image credit: Hunter Bishop (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: OF Hunter Bishop (1) was a 24th-round pick of the Padres in 2016, but instead decided to attend Arizona State, where he was hoping to ease scouts’ concerns regarding his hit tool. Bishop, the younger brother of Mariners outfielder Braden Bishop, did just that, hitting .342/.479/.748 with 22 home runs as a junior in 2019. The lefthanded-hitting outfielder has worked to quiet his swing mechanics, which helped him significantly cut down his strikeout rate while still allowing him to tap into his plus raw power leading up to the draft.
Best Power: 1B Connor Cannon (17) set school records for most home runs in a single season (18) and career home runs (36) while at UC Riverside, and he continued showing off his power with 13 home runs in his first 35 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League this summer. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound first baseman generates impressive, natural loft with his swing, and he routinely hits towering home runs that leave scouts in awe of his power.
Fastest Runner: OF Grant McCray (3) ran track and played football in addition to baseball for Lakewood Ranch High in Bradenton, Fla., and he’s described as a toolsy center fielder with plus speed. After signing with the Giants for $697,500 as the 87th overall pick, McCray went on to steal 17 bases in 48 games in the Arizona League. He was also thrown out 13 times, however, proving that the 18-year-old still needs to add some refinement to his running game.
Best Defensive Player: SS Simon Whiteman (9) is a 5-foot-10, 165-pound infielder capable of playing all over the diamond. Often referred to as a scrappy player, the Yale product split his time between shortstop and second base during his pro debut, and the Giants believe he has both the range and arm strength necessary to stick at shortstop long term.
Best Athlete: A talented high school football player, Bishop is a potential five-tool player on the diamond. Despite his 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame, the Giants believe Bishop has the requisite athleticism and speed to stick in center field, but he also has the arm strength and power potential to profile well in right field. The 10th overall pick hit five home runs and stole eight bases in 10 attempts during his 32-game pro debut.
Best Fastball: RHP Caleb Kilian (8) and RHP Cole Waites (18) both feature low- to mid-90s fastballs that are capable of touching 97 mph. A Texas Tech product who started 16 games as a junior, Kilian is more polished than Waites, who appeared in 42 games for West Alabama over the past three seasons. Both righthanders possess plus fastball velocity, although Kilian currently works with more fastball control than Waites.
Best Secondary Pitch: A 6-foot-2, 180-pound righthander out of George County High in Mississippi, RHP Trevor McDonald (11) has a low-90s fastball that touched 95 mph as an amateur and has the makings of a future plus curveball. McDonald signed with the Giants for $797,500—tied for the third-highest signing bonus the organization handed out in 2019—and many evaluators believe his curveball, which features solid depth and impressive top-to-bottom break, has the makings of a future swing-and-miss pitch.
Best Pro Debut: After signing with the Giants for $397,500 on June 30, Kilian made six appearances (five starts) in the Arizona League, where he didn’t allow an earned run in 12 innings. Kilian was then promoted to the short-season Northwest League for one additional start, striking out six batters and allowing only one hit in four innings. In all, the Texas Tech product struck out 17 batters, walked only two and surrendered just seven hits in his first 16 professional innings. Opponents hit just .135 off Kilian, who attacks hitters with a low- to mid-90s fastball, an above-average curveball and effective, third-pitch changeup.
Most Intriguing Background: 2B Carter Aldrete (15) is the son of Rich Aldrete, a first baseman/corner outfielder who played six seasons in the minors for the Giants and Cardinals organizations from 1987-92, reaching as high as Triple-A. Carter is also the nephew of former big leaguer Mike Aldrete, who played 10 seasons in the major leagues for the Giants, Montreal Expos, Padres, Indians, Athletics, California Angels and Yankees from 1986-96. A three-year starter at Arizona State, Carter played all four infield positions after making his pro debut on June 17, posting a .749 OPS with stops in both the Arizona and Northwest leagues.
Closest To The Majors: A first-round pick who signed with the Giants for $4,097,500 on June 29, Bishop has the established college track record of a hitter who could move through the minors at an accelerated pace. The timing of Bishop’s rise will likely depend on his bat and an ability to limit his strikeouts, as he has all of the remaining tools necessary to move quickly.
Best Late-Round Pick: Ranked No. 151 on the BA 500 prior to the draft, McDonald was the only pitcher who received a signing bonus of more than $400,000 from the Giants this past summer. Regardless of his draft spot, the Giants believe McDonald has the chance to be one of the true gems of their 2019 draft class.
The One Who Got Away: SS Brooks Lee (35) was a borderline first-round talent who ranked No. 38 on the BA 500. One of the top amateur players coming out of Southern California in 2019, Lee was considered a tough sign and dropped in the draft in large part because his father, Larry, is the head coach at Cal Poly, where Lee now attends college. Lee has a short, line-drive swing and shows terrific feel to hit at the plate. He should stick up the middle defensively, even if he eventually needs to move to second base as a below-average runner.