Image credit: Trejyn Fletcher (Photo by Tony Farlow)
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 field is limited after the Cardinals drafted pitchers with eight of their first 11 picks, but C Pedro Pages (6) showed excellent plate discipline, a well-rounded approach and growing power both at Florida Atlantic and in his pro debut. His present doubles power has a chance to tick up as he gets more comfortable swinging a wood bat.
Best Power: OF Patrick Romeri (12) finished tied for third in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in home runs and ranked 11th in slugging percentage as an 18-year-old. His impressive bat speed, natural strength and projectable 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame create optimism for potential above-average or better power.
Fastest Runner: OF Trejyn Fletcher (2) is a consistently plus runner who has flashed 80-grade run times at his best. He is an explosive runner who reaches top speed quickly out of the righthanded batter’s box and in the outfield.
Best Defensive Player: Fletcher’s speed and explosiveness give him tremendous range and closing speed in center field. He needs to refine his reads and instincts, but he has the potential to develop into a plus defensive center fielder with more experience.
Best Athlete: Fletcher was seen doing backflips at the 2018 Area Code Games and was considered one of the top athletes in the draft with his speed and quick-twitch movements.
Best Fastball: RHP Tony Locey (3) sat 93-96 mph and touched 98 mph both in college and after signing. His fastball plays particularly well up in the zone and is a consensus plus pitch.
Best Secondary Pitch: LHP Zack Thompson (1) struggled to find consistency with his curveball in college at Kentucky, but he corralled it after signing and began breaking it off as a plus pitch. He can both land his 74-77 mph curveball in the strike zone and bury it to put hitters away.
Best Pro Debut: Thompson jumped to the high Class A Florida State League and delivered a 3.77 ERA with 21 strikeouts and four walks in 14.1 innings. His quick jump and immediate success in the FSL put him in position to move aggressively next year.
Most Intriguing Background: Fletcher was originally supposed to be a member of the 2020 draft class, but he re-classified late and only became eligible for 2019 three months before the draft. He was Maine’s highest-drafted high school player since Mark Rogers went fifth overall in 2004.
Closest To The Majors: Thompson’s polished four-pitch mix from the left side, combined with his confident, aggressive demeanor, has him poised to move through the system quickly.
Best Late-Round Pick: 2B Chandler Redmond (32) finished tied for third in the Rookie-level Appalachian League in home runs and was near the top of the Cardinals’ scale in exit velocity. The $3,000 senior sign from Gardner-Webb has a strong, 6-foot-2, 230-pound frame and a track record of lefthanded power production.
The One Who Got Away: RHP Alex McFarlane (25) possesses an intriguing frame, a quick arm and a feel for spin, but he stuck with his commitment to Miami. The Cardinals also took a late flyer on OF Chris Newell (37), who maintained his strong commitment to Virginia. His hitter traits and above-average raw power give him a chance to develop into a middle-of-the-order hitter in college.