Top Missouri 2019 MLB Draft Prospects
State List Talent Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
(Stars are listed on a 1 to 5 scale relative to what the state typically produces, with 1 being the weakest)
Misner entered the year as one of the most exciting college hitters in the 2019 class thanks to an exciting set of tools that rival any college player in the class. However, a left foot injury limited him to just 34 games in the spring of 2018, and as a result Misner entered this spring with a limited track record compared to other top college hitters. Drafted in 2016 by the Royals in the 33rd round, Misner made it to campus at Missouri, where he had a solid freshman season. He broke out in a big way as a sophomore, hitting .360/.497/.576 with significantly improved walk rates when healthy. After rehabbing, Misner started to turn heads again in the fall by showing improved power and strength. He took it a step further and started to look like a top-10 pick after the first few weeks on the spring, when he showed great feel to hit and power. Once conference play began, however, Misner showed much more swing-and-miss, which started to raise questions about the true quality of his hit tool. Through his first 45 games this season, Misner posted a .289/.460/.522 slash line with five home runs, 49 walks and 47 strikeouts. But during the 20 SEC games in that same stretch, he hit just .211/.356/.324 with two home runs, 16 walks and 30 strikeouts—raising significant questions about Misner’s ability to handle high-level pitching. That could push him further down the board, but at some point his raw set of tools will be too exciting for teams to pass up. There’s not a single tool Misner doesn’t posses, as he’s an above-average runner at 6-foot-4, 213 pounds and plays a solid center field with good instincts and an explosive first step. He also has above-average arm strength that should serve him well in right field, where his size likely allows him to fit best, and he has the plus-plus raw power necessary to profile in a corner outfield position. Scouts think Misner has an outstanding feel for the strike zone, but a passive approach has hurt him at times this spring, putting him in poor spots to hit with authority. Grading Misner’s hit tool will be the biggest challenge for teams. He’s experimented with different loads and timing mechanisms this spring, but he has never been able to consistently put himself in a good, attacking position. There is risk with Misner because of his limited track record, but his tools give him tremendous upside as well.
In a year in which it’s hard to find pitchers scouts like, Sikkema is one pitcher scouts truly love. They love his feisty mound presence, his feel for pitching and his craftiness. And they also love his long, illustrious track record. The son of a baseball coach, Sikkema was Missouri’s moment-of-truth reliever as a freshman, when he tied Tanner Houck’s school freshman record with eight wins. Midway through his sophomore season, Sikkema moved from being the Tigers’ closer to taking over as the Friday night starter and excelled immediately. As a junior, he’s been consistently dominant as the club’s Saturday starter, going 6-3, 1.22 with an .180 opponent average as of early May. Sikkema is a thick-bodied pitcher without much, or any, projection left. He uses both an over-the-top arm slot as well as a three-quarter slot, switching back and forth to mess with hitters. He can reach up to 93-95 mph with his fastball when he raises his arm slot in short stints, but he generally sits 89-92 mph as a starter with plenty of arm-side run from the lower slot. He mixes four pitches, none of which is a plus offering, but all four are average or better. He throws an above-average slurve from his lower arm slot that has some power and depth and a more traditional, average curveball from over the top. He willingly mixes in an average changeup as well. All of his offerings play up because Sikkema fills the zone with strikes to both sides of the plate. If a team wants to move Sikkema back to the bullpen, he could move quickly. But he has likely worked his way high enough in the draft to get sent out as a starter, where a team would count on his feel and bulldog mentality to make up for any deficiencies in his pure stuff.
In a good year for college catchers, Millas is one of the best defenders in the class. Millas is athletic with quiet, soft hands that should help him frame pitches well. Scouts are confident that he’s a plus defender. He has an accurate arm with average arm strength, although he did throw out only 19 percent of basestealers in 2019. Millas has never hit as well as scouts have expected him to hit. He hit .267/.369/.403 as a junior, but has solid bat speed, loose hands and an especially fluid swing when he’s hitting lefthanded. His lefthanded swing has more loft and power potential, while his righthanded swing is a bit more compact. He stays balanced in the batter’s box, and while he can work counts, he swings and misses a lot and his power potential isn’t as impressive as his hitting ability. Millas’ defense will get him drafted. His ability to figure out his puzzling offensive struggles will determine how far he goes in pro ball.
A high school righthander with easy actions and projection is what you get with Rustad. He has a thin, 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame with a quick arm and easy three-quarter delivery with minimal effort. The San Diego commit has been up to 96 mph with his fastball and even touched 97 mph at an early start in Arizona. There’s a high spin rate on his fastball, though his velocity tends to fall off toward the middle and end of his outings, dipping into the 88-91 mph range. Rustad has shown feel for spinning a breaking ball at times, and this spring he separated the pitch into two distinct offerings: a slider and a curveball. However, scouts have graded both pitches as below-average this spring, with a solid changeup currently his best secondary. Rustad has plenty of starter traits and elements to like as a projection arm, with athleticism and good feel to locate his fastball, but he’ll need to add strength, hold his velocity deeper into games and make strides with his breaking pitches to fully realize his upside.
In 2018, as a freshman at Jefferson County (Mo.) JC, Rackers impressed evaluators with his stuff and strike-throwing ability. A year later, he’s just finished up a sophomore season that wasn’t as impressive. Rackers’ numbers this year (8-3, 3.97, 61 hits in 65.2 innings, 22 walks and 82 strikeouts) were good, but not great. His size (6-foot-7), projectability and durability could entice a club to buy him out of his commitment to Tennessee. Rackers’ velocity slowly warmed up with the weather as he went from 89-92 mph early this year to 91-95 mph by the end of the season. His above-average fastball shows some life, and he generates plenty of ground balls. But his slider has not really progressed and remains a below-average pitch, much as it’s been for the past two years. There are some concerns whether Rackers really has the feel to spin a breaking ball. His fringe-average changeup does flash average and is more promising than his slider.
Byrne is a physical catcher who is committed to Texas Christian. His swing is a bit unorthodox but he has some pull-side power. Evaluators have concerns about his body moving forward. While he's thrown well in the past, Byrne's arm hasnt' looked as great this spring and he'll need to clean up his actions behind the plate.
Cantleberry has started nine games so far and has benefitted from his improving control. His walks per nine has continued to drop since transferring from San Jacinto Junior College. The lefthander works from an overhand delivery and aggressively attacks hitters inside. His fastball tops out at 91 mph and he throws an average curveball in the upper 70s. He also has shown feel for an improving changeup. Even with a solid three-pitch mix, scouts wonder if the effort in his delivery and his 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame make him more suitable for the bullpen.
Auer is a strong-armed 6-foot righthander whose fastball has topped at 96 mph He doesn’t have much of a breaking ball, but is very athletic and has some twitch to his movements. Auer can also play the outfield, where scouts think he may be best suited in college. He is committed to Missouri State.
A physical catcher listed at 6-foot-2, 215-pounds, Obertop has plus arm strength and some feel for receiving behind the dish, as well as raw power that comes from a strength-over-bat-speed righthanded swing. Some scouts really like Obertop’s feel for the defensive side of the game and think he’ll be an above-average defender in the future with refined mechanics in his footwork and transfer on throws, while others think he’s too clunky and slow now and are skeptical about his improvement in the future. Obertop is committed to Michigan, where he will be a draft-eligible sophomore.
Boyd is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound righthander who has struck out over a better per inning through his first 52 innings in college. He has struggled a bit with his control, walking nearly one batter every two innings. Boyd has a loose, lean body with some slight delivery issues. He runs his fastball up to 94 mph and shows an average breaking pitch as well as feel for a changeup. Boyd is a good athlete with arm speed and is committed to Western Kentucky.
11. Chris Cornelius, SS, Missouri
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 186 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
12. Connor Lehman, RHP, St. Louis
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-7 • Wt: 210 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
13. Art Joven, LHP, Missouri
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 170 • B-T: R-L • Commitment/Drafted: Red Sox '18 (38)
14. Chase Krogman, OF, Liberty (Mo.) HS
Source: HS • Ht: 5-11 • Wt: 180 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Missouri State
15. Ryan Hernandez, C, Saint Louis
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted