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Top West Virginia 2019 MLB Draft Prospects

Alek_Manoah_WestVirginia_JohnWilliamson.jpg
Alek Manoah (Photo by John Williamson)

To see our BA 500 draft rankings, click here. To see other states, click here.

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)

1. Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia (BA RANK: 13)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-6 • Wt: 260 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted

Manoah split time between starting and relieving during his first two seasons with West Virginia, but after a stellar campaign as a starter in the Cape Cod League last summer—when he posted a 2.70 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 33.1 innings—Manoah has made a successful transition to a full-time starting role this spring. Through his first 12 starts this season, Manoah has been one of the more dominant arms in the country, posting a 2.07 ERA with 108 strikeouts over his first 82.2 innings (11.76 strikeouts per nine innings) and the lowest walk rate (2.29 per nine) of his career. Manoah mostly works off of two pitches—a power fastball that sits in the mid- to upper 90s and a hard slider that projects as a second plus pitch. While Monoah has shown a changeup at times, he’s mostly been a two-pitch starter this season. He also entered the season with significant reliever risk because of his erratic control, large, 6-foot-6, 260-pound frame and questionable athleticism. However, he has started pitching exclusively out of the stretch and, as a result, has improved his strike-throwing ability enough to give him a real shot of sticking as a starter in pro ball. But while his walk rate is down significantly this season, Manoah still needs to refine his command—as evidenced by 17 hit batters over his first 12 starts—and teams will likely be concerned with how well he is able to manage his body moving forward. This list of major league starting pitchers who have had success at or near Manoah’s size is a short one, with CC Sabathia, Aaron Harang, Justin Masterson and Michael Pineda some of the names who qualify. Still, Manoah’s stuff compares nicely with most of the pitchers in the 2019 class, and he’s steadily improved his draft stock with each start. Manoah should be one of the first college pitchers drafted this June.

2. Brenton Doyle, OF, Shepherd (W.Va.) (BA RANK: 199)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 200 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted

For a Division II player to get noticed, he needs to put up excellent statistics and ideally display plenty of tools as well. Doyle checks both boxes, which is why he’ll likely get drafted at some point midway through Day 2 of the draft. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Doyle was hitting .392/.502/.758 with 13 home runs and 19 steals in 25 attempts as of mid-May. That batting average is actually a dip from his .415 average as a sophomore. He also showed ability to hit with a wood bat by hitting .313 in the Coastal Plain League last summer. Doyle is a plus runner and could end up as an above-average defender in right field with an above-average arm. Doyle will likely have some catching up to do in pro ball, and there are some concerns about whether his hit tool will translate in pro ball, but Doyle has shown plus raw power and has a track record of hitting. A team willing to take a chance could land him as a toolsy fifth- or sixth-round pick.

3. Darius Hill, OF, West Virginia
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 200 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted

A productive senior sign, Hill hit .304/.365/.511 with six home runs this year. Hill's swing isn't picture perfect but it has worked for him. He is limited to left field due to a well below-average arm and below-average speed.

4. Josh Shapiro, LHP, Marshall
Source: 4YR • Ht: 5-10 • Wt: 185 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted

5. Chase Illig, C, West Virginia
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 210 • B-T: B-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted

6. Jonathan Blackwell, LHP, Hurricane (W. Va.) HS
Source: HS • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 181 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Coastal Carolina

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