The 2019 MLB draft is less than 40 days away. The draft is starting to take shape, especially the top 10. College players, especially hitters, will continue to move up draft boards, as that demographic typically is popular early in the first round.
It is still April and there will be plenty of movement until the draft begins June 3. I also will continue to release feature stories on top prospects as the draft approaches. Here’s a glimpse of how the first round may occur:
1. Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Rutschman quickly has solidified himself as the top prospect in the 2019 MLB draft class. He’s an advanced player offensively and defensively. The switch-hitter is batting above .400 and showing impressive raw power from both sides of the plate this season.
2. Kansas City Royals: Bobby Witt Jr, SS, Colleyville Heritage HS (Texas)
Witt has five-tool potential and comes from strong bloodlines, as his father is a former major-league pitcher who went No. 3 overall in the 1985 draft.
He consistently squares up pitches and has surprising power for his 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame. He uses all parts of the field and has the speed to make an impact on the bases. Defensively, he covers a lot of ground and has above-average arm strength.
3. Chicago White Sox: Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California
Vaughn was college baseball’s top hitter and likely would be the top pick if he wasn’t a first baseman. He’s an elite hitter and will move through the minor leagues quickly. Read more about the Cal first baseman here.
4. Miami Marlins: C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity HS (Ga.)
Abrams is an elite runner with the potential to hit a high amount of triples and steal double-digit bases in the professional ranks. He bats from the left side and is more of a gap-to-gap hitter. He may profile better in center field, but he believes he can stick at shortstop. Read more about Abrams here.
5. Detroit Tigers: Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (Fla.)
Greene is a left-handed hitter with a smooth swing that generates power. He hits for average and has impressive plate discipline for a prep batter. He profiles as a corner outfielder in the professional ranks. He has had an average spring but has a proven track record. The Tigers have been strong on him all spring.
6. San Diego Padres: J.J. Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt
Bleday profiles as a corner outfielder in the professional ranks but consistently has hit at Vanderbilt.He is hitting .354 with 20 home runs and 53 RBIs. He also has respectable plate discipline.
7. Cincinnati Reds: Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU
Lodolo has developed into the top college pitcher this spring. He’s not an overpowering pitcher but generates high strikeout rates each time he takes the mound. Read more about the left-handed pitcher here.
8. Texas Rangers: Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia
Manoah has been a reliable No. 1 starter for West Virginia this spring. He has a big frame and throws a high-90s fastball. He continues to rise up draft board, especially with his recent dominance where he’s maintained his velocity deep into starts. Read more about Manoah here.
9. Atlanta Braves: Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State
Bishop has made a significant jump up draft boards this spring. He has displayed power and better plate discipline this spring. He has five-tool potential.
10. San Francisco Giants: Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV
Stott has had another impressive season this year and likely will go in the first 10 picks this June. He’s a left-handed hitter who’s used more of his lower half in his swing this season to generate more power. He will stick at shortstop. Read more about Stott here.
11. Toronto Blue Jays: Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (Wash.)
An advanced high school hitter who hits for average and has above-average speed. He also is a solid defensive center fielder.
12. New York Mets: Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky
Thompson has a solid four-pitch mix and generates a lot of strike outs. Although he might not be a top-of-the-rotation arm, he will move quickly through a system and should impact a major-league rotation. His injury history does worry some teams, though. Read more about the lefty here.
13. Minnesota Twins: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
Jung hasn’t displayed his power this spring, but his track record as a power-hitting third baseman will help his draft stock. He’s a high-floor player who will move quickly through a minor-league system. He has hit .317 with five home runs and 36 RBIs this spring.
14. Philadelphia Phillies: Will Wilson, SS, North Carolina State
Wilson’s top trait is his hitting ability. He’s struggled at times defensively through his college career but has displayed glimpses of improvement this season. Read more about Wilson here.
15. Los Angeles Angels: Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto Junior College
Rutledge isn’t shy about the draft. After spending his freshman season at Arkansas, the big-time hurler transferred to the junior college ranks to be eligible for June’s draft. Read about Rutledge here.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy
Espino possess an advanced four-pitch repertoire. He overpowers hitters with his fastball, which occasionally reaches triple digits. He’s the best prep pitcher in this year’s class but his delivery and the fact that he’s a right-handed hurler will prevent him from being a top-10 pick. Read more about the right-handed pitcher here.
17. Washington Nationals: Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (Fla.)
Allan and Espino are the top two prep pitchers in this year’s class, as scouts are split on who’s the better prospect right now. Allan throws a mid-90s fastball and mixes in a solid 12-to-6 curveball. He’s advised by Boras Corporation, which hasn’t scared off the Nationals in the past.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Fla.)
Malone, a 6-3, 220-pound right-handed pitcher, has a low-effort, repeatable delivery and throws from a slight three-quarter arm slot. He’s one of the top prep arms in this year’s class and has been on the Pirates’ radar all spring. Read more about Malone here.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri
Misner is an intriguing college bat. He has struggled to hit against SEC this spring but has the talent, especially his above-average raw power, to produce in the pro ranks. He is hitting .273 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs. If he was dominating conference competition, he’d be a top-10 pick.
20. Seattle Mariners: Michael Busch, 1B/OF, North Carolina
Busch is a solid college hitter with question marks surrounding his future defensive position. He was a shortstop in high school before moving to first base in college. He played second base in the Cape Cod League during the summer and left field in fall baseball. Read more about Busch here.
21. Atlanta Braves: George Kirby, RHP, Elon
Kirby is another college player who’s had a strong spring. He has a quality three-pitch mix and leans on his fastball and curveball. Read more about Kirby here.
22. Tampa Bay Rays: Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson
Davidson has the talent to be the first college shortstop drafted. But the biggest concern remains his hitting ability, which hasn’t been consistent this spring. Otherwise, he’s an athletic and solid defensive shortstop. Read about Davidson here.
23. Colorado Rockies: J.J. Goss, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (Texas)
Goss might be the top prep pitcher from the state of Texas in this year’s MLB draft class. The 6-3, 185-pound right-hander throws an intriguing three-pitch mix with his slider being one of best in the prep class. Read more about the right-hander here.
24. Cleveland Indians: Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane
Hoese has been one of the top risers in this year’s draft class. He picked Tulane over Indiana, Purdue and Arkansas coming out of high school. After two average seasons, Hoese has exploded at the plate. He is hitting .417 with 21 home runs and 52 RBIs. Read more on Hoese here.
25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Seth Johnson, RHP, Campbell
Seth Johnson is the biggest surprise on this list. He was struggling as a shortstop at the junior college level the last two years but received an opportunity to pitch at Campbell. He’s had a lot of success this spring and is an intriguing draft prospect. Read about his transformation into a top draft prospect here.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
Langeliers was a potential top-five pick entering this spring. A broken hamate caused him to miss significant time. He could rise up draft boards with a strong finish to the season. The Diamondbacks can pay his asking price with their large bonus pool. Read about the elite catching prospect here.
27. Chicago Cubs: Carter Stewart, RHP, Eastern Florida State Junior College
Stewart hasn’t dominated junior college hitters as much as scouts hoped. His injury history also might worry teams.
28. Milwaukee Brewers: Tyler Callihan, 3B, Providence HS (Fla.)
Callihan is one of the better prep hitters in this year’s draft class. The biggest question mark is where he profiles defensively. Some believe he could be an offensive-minded catcher. Read more about Callihan here.
29. Oakland Athletics: Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis HS (Texas)
Baty has some of the best raw power in this year’s draft class. The left-handed swinger has power to all fields and consistently makes hard contact. His biggest question mark is his defense. Read more about Baty here.
30. New York Yankees: Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove HS (Ill.)
Priester, a 6-3, 190-pound righty, has a low-effort delivery. He’s made notable strides over the last year and is mostly self-taught, never having a personal pitching coach. Read more on Priester here.
31. Los Angeles Dodgers: Rece Hinds, 3B, IMG Academy (Fla.)
Hinds has above-average raw power but also is a high-risk, high-reward prospect. He needs to show a consistent feel for hitting, which he hasn’t done this spring.
32. Houston Astros: Antony Volpe, SS, Delbarton HS (N.J.)
Volpe is an undersized shortstop but his skills are impressive. He also has a high baseball IQ. He has had a strong spring to move up draft boards. Stay tuned for a detailed feature story on him at the Baseball Prospect Journal.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for four years. He’s interviewed 133 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.