The 2019 MLB draft is less than one month away. The first round is starting to take shape, especially the top 10 picks. There is a lack of high-end pitching in this year’s draft with no pitchers likely going in the first five picks.
There will be plenty of movement until the draft begins June 3, especially with signability concerns. I also will continue to release feature stories on top prospects as the draft approaches. Here’s a glimpse of how the first round, compensation picks and the first competitive balance picks may play out:
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. Abrams fits their mold of seeking up the middle players with athleticism. 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’s the best prep hitting prospect in this year’s draft class. 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. Bleday could be a top-five pick with the Marlins and Tigers also considering him.
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: Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto Junior College
Rutledge isn’t shy about the draft. After spending his freshman season at Arkansas, the well-regarded hurler transferred to the junior college ranks to be eligible for June’s draft. Read about Rutledge here.
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: 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.
14. Philadelphia Phillies: 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. Read about the elite catching prospect here.
15. Los Angeles Angels: 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.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (Fla.)
Allan is the top prep pitcher in this year’s draft and throws a mid-90s fastball and mixes in a solid 12-to-6 curveball. He’s represented by the Boras Corporation, but the Diamondbacks have the money to meet his signing bonus demands.
17. Washington Nationals: 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.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Gunnar Henderson, SS, Morgan Academy (Ala.)
The Pirates have been interested in Henderson all spring and were hoping to select him with their compensation pick at No. 37, according to sources. He’s improved his draft stock with a strong spring and likely will be a first-round pick.
Since he probably won’t make it to No. 37, the Pirates could draft Henderson to a below-slot deal and save bonus pool money for their compensation selection. Read more on the prep shortstop here.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: 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 showed improvement in his one season at IMG Academy. Read more about Malone here.
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: 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. He’s one of the best prep hitters, but his age (19) hurts his draft value. Read more about Baty here.
23. Colorado Rockies: 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.
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, featuring impressive power. 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: 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.
27. Chicago Cubs: Braden Shewmake, SS, Texas A&M
Shewmake has produced throughout his college career. Scouts wonder if he can stick at shortstop in pro ball, but Shewmake believes his work in the offseason and attributes make him ideal for the position. Read more about Shewmake here.
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: Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson
Davidson has the talent to be the first college shortstop drafted. The consistency hasn’t always been there this spring, though. He’s an athletic and solid defensive shortstop. Read more about Davidson here.
30. New York Yankees: 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 one of the best prep pitcher in this year’s class but his delivery and the fact that he’s a hard-throwing right-handed hurler will prevent him from being a top-15 pick. Read more about the right-handed pitcher 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.
32. Houston Astros: 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.
33. Arizona Diamondbacks: Keoni Cavaco, 3B, Eastlake HS (Calif.)
Cavaco popped up this spring as a draft prospect. He didn’t even start receiving interest from scouts until last fall. He has intriguing tools that will make a team grab him early in the draft. Read more about Cavaco here.
34. Arizona Diamondbacks: Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles School (Fla.)
Barco is the top prep left-handed pitcher in this year’s draft class. He is 6-4, 212 pounds and has three solid pitches. He’s a Florida commit, but the Diamondbacks can sign him away from his commitment.
Competitive Balance Round A
35. Miami Marlins: Matthew Lugo, SS, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (Fla.)
The Puerto Rican prep shortstop is a well-rounded player with his biggest strength being his bat.
36. Tampa Bay Rays: Kendall Williams, RHP, IMG Academy (Fla.)
The 6-6, 190-pound righter has improved this spring. He has a solid fastball-curveball combination and the projection teams seek in a prep hurler. Read more about Williams here.
37. Pittsburgh Pirates: Carter Stewart, RHP, Eastern Florida State Junior College
After saving bonus bool money with their first-round pick, expect the Pirates to take a falling prospect like Stewart. He struggled with his consistency this spring, but if his medicals are clean, he has the potential to be one of the best prospects out of this draft class.
38. New York Yankees: Chase Strumpf, 2B, UCLA
Strumpf’s best tool is his hitting ability. He doesn’t possess a ton of power but he has a strong command of the strike zone and consistently barrels up pitches.
39. Minnesota Twins: Isaiah Campbell, RHP, Arkansas
Campbell relies a lot on his fastball and slider. He’s featured consistency this spring after being a draft-eligible sophomore last year. The Twins hired pitching coach Wes Johnson before the season after he served in the same role at Arkansas. Read more about Campbell here.
40. Tampa Bay Rays: Logan Wyatt, 1B, Louisville
Wyatt has consistently produced the last two years after learning behind Brendan McKay his freshman year. He’s a disciplined hitter who hits for average and some power. Read more about Wyatt here.
41. Texas Rangers: Josh Wolf, RHP, St. Thomas HS (Texas)
The 6-2, 165-pound prep righty has an above-average fastball-curveball combination. He’s improved his stock this spring and his projection intrigues teams. Read more about Wolf here.
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.