The 2019 MLB Draft is less than three months away, as it runs June 3-5. MLB teams won’t start figuring out their draft boards until closer to the draft, but they’ll be out in full force scouting the draft-eligible prospects at the high school and college levels in preparation for June.
With Division I college baseball starting today, there is a good sense of the top prospects in this year’s class. There are always surprises but here’s a top-10 mock draft for the 2019 MLB draft as of Feb. 15:
1. Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Adley Rutschman’s draft stock rose when he led Oregon State to a College World Series win and received the honor of the event’s Most Outstanding Player, after tallying 17 RBIs and 13 hits in the series.
He’s an above-average defender with a strong arm and advanced receiving skills. He’s a switch-hitter and possesses intriguing raw power. He’s an all-around player and the favorite to go No. 1 overall in the 2019 MLB draft entering the spring.
2. Kansas City Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville Heritage High (Texas)
Bobby Witt Jr. is the top prep prospect in this year’s draft class. He has five-tool potential as a shortstop and comes from strong bloodlines, as his father is a former major-league pitcher who went No. 3 overall in the 1985 draft.
Witt 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
Andrew Vaughn is the best hitter in this year’s draft class. Besides his advanced approach at the plate, Vaughn consistently barrels up baseballs and has above-average power to all fields.
Read a detailed feature story on Vaughn here.
4. Miami Marlins: CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity High (Georgia)
CJ Abrams has the potential to hear his name called in the first three picks of the 2019 MLB draft. He’s 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 has the skills and intangibles to stick at shortstop.
5. Detroit Tigers: Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
Shea Langeliers has a well-rounded toolset with his defense being his top skill. He has elite arm strength, above-average receiving and blocking ability, and athleticism behind the plate. He projects as a solid average hitter with respectable power.
Read a detailed feature story on Langeliers here.
6. San Diego Padres: Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy
Daniel Espino is the top prep pitcher in the 2019 MLB draft class. He’s an intriguing pitcher, possessing an advanced four-pitch repertoire. He overpowers hitters with his fastball, which occasionally reaches triple digits. It is the best fastball in the draft class.
Read a detailed feature story on Espino here.
7. Cincinnati Reds: Graeme Stinson, LHP, Duke
Graeme Stinson, a 6-5, 260-pound lefty, posted a 1.89 ERA with 98 strikeouts compared to 19 walks in 62 innings last year. His 14.2 strikeouts per nine innings topped all Division I pitchers who threw at least 62 innings. Duke used Stinson mainly as a reliever last year but he will be the team’s No. 1 starter this season.
Read a detailed feature story on Stinson here.
8. Texas Rangers: Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty High (Florida)
Riley Greene, a 6-2, 190-pound outfielder, 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.
A Florida commit, Greene has experience playing against quality competition. He hit .405 with 17 extra-base hits, 26 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and posted a 23-to-9 walk-to-strikeout ratio as a junior in 2018.
9. Atlanta Braves: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
The Braves received this pick after failing to sign Carter Stewart, their eighth overall pick, last year. They won’t draft a player that has signability concerns because they’d lose this pick if they fail to sign that player. Although they could go the prep route, Texas Tech third baseman Josh Jung might be difficult to pass on.
He’s a well-rounded offensive player, possessing above-average power and plate discipline. Although he doesn’t possess great speed, his arm strength will allow him to stick at third base in pro ball.
10. San Francisco Giants: Carter Stewart, RHP, Eastern Florida State College
The Braves selected Carter Stewart with the eighth overall pick last year, but disagreements over his post-draft physical led to a snag in negotiations. The Braves reportedly discovered an issue with a ligament in his right wrist.
If Stewart is healthy and pitches well this spring, the 6-6 righty will be a top-10 pick once again. He has a three-pitch mix, featuring a mid-90s fastball, a devastating power curveball and a changeup.
He’s pitching in the junior-college ranks for Eastern Florida State College. He’s made two starts, tallying a 4.50 ERA with 12 strikeouts and three walks allowed while opposing batters are hitting .194 off him in 10 innings (two starts) this spring.
(Photo of Adley Rutschman via Oregon State athletics)
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.”