When major league teams look back on the 2019 MLB draft, there will be players who exceeded expectations and others who failed to live up to the hype. It isn’t easy to have success drafting players, as there are multiple factors that impact a player’s success throughout their professional career.
Here are three underrated prospects who have the tools to exceed their draft spots and have successful careers:
Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy
Espino possesses the highest ceiling of any of the pitching prospects in this year’s draft. He’s an advanced prep pitcher, drawing comparisons to Jose Fernandez by some scouts, and has the tools to thrive in the pro ranks.
Espino, a 6-foot-2, 208-pound righty, throws a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, curveball, slider and changeup from a long three-quarters arm slot. He overpowers hitters with his fastball, which occasionally reaches triple digits and is the best in the draft class. His fastballs, curveball and slider are all above-average offerings.
Despite his intangibles, scouts are split on him. Some believe he has the potential to be a future ace in a starting rotation, while other scouts envision him as a reliever in the future.
The recent track record for hard-throwing right-handers isn’t great. Espino also will have to refine the command of his secondary pitches to have success against pro hitters. But he has the makeup, work ethic, skills and potential to be the top pitcher from this year’s draft class.
Espino likely will be a first-round pick Monday. Read a detailed story on Espino’s path to becoming an elite draft prospect here.
Hylan Hall, OF, Ocoee HS (Fla.)
Hall, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound prep outfielder, has five-tool potential with his best trait being his hitting ability. He is an aggressive hitter from the right side of the plate with a quick and loose swing. He barrels up pitches and figures to serve as a middle-of-the-order bat in pro ball.
Besides his hitting, Hall possess above-average athleticism, speed and arm strength. Those traits have aided him in his transition to the outfield. He played shortstop growing up before moving out of the infield as a sophomore in 2017.
Hall has the raw tools to be a top-five round pick. If he can refine all his skills, especially his approach at the plate, Hall could be an impact player in the future.
Read a detailed story on Hall and his development into a draft prospect here.
Hayden Dunhurst, C, Pearl River Central HS (Miss.)
Dunhurst is a switch-hitting catcher with his top skill being his hitting ability. He features more consistency and gap-to-gap power as a left-handed hitter.
He has a wide stance with a toe-tap timing mechanism and displays a compact and quick swing.
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound backstop has improved his skill behind the plate over his high school career. He has a strong and accurate arm and an ability to come out of his crouch quickly. Dunhurst needs to improve his footwork and continue to refine his skills to stick at the position long term.
Dunhurst should be a top-five round pick. Read a detailed story on Dunhurst and his development into a draft prospect 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.