The Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft is what gives many hope for the future of their team. A light at the end of the tunnel. A reward for the misery of surviving yet another 100-loss season. Although the Draft is still several months away, it’s never too early to start digging in and getting to know who should be on your team’s radar come June. Here is our top 50 player rankings for the upcoming 2019 Draft.
Photo credit: Alex Rosen
1. Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Rutschman is special. Hitting from both sides of the plate, he is a patient, pure hitter with growing power. Oh, and also a rocket of an arm accompanied by soft hands behind the plate. Yes please.
2. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville Heritage HS (TX)
Showing true five tool potential, Witt has enamored scouts over the showcase circuit for a while now. Some have questioned the hit tool against elite pitching. He may have put some doubters to sleep recently, claiming tournament MVP honors for the 18U USA National team while batting .576 with three bombs.
3. Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (FL)
As I have often said, Greene is the best pure hitter in the prep class. He uses his ultra-smooth stroke with easy loft and power to tear away at pitching. I’d say Greene also had a pretty formidable stint with Team USA as well, batting .424 with 5 2B, 3 HR, and 20 RBI.
4. Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California
There is no better word to describe Vaughn other than “masher.” Standing at a stout 6-foot, 215 pounds, he slashed an absurd .402/.531/.819 with 23 bombs. He also has a mature approach, walking 44 times while striking out only 18.
5. Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
Jung led Texas Tech to Omaha in 2018, leading the Big 12 with a .392 average. He constantly barrels up balls for hard contact. Jung is relaxed at the plate, with a strong lower half that will lead to future plus power.
6. Graeme Stinson, LHP, Duke
The top pitcher in the class, Stinson sits in the low-90s with a filthy slider that regularly flashes plus. He does have some questions to answer, as 2019 will be his first time as a full-time member of the Blue Devils starting rotation.
7. Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy (GA)
Espino is as electric as they come. He sits mid 90’s and touched 100 while already flashing two plus off-speed offerings with his curve and slider. Espino also has a tremendous work ethic to go along with his mouth-watering stuff.
8. Shea Langliers, C, Baylor
Langliers somewhat struggled offensively during his sophomore season at Baylor. He has shown some good raw power, but it’s not his bat that scouts rave about. He is agile behind the plate with a bazooka for an arm that some see as an 80-grade tool.
9. Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (WA)
Carroll is a pure hitter with surprising power for his size. He was another member of the gold medal-winning USA team, batting .500 with three homers while swiping nine bags. He has double-plus speed, clocking in at a 6.33 60-time.
10. Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (FL)
Malone is an athletic righty with a fastball that sits in the low-90’s. At the Perfect Game WWBA in Jupiter, he ran it up to 97. He is more a thrower than a pitcher right now, but also possesses a curve that has flashed plus.
11. C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (GA)
I’m probably the low guy on Abrams. Although he can get slappy with his stroke, he does have the ability to use all fields as well as beat out balls with his 80-grade speed. His future will most likely be at either second or in the outfield, where his speed would flourish.
12. Spencer Jones, LHP, La Costa Canyon HS
Some see Jones’ future as a power hitting position player. However, his future is most likely on the mound, where his lanky 6-foot-7, 205-pound frame plays best. He already sits in the low-90’s while flashing a plus, true 12-6 curve.
13. Tyler Callihan, 3B, Providence School of Jacksonville (FL)
Callihan is up for discussion for the best pure hitter in the high school class along with Greene. He boasts a strong build with easy power. He barrels ball after ball and put on a show in batting practice when I saw him in Port Charlotte. He can stick at third for now, but wherever he is on the field, the bat plays.
14. Michael Busch, 1B, North Carolina
Busch is as safe as a bet to hit at the next level as there is in the draft. He has a short, quick stroke that he uses to hit to all fields. In his sophomore season, he bashed 13 home runs while drawing 55 walks compared to a mere 30 strikeouts.
15. Tyler Dyson, RHP, Florida
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound righty was hindered by control issues and a nagging shoulder during second season at Florida. This fall, I saw him back pounding the zone with a heater that sat 95-97 while flashing a plus slider. This spring will be the final test for the Gators fireballer.
16. Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky
Thompson missed considerable time due to an elbow injury last spring. But in the time he wasn’t hampered by injury, he dominated. Thompson sits in the low 90’s, touching mid 90’s at times. He also has a good four-pitch mix that all could project as at least average.
17. Carter Stewart, RHP, Eastern Florida State JC
The unsigned number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft looks to be selected very early once again in 2019. The 6-foot-6 Stewart sits in the mid-90’s with a hammer breaker. Stewart has one of the highest ceilings in the class if all comes together.
18. Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV
Stott is a sure thing to stick at short, showing off quick feet and a good arm. There is some bat wrap, but the lefty hitter raked .365 at UNLV in 2018 with 14 stolen bases. His lanky 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame also leaves room for added strength and more power in the future.
19. Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri
This Mizzou outfielder is a legit five tool threat. Misner’s left-handed stroke has good loft and along with his plus raw power, could lead to some serious home run numbers. Though his huge 6-foot-4, 220 pounds wouldn’t indicate it, he also has plus speed. He could rocket up boards with a strong spring.
20. Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton School (NJ)
The New Jersey product has solidified his name atop many draft boards recently, striking out 20 while allowing only 2 hits over 8 IP for Team USA at the Pan-American Championships. Leiter sits comfortably in the low 90’s and touches 95 with his heater. He also has a hard hammer curve that also looks to be a plus offering.
21. Jerrion Ealy, OF, Jackson Preparatory School
22. Will Holland, SS, Auburn
23. Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (FL)
24. Greg Jones, SS, UNCW
25. Rece Hinds, 3B, IMG Academy (FL)
26. J.J. Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt
27. Nick Lodolo, LHP, Texas Christian
28. Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia
29. Braden Shewmake, SS, Texas A&M
30. Matt Wallner, OF, Southern Mississippi
31. George Kirby, RHP, Elon
32. Matthew Thompson, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (TX)
33. Derek Diamond, RHP, Ramona HS (CA)
34. Kyle Stowers, OF, Stanford
35. Michael Toglia, 1B/OF, California, UCLA
36. Sammy Siani, OF, William Penn Charter School (PA)
37. Austin Shenton, 3B, Florida International
38. Will Wilson, SS, North Carolina State
39. Logan Wyatt, 1B, Louisville
40. Erik Miller, LHP, Stanford
41. Drew Mendoza, 3B, Florida State
42. Chase Strumpf, 2B, UCLA
43. Matthew Lugo, SS, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (P.R.)
44. Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles School (FL)
45. Nasim Nunez, SS, Collins Hill HS (GA)
46. Hayden Dunhurst, C, Pearl River Central HS (MS)
47. Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson
48. J.J. Goss, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (TX)
49. Riley Cornelio, RHP, Pine Creek HS (CO)
50. Anthony Volpe, MIF, Delbarton School (NJ)