The 2019 MLB Draft is only hours away, as the event will kick off at 7 p.m. Monday night in Secaucus, New Jersey. Before we get to our final mock draft, be sure to take a look at our previous mock draft from last week. And check out our ranking of the players with the best tools in this year’s draft.
Here’s a look at our final full first-round projection as the first pick approaches. (We’ll update this throughout the day so be sure to check back up until the draft begins.)
1. Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Adley Rutschman is the consensus top player in the draft. A catcher who can hit is a rare commodity and he can rake. A switch-hitting backstop with power and leadership skills, who helped the Beavers win a College World Series as a sophomore and was named College World Series Most Outstanding Player. This season he’s slashing .411/.575/.751 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI.
Rutschman is the top player in this class, but the Orioles could still go another way. They aren’t locked in on him and could opt for prep shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn or Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday. As of now, I think they go with the best player available.
2. Kansas City Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville HS (TX)
Witt is a potential five-tool shortstop with range, a big arm, power, speed and a really nice hit tool, he’s also a baseball junkie. He was the MVP of the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game, and his dad was a 16-year big leaguer. If you want pedigree, Witt has it.
Some believe Witt is the top player on the Royals’ board. That said, if he’s off the board, they would take Rutschman. If both were somehow available, their choice could get interesting.
3. Chicago White Sox: Andrew Vaughn, 1B, Cal
A sweet-swinging righty, Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn is a below-average runner and just a decent fielder, but man, can he hit. He’s got excellent power and hit .402 with 23 home runs in 2018. He’s continued to mash this year, and might be the best all-around hitter in the draft. He’s got power to spare, makes consistent contact and has a great approach at the plate. So far this season he’s slashing .381/.544/.716 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI.
The White Sox are in on both Vaughn and prep shortstop C.J. Abrams. They could go either way right now and it might come down to which player gives them the best deal. Speaking of deals, this could also be the spot where prep third baseman Bret Baty lands at a steep discount. This pick is where the draft could turn, as it would impact the next few selections.
4. Miami Marlins: J.J. Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt
J.J. Bleday exploded this season after being Vanderbilt’s best hitter as a sophomore. So far this year he’s slashing .354/.468/.747 with 26 home runs and 68 RBI. He will almost certainly be the first college outfielder taken. He has a short lefty stroke, great knowledge of the strike zone and can hit the ball all over the park. He’s got a good arm and profiles as a corner outfielder despite average speed.
Bleday and fellow college outfielder Hunter Bishop are the favorites here, after a brief flirtation with Abrams.
5. Detroit Tigers: Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (FL)
Riley Greene is the consensus best prep hitter in this class and proved that on the showcase circuit over the summer. He’s got a really nice approach at the plate, is patient and can drive the ball all over the park. There’s power in his swing, but he’s more of a line-drive hitter at the moment. He’ll play a corner at the next level and an average arm will likely force him to left field, but he’ll hit — and likely hit a ton — so teams are going to overlook his defensive limitations.
If Vaughn is still on the board, he might be the pick here. The Tigers seem to be down to he and Greene.