The Big LeadThe Big Lead

2019 MLB Mock Draft: Adley Rutschman Goes No. 1, But Things Are Shifting At The Top


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.

6. San Diego Padres: C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (GA)

C.J. Abrams has incredible speed, and is one of the better hitters in this high school crop. He makes good contact from the left side and has some power in his bat as well. His speed is elite and will make every routine grounder into a bang-bang play at first. He may not stick at short long-term though. Abrams has a solid arm but isn’t the most natural fit at the position. He could wind up at second or in center field, and would still have a ton of value at both spots.

The Padres are waiting to see who falls among Bleday, Greene and Abrams. If Greene gets here the belief is they’ll take him.

7. Cincinnati Reds: Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU

Nick Lodolo has established himself as the top college pitcher in the draft, and the fact that he’s a lefty only makes him more attractive. A string bean at 6’6″ and 190 pounds, Lodolo likely has more projection in him, but he currently works in the low-90s but has been up to 96 mph with his fastball. He has a developing low-80s slider and a changeup that’s coming along. This season he’s 6-6 with a 2.36 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 131 strikeouts in 103 innings.

The Reds have been connected to Lodolo for weeks. It seems like the perfect match as they are all-in on the college arms, since they are convinced none of the top six bats falls. If one of the college hitters fell, Cincinnati could scoop him up here.

8. Texas Rangers: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech

Josh Jung possesses one of the better bats in the college class. He’s currently slashing .335/.474/.603 with 11 home runs and 53 RBI, after leading the Big 12 in hitting (.392) and on-base percentage (.491) as a sophomore last year. He’s not an elite fielder at third but is solid and has a plus arm.

This has been the hot rumor for about a week, as many think the Rangers will get Jung at a discount. Bishop will get a serious look, as will Alek Manoah. Baty and Tulane slugger Kody Hoese are also being tossed around as candidates who could cut a deal.

9. Atlanta Braves: Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto College (TX)
*(Compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder Carter Stewart)

Jackson Rutledge is flying up draft boards as the big day approaches, thanks to his incredible upside. At 6’8″ and 240 pounds, he’s a big righty out of the junior college ranks who can hit 99 on the radar gun and has a wipeout slider in the high-80s. He has a decent curveball and hasn’t shown much of a changeup yet, but he’s a 20-year-old with arguably the best pure stuff in this draft class.

Rutledge threw for Braves officials recently. Bishop and prep outfielder Corbin Carroll are also guys to watch here.

10. San Francisco Giants: Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State

Bishop has exploded this year after being a talented enigma during his first two collegiate seasons. A massive outfielder at 6’5″ and 210 pounds, Bishop has been crushing the ball as a junior, posting a 1.236 OPS with 22 home runs and 61 RBI. A new batting stance has unlocked his potential. He’ll still swing and miss some but he’s barreling balls better than ever and has shown tremendous power from the left side. He has good speed for his size and may even be able to stick in center field, though he probably fits best in right.

The Giants are linked to a number of college players. Shortstop Bryson Stott might be the pick if Bishop is gone, Jung and Michael Busch could go here too. Alek Manoah and Rutledge are also in the mix if they decide to go with an arm.

11. Toronto Blue Jays: Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia

Manoah has jumped a much as any player in this year’s draft thanks to his performance as a junior. So far this season he’s 9-4, with a 2.08 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 108.1 innings. He’s huge (6’6″ and 260 pounds), has an elite, heavy fastball that sits between 94-97 mph, and his slider has been better this season. He has been working on a changeup but it’s a development pitch at this point. The question is whether he can continue as a starter or if he’ll turn into a high-leverage reliever.

The Blue Jays will almost certainly go with a college player here. Stott, Bishop, Rutledge and Zack Thompson are all possibilities, as is Carroll.

12. New York Mets: George Kirby, RHP, Elon

George Kirby is one of the more underrated starters in this class. He has a great frame at 6’3″ and 205 pounds, and has four pitches that could wind up being useful as a pro. His fastball is a low-90s offering but he has shown the ability to dial it up to the upper-90s, and he has both a slider and a curveball he can get outs with. His changeup needs work, but it has the makings of a solid offering. So far this season, Kirby is 8-2 with a 2.75 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 107 strikeouts against just 16 walks in 88.1 innings.

The Mets are looking at the top college pitchers and Kirby has been one of the best this year. Thompson is a possibility, as is Stott. If Manoah or Bishop last this long, they could be the big as well.

13. Minnesota Twins: Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV

Stott could have been a top-five guy in this draft if his tools had popped as a junior this season, instead he’s shown himself to have solid-to-plus ability across the board. Stott is a good hitter, making lots of contact from the left side and showing a good approach. Most believe he’ll stick at short long term, though his arm isn’t the greatest. Stott slashed .356/.486/.599 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI this season.

Stott is the favorite for the Twins in this spot, though they’re high on prep shortstop/third baseman Keoni Cavaco.

14. Philadelphia Phillies: Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane

Kody Hoese has jump up draft boards by annihilating college pitching this season. He finished this season hitting .391 with 23 home runs, 61 RBI and a ridiculous 1.265 OPS. He found his groove in the Cape Cod League last summer and hasn’t looked back. At 6’4″ and 200 pounds, Hoese has a solid frame and should stick at third base long-term. As his number show, Hoese isn’t just a raw power guy. He can hit and has a disciplined approach at the plate.

The Phillies badly want Rutledge, but he’s off the board. They could aim for another college pitcher here, but there are whispers they’ll try to cut a deal with Hoese in this spot.

15. Los Angeles Angels: Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy

In a weak year for prep pitching, Daniel Espino might have the best pure stuff in the class. But what separates him from his peers is an upper-90s fastball that can top 100 mph.  While he’s listed at 6’2″ and 200 pounds, Espino looks smaller than that (probably around 6′ and 185), meaning there’s likely not more velocity to come. But that shouldn’t matter, he’s already hitting 100 mph. He has a really nice slider, a decent curveball and has dabbled with a changeup. The main knock on Espino is the long arm action in his delivery.

The Angels have been linked to Espino for a while now and he may be worth this pick. Still, if a top college pitcher falls, the Angeles could pounce.

16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (WA)

Despite a small frame (5’11” and 165 pounds), Carroll can hit and hit a ton. He’s probably the second best pure hitter in this class. He consistently makes great contact with a nice left-handed swing, has a ton of speed that works on offense and defense and draws comparisons to a young Jacoby Ellsbury. He’s a great fit in center field, and even has some late-developing power in his line-drive swing.

If a good college bat lasts this long, the Diamondbacks could go in that direction. Instead, they get Carroll, who could be a top 10 pick if things play out differently.

17. Washington Nationals: Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (FL)

Matthew Allan is regarded by many as the best prep pitcher in a weak class this year. At 6’3″ and 210 pounds, he’s likely the size he’d be at the next level but he’s got plenty of stuff already. He’s been hitting 97 mph with his fastball while sitting in the mid-90s, he has an excellent curve and has a developing changeup. He does have an awkward delivery, but the stuff is too good to pass up.

Allan hasn’t fallen because of a lack of performance or stuff, he’s dropping because of bonus demands. That sort of thing has never scared off the Nationals, who snag the best prep pitcher in the draft at 17.

18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor

Shea Langeliers entered the season as a potential top 10 pick, but a broken bone in his left hand this season hurt his stock. He’s an oustanding defensive catcher with a laser for an arm. He makes good contact and has decent power from the right side. So far this season he’s slashed .308/.374/.530 with 10 home runs and 42 RBI.

The Pirates haven’t been closely linked to Langeliers, but if he falls this far they’ll have to take him. They like prep righty Quinn Priester and could jump on a college pitcher if one falls.

19. St. Louis Cardinals: Maurice Hampton, OF, Memphis University High School (TN)

Maurice Hampton is an All-American in baseball and football and has a strong commitment to LSU to play both sports. That said, someone will fall in love with his tools and take him early. He has ridiculous athleticism and upside, with a lot of raw power, dynamic speed, a plus-arm and the ability to play center field long term.

N.C. State shortstop Will Wilson is a possibility here, but the Cardinals have long been tied to Hampton and his sky-high upside.

20. Seattle Mariners: Keoni Cavaco, 3B, Eastlake HS (CA)

Cavaco has been racing up draft boards and could wind up in the top 10 at this point. A 6′ 185-pound third baseman, he also played some shortstop this spring, thus upping his value. His hit tool is just around average, but he’s got great speed, excellent power and great hands in the field. The power/speed combination is enticing the teams convinced his bat is coming around.

The Mariners are looking at college bats but also love Cavaco. I had prep shortstop Anthony Volpe here in my previous mock and think he could be the pick if Cavaco is gone.

21. Atlanta Braves: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy

Brennan Malone is another prep hurler with outstanding upside. At 6’3″ and 203 pounds, he’s well built and has a mid-90s fastball along with a wicked slider that should make his average curveball unnecessary. If his changeup never develops, Malone could wind up as a high-leverage relief option, but he’s shown that he’s more than just a power arm this year. He looks far more poised on the bump this spring.

The Braves have mostly been connected with prep arms at this pick and Malone might be a fantastic value here. If one of the better college bats falls, they could wind up here.

22. Tampa Bay Rays: Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky

Zack Thompson possesses an intriguing four-pitch mix, including a fastball that can get up to the mid-90s. His slider and curveball rate as above average, while his changeup is a work in progress. At 6’3″ and 225 pounds he’s a well-built lefty who has gone 6-1 this season with a 2.40 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 130 strikeouts in 90 innings.

The Rays are looking at prep shortstops at this pick, but with Thompson falling so far, this is an enormous value. College righty Seth Johnson is a possibility here as well.

23. Colorado Rockies: Michael Busch, 1B/OF, North Carolina

Busch shined in the Cape Cod League last summer and his swing from the left side has scouts excited. He can barrel the ball up to all fields with excellent power and a great approach at the dish. He’s undersized for a first baseman at 6′ and 207 pounds, but doesn’t have the arm or speed for the outfield. That said, the bat is worth his awkward defensive fit. Busch is slashing .294/.442/.575 this season with 16 home runs and 57 RBI.

Lots of whispers have connected the Rockies and Busch over the past few weeks. Other college bats are the mix, as Greg Jones, Wilson, Kameron Misner and Hoese could all go here.

24. Cleveland Indians: Will Wilson, SS, N.C. State

Wilson is solid across the board, with a nice swing, decent pop and the arm and quickness to potentially land at short long-term. He has below-average speed, which means he may wind up at second, but he’ll likely hit. He’s slashing .335/.425/.661 with 16 home runs and 57 RBI this season. His bat is what gets him drafted, then he’ll have to prove he can stick up the middle defensively.

Pretty much all the college bats are in the mix for the Indians, but don’t rule out a high-upside prep position player.

25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Gunnar Henderson, SS, John T. Morgan Academy (AL)

Gunnar Henderson is racing up draft boards as the big day approaches, mostly because of his increased power and a solid glove at short. A 6’3″ lefty, Henderson has a great frame and a solid approach at the plate. He makes good contact consistently and his power has begun to show up as he’s filled out. He has a good feel for the position at short and a plus arm. He’s around 200 pounds right now, but if he adds much more bulk a move to third may be coming.

Henderson and the Dodgers have been connected for weeks but much will depend on who else is on the board. Espino will be in the mix, but a collegiate bat could be the choice if one the like falls. Busch, Wilson, Logan Davidson and Hoese are all possibilities.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove High School (IL)
*(Compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder Matt McLain)

Quinn Priester is a Midwestern prep pitcher with excellent athleticism and great stuff. He can hit 97 mph with his fastball, has a heavy two-seamer and owns probably the best curveball in this high school class. At 6’3″ and 198 pounds, Priester has the frame and athleticism to be a long-term starter.

The Diamondbacks have a number of early picks this year so they can afford to take a chance or two. Priester is the best prep arm available so I’ve got them snagging him here. They’re also in a great spot to grab anyone who suffers an unexpected draft-night drop.

27. Chicago Cubs: Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson

Logan Davidson has been an excellent collegiate hitter, but has had issues adjusting to wood bats. If teams aren’t worried about that, he might actually go higher than this. He’s a good runner, an excellent fielder with a plus arm and the switch-hitter has good natural power from both sides of the plate. This season Davidson is slashing .293/.415/.582 with 15 home runs and 55 RBI. There’s some swing-and-miss to his game, but when he makes contact it’s consistently hard.

The Cubs usually lean towards college bats, but they like this year’s crop of prep arms as well. J.J. Goss, Espino, Malone or Priester could be the pick if available.

28. Milwaukee Brewers: Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis High School (TX)

Old for a prep player at 19 years old, Baty has one of the best power bats in this year’s draft, as his swing from the left side generates consistent, heavy contact. His hit tool isn’t far behind his power and he possesses a great arm at third base. He’s a below-average runner but is a decent fielder and should stick at third base if he doesn’t add weight. He’s 6’3″ and 210 pounds now, and if he gets any bigger a move to first base or an outfield corner isn’t out of the question. If he wasn’t almost 20, Baty would be a top 10 pick.

This is a pure high-upside play for the Brewers as they’d be taking the best player available and an insane value. The high-upside prep pitchers should also be under consideration, as will college righty Seth Johnson.

29. Oakland Athletics: Greg Jones, SS, UNC-Wilmington

Greg Jones boasts elite speed that puts him at the top of this class in the category. Jones has 42 stolen bases in 52 attempts this season, and the switch-hitter is slashing .341/.491/.543. He’s gotten on base a ton this year which should make him appealing as a leadoff option. He’s almost certain to move off shortstop and end up in center field down the road. His game-changing speed will be worth the risk.

The A’s have been connected to Jones for weeks now, but there’s a chance he’s played his way into the middle of the round. If that’s the case, they’ll likely go after another college bat.

30. New York Yankees: Tyler Callihan, 3B, Providence HS (FL)

Tyler Callihan is one of the best pure hitters in this year’s draft, the problem is finding him a position. He’s been a catcher in the past and is currently playing third base, but there’s not a true fit for him. That said, the kid can rake, with an excellent lefty swing, good power and a solid approach.

The Yankees would love if one of the big power bats fell here. They would gladly snag Baty or Hoese and have also been connected to prep third baseman Rece Hinds. In this projection they bet on Callihan’s outstanding bat. If this is an arm, Jack Leiter or Ryan Jensen are possibilities.

31. Los Angeles Dodgers: Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri
*(Compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder J.T. Ginn)

Misner is a toolsy outfielder with plus power, plus speed and a great arm. He should be able to stick in center field, and while he’s struggled with contact recently, his upside will be worthy of a first-rounder. This season he posted a .286 batting average, with a .921 OPS, 10 home runs and 32 RBI. He also stole 20 bases in 21 attempts.

The Dodgers seem like a match for a collegiate outfielder here, and Misner has insane tools despite a lack of performance. He has incredible upside if he can be developed.

32. Houston Astros: J.J. Goss, RHP, Cypress Ranch High School (TX)

J.J. Goss is a pitcher from Texas with a live arm. Shocker. At 6’3″ and 185-pounds, there’s plenty of projection left in his frame. As it stands, he can reach the mid-90s with his fastball and has a wipeout slider in the low-80s. His changeup has developed nicely this season after showing as average in 2018.

The Astros are just sitting back and seeing which of their favorite guys falls. They love Goss, but are also in on Espino and UCLA power-hitting first baseman Mike Toglia. Davidson is a possibility as well.