2019 First Year MLB Mock Draft

You can find Juicy’s final, updated 2019 mock draft right here.

The DraftList View

1. Baltimore Orioles

Adley Rutschman, C

Bio:
School: Oregon St
Height: 6-2
Weight: 215 lbs
Hits/Throws: S/R

With the worst roster in recent memory, a bottom half minors system and no supplemental round picks; new Orioles GM Mike Elias has his work cut out for him in Baltimore. He can’t afford to miss with this pick. Luckily for him, Rutschman is a can’t miss talent. Rutschman is a leader in the clubhouse, excellent game caller, plus receiver, has a cannon arm, easy 60 hit tool and plus plus raw power. Last year for the champion Oregon State Beavers, he hit .408/.505/.628 with 34 XBH in just 67 games (including 9 home runs) and walked 53 times to 40 strikeouts. He also showed up majorly on the big stage, putting up the best average in College WS history. He then went on to lead Team USA in batting average, OBP and Slugging. It’s weird to say it, but Rutchsman is a “safe” catcher and the upside here is prime Buster Posey. The only current concern is lack of sample size. At this point in time, it’s a fairly easy pick for Elias here. Should he decide to go other directions; Daniel Espino, Riley Greene, Andrew Vaughn and Bobby Witt Jr would be in play.

Previous mock: Riley Greene

2. Kansas City Royals

Bobby Witt Jr, SS

Bio:
School: TX (Heritage HS)
Height: 6-1
Weight: 185 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

After cleaning up with college pitching in the 2018 draft, Dayton Moore has revamped the Royals farm system with genuine future MLB players. As a result, he can take a risk on the player with the highest realistic ceiling in this draft. Just a few months back, Witt Jr seemed like a lock to go 1-1. In fact, there was buzz that had he been eligible, he would have gone 1-1 last year. Prospect fatigue is a real thing…as is the swing and miss concerns against quality offspeed stuff and velocity. However, don’t let that make you overlook what Witt brings to the table. Potential gold glove defense at SS, genuine 60 speed (6.4 second 60 yard dash), a cannon arm and genuinely absurd bat speed. According to Perfect Game Witt ranked in the 99.76 to 99.87% of the class in all 3 measures of bat speed (max barrell speed, impact momentum and max acceleration). This same bat speed allowed Witt JR to win the HS home run derby over guys like Rece Hinds and Tyler Callihan. Even if Witt only becomes a 230/240 hitter, with his power/speed/defense combo, he could be a high war player and he has a lot of time to become a better hitter than that. Should the swing and miss scare the Royals brass off, Josh Jung, Riley Greene, CJ Abrams and Andrew Vaughn could be in play.

Previous Mock: Michael Busch

3. Chicago White Sox

Daniel Espino, RHP

Bio:
School: GA (Georgia Premier Academy)
Height: 6-3
Weight: 210 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

White Sox GM Rick Hahn has shown a strong leaning towards college players, drafting from college ranks in 6 straight drafts round 1. However, he hasn’t exactly had the best track record doing so. It might be time to change things up and Daniel Espino is just the kind of arm that could convince him to do so. Espino is far and away the best arm in the class for me. Espino is strong, athletic and absurdly flexible (he can do the splits) with an advanced 6-2 frame. Espino uses that strength and flexibility to get into positions most guys simply can’t. As a result of this, he’s able to hold 95-98 without extreme effort and has touched triple digits at times, including breaking Hunter Greene’s velo record for Perfect Game events. In addition to the insane velocity, Espino throws one of the better sliders in the class, a solid curveball and a decent changeup that will play up due to his fastball velocity. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pitcher with this high of a ceiling have this kind of arsenal at his age. Espino pitched 26 AB against players on the combined MLB Pipeline draft top 50 and Perfect Game draft top 300…in those 26 AB against names including Bobby Witt jr, batters were a combined 1 for 25 with 1 BB and 17 K! That’s dominance against the best! The one knock on Espino is that the frame isn’t very projectable, but who needs projection when you’re already hitting 100, living upper 90’s and have 3 good offspeed pitches? And he is just freshly turned 18, there could easily be more in the tank if he grows a bit. Should Hahn stick with his college first round ways; Andrew Vaughn, Josh Jung and Bryson Stott fit his MO.

Previous mock: Adley Rutschman

4. Miami Marlins

Andrew Vaughn, 1B

Bio:
School: Cal
Height: 5-11
Weight: 215 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill is another decision maker I have bucking his first round trend. Hill has been an extreme prep ranks drafter over his decade of decision making, but this system has a big hole in corner infield middle of the order types. Vaughn happens to be one of the best bats in recent history. While an undersized, right handed 1B going top 5 is almost unheard of; so is what Vaughn did at the plate last year. He slashed 402/531/819 with 37 XBH (23 home runs) in 54 games with 44BB and just 18K….what?! Then he switched to wood bats at the Cape slashing 308/368/654, safe to say the power translates to wood bats. A former pitcher (and a good one at that) Vaughn has good arm strength but lacks the foot and glove work to play anywhere but first. That being said, does it matter? He’s the safest bet to be a prototypical #3 hitter in the draft and in a few years. The Marlins system really needs a guy like that. Others in the mix are Riley Greene, CJ Abrams, Brennan Malone and Rece Hinds.

Previous Mock: Bobby Witt JR

5. Detroit Tigers

Riley Greene, OF

Bio:
School: FL (Hagerty HS)
Height: 6-2
Weight: 190 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/L

Tigers GM Al Avila has gone with high upside arms with all 3 of his first round picks in his tenure. This year he goes bat but sticks with high upside, taking my #1 rated HS bat, Riley Greene. The guy is a flat out stud, both on tape and in his measurables, with a track record of major success in the big tournaments. Greene is somewhat widely regarded as the most advanced bat in this HS class. He has plus pitch recognition, beautifully fluid swing mechanics and easy top end bat speed. On top of this, he has a cannon in right throwing 92 MPH on tape. Add in that he has a 6.62 60 time (94th percentile for the prep class per perfect game and a 60 speed rating by fangraphs standard) and more importantly a 1.51 10 yard (99.14 percentile!) he has plus speed. Already generating 100 MPH exit velos (99.21% for the class per perfect game) and electric bat speed with his “easy and fluid swing” with an approach and eye that will generate “big walk totals in the future” per perfect game. What’s not to love? In summation, Greene projects to hit for average and power, with a high walk rate, have plus speed, elite quickness, an electric and accurate arm and all on a prototypical frame. Did I mention he’s considered to have a good makeup and is a good student? The Tigers need plus athletes and they need true middle of the order hitters, Greene can be both. His upside is right there with Bobby Witt Jr for me, but the floor is much higher. Should be under consideration at all 4 previous picks. Other options include Josh Jung, Carter Stewart, Bryson Stott and Shea Langeliers.

Previous Mock: Daniel Espino

6. San Diego Padres

Shea Langeliers, C

Bio:
School: Baylor
Height: 6-0
Weight: 190 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

Aj Preller is a wild card come draft time, so I am going to go off of a combo of system needs and best player available. Despite having the best system in baseball, I’m not sure I see a true future MLB catcher in the system (hence Francisco Mejia getting tried out at third and OF). Enter Shea Langeliers. In almost any other class, Langeliers would be the top catcher off the board. An absolute stud behind the dish, Shea grades out as a 70 arm with excellent receiving and game calling skills! While he only hit 252 last year, he suffered from an unlucky 263 Babip and hit 313 as a freshman. He managed to hit 31 xbh in just 58 games last year and showed good power at the cape with wooden bats. Strikeouts will always be a part of his game, but he is willing to take walks and can drive the ball when he connects. Lauded for his leadership skills, Shea is beloved by teammates and coaches across the board. With the Padres system stuffed to the gills with talent at every other position on the diamond, it feels like a no brainer to take a game caller who can maximize the arms in the system, should be a quick riser and can do damage at the plate. Other options include Carter Stewart, Josh Jung, Corbin Carroll and Michael Busch.

Previous Mock: Corbin Carroll

7. Cincinnati Reds

Graeme Stinson, LHP

Bio:
School: Duke
Height: 6-5
Weight: 250 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/L

Reds GM Nick Krall only has one draft under his belt (despite being a big part of the last 4+) and that makes him a bit unpredictable come June. Who saw the Jonathan India pick coming? Or any of their offseason trades? What’s clear to me though, is that the Reds need quick moving left handed arms. My money is on Stinson for the best lefty in the class. Stinson is converting from closer to starter for Duke in 2019. He began the process late last year and the early returns have been amazing! 6 shutout IP against Texas Tech in the playoffs..5 shutout innings in his lone start on the Cape with 12 k and a 0.8 WHIP. 6 innings with 10k and only 2 hits and zero ER for Team USA. Stinson has a ridiculous mid 90s fastball that touches 97 with great sink and his slider the best of its kind in the class by a decent margin. His changeup flashes some hope but he will need to get used to using it. Stinson is a big, little bit fluffy guy at 6-5 250 and struggles with repeating his mechanics, at times getting a bit wild. There are concerns for how he will hold up over a season as a starter mechanically and last year was his most IP thrown in a year at 73. That being said, the early returns are great and the stuff and stats are eye popping. Plus he fills a need. Zach Thompson, Nick Lodolo and CJ Abrams make some sense here as well.

Previous Mock: Graeme Stinson

8. Texas Rangers

CJ Abrams, SS

Bio:
School: GA (Blessed Trinity HS)
Height: 6-2
Weight: 185 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/R

The Rangers will be ecstatic to see Abrams on the board here. Pick is in as soon as their turn is up. Abrams will be expensive, but he’d probably be in play for Texas if they were picking #1 overall. For as bad of a stretch as the Rangers have had, I actually think Jon Daniels is a decent GM, and I think he values athletic players highly. Look at his last first-round picks: Bubba Thompson and Cole Winn, both plus athletes with projection. Look at his biggest bonus International guys in Julio Pablo Martinez and Leodys Taveras. Both are pure, projectable athletes. Abrams is one of the best athletes in the class, while also being very advanced mechanically and as a hitter. Abrams has the tools to play SS, an area of weakness in the Ranger’s system; but his lefty arm might fit well at second. His strong arm (throws in the 90s) and elite 99th percentile speed should allow him to play center if needed.Either way he’s playing up the middle in some form. He’s hit well against the best arms the prep circuit has to offer in both tournaments and in the Georgia Prep grind. The ball jumps off his bat and his frame is ideal for a hitter. Abrams is the 4th ranked player on my board, so he will command a big bonus to keep him away from an Alabama commitment. But he fits everything the Rangers need and value. Matthew Thompson, Rece Hinds, Josh Jung and Brennan Malone are all in play here as well.

Previous Mock: CJ Abrams

9. Atlanta Braves
*    (Comp For 2018 Unsigned Pick)

Will Holland, SS

Bio:
School: Auburn
Height: 5-10
Weight: 180 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

This one is easy. Carter Stewart is the best arm here and that’s not gonna happen again. The Braves system is absolutely loaded on the corners, behind the plate, in the outfield and the arms are notorious. But middle infield is a little bit sketchy, as is former #1 pick Dansby Swanson. With Witt and Abrams off the board, the Braves have their pick of the top college middle infielder and for me, there’s no doubt that player is Holland. Holland has a few questions (high k-rate in a short cape cod stint and for Team USA and occasional mental lapses at SS). But the pros are plus power, plus speed, highlight reel plays at SS, success against the SEC (.313/.406/.530 with 30 XBH (12 HR) and 9 steals in 66 games. And a short but sweet Cape Cod appearance. He does a little of everything and has room to improve. His ceiling is very high and he flashes all 5 tools. Plus, as a college junior, he may sign a bit under slot here, allowing the Braves to go over slot with pick #21. In a deep college SS class, I can’t really see the Braves going anywhere else but the top SS here. That being said, Josh Jung could be in play if they sour on the SS crop, as could Brennan Malone.

Previous Mock: Will Holland

10. San Francisco Giants

Carter Stewart, RHP

Bio:
School: Eastern Florida St JC
Height: 6-6
Weight: 200 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

It appears previous Dodgers GM Farhan Zaini will be calling the shots this year for the Giants and he has his work cut out for him. Outside of Joey Bart and J2 stud Marco Luciano, the system is bare. The major league roster is in disrepair as well. With the complete lack of high end pitching talent and Zaini’s love of drafting arms round 1, Carter Stewart feels like a natural fit. Stewart went 8th last year and didn’t sign in a highly contentious (lawsuit was filed) situation due to injury concerns. Stewart has looked fine on the mound to me post draft living 92-94 with his fastball and having touched 97 in the past. He still has his famous high spin rate double plus curve, still has his projectable 6-6 200 pound frame, still throws strikes and mixes in a changeup. New agent Scott Boras will command a high bonus for his client, but the Giants and Boras have plenty of history together and have been willing to pay high bonuses to both Bart and Luciano in the last year. Josh Jung, Brennan Malone and anyone from Vanderbilt (Zaidi has used 3 1sts on Vanderbilt players in the last 4 years) could be in play as well.

Previous Mock: Carter Stewart

11. Toronto Blue Jays

Kameron Misner, OF

Bio:
School: Missouri
Height: 6-4
Weight: 220 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/L

GM Ross Atkins is a wild card, he will draft anyone from any rank and has had success doing so. However, for all of the talent teaming in the Blue Jays system, there isn’t a much OF depth behind Chavez Young . Kameron Misner can help fix that. Misner missed the second half of last year with a broken foot, but prior to that was slashing 360/497/576 with 16 XBH and 13 steals in just 34 games in the always tough SEC! Misner is a big lefty with a genuine 5 tool skill set, the ability to play all 3 outfield spots, a cannon arm. Just above average across the board. I don’t usually do comps but Misner really reminds me of a Lefty Prime Hunter Pence and that’s what his ceiling could wind up being. If Misner returns healthy expect him to shoot up boards and right into the Blue Jays arms. Other options include Corbin Carroll, Brennan Malone and Alek Manoah.

Previous Mock: Alek Manoah

12. New York Mets

Corbin Carroll, OF

Bio:
School: WA (Lakeside HS)
Height: 5-10
Weight: 165 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/L
Nobody really knows what Brodie Van Wagonen will do with his first ever draft pick, so this should be a fun one to project. With the board how its currently set, Corbin Carroll makes a lot of sense here. Carroll may be small, but he makes up for his size with 70 grade speed, good center field defense, plus hit tool and surprising pop. Carroll really stood out at Perfect Game events over the summer, including taking home MVP honors in the All American Classic and finishing top 4 in the home run derby! He was also the only player in the perfect game top 300 to get a hit off of Daniel Espino, a screaming triple. Carroll should be a fan favorite and has drawn comps to Andrew Benintendi and Jacoby Ellsbury. He could go off the board earlier, in which case Nick Lodolo, Zach Thompson or Tyler Dyson all make sense.

Previous Mock: Josh Jung

13. Minnesota Twins

Josh Jung, 3B

Bio:
School: Texas Tech
Height: 6-2
Weight: 215 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

GM Thad Levine has shown a high preference for safe college bats (despite taking Royce Lewis 1-1) with his first rounders. As such, I don’t think he could get the pick in quick enough if Jung is still on the board. Not only is he a safe college bat and the top rated player on the board, but he fills a system need at third. Jung an astounding 392/491/639 for Texas Tech last year leading college ball with 80 RBI. He hit 35 XBH (12 HR) in 65 games and had a fantastic 39BB to 32K. He was the starting 3B for Team USA, slashing 283/377/377. Scouts are mixed on Jung’s defense and power with some scouts grading him as a 55 in both and others doubting the lateral quickness and wood bat power. Nobody doubts his ability to hit though. Jung has great patience, uses all fields and a very strong lower half that should lead to pull side power at a minimum and a strong arm that should allow him to stick at 3rd. Worst case, Jung will be a high average 1B with average power, but he could become a 280/20 3B with a plus arm. He reminds a lot of prime Jeff Cirillo with maybe just a bit more pop. Jung could be in play as early as pick 1, so should he be off the board; Rece Hinds, Zach Thompson, Brennan Malone and Tyler Dyson could be in play.

Previous Mock: Rece Hinds

14. Philadelphia Phillies

Zach Thompson, LHP

Bio:
School: Kentucky
Height: 6-2
Weight: 215 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/L

GM Mike Klentak has gone bats with all 3 of his first round picks as a GM and college the last two years. The bat trend ends this year. Zach Thompson has been on MLB radars since 2016, when he was an 11th round pick by Tampa Bay. He instead elected to go to Kentucky where he was nothing short of amazing as a freshman, looking like a future 1-1 pick. He pitched only 31 IP last year due to an elbow injury and while the swing and miss stuff was there (12.19 K/9), his walk rate reached 5.82 per 9 and stayed there in the Cape and for Team USA. The stuff is great. Thompson is a high spin rate pitcher who lives 91-93 with his fastball, but has touched 96 with good run at times. His slider features high spin in the low 80’s as does his curve (though that pitch is all spin, no power currently). He also has a nice change up and good athleticism. If Thompson trends the right direction next year with his control and stays injury free, he should be seen as a mid rotation starter and go in the top half of the first. If the curveball improves, he could be a #2 starter. Other options with this pick include Nick Lodolo, Tyler Dyson and Bryson Stott.

Previous Mock: Shea Langeliers

15. Los Angeles Angels

Rece Hinds, 3B

Bio:
School: FL (IMG Academy)
Height: 6-4
Weight: 210 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

After a bit of a head scratching pick of Matt Thaiss with his first pick as a GM in 2016, Billy Eppler has put a clear emphasis on drafting physical specimens round 1. Rece Hinds fits that bill and also a need at pick 15. The Angels have had a revolving door at 3B in recent years and don’t have anyone of note coming up to solve that. While Hinds is currently a SS, nobody expects him to stay there. A move to 3B would fit his massive 6-4 frame and absolute cannon of an arm nicely (he threw 98 MPH from the infield last year). Hinds has a bit of a long swing at times, but generates massive massive power and projects to grow into more as he fills out. He’s already shown over 101 MPH exit velos in game and hits absolute moon shots. Nobody in the class can match his raw power that comes from his massive frame, lofty swing and electric bat speed. The power could be legitimate 80 grade and the arm could be a 70. He struggles to recognize offspeed offerings and he has some swing and miss, but the upside is tantalizing! That seems to fit the Angels MO. The upside here is good Miguel Sano while the downside is Jhailyn Ortiz. Other options here include Greg Jones, Jerrion Ealy, Spencer Jones and Hunter Barco.

Previous Mock: Greg Jones

16. Arizona Diamondbacks

Bryson Stott, SS

Bio:
School: UNLV
Height: 6-3
Weight: 195 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/R

The Diamondbacks have 7 of the first 78 picks in this draft and if they play their cards right could dramatically alter the course of their franchise. A big part of that success will be how they use their massive bonus pool. Do they go for safe under slot early to catch the falling HS stars or draft the best player available? Stott might just be both. A Southwest native, Stott could be willing to go slightly under bonus, but he’s also likely the best player available at this point. A sure thing at SS and the starting SS for Team USA, Stott has an above average arm and range and should easily stick at short despite his 6-3 frame. Stott has incredible plate discipline from both sides of the plate, walking 32 times to just 18K en route to a 365/442/556 slashline for UNLV. While Stott has a bit of a slappy swing, there is power potential to be unlocked in his 6-3 195 frame as evidenced by his 30 doubles in just 59 games last year. He is also an above average runner. Stott would be a great way to start off a franchise changing draft for the D-Backs. Anyone and everyone will be in play here, but Tyler Callihan, Nick Lodolo, Chase Strumpf and Jerrion Ealy all jump out as fits.

Previous Mock: Chase Strumpf

17. Washington Nationals

Michael Busch, OF/1B

Bio:
School: UNC
Height: 6-0
Weight: 210 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/R

Nats GM Mike Rizzo might be the best in the biz at drafting in the first round. Sure Harper and Strasburg fell into his lap, but the track record speaks for itself. But after years of trading away top talent and graduating stars, the farm is bare outside of the top 4. Particularly in the corner infield. As it always seems to happen with the Nats, Michael Busch falls into their lap as the top player available and a position of need. Busch is a slightly undersized right handed 1B, but he is capable of playing left field or 2B (where he played in the Cape). The bat is the carrying tool here. Busch hit 317/465/521 for the Tar Heels last year with 8 SB and 55BB to just 30K. He then showed even more power on the Cape with a wood bat, slashing 322/450/567 chipping in 6 hr and 3 steals in just 90 AB with again more walks than K. Busch was a football and hockey player in HS as well and is a better athlete than you’d think. The star hitter on my preseason #1 ranked college team, Busch will be in the spotlight and has an outside chance at the golden spikes award. Perfect fit for the system. Other options are Tyler Callihan, Brennan Malone and Jerrion Ealy.

Previous Mock: Andrew Vaughn

18. Pittsburgh Pirates

Alek Manoah, RHP

Bio:
School: WVU
Height: 6-6
Weight: 260 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

Pirates GM Neal Huntington has proven over the years that he will draft any position from any level in the first, so this will be wide open. Alek Manoah is the guy who impressed me the most of anyone I saw in the Cape Cod League last year. An imposing figure at every bit of 6-6 260, Manoah lives in the 93-95 range with his fastball that has touched 98 at times. He uses his long limbs and frame to get good extension and the perceived velo should be even higher. His secondary pitch is a nasty slider that should generate heavy swing and miss. Primarily a reliever at WVU, Manoah rarely used his change in college but it showed potential on the Cape. As a 6-6 plus pitcher with more experience out of the pen than starting, there will always be RP risk with Manoah. That being said, his 3-2 record with a 2.70 era, 0.79 whip, 4.05 H/9 and 48K over 33 IP against college’s best in his 7 Cape starts show his upside. He was THE most dominant pitcher I watched pitch in the league last summer! Other options here include Brennan Malone, Tyler Dyson, Nick Lodolo and Braden Shewmake.

Previous Mock: Brennan Malone

19. St. Louis Cardinals

Brennan Malone, RHP

Bio:
School: FL (IMG Academy)
Height: 6-4
Weight: 210 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

Ever since John Mozeliak took the reigns in 2007, Cardinals have been known by NL Central foes as having “Cardinals devil magic”. That devil magic was on full display for Girsch and Mozeliak last year with Nolan Gorman falling to them. It’s on display again here with Brennan Malone (the 1.B HS arm on many boards) falling to them at 19! Malone has one of the better fastballs in the class living 94-95 and touching 97. With a highly projectable frame and transfer to a baseball academy, it’s possible we see Malone touching 100 at this time next year! Malone also has a nice 12/6 slow curve and a change with good arm action and some fade. There are reports of a slider that I haven’t seen him use yet. Malone is still pretty raw, with command that has come and gone and needs to learn to sequence. As of now, he’s more thrower than pitcher. But with a highly athletic frame, loose delivery, solid present stuff and a highly regarded makeup; Malone offers plenty of reason to believe. Should he take steps forward, he could be gone now. In which case Spencer Jones, Nick Lodolo, Hunter Barco and Thomas Dillard all make sense.

Previous Mock: Kameron Misner

20. Seattle Mariners

Braden Shewmake, SS

Bio:
School: Texas A&M
Height: 6-4
Weight: 180 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/R

For all of GM Jerry Dipoto’s trading, he has yet to move a guy he drafted round 1. He also has yet to draft any HS in round 1 in his career. With the Mariners now somewhat stocked with arms and OF depth, 3B/SS appears as a glaring need in the system. Braden Shewmake plays SS currently, but once he fills out his 6-4 180 frame, many expect a move to third, where he projects as a plus defender. A starter for Team USA both as a freshman and a sophomore, Shewmake has played 1B,2B,SS and OF for the team as well. Despite just 50 speed, Shewmake was 12 for 12 on SB attempts last year and slashed 325/395/450. His freshman year he showed more power as the only SEC freshman with double digits HR and SB in 2017. The main knock on Shewmake is lack of offensive success for Team USA and a swing that can get slappy at times. That being said, he shows pull power when he wants with more raw power than bats like Stott, has great plate discipline and great baseball IQ in the field and on the bases. With his room for growth, 5 tool well rounded skill set, defensive versatility, advanced bat and success in baseball’s toughest conference; he screams Dipoto prototype prospect. Other options here include Austin Shenton, George Kirby, Will Wilson and Chase Strumpf.

Previous Mock: Bryson Stott

21. Atlanta Braves

Hunter Barco, LHP/OF

Bio:
School: FL (The Bolles School)
Height: 6-4
Weight: 210 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/L

Nobody likes drafting HS arms as much as GM Alex Anthopolous who has drafted 8 HS arms in the first round in his 7 seasons as a GM. That trend continues here as the Braves use some extra money saved on the Holland selection to sign Hunter Barco, a two way Lefty who has been on scouts radars for years now. Scouts are split on Barco, with some still seeing him as a top 5 talent and others seeing a comp round player. Prospect fatigue and inconsistent performance have taken their toll, but Barco still offers tantalizing upside while fitting the Braves prototype well. Barco is a plus athlete who throws an almost side-armed low 90’s heater with exceptional movement. He mixes his heat with a plus slider and a cutting change. On the other side of the ball, Barco plays 1B and OF and offers tremendous raw power, but it comes with some swing and miss. Many scouts prefer him as an arm and see a jump in stuff if he focuses solely on pitching. Naturally, he’s drawn Brendan McKay comps that aren’t too far off. He will command a large bonus and will likely cost more than slot here. If that’s too expensive Tyler Dyson, Tyler Callihan, Quinn Priester and Jack Leiter make sense here.

Previous Mock: Hunter Barco

22. Tampa Bay Rays

Spencer Jones, LHP/1B

Bio:
School: CA (La Costa Canyon HS)
Height: 6-7
Weight: 210 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/L

And now for my favorite HS lefty in the class, Spencer Jones. The Rays love two way players and Jones is the best in the class for my money. I prefer him as a pitcher, where his projectable 6-7 frame launches 91-93 mph fastballs with excellent downhill plane and high spin rate heartbreaker slurves. He mixes in a changeup that flashes but isn’t yet consistent. With his frame and minor mechanical bugs, a sizeable velocity uptick should be coming. When he learns to get better extension, the perceived velocity could be “Big Unit”-esque. He needs to refine his command, but that will come with reps. At first, his swing is a bit long and he needs to learn to drive from his lower half better, but monster raw power is there and he’s a much better athlete than you’d expect. Again, highly projectable and there is easily potential for 70 raw power at maturity (albeit with a likely high strikeout rate). All in all, Jones is an extremely likable guy (top-notch student, good makeup) highly projectable guy on both sides with two-way genuine star potential. The floor is lower than your Barco’s or Malone’s but the upside is sexy. It might cost some money to get him away from Vanderbilt’s open arms, but not as much as Barco and he’s the perfect system fit for the Rays. If he goes to Vandy, look for him at #1 overall in 2021. Other options include Matthew Lugo, Jerrion Ealy, Greg Jones and Quinn Priester.

Previous Mock: Spencer Jones

23. Colorado Rockies

Tyler Dyson, RHP

Bio:
School: Florida
Height: 6-3
Weight: 225 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

While the Rockies are known for their hitting, GM Jeff Bridich has gone the college arm route with his last two first round picks and I think that trend continues. The Rock’s will be excited to see Tyler Dyson (the top college arm on some boards) still here at pick 23. Similar to last years Florida ace Brady Singer, Dyson uses a mid 90’s fastball that can touch 97 with a nasty slider. On rare occasions he will use his change, which needs some work. Dyson is not nearly as polished and doesn’t quite have the same raw stuff as Singer, but he does have first round raw stuff. The issue is that he has been used primarily as an RP with results that don’t match his raw stuff. He falls out of rhythm at times and needs to improve his command and consistency. Luckily, the Florida pitching staff has shown the ability to develop similar arms like no other system has. He showed well on the Cape, going 19 innings in just 3 starts with 23K, a 2.37 ERA and 1.11 whip (although his BB rate stayed above 4 per 9). If Dyson can take a step forward in 2019 he should come off the board in the first round and perhaps even in the top half. Other options here include Nick Lodolo, George Kirby, Jerrion Ealy and Ryan Zeferjahn.

Previous Mock: Tyler Dyson

24. Cleveland Indians

Tyler Callihan, 1B/3B

Bio:
School: FL (Providence HS)
Height: 6-1
Weight: 200 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/R

Indians GM Mike Chernoff has trended towards HS players that are young for their graduating class. While Callihan isn’t young for the class, he does fit the mould otherwise. Callihan gets high marks for his character and leadership skills, but it’s his bat that gets him drafted in the first round. Callihan does an elite job of getting to his above average maximum barrell speed quickly, allowing him to get to and drive velocity and spin at an advanced rate for his age. Callihan isn’t just a slap hitter by any means though, hitting towering bombs against high end prep arms in games. The concern here is defense. Callihan works mainly at 3B where he is raw and causes some to see a move to 1B down the line, but the arm plays. Callihan has also played at 2B in Perfect Game events and is even working on trying out catcher (where his leadership qualities would shine) this winter. While Callihan isn’t a burner in terms of straight line speed, he’s fairly quick and takes good first steps. Some team is going to fall in love with both the bat and the kid and take him in the back half of the first round. Other options here are Kendall Williams, Erik Rivera, Jaden Brown (who is very young for the class) and Hayden Dunhurst.

Previous Mock: Tyler Callihan

25. Los Angeles Dodgers

Jerrion Ealy, OF

Bio:
School: MS (Jackson Prep)
Height: 5-10
Weight: 195 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

While the Dodgers don’t technically have a current GM, it’s still the Andrew Friedman show when it comes to baseball decisions. Friedman has always shown love for high end athletes and has not shied away from tough signs. If Ealy were strictly a baseball player, he would likely go much earlier. However, Ealy is a top 5 RB in the class with legitimate NFL potential in a few years and will not be a cheap sign. Luckily, the Dodgers have extra bonus pool money from comp for last years unsigned first rounder and can pay above slot value. In Ealy, they are getting a potential all star level player! Ealy has every bit of 80 grade speed (6.13 60 yard dash), a cannon arm (96 from the outfield), the ability to play center field and tremendous bat speed that should lead to solid power. There is also upside to be unlocked if he focuses solely on baseball. He needs to add polish across the board with the bat and will likely always have some swing and miss, but he’s more polished than you’d expect from a two sport player of his caliber. Likely the most high risk/high reward player in the draft. Other options include Jaden Brown, Matthew Lugo, Kendall Williams and Chase Strumpf.

Previous Mock: Zach Thompson

26. Arizona Diamondbacks
*    (Comp For 2018 Unsigned Pick)

Nick Lodolo, LHP

Bio:
School: TCU
Height: 6-6
Weight: 185 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/L

After saving just a bit of money with southwestern native Bryson Stott, the Diamondbacks again go slightly under slot with a southwestern native in Nick Lodolo. Lodolo has been drafted in the first round before, going 41st overall out of HS but declining the Pirates 1.75 mil offer. This time around he doesn’t quite have the same bargaining leverage and would likely take a slight pay cut to play close to home. While Lodolo hasn’t quite lived up to his lofty potential yet, he hasn’t been a slouch either. Lodolo uses his 6-6 frame to create steep arm angle on his 91-93 MPH sinking fastball that can reach 96 at times. He uses similar arm action on a solid change up that plays well off of the fastball. His curve is inconsistent, but flashes plus when its on. Command and control are issues, leading to more hits than a guy with his stuff should allow; but there’s no doubting the swing and miss stuff. With his extremely projectable 6-6 185 frame, it’s easy to dream on even better stuff as Lodolo fills out. If he shows better command and adds on 10 pounds, Lodolo could be the top college arm off of the books considering his upside and the down year college pitching class. If he were gone J.J Goss, Brett Baty, Chase Strumpf and Ethan Small make sense here.

Previous Mock: JJ Goss

27. Chicago Cubs

J.J Bleday, OF

Bio:
School: Vanderbilt
Height: 6-3
Weight: 205 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/L

The Cubs just seem to have a way of identifying and developing top college hitters and turning them into stars. The last 3 bats they drafted round 1 (Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ and Nico Hoerner) all looked like reaches during the draft and then took the minors by storm. What do all these guys share in common? They showed legitimate upside with the wooden bat on the Cape their sophomore year summer. JJ Bleday was Vanderbilt’s best hitter last year slashing 368/494/511 but only hit 10 XBH and has below average speed. However, when he got to the Cape, he showed real wooden bat power slashing 311/374/500 with 16 XBH in fewer games and raising his iso from .143 at Vandy to .189 on the Cape. You don’t often see guys hit for more power with a wood bat. Bleday comps in almost all ways to Trevor Larnach but with a better arm and we could see a similar power uptick this year. Bleday just feels like a Cubs pick. If not, Thomas Dillard, George Kirby, Chase Strumpf and Blake Sabol make sense.

Previous Mock: Thomas Dillard

28. Milwaukee Brewers

Jack Leiter, RHP

Bio:
School: NJ (Delbarton HS)
Height: 6-1
Weight: 195 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R
Brewers GM David Stearns has been arguably the best GM in baseball since taking over after the 2015 season. His draft strategy seems to be taking a polished player early and then draft plenty of raw high upside players throughout the draft. Not only is Leiter one of (if not the) most polished arms in the prep class, but he reminds me a lot of another Stearns pick Corbin Burnes. Both undersized righties with fastballs that didn’t jump off of the page as starters (although both hit the mid 90s) and high spin rate curve/slider combos with success on larger stages. Leiter lives 90-93 with his sinking fastball, at times reaching back for 95. His curve has spin rates in the 2500-2600 RPM range per Baseball America, which he mixes with a sharp slider and decent change. He uses all 4 quadrants of the zone well, can mix speeds and plane well, and isn’t afraid to throw his offspeed stuff early. A safe bet to succeed with a lengthy track record and big name recognition but a relatively low ceiling compared to other first round prep arms. He’s the pitching equivalent of Brice Turang. Other options include Hayden Dunhurst, Brett Baty, Ethan Small and Erik Rivera.

Previous Mock: Hayden Dunhurst

29. Oakland Athletics

Greg Jones, SS

Bio:
School: UNCW
Height: 5-11
Weight: 170 lbs
Hits/Throws: S/R

It’s no secret that over the last two years Billy Beane and GM David Frost have been prioritizing premium athletes in the draft and via trades, especially given the whole Kyler Murray debacle. I don’t think that trend stops here. Greg Jones is as athletic as they come and is already shaping up to be one of the most polarizing names in the class. A draft eligible sophomore, Jones will have decent negotiation clout, but I think Oakland will fall in love with the raw tools. Jones is a switch hitter with more bat speed from the right side, but should be able to continue hitting from both sides of the plate. Still filling out his absurdly athletic frame, Jones should add more power as he matures and will flash solid raw power at times (although his approach may limit him to just average game power). Jones has blazing speed that is a legitimate 70 and should be a high babip and high SB player. Currently primarily a SS, I prefer what I saw from Jones in CF where he projects as a plus defender with elite range and a plus arm. At SS, his foot and glove work need reps, but his arm and agility give you reason to believe. Jones biggest concern is his swing and miss, which was at 25% k rate at UNCW and 29.29 on the Cape. His simple approach and ability to draw walks gives me hope that this is a solvable problem and I think he can be a prototype leadoff hitter with some defensive value and a very high ceiling if developed properly. Other options include Erik Rivera, Mike Toglia, Justin Tejada and Jaden Brown.

Previous Mock: Jaden Brown

30. New York Yankees

Matthew Lugo, SS

Bio:
School: PR (Carlos Beltran Academy)
Height: 6-1
Weight: 185 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

The MLB’s longest running GM Brian Cashman doesn’t seem to have a clear strategy when it comes to first round picks, so I’m going best player available. For me, that’s Matthew Lugo here. Lugo, the nephew of Carlos Beltran, attends his uncles academy and really stood out in Perfect Game events over the summer. When I see Lugo, I instantly think of Carlos Correa both in looks and in game style. Lugo isn’t quite as big as Correa but has a similar frame and at 6-1 185 is above average SS size with a highly athletic frame. Also like pre draft year Correa, Lugo stands out for what he can be than what he is. Defensively Lugo makes highlight reel plays; diving in the dirt, leaping up for liners and throwing on the run. He also flashes one of the strongest SS arms in the class, but will struggle at times with the routine plays. I am in love with Lugo’s swing which uses a medium leg kick, extremely quick wrists and excellent weight transfer to generate 97 MPH exit velos. The swing also generates high end bat speed, particularly “max acceleration” which measures how quickly you reach your maximum barrell speed. In addition to his bat, arm and glove, Lugo has shown elite speed. He ran a 6.46 60 yard dash (98th percentile for the class per Perfect Game and a 70 speed tool by fangraphs 20-80) and a 1.53 10 yard split (94.71 percentile for the class). With his pedigree and upside combo as well as a solid commitment to Miami, Lugo will cost some $$$ to sign, but NY has the money to spend given their acquisition of a comp pick from the Reds. Lugo would be my ideal choice for my Mariners at pick 20. Other options with this pick include Henry Gargus, Brett Baty, Quinn Priester and Kendall Williams.

Previous Mock: Brett baty

31. Los Angeles Dodgers
*    (Comp For 2018 Unsigned Pick)

Chase Strumpf, 2B/SS

Bio:
School: UCLA
Height: 6-1
Weight: 195 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

After spending over slot on Jerrion Ealy at 25, the Dodgers save some money drafting Strumpf, a local Junior at UCLA who seems criminally underrated to me. I tend to see Strumpf rated in the 40’s to 80’s on big boards and I am much higher on him personally. Strumpf started at SS at Junipero Serra high school over Royce Lewis. He lead a UCLA team that included Michael Toglia in Average, SLG, OBP, HR and Runs slashing 363/475/633 with 59 runs, 36 XBH (12 HR) and 53 RBI in 58 games. He was selected for Team USA (but didn’t play due to a minor injury that is fully healed). Strumpf is limited at SS due to a slightly below average arm and may need to slide over to 2B eventually. He also has average speed at best. But the bat is a plus to plus plus and he has solid pop. He may be willing to sign under slot to stay in town to LA given he is a Junior, which makes the pick even more likely. Other options include Erik Rivera, Kendall Williams, JJ Goss and Riley Cornelio.

Previous Mock: Matthew Lugo

32. Houston Astros

Hayden Dunhurst, C

Bio:
School: MS (Pearl River Central HS)
Height: 5-11
Weight: 210 lbs
Hits/Throws: S/R

There is simply no way to know what Jeff Luhnow will do come draft day, especially now that Mike Elias is gone, so I’m going for what I think their system needs. Hayden Dunhurst may not be a first round pick in many mocks right now, but he makes a lot of sense for the analytically minded Astros. Dunhurst is probably my 2nd favorite catcher in this class behind Rutschman. He has a solid catchers frame at 5-11 210 and sneaky athleticism for a catcher. He has one of the best arms behind the plate, flashing a 1.81 second pop (97.42 percentile for the class per perfect game) and consistently in the 1.9 second range. He is agile behind the plate and has made major strides blocking and framing in the last two years. He has a wide batting stance that generates easy elite bat speed. His max Barrell speed, impact momentum and max acceleration all ranked in the 97.25, 96.39 and 98.91 percentile for the class respectively per Perfect Game. The end result was 98 MPH exit velos that ranked right at the top of the class. In addition to the trackman data loving him, he is elite at repeating his sound mechanics on both offense and defense and is very polished overall. He flashes surprising speed with what would be a 50 speed tool by Fangraphs scale and a quick 1.62 10 yard split. The risk in his profile comes in that he is a Mississippi prep bat and a prep catcher, both of which have poor track records. But I believe in what I see on film and it’s backed up by excellent trackman data. He’s known as a good kid with leadership skills and has the tools to fall back on as a 1B/RF and maybe even 3B should he fail as a catcher. I truly love this kid and I think the analytically minded Astros will want him as insurance at a premium position where they don’t have much depth behind Garrett Stubbs. Other options include Erik Rivera, Jaden Brown, Quinn Priester and George Kirby.

Previous Mock: Erik Rivera

33. Boston Red Sox

George Kirby, RHP

Bio:
School: Elon
Height: 6-4
Weight: 210 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

Dave Dombrowski has done what he does best and made a champion while draining the farm. The Red Sox are solidly win now and have no arms that are safe bets to be MLB starters. As such, a college pitcher makes a lot of sense here and George Kirby is the best one on the board. Kirby is the rare high profile small college arm and pairs with Kyle Brnovich as one of the better 1,2 combos in college this year. Kirby stands tall at 6-4 with some room to fill out his frame. He already throws 92-94, reaching 97 at times. He pairs his plus heat with a nasty slider and solid change. He also throws a curve that lags a bit behind but could improve over the year. Kirby first drew attention for his velocity in HS, but where he really shined at the end of last year was his very advanced feel for sequencing. Kirby, who had been a fastball first pitcher his whole life, started to use his fastball to set up his secondaries and work locations very well as the year went on and finished on a tear. He then dominated on the cape as a reliever striking out 24 batters with just 1 walk in 13 IP and a 1.38 ERA. Last year at Elon he went 10-3 with a 2.89 ERA and 96k/27BB in 90 IP over 15 starts. Kirby can have his command come and go at times and will need to improve that aspect of his game. With the truly amazing coaching staff at Elon, advancements as a pitcher for Kirby seem very likely over the course of the year. With his projectable frame, high velo, 3-4 pitch mix, feel for sequencing and fall back option as a dominant relief pitcher who could move very quickly; Kirby makes a ton of sense for the Sox. Other options include Ethan Small, Ken Waldichuk, Rick Devito and Matt Canterino.

Previous Mock: Matthew Thompson

34. Arizona Diamondbacks
*    (Comp For 2019 Free Agent Player Loss)

Brett Baty, 3B/1B

Bio:
School: TX (Lake Travis HS)
Height: 6-3
Weight: 210 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/R

With their third pick of the draft, the Diamondbacks select Brett Baty, a corner infielder from the Texas prep ranks. Baty was the 2018 Texas Gatorade player of the year over names like Bobby Witt Jr and Matt Thompson. Simply put, Baty can crush baseballs and he does it with a nice compact smooth swing with natural loft. He also has an absolute cannon that should allow him to play 3B if he has the athleticism, showing 90 MPH on throws. He was tied for top exit velo in the class at 101 mph and showed plus bat speed. More importantly he shows elite max acceleration, suggesting he will adapt well to high velo pitching. Baty is a slow runner who lacks agility and he needs work with his glove, footwork and throwing accuracy to stay at third. Therefore, a move to first seems likely, which fills a need for the Diamondbacks as Pavin Smith looks like a miss to me. Baty is arguably the top power bat in the class in terms of game power and is solid value at pick 34. Being a Southwest Native it’s also possible he will be willing to sign for slot or slightly less to stay local and have a system where he can rise quickly. Other options here include JJ Goss, Erik Rivera, Henry Gargus and Michael Toglia.

Previous mock: n/a

35. Arizona Diamondbacks
*    (Comp For 2019 Free Agent Player Loss)

J.J Goss, RHP

Bio:
School: TX (Cypress Ranch HS)
Height: 6-3
Weight: 190 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

With pick #4 in the first round, the Diamondbacks grab another southwest native in JJ Goss. It may come as a surprise to some to see Goss come off the board before HS teammate Matthew Thompson. However, in addition to likely costing slightly less to sign, I think Goss fits the mould of a Diamondbacks pitcher better and has better secondary offerings. Goss has a bit of a high effort delivery with some head-whack, but has electric raw stuff! His sinking fastball lives in the 90-93 range, touching 96 at times with great sinking action that should induce plenty of groundballs. He has great feel for his tight slider which is a 60 grade pitch for me and should be a heavy swing and miss pitch. His change up is firm and could use more velo separation from the fastball, it has similar arm action and motion to the fastball and is average with room to grow into a 55 or even 60 pitch with more separation. While the concerns with Goss’s effort, head whack and long arm action are valid; the upside with his very projectable frame, solid secondaries and major velo jump all offset that. With so many early picks, Goss is a risk the Diamondbacks can afford to take and one that could pay very high dividends. Other options here include Matthew Thompson, Quinn Priester, Kendall Williams and Michael Toglia.

Previous mock: n/a

36. Miami Marlins

Myles Austin, SS

Bio:
School: GA (Westlake HS)
Height: 6-3
Weight: 177 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

After going the safe route 4th overall, the Marlins gamble on upside with Austin. Austin is a long, lean athlete from the Georgia prep ranks who has a very high ceiling! Already 6-3 with tons of room to grow, Austin has very long limbs and a super projectable frame. The long levers combined with an aggressive approach at the plate cause swing and miss concerns with many scouts. However, while Austin’s bat speed is just above average, his max acceleration is truly elite. This tells me if a change in approach is made, he will be able to hit quality pitching. With natural loft in his swing and his frame, there should be more bat speed to come and Austin has huge power potential! He is already generating high end exit velos with plenty more to come and solid launch angles. His 6.53 60 yard dash and 1.53 10 split are both elite and would rank him a solid 60 speed by fangraphs chart. He should slow a bit as he fills out, but he should always have close to plus speed. Defensively, Austin has smooth foot and glove work with a power arm that ranked 99.84 percentile in the class in terms of velocity (per Perfect Game).That being said he can be a bit wild with his throws. Given his frame, it’s very possible he outgrows SS and moves to third or an outfield spot. However with his smooth defense and speed, he could stick at short or even have a shot at CF. Austin is your classic mile high upside and very risky downside pick, but for a rebuilding team that needs star power he makes a ton of sense. If he pans out, he could be a star. Other options here include Bryant Packard, Will Wilson, Matt Wallner and Matthew Allen.

Previous mock: n/a

37. Tampa Bay Rays

Connor Walsh, SS

Bio:
School: FL (Niceville Senior HS)
Height: 6-2
Weight: 185 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

The Rays always seem to find a solid middle infielder early in each class. This time it’s Florida native Connor Walsh. Walsh is an athletic, somewhat projectable SS who should be able to stick at the position long term. Walsh is a vacuum on the infield with a quick transfer and gets rid of the ball quickly with surprising zip for a short arm thrower. At the plate, Walsh uses a hanging leg lift to generate lower half power and his short swing (with exceptionally quick wrists) generates solid bat speed for a contact oriented swing. Walsh’s swing combines well above average bat speed and force with truly elite max acceleration and simple timing mechanisms. To me his mechanics say he should hit for high average with 50 power, maybe more if he keeps growing (considering his exit velos already in the top 95% of the class). Walsh is every bit of a 70 runner (his 6.25 60 yard would be an easy 80 by Fangraphs scale) and he has excellent jumps and lateral agility. Overall, I think he’s a guy who’s likely much higher on MLB team boards than he currently is on most draft rankings. The Rays should have some excess money to sign him away from an Ole Miss commitment. The rich get richer. Other options here include Bryant Packard, Quinn Priester, Kendall Williams and Jack Kochanowicz.

Previous mock: n/a

38. New York Yankees
*    (Pick Acquired Via Trade)

Henry Gargus, 1B/LHP/OF

Bio:
School: WA (Davis HS)
Height: 6-0
Weight: 205 lbs
Hits/Throws: S/L

A lot of people are going to think this is a huge reach at 38, but I don’t the analytically minded Yankees will. In fact I almost mocked him to the Yankees at pick 30. Gargus has some inconsistencies and his stats haven’t quite matched the talent yet, but his measurables are through the damn roof and his swing could generate monster power totals down the line! Gargus is primarily a 1B, but don’t let that fool you, this is a premier athlete! Gargus runs a 6.7 60 yard dash (60 speed by fangraphs scale) with above average agility metrics. He has an odd throwing motion on the infield that can get a bit wild and likely relegates him to 1B/LF but he can zip it in the 90’s. Plus defense at 1B with plenty of speed and good jumps in left. His swing incorporates plenty of lower half and he generates bat speed that is top 3 in the prep class (right there with Witt JR and Greene). With tons of natural loft in his swing, he could put up monster power totals! An excellent student, Gargus is a Stanford commit, who likely won’t be cheap but would likely sign for slot here. Given the Yankees ability to develop players, lack of depth at 1B in the system and Gargus’s special raw tools this pick makes too much sense. Other options include Bryant Packard, Michael Toglia, Kendall Williams and Quinn Priester.

Previous mock: n/a

39. Pittsburgh Pirates
*    (Comp For 2018 Unsigned Pick)

Bryant Packard, 1B/OF

Bio:
School: East Carolina
Height: 6-3
Weight: 210 lbs
Hits/Throws: L/R

After grabbing an arm with their first pick, the Pirates will likely turn their gaze towards a bat with their comp pick. Packard is a fine corner outfielder who can play solid 1B as well, a profile the Pirates have shown an affinity for in the past. More importantly he is a force at the plate! Packard uses a compact left handed swing with a wide base and quick wrists to make hard contact to all fields. This lead to an insane 406/462/671 slashline last year with 30 XBH (14 HR) in just 55 games. He then went on the cape and showed he can do it with a wood bat too, hitting 305/421/576 with 4 HR in just 59 AB. Impressive as Packard is still learning to tap into his plus raw power. While Packard isn’t a burner, he has decent speed and good enough instincts to chip in 5-10 steals a year as well. A solid high floor pick with a bat that could hit for average and power without hurting you defensively. Other options here include Matthew Allen, Will Wilson, Matthew Thompson and Nasim Nunez.

Previous mock: n/a

40. Tampa Bay Rays
*    (Pick Acquired Via Trade)

Justin Tejeda, OF

Bio:
School: FL (Central Point Christian HS)
Height: 6-2
Weight: 200 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

With their third pick of the first round, the Rays grab another one of my toolsy sleepers, Florida resident Justin Tejeda. Tejeda may not generate the hype of some other names, but he shines in just about every metric. He has a balanced and fluid swing that he repeats well and uses to generate bat speed that is elite in all 3 categories. He uses all fields well and has generated 101 MPH exit velos in the 99.6th percentile for the class. He appears to be close to filled out with his 6-2 190 frame, but is a quick twitch athlete who covers ground well with a strong arm (95 MPH from right) that delivers accurate one-hop throws. A burner on the base paths, Tejeda has run as fast as a 6.27 60 and is a 70 plus runner currently. Essentially, while just a bit raw, Tejeda excels in all areas from an analytics stand point and has a fairly high floor to go with his ceiling. As a CC commit who lives just an hour drive from Tampa, Tejeda shouldn’t be too hard of a sign for the Rays this early and could become an impact player if developed correctly. I really like this kid and the pick makes a ton of sense. Other options include Matthew Allan, Erik Rivera, Quinn Priester and Isaac Nunez.

Previous mock: n/a

41. Texas Rangers
*    (Pick Acquired Via Trade)

Matt Thompson, RHP

Bio:
School: TX (Cypress Ranch)
Height: 6-3
Weight: 185 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

A few months ago, Thompson falling to 41 would sound crazy and it still might. A big part of his fall will be his expected signing cost, which won’t be cheap. Luckily, the Rangers should have a big bonus pool this year and can afford to sign him away from his Texas A&M commitment for an over slot bonus. Thompson gets good angle and spin on his fastball that lives 89-93 but has touched 96 in the past. Thompson’s secondaries (a curve and a change) both flash plus when they are on, but are very inconsistent. The curve is the better pitch currently with swing and miss upside. Thompson is a plus athlete who also plays SS and has plenty of projection left. Thompson is a bit raw as a pitcher and has plenty of work to do on learning to command his raw stuff, control his mechanics and sequence. That being said, his upside is a TOR arm similar to Brennan Malone and few pitchers in this class can match his ceiling. At the end of the day, it will cost Texas over slot, but they get a hometown kid who they will likely have been strongly considering at pick 8. Other options include Erik Rivera, Quinn Priester, Matt Wallner and Ryan Zeferjahn.

Previous mock: n/a

42. Minnesota Twins

Quinn Priester, RHP

Bio:
School: IL (Cary Grove Community HS)
Height: 6-3
Weight: 190 lbs
Hits/Throws: R/R

With the last pick of the first round, the Twins select an arm that has been in play in most of the last 20 plus picks, Quinn Priester. Priester is a largely self taught cold weather kid from Illinois with massive ceiling, projection and solid present stuff. A good athlete with a projectable frame, Priester also plays OF and should he follow through with a TCU commitment could get a few at bats as well. Priester has two plus fastballs, a 4 seam that lives 90-93 (touching 95) and a plus two seamer with excellent running action. Priester’s curve has tight spin with spin rates consistently in the 2500 RPM range at events. There are some mechanical issues being mostly self taught, but that just means more upside for Priester when he gets into a system with pro coaching. Clearly, Priester has an excellent work ethic and is already very draftable based off of his plus present stuff. This is the kind of high upside pitcher the Twins need to pair with all of the high upside bats in their system. He will likely cost money to get, but it’s a worthwhile investment. Other options include Ryan Zeferjahn, Ethan Small, Matthew Allan and Matt McCormick.

Previous mock: n/a

PickTeamPlayer NamePositionSchool
1
Baltimore
Orioles
Adley RutschmanCOregon St
2
Kansas City
Royals
Bobby Witt JrSSTX (Heritage HS)
3
Chicago
White Sox
Daniel EspinoRHPGA (Georgia Premier Academy)
4
Miami
Marlins
Andrew Vaughn1BCal
5
Detroit
Tigers
Riley GreeneOFFL (Hagerty HS)
6
San Diego
Padres
Shea LangeliersCBaylor
7
Cincinnati
Reds
Graeme StinsonLHPDuke
8
Texas
Rangers
CJ AbramsSSGA (Blessed Trinity HS)
9
Atlanta
Braves
Will HollandSSAuburn
10
San Francisco
Giants
Carter StewartRHPEastern Florida St JC
11
Toronto Blue
Jays
Kameron MisnerOFMissouri
12
New York
Mets
Corbin CarrollOFWA (Lakeside HS)
13
Minnesota
Twins
Josh Jung3BTexas Tech
14
Philadelphia
Phillies
Zach ThompsonLHPKentucky
15
Los Angeles
Angels
Rece Hinds3BFL (IMG Academy)
16
Arizona
DBacks
Bryson StottSSUNLV
17
Washington
Nationals
Michael BuschOF/1BUNC
18
Pittsburgh
Pirates
Alek ManoahRHPWVU
19
St. Louis
Cardinals
Brennan MaloneRHPFL (IMG Academy)
20
Seattle
Mariners
Braden ShewmakeSSTexas A&M
21
Atlanta
Braves
Hunter BarcoLHP/OFFL (The Bolles School)
22
Tampa Bay
Rays
Spencer JonesLHP/1BCA (La Costa Canyon HS)
23
Colorado
Rockies
Tyler DysonRHPFlorida
24
Cleveland
Indians
Tyler Callihan1B/3BFL (Providence HS)
25
Los Angeles
Dodgers
Jerrion EalyOFMS (Jackson Prep)
26
Arizona
DBacks
Nick LodoloLHPTCU
27
Chicago
Cubs
J.J BledayOFVanderbilt
28
Milwaukee
Brewers
Jack LeiterRHPNJ (Delbarton HS)
29
Oakland
Athletics
Greg JonesSSUNCW
30
New York
Yankees
Matthew LugoSSPR (Carlos Beltran Academy)
31
Los Angeles
Dodgers
Chase Strumpf2B/SSUCLA
32
Houston
Astros
Hayden DunhurstCMS (Pearl River Central HS)
33
Boston
Red Sox
George KirbyRHPElon
34
Arizona
DBacks
Brett Baty3B/1BTX (Lake Travis HS)
35
Arizona
DBacks
J.J GossRHPTX (Cypress Ranch HS)
36
Miami
Marlins
Myles AustinSSGA (Westlake HS)
37
Tampa Bay
Rays
Connor WalshSSFL (Niceville Senior HS)
38
New York
Yankees
Henry Gargus1B/LHP/OFWA (Davis HS)
39
Pittsburgh
Pirates
Bryant Packard1B/OFEast Carolina
40
Tampa Bay
Rays
Justin TejedaOFFL (Central Point Christian HS)
41
Texas
Rangers
Matt ThompsonRHPTX (Cypress Ranch)
42
Minnesota
Twins
Quinn PriesterRHPIL (Cary Grove Community HS)

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