There are new rumors and mocks that I have thoughts on so let’s get down to business with the third edition of Top 10 2019 MLB Draft Prospects.
1) Adley Rutschman, Catcher, Oregon State (2.0 Rank: 1)
In my fourth year watching the MLB Draft closely, and Adley Rutschman is the best prospect I’ve seen. Unless he suffers a severe injury, Rutschman will be number one on my board up to draft day. He has lived up to the hype.
2) Bobby Witt Jr., Shortstop, (2.0 Rank: 2) Colleyville Heritage HS
Bobby Witt Jr. is continuing to smash Texas high school pitching. It would have been great to see his school participate in the NHSI tournament. Another look at Witt Jr. against better talent on the mound could help ease doubts scouts have about his abilities.
3) Andrew Vaughn, First Baseman, Cal (2.0 Rank: 3)
I was not expecting Rutschman to be outslugging Vaughn in 2019 as the first baseman has significantly struggled against Pac-12 competition. In nine games, Vaughn is hitting .233/.400/.425 with just one home run. These numbers might not improve because Cal has yet to face UCLA, Stanford, and Arizona State. If this trend continues, Vaughn will drop on my board.
4) Bryson Stott, Shortstop, UNLV (2.0 Rank: 4)
Sure enough, after I wrote about Stott in the last Top 10 Prospects, he went cold. From March 15th to March 31st, Stott had an 8-for-45 hitting slump, but he’s starting to pick it up again. In April, Stott is 9-for-21 with four doubles, a home run, and nine RBIs. He came up big at the plate against Arizona State going 2-for-2 with four walks in a big win for UNLV.
5) CJ Abrams, Shortstop, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (2.0 Rank: 5)
It wasn’t a great weekend for CJ Abrams at NHSI as he only had three hits, but two of them went for doubles. Those in attendance were impressed at his improvement defensively at shortstop growing his chances of sticking at the position long term.
6) Nick Lodolo, LH Starting Pitcher, TCU (2.0 Rank: NR)
In his last start against Oklahoma, Nick Lodolo had an awful first inning which he allowed four singles, committed a throwing error, and then suffered another fielding error by the second baseman en route to allowing four runs. He would bounce back to throw 5.1 IP allowing 10 H 6 R (3 ER) while striking out five without any walks. Before that start, Lodolo had six consecutive starts of at least seven innings pitched allowing just four earned runs in that span.
7) Hunter Bishop, Outfielder, Arizona State (2.0 Rank: NR)
Another newcomer to the list, I wrote about Hunter Bishop’s emergence last week as his draft stock continues to soar. In Tuesday’s game against UNLV, Bishop went 2-for-4 with a double and triple.
8) Riley Greene, Outfielder, Hagerty HS (2.0 Rank: 6)
Just like Abrams, Riley Greene only had three hits over the NHSI weekend but did steal four bases. I think Greene’s future position outlook is right field, but if he’s adding a speed component to his potential 60-grade power that should cement Greene’s status a Top-10 pick.
9) Corbin Carroll, Outfielder, Lakeside HS (2.0 Rank: 7)
Another prep player I would have liked to see at NHSI, Corbin Carroll drops in this Top 10 with Lodolo and Bishop added to the list. I wonder if Carroll’s lack of size (5’11”, 160 lbs) will knock him down draft boards.
10) Brennan Malone, RH Starting Pitcher, IMG Academy (2.0 Rank: NR)
Another newcomer whose stock is pointing up in a big way after his performance at NHSI, starting pitcher Brennan Malone is now widely considered the best prep pitcher in this class. Watching the broadcast, Malone was at times touching 96-mph with his fastball but mostly sat around 94 mph. His strikeout pitch is a slider that ranges from 81-84 mph that I think tunnels well with the fastball. An approach similar to Dylan Cease attacking hitters with fastballs up in the zone and finish them off with a breaking pitch.
Missing the cut: JJ Bleday, Michael Busch, Kameron Misner, Josh Jung
Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs had some good notes about what he hears about the White Sox preferences in this draft.
The buzz is that the White Sox are leaning heavily to college prospects for the third pick, with Nick Lodolo in the mix along with the next tier of college hitters, which can be ranked any way at this point (UNLV SS Bryson Stott, North Carolina 1B Michael Busch, Vanderbilt RF J.J. Bleday, Arizona State LF Hunter Bishop, Missouri RF Kameron Misner is the way we have them lined up right now).
Baseball America released an update on their Mock Draft with the scenario of Adley Rutschman going #1, and Andrew Vaughn going #2, which matches what Fangraphs believing is most likely to happen eight weeks away from draft day. The difference is Baseball America has the White Sox taking Bobby Witt Jr. third overall and Fangraphs believing the Sox will continue going down the college route.
I agree with Fangraphs that in the scenario both Rutschman and Vaughn are selected first and second overall, the White Sox would pick the highest college player on their board. On my board that would be Bryson Stott. After watching the first two weeks of the MLB season, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick Lodolo would be a serious option.
However, I don’t think Vaughn will go in the first two picks. Baltimore should take Rutschman as he’s the best player in the draft, but if I did a mock draft mine would have Kansas City taking CJ Abrams second overall. I feel that Abrams fits with what the Royals are aiming for in position players. Super athletic with the versatility to play in the middle infield or outfield, with plus-plus speed.
This scenario would leave Nick Hostetler to pick between Vaughn, Witt, Stott, or Lodolo. I do think that the White Sox would take Vaughn hoping he can be worthy of carrying the torch at first base (Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko, Jose Abreu).
For those holding out hope of Rutschman dropping to the White Sox, I put it at a 1% chance of happening. With Salvador Perez recovering from Tommy John surgery, it would be a wise idea for the Royals to seek a future replacement. After drafting five college pitchers last year, Rutschman would be an excellent addition to pairing up with those arms. Too bad MLB teams can’t trade draft picks.
I think it will be Vaughn or Lodolo at this point.
Sox dont trust themselves with developing a talent like Witt and are probably hoping for someone who can impact the big club in a year and a half vs someone who will need four years of seasoning.
Very interested in seeing Vaughn vs the high end pac 12 teams.
Spot on – I’d be shocked if the Sox took a higher-risk/higher-reward player that required a longer development track.
probably right, and yet, Witt would make so much sense for the long-term big picture. The IF should be pretty well set for several years; you’ve got time to develop him. And they will still need trade pieces in 2-3 years when they are contending.
when they are contending… lol
Genuine sophistry on display right there.
A player like Witt can play any where. Theo was asked a few years back how he was going to play all of the Short Stops he had. He said He’d love to have a team full of Short Stops because they are the best players on the field.
Makes sense in a vacuum, but at that point you have diminishing returns playing a SS at 1B or LF.
But I’d be all in on Witt for the Sox.
I’d take that team every time.
Josh, Last month, Vaughn was looking a little Frank Thomas-ish, now he’s looking closer to Keenyn Walker. I remember way back when Bill James’ Baseball Abstract was just gaining popularity. And one of his ‘theories’ was on the hierarchy of positions. James felt catcher, ss, 2B,& CF should be assessed higher than the corner spots. He reckoned that these positional players could be moved anywhere whereas corner players couldn’t be moved to middle. The Sox have addressed the “up the middle” strategy better lately with TA at SS,
Madrigal next in line at 2B, and Robert hopefully CF. Collins/Zuvala/Skoug(?) were to be catcher corps, but it sounds like they’re all to be DHs.
Rutschman is the perfect choice, but alas probably will go to KC. Langeliers was right behind AR, but supposedly is hurt with a hamate(?) Isn’t that a recoverable injury? Would he be worth a pick because when he is healthy, his numbers were strong both offensively and defensively? Anyway, whomever Sox pick, I’m hoping he’s a 2-way player and not a DH.
Langaliers is a second round pick for me. That’s a defense-first, 40-grade bat profile.
I should add if you want the White Sox to continue adding up the middle Witt, Stott, and Abrams are your guys.
No way Langaliers gets into the 40’s. Between 25 and 35 seems right. The injury keeps his bat down for this season, but is something a player can come all the way back from.
That feels right for me as well – second half of the first round or sandwich pick between one and two.
If he gets to #45 grab him, that is a value pick for sure.
I hope Vaughn picks up his game so KC takes him, taking the temptation out of Nick’s hands. Both Abrams and Witt are up the middle players, as well as Stott. You have to think the Sox will take a hard look at Lodolo, now that he has separated himself from the pack. Solid top ten Josh.
I’m not an Abrams fan but if you could take him and save some money to float to langaliers to get him to drop to your 2nd round. That’s a solid 2 rounds.
I’d be curious to do a deeper dive on the topic, but I feel like drafting a catcher like Langeliers in the top ten would be extremely risky. Rutschman would be the exception given his top-notch offensive potential, but without that I wouldn’t spend the pick on Langeliers. It seems like there are always some useful, if unspectacular, catchers on the FA market (and the Sox tend to sign the least spectacular of those) and the incremental gains of a high first round catcher over an available FA don’t seem worth it at #3 (again, outside of an exceptional talent like Rutschman).
If Vaughn continues to scuffle, will he still be a first-round pick (albeit late in the round)? How far can a guy with his past performance fall?
He’s still the second best bat in the draft. It would take a the sort of slump Cameron Misner had for him to fall out of the top 5.
The difference is his track record will carry his profile more than Misner
IMO, Vaughn won’t fall past Detroit if the struggles continue.
I would rather have Lorodo, potential front line starter than an undersized first baseman.
Good stuff, Josh.
Of your top 6, I would only be disappointed if the Sox took Stott. Just not enough ceiling there.
If they insist on a college player, Lodolo is certainly intriguing.
Of Bishop’s 16 HR’s, only 2 have come on the road.
I absolutely hope the Sox don’t take a pitcher. Way to volatile of a prospect. Just look how many TJs have occurred to the top end pitching. Unfortunately they will probably pick lowest floor over highest ceiling because they won’t invest into development anytime soon.
Yeah we should continue drafting no-doubt college bats.
there are negative and positive recent examples of all possible choices. So I upvoted both of you.
I’m hoping for Witt Jr, personally. But it’s not like I’ve forgotten about our most recent high school high-ceiling backflipper.
We have enough college bats in the system. Pitchers are very dangerous to chose to high in the draft. High ceiling prep player is my pitch, but also probably flames out. *shrug emoji*
Josh, where do you see the biggest talent drop-off? After Vaughn? Abrams?
I’d say after Malone. I’m confident this Top 10 has 50-grade+ prospects.
Biggest talent drop-off overall is after Rutschman. Nobody, in my opinion, is in his class.
Is it cheating to say after Adley Rutschman? hes so far ahead of the rest right now.
How far are Vaughn’s numbers/rating from Big Hurt’s Auburn year(s) ?
In his Junior season, Frank Thomas hit 19 HR and a slash line of .403/.568/.801 with 73 walks to 25 strikeouts.
Vaughn is currently hitting .344/.519/.708 with 10 home runs, and 31 walks to 20 strikeouts.
Vaughn’s Sophomore season: .402/.531/.819 23 home runs and 44 walks to 18 strikeouts.
Thanks…pretty close. So far, reading the tea leaves, it was looking like Abreu’s successor was going to come out of a group from Eloy, Collins, Zuvala, Burger….Vaughn obviously changes that projection.
Thanks for these updates. Three of the top four college hitters from the Pac-12. I’m skeptical about their pitching and for that reason am wary of Bishop.
I think drafting Lodolo feels like a very Whitesox-y move at this point.
Draft him 3rd overall and sign him under slot. Fits the profile of a guy that could be a very fast mover through the system and gives them more money to play with in the middle rounds.
A “Whtiesox-y move” would usally entail a negative context nowadays But I would not be upset with it.
Vaughn just feels pretty risky, especially Eloy looking more and more like a 1B/DH with every inning I see of him in the early going.
Now this would be interesting if it came true in June.