2019 MLB Draft: Top Fantasy Prospects
The 2019 MLB Draft is only one week away! As such, it is time to analyze the top fantasy prospects available. From elite college performers to precocious prep prospects, the upcoming draft has a wealth of high-end talent. Andrew Vaughn and Adley Rutschman headline the draft class, and both already would place within the top 25 in the Top 200 Fantasy Prospects. This draft, and the upcoming international free agent signing period (touched upon below), promises a loaded 2020 first year player draft!
|3||Bobby Witt Jr.||SS||18.97|
1. Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California
Vaughn is a special, generational talent at the plate, and, arguably, the best college hitter since Kris Bryant. He possesses a plus or better hit tool with a polished, all-fields approach and advanced plate discipline. In addition, he has big raw power, which some observers view as a future 80-grade tool. Given his nearly impeccable track record, it is difficult to find faults with Vaughn. However, he lacks ideal size (6’0″), lacks much athleticism, and is a right-handed hitting and throwing first base prospect. Further, he struggled last summer over 57 plate appearances with wood bats for Team USA. These gripes are minor considering Vaughn is a well-regarded defender despite his size limitation and absolutely obliterated the Cape Cod League.
Andrew Vaughn does not treat hanging curveballs nicely. #CalBaseball pic.twitter.com/KXfSf3u1HI
— Cal Baseball (@CalBaseball) April 20, 2019
2. Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
If any college hitter can challenge Vaughn as the top college bat it is Rutschman. Part of the 2018 National Champion Oregon State team, he formed a modern day murderers’ row with Nick Madrigal and Trevor Larnach. In fact, Rutschman outperformed both 2018 first round picks, with an incredible .408 batting average. Following his huge sophomore season, he starred for Team USA last summer, answering questions about his ability with wood bats. This spring, he picked up where he left off and even improved across the board. Notably, Rutschman increased his walk rate by over ten percent and turned his gap-to-gap doubles power into over-the-fence pop. Meanwhile, he is a superb defender with well-regarded footwork, receiving, and blocking behind the plate, and a strong arm. Rutschman profiles as a rare sure-fire catching prospect with plus hit and power tools.
Rutschman is the best catching prospect since Buster Posey (2008) and Matt Wieters (2007). Indeed, he may be even better! Nevertheless, catchers carry more limited value in most fantasy formats given the real-life demands of the position. Simply, less games played and greater physical demands equate to muted statistical impact. With that said, Rutschman is the top fantasy prospect in two-catcher formats and deeper leagues (24+ teams).
OPPO BOMB FOR ADLEY RUTSCHMAN. #GoBeavs pic.twitter.com/SFq47KLoSg
— Oregon State Baseball (@BeaverBaseball) April 7, 2019
3. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Coleyville Heritage HS (TX)
Witt Jr. checks nearly all the boxes. Baseball bloodlines? Check – his father, Bobby Witt, was a 16-year major league pitcher and former third overall pick. Performance? Check – after some struggles this summer, Witt Jr. redeemed himself in the U-18 Pan-American Championship for gold medal-winning USA Baseball, earning MVP honors. In addition, he has enjoyed a strong spring, albeit against lesser competition. Raw Tools? Emphatic check – he has plus bat speed, plus raw power, plus foot speed, and plus arm strength. Fielding? Check – he receives accolades for his hands, footwork, and fundamentals. In fact, Baseball America considers Witt Jr. to be the top defender in this class at shortstop.
The only box he has yet to truly check is his hit tool. At times, he has an aggressive approach with swing-and-miss tendencies, leading some to view his future hit tool as below-average. Regardless, there is ample reason for optimism, given his lauded work ethic and significant physical ability. Should he resolve concerns regarding his hit tool, Witt Jr. is a potential five-tool shortstop and fantasy force.
Bobby Witt Jr. hits a home run at Globe Life Park to keep his high school career alive! (via @sammonroy) pic.twitter.com/CKi9HtsMk1
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) May 10, 2019
4. C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity HS (GA)
Arguably, Abrams is the fastest player in this draft class, regularly clocking 80-grade, sub-4-second home-to-first times. In addition to the blazing speed, he has advanced bat control, allowing him to profile as a high-contact, top-of-the-order hitter. Further, he has displayed increased strength and power this spring, and possesses plenty of remaining projection to develop average-to-above raw power at peak. However, Abrams presently possesses below-average raw power, and his contact-oriented, often slap-hitter, approach further limits his game power to the gap-to-gap variety. In the field, he has received playing time at shortstop, second base, and center field. While his athleticism and quick hands fit well at shortstop, his unrefined actions may force a future move. Overall, his outlook is remarkably similar to Royce Lewis entering the 2017 MLB Draft.
Nice start to the final day for C.J. Abrams. Hard double up the middle:#NHSI19 #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/4j3QUOUTbV
— Carlos Collazo (@CarlosACollazo) April 6, 2019
5. Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State
The younger brother of Braden Bishop, Hunter inherited the same plus speed, but nearly all the power in the Bishop family. He has a large and athletic 6’5″ frame which generates double-plus raw power. Until this year, though, Bishop and his long levers struggled with contact. Indeed, he hit just .242/.362/.381 with a 30.2% strikeout rate last year between college and the Cape Cod League. A mechanical adjustment at the plate has allowed Bishop to more regularly tap into his raw power and make more consistent contact. As such, he has enjoyed a massive breakout performance, leading Division I in isolated slugging percentage. Despite his progress, he continues to suffer elevated swing-and-miss (22%), which likely will always be a part of his game. Nevertheless, few prospects possess his game-changing power, especially with impact speed.
.@HunterBishop9 with just an absolute nuke over the Wildcat Wall of Honor.
He's got about 900-feet of home runs tonight. #BishBombs are back in season, folks. pic.twitter.com/jhW1Ct1Xrq
— Sun Devil Baseball (@ASU_Baseball) May 8, 2019
6. J.J. Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt
Before last summer, Bleday only managed 6 home runs across 90 college games. Although he flashed a potential plus hit tool with a disciplined, line drive approach, he hit for little game power (.143 ISO). Then, Bleday began to more fully tap into his plus raw power in the Cape Cod League, and he carried his power breakout into the season. Now, he is the Division I leader in home runs. His power is legit, generated from a strong, 6’3″ frame and leveraged swing. In addition, he retained his advanced, all-fields approach and feel for the strike zone. While Bleday lacks speed, he has a special bat, with potential above-average (or better) hit and power tools.
T9 » GAME: UNTIED!@BledayJay with home run No. 2️⃣5️⃣!
? https://t.co/9Gfi6wfWIN #VandyBoys 5, Kentucky 4 pic.twitter.com/5VeQnXc4m6
— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) May 18, 2019
7. Riley Greene, Hagerty HS (FL)
A pure hitter, Greene projects to develop both plus hit and power tools. Already, he displays a silky smooth swing and an uncanny feel for line drive contact. In fact, his showcase dominance has lead to some double-plus grades for his future hit tool. Further, his thin 6’2″ frame oozes projectability and portends future plus or better power. Although the general consensus is Greene has below-average speed, he has plenty of athleticism and maybe more speed than he is given credit.
Here's Riley Greene's swing slowed down.
He's the best pure hitter in the prep class, and you can find his brand new scouting report at No. 5 in our draft rankings…https://t.co/mb7Nl0HvJc pic.twitter.com/ndvNoJuW8i
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 19, 2019
8. Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS (WA)
Over the past year, Carroll has consistently provided elite performance in all competitions, showcasing his all-around talent. At the plate, he is an all-fields, line drive hitter, who smartly utilizes his double-plus speed. Despite his smaller stature, Carroll can drive the ball to all fields with wiry strength, and most observers believe he will develop average raw power. Notably, he has worked diligently to add weight and strength to his frame, and he receives high accolades for his makeup and work ethic. Regardless whether he develops impact power, Carroll has a potential plus hit tool with elite speed, often drawing comparisons to Jacoby Ellsbury.
#MLBDraft Video: Corbin Carroll (OF, Lakeside (Seattle, WA)) via @SpenceHans_2080. @UCLABaseball commit.
Full MLB Draft Library: https://t.co/cjwMnY4Hvz
Youtube Video: https://t.co/yW6Lg1zcq8 pic.twitter.com/Amb4PzkJv9
— 2080 Baseball (@2080ball) April 23, 2019
9. Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV
Last spring, Stott paced teammate Kyle Isbel, even outhitting (.365/.442/.556) and outrunning (14-for-16) the 2018 third round pick. There is little question he can hit, and he often receives plus grades for his advanced hit tool. The rest of his tools, however, linger around average. Stott’s most divisive tool is his power, which earns below-to-above-average grades. Indeed, entering this year, he only had 5 home runs across 113 college games, and he failed to hit for power over the summer (.061 ISO). This spring, however, Stott has already doubled his previous college home run output, in part due to a more patient, damage-focused approach. Unfortunately, he has sacrificed contact in the process, more than doubling his strikeout rate. Wherever his power lands, Stott likely possesses the highest floor of any shortstop prospect in this class, and he should provide across-the-board value.
Top collegiate shortstop in the #MLBDraft — Bryson Stott (@unlvbaseball) open side swings, including a monster homer to pull.
Subscribe to 2080 Baseball YouTube channel here: https://t.co/d3cIwUgxCk
Sortable 2019 MLB Draft Video Library here: https://t.co/rFMUOEBNjK pic.twitter.com/uPEbL1rV41
— Nick J. Faleris (@NickJFaleris) May 11, 2019
10. Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis HS (TX)
As a high school junior, Baty impressively earned the 2018 Gatorade Player of the Year for Texas. Incredibly, he has improved upon his junior year, hitting .658/.756/1.379 with 16 home runs. A prodigious power hitter, Baty possesses 70-grade raw power to all fields. In addition, he has a sweet, left-handed swing with strong plate discipline and an advanced ability to work counts. Notably, his poor defense and athleticism has improved dramatically this spring, and, now, observers believe he can stick at third base, where his big arm will play.
Brett Baty (@baty_brett) absolutely crushes the ball to deep center for a two-run shot to put Lake Travis up 4-1. @LTCavBaseball (TX) 2019 • @TexasBaseball commit@kmi_sports Five Tool South Texas Game of the Week pic.twitter.com/hWu58ujQY6
— Five Tool South Texas (@FiveToolSTX) April 13, 2019
11. Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
As a freshman, Jung won the Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year. As a sophomore, he nearly doubled every single offensive statistic, leading the Big 12 in hitting and helping to carry Texas Tech to the College World Series. This spring, however, Jung has taken a small step back. A slow first 24 games (.301/.431/.473) has dampened his overall performance, but he has impressed in Big 12 conference play (.322/.496/.655). Ultimately, his outlook remains static. Jung is a professional hitter, exhibiting advanced plate discipline and all-fields, hard contact. While he stands out for his strong 6’2” frame, he lacks high-end game power due to his controlled approach. In the field, he boasts a big arm, solid hands, and adequate footwork, and he has even played some shortstop for Texas Tech. As such, Jung should stick at the hot corner, despite limited range and athleticism.
Deepest part of the park. Wind blowing in. Doesn't matter.
Homers in back-to-back games for Josh Jung.
— Texas Tech Baseball (@TTU_Baseball) April 28, 2019
12. Nick Lodolo, LHP, Texas Christian
The former 41st overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, Lodolo has cemented himself into the top half of the first round this year. Tall and gangly, he has plenty of remaining projection and already comfortably sits in the low-90s. In addition, Lodolo sports a low-80s sweeping slider and lesser-used change-up, which has showed promise in the past. All three pitches project to above-average to plus. Further, he has greatly improved his command and control, and can confidently pinpoint his fastball to both sides of the plate. The issue with Lodolo is his raw stuff simply does not jump off the page, and he may never develop a plus pitch. As such, he profiles as a high-floor mid-rotation arm.
No. 1⃣3⃣ never looked so good!!! Nick Lodolo matches his career high in strikeouts to leave the bases full of Red Raiders! #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/6lFRrB8e2K
— TCU Baseball (@TCU_Baseball) May 17, 2019
13. Alek Manoah, RHP, West Virginia
|Cape Cod||2.70||0.79||7/7||33 1/3||48/11||2|
Last summer, Manoah broke out in the Cape Cod League, working solely as a starter. Previously, he split time between the rotation and bullpen, often struggling with command. This spring, he built upon his performance on the Cape, dominating quality competition all year, including a complete-game shutout of Josh Jung and Texas Tech (pictured below). Large and imposing, Manoah blows away hitters with a mid-to-upper-90s fastball and a power slider. Given his dynamic two-pitches, he has relied very little upon his change-up this spring. A full transition to the stretch has allowed him to repeat his delivery and improve his control. However, his command remains erratic. Development of his change-up, continued command progress, and maintenance of his large frame will determine whether he can develop into a top-of-the-rotation arm.
? You don't want to miss any of the highlights from tonight's win, as Alek Manoah strikes out 1⃣5⃣ in a complete-game shutout of #11 Texas Tech. ??#HailWV pic.twitter.com/4qacBaAX6Y
— WVU Baseball (@WVUBaseball) April 13, 2019
14. Kam Misner, OF, Missouri
A broken left foot derailed a breakout sophomore season and cost Misner a chance to play meaningful summer ball. Still, he drew a lot of attention for his massive double-plus raw power, prototypical size, and uncommon athleticism. While his spring started well, Misner has crashed and burned in SEC play, hitting just .222/.353/.315 with 29.3% strikeouts. Consequently, this performance has raised red flags regarding his hit tool. Nonetheless, Misner has a unique power/speed blend, which rivals Hunter Bishop, and carries immense fantasy potential.
457 feet! @MizzouBaseball's Kam Misner can CRUSH ? pic.twitter.com/nvZQ9Gqlyf
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) April 14, 2019
15. Keoni Cavaco, 3B, Eastlake HS (CA)
A big riser this spring, Cavaco has explosive tools, with plus raw power and plus speed, including reported sub-four-second home-to-first times. Further, he has a projectable frame, which Eric Logenhagen described as “maybe the best body in the draft.” Some observers even project future double-plus raw power at maturity. Despite his loud tools, Cavaco remains a bit of a mystery, without much of a track record and mixed opinions regarding his swing and hit tool. In addition, he has suffered some concerning swing-and-miss against lesser competition. Nevertheless, Cavaco’s tools and massive upside should draw the attention of the fantasy community.
Keoni Cavaco with a first pitch leadoff #PBRBombSquad in the opening round of the San Diego Section Open Playoffs. #PBRSanDiego @PBR_California pic.twitter.com/2QN3ZxekW5
— Jack Shannon (@Jacked_23) May 15, 2019
16. Michael Busch, OF/1B, North Carolina
Busch blasted 5 home runs over a 6-game stretch in mid-April, including the bomb pictured below. Since then, he has gone 12-for-50 with 1 extra base hit (double) over his final 14 games. This is not the time for a prolonged slump! Nonetheless, Busch has a lengthy track record of hitting, including an impressive performance with wood bats in the Cape Cod League. At the plate, he employs a disciplined, all-fields approach with plus raw power. In the field, however, he has limited athleticism, arm strength, and size, likely relegating him to left field. Most project Busch to develop above-average hit and power tools, which would allow his bat to play anywhere.
We're on the board in Charlotte! Michael Busch makes it a 2-run game with an absolute MOONSHOT!
Watch the game here: https://t.co/djhq2kenJ7 pic.twitter.com/iq4sxcKTBj
— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) April 17, 2019
17. Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto College
As a freshman at Arkansas, Rutledge threw just 15 2/3 innings, suffering from control issues (11 walks and 5 wild pitches) and a hip injury. At the time, he worked primarily in the low-90s. Based on his usage, he decided to transfer to junior college this year. Now, Rutledge sits in the mid-to-upper-90s, delivered with excellent downhill plane from his large 6’8″ frame. In addition, he has three strong secondary offerings, including a plus, mid-to-upper-80s slider, a solid upper-70s curveball, and a promising but firm change-up. Overall, his repertoire rivals anyone in this class. The main issues for Rutledge surround his XL-size and shaky command. If everything comes together, however, he is a potential 2-starter.
[#MLBDraft Video] Jackson Rutledge (rhp, San Jac College) vs Wharton.
FB: 95-96 (t97)
I saw potential for three above average or better pitches, with FB ++. Easy velo in low maintenance delivery; very short arm action; below average command. pic.twitter.com/12WePmATHo
— Burke Granger (@burkegranger) March 3, 2019
18. George Kirby, RHP, Elon
A dominant Cape Cod League performance last summer in relief truly put Kirby in the Day 1 conversation. Then, he posted the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in Division I (105-to-6) this spring, vaulting him near the top of draft boards. Understandably, Kirby has impeccable control, but he also sports a deep, four-pitch repertoire, all receiving average-to-above grades, including a low-90s fastball, two breaking balls (slider and curveball), and a mid-80s change-up. Further, his advanced command allows all his pitches to play up. As he pitched in a lesser conference against lesser competition, it is unclear whether his stuff will find as much success in professional ball. Still, Kirby profiles as a 4-starter with upside for more.
Meet George Kirby. The Elon righty struck out 10 batters, walked no one and allowed just two singles against Lafayette this weekend.
He's currently No. 38 in our draft rankings. Expect him to rise plenty of draft boards. https://t.co/5CZWoS8b1G pic.twitter.com/bHtcn7cqRq
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) February 19, 2019
19. Will Wilson, SS, NC State
Last year, only prolific power hitters Seth Beer (12) and Griffin Conine (11) hit more home runs in ACC play than Wilson (10). At the same time, he also led the ACC in errors (18). This year, he has shined across the board, hitting, hitting for power, and committing just 5 errors. Indeed, his performance has even lead to some plus grades for his future hit tool. Despite his smaller frame, Wilson packs surprising raw power; again, earning some plus grades. Although his defensive has improved, his below-average speed and fringe arm strength portend a future move to second base, where he played as a freshman. While this is not an ideal outcome in real-life, the state of the keystone in fantasy is dire, and Wilson’s above-average offense is a welcome addition.
ICYMI – Will Wilson hit his team-leading 14th home run of the season yesterday in our 9-3 series win over Radford pic.twitter.com/iVshCj5pur
— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) May 5, 2019
20. Maurice Hampton, OF, Memphis University HS (TN)
A two-sport star, Hampton is also a four-star cornerback. Like many two-sport players, he remains extremely raw, both offensively and defensively. Further, there is a significant signability risk given his commitment to LSU to play both baseball and football. Despite his risky profile, Hampton has enormous tools, with elite, double-plus speed, plus bat speed, and substantial power potential. As such, it is easy to envision a future 20/20 or better player. However, Hampton likely will be a project, similar to Monte Harrison, and patience will be necessary.
OF Maurice Hampton (2019 TN) absolutely unloads on this ball in his first AB of the spring. Ultra-physical frame w/ huge bat speed and raw strength through contact. #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/lKtKprZdNE
— Gregory Gerard (@GGerardPG) March 12, 2019
21. Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson
Over the past three years, Davidson has launched 42 home runs and stolen 37 bases. A switch-hitter, he even hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same inning last year. During that period, however, Davidson also struck out 174 times, failed to hit .300, and was a complete and total disaster two straight summers in the Cape Cod League (.202/.304/.266 over 263 at-bats). His main issue at the plate is swing length, from which he derives much of his power and swing-and-miss. Given his struggles on the Cape, confidence in his hitting ability is tenuous. With that said, his raw tools stand out. Davidson possesses plus raw power, some speed, solid defense, and a projectable 6’3” frame.
? BLAST OFF
That's home run No. 1️⃣5️⃣ for @ClemsonBaseball's Logan Davidson, who extends his on-base streak to 53 games. pic.twitter.com/6GrGEtxP44
— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) May 18, 2019
22. Tyler Callihan, 3B, Providence HS (FL)
Few doubt Callihan’s ability to hit, as evidenced by his performance in the U-18 Pan-American Championship for gold medal-winning USA Baseball (.528/.575/.889). He has a quick left-handed bat which generates plus raw power. The open question is where he fits in the field. Callihan has a stocky 5’11” frame with poor speed and shaky actions in the field. During the Pan-Am tournament, he chiefly played first base, and even reportedly saw some work at catcher, neither of which are likely his future defensive home.
Tyler Callihan, 2019 IF. One of the best bats in the class. Special bat with plus raw power. #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/XUCQYRC9UD
— Kyler Peterson (@KPeterson813) November 26, 2018
23. Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (FL)
Since last summer, Allan has been consistently dominant while also improving his command and control and strengthening his prototypical 6’3″ frame. His stuff is among the best in this draft class with two potential plus or better offerings: a mid-90s fastball and a 12-to-6, power curveball. In addition, Allan utilizes a promising, but firm, upper-80s change-up. All told, he has the look of a durable, mid-rotation arm, with top-of-the-rotation upside should his command and change-up continue to develop.
2019 Matthew Allan (FL) has been lights out so far this HS season and shooting up #MLBDraft boards touching the upper 90s. Watch as he strikes out 2 at PG National. #12 currently in 2019 class. Full report https://t.co/7t0Mw1JJUz pic.twitter.com/24io60nPsh
— Perfect Game Scout (@PG_Scouting) February 27, 2019
24. Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy (GA)
Espino may be the most divisive prospect in this draft class. Arguably, he has the best pure stuff in the class. In fact, he has three potential plus pitches, including a mid-to-upper-90s, live fastball, a low-80s, hard-breaking slider, and an mid-70s curveball. While he rarely uses his firm change-up, most project the pitch to develop into an average offering. Like many young power arms, Espino can struggle with command, but he does already demonstrate solid control.
So what is not to like?! First, some question his size, including Baseball America (listing him at just 6’0″), but most firsthand observers believe he is 6’2″ with a sturdy lower half and little remaining projection. Second, he employs an unorthodox delivery with a long arm action. Finally, the history of hard-throwing prep arms is not favorable, and such velocity at such age nearly always leads to injury. Kiley McDaniel provided an excellent summation of the risk involved with Espino. However, all pitching prospects are inherently risky (TINSTAAPP!). In fantasy, bet on the upside, and Espino likely has the highest upside of any pitcher in this draft class.
If you have an upper 90s Fastball (T98mph yesterday), you can get some really funny ABs in High School with your Plus breaking stuff (mid-80s Slider & mid-70s Curveball). ? #Unfair pic.twitter.com/nOfueP38BB
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 5, 2019
25. Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky
|Cape Cod||3.18||1.54||2/1||5 2/3||4/3||1|
|Team USA||0.00||0.92||3/1||8 2/3||7/5||0|
Prior to this year, injuries plagued Thompson’s promising career. A sore shoulder in high school caused him to fall to the 11th round, then he failed a post-draft physical. Last year, a sore elbow caused him to miss nearly two months. All the while, Thompson struggled with command and control. Now healthy, he has found more consistent command and, consequently, has thrived. Notably, he has dominated the difficult SEC (2.27/1.06 ERA/WHIP, 67 1/3 IP, 93/27 K/BB). Thompson has a deep, four-pitch repertoire, including a low-90s fastball, a mid-80s, power slider, a mid-70s curveball, and a lesser-used, but solid, change-up. Impressively, all four pitches flash average-to-above. Despite elite performance, Thompson profiles as a 4-starter, without any plus pitches or advanced command.
One of our favorite videos…
Zack Thompson (No. 11 in our BA 500) going against Josh Jung (No. 16). https://t.co/mb7Nl0HvJc pic.twitter.com/lumg7yrS0K
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 19, 2019
26. Greg Jones, SS, UNC Wilmington
Often, you want to bet on the athlete in fantasy, and Jones is one of the best in college baseball. Entering the year, he was as raw as they come at the plate and in the field. Last year, he struck out 111 times (26.2%) and committed 36 errors (90% fielding) between his freshman season and the Cape Cod League. This year, Jones has drastically improved at the plate, making far more contact, reducing his strikeout rate by nearly 10%, and doubling his isolated slugging percentage. Although his defense still leaves a lot to be desired, he has only committed 13 errors this year. Most importantly, his graceful, effortless speed has been on full display. Indeed, Jones easily lead both the Cape (20-for-23) and Division I in stolen bases (37-for-45). In addition to his speed, he has wiry strength and quick hands, allowing some projection on his power.
HIGHLIGHT | Greg Jones says NO to the Tar Heels with this diving stop in the 9th inning … watch at https://t.co/scRDFdZ1kp #HawkYeah #SCTop10 @ESPNAssignDesk @CAASports @NCAACWS pic.twitter.com/jPT38NloAl
— UNCW Baseball (@UNCWBaseball) March 14, 2019
27. Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (FL)
|2018||Team USA||1.08||1.8||3/2||8 1/3||9/9||0|
A stellar performance at the heavily-scouted National High School Invitational in April helped cement Malone as a likely first round pick. Although he lacks the upside of other top prep arms, Allan and Espino, he carries less risk, given his present feel for four distinct pitches, solid command, prototypical build, and clean mechanics. Malone sits in the low-to-mid-90s, touching 96 mph, with three average-to-above secondaries (low-80s slider, mid-70s curveball, and low-80s change-up). In addition, he is athletic and projectable, leading most observers to grade his fastball as a future plus pitch.
Brennan Malone was the top #MLBDraft prospect at @USABaseball's #NHSI19, and he did not disappoint, touching 96 mph with his fastball in a 3-hit shutout for @IMGAcademy. He's at the top of @JonathanMayo's list of the tourney's top 13 prospect performers: https://t.co/SZdOJLRU2n pic.twitter.com/KBrQQ6XGoK
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 9, 2019
28. Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane
One of the top Division I performers, Hoese has soared up draft rankings and now profiles as a Day 1 pick. Incredibly, he hit .406/.498/.831 with just 9.1% strikeouts prior to a brief late-season collapse. While he lacks a ton of bat speed, Hoese has a large 6’4″ frame and leveraged swing, generating plus, strength-based raw power. Additionally, he has a disciplined, all-fields approach and a short swing, allowing him to create plenty of contact despite long levers. Hoese’s defensive ability draws mixed reviews, but general consensus is he should stick at third base.
Junior Kody Hoese has now tied the school record for home runs in a single game with three. He's the 15th player in school history to do so. pic.twitter.com/VV3LykYl7c
— Tulane Baseball (@GreenWaveBSB) February 21, 2019
29. Matt Wallner, OF, Southern Mississippi
A poor start this spring has caused Wallner to tumbled down draft rankings. However, the big 6’5″ slugger has come on strong in conference play, hitting .389/.486/.867 with 15 home runs. Notably, a forearm strain, which limited Wallner to designated hitter early in the season, likely is responsible for his struggles. When healthy, he profiles as a prototypical right field slugger with plus or better arm strength and raw power. Health and hit tool concerns are still fresh in the minds of many, and, as such, Wallner likely is a second or third round pick, but one with a ton of fantasy potential.
B4 | No. 5⃣1⃣@Matt_Wallner launches himself into second all-time in career home runs at Southern Miss with an absolute ?
Southern Miss 2 – UAB 1 | #SMTTT pic.twitter.com/gfvTLWgk5H
— Southern Miss Baseball (@SouthernMissBSB) May 17, 2019
30. Jerrion Ealy, OF, Jackson Prep (MS)
A five-star running back with a strong, two-sport commitment to Ole Miss, Ealy is extremely unlikely to sign. Should he sign, however, he has elite speed, including a ridiculous 6.13 60-yard dash at a Perfect Game showcase last summer. In addition to his 80-grade speed, he has plus raw power and, naturally, expansive range in the field. Like Hampton above, Ealy remains raw at the plate, and he struggled at times this spring (19 strikeouts). Given his college commitment and declining industry reputation, he likely will fall during the draft.
Amid all the Kyler Murray hubbub, @lifeisgreatsut joined @MLBNetwork's #HotStove today to discuss a pair of 2-sport studs who are among the Top 50 prospects in this year's #MLBDraft class: Jerrion Ealy & Maurice Hampton. Watch: https://t.co/C2wam169tW pic.twitter.com/QQEGyKXgOm
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) February 7, 2019
The Best of the Rest
Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor. An elite defensive catcher, Langeliers is a highly regarded draft prospect. At the plate, he projects to develop into an average hitter with average raw power. Unfortunately, this offensive profile simply does not provide a big fantasy impact. Still, Langeliers is a high-floor prospect with a strong probability of some sort of big league role.
Braden Shewmake, SS, Texas A&M. A steady, but unspectacular, producer throughout his college career, Shewmake has a solid hit tool driven by superb bat-to-ball skills. In addition, some see his thin and lanky 6’4” frame and perceive him as projectable, envisioning average raw power. Whatever way Shewmake develops, he profiles as an all-around performer, with some pop, some speed, and defensive versatility.
Others of Note:
- Michael Toglia, OF/1B, UCLA
- Brady McConnell, SS, Florida
- Chase Strumpf, 2B, UCLA
- Drew Mendoza, 3B, Florida State
High School Hitters
Gunnar Henderson, SS, Morgan Academy (AL). As Henderson has begun to fill out his 6’3″ frame, his tools have improved across the board. Now, he projects to develop average-to-above hit and power tools, with plus raw power potential. Presently, he is an above-average runner, but, as he continues to mature, many anticipate his speed will regress to average-to-below. It is also unclear whether his future is at shortstop or third base, given his size and limited quickness
Rece Hinds, 3B, IMG Academy (FL). Arguably, Hinds is the premier power bat in this draft class. With a large and powerful 6’4” frame, he regularly launches mammoth blasts in home run derbies and games. Indeed, his power performance is reminiscent of Nolan Gorman the year before. Unfortunately, Hinds struggles with pitch recognition, leading to troubling swing-and-miss issues.
Others of Note:
- Nasim Nunez, SS, Collins Hill HS (GA)
- Matthew Lugo, SS, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (P.R.)
- Sammy Siani, OF, Penn Charter HS (PA)
- Kyren Paris, SS, Freedom HS (CA)
Seth Johnson, RHP, Campbell. Prior to this year, Johnson was a junior college shortstop. After he transferred to Campbell, he committed fully to pitching, and has since displayed surprising aptitude on the mound. Despite mixed results (4.55/1.37 ERA/WHIP), Johnson has two potential plus pitches: a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a mid-80s slider. In addition, he has a promising curveball and change-up. Understandably, his command and pitchability are both works in progress.
Matt Canterino, RHP, Rice. A consistent presence in the Rice rotation, Canterino has logged 93+ innings with 111+ strikeouts three straight years. With borderline-average stuff, headlined by a mid-80s slider, he relies upon repertoire depth, command, and deception to find success. Specifically, Canterino employs an unusual delivery, with a high effort leg raise before gathering and driving toward the plate. Remarkably, he repeats this delivery and manages to command all four pitches. Ultimately, Canterino profiles as a high-floor, backend starter.
Others of Note:
- Drey Jameson, RHP, Ball State
- Graeme Stinson, LHP, Duke
- Isaiah Campbell, RHP, Arkansas
- Ethan Small, LHP, Mississippi State
High School Pitchers
Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove HS (IL). With Priester, it is all about projecting on his athletic, 6’3″ frame, clean delivery, and well-regarded work ethic. Currently, he relies primarily on a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a low-80s curveball, both of which receive plus future grades. A rising prospect, Priester is trending toward the middle of the first round.
Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton HS (NJ). While Priester presently has helium, Leiter is falling down draft boards. The chief reasons for his fall are a strong commitment to Vanderbilt and reported high bonus demands. The son of former major league pitcher Al Leiter, Jack understandably has advanced pitchability and polish. He has excellent command of four pitches, and, while he lacks prototypical size (6’1″) or velocity (low-90s), his curveball and change-up are among the best in the prep pitching class.
Others of Note:
- J.J. Goss, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (TX)
- Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles School (FL)
- Blake Walston, LHP, New Hanover HS (NC)
- Jimmy Lewis, RHP, Lake Travis HS (TX)
International Free Agents
Jasson Dominguez, OF, Dominican Republic. The top prospect in the 2019/2020 international class, Dominguez is a potential five-tool talent. In fact, those five tools may all project to plus. Dominguez has a well-built, athletic frame, which already exhibits plus raw power and double-plus run times at just 16 years old. A switch-hitter, he has a feel to hit and plus bat speed from both sides of the plate, spraying hard contact to all fields. Most recent reports have him signing with the Yankees. For the purpose of a 2020 FYPD ranking, Dominguez ranks between Witt Jr. and Abrams, with potential movement up or down as more reports surface.
Robert Puason, SS, Dominican Republic. Unseated by Dominguez as the top prospect in this class, Puason is an excellent prospect in his own right. Nearly all his tools fall a full grade short of Dominguez, but still form the basis for a potential five-tool shortstop (if you have not gathered so far, Dominguez is very good). With a tall and wiry 6’3″ frame, Puason is extremely projectable, with present average raw power and a raw hit tool. Most recent reports have him signing with the Athletics. For the purpose of a 2020 FYPD ranking, Puason ranks between Greene and Carroll, with potential movement up or down as more reports surface.
Others of Note:
- Bayron Lora, OF, Dominican Republic
- Erick Pena, OF, Dominican Republic
- Luis Rodriguez, OF, Venezuela
- Jose Salas, SS, Venezuela
Additional Prospect Notes
- Carter Stewart, the eighth overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, signed a six-year deal worth more than $7 million with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The Braves failed to sign him due to an alleged wrist injury. Thereafter, Stewart attended junior college, making him eligible for the 2019 MLB Draft. Since then, however, he has struggled with consistency and fell in a loaded 2019 draft class. Jeff Passan wrote an excellent piece analyzing this surprising move.
- Noah Song is arguably the top senior in this class, leading Division I in strikeouts (161 in 94 innings). He may have to complete two years of military service (Navy) before playing professional baseball, which clouds his draft status. Song has loud stuff, with a mid-to-upper-90s fastball and two above-average breaking balls (slider and curveball).
Wow. Great stuff. A deep and comprehensive look at dynasty implications of the upcoming draft. I was hungry for exactly this but figured it was at least six months away.
Thanks! More to come in the next few weeks. In addition, I am organizing an expert mock FYPD in early July!