Major League Baseball started off its 2019 First-Year Player Draft by completing the first two rounds today. The Orioles stuck to the script, as did the Royals and after that things got interesting as was expected. The first round gets the most buzz, and here’s how it shook out for the teams. History was made when the first six players selected were all position players for the first time in the history of the MLB First Year Player Draft.
The Baltimore Orioles have been on the clock for the past couple of months and all the hype has surrounded a catcher from Oregon State University, Adley Rutschman. He has more than lived up to the hype, having a monster season with the Oregon State Beavers. Rutschman is a switch hitter who also has a surprise versatility factor which only proves to be good for his future and development into a power hitting catcher. The Orioles have lucked into a future Matt Wieters 2.0 or possibly even a catcher with abilities close to Buster Posey.
Adley Rutschman is the No. 1 overall pick in the #MLBDraft.
If you don’t know how good he is…
He was intentionally walked WITH bases loaded a couple nights ago ?@BeaverBaseball | @MLBDraft
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 3, 2019
With the second overall pick, the Kansas City Royals selected Bobby Witt Jr. out of Colleyville Heritage high school in Texas. Witt Jr. is the son of former MLB pitcher Bobby Witt Sr. who spent a good chunk of time in the big leagues and hopes his son will be able to do the same as his career progresses. Witt Jr. features plenty of tools when it comes to his bat, with a beautiful and fluent swing which is backed up by his smooth hands in the field making him the best high school player in this draft class.
The third pick of the draft belonged to the Chicago White Sox, who selected the University of California Slugger. Vaughn appeals to scouts with his bat which is really close to becoming a major league capable player. Vaughn will not need a long time in the minor leagues before he is polished up and ready to hit the big leagues and show his dominance in the batter’s box.
The fourth pick of the draft is where things got interesting with the first three picks, relatively locked in quickly. The Miami Marlins selected JJ Bleday out of Vanderbilt University. Bleday who is a part of a Vanderbilt Commodores team that is heading to the NCAA Super Regional against Duke University, reminds scouts of Ken Griffey Jr. in the box. Bleday has a picture perfect swing after some adjustments were made this offseason to turn him into a force in the box as well as in the outfield where he has a cannon of an arm. Also Griffey himself broke him down on the MLB Network’s draft coverage, check it out below!
“A whole lot stronger than I was at that age.”#HOFer Ken Griffey Jr. on #4 overall pick @BledayJay. #MLBDraft @Marlins pic.twitter.com/93ftB1P8ZR
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 3, 2019
The Detroit Tigers shocked many by shying away from shortstop CJ Abrams, opting to go with outfielder Riley Greene out of Hagerty High School in Florida. Greene is considered to be the top high school bat in the draft class, Witt Jr. aside. Greene has struggled with his swinging strike rate with high strikeout numbers, but the Tigers feel they can develop him through that as well as the fielding slating him as a corner outfielder. The Tigers are looking to develop him into a power hitter of the future for their organization.
Following Greene, was Abrams who was picked directly after him at sixth overall to the San Diego Padres. The Padres bring in Abrams with hopes that he will pan out as he has been projected too. Abrams is Dee Gordon with some pop to be candid and simple. Abrams is FAST, really fast, and his speed isn’t his only tool he has some promising pop in his bat. Coming out of high school leaves him a ways away from the big leagues, but the hope would be that the Padres just got a shortstop/middle infielder who has the tools of Dee Gordon with some pop in the bat.
The first pitcher of the draft class came off the board seventh overall to the Cincinnati Reds. Nick Lodolo out of TCU is easily the best pitcher in this draft class. Lodolo, who has a large frame throws fastball with some sink sitting around 90-94 mph, topping at 96 mph. His slider has great movement and decent control, he also features a changeup with good movement on it. Lodolo was lights out for the TCU Horned Frogs this year, the Reds can only hope this success translate as he makes the jump from NCAA DI baseball to the minor leagues and eventually big leagues one day.
Nick Lodolo is dealing for @TCU_Baseball. His 13th K of the night strands the bases loaded and ties his career high in punch outs. #GoFrogs | #WreckEm | #Big12BSB pic.twitter.com/9lFjKTeExz
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) May 17, 2019
The eight overall selection is where most people lost their streak of predicting picks. Many people would have Hunter Bishop being taken, however, the Texas Rangers decided to stick within the state of Texas. The Rangers selected Texas Tech University third baseman Josh Jung eight overall. Jung slid up to the eight spot due to his hitting tool which will carry him through the Rangers organization assuming he can work on his defense too keep him up in the top grouping of Rangers prospects.
After Jung went, catcher Shea Langliers out of Baylor University was picked by the Atlanta Braves with the ninth pick in the draft. Langliers is the second-best catching prospect in this draft class behing first overall Rutschman. Langliers has more of a defensive tool to him than Rutschman does which helps make up for his lack in hitting compared to Rutschman. Langliers goes ninth overall to the Braves in their compensation pick for last years selection of Carter Stewart who neglected to sign and ended up signing in the Japanese league.
Tenth overall, the San Francisco Giants selected Hunter Bishop out of Arizona State University. Bishop is an outfielder whose power is astounding, hitting 400+ foot home runs is impeccable and also normal for the slugger. The Giants are banking on Bishop developing into an accomplished power hitter after fine-tuning his approach and swing in the minor leagues on his rise to the big leauges. Also… the last player who came from Serra High School and Arizona State University to play for the Giants would be none other than Barry Bonds.
Giants first-rounder Hunter Bishop has a ton of power (via @ASU_Baseball) pic.twitter.com/A2f38uQO6d
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 4, 2019
The rest of the first round of the draft went as follows..
11. Toronto Blue Jays- Alek Manoah, RHP from West Virginia University
12. New York Mets- Brett Baty, 3B from Lake Travis High School in Texas
13. Minnesota Twins- Keoni Cavaco, 3B from Eastlake High School in California
14. Philadelphia Phillies- Bryson Stott, SS from UNLV
15. Los Angeles Angels- Will Wilson, SS from NC State University
16. Arizona Diamondbacks- Corbin Carroll, OF from Lakeside High School in Washington
17. Washington Nationals- Jackson Rutledge, RHP from San Jacinto College
18. Pittsburgh Pirates- Quinn Priester, RHP Cary-Grove High School in Illinois
19. St. Louis Cardinals- Zack Thompson , LHP from Kentucky University
20. Seattle Mariners- George Kirby, RHP from Elon University
21. Atlanta Braves- Braden Shewmake, SS/3B from Texas A&M University
22. Tampa Bay Rays- Greg Jones, SS from UNC Wilmington
23. Colorado Rockies- Michael Toglia, 1B/OF, UCLA
24. Cleveland Indians- Daniel Espino, RHP from Georgia Premier Academy
25. Los Angeles Dodgers- Kody Hoese, 3B from Tulane University
26. Arizona Diamondbacks- Blake Watson, LHP from New Hanover High School in North Carolina
27. Chicago Cubs- Ryan Jensen, RHP from Fresno State University
28. Milwaukee Brewers- Ethan Small, LHP from Mississippi State University
29. Oakland Athletics- Logan Davidson, SS from Clemson University
30. New York Yankees- Anthony Volpe, SS/2B from Delbarton School in New Jersey
31. Los Angeles Dodgers- Michael Busch, 1B from University of North Carolina
32. Houston Astros- Korey Lee, C from University of California
The first round brought some more shocking news when the Mets selected Baty with the thirteenth overall pick in the draft. High School phenom Brennan Malone from the IMG academy in Florida went undrafted through the first thirty-two selections which was surprising since he was supposed to be one of the few high school arms to be selected in the first round. The second round continued on after the first round concludes, the rest of the draft takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday.