2019 MLB Draft: Top prospects to watch


Zach Kaplan, iNews baseball reporter

Oregon State C Adley Rutschman: A 6’2, 216 lb catcher out of Oregon State, Rutschman is projected to do great things after carrying the Beavers to the World Series & winning Most Outstanding Player in the World Series as well. He’s a switch hitter and has a very disciplined approach at the plate, walking more than he struck out at Oregon State.

When he hits the ball, he demonstrates a consistent ability to hit the ball hard, put it in play, drive it to the gaps, and even started to show home run power during his junior year. He’s outstanding behind the plate, with a cannon for an arm.

Where he’s projected to go: Baltimore Orioles. Rutschman is going to go number 1 most likely, and the last switch-hitting catcher the O’s took in the draft was Matt Wieters, and he worked out pretty well for Baltimore.

Oklahoma commit SS Bobby Witt Jr: A 6’0, 180 lb shortstop coming from Colleyville Heritage School in Texas and an Oklahoma commit, at the age of only 18 Witt has impressed and is ranked the #2 prospect in the draft. Witt Jr, the son of Witt Sr, who was drafted third overall in the 1985 Draft and eventually played for Texas, Oakland, Florida, St Louis, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Arizona. Witt Jr. won the High School Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game and won MVP at the Under Armour All-America Game and many other honors. He has raw power and speed and great baserunning instincts which could make him a great all around player.

Where he’s projected to go: Kansas City Royals.

California 1B Andrew Vaughn: A 6’0, 214 lb first baseman who actually wasn’t much of a prospect at his high school but emerged at California. Vaughn hit .402 with 23 homers in 2018 to earn the Golden Spikes Award as an underclassman. Vaughn could be one of the best all-around hitters in his class. More than that, he’s a disciplined hitter who works a lot of walks who can stir up some trouble in the middle of the lineup when he gets to the big leagues. He also pitched at one point and thinks he could be an outfielder or third baseman at some point.

Where he’s projected to go: Chicago White Sox, third pick.

Alabama commit SS CJ Abrams: A 6’1, 178 lb shortstop out of Georgia’s Blessed Trinity Catholic HS, which has produced major leaguers such as Tyler Flowers, Abrams’ speed and athleticism make him a prominent prospect in this draft. He draws comparisons to Seattle’s Dee Gordon, but some think he has more pop and speed than the second-basemen-turned-outfielder. He uses his quickness to beat out bunts and grounders, and has the pop in his bat to be able to hit 10-15 homers per year.

Where he’s projected to go: Detroit Tigers, fifth pick.

Vanderbilt OF JJ Bleday: The 6’3, 205 lb outfielder instantly emerged as the Commodores’ best hitter as a sophomore, hitting 25 home runs in his junior year. Bleday has a quick lefty swing, dominates the zone, and hammers line drives when he puts the ball in play. He can also pitch and play infield.

Where he’s projected to go: Cleveland Indians, 24th pick.

Texas Christian LHP Nick Lodolo: The 6’6, 185 lb lefty out of Texas was the highest unsigned pick in the 2016 draft, going to the Pirates. He works at 90-94 mph with a 96 mph sinker. He had inconsistency with an 80 mph curveball and instead went to a tighter, faster slider.

Where he’s projected to go: Pittsburgh Pirates, 18th pick.

Honorable mentions: Riley Greene, 6’1, 191 lb OF, Florida commit projected to go #4 overall to the Marlins

Hunter Bishop, 6’5, 210 lb OF, Arizona State projected to go #146 overall to the Rangers

Bryson Stott, 6’3, 195 lb SS, University of Nevada, Las Vegas projected to go #26 overall to the Diamondbacks

Shea Langeliers, 6’0, 190 lb C, Baylor, projected to go #7 overall to the Reds.