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SportMLB Mock Draft round-up: 20 players likely to be first-round picks in 2019

17:15  23 may  2019
17:15  23 may  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

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MLB Mock Draft round-up: 20 players likely to be first-round picks in 2019 © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

Baseball’s annual draft doesn’t generate nearly as much attention as the drafts in football or baseball, but it’s every bit as important. A big part of the reason, of course, is the average fan doesn’t know the players who are about to be drafted. College baseball is a great, amazing competition, but it only gets a fraction of the coverage. Individual players just aren’t as well known.

This year’s event is starts June 3, with the first two rounds broadcast live from the MLB Network studio. Rounds 3-10 happen on June 4 and Rounds 11-40 are completed on June 5.

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To help prepare you, still a few weeks out, here are 20 names you’ll want to know on June 3, along with where these guys are ranked in the latest mock drafts for Baseball America (May 10), MLB.com (May 17), FanGraphs (May 14) and ESPN’s Keith Law (May 6). We’ll do this again as the draft draws closer.

Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State

Why he’s here: Three players from Oregon State went in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft — Nick Madrigal (4), Trevor Larnach (20) and Cadyn Grenier (37) — but Rutschman could be the first Beaver ever to go in the 1:1 spot. A 40th-round pick out of high school by the Mariners, Rutschman earned just about every accolade possible in his sophomore season — including Most Outstanding Player at the College World Series, with 17 hits and 13 RBIs as the Beavers claimed the title — and he’s been even better this season. An elite defensive catcher, Rutschman is hitting .427 with 16 homers, 55 RBIs and a .584 on-base percentage in 52 games for Oregon State this season. Oh, and there’s this: He’s a switch-hitter. Yeah. He’s the consensus No. 1 pick, not just with these four mock drafts but pretty much every one out there.

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Mock spots: BA: 1, MLB.com: 1, FG: 1, ESPN: 1

Bobby Witt, Jr., SS, Coleyville (Texas) Heritage High

Why he’s here: Speaking of consensus picks, Witt is No. 2 with pretty much every outlet. He made his biggest national splash last summer, winning the High School Home Run Derby at Nationals Park during MLB’s All-Star Weekend; he powered eight over the outfield fences in 76 seconds to win the title. It’s that kind of power — and a pedigree of being the son of 16-year MLB pitcher Bobby Witt doesn’t hurt — that has him near the top of mock drafts. Here’s a fun challenge: Try to find a scouting report on Witt that doesn’t include the phrase “five-tool player.” I promise it’s difficult.

Mock spots: BA: 2, MLB.com: 2, FG: 2, ESPN: 2

C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity High (Roswell, Ga)

Why he’s here: Teams like elite players with speed and power and high ceilings, and Abrams has all three. Where he winds up defensively will have to be determined, but sticking at shortstop seems like a possibility. He’s an Alabama commit, which gives him a bit of leverage — the same leverage every non-college senior has — but you won’t read much (or anything) about that being a huge road block.

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Mock spots: BA: 3, MLB.com: 3, FG: 3, ESPN: 6

Andrew Vaughn, 1B, Cal

Why he’s here: Vaughn can hit. He’s only 6 feet tall, which is small for a first baseman, but he hit .402 as a freshman and won the Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s best amateur baseball player as a sophomore. Nice resume, eh? The folks at MLB.com mention Vaughn as a Plan B for the Orioles with the top pick, and he’ll be a big decision for the Royals at 2 and the White Sox at 3 and the Marlins at 4 and the Tigers at 5. Doesn’t seem like he’d get past there.

Mock spots: BA: 4, MLB.com: 5, FG: 5, ESPN: 3

J.J. Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt

Why he’s here: Few schools produce high picks like Vanderbilt. The list of first-round alums is impressive: David Price, Walker Buehler, Dansby Swanson, Sonny Gray, Mike Minor, Kyle Wright, Pedro Alvarez, Jordan Sheffield and on and on. A star from the time he arrived at Vandy, Bleday was named the top prospect of the Cape Cod league last summer, no small feat. He’s one of those guys who are given the “pure hitter” label.

Mock spots: BA: 6, MLB.com: 4, FG: 4, ESPN: 4

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Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty (Fla.) High

Why he’s here: Another guy with the “pure hitter” label, Greene has been consistently impressive on the showcase circuit. As FanGraphs notes, the Tigers — who have the No. 5 pick — have been locked in on Greene for a while, but the way the draft plays out tends to sway thinking in the final minutes.

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Last year's first - rounder Vita Vea likely plays nose tackle with Gerald McCoy in one defensive end spot. The Steelers need help at linebacker, even after signing Mark Barron, but with Devin Bush and Devin White off the board the best bet is to wait until Round 2 or 3 to get a middle 'backer.

This week’s mock draft features a few new names, especially in the back end. He announced on Sunday that he would return for his senior season, despite likely being a first - round pick in April. The Colts are coming off a sensational draft class that had two first-team All-Pro players in it.

Mock spots: BA: 5, MLB.com: 6, FG: 6, ESPN: 5

Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU

Why he’s here: It’s not often you’ll see consensus with a No. 7 pick in a draft — in any sport — but all four of our go-to mock drafts have the Reds taking the first pitcher of the draft with the seventh spot. Which, of course, means it probably won’t happen, Reds fans. It’s not seen as a great crop of college pitchers (or pitchers at all), but the Horned Frogs’ lefty is at the top of the hurler list.

Mock spots: BA: 7, MLB.com: 7, FG: 7, ESPN: 7

Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State

Why he’s here: Bishop has come into his own as a junior for the Sun Devils. In one 13-game stretch earlier this season, Bishop had 12 homers and 28 RBIs, and his numbers right now sit at still-very-impressive levels. He’s batting .356 with 22 homers, 61 RBIs, 11 stolen bases and a .482 on-base percentage in 202 at-bats. He’s the brother of big-league outfielder Braden Bishop.

Mock spots: BA: 8, MLB.com: 8, FG: 9, ESPN: 9

Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV

Why he’s here: The idea of a left-handed hitting shortstop with power is certainly appealing. Not drafted out of high school, Stott has been a revelation at UNLV. In his junior year, he’s batting .361 with 51 walks against 38 strikeouts, to go with 10 homers and 15 stolen bases. He could become the fourth UNLV star drafted in the first round; the most successful of the first three was Matt Williams.

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Mock spots: BA: 11, MLB.com: 11, FG: 10, ESPN: 20

Alex Manoah, RHP, West Virginia

Why he’s here: Undrafted out of high school, Manoah is a big dude — listed at 6-6, 260 pounds — who shot up draft lists with an impressive performance in last summer’s Cape Cod league, when he led the circuit in strikeouts. For the Mountaineers this spring, Manoah has 125 strikeouts in 14 starts covering 94 1/3 innings, against only 22 walks.

Mock spots: BA: 10, MLB.com: 10, FG: 13, ESPN: 11

Others to watch

Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto (Texas) Juco

Mock spots:

BA: 12, MLB.com: 9, FG: 11, ESPN: 13

Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky

Mock spots:

BA: 13, MLB.com: 12, FG: 12, ESPN: 14

Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor

Mock spots:

BA: 9, MLB.com: 13, FG: 17, ESPN: 17

Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside High (Seattle)

Mock spots:

BA: 16, MLB.com: 19, FG: 16, ESPN: 8

Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech

Mock spots:

BA: 20, MLB.com: 17, FG: 14, ESPN: 12

Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis (Texas) High

Mock spots:

BA: 19, MLB.com: 20, FG: 8, ESPN: 25

Gunnar Henderson, SS, Morgan Academy (Selma, Ala.)

Mock spots:

BA: 25, MLB.com: 14, FG: 18, ESPN: 19

Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole High (Sanford, Fla.)

Mock spots:

BA: 25, MLB.com: 15, FG: 26, ESPN: 10

George Kirby, RHP, Elon

Mock spots:

BA: 22, MLB.com: 16, FG: 15, ESPN: 30

Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)

Mock spots:

BA: 14, MLB.com: 25, FG: 25, ESPN: 21

MLB Draft tracker 2019: Live results, complete picks list for Rounds 1-2 in baseball draft.
Sporting News is tracking results as teams make their picks in the 2019 MLB Draft.

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