2019 MLB mock draft: Adley Rutschman goes No. 1, and the Giants and A’s go for up-the-middle talents

The MLB Draft begins Monday when the Baltimore Orioles make the first selection. There may not be a lot of mystery surrounding what name the Orioles will call, but the rest of the evening figures to hold plenty of surprises as there isn’t much consensus on how the first round will unfold after the first five or six selections.

The draft will begin on June 3 at 4 p.m. PT and Day 1 will go through the end of the second round. Day 2 will begin at 10 a.m. PT on June 4 and will run through the end of the 10th round. Then the lightning portion of the draft begins, with Day 3 covering rounds 11-40, starting at 9 a.m. PT on June 5. The first night can be watched on the MLB Network and the next two days can be followed on MLB.com.

Over the past few months, I’ve profiled several players who are likely to hear their names called during the draft (to view all of The Athletic’s draft coverage, click here). Now it’s time to put that knowledge to the test with a first-round mock draft. (You can also view our beat writer mock draft in which the writers that cover each team made their selections.) This exercise is designed more to give you a taste of what teams might be considering at each pick and a closer look at the top prospects on the board, but it can also be used to mock me later.

Hope you enjoy it!

1. Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State

Perhaps the best position-player prospect going into an MLB Draft since Bryce Harper in 2010, Rutschman could be a franchise-altering player for the Orioles, who really need one. Rutschman is a switch-hitting backstop who has hit .427/.584/.772 with 16 home runs in 52 games for the Beavers this year. Rutschman is the rare power hitter who doesn’t strike out a lot. He also takes a lot of walks and has hit better than .400 in each of the past two seasons. Behind the plate, he is an excellent athlete who moves his feet well and has an above-average arm. He could reach the big leagues quickly. The old Orioles might have looked to save money here and gone with another college bat whose asking price is below slot. But under their new regime, look for the Orioles to take the best player in the draft and happily pay him.

2. Kansas City Royals: Bobby Witt, Jr., SS, Colleyville Heritage (Tex.) HS

The son of Bobby Witt, the former big-league pitcher and third overall pick in the 1985 draft, Bobby Jr. is a sweet-swinging shortstop with plus athleticism and plenty of projection remaining in his 6-foot frame. Witt’s swing can get a little long when he’s pressing, but when he’s on his game, he looks like a five-tool player. The Royals have scouted Witt for a while. It would be an upset to see them go in a different direction here.

3. Chicago White Sox: Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California

There are rumors that the White Sox are considering high school shortstop C.J. Abrams at this spot, but I think they will stick with their M.O. and go with the polished collegiate hitter Vaughn. He doesn’t wow anyone with his athleticism, but Vaughn is a masher, pure and simple, with an advanced approach at the plate and enough defensive chops to bring some value with the glove at first base. He should move quickly, which would allow him to arrive on the scene while the White Sox’s current young core is still in place.

4. Miami Marlins: C.J. Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic (Roswell, Ga.) HS

If the White Sox take Vaughn, look for the Marlins to grab Abrams. If Abrams goes off the board, Vaughn is likely to land in Miami. The Marlins need help at every level and at every position in their organization, so they should take the best player here, regardless of position or experience. Abrams is a potential sparkplug top-of-the-order hitter with plus speed, excellent bat control and some power potential. If he doesn’t stick at shortstop, he should have no trouble making a home in center field.

5, Detroit Tigers: Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty (Oviedo, Fla.) HS

The Tigers hit a home run at the top of last year’s draft by taking right-hander Casey Mize, who is currently carving up Double-A hitters. The Tigers have gone heavy on pitching in the first round the past few seasons and could use some impact bats in their system. Greene has arguably the best hit tool of any high school player in this class and the potential to be a 30-home run hitter down the road. He’s a corner outfielder only, but he’ll have plenty of bat for the position. If the Tigers want a player closer to the big leagues, they make take Vanderbilt’s J.J. Bleday, who has a similar profile to Greene but is three years older.

6. San Diego Padres: J.J. Bleday, OF, Vanderbilt

The Padres are stacked with high-upside talent both on their big-league roster and in the minor leagues. They’ve gone with high school pitchers with their first picks each of the past two seasons. With their window for contention now open, they could use some fast-track talent. Bleday is that kind of talent, a polished left-handed power hitter who leads the NCAA in home runs with 26. He is a corner outfielder only but, again, the bat will play there.

7. Cincinnati Reds: Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU

Lodolo had the opportunity to turn pro coming out of high school when the Pirates made him the 41st overall pick. He went to TCU instead and is now a consensus top-10 prospect after a standout junior season for the Horned Frogs. Slight of frame, Lodolo can still touch 96 and sits 91-94 from the left side. Because of his extension at 6-6, Lodolo’s fastball looks harder to hitters than the radar gun reading would suggest. He has a solid changeup and a developing breaking ball. Lodolo’s command has been outstanding this season, as he’s walked only 21 while striking out 125 in 98 innings.

8. Texas Rangers: Jackson Rutledge, RHP, San Jacinto JC

The Rangers are never shy about taking high-upside players with their top pick, and they could go in a number of different directions here with several high-risk, high-reward talents still on the board. Rutledge seems like a good fit for their system: a hard-throwing right-hander with a towering (6-8) frame and at least one above-average secondary offering in his arsenal and the potential for another. Rutledge threw 15 2/3 innings as a freshman at Arkansas before transferring to junior college powerhouse San Jacinto for this season, so he hasn’t been overworked the past two seasons. The Rangers could also target high school talents Corbin Carroll or Matthew Allan at this spot.

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9. Atlanta Braves: Hunter Bishop, OF, ASU Compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder Carter Stewart

Despite a postseason berth last year, the Braves get to pick in the top-10 again after not signing 2018 top pick Carter Stewart. Stewart has signed with a Japanese team, while the Braves continue to have one of the top farm systems in baseball despite missing out on the right-hander. Atlanta is famous for grabbing high school talent, but with its contention window open, a college bat could be a good fit. Bishop, a Palo Alto native, has some holes in his game, namely a tendency to swing and miss a lot, but he’s a legitimate 30-30 candidate who can play all three outfield positions.

10. San Francisco Giants: Bryson Stott, SS, UNLV

I went with Stott as my pick for the Giants in The Athletic beat writers’ mock draft, and I’m sticking with that pick here. Stott is a well-rounded player who can contribute on both sides of the ball. As a hitter, he controls the bat extremely well from the left side. He doesn’t strike out a lot, he walks a lot and he’s hit for average throughout his collegiate career. This season, he’s also added power to the mix and he’s an above-average runner. Defensively, Stott moves well and has a strong arm. He’s the kind of up-the-middle defensive talent that gives a team plenty of options and the kind of bat who could make a significant impact in the second spot in the order. He’d be a nice fit as the Giants look to remake their farm system.

There are a few other directions the Giants could go, including Washington high school outfielder Corbin Carroll, who scouts in the Northwest rave about for his instincts and athleticism, and 6-foot-6 West Virginia starter Alek Manoah, who could team with Sean Hjelle to give the Giants one of the more intimidating-looking rotations in baseball and a solid frontcourt for MLBPA pickup games.

11. Toronto Blue Jays: Alek Manoah, RHP, WVU

The aforementioned Manoah is a beast at 6-6, 260, and he’s a power right-hander who misses bats and can go deep into games, two qualities that would make him valuable in the AL East. Manoah is a better athlete than one would expect him to be based on his frame and he has less wear on his tires than most collegiate pitchers since he didn’t begin starting full-time until this season. The Jays could also consider Kentucky left-hander Zack Thompson here if they have good reports on his health, or go the high school direction and target a hitter such as Carroll or Brett Baty.

12. New York Mets: George Kirby, RHP, Elon

Kirby has some of the most eye-popping stats in college baseball. The right-hander has a 2.75 ERA and an incredible 107:6 K:BB in 88 1/3 innings, which makes his 96:27 K:BB in 90 1/3 innings last season look pedestrian by comparison. Kirby pitches in a smaller conference, but he proved himself against strong competition with a productive summer in the Cape Cod League. He has big-time stuff, featuring a fastball that can touch 98 and a two-seamer with plenty of run. He also has two solid secondary offerings. Kirby is a Rye, NY, native, which would make this pick a solid PR moment for a team that could really use some. Carroll, Thompson and Baylor catcher Shea Langliers could also be in play here.

13. Minnesota Twins: Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside (Seattle) School

I think Carroll goes off the board here to the Twins, who have tended to favor high school players with their top picks over the last decade. Carroll is an outstanding athlete who has the speed to run down anything in the outfield and rack up a high number of stolen bases. He has advanced bat-to-ball skills and could develop some doubles power as he matures physically. Illinois high school right-hander Quinn Priester is another possibility at this slot.

14. Philadelphia Phillies: Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky

Where Thompson goes in the draft will come down to how teams feel about the health of his left elbow. Thompson fell in the draft coming out of high school because of concerns about his health and he missed a big portion of last season with an elbow strain. He’s been healthy this year, however, and has dominated for Kentucky, posting a 2.40 ERA and a 130:34 K:BB in 90 innings. Thompson has three potential plus pitches from the left side and could wind up being a steal at 14 if his health holds up.

15. Los Angeles Angels: Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis (Austin, Tex.) HS

The Angels have focused on high school hitters in the first round of late. That doesn’t mean they’ll go that direction again, but Baty is arguably the highest-ceiling hitter left on the board, so he goes here in this simulation. Baty is old for his high school class, but he has big-time power from the left side and an advanced approach for a high school hitter. He’s probably limited to the corners, but if he can stick at third base, his bat will be a big asset.

16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Shea Langliers, C, Baylor

In a draft without Rutschman, Langliers would be the runaway top catcher in the class. He’s a plus defender behind the plate and his offense may be underrated, as he suffered a hamate injury this season that suppressed his offensive output. The A’s got catching prospect Sean Murphy at a significant draft value slot after a similar injury in 2016. Langliers won’t be that level of a bargain at 16, but could still be a steal. The Diamondbacks have the largest draft pool of any team and taking a college player with their first pick will allow them to swing big on any players who fall due to bonus demands a bit later in the draft.

17. Washington Nationals: Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole (Fla.) HS

The Nationals may be the best organization in baseball at rehabbing injured draft prospects and turning them into rising stars (Jesús Luzardo and Lucas Giolito are just two examples), so if Thompson falls to this spot, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Nationals take him on. He’s gone in this scenario, however, but I still see Washington going with a pitcher here. Allan is rated by many scouting services as the top high school pitcher in this draft. He has a classic starter’s frame at 6-3, 210 and a fastball that already reaches the mid-90s. He’s also an excellent athlete.

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18. Pittsburgh Pirates: Quinn Preister, RHP, Cary-Grove (Ill.) HS

Preister is another top prep arm who has impressed this spring, particularly with his ability to maintain his elite velocity late into starts. He fits the mold of the type of right-handed starters the Pirates have targeted in recent years. If the Pirates go for a hitter, power hitters Josh Jung from Texas Tech, Kameron Misner from Missouri or Kody Hoese from Tulane could be in play.

19. St. Louis Cardinals: Kameron Misner, OF, Missouri

Coming into the season, Misner had some top-10 hype, but he has seen his draft stock fall with an up-and-down junior season. The Cardinals could get a value here with the local kid, as he has the tools to be a difference-maker on both sides of the ball. The left-handed hitter and thrower has big power potential and he’s an above-average runner. He also has strong defensive skills in center field. Misner sees a lot of pitches, which allows him to draw a lot of walks, but he also strikes out a lot. The Cardinals don’t mind taking risks on high school players, as well, and shortstop Gunnar Henderson could also be in play here.

20. Seattle Mariners: Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech

The Mariners would love to get the local kid Carroll, but he’s long gone in this mock draft. Jung has moved up and down the first-round rankings all spring, but the fluctuations seem less to do with his performance and more to do with other players being re-valued. Jung has been a consistently outstanding performer for the Red Raiders all three seasons at the school. He is one of the most well-rounded collegiate hitters in the draft, as he hits for power, average and walks more than he strikes out. He doesn’t run well, which is probably his biggest negative as a player. Defensively, he’s moved to shortstop this season but most see him at third base, where he was last year. He could profile in right field eventually, as well. Hoese offers similar skills and could also be in play here.

21. Atlanta Braves: Gunnar Henderson, SS, Morgan (Selma, Ala.) Academy

The Braves went with a college player with their first pick, but they go back to the high school ranks with their second selection. Henderson has had plenty of helium this spring, as scouts love his all-around skill set. He is an outstanding athlete who also starred on the basketball court in high school. He has a line-drive left-handed swing that allows him to drive the ball into the gaps. Henderson has room to fill out his 6-3 frame and could ultimately end up at third base or in the outfield, but there’s plenty for the Braves’ strong player development program to work with here. If the Braves target pitching instead, Brennan Malone and Daniel Espino could come off the board.

22. Tampa Bay Rays: Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG (Bradenton, Fla.) Academy

The Rays don’t always go the high school route with their top pick, but they often do, and with quality high school arms like Malone and Espino still on the board, it seems likely to happen again. Malone is a North Carolina native who transferred to IMG Academy this season to get in front of more scouts. He’s pitched well in the latter half of the spring. He has good velocity and the makings of three solid secondary offerings. Malone’s still a bit raw, but he has plenty of upside.

23. Colorado Rockies: Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson

The Rockies could go in a lot of directions, but Davidson gets the call as arguably the best player left on the board. Davidson comes with some warts in his game, but as a switch-hitting shortstop with above-average power and speed, he has a lot of upside as well. A three-year starter at Clemson, Davidson has put up big numbers in the competitive ACC, but he hurt his draft stock with poor performances with wood bats in the Cape Cod League. His hit tool ranks behind his other tools thanks to a swing that can get long on both sides of the plate, but he has the ability to stay at shortstop and the power and speed to make him an asset even if he doesn’t hit for average.

24. Cleveland Indians: Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane

The Indians are likely to target college hitters in this spot and Hoese fits the bill. He’s had a monster spring for the Green Wave, exceeding the 20-homer plateau after hitting only five total his first two seasons. Hoese also hit well on the Cape last summer. The right-handed hitter doesn’t have to sell out to hit for power, and he’s done a good job making regular contact and taking walks this season. He probably doesn’t have enough foot speed to play in the outfield, but his arm should allow him to stick at third.

25. Los Angeles Dodgers: Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier (Statesboro, Ga.) Academy

Espino moved to the U.S. from Panama in 2016 and quickly established himself as a top prospect on the showcase circuit. He’s continued to improve the past three seasons and some scouts believe he’s the most polished high school pitcher in this class. The 6-2 right-hander has filled out physically, and he uses a strong lower half to run his fastball into the upper 90s. There may not be room for much projection left in his frame, but with his current stuff, he may not need it. He also has two solid off-speed offerings. He’ll add to the Dodgers’ ever-growing abundance of riches in the minor leagues.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Will Wilson, SS, North Carolina State Compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder Matt McLain

Although he hasn’t been mentioned much in this mock, Wilson could conceivably go much higher than this spot. In his three seasons at NC State, Wilson has consistently hit for average and power in a competitive conference. He gets knocked for his lack of foot speed, but he handles the shortstop position well and would have no trouble moving over to second or third base if need be. With their big bonus pool, the D-backs will be in a good spot to grab any top-rated draft prospects who fall because of signability here, as well.

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27. Chicago Cubs: Michael Busch, 1B/OF, North Carolina

The Cubs have done well selecting college hitters of late, and they dip back into that well with Busch. The UNC product doesn’t jump out at scouts for his athleticism, but he can flat out hit. He has a smooth left-handed swing that allows him to drive the ball to all parts of the park. He has a very strong eye at the plate, as evidenced by his 56 walks in 59 games this season. Busch has solid bat control and should hit for average as a pro, as well. Defensively, he’s probably limited to first base or left field. It’s that defensive profile that has kept him out of the top half of the first round.

28. Milwaukee Brewers: Keoni Cavaco, SS/3B, Eastlake (Chula Vista, Calif.) HS

Cavaco has been the fastest-rising high school prospect this spring, as he’s gone from a fringe Day 1 prospect to a likely first-round selection. Cavaco is very fast and looks capable of playing both shortstop and third base. He has shown significant power potential in prospect showcase settings. There are questions about his contact skills, but his power-speed combination is very enticing. He could go even higher, but the Brewers — who are never afraid to take chances on high-upside talents — seem like a good floor for the Southern California native.

29. Oakland A’s: Greg Jones, SS, UNC-Wilmington

In our beat writers’ mock draft, the Cubs grabbed Jones two spots before the A’s had an opportunity to pick, but he’s at the top of my board for players who are expected to be available at this spot in the draft, and I didn’t hesitate to grab him here. When selecting near the bottom of the first round, the A’s have targeted players with at least one plus tool and a strong secondary tool. Matt Chapman and his plus arm and batting practice power from 2014 is a good example of this draft approach. Jones offers arguably the strongest run tool of anyone in this draft, as some scouts have given him 80-grades for his speed on the 20-80 scale. Jones draws a lot of walks and hit .343 for UNCW this season. Defensively, he has a chance to stick at shortstop and could move easily to center field or second base if need be.

Jones’ profile is similar to 2008 A’s first-round pick Jemile Weeks when Weeks was coming out of Miami. Weeks wasn’t able to maintain his production at the big-league level, thanks in large part to a series of leg injuries, but he showed game-changing potential in that 2011 rookie season. The A’s have selected a number of UNCW players over the years and will undoubtedly have a good feel for Jones, who is a draft-eligible sophomore.

30. New York Yankees: Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton (Morristown, NJ) HS

The Yankees could go a lot of directions here and have been tied to a number of players throughout the draft process. One of those players is Leiter, who is the son of Al Leiter, a second-round pick of the Yankees in 1984. Jack is right-handed but offers a lot of the same polish as his dad, who pitched 19 seasons in the big leagues. Jack is on the smaller side for a right-handed starter (listed at 6-1), but he’s got a good feel for mixing his pitches and his velocity has ticked up this spring.

31. Los Angeles Dodgers: Maurice Hampton, OF, Memphis (Tenn.) HS Compensation for unsigned 2018 first-rounder J.T. Ginn

The Dodgers get another pick here and they can take a risk on Hampton, who has a commitment to play football at LSU but is looking more likely to stick with baseball as the spring progresses. Hampton is a phenomenal athlete who has a fast bat and can hit for plus power. He’s also a plus runner who is ticketed to play cornerback for the Tigers. Hampton is raw, but if he clicks, he’s a five-tool center fielder who can hit for power, steal bases and disrupt the game with his range in the outfield. He may cost the Dodgers extra to sign here, but they can save later in the draft to go over-slot.

32. Houston Astros: Matthew Lugo, SS, Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico) Baseball Academy

Lugo is among the players who have been tied to the Yankees, but if he gets past them, the Astros may grab him at pick 32. Lugo is the nephew of Carlos Beltran, whose academy Lugo played at in high school. He has plenty of upside offensively and should be able to stick somewhere on the infield.

33. Arizona Diamondbacks: J.J. Goss, RHP, Cypress Ranch (Tex.) HS Compensation for loss of free agent Patrick Corbin

Even though they don’t pick in the top 10, the D-backs will have the biggest influence on Day 1 with their extra selections. They have seven in total among the first 75 picks and four in the first round. With their large bonus pool, they can go many different directions. Since I have them taking two college players with their first two picks, I’ll go the high school route for this one.

Goss is a classic Texas right-handed high school flame thrower. He’s 6-3 with room to add strength in his frame and he can already run his fastball up to 95. He has an excellent slider and the makings of a usable changeup. Goss has a Texas A&M commitment that the D-backs would need to buy him out of.

34. Arizona Diamondbacks: Seth Johnson, RHP, Campbell Compensation for loss of free agent A.J. Pollock

Johnson is one of the most interesting prospects in the draft. Primarily an infielder in two seasons of community college ball, Johnson moved to the mound full-time this season and has rocketed up the draft boards. He features a plus fastball-slider combination with a fastball that already touches 98 and a slider that is a swing and miss weapon. He’s very raw, especially for a college pitcher, but Johnson doesn’t have many innings on his arm. As a floor, he should be a solid big-league reliever with that fastball/slider combo. As a ceiling, he adds another pitch and develops into a solid No. 2 starter.

(Photo: Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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