Top 50 Overall Prospects

# Player Pos School/University Height Weight B-T
1 Adley Rutschman C Oregon State University 6-2 216 S-R
Run 40 – Arm 60 – Hit 60 – Power 60 – Defense 55 – Overall 70
Only five catchers have ever been selected with the No. 1 overall pick, and there’s been just one (Joe Mauer) since 1975. There’s a very good chance, though, that Rutschman will become No. 6. One almost runs out of words trying to describe how great he was in 2018. The fact that he hit .408 and set school records for hits and RBI just barely scratches the surface. In conference, he hit .342 with 32 RBI in 30 games. Non-conference? A blistering .460 with eight home runs and 51 RBI in 37 games. In the CWS alone, he racked up a record 17 hits and 13 RBI in eight games. All of this to say, Rutschman is one of, it not the best, all-around hitter in the 2019 draft class. And while he doesn’t hit for much power now, don’t let the 11 home runs in 459 at-bats fool you. He should grow into at least above-average power. Behind the plate, Rutschman is equally as valuable. His rocket arm—graded out at a 60—is so strong that runners rarely attempt to run on him; the 18 attempts against him in 2018 (of which 28% were caught) was easily the lowest number among starting catchers in the Pac 12, despite the fact that Rutschman started more games and handled more chances than any other position player in the conference. And while he’s not a good runner, Rutschman is still a pretty good athlete. He handled kickoff duties for the Beaver football team as a freshman and also played linebacker in high school. His 63-yard field goal in 2015 is still the longest ever in the state of Oregon. Glowing report aside, we expect a slightly less prolific season from Rutschman in 2019, as Oregon State looks to replace four first round picks that accounted for nearly half of the Beavers’ offensive output in 2018.
2 Andrew Vaughn 1B University of California 6-0 214 R-R
Run 35 – Arm 50 – Hit 65 – Power 60 – Defense 55 – Overall 65
Vaughn burst onto the scene back in 2013, earning MVP honors in the title game of the Pan-American Championships for Team USA’s 15-under squad, a team that included 2016 No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak. After a successful run as a two-way player at Maria Carrillo High in Santa Rosa, where he ironically hit just one home run in four seasons, Vaughn went undrafted and headed to Cal. His first season was eye-opening, in more ways than one. Not only did he start all 54 games for the Golden Bears, but he turned in one of the best all-around campaigns of any player in the Pac 12. He finished top ten in the conference in nearly every offensive category, including total bases, slugging, hits, RBI and batting average. He earned National Player of the Week honors after a torrid midseason stretch and was a shoe-in for Pac 12 Freshman of the Year. Even more surprising was the work Vaughn did in the field. A natural second baseman, he moved to first base before the season and committed just two errors in more than 500 chances. Vaughn returned to Team USA in the summer of 2017, this time as a member of the Collegiate National Team, and turned in another strong performance, earning MVP honors (again) during the team’s All-Star Series against Japan. That performance set the stage for his historic 2018 campaign, one that saw him post a video-game-like .402/.531/.819 line and finish among the top-ten nationally in average and home runs (23), while also posting a 44-to-18 walk-to-strikeout mark. Once again, however, Vaughn’s best work may have come in the field, where he committed just four errors and earned a spot on the conference All-Defensive Team. When it comes to hitting, Vaughn is arguably the best there is in the 2019 class, and factoring in the contributions he adds on defense, he’s a pretty easy pick as the top prospect from the second tier.
3 Carter Stewart RHP Eastern Florida State College 6-6 200 R-R
Fastball 65 – Curveball 65 – Changeup 50 – Control 55 – Overall 65
Stewart first drew eyeballs back in mid-2016, showing off his now legendary curveball at the WWBA National Championship. His fastball rarely topped 90 mph, but as 2016 bled into 2017 he started adding velocity and some much needed weight to his scrawny 6-foot-5, 190 pound frame. He topped out at 93 mph during the 2017 summer showcase circuit, solidifying his status as a mid-to-late first-rounder, earning him a scholarship offer from Mississippi State and making Eau Gallie High one of the top scouting destinations in the country in 2018. Stewart came out of the gate strong during his senior season debut, showing even more velocity (94-97 mph) to go with his big-league ready curve. Near the halfway point of his season, however, his velocity dipped and he missed a few starts. An all-state performer at the plate, as well as on the mound, Stewart appeared to have suffered a wrist injury swinging the bat. The injury didn’t appear to be serious and by the end of the year, he was back on the mound looking as strong as ever. On draft day, Stewart, who was one of just a handful of prospects to attend the event in Secaucus, N.J., slipped to the Atlanta Braves at pick No. 8. The front-office’s reports on Stewart were glowing and didn’t reveal any indication of the tumult that was to come. A couple of weeks before the signing deadline, however, whispers emerged that the two sides were much further apart than anyone thought, and that a medical evaluation on Stewart’s wrist was to blame. Signing day came and went, and Stewart remained unsigned. Reports indicate that the right-hander was seeking a near-slot deal of $4.5 million, while the Braves had countered with $2 million. The team received a compensation pick in next year’s draft, and Stewart ultimately decided to forgo his commitment to Mississippi State and go the JUCO route, signing on with hometown Eastern Florida, in order to be eligible for the 2019 draft. Stats accumulated at the junior college level tend to be inflated, especially for a player of Stewart’s talent, so unless he pitches miserably or suffers some sort of injury, he’ll likely remain a top-five prospect for us.
4 Corbin Carroll OF Lakeside HS (WA) 5-10 165 L-L
Run 65 – Arm 50 – Hit 55 – Power 45 – Defense 55 – Overall 60
One of the stars of the 2018 summer showcase circuit, Carroll stands out for two big reasons. First, his speed. He’s been clocked as low as 6.3 in the 60 yard dash, putting him in elite company, not only in this draft class, but any draft class. His speed is more than just straight-line though, as he regularly puts that fleet-footedness to use on the basepaths and in centerfield, where he profiles as an above-average defender. His wheels were on display all summer long, most notably at Tournament of Stars, where he hit .385 with a double, triple and two steals in four games, and the Perfect Game All-American Classic, where he took home MVP honors. The second thing that jumps out about the Seattle native is his bat. Despite his size, Carroll is no slap-hitting, contact-oriented batter. He hits the ball with authority, looking to do as much damage as possible. His triple in the PG Classic, against Daniel Espino’s 98 mph fastball, was just as much a testament to how hard he hit the ball as it was to his speed. His hitting ability (and speed, again) were showcased at the Pan American Championships during Team USA’s run to the gold medal. In eight games, Carroll hit .500 with four doubles, a triple and nine steals. Clearly catching up to elite velocity—see triple off Espino, as well as his single at the Under Armour All-America Game off a mid-90s fastball from Matthew Allan—isn’t a problem for him, so the only fault we can find with him is his below-average present power, but there’s a good chance he may already be tapping into his above-average raw power, if his team-leading three home runs down in Panama are any indication. Assuming everything breaks right for Carroll, it’s not hard to envision a Jacoby Ellsbury-type career, hopefully without all the injuries.
5 Bobby Witt Jr. SS Colleyville Heritage HS (TX) 6-1 185 R-R
Run 60 – Arm 60 – Hit 55 – Power 60 – Defense 60 – Overall 60
You have go to all the way back to 2011 to find the last time a player (Gerrit Cole) started and ended the season atop our draft boards. If he has his way, though, Bobby Witt Jr. will do just that. The son of the 16-year big-league veteran with the same name, Witt Jr. has been on the radar for quite some time. And while his lineage means he’s been a known quantity among the scouting community for many years now, he drew national attention for the first time back in the summer of 2016, when he showed a 91 mph fastball off the mound and 93 mph exit velocity at the plate at a couple of Perfect Game showcases. He’s only gotten better since, and this year saw him take a whirlwind ride across North and Central America, playing with and against the best of the best. After an impressive junior campaign for Heritage that saw him hit close to .500 with nine home runs, he picked up two individual MVP awards on the summer showcase circuit, and finished off the year with a dazzling effort (.576, three doubles, three triples, three homers, 18 RBI in nine games) in the Pan-American Championship. In the gold medal game, he hit for the cycle, drove in three runs and scored four of his own. Witt Jr. has been clocked as low as 6.4 in the 60 yard dash, giving him legit plus speed. His arm is as strong as they come, regularly clocking 90+ mph times across the infield, and he has continued to progress as a defender, cementing his status as the kind of player that can play above-average defense at shortstop at the pro level. As any of Witt’s no-doubt home runs this summer show, he has easy raw power, but the only question remains whether he’ll be able to make contact consistently enough to translate it into games. Some have doubts. Don’t count us among them. We trust what we see, and what we see is a kid who has hit wherever he’s been. If everything shakes out right for Witt Jr., we could be looking at a near-clone of Francisco Lindor.
6 Brennan Malone RHP IMG Academy (FL) 6-5 210 R-R
Fastball 65 – Curveball 55 – Changeup 50 – Control 55 – Overall 60
The 2019 pitching crop isn’t as strong as previous years, but don’t blame Malone for that. He is far and away the best prep pitcher available, offering the best combination of pure stuff and projection outside of Carter Stewart, who may find himself lapped by Malone before the draft arrives. The right-hander popped up on the radar back in the summer of 2016, showcasing great athleticism, a three-pitch mix that included a 90-91 mph fastball and control that belied his age. He continued to add velocity, while pitching well above his competition at tiny Porter Ridge High in Indian Trail, N.C. His junior season saw him pitch in half of the Pirates’ 22 games, racking up 76 strikeouts (and just 17 walks) in 51.1 innings. His real coming out party, however, came in this summer’s Perfect Game National Showcase, where he consistently threw his fastball in the 94-96 mph range. He continued to excel as the summer progressed and was clocked as high as 97 at a couple of other events. His breaking ball, which he didn’t utilize much against Porter Ridge opponents, is still a work in progress, but given his athleticism and the feel he’s shown for the pitch, it shouldn’t be long before that too becomes a borderline-plus offering. Malone’s sole remaining challenge at the high school level will be provided via an uptick in the level of competition. After three years at Porter Ridge, the right-hander announced he would be transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL for his senior year. IMG has produced six draft picks since 2015, including two last year, and has established itself as the premier baseball program in the country. With any luck, Malone will become the institution’s highest draft pick ever.
7 C.J. Abrams SS Blessed Trinity HS (GA) 6-2 182 L-R
Run 70 – Arm 55 – Hit 55 – Power 45 – Defense 55 – Overall 60
If you’re looking for a player that could emerge from the second-tier and sneak his way into the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick, look no further than Abrams. A veteran of the showcase circuit—he’s appeared in close to 50 events since 2015—the Alabama commit is most commonly known for his blinding speed. And while that speed—he’s been clocked as low as 6.2 in the 60 yard dash—is easily his best tool, his all-around package is particularly impressive and reminiscent of 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis. For starters, Abrams is an elite athlete with incredible versatility. He’s played mostly shortstop for Blessed Trinity, but during the summer he also saw action at second base and centerfield. His speed would make him an elite prospect in center if he is indeed forced to move off of his preferred position, where he has more than enough arm strength and quick feet. At the plate, Abrams has a simple approach and clean, contact-oriented swing. All summer long he showed the ability to handle elite velocity, including that of Brennan Malone (see below), who saw a 95 mph heater turned around by Abrams for a base hit. What impressed us the most, however, was that uncanny ability to make contact and avoid strikeouts. He posted the lowest strikeout ratio at the Tournament of Stars and going into his senior season, he has just 16 strikeouts in close to 400 plate appearances, to go along with his career. 421 average. The favorite for state player of the year honors, Abrams played in nearly all of the Titans’ 39 games, which included an appearance in the state final four, and considering they return the majority of that team, we’re looking at another 30-35 chances to get a look at him over the course of 2019.
8 Josh Jung 3B Texas Tech University 6-2 215 R-R
Run 40 – Arm 55 – Hit 60 – Power 55 – Defense 50 – Overall 55
After much internal deliberation over Jung vs Langeliers, we’ve decided to kick off the fourth tier with the Texas Tech Red Raider, who gets the edge over the Baylor Bear due to his elite hitting ability. The Big 12 could have as many as five players selected in the first round, and nobody in the conference (and possibly the nation) comes close to Jung as a hitter. The San Antonio native has rarely had an equal at the plate, dating back to his days in high school, when he rewrote the record books at MacArthur High. He hit .491 as a sophomore, .563 as a junior and capped his career as a Brahma with a .470 mark as a senior. It should have surprised no one, then, that Jung transitioned seamlessly into college, claiming Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors after a debut campaign that saw him post a .306/.395/.453 line. He followed that with a strong summer performance (.368/.454/.521) in the Cal Collegiate League and seemed poise to make a run at conference player of the year honors as a sophomore. His first five games of the year—13-for-21 (.619), nine runs, three doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI— were a sneak peak at the kind of damage Jung would ultimately wreak on opposing pitchers. While he couldn’t sustain that kind of heroic pace, he did finish the year with a team-leading .392 average, 12 home runs and 80 RBI, arguably the finest single-season performance in Red Raiders’ history. Never one to rest on his laurels, he once again got some work in over the summer, hitting .283 with a team-leading eight walks for the Collegiate National Team. Jung returns to Lubbock as a junior with little left to prove at the plate. Rather, what scouts would like to see if whether he can handle third base long-term. He has the arm, but he’s not exactly fleet of foot, leading to some speculation that he might be a good fit in an outfield corner. Regardless of where he ends up, it seems a good bet that Jung will produce at the plate.
9 Shea Langeliers + C Baylor University 6-0 190 R-R
Run 40 – Arm 60 – Hit 55 – Power 50 – Defense 60 – Overall 55
In 2016, Langeliers was wrapping up his high school career at Keller, one that saw him help the Indians to 97 wins in four seasons. During his senior year, he pitched and played catcher, earning first team All-State honors and unanimous acclaim for his defense. He eliminated all doubt about his desire to turn pro early when he announced his intention to forgo the draft and honor his commitment to Baylor. The hype surrounding him leading up to his college debut was unreasonable in Waco, but he lived up to it, and then some. He notched a base hit in his first game, homered in his second, and by season’s end he had put together an strong .313/.388/.540 line. More impressive, however, was his performance behind the plate, where he threw out 26 baserunners (44%), setting a new Baylor single-season record. He followed up his rookie campaign with a trip to the Cape Cod League, where he showed the same impressive approach at the plate, good pop, and elite-level defense. Needless to say, expectations for his sophomore campaign were extraordinarily high. Maybe too high. Early season struggles, and an extended mid-season slump at the plate had his batting average down near .200 near the halfway point of the year, and as low as .222 in mid-May, but a strong finish boosted him up to .252. He led the team with 11 homers, but once again, it was his defense that earned him not only the majority of scouts’ attention, but also his place on the Big 12 First-Team. He threw out a ridiculous 69.7% of baserunners and committed just three errors all season, none after April 8th. After the close of the season, Langeliers once again got in some extra at-bats, this time with the Collegiate National Team, where he hit .346 with four doubles in limited playing time. As good as Langeliers is behind the plate, and there’s arguably nobody better in the 2019 class, we still have some niggling doubts about his bat that appear to be supported by his track record. He hit just .327 in high school, .234 on the Cape in the summer of 2017, and struggled for the majority of the year to hit above his weight in 2018. 
10 Riley Greene OF Hagerty HS (FL) 6-2 190 L-L
Run 50 – Arm 50 – Hit 60 – Power 60 – Defense 50 – Overall 55
Former minor-leaguer Matt Cleveland has taken a Hagerty baseball program that was already very good, to the next level, leading the Huskies to the state title game in his first year and to the quarterfinals this past season. At the center of it all, has been Greene, who made a name for himself at the 2017 Perfect Game National Showcase and hit .406 with 26 RBI this year, despite being pitched around almost the entire season. A naturally selective hitter—he drew 23 walks to just nine strikeouts for Hagerty this year, and drew more walks than strikeouts at the Tournament of Stars—he attacks at the plate with a very simple swing and shows impressive gap power. He showed glimpses of his plus raw power this summer, clobbering a two-run homer off of Brennan Malone at the Under Armour All-America Game and putting on a show during his third place finish at the High School Home Run Derby. He was also arguably Team USA’s best hitter at the Pan-American Championships this fall, hitting .424 and leading the American squad with five doubles, three homers and 20 RBI. There seems to be little doubt he’ll hit for both average and power at the pro level, but the biggest question mark facing him is where he’ll end up playing defensively. He has regularly clocked in the 6.6-6.8 range in the 60, but he’s likely to slow as he packs on some weight, giving him limited range in the outfield. He has a decent arm, but not exactly the kind of strength you want to see from a corner outfielder, making him seem a decent candidate to one day move to first base. That said, assuming he forgoes his offer to the University of Florida, Greene will likely be given every chance to stick in the outfield. Due to his home state, Greene invariably gets compared to two other Sunshine State outfielders that have been recently selected in the first round: Kyle Tucker and Connor Scott. We’d rank Greene behind Tucker and ahead of Scott.
11 Bryson Stott SS University of Nevada, Las Vegas 6-3 195 L-R
Run 50 – Arm 55 – Hit 55 – Power 50 – Defense 50 – Overall 55
The University of Nevada-Las Vegas has produced a steady supply of professional ballplayers, none more notable than Matt Williams, who was drafted third overall in 1986. More recently, it has birthed Kevin Kouzmanoff, Erick Fedde and 2018 minor league strikeout champion Dean Kremer. The next in that long line is Stott, a native Las Vegan, who could become just the fourth Rebel drafted in the first round. Lightly recruited out of high school, Stott wasted no time making an impact at the collegiate level. He started all 54 games at shortstop, had three hitting streaks of at least seven games, and put together impressive 20-game stretch where he reached base in every contest. By the end of his freshman year, he had posted an impressive .294/.359/.379 line and walked nearly as many times (22) as he struck out (24). His best work, however, came in the field, where he committed just eight errors. His overall contributions earned him co-Freshman of the Year honors in the Mountain West. His stock really began to rise, however, after his dazzling stint in the Northwoods League that summer. In 71 games, Stott posted a .352/.442/.451 line that included 51 RBI, 26 steals and an astonishing 49-to-30 BB-to-K mark. He carried the momentum over into 2018, teaming with Kyle Isbel and Nick Ames to give the Rebels one of the most potent offenses in college baseball. Stott himself led the team with a .365 average and .442 OBP that was boosted by his 32-to-18 BB-to-K. His 30 doubles ranked first nationally, and he showed off his wheels with 14 steals in 16 chances. From a skills perspective, Stott is more than the sum of his parts. His standout tool is his ability to hit, and there’s more power lurking in his bat than his five career homers indicate. His speed, like his ability in the field, is slightly above-average, but both play up thanks to his uncanny instincts. He should be able to stick at shortstop at the pro level, and it’s not hard to envision a Brandon Crawford-like career arc.
12 Graeme Stinson LHP Duke University 6-5 250 L-L
Fastball 65 – Slider 60 – Changeup 50 – Control 55 – Overall 55
Stinson first came to our attention at the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game. Hard to miss at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, he had one of the few clean outings, striking out two of the three batters he faced, needing only 13 pitches to retire the side. His fastball sat in the high 80s, he hit 91 a few times, and his changeup flashed above-average, but his performance was overshadowed by several other pitchers who were pitching to the radar guns. Diminished velocity the rest of the summer, as well as Stinson’s firm commitment to Duke, caused the left-hander to go undrafted. Any concerns about his velocity were answered in his first appearance for the Blue Devils, where he struck out all three batters he faced. That performance earned him a spot start and he rose to the challenge, striking out 10 in just four innings of work. His usage the rest of the year was sporadic, a mixture of relief outings and mid-week starts, resulting in a disappointing 6.67 ERA that didn’t really tell the whole story. Looking for extra work, Stinson headed to the Cape Cod League, where he pitched all summer, showing increased velocity (92-94 mph) and a devastating mid-80s slider. The results on the Cape (2.45 ERA, 32 K in 18.1 innings) earned him plenty of national attention and he came into 2018 primed to open some eyes. And open some eyes he did. Not only did he emerge as the best pitcher on the team, racking up 98 strikeouts in 62 innings, he also became the pitcher the team turned to when their backs were against the wall. In the NCAA tournament alone, he made four appearances, including a crucial start in an elimination game in the Super Regionals that the team won thanks to his incredible performance (6 innings, 0 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts). Stinson took it easy this summer, making one dominating start (5 innings, 3 hits, 12 strikeouts) back on the Cape and tossing six innings in relief for the Collegiate National Team. Those three relief outings will likely be the last of his amateur career, as it’s widely assumed that Stinson will move into the Blue Devils’ rotation in 2019. He has packed on nearly 40 pounds since coming to Durham, but he’s also added strength. His fastball now sits 92-96 and the sink on it makes it a plus offering. His slider has continued to develop and is arguably the best of its kind in the 2019 class. The changeup that was so good back in high school fell by the wayside as he pitched out of the bullpen the past two years, but he shows enough feel for it to warrant an average grade. That should give him three pitches to work with as a starter. If Stinson has a successful junior campaign, there’s a good chance he’ll find himself the top college pitcher selected.
13 Kameron Misner OF University of Missouri 6-4 219 L-L
Run 50 – Arm 50 – Hit 55 – Power 55 – Defense 50 – Overall 55
At least one hitter from the Southeastern Conference has been selected in the first round 17 of the last 18 years, including one in each of the last four, making it an almost guarantee that at least one will be selected in the first 41 picks. We can also almost guarantee that that player will be Misner, who despite his humble beginnings is ready to emerge into stardom in 2019. Luckily, we don’t have to travel very far from Columbia—home of the Missouri Tigers—to his hometown, where he was a two-way player at Poplar Bluff High. As a senior he did a little bit of everything, hitting .422 with eight home runs, stealing 29 bases and striking out 48 batters in 32 innings, en route to being named conference player of the year. His exploits caught the attention of college and scouts alike, but a strong commitment to Mizzou kept him off of most team’s draft boards. His hometown Royals used a 33rd-round pick on him as a courtesy. He started from day one for the Tigers and by the end of his first month playing at the college level he had hit his first home run, hit his first walk-off home run, had his first 4-RBI game and another in which he stole three bases. He finished the year with a .282/.360/.446 line, seven homers and 17 steals, earning numerous freshman honors. He kept his batting eye sharp with 135 at-bats in the NECL that summer and became a fixture in the middle of Missouri’s lineup in 2018. He got off to a tremendous start and was hitting well over .400 into the third week of SEC play, while also leading the nation in walks. Unfortunately, a foot injury suffered against LSU in mid-April turned out to be more serious than expected and after a dozen more games, he was shut down for the remainder of the year. His abbreviated season ended with a sterling .360/.497/.576 line, 25 RBI, 32 walks and 13 steals in 34 games. As evidenced by his stats, there isn’t anything Misner does poorly. He great speed for a player his size, and has been a capable defender in centerfield, although he might be a better fit, long-term, in a corner. At the plate, he shows great discipline and enough bat speed to catch up to premium velocity. He should hit for average and power, although the latter has been harder to tap into so far. If he shows the same ability in 2019 and can stay healthy, he could be looking at a spot in the top-ten.
14 Zack Thompson LHP University of Kentucky 6-2 225 L-L
Fastball 60 – Curveball 55 – Changeup 50 – Control 55 – Overall 55
Thompson was the prized recruit of Kentucky’s 2016 class, after a record-breaking four year run at Wapahani High in Selma, IN, that included a state title and three All-State first team selections. A two-way player, Thompson went 23-2 with a 0.98 ERA and racked up 405 strikeouts in 185.2 innings, while compiling a .366 average, 21 homers and 93 RBI as the Raiders’ leadoff hitter. As a senior, he struck out 114 batters in 56 innings, including 20 in one game, a virtuoso performance that also saw him drive in three runs with two triples and a double. A self-described, fastball-only pitcher coming out of high school, Thompson slid to the 11th-round, where the Rays took a flier on him. He honored his commitment to Kentucky, and found himself starting as a freshman, showing an incredible ability to miss bats—.187 average against—with a fastball that reached 92 mph and a low-70s curve. He moved into the bullpen as the Wildcats entered conference play and excelled there, tossing 11.1 scoreless innings in seven relief appearances. Thompson moved back into the rotation prior to the NCAA tournament and struck out 13 batters over 11 innings in his final two starts. He began 2018 firmly entrenched in the rotation, a major piece of a team that was expected to challenge for a national title. After just a handful of starts, however, he was sidelined by elbow discomfort, an ailment that doesn’t seem to have any long-term ramifications, but one that did cost him nearly two months. When he did return to the mound, he was limited to short stints, making it hard to get into any kind of rhythm. After Kentucky’s season ended, in disappointing fashion, in the SEC tournament, Thompson squeezed in a few more innings in the Cape Cod League, where he looked at times shaky and dominating in two starts, before heading south to pitch for the Collegiate National Team, where it was more of the same, alternating unsteadiness and dominance. The main thing Thompson can do during his junior year is remain healthy. He’s looked great this fall in practice and scrimmages, showing his established fastball-curveball combo, while also mixing in a cutter and slider. With a strong season, he could find himself challenging Stewart and Malone as the top arm in the 2019 class.
15 Daniel Espino RHP Georgia Premier Academy (GA) 6-3 200 R-R
Fastball 75 – Curveball 50 – Slider 55 – Changeup 50 – Control 55 – Overall 55
Georgia Premier Academy—the state’s answer to Florida’s IMG Academy—only opened its doors last year, but they already have their first great pro prospect. A native Panamanian, Espino moved with his family to the United States as a 10-year old and settled in Georgia three years ago. Already armed with a low-90s fastball, he found his way to GPA, which offers one-on-one instruction and a state of the art, no expenses spared baseball development program. Before the academy was fully up and running, Espino had already transformed his body and added a few more ticks to his fastball and by the end of 2017, he has established himself as a player to watch. His profile took a dramatic turn, however, in March of this year, when he clocked 96 mph and showed two distinct breaking balls at the Perfect Game High School Showdown. He continued his meteoric rise over the summer, touching 97 mph at the WWBA, 98 at the National Showcase, 99 at the PG All-American Classic and eventually, the big 100, at the East Coast Pro Showcase. Hitting triple digits wasn’t as impressive as the ability he showed to maintain his velocity throughout his starts. As previously mentioned, he throws both a curve and a slider, with the latter offering showing greater promise. His fastball doesn’t have much movement to it, so having as many pitches as possible to throw at hitters will only benefit him in the long run. His changeup isn’t anything to write home about, but he shows good feel for it. Espino’s Achilles heel is the fact that at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, he doesn’t offer much projection. That said, even if he is never more than a reliever capable of throwing 95-98 with regularity and one usable breaking ball, there’s still a pro future out there for him.
16 Matthew Allan RHP Seminole HS (FL) 6-3 210 R-R
Fastball 60 – Curveball 55 – Changeup 50 – Control 55 – Overall 55
Allan has been a name to watch for more than a year now, but after a quiet junior season, it was nice to see him face high-level competition this summer on the showcase circuit. It was even nicer to see him show strong results to go along with his premium stuff. After finding his footing at the Tournament of Stars, where he surrendered four runs on six hits in just three innings of work, and the Under-Armour All-America Game, where he struggled with his command, walking two batters and hitting another, he was lights out the rest of the summer. He struck out seven and allowed just one hit in three innings at the East Coast Pro Showcase, and struck out the side in his one inning at the Perfect Game All-American Classic. Scouts that saw him had endless praise, even during his early-summer struggles, and even drew some comparisons to current big-leaguer Michael Fulmer. We love Allan’s clean delivery and smooth mechanics, although he could stand to be a little quicker to the plate. His best weapon is his fastball, a 92-95 mph offering that can touch 96-97 in shorter stints. His command of the pitch has generally been spotty, but he pretty much threw it wherever he wanted it towards the end of summer. His curveball, which sits in the mid-70s, also looked strong this summer and his command was impressive. A current Seminole, Allan was linked to the University of Miami for a time, before switching his commitment to the Gators late in 2017. However, if he continues to show the same quality stuff and can sharpen command of his fastball-curveball combo, he’ll be one of the first high school arms selected, making that commitment moot.
17 Braden Shewmake SS Texas A&M University 6-4 190 L-R
Run 45 – Arm 55 – Hit 50 – Power 50 – Defense 50 – Overall 55
The 2017 SEC freshman class had some impressive names in it: Ryan Rolison, Carlos Cortes, Zach Watson, Dominic Fletcher, Will Holland and Zack Thompson. Yet, it was Shewmake that took home honors as the top rookie, after a dazzling debut that saw him rank top-ten in several offensive categories, including average (.328), hits (90), doubles (18) and runs batted in (69). Not bad for a guy that wasn’t even one of A&M’s top five recruits that year. His season wasn’t a total surprise to the Aggies’ coaching staff, which had their eyes on him for years as he raked—.495 with 28 RBI as a senior—at nearby Wylie East, while also lettering in football and basketball. A utility infielder in high school, he made a seamless transition to second base in college ball, starting nearly every game and committing just six errors (.980 fielding). His all-around performance earned him a spot on the Collegiate National Team, where he helped anchor an infield that included 2018 first-rounders Nick Madrigal and Cadyn Grenier, second-rounders Jeremy Eierman and Tyler Frank, and Andrew Vaughn, a likely top-five pick in 2019 and the No. 2 on our list. His performance at the plate—.209/.327/.302—wasn’t up to his lofty standards, but he did drive in six runs and stole two bases. He returned to College Station, and thanks to the departure of senior Austin Homan, he assumed duties as the team’s everyday shortstop. The challenge was obviously greater there, so it wasn’t a surprise to see his errors (13) increase while his fielding percentage (.955) dropped, but altogether, Shewmake handled himself admirably. At the plate, he continued to excel, ranking second on the team with a .327 average and first with 45 RBI. He also showed improvement with his plate discipline, cutting his strikeout rate from 11.3 to 8.8, and continued to show sneaky speed on the basepaths, racking up 12 steals without getting caught. Shewmake will never be an award-winning shortstop, but he has more than enough talent to get the job done on an everyday basis, giving him enough value, especially when combined with his pure hitting ability and burgeoning power, to warrant a first-round selection.
18 Brett Baty 3B/1B Lake Travis HS (TX) 6-3 205 L-R
Run 40 – Arm 55 – Hit 60 – Power 60 – Defense 45 – Overall 55
The state of Texas produced two of the top 13 picks in the 2018 draft, another seven selections in the second round, and a whopping 25 in the first ten rounds. Yet it was Baty, a junior two-way player, that won state Gatorade Player of the Year honors, becoming the first underclassman to do so since Josh Beckett twenty years ago. Serving as the team’s starting third baseman, he hit .435 and slugged 12 homers, driving in 27 runs and scoring another 43. On the mound, he acted as the team’s closer—as often as a team that outscored teams by more than four runs required a closer—racking up 33 strikeouts in 33.1 innings, while holding down a 1.35 ERA. A one-man wrecking crew, Baty led the Ponies to a 31-7 record, a spot in the regional semis and an end-of-year top-25 ranking by MaxPreps. Not bad for a player that was focusing solely on baseball for the first time in his high school career after calling it quits on the basketball court—where his dad Clint was the head coach—last summer and giving up football after his freshman season. In all honesty, Baty was a good hitter before giving baseball 100% of his attention. He hit .415 as a sophomore and earned district MVP honors. This past season, however, he immersed himself in the art of hitting. He’s notorious for not swinging at bad pitches, and his plate discipline may be the best in his draft class. In the field, Baty is a mixed bag. He has the arm strength—92 mph off the mound—to handle third base, but appears to lack the quickness and footwork required, leading many to assume he’ll naturally slide over to first base. As long as he hits, it won’t matter where he ends up. If he manages to go back-to-back with state player of the year honors—something also not accomplished since Beckett—and that’s a big if considering the competition he faces (Bobby Witt Jr., Logan Britt, Matthew Thompson, etc) there’s a very strong chance Baty hears his name called in the first round. Assuming he doesn’t, he’ll likely head to Austin, where he’ll get in two more years of play before being a draft-eligible sophomore in 2021.
19 Jack Leiter RHP Delbarton School (NJ) 6-1 195 R-R
Fastball 60 – Curveball 55 – Slider 50 – Changeup 50 – Control 55 – Overall 55
Leiter comes from a true baseball family. His father, Al, pitched in the Majors for 19 years, winning three World Series, tossing a no-hitter and becoming the first pitcher in history to earn a win against all 30 big-league teams. His uncle, Mark, spent 11 years in the Majors and had a decidedly less impressive career, leading the league in hit-batsmen twice. Mark’s son, Mark Jr., also has seen some time in the big-leagues after being drafted by the Phillies five years ago. Another uncle, Kurt, spent four years in the minors. Now, here comes Jack, after a dazzling junior campaign at Delbarton—6-3, 0.64 and 77 K in 54.1 innings—that included a no-hitter in the state semifinals and earned him a spot at the majority of the summer showcase events. He wasn’t content just making an appearance, however, and over the course of four months turned himself from “a guy” into a legitimate first-round talent. His ride began at the PG National Showcase, where he showed off a four-pitch collection, each of which graded out average or better. He got similarly rave reviews for his performance at the Tournament of Stars and kept the good times rolling at the Under Armour All-America Game, PG All-American Classic and the East Coast Pro Showcase. He wrapped up his banner year with two stunning performances—two wins, zero runs, two hits, 20 strikeouts in eight innings—at the Pan American Championships, helping guide the American effort on the mound. Leiter is capable of touching 95-96 mph in short stints, but the movement on his fastball makes the pitch almost equally as effective in the 90-93 range. His best breaking ball is a mid-70s curve, but his low-80s slider isn’t far behind. As good as his stuff is, what makes Leiter such a catch is his control. That’s what convinced Vanderbilt to offer him a scholarship as a sophomore, and what should make him one of the first high school arms selected next June.
20 Michael Busch 1B University of North Carolina 6-0 207 L-R
Run 45 – Arm 55 – Hit 55 – Power 55 – Defense 50 – Overall 55
One of the less heralded recruits from North Carolina’s 2016 class, Busch was one of the top players, along with Matt Wallner, from the state of Minnesota that year. Unlike Wallner, though, he wasn’t drafted and headed south to Chapel Hill with a chip on his shoulder. He earned playing time immediately as a freshman, making 38 starts for the Tar Heels, most of which came at first base. His final line—.215/.349/.341—wasn’t that impressive, but his season had a decent amount of highlights, including a game-tying single in the ninth inning against FSU that also broke up a no-hitter, as well as a game-winning two-run homer the following night that gave UNC its first ever sweep of the Seminoles in Tallahassee. Despite the low average, Busch had no problem drawing walks, posting the second highest BB% on the team. Drawing walks would eventually become his calling card. He put together a strong campaign—.291/.426/.500 with 12 more walks than strikeouts—in the Northwoods League that summer, generating some big expectations for 2018. He met, if not surpassed, those expectations as a sophomore, putting together a strong all-around campaign that saw him finish second in the ACC in runs (70), third in RBI (63), fourth in OBP (.465), and unsurprisingly, third in walks (55). Defensively, no first baseman handled more chances with fewer errors than Busch. He was at his best during postseason play, going 14-for-25 (.560) in the ACC tournament and the NCAA regionals/super regionals. He drove in 12 runs, scored 12 more and posted a 9-to-1 BB-to-K in seven games. Unfortunately, his bat was silenced—0-for-12—once the Tar Heels reached the College World Series, and UNC was dumped out after surrendering 29 runs in three games. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Busch headed north to the Cape Cod League, where he earned a spot on the All-League team after posting a .322/.450/.567 line during 27 regular season games. He returns to Chapel Hill hoping to not only lead the Tar Heels back to Omaha, but also to boost his stock ahead of the 2019 draft. He’s one one of the safer bats in this year’s class, but the question remains where he’ll play long-term. He lacks the prototypical size at first base, and has played some second and third base, but has yet to find comfort at either.
21 Tyler Callihan 3B Providence School (FL) 6-1 200 L-R
Run 45 – Arm 50 – Hit 55 – Power 55 – Defense 50 – Overall 55
Despite the fact that they have claimed three state titles since their founding in 1997, Providence School has never produced a Major League draft pick. Callihan should not only change that, but there’s a good chance he hears his name called in the first 15 picks. After all, there are only a few prospects among the high school crop that boast a better ability at the plate than the South Carolina signee. That ability has been on display for years now, especially last season when he hit .441 with six homers and 29 RBI, but it really drew the attention of scouts this summer. He was one of the top performers at the Tournament of Stars in June, going 5-for-14, and he tore the cover off the ball at the Pan-American Championships in November, hitting .528 with five doubles and 19 RBI in nine games. At every stop in between, he showed the same advanced approach at the plate, an ability to handle elite velocity, and the bat speed to catch up with breaking balls. He even showed glimpses of the plus raw power in his bat. The only knock on Callihan is his defense. He’s played shortstop for Providence, and he’ll probably be drafted as a third baseman, despite concerns that he lacks the quickness or arm strength to succeed there. He could probably handle second base, but his bat might fit best at first base, where he performed admirably in sporadic playing time down in Panama. It’s worth noting that he also took some reps behind the plate with Team USA, a move that, if it sticks, would increase his value, but only marginally, as his quickness and throwing ability would be just as much of a liability. Regardless, Callihan’s bat is his carrying tool, and it’s more than strong enough to carry him to a first round selection next June.
22 Jerrion Ealy OF Jackson Prep (MS) 5-10 192 R-R
Run 70 – Arm 55 – Hit 50 – Power 50 – Defense 55 – Overall 55
You’d be hard pressed to find a better athlete in the 2019 class than Ealy. His exploits on the gridiron are well-known by now, but let’s recap real quick. As a junior, he rushed for more than 1,700 yards and reached the end-zone 40 times, helping guide Jackson Prep to their sixth consecutive state title. A verbal commitment to Ole Miss soon followed. This past season, he rushed for 1,526 yards and added 27 touchdowns, despite missing three games with a UCL injury. He also led the Patriots in receiving yards, en route to their seventh championship in a row. After more than 5,000 yards and 100 touchdowns, it’s no surprise that Ealy ranks as one of the top running backs in the nation, earning four star status from several publications. On the baseball diamond, Ealy has been equally lauded. After hitting .364, scoring 45 runs and swiping 18 bases as a junior, Ealy hopped on the summer showcase train. He showed off average-or-better tools across the board at several events, including the Tournament of Stars, where he was one of just three players to hit a home run, and the East Coast Pro Showcase, where he clocked a 6.49 in the 60-yard dash. Speed is clearly Ealy’s best tool, although he should evolve into an above-average, and possibly even elite defender in centerfield. If his bat develops, he could be on track for a meteoric rise, similar to 2017 first-rounder Jo Adell, although he’s more frequently compared to 2018 first-rounder Kyler Murray, who along with Ealy, is one of just four athletes to earn Under Armour All-American honors in both baseball and football. Complicating Ealy’s status and his ranking here, however, is the fact that he has yet to put pen to paper on a letter of intent. While his commitment to Mississippi, where he’s expected to play both sports, is viewed as strong, he recently took a visit to Mississippi State and is drawing interest from Clemson. 
23 Matt Wallner OF University of Southern Mississippi 6-5 220 L-R
Run 40 – Arm 65 – Hit 50 – Power 55 – Defense 50 – Overall 55
Wallner was an incredible two-way player at Forest Lake High, earning plaudits for his performance—St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press East Metro player of the year—and his tools—plus raw power and a 97 mph fastball—but drawing few offers from Division I schools. Prior to his senior year, he signed a letter of intent to play for the University of North Dakota, but midway through the season, the Fighting Hawks disbanded their baseball program, leaving Wallner in the lurch. To his credit, he didn’t let the tumult affect his performance—7-1, 0.95 ERA, .382, 10 HR—and he was rewarded with a trio of offers, including one from Kentucky. In the end, he chose Southern Miss, and after turning down a courtesy late-round selection by his hometown Twins, he made the long trip south to Hattiesburg. His freshman season couldn’t have gone any better. He posted a .336/.463/.655 line, slugged 19 homers and drove in 63 runs, earning nearly every Freshman of the Year honor there is. He even looked great in a handful of appearances on the mound, striking out 15 batters in 14.2 innings. His sophomore campaign was just as impressive—.351/.474/.618—and saw Wallner post a higher average, draw more walks and drive in more runs. After the Golden Eagles were unexpectedly knocked out in the regionals, Wallner headed north to the Cape and suited up for Falmouth, getting 84 more at-bats. It was there that he started to lose some shine, racking up strikeouts in close to 30% of his at-bats, a noticeable increase from the 21% during his freshman year and 23% in 2018. The struggles continued during a brief stint with the Collegiate National Team, where Wallner logged just two hits in 16 plate appearances. As he heads into his junior year, Wallner’s biggest weakness is that tendency to swing-and-miss. He won’t survive for too long in pro ball whiffing in a third of his at-bats. If he can reign in the strikeouts in 2019, it could go a long way towards him finding a home in the first round.
24 Hunter Barco LHP The Bolles School (FL) 6-4 208 L-L
Fastball 55 – Slider 50 – Changeup 50 – Control 55 – Overall 55
After two dominant seasons—15-3, 1.91, 140-to-40 K-to-BB—helped Barco validate his commitment to Virginia as a 14-year old, the left-hander headed into the summer widely regarded as the top pitching prospect in the 2019 class. And if you’re just going strictly off results—9 IP, 0 ER, 11-to-2 K-to-BB—he appears to have had a good time on the showcase circuit. Sadly, as is often the case with high school prospects, results don’t always tell the whole story. In Barco’s case, his dominant stat-line didn’t obscure the fact that he struggled with his velocity all summer, regularly slipping to the 88-92 mph range instead of the 92-94 he sustained from late-2017 to spring-2018. On top of that, his breaking ball didn’t look as crisp. While both issues are cause for concern, it’s not like Barco doesn’t have enough time to recoup the helium he lost. Both, however, are fuel added to the fire that is the biggest gripe associated with Barco. His delivery, which can fluctuate between three-quarters and side-armed, has drawn animosity from scouts across the nation and has been enough for several publications to drop him out of first-round consideration altogether, despite the fact that he has regularly shown good command of both his fastball and slider. The delivery has also, on occasion, seemed to cause issues for hitters. Barco isn’t the first prospect to deal with concerns about his mechanics, and he certainly won’t be the last, but we’ll admit, some consistency from his delivery wouldn’t be unwelcome. If he can show the ability to maintain the same arm-slot this spring and sees an uptick in velocity to his regular 92-94 mph range, he’s a sure-fire first-rounder for us. If he continues to struggle with his delivery and shows more 88-92, he’ll likely drop and could end up honoring his college commitment, which switched to Florida last June. In Gainesville, he would likely be allowed to continue to hit—.342, 4 HR, 28 RBI in 2018—while honing his craft on the mound, with an eye towards 2022. 
25 Nick Lodolo LHP Texas Christian University 6-6 185 L-L
Fastball 60 – Curveball 50 – Changeup 50 – Control 50 – Overall 55
Lodolo is no stranger to the attention that comes with being a projected first round pick. After all, he was a first round pick less than three years ago. After spending the summer of 2015 and the spring of 2016 salivating over his talent—low-90s fastball and above-average command—the Pirates used the 41st overall pick on the lanky lefty from California, who Perfect Game called “eminently projectable.” The front-office found his $3 million asking price to be a bit steep for their liking, countering with a $1.75 million offer, and Lodolo ultimately passed and headed off to TCU. On the surface, he appears to have had a decent two year stint in Fort Worth. A low-4.00 ERA and a 9.5 K/9 in 30 starts. Dig a little deeper and he still comes up roses. TCU has gone 23-9 in games he’s started, while Lodolo himself has earned a 12-5 mark. But keep digging, and you’re likely to find some unpleasant things, like his 5.23 ERA in conference games last year. The first thing that jumped out at us, though, was that he has averaged barely five innings per start in two years. It would be one thing if those starts ended prematurely because he was racking up strikeouts or walks—think 2018 first-rounder Shane McClanahan, who averaged roughly the same number of innings per start but also posted a 12.3 K/9 and walked more than four batters per nine—but they haven’t. Similarly, he hasn’t given up an inordinate amount of doubles or home runs, comparing favorably to 2018 first-rounders Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar. Simply put, Lodolo gives up a bunch of singles and then compounds that seemingly innocuous problem by walking more than three batters per outing, further complicates his situation by hitting way too many. In the end, all of those problems stem from one area: command, or the lack thereof. Without command, his plus fastball and curveball-changeup combo that have both flashed above-average, look more like below-average offerings. That said, Lodolo is obviously still one hell of a talent, and the building blocks are there. He has a smooth delivery, is a strong athlete and is certainly coachable. It’s just a matter of putting everything together.
26 Will Holland SS Auburn University 5-10 181 R-R
Run 55 – Arm 55 – Hit 50 – Power 55 – Defense 50 – Overall 55
Before Nasim Nunez was a walking human-highlight reel at Collins Hill High, it was Holland’s stomping ground. He helped engineer an incredible turnaround in Suwanee, turning the Eagles from a perennial loser into a team that went a combined 45-18 his last two years. He did a decent amount of the damage himself, hitting .347 with five homers as a junior and .430 with 14 steals as a senior. A top-500 prospect coming out of high school, Holland was still one of the lowest-ranked recruits in Auburn’s 2016 class. His freshman campaign wasn’t that impressive—.209/.299/.343—and a result he didn’t have much draft helium. That all changed during a 31-game stint in the Perfect Game Summer League, where Holland found his footing, posting a.298/.409/.385 line and stealing nine bases. He carried that momentum over into his sophomore campaign for the Tigers and emerged as one of the best all-around players in the SEC. He posted a .313/.406/.530 line and finished in the top ten in the SEC in runs (61), RBI (52), doubles (18) and total bases (132). More important, he was at his best during the team’s run through the NCAA tournament, hitting .296, scoring seven runs, driving in six more and swiping two bases in six games. He also almost helped engineer a massive upset of defending champion Florida in the Super Regionals. After splitting time between second and short as a freshman, Holland made all but one start at shortstop in 2018, and handled himself well, committing just 11 errors all year. We could see him eventually sliding over the second base eventually, but he has enough athleticism and arm strength to handle shortstop initially. In the end, he’ll go as far as hit bat will take him, and while his performance last year, not to mention his brief cameo in the Cape Cod League—.341/.431/.432—was encouraging, he still has a tendency to swing and miss, somewhat limiting the impact of his above-average power.
27 Nasim Nunez SS Collins Hill HS (GA) 5-9 160 S-R
Run 70 – Arm 60 – Hit 50 – Power 35 – Defense 60 – Overall 55
There are few sure things in any MLB draft class, and from the high school ranks, even fewer, but Nunez stands alone as the most sure “sure thing,” thanks to his uncanny defensive ability. He is, without a doubt, the best defensive infielder in the 2019 draft pool, regardless of class. In addition to possessing a powerful arm—he’s pitched a little and has been clocked at 95 mph across the infield—he has everything else scouts look for in an elite defender at shortstop, including quick feet, soft hands and incredible agility. To say that he has Gold Glove potential is an understatement. Unbelievably, Nunez is also blessed with another plus tool, speed. He’s been clocked as low as 6.28 in the 60 yard dash, the lowest time of anyone not named C.J. Abrams in the 2019 class. He’s proven to be adept at utilizing it in games, racking up 23 steals as a junior, stealing two bases in the Perfect Game All-American Classic and another at the Tournament of Stars, and with some refinement, it’s not hard to envision him stealing 40 bases a year at the pro level. Now, to the holes in Nunez’s game. Unsurprisingly, at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, he offers little to no power, but there are also concerns about his ability to make enough contact at the plate to round out his game and make him more than just a defense-only prospect. He showed a nice approach throughout the summer, getting on base in six of 16 at-bats, but all of his hits were singles. If he could add some extra-base pop to his game, he’d be a slam-dunk top-ten pick. Assuming he doesn’t, however, he won’t go earlier than the end of the first round. If that happens, there’s a good chance he honors his commitment to Clemson, filling the massive hole left by fellow draft prospect Logan Davidson. 
28 Rece Hinds 3B IMG Academy (FL) 6-4 210 R-R
Run 40 – Arm 60 – Hit 45 – Power 70 – Defense 45 – Overall 55
Hinds has long been known for his massive raw power, drawing attention—and an offer from Louisiana State—for it as early as late-2016. Back then, he was a relative lightweight, checking in at 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds. Flash forward two-plus years and Hinds checks in at a robust 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds and brings easily the best raw power in the 2019 draft class. The big question, however, and we’ll get right to it, is, will he ever make enough contact to make that power usable? It seems a silly thing to ask of a player that hit .494 and slugged 13 homers in 83 at-bats during his junior year, and crushed another two at the Tournament of Stars this summer. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that aside from that showstopping performance at TOS, Hinds didn’t make much contact the rest of the summer, going a combined 0-for-15 at the Perfect Game All-American Classic, East Coast Pro Showcase and Under Armour All-America Game. We saw several occasions where he struggled to catch up to mid-90s heat and a couple more where he struggled with quality breaking balls. Further complicating matters is that Hinds might not be done growing yet. He’s already outgrown shortstop, his natural position, and seems well on his way to a pro debut as a third baseman. His arm will play there, no doubt, but there are concerns that he lacks the quickness and footwork required to have a long-term future in the infield. That’s not to say Hinds can’t make a career as a corner outfielder, but his value decreases a bit if he’s nothing more than an all-or-nothing outfielder. Hinds will get a chance to redeem himself this spring, after transferring from Niceville HS to IMG Academy, where he’ll suit up alongside fellow draft prospects Brennan Malone, Josh Rivera, Kyle Westfall, Raymond Torres and Kendall Williams. 
29 Cooper Benson LHP San Luis Obispo HS (CA) 6-0 200 L-L
Fastball 55 – Curveball 55 – Changeup 55 – Control 55 – Overall 55
Benson burst onto the scene in 2016, going 8-2 with a 1.15 ERA, striking out 64 batters in 48.2 innings and earning a scholarship offer from Arizona State. AS A FRESHMAN! He missed nearly his entire sophomore season due to a muscle sprain, but bounced back with an impressive junior campaign, that included an 11-strikeout no-hitter in late-March, earning All-CIF honors. He also reawakened interest from scouts, who until 2018 had spent the majority of their time at Taylor Field checking out Benson’s teammate and potential first-rounder Brooks Lee, who joined the left-hander as an all-conference player. Let’s get right to it. On the surface, there’s little to distinguish Benson from any other high school draft prospect. He doesn’t have great size, he doesn’t possess a blazing fastball,elite velocity, his breaking ball isn’t top-of-the-class, and he’s not an incredible athlete, despite the fact that he .385, scored 42 runs and stole 17 bases in 2018. At 6-foot and 200 pounds, though, he has enough size to earn a look as a long-term starter at the collegiate and pro level. His fastball, while not blazing, still checks in in the 88-92 mph range. He commands the pitch well and gets great movement on it, making it an above-average offering. His go-to breaking ball is a curveball, and is actually the newest pitch in his repertoire. He picked it up at a Team USA baseball event after some instruction from former Arkansas pitching coach Wes Johnson, who now holds the same position for the Minnesota Twins. It replaced his changeup as his go-to secondary offering in 2018 and as you can see—0.35 ERA, 114-to-15 K-to-BB in 60.2 innings—the results were extraordinary. That changeup is still a strong third option for Benson, who has a more advanced feel for it than most high schoolers ever have. Three offerings that flash above-average should make him one of the top pitching prospects in the 2019 class, but there have been some concerns about Benson’s delivery, one that almost seems rushed, and tends to cost him some command. Benson made just one appearance on the showcase circuit this summer—three innings at the Tournament of Stars—and while he allow just one hit, he was tagged for four unearned runs thanks to a couple of errors. He did strike out four batters, including Nasim Nunez, Logan Britt and Maurice Hampton.
30 Ryne Nelson RHP University of Oregon 6-3 175 R-R
Fastball 70 – Slider 55 – Changeup 50 – Control 50 – Overall 55
The 2019 college pitching class is not the most impressive we’ve seen, and as such, Nelson is climbing his way to the top, despite having less than 40 innings under his belt. An All-State, two-way star—.415 with 20 RBI and 7-2, 1.91 ERA as a senior—at Basic High in Nevada, Nelson came to Eugene as a hit-first utility player. After posting a .170/.301/.205 line over two seasons, however, it’s clear his future is on the mound. He got his feet wet pitching sparingly out of the bullpen as a freshman, but showed enough stuff to register an 11.5 K/9 rate. He saw more action as a sophomore, making 16 appearances and looked up to the challenge, striking out 37 batters in just 23 innings. In the process, he earned the trust of the coaching staff, getting more looks later in games and picking up four saves. He cemented his move to pitching full-time with a strong showing in the Cape Cod League last summer, where he struck out 26 batters in 17 innings, allowing just eight hits. Even when Nelson was a position player, he had good velocity, touching 91 mph with regularity off the mound during his senior season at Basic. That fastball has only gotten better with age, and now it’s not only Nelson’s best pitch, it’s one of the best heaters in the entire 2019 draft class, sitting comfortably in the 93-97 mph range. With more development and more work, it’s not hard to envision him one day reaching triple digits. A double-plus fastball alone would be enough to make him a pro prospect, but Nelson has also shown good feel for a slider, giving him at least two offerings to work with as he makes the transition to the rotation. That transition will likely begin this spring, as the Ducks look to replace Matt Mercer, who was drafted in the 5th round last June. 
31 Will Wilson SS North Carolina State University 6-0 175 R-R
Run 40 – Arm 50 – Hit 55 – Power 55 – Defense 50 – Overall 50
Wilson was highly recruited out of Kings Mountain High School, and his gaudy stat-line—.535, 14 HR, 29 RBI in 26 games—as a senior created some pretty high expectations when he set foot in Raleigh. He didn’t disappoint, starting all 61 games as a freshman and finishing the year with a .300 average, an ACC-leading 21 doubles and 48 runs batted in, the top mark by any freshman in the conference. His performance caught the attention of USA Baseball, who invited him to trials for the Collegiate National Team, and while he didn’t make the final roster, the experience primed him for 2018. He got better in seemingly every way as a sophomore, boosting all of his offensive numbers (.307/.376/.588), while cutting down on his strikeouts (17% from 21%). He showed significantly more pop and was one of just four players—along with 2018 draftees Joey Bart and Griffin Conine—to hit 10 or more homers in conference play. He won numerous plaudits for his performance at the plate, earning ACC Player of the Week honors a league-leading three times, and he was a shoe-in as the All-ACC First Team shortstop. Despite his impressive offensive prowess, Wilson showed he still needs some work when it comes to defense. A natural shortstop, he slid over to second in deference to Joe Dunand, and he struggled to adjust, committing seven errors. He moved back to shortstop in 2018, and subsequently led the ACC with 18 defensive miscues. His below-average speed and fringe-average arm might make a move back to second base—where he made nine starts for the CNT last summer—his best long-term interest.
32 Matthew Lugo SS Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (PR) 6-1 185 R-R
Run 55 – Arm 50 – Hit 55 – Power 45 – Defense 50 – Overall 50
It’s inevitable that every shortstop to come out of Puerto Rico suffers comparisons to Carlos Correa, the No. 1 overall pick in 2012. It happened to Alexis Pantoja in 2014, Delvin Perez in 2016, and now Lugo in 2019. And while all three, including Lugo, pale in comparison to the former A.L. Rookie of the Year, that’s not to say Lugo isn’t worthy of discussion as a first round pick. It starts with his bat, which is incredibly advanced for a high schooler. He’s got a good feel for velocity and has shown the ability to handle quality breaking balls as well. There seems to be some divide on whether he’ll hit for power, and while he does have some raw strength, we think he’ll develop into more of a contact hitter. That should allow him to put his speed—6.46 in 60 yard dash—to use. Speaking of that speed, it’s reasonable to expect Lugo to continue to fill out, so that speed, which now grades out as plus, should drop to slightly-above average. Aside from that speed, he doesn’t have much in the way of premium defensive tools. His footwork has been good when we’ve seen him, but his arm strength is average. A move to second base could eventually be in the cards, but expect him to be given every chance to stick at short early in his pro career. Like Correa was before he bypassed college, Lugo is committed to the University of Miami.
33 Michael Toglia 1B University of California, Los Angeles 6-5 209 S-L
Run 45 – Arm 55 – Hit 55 – Power 55 – Defense 55 – Overall 50
Rarely do the Bruins leave the state of California to find talent, but they did so with Toglia, the lowest rated prospect in a 2016 class that included two first-rounders (Mickey Moniak and Blake Rutherford) and a second rounder (Kevin Gowdy). After a strong, but not spectacular, career at Gig Harbor High in Washington, Toglia took advantage of the hole created by Rutherford’s absence and stepped into a starting role in the outfield. To say he thrived is an understatement. A relatively low average (.261) was boosted by a team-high 33 walks, giving Toglia a more than respectable .382 on-base percentage. He also ranked among the Pac-12 top-ten with eight homers. He thrived in conference play, posting a .312/.434/.602 line and driving in 25 runs in 30 games. He earned a rare freshman invite to the Cape Cod League, and held his own in 121 at-bats, hitting .240 with six homers. He returned to UCLA primed for a strong sophomore year and he hit the ground running, hitting .500 with 11 RBI in the team’s first ten games. His bat cooled, predictably, but he finished the year as the team’s best hitter, posting a .336/.449/.588 line, while driving in a run per game. He earned All-Pac-12 honors and was named to the All-Regional team after going 5-for-11 with four runs and five RBI in the Bruins’ four postseason games. As good as he was at the plate, Toglia was even better in the field. Manning a new position (first base), he committed just two errors in 517 chances. Provided he can cut back significantly on the strikeouts, Toglia should have no problem hitting at the pro level, but that’s a big if. He whiffed in 28% of his at-bats as a freshman, and while he cut that number slightly in 2018, his strikeout rate in the Cape Cod League can best be described as alarming. His added value on defense gives him enough to warrant a first-round selection, but we would be reassured about his future if he cut the strikeout rate to 22-25% this spring.
34 Anthony Volpe SS/2B Delbarton School (NJ) 5-11 180 R-R
Run 55 – Arm 45 – Hit 55 – Power 40 – Defense 55 – Overall 50
Delbarton, a small private school in Morristown, New Jersey has produced just one draft pick in its history, the incredibly-named Wes Swackhamer, who was selected in the 19th round back in 2001. Not only are they likely to double that number this June, but there’s a good chance they could actually produce two first round picks. And while Volpe doesn’t get the attention that his teammate, Jack Leiter, does, he stands to have just as productive a pro career, provided he bypasses his college commitment to Vanderbilt. It was Volpe that provided the offense—.482 with 23 runs and 10 steals—that helped guide the Green Wave to a 22-9 record. And ultimately, it was his performance (or lack thereof) that was the deciding factor in Delbarton’s 1-0 loss to St. Augustine in the state title game. Volpe is remarkable in that he’s relatively unremarkable. He’s incredibly consistent, and a regular top performer, despite having any truly outstanding tool. His carrying tool will likely be his bat. He has an incredibly advanced approach at the plate, and he strikes out very rarely. That should allow him to hit for a decent average, but when it comes to power, he’s destined to be more of a doubles guy than a slugger. He’s a decent runner—6.62 in the 60 yard dash—but that speed tends to play better on defense than on the basepaths. Speaking of defense, he has the quick feet and soft hands to play shortstop, but his arm is well-below average, likely limiting him to a future at second base, where he should grow into an above-average defender. 
35 J.J. Bleday OF Vanderbilt 6-3 205 L-L
Run 45 – Arm 55 – Hit 55 – Power 50 – Defense 50 – Overall 50
It takes a special type of player to be thrust into a starting role at Vanderbilt as a freshman, but Bleday proved to be up to the task in 2017. A three-sport star—he still holds six school swimming records—at two different high schools, he struggled offensively, but refused to let long hitless stretches affect his approach at the plate. As a result, despite his .256 average, he drew more walks (34) than strikeouts (26) and finished the season with an on-base percentage close to .400. His scuffling ways carried over into his stint in the New England Collegiate League, where he once again posted a strong OBP, but struggled to hit his weight. Despite his performance, Bleday began the 2018 season firmly entrenched as a starter. He responded in a big way, leading the team with a .368 average, and ending the year reaching base in 28 consecutive games. He missed close to two months with an oblique injury, but when healthy, he was far and away the Commodores’ best hitter. He single-handedly kept the team alive in the NCAA regionals, hitting a walk-off home run to defeat Mississippi State in an elimination game. He followed up his sterling campaign with a strong performance in the Cape Cod League, where he hit .311 with five homers and was voted the top pro prospect by scouts in attendance. At the plate, Bleday is the complete package. His approach should allow him to hit for a decent average, and he has enough raw power to hit 15-20 homers per year. He doesn’t have the speed to stick in centerfield, but he has more than enough athleticism to cover there in a pinch, and will make a natural corner outfielder thanks to his above-average arm, which is capable of hitting 90 mph off the mound. If he stays healthy this year and produces like he’s capable, he might find himself a home in the first round.
36 Maurice Hampton OF Memphis University School (TN) 6-0 195 R-R
Run 65 – Arm 55 – Hit 45 – Power 50 – Defense 55 – Overall 50
Shortly after Jerrion Ealy became just the third athlete named an Under Armour All-American in both football and baseball, Hampton joined him as the fourth. He then justified the honor by starring on both sides of the ball, leading Memphis to a state championship and earning Tennessee’s Mr. Football distinction. A four-star cornerback who committed to Louisiana State as a 9th grader, Hampton will likely play both sports if he makes it to Baton Rouge, but right now that’s a big if. Aside from Ealy and possibly C.J. Abrams, there are few players in the 2019 class who offer as much athleticism. Going by numbers alone, he grades out plus (or better) in speed—6.44 60 yard dash—as well as arm strength—91 mph from the outfield—with both tools giving him a great chance to develop into an elite outfielder (or defensive back). At the plate, Hampton has everything you look for—quick hands, clean swing and above-average raw power—in a hitter. All he’s missing is the reps, something he’s sacrificed to build himself into a top-100 prospect on the gridiron. His rawness was on display at the Tournament of Stars, where he went 1-for-13 with five strikeouts. Scouts seem to have confidence, however, that given enough at-bats he can be a viable threat at the plate and point to two hardly hit balls at TOS. We have some concerns about whether he’ll ever make enough contact to tap into that power, but considering the tools he has to work with, he’s certainly worth a day-one pick. 
37 Logan Davidson SS Clemson University 6-3 185 S-R
Run 55 – Arm 55 – Hit 45 – Power 55 – Defense 55 – Overall 50
Part of a strong 2016 North Carolina crop of prep players that also included Will Wilson, Spencer Brickhouse and Bryant Packard, Davidson was widely seen as a first round talent, and cemented that status with a strong senior season that earned him state Gatorade Player of the Year honors. He dropped to the 30th round due to his strong commitment to Clemson, where his dad, a former Major Leaguer, played ball in the early 80s. Davidson bypassed the courtesy selection and stepped into the starting shortstop role for the Tigers as a freshman. Despite his defensive struggles (22 errors), he opened plenty of eyes at the plate, posting a .286/.388/.473 line and hitting .435 in the NCAA regionals. A slew of national honors followed, and he seemed a slam dunk as a first-rounder in 2019. From there, it was onto the Cape Cod League, where he struggled to hit his weight, ending the summer with a .210 average and just one home run in 124 at-bats. He bounced back with a strong sophomore campaign—.292/.408/.544 with 15 homers—and showed tremendous improvement in the field (eight errors), putting him back in the discussion for a first round pick this June. Another rough outing—.194, two homers and 43 strikeouts in 139 at-bats—on the Cape, however, permanently soured some on his professional prospects. Davidson’s best tool is his plus power, although the big question is whether he’ll ever make enough contact to tap into it. He’s had no problem doing that for the Tigers, but against greater competition in the CCBL, he’s looked lost. Defensively, Davidson has enough raw talent to handle shortstop long-term, but he has the arm for third if he’s ever forced to slide over. A strong junior year would go a long way to rehabilitating his stock.
38 Tyler Dyson RHP University of Florida 6-3 225 R-R
Fastball 65 – Slider 55 – Changeup 50 – Control 50 – Overall 50
The University of Florida has produced five first-round pitchers in the past three years, but for their streak to continue, it’s going to take a near-herculean effort from Dyson, whose inconsistencies might prevent him from being a day-one pick. He doesn’t have the pedigree that Brady Singer or the projectability that Jackson Kowar brought to Gainesville—he actually came to UF as a third baseman—but he has all the tools to dominate college hitters. He pitched almost exclusively—22 relief appearances and two starts—out of the bullpen as a freshman and found tremendous success, posting a 47-to-10 strikeout-to-walk mark and holding batters to a .213 average. His breakthrough moment, however, came in game two of the College World Series final. With Singer and Kowar working on short rest, coach Kevin O’Sullivan turned to Dyson, and his one start at the collegiate level, and the right-hander responded with six-innings of shutout ball against a vaunted LSU lineup. He followed that up with five sterling starts in the Northwest League and returned to campus determined to win a spot in the rotation. He did just that, earning the Sunday starter’s job and getting off to a hot start, striking out 18 batters in his first three starts. He found the going much tougher in SEC play, and after surrendering 17 runs in 23 innings, spanning six starts, he was replaced by Jack Leftwich. A sore shoulder kept him in the pen the remainder of the year and he struggled with his command, seeing his last two appearances come in blowout wins. He recouped a little helium with 23.1 strong innings on the Cape. At his best, Dyson offers one of the best fastballs (96-97 mph) in the 2019 class, a devastating slider and a serviceable changeup. As we saw in 2018, he often suffers from lapses in command, making projecting him to a long-term starting role challenging. At the very worst, he should prove a dominating late-inning reliever.
39 Logan Britt OF Colleyville Heritage HS (TX) 6-5 210 R-R
Run 50 – Arm 55 – Hit 45 – Power 55 – Defense 50 – Overall 50
One of the first five players to receive an invitation to the Under Armour All-American game last summer, Britt is a tantalizing two-way prospect that has average-to-above-average tools across the board. As a pitcher, he has the body (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) and the stuff (low-90s fastball and slider) to be drafted somewhere in the top-ten rounds. As a hitter, however, he’s a top-two round talent, offering easy plus power. What will likely keep him out of first-round consideration, however, is concern about his ability to make consistent contact. That fear seems especially justified after the Texas A&M commit went a combined 0-for-13 at a trio of showcase events this summer. His bat speed is on par with the other elite prep hitters in this class, but his long arms complicate what should be a fairly clean swing. As such, it’s easy to envision him racking up high strikeout totals to go with 20-25 home runs per year. If he can show consistency with the bat as a senior, he will go a long way towards regaining the momentum that had him ranked as a top-15 player for us earlier in 2018. He currently has above-average speed—6.85 60 yard dash—but as he packs pounds to his frame he should see that grade drop to average, maybe even slightly below. His power profile and his plus arm strength—95 mph from outfield—make him a perfect fit for right-field as a pro. Thanks to a summer transfer to nearby Colleyville Heritage, home of potential No. 1 pick Bobby Witt Jr., Britt will have plenty of opportunities to shine (or fail) in front of scouts this spring. 
40 Tyler Baum RHP University of North Carolina 6-2 180 R-R
Fastball 55 – Curveball 55 – Changeup 50 – Control 50 – Overall 50
Despite the fact that the Tar Heels had nine players drafted from last year’s squad, they still appear to be one of the favorites to reach Omaha in 2019, thanks in part to their experienced rotation. And while Baum might find himself relegated to starting on either Saturdays or possibly even Sundays, it’s he, and not Austin Bergner or Gianluca Dalatri, that has the highest professional ceiling. One of the top pitching prospects in the state of Florida coming out of high school, Baum jumped right into a starting role as a freshman, making 15 mid-week starts, posting a perfect 7-0 record. All of his numbers looked strong, including a 47-to-27 K-to-BB and 2.57 ERA and he finished strong with an impressive performance—one run in 5.1 innings—against Florida Gulf Coast in the NCAA regionals. Limited to just 63 innings during the season, he headed to the Cape Cod League for the summer and put together arguably the best campaign of any pitcher, posting a 5-1 record, a 2.72 ERA and 41-to-10 K-to-BB in 43 innings. His performance catapulted him up draft boards and made him a name to watch in 2018. His sophomore campaign turned out to be somewhat of a mixed bag, however. After a strong debut, he surrendered 17 runs over his next five starts, running into troubles with his command and leaving him with an ERA near 5.00 close to the halfway point of the season. A demotion to the bullpen, coinciding with the ascension of Cooper Criswell to a starting role, left Baum limited to mop-up duty as the season drew to a close. He recaptured a little momentum with a few dominant outings on the Cape over the summer, but returns to Chapel Hill in 2019 with a lot to prove. When he’s on his game, Baum has two well-above average offerings in a low-to-mid 90s fastball and a strong curveball. A cerebral pitcher, he sometimes out-thinks himself while trying to out-think hitters, and is best served to just trust his stuff. When he can do that, he can rack up strikeouts with the best of them.
41 Brooks Lee SS San Luis Obispo HS (CA) 6-1 180 S-R
Run 45 – Arm 60 – Hit 55 – Power 45 – Defense 50 – Overall 50
Lee has long been the crown jewel of Cal Poly’s 2019 recruiting class, thanks not only to his impressive package of skills, but also due to the fact that his dad, Larry, is the head coach of the Mustangs. A stereotypical coach’s son, most of what makes Lee special has little to do with physical ability, although he’s got plenty of that too. He’s one of the smartest high school prospects you’ll ever come across, and there will likely never be concerns about his hustle or “want to.” Defensively, he’s incredibly polished for a prep player, and he possesses one of the strongest infield arms in his class. Unfortunately, he’s not exactly fleet of foot in the infield, getting by instead on his instincts and positioning. A move to third base, or possibly second, could be in his future. A switch-hitter, Lee’s swing isn’t exactly orthodox, but it gets the job done, and it should allow him to hit for a decent average, albeit with more singles and doubles than home runs. After a less-than-impressive sophomore campaign, his bat really came alive in 2018, resulting in a .462 average, 35 RBI and more walks than strikeouts. Another strong performance at the plate this spring will likely cement his status as a first-rounder, making it a tough call between starting his pro career and playing for his dad.
42 Kyle Stowers OF Stanford University 6-3 200 L-L
Run 50 – Arm 60 – Hit 50 – Power 55 – Defense 50 – Overall 50
Let’s be honest. It’s hard to look at Stowers’ career line—.256/.352/.463—and think, THIS is a first round talent. Still, you’d be hard pressed to find a player with a higher ceiling (outside of Adley Rutschman, of course) in the Pac-12. A strong high school career at Christian Unified outside of San Diego, where Stowers was the captain of both the baseball and basketball squad, earned him an offer from Stanford. He was widely expected to contribute on the mound as well as at the plate, but aside from 3.2 innings last season, he’s been limited to hitting duties. His freshman campaign was less than impressive, with Stowers notching just four base hits in 39 at-bats, while ranking fifth in the pecking order among outfielders. His bat heated up over the summer, and thanks to an impressive performance in the West Coast League—.311/.423/555—he earned a regular place in the lineup in 2018. He rewarded the coaching staff with a strong, albeit not spectacular season, that saw him finish second on the team with 10 homers, 42 RBI and a .510 slugging percentage. He jumped at the chance to keep up his momentum with an invite to the Cape Cod League, and he put together arguably the most complete performance of hitter on the circuit, posting a .326/.361/.565 line and finishing among the league leaders in runs, doubles and RBI. From a tools perspective, Stowers does everything at least average. He’s a much better runner than you’d expect given his size, although you wouldn’t know it from his six career stolen bases. His arm is definitely a weapon, capable of clocking 95+ mph from the outfield. He has a good approach at the plate, and if he can cut back on the strikeouts a bit, he should be able to hit in the .275-.280 range with 15-20 homers at the pro level. He’s a prototypical corner outfielder, and while Stanford does a pretty good job of producing big-league talent, you’d have to go back to 2005 to find the last time they produced a first round outfielder. 
43 Isaiah Campbell RHP University of Arkansas 6-4 225 R-R
Fastball 65 – Curveball 50 – Changeup 50 – Control 50 – Overall 50
The 2018 Arkansas squad won 48 games, came within one game of of the school’s first CWS title and had 12 players drafted, including Blaine Knight, who went 14-0, was drafted in the third round and commanded an over-slot bonus of $1.1 million. Yet it’s Campbell, a burly right-hander with a track record of inconsistency and command issues that could have the brightest professional career. A three-sport star from Olathe, Kansas, Campbell was eased into action as a freshman, pitching 31.2 innings, mostly in mid-week performances and blowout wins. He was expected to play a much larger role as a sophomore, but was shut down after just 26 pitches due to bone spurs in his right elbow. He returned to the mound in 2018 and had moments of brilliance, but just as many of uncontrollable wildness. He bounced back and forth between roles, but really took on a larger role by the end of the year. It was his 8-strikeouts, 2-hit performance against defending champion Florida that sent the Razorbacks to Omaha. He finished the year with 75 strikeouts in just 69.2 innings, but he also walked 29, hit eight batters and finished with a losing record. It wasn’t a surprise then, that he was one of those 12 players drafted last June, with Los Angeles taking a gamble on the draft-eligible sophomore. Campbell turned down their offer and chose to return to Fayetteville with a renewed commitment to getting in better shape, developing his changeup and boosting his draft status. If the early results are any indication, he could be primed for a huge junior year, and a dramatic climb up draft boards. 
44 Spencer Keefe SS/OF Woodstock HS (GA) 6-3 213 R-R
Run 60 – Arm 50 – Hit 45 – Power 55 – Defense 55 – Overall 50
A regular on the lower-level showcase circuit—he has 43 events to his name—Keefe is the centerpiece of a Georgia recruiting class that is inching it’s way towards a top 20 ranking. His two years on the varsity team at Woodstock High have coincided with the two best seasons in school history, including last year’s 33-7 record and run to the state final four in Class 7A. A natural shortstop, Keefe has several standout tools including speed, although as he continues to pack on muscle, he should see his 60-yard time—currently 6.33—drop into the 6.7-6.9 range. He is prone to swing-and-miss, but when he makes contact, he can drive the ball a long way, as evidenced by his game-winning 3-run homer in the Perfect Game World Series Championship Game. He unsurprisingly took home MVP honors, but surprisingly was denied an invitation to most of the summer’s key events, such as the PG All-American Classic or Under Armour All-America Game. Keefe’s speed and limited arm strength might force a move to the outfield or second base, but he should offer plenty of defensive value at either spot. Keefe’s strong commitment to the Bulldogs will likely keep him from first-round consideration, and if he does end up in Athens, look for him to be a sure-fire first-rounder in 2022.
45 Riley Cornelio RHP Pine Creek HS (CO) 6-3 185 R-R
Fastball 55 – Curveball 55 – Changeup 50 – Control 55 – Overall 50
The track record for Colorado prep pitchers is a spotty one, but Cornelio is looking to make good regardless. Last year, the right-hander (9-0, 0.91, .468, 4 HR, 21 RBI) teamed with state Gatorade Player of the Year Justin Olson (3-1, 1.77, .525, 14 HR, 34 RBI) to lead Pine Creek to their most successful season in more than a decade. With Olson headed off to Kentucky, however, the pressure now falls on Cornelio to help the Eagles get back to the state playoffs. If his performance this summer was any indication, he’ll be up to the task. Pitching for Team USA in the Pan-American Championships, the right-hander allowed just one run in seven innings of five-hit ball. His fastball looked crisp, in the 90-93 mph range, and he complemented it with a strong breaking ball. His mechanics are smooth and his delivery quick, limiting talk about him ending up pitching out of the bullpen. Adding a usable changeup will be key to his long-term development, but he has everything else you look for in a prep pitcher.
46 Zack Hess RHP Louisiana State University 6-6 216 R-R
Fastball 60 – Slider 55 – Changeup 45 – Control 50 – Overall 50
It’s been quite a ride for Hess these past few years. A top-100 pitcher coming out of high school, Hess turned down a late-round offer from the Yankees in 2016 to honor his commitment to LSU, where he’s flashed incredible promise (and incredible inconsistency) in 47 appearances. A freshman campaign that saw him pitch mostly out of the bullpen to great success—3.12 ERA, 83 strikeouts in 60.2 innings—set big expectations for his sophomore campaign. Especially after whetting the appetite of scouts with an impressive, albeit brief cameo in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2017. Hess slid effortlessly into the rotation in 2018, the anchor of a young pitching staff. He took his lumps, especially in non-conference play, but he was the Tigers’ best pitcher when it mattered most, pitching to a 4-3 record and a 4.26 ERA in 10 SEC starts. His season, and LSU’s, came to a halting stop in the NCAA regionals at the hands of Oregon State, who leveled the right-hander to the tune of eight hits and eight runs in 3.1 innings. The performance left Hess with an ERA over 5.00 for the year. Never one to let a bad performance stick, however, Hess had a great summer, tossing seven shutout innings on the Cape, and another nine scoreless for the Collegiate National Team, managed by LSU coach Paul Manieiri. At both stops he showed his plus fastball and above-average slider, as well as improved command. Hess was also drafted by the Braves last summer, although a last-minute deal fell through when the team’s first-round pick failed to agree to terms. Hess will once again lead the pitching staff in 2019, and with a more consistent showing, could find his way into first round consideration. 
47 George Kirby RHP Elon University 6-3 207 R-R
Fastball 60 – Curveball 50 – Slider 45 – Changeup 45 – Control 55 – Overall 50
Elon had it’s best season in nearly a decade thanks to the herculean efforts of pitchers Kyle Brnovich and Kirby. And while Brnovich tends to get most of the attention, it’s Kirby that will not only be drafted first, but has the greater chance at a long pro career. In addition to having size on his side, Kirby also has better stuff, including a mid-90s fastball, an offering that gets more ground balls than strikeouts. His go-to breaking ball isn’t as strong as Brnovich’s, but he throws two distinctly different breaking balls, giving him a better chance to start in pro ball. It’s hard to argue with the results so far. After a sterling career at Rye High in New York, where he earned all-state honors three times and ranked as the second-best pro prospect from the Empire state in 2016, Kirby struck out 55 batters in 61.1 innings as a freshman. He was also part of a combined no-hitter, the first of its kind in Colonial tournament history. His strong finish set the stage of a big sophomore year and Kirby delivered, going 10-3 with a 2.89 ERA. Not known for his high strikeout totals, he nonetheless struck out 10 or more batters four times, en route to racking up 96 on the year. He struggled down the stretch, allowing 11 runs in 14.2 innings and elevating his ERA almost a full run. He redeemed himself with a ridiculously strong performance in the Cape Cod League, where he returned to the bullpen for the first time since his freshman year. In 13 innings, spanning ten outings, Kirby struck out 24 batters, issued just one walk and allowed two runs. While he’s still expected to fill the Saturday starter’s role, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Kirby ends up pitching in relief at the pro level.
48 J.J. Goss RHP Cypress Ranch HS (TX) 6-3 185 R-R
Fastball 60 – Slider 55 – Changeup 50 – Control 55 – Overall 50
While it’s more common that you’d think to have two top prospects on the same high school team, it’s still worth noting just how incredible it is that Cypress Ranch has two of the top right-handed prep pitchers in the 2019 draft class. And while Matthew Thompson has the eye-popping stats and the attention befitting a top-50 prospect, his fellow rotation-mate is starting to rise up draft boards, and could eventually find himself selected first this June. That’s not to say that Goss’s stat-line has been unimpressive. After all, he did go 10-2 with a 1.45 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 77 innings last year. Like Thompson, his bread-and-butter is a mid-90s fastball. The pitch topped out at 96 mph last summer at the WWBA National Championship, and with a relatively lithe build, there’s every reason to think he’s got more in the tank. The sink on his fastball is particularly impressive. While Thompson goes for a curveball, Goss throws a pretty wicked slider. As impressive as the offering is, what sets it apart is his feel for it. He had no problem throwing it for strikes this summer, and there’s a good possibility it develops into a plus offering. His changeup has been used sparingly, but it shows similar movement to his fastball. Keeping in line with his similarities to his teammate, Goss is also committed to Texas A&M, although at this point, it’s hard to envision either pitcher making it to College Station.
49 Drew Mendoza 3B Florida State University 6-5 225 L-R
Run 35 – Arm 60 – Hit 50 – Power 55 – Defense 50 – Overall 50
Mendoza established himself as one of the top prospects for the 2016 draft during the summer showcase circuit two years prior. Flashing incredible raw power and smooth defensive actions at shortstop, he seemed ticketed for a spot in the first round. He hit .416 with seven homers during his senior season at Lake Minneola, helping lead the Hawks to their second district title in three seasons, and was named the No. 1 prospect at his position by Perfect Game heading in to the draft. After receiving plenty of interest from SEC schools, Mendoza committed to FSU, where both of his parents attended, and doubled down by telling teams he was serious enough about becoming a Seminole that he preferred to not be drafted. He almost got his wish, lasting until the 36th round, when the Tigers gave him the honor of courtesy selection he had no problem spurning to head to Tallahassee. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, it didn’t take long for the coaching staff to move Mendoza off of shortstop and over to third base. Unfortunately, he didn’t see the field until a month into his freshman campaign, thanks to a broken jaw, sustained on a pick-off attempt, and a broken thumb. He ended the season strong, hitting .277 with three homers and five RBI in post-season play and seemed destined to emerge as the next great Seminole hitter. Not even a dismal stint in the Cape Cod League, where he hit .171 and struck out 32 times in 82 at-bats, could damper enthusiasm about him. He returned to the hot corner in 2018, and made each of his 62 starts there, showing improved actions and footwork, despite committing a team-high 14 errors. He once again got off to a strong start and was hitting as high as .450 in late-March. He bounced out of a 4-for-47 mid-season slump in a big way, with his best performance as a Nole—5-for-6, two runs, two doubles, a home run and two RBI—and he carried that momentum through til the end of the season, one that saw him finish second on the team in batting average, doubles, slugging and on-base percentage. It was his two-run double that won the ACC championship for FSU as well. With a career .296/.424/.508 line through two seasons, Mendoza is already one of the most proven hitters in the 2019 draft class. He cut his strikeout rate last season after whiffing on 26% of his at-bats as a freshman, and he’s always drawn a good amount of walks, so he should be a solid .270 or .280 hitter at the pro level. What remains to be seen is if he can continue to develop his power further, and if he can handle third base long-term. If he can’t, and is forced to slide across the diamond to first, where he played some as a freshman, his value would likely diminish, dropping him out of first round consideration.
50 Matthew Thompson RHP Cypress Ranch HS (TX) 6-3 184 R-R
Fastball 60 – Curveball 55 – Changeup 50 – Control 50 – Overall 50
Just like there is with his teammate J.J. Goss, there’s a lot to like about Thompson. He had a tremendous junior campaign—.178 average against and 87 strikeouts in 47 innings—for Cy-Ranch, one of the premier baseball programs in Texas, and helped guide the Mustangs to the state semifinals for the first time since 2015. Unfortunately, the Texas A&M signee had his worst start of the year, getting touched up for five earned runs in 2.2 innings, and was ultimately saddled with the season-ending loss. The defeat was his first since his freshman year, which coincidentally was the last time he served up a home run to an opposing batter. Thompson bounced back with a strong summer, looking the part of a top-50 talent at the Tournament of Stars—4 innings, four hits, four strikeouts—and the Perfect Game All-American Classic, where his curveball was in fine form. He struck out two batters in just one inning of work, tantalizing scouts in attendance. That curveball, an above-average offering that flashes plus, is Thompson’s best breaking ball, but it’s far from his only weapon. His fastball has hit 96 mph, and sits regularly in the 92-94 mph range, and is rendered even more effective by a high-effort delivery that adds some deception. While Thompson has all the makings of a future front-end starter, we’re more than somewhat concerned with his high-effort delivery. If he can clean that up, expect him to rise much higher on our board.

 

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