In conjunction with the 2019 Bowman Draft recently releasing, it’s a great time to refresh our memories on the top five players selected in the 2019 MLB Draft. For those that are new to the scouting grades, here's how they break down:
30 or less: Mario Mendoza at the plate (bad)
31-49: David Price vs the Yankees (below average)
50-59: Regular season Howie Kendrick (average)
60-69: Joey Gallo’s hard hit ball rate (above average)
70+: Barry Bonds’ 72 home run season (top tier)
Note: I realize my comparisons are subjective. I’ve never seen anything like Bonds’ season since then. I use that as a comparison because you will rarely see a 70+ rated prospect at any skill. Also, most grades are in 5 point increments, but I have seen some scouting reports that featured a different format.
5. Riley Greene - Tigers - OF - L/L
Featured Tools: 60 Raw Power/60 Potential Hit
The book on Greene touts his ability to hit the ball, especially for power. He’s a bigger outfielder (6’3”) that has average tools on the defensive end. This could handicap him to the DH or LF spot for his immediate future. He’s not the fastest either (45 rated speed), but his age paired with his close to Major League ready bat makes this a good pick for the Tigers. We’ll probably see him in 2-4 years.
4. JJ Bleday - Marlins - OF - L/L
Featured Tools: 60 Raw Power/60 Field
Bleday can straight out smack the ball. He smoked 27 HR’s his last year at Vandy, which propels him to that 60 grade raw power. Even though he does have a 60 rated fielding, it’s purely because of his path to the ball. He seems to lack the top end speed to catch up to the ball (40 potential speed) but that hasn’t stopped other players that have his frame from being efficient (6’3” 205). It also helps that he’s a lefty, which will always get you a spot in this league. I would be surprised to see him make the Opening Day roster, but it is the Marlins with a lower tier of talent than most teams.
3. Andrew Vaughn - White Sox - 1B - R/R
Featured Tools: 65 Raw Power/60 Potential Game Power
Think Jose Abreu but younger. Vaughn has some of the highest power numbers in the draft (38HR in the past two seasons at Cal) and is a passable 1B. Much like Bleday, I don’t see him coming up until September at the earliest due to the talent and acquisitions that the White Sox have. Even though he was the 3rd pick in the draft, the White Sox have better prospects right now (Robert for example.). Don’t let that take away from his ability to hit the ball just because of the log jam. His wRC+ in his A season this past year was 138 which is more than above average.
2. Bobby Witt Jr - Royals - SS - R/R
Featured Tools: 65 Potential Raw Power/60 Speed/60 Throw
The son of (you guessed it), Bobby Witt, a 16 year pitcher in the majors, must have taught his kid everything about baseball and then some. His potentials are high given his young age. He’s got the fluidity to play the SS position more than effectively now, which bodes well for his future. His bat is still developing, featuring a 20 hit/30 game power, but his raw power has scouts excited. He’s already ranked the 30th best prospect according to Fangraphs. Once he refines the offensive end (.091 ISO in 43 H this season), he should be a franchise staple at SS.
1. Adley Rutschman - Orioles - C - S/R
Featured Tools: 65 Potential Raw Power/60 Potential Game Power/60 Field/60 Throw
A switch hitting catcher that hits for power and can field his position at a premium level? How many of those can you name? Adley was without a doubt worthy of the first pick in the draft. His final
season at Oregon State saw a slash line of .411/.575/.751/1.326 with 17 HR and 58 RBI
and 76 walks (!). He sees the ball extremely well and when given the opportunity to hit, he will make exceptional contact. He was even walked with the bases loaded because of
his elite bat during the playoffs. I fully anticipate seeing him this upcoming season as the Orioles best player.