On Monday, June 3, Major League Baseball’s three-day amateur draft will begin at the MLB Network studios in New Jersey. There will be 1,217 selections made this year when it is all said and done. A lot of lives are about to change.

Here are the broadcast details for Day 1 of the 2019 MLB draft:

  • Date: Monday, June 3
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: MLB Network
  • Streaming: MLB.com
  • Picks: 1-78 (Rounds: 1st, Supplemental 1st, Competitive Balance A, 2nd, Competitive Balance B, Supplemental 2nd)

The draft continues with Rounds 3-10 on Tuesday, June 4, and concludes with Rounds 11-40 on Wednesday, June 5. Days 2 and 3 will be streamed live on MLB.com. There will be four minutes between picks in Round 1, and one minute between picks from the supplemental first round through the 10th round. Day 3 is a rapid fire conference call with one pick after another.     

We have already pumped out not one, but two mock drafts, with another set to arrive before the draft. Since the draft is inching closer, this is a good time to look at some of the top prospects available this year. And because the information is available on MLB.com, we can use 20-80 scouting scale grades to compare 2019 draft prospects to similar prospects in previous years, which helps gives us an idea of what we can expect going forward.

What is the 20-80 scouting scale? It’s what MLB clubs use to evaluate players. 80 is excellent, 20 is horrible, and 50 is average. These are future grades, meaning they tell us what the player is projected to be down the road, not what they are right now. A player with a 70 hit tool would be expected to hit .300 or better on the regular in the big leagues. There isn’t a college or high school kid in the country who can do that right now. Down the line though? Sure. Some players project to be that type of hitter.

MLB.com has published 20-80 scouting scale grades for draft prospects since 2013, so we’ll use them to identify similar prospects to the players highlighted below. Just to be clear, we are comparing the players during their draft years. So, if we were to compare a player’s 20-80 grades to Mike Trout’s, we’re talking about 2009 Trout out of high school, not 2019 Trout. Got it? Good. Here are the top college prospects at each position with some scouting grade comparables. 

Catcher: Adley Rutschman, Oregon State

G PA AVG/OBP/SLG 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS

52

245

.427/.584/.772

9

1

16

55

69

36

0

2

Background: Rutschman is the 2019 draft’s best prospect and arguably the best draft prospect to come along since Gerrit Cole in 2011, or maybe even Bryce Harper in 2010. He is a switch-hitting catcher with power and bat-to-ball skills from both sides of the plate, and he has a great approach as well. Defensively, Rutschman is a no-doubt long-term catcher with great receiving skills and a strong arm. He also has the makeup and leadership skills teams want in a franchise cornerstone.

The Mariners selected Rutschman out of a Portland high school with their 40th round pick in 2016, but obviously could not convince him to turn pro. Rutschman is the heavy favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Orioles on Monday, though teams with picks near the top of the draft have been known to manipulate their bonus pools by taking lesser prospects and spending the savings later. The O’s could do that with the No. 1 pick. I don’t think they will, but it is possible. In that case, it’s hard to see Rutschman getting beyond the White Sox and the No. 3 pick.

Comparable prospects using MLB.com scouting grades: College catchers like Rutschman are pretty rare. It’s not often a catcher this well-rounded comes along. Here are the most comparable recent catching prospects based on the tools grades:

Player Year Hit Power Run Arm Field

Kyle Schwarber, Indiana

2014

60

65

40

40

40

Zack Collins, Miami (FL)

2016

50

55

30

45

40

Joey Bart, Georgia Tech

2018

50

55

30

60

55

Adley Rutschman, Oregon State

2019

60

60

40

60

60

There are simply no good scouting grade comparables for Rutschman. Bart, last year’s No. 2 pick, comes the closest, though he was a full grade below Rutschman with the hit tool, among other things. Schwarber had Rutschman’s offensive potential, but lagged greatly on defense, so much so that he moved out from behind the plate less than one year after being drafted. Realistically, Rutschman is the best catching prospect to come out of the college ranks since Buster Posey in 2008.

Honorable mentions: Baylor’s Shea Langeliers would be the top catcher in most non-Rutschman draft classes. A broken hamate bone threw a wrench into his spring, but he is a gifted receiver with offensive potential. He’s expected to be a mid-to-late first round selection after being a potential top 10 pick before the injury. Georgia Tech backstop Kyle McCann has big lefty power and some defensive concerns. It’s unclear whether he’ll remain at the position long-term. McCann is seen as more of a second or third round prospect.


First baseman: Andrew Vaughn, California

G PA AVG/OBP/SLG 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS

48

228

.385/.539/.728

13

0

15

49

53

30

2

0

Background: Historically, the right-handed hitting/right-handed throwing first base profile is awful. You’ve got to hit like Paul Goldschmidt to make that profile work given the platoon disadvantages and defensive limitations. Fortunately, Vaughn has that kind of bat. He is arguably the best all-around hitter in the draft class. Vaughn is a great pure hitter with big power potential and a discerning eye. He’s worked out at third base and in the outfield in the past, though the consensus is he is a first baseman and a first baseman only, and a decent enough defensive one at that.

Vaughn was not drafted out of high school — high school first basemen aren’t the hottest commodity on draft day unless they show elite tools like Prince Fielder’s power or Eric Hosmer’s athleticism — but he will be among the first players taken this year. If the Orioles do go the “sign someone underslot with the No. 1 pick and spend later” strategy, Vaughn is a great candidate for it. Given the right/right profile, there are scenarios in which he slips into the 5-10 pick range. My guess is he’ll be off the board no later than the No. 3 pick.

Comparable prospects using MLB.com scouting grades: There have only been five college first basemen selected in the first round since 2012 and one of them, current Rays prospect Brendan McKay, is a two-way prospect who is more highly regarded as a pitcher. Only one of those five college basemen is a righty hitter. Here are some scouting grades:

Player Year Hit Power Run Arm Field

Casey Gillaspie, Wichita State

2014

60

60

20

40

50

Pavin Smith, Virginia

2017

55

55

35

50

50

Evan White, Kentucky

2017

55

50

60

55

70

Andrew Vaughn, California

2019

60

60

30

50

50

White is that one right-handed hitter and he had a unique profile. As the running and fielding grades suggest, he is a tremendous athlete and there was some thought he could play center field. The Mariners took him with the No. 17 pick and have kept him at first base, however. Gillaspie has the same hit and power grades as Vaughn but didn’t hit in pro ball. He flamed out. Smith and White are still relatively early in their pro careers but have underwhelmed a bit at the plate. Vaughn is regarded as an excellent hitter, but, if he doesn’t hit or is even just an okay hitter, he won’t have much MLB value.

Honorable mentions: The second best college first baseman in this draft class is UNC’s Michael Busch, though he’s played some second base and the outfield, and is athletic enough that whichever team drafts him figures to try a position other than first base. Busch is likely to be selected in the back half of the first round. UCLA’s Mike Toglia is another right/right guy. He has power but not Vaughn’s hit tool, and is generally seen as an above-average defender. Toglia could go as high as the second round. Louisville’s Logan White has good contact ability and decent power. He’s likely a late second or third round pick.


Infielder: Bryson Stott, UNLV

G PA AVG/OBP/SLG 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS

58

281

.356/.486/.599

20

2

10

36

55

39

16

4

Background: Non-first base college infielders are a popular demographic on draft day and Stott is the best available in this year’s draft. He makes easy contact from the left side and has sneaky power, though his game is more slashing line drives all around the field. Defensively, Stott is a shortstop now and has a chance to play there long-term. There is some thought he’d fit better at second base, where his strong arm would go to waste a bit, but his hands and footwork fits better.

At his Las Vegas high school, Stott was basically a slap hitter with questionable defensive tools. He went undrafted in 2016 and has since made huge strides in college. Stott is in the second tier of position player prospects in this draft class and is unlikely to come off the board before the No. 7 pick. In all likelihood he’ll hear his name called in the 10-15 pick range. Either way, Stott is a safe bet to be the first non-first base college infielder drafted this year.

Comparable prospects using MLB.com scouting grades: Stott has four above-average tools. He’s only a little short on power. Everything else checks out though, and, as a result, Stott’s best draft scouting grade comparables are some big names:

Player Year Hit Power Run Arm Field

Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt

2015

60

40

60

55

55

Alex Bregman, LSU

2015

60

50

50

55

50

Nick Madrigal, Oregon State

2018

65

40

60

50

55

Bryson Stott, UNLV

2019

60

45

55

55

55

Bregman is the big name here and, given what we know now, it’s safe to say MLB.com’s scouting grades undersold him going into the 2015 draft. I’d call Bregman at least a 65 hitter with 65 power and an easy 60 defender at third base. Swanson and Madrigal are the more appropriate scouting grade comparables for Stott, I think. Swanson is just now starting to figure things out at the MLB level (repeat after me: development is not linear) while Madrigal is finding his way in the White Sox’s system. Swanson (No. 1), Bregman (No. 2), and Madrigal (No. 4) were all very high picks in their drafts. Stott won’t go that high, but the tools aren’t too far off either.

Honorable mentions: The next tier of non-first base college infielders includes Clemson’s Logan Davidson, Tulane’s Kody Hoese, Texas Tech’s Josh Jung, Texas A&M’s Braden Shewmake, and NC State’s Will Wilson. Wilson and Shewmake are shortstops who do a little of everything but nothing spectacularly. Jung has a similar profile at third base. Davidson is a fine defensive shortstop with some swing-and-miss in his game. Hoese is a third baseman with huge power potential. All five of those players have a good chance to hear their name called in the first round Monday.


Outfielder: J.J. Bleday, Vanderbilt

G PA AVG/OBP/SLG 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS

55

270

.346/.461/.748

9

1

25

64

45

45

1

1

Background: If nothing else, Bleday goes into the 2019 draft with an impressive track record. He jumped into Vanderbilt’s lineup as a freshman and has done nothing but mash, and last summer he excelled against elite competition in the prestigious Cape Cod League. Bleday is a lefty hitter with a great swing and power to all fields, though he will occasionally sell out to get to that power, creating swing-and-miss issues. In all likelihood he is a right fielder long-term, not a center fielder, but a very good one defensively.

As a high school senior in Florida, Bleday was a well-known prospect for the 2016 draft. He was considered all but unsignable, however. Vanderbilt is traditionally an extremely tough commitment to break. The Padres took a shot anyway and selected Bleday in the 39th round that year. Why not? Maybe he changes his mind. Anyway, Bleday will be one of the first three college hitters off the board this draft along with Rutschman and Vaughn. It is not impossible he could go No. 1 overall if the Orioles decide to do some creative draft pool stuff. Bleday is more likely to go in the 4-7 pick range, however.

Comparable prospects using MLB.com scouting grades: Tons and tons of college outfielders are drafted in the early rounds each year. Not many have a power over hit profile like Bleday. He’s unique in that regard. Here are the best scouting grade comparables:

Player Year Hit Power Run Arm Field

Michael Conforto, Oregon State

2014

50

60

40

50

50

Kyle Lewis, Mercer

2016

55

60

50

50

50

Trevor Larnach, Oregon State

2018

55

55

40

55

50

J.J. Bleday, Vanderbilt

2019

55

60

40

60

50

Similar to Bregman, MLB.com’s scouting grades undersold Conforto at the time of the draft. He’s better than a 50 hitter. If you could magically guarantee right now that Bleday would turn into Conforto with a better arm, he’d go No. 1 overall no questions asked. Lewis, the 11th overall pick in 2016, has battled injuries in the Mariners system. Larnach slipped to the Twins with 20th pick last year. He’s currently crushing the ball in Single-A. Conforto is the gold standard here. Bleday turning into a Conforto type big leaguer would be a massive win.

Honorable mentions: Arizona State’s Hunter Bishop, the younger brother of Mariners outfielder Braden Bishop, shot up draft boards this spring after making adjustments to tap into his big raw power. He’s a good bet to be selected in the 7-15 pick range somewhere (closer to 7 than 15). There’s a pretty big gap between Bleday and Bishop, and the other top college outfielders in the 2019 draft class. Missouri’s Kameron Misner has great tools but not the statistical performance, oddly, and is a candidate to go late in the first round. Southern Mississippi’s Matt Wallner is the best of the rest and more of a second round prospect. 


Right-hander: Alek Manoah, West Virginia

G IP ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9

14

94

1.91

0.90

11.9

2.1

0.3

Background: The 2019 draft class is unusually light on high-end college arms and Manoah has emerged as the best righty. He is huge (6-foot-6 and 260 lbs.) and he has power stuff, including a mid-90s fastball and a wipeout slider. Manoah’s changeup lags behind the fastball and slider but is a reliable third pitch. As if often the case with pitchers this size, Manoah can have some issues keeping his delivery in sync. The fastball/slider combination and the frame are about as good as it gets though.

Because he was a two-way player who was unrefined on both sides of the ball, Manoah was not drafted out of his Miami high school in 2016. Once he focused more on pitching — Manoah spent most of his freshman and sophomore years in the bullpen — he took off as a prospect. Manoah won’t last beyond the 15th pick or so on Monday and could go in the 7-10 range. It’s worth noting his older brother, Erik, was drafted by the Mets (13th round in 2014) and currently pitches in the Angels system. Baseball runs in the family.

Comparable prospects using MLB.com scouting grades: Manoah is behind recent top college righties like Aaron Nola, Walker Buehler, Kyle Wright, and Casey Mize. He would be more of a second tier college righty prospect in a “normal” draft year. Nothing wrong with that though. Here are some scouting grade comparables:

Player Year Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Control

Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt

2014

65

N/A

55

50

45

Alex Faedo, Florida

2017

60

65

N/A

50

50

Jackson Kowar, Florida

2018

65

N/A

50

60

50

Alek Manoah, West Virginia

2019

65

55

N/A

50

50

Beede hasn’t worked out for the Giants, who took him 14th overall in 2014, mostly because he made changes in the minors and became a sinkerball pitcher. Beede on 2014 draft day is a pretty good comparable for Manoah now though. Faedo’s slider was a full grade better than Manoah’s while Kowar’s changeup was a full grade better. Point is, they’re all college righties who had a good fastball and a good breaking ball, and a promising changeup. Faedo is pitching well in Double-A with the Tigers and Kowar is chewing up Single-A hitters in the Royals‘ system. It’s not an ace skill set. It’s more of an above-average starter skill set.

Honorable mentions: San Jacinto righty Jackson Rutledge is a two-year college guy but he’s not far behind Manoah at all, and depending how teams line up their draft boards, Rutledge could be picked before Manoah. He’s another huge guy (6-foot-8 and 240 lbs.) with a great fastball/slider combination. Elon’s George Kirby is an extreme strike-thrower (107/6 K/BB in 88 innings this year) and is a lock to go in the middle of the first round. Campbell’s Seth Johnson has a chance to go late in the first round while Arkansas’ Isaiah Campbell should come off the board soon thereafter. Johnson was a junior college infielder before transferring to Campbell and moving to the mound full-time this year. He’s a fascinating prospect.


Left-hander: Nick Lodolo, TCU

G IP ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9

14

91

2.18

0.95

11.2

1.9

0.6

Background: In a draft thin on top shelf college arms, Lodolo has emerged as the best college pitcher thanks to his combination of stuff, control, pitchability, and health. He’s tall and lanky (6-foot-6 and 185 lbs.), so there is reason to believe he’ll add velocity to low-to-mid-90s sinker as he matures. Lodolo has a very good slider and an advanced changeup, plus he has no trouble throwing strikes or repeating his delivery. He is ready for pro ball and could climb the minor league ladder quickly. A mid 2020 MLB debut is not out of the question.

Lodolo has a highly regarded prospect coming out of his Southern California high school in 2016. In fact, he was the highest unsigned pick in 2016. The Pirates took him with the 41st overall selection, but Lodolo rejected what Gil LeBreton of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported was a $1.75 million bonus offer, and instead headed to TCU. The gamble has paid off. Lodolo is poised to be the first pitcher off the board Monday, and could go as high as No. 4 to the Marlins. His bonus should roughly double what Pittsburgh offered three years ago. 

Comparable prospects using MLB.com scouting grades: Similar to Manoah, Lodolo is behind other recent college lefties drafted high in the first round. Guys like Andrew Heaney, Kyle Freeland, and Carlos Rodon all had firmer fastballs and more promising breaking balls. Here are Lodolo’s best scouting grade comparables:

Player Year Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Control

Sean Manaea, Indiana State

2013

60

50

N/A

60

60

Eric Lauer, Kent State

2016

55

55

50

50

55

Brendan McKay, Louisville

2017

55

N/A

60

50

55

Nick Lodolo, TCU

2019

55

55

N/A

55

55

McKay is a really good fit seeing how his breaking ball and changeup were within half-a-grade of Lodolo’s. This isn’t quite an apples to apples comparison because McKay is a two-way player, but McKay the pitcher and Lodolo align well. McKay is among the game’s elite prospects and could make his MLB debut fairly soon. Lauer’s fastball backed up a little bit in pro ball — going from pitching once a week to once every five days can have consequences — though he showed a distinct fourth pitch his draft year, something Lodolo lacks. Manaea had some injury issue his draft year that took a bite out of his stock.

Honorable mentions: Kentucky’s Zack Thompson may very well have been the No. 1 college pitcher in the draft class had he not dealt with various injuries throughout high school and college. His arsenal is better and deeper than Lodolo’s. It’s just unclear whether he’ll hold up physically. Thompson should still come off the board in the middle of the first round. Texas A&M’s John Doxakis and Mississippi State’s Ethan Small are finesse southpaws who are seen as second or third round prospects.

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