The 2019 Major League Baseball draft isn’t completely set yet. The playoffs, and free agency will determine the exact order of the draft. We do know, though, that the Cincinnati Reds will be drafting 7th overall. That is locked in, unless something wild happens and a team has to forfeit a 1st round draft pick as a penalty for something.

Baseball America unleashed their Top 50 High School prospects for the 2019 draft, and their Top 50 College prospects for the 2019 draft this week. You need a subscription to see either list, so just a heads up on those links. With that said, let’s take a look at the top of the lists.

On the college side, the top player is Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 40th and final round of the 2016 draft and chose to go to college. He put together an incredible sophomore season. The catcher hit .408/.505/.628 with 53 walks, 40 strikeouts, 22 doubles, 3 triples, and 9 home runs in 308 plate appearances. Did I mention that he’s a switch hitter who’s also considered a plus defender? It would take a very strange set of circumstances for him to not only not be the #1 pick, but to fall outside of the top 5. He is seemingly everything you want in a player.

In the high school ranks it’s Bobby Witt Jr. that finds himself at the top of the list. If that name sounds familiar it’s probably because his dad, Bobby Witt, pitched for 16 seasons in the Major Leagues before retiring after the 2001 season. The younger Witt is a potential 5-tool shortstop, with plus power potential. Shortstops with big time power are rare, even in todays game.

Looking at the top 10 from each group, there are three total shortstops. It’s been a very long time since the Reds took a shortstop with their first pick in the draft. Several guys have been taken with supplemental first round picks as shortstops in recent history. Jeter Downs in 2017, and Alex Blandino before him back in 2014. But you’ve got to go back to 2000 when the team took David Espinosa with the 23rd overall pick. Outside of second base, the Reds have tapped every other position with a first round pick since then. Of course, maybe the Reds took a shortstop last year, just not as a shortstop.

Being that it’s October and the college baseball season doesn’t start for four months, this isn’t entirely meaningless, but it’s close to it. At this point a year ago, Brady Singer was the #1 guy for the 2017 draft. And while he had a good year at Florida (2.55 ERA, 114 strikeouts, 22 walks), he fell down to the 18th pick in the draft. It’s tough to see that happening with a guy like Rutschman unless there’s a devastating injury, though. What these lists are good for, though, is a nice primer for who to keep an eye on moving forward.


6 Responses

  1. AirborneJayJay

    Getting a top college LH starter would be the best avenue for the 7th overall pick. But it is way, way, way too early at this juncture.
    Top LH starters in college are UK’s Zack Thompson (6’2″-225), TCU’s Nick Lodolo (6’6″-185), and Duke’s Graeme Stinson (6’5″-245). For college hitters Rutschman would be lovely at #7, but very unlikely. There are several top college SS to watch. A couple of top 3B. There are always some college hitters who sail up the draft charts like India did last year.
    From the high school ranks, Witt is clearly #1 and won’t be there at #7. But it is very possible that OF Riley Greene or LHP Hunter Barco could be. Greene looks to be a stud OF.

    • IMHO

      How many innings can a college starter go without getting penalized in the MiLB and being placed in the bullpen?

  2. Greg

    Doug please speculate on what Rutschman could sign for if, in a parallel draft universe, he were a free agent.

    • Doug Gray

      Assuming he were a free agent and not restricted to some crazy set of “rookie rules” – say, like he were an international free agent like a Cuban guy before the new rules were put in place, I think you’re looking at a $75-100M kind of deal.

  3. Greenfield Red

    I thought Craig Council’s pitching change after one batter in last night’s game was a great move. Too bad it didn’t pay off. It’s a bit of a radical move that I’ve thought of myself, however, I think it’s best to reserve it for a must win game rather than doing it on an ongoing basis.

    I would like the Reds to hire a manager who thinks that way.

  4. Brad

    I am intrigued with HS SS Abrams, HS OF Carroll and HS OF Greene. Add in a few College SS guys at CB1 and Round 2: Davidson, Shewmake, Holland, Storr, Wilson, Jones, etc.