The Cincinnati Reds hold the 7th overall pick in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft. It will start on June 3rd and run through June 5th. Today we will take a look at the infielders who could be potential targets for the Reds in the first round. Last week we covered the starting pitchers, which you can read all about here.

How is this group?

It’s a pretty strong group, with the top four prospects in the draft all playing on the infield. Behind them is plenty of depth in that middle-first-round talent range, too.

The Rankings

Earlier in May I went through the rankings for several national publications and averaged out their rankings to give an “overall” ranking for the Top 30 players in the draft. Here’s how the rankings lined up for the infielders, with their overall ranking in parenthesis:

  1. Adley Rutschman – C (1)
  2. Andrew Vaughn – 1B (2)
  3. Bobby Witt Jr. – SS (3)
  4. C.J. Abrams – SS (4)
  5. Bryson Stott – SS (10)
  6. Josh Jung – 3B (13)
  7. Michael Busch – 1B (15)
  8. Will Wilson – 2B (16)
  9. Shea Langeliers – C (17)
  10. Brett Baty – 3B (18)

That’s the extent of infielders in the Top 20. There’s 10 of them, with an even split among those within and outside of the Top 10. Today we are going to look at the Top 5. While we will get to the next 5 on Monday.

Adley Rutschman Scouting Report

One of the best draft prospects in several years, Adley Rutschman has above-average to plus tools across the board with the exception being speed. The 6′ 2″, 216 pound switch-hitting catcher from Oregon State came into the year as the top prospect in the draft. Nothing he’s done this season has changed that. He’s hitting .433/.582/.793 in 49 games with 9 doubles, a triple, 16 home runs, 64 walks, and he’s struck out just 34 times. His power is up significantly this season. As is his walk rate.

When it comes to scouting, he projects to hit for a high average at the next level. From both the right and the left sides he shows the ability to use the entire field and hit the ball with authority. The power plays well from both sides, too, where he’s projected for above-average to plus power. Behind the plate his arm and receiving skills play well and projecting as plus at the next level.

There’s no weakness in his game. The bat would play well at first base, and the fact that it comes behind the plate makes it project as arguably the best bat at the position in the game. Then there’s also the defense, which projects among the best in the game if he develops as expected and you’re looking at an incredibly safe choice with an enormous upside.

Andrew Vaughn Scouting Report

The best hitter in the class is probably Andrew Vaughn. The 6′ 0″ and 214 pounder out of California is killing the baseball once again in the Pac-12. While he’s not quite hitting as well as he did in 2018, his .374/.500/.712 line with 50 walks and 28 strikeouts stands out among the class.

He’s not the tallest player around, with some places listing him at 5′ 11″, but that hasn’t stopped him from hitting for plenty of power thanks to his ability to square up pitches with consistency. His power projects as plus, and he couples that with a hit-tool that does the same. He also has a strong grasp of the strikezone and has walked 113 times with just 70 strikeouts in his career at Cal.

Likely a first-base only defender, he can handle that position well. But there’s not much positional value or flexibility here. Still, the bat should play at the position well and it’s considered to be very safe and one that should move quickly through a farm system.

Bobby Witt Jr. Scouting Report

Depending on where you look, Bobby Witt Jr. may be rated as the second best draft prospect in the country. The 6′ 0″ and 180-pound has average to above-average tools across the board. The high school shortstop is a bit old for his class, he turns 19 a week after the draft.

The hit-tool is the worst rated tool for Witt. There were some concerns in the past about how much he would hit, but the Colleyville Heritage High School senior has alleviated many of those concerns in the last 18 months. The future grade most are putting on his hit-tool is 50, which is Major League average. His power grades out as slightly above-average to plus depending on where you look.

He’s a premium athlete and no one doubts that he can stick at shortstop. He shows good range and has plenty of arm for the position. The overall package is for an above-average to plus bat at the shortstop position – a rarity, even in todays game.

C.J. Abrams Scouting Report

Another high school shortstop near the top of the draft, C.J. Abrams is younger than Witt – he won’t turn 19 until October. The 6′ 1″ and 178-pound infielder from Blessed Trinity Catholic High School in Georgia is a 5-tool caliber player.

His speed, which is plus-plus, is his best tool. Because of that speed there are some scouts who believe that he could eventually move to center field where that speed could be used to chase down anything and everything. For now, it’s likely he’ll remain at shortstop – though there are some small concerns about how his hands play at the position.

At the plate he shows an advanced bat from the left side. There’s good bat speed and he shows plenty of ability to barrel the baseball. Power is a spot where his future is debated. Some places, such as MLB Pipeline, reports that he’s only got 40 future power – which is 10-15 home run range. Fangraphs, however, thinks there’s a chance for him to grow into 55/60 raw power, with 50 game power, putting him in that low 20 home run range, with an outside chance for more.

Bryson Stott Scouting Report

Shortstops are in demand. Who knew? Bryson Stott, the shortstop at UNLV, rounds out the infielders in the Top 10. After having a big sophomore season, the 6′ 3″ and 195-pound left-handed hitter has taken another step forward at the plate this season as a junior. He’s hitting .362/.494/.638 with 17 doubles, 2 triples, and 10 home runs. He’s also stolen 14 bases, walked 47 times, and struck out just 34 times in 236 plate appearances.

When it comes to scouting, it’s the future hit-tool that sticks out for Bryson Stott. It’s a plus grade on some reports, giving him a chance to be among the better hitters for average around. The power seems to have gotten a bump up in grade this season, too, where he’s listed as having average to slightly above-average future power.

Defensively most seem to think that he can remain at shortstop. The one hiccup seems to be more about his throwing mechanics than anything related to his arm strength. It seems a weird thing to be caught up on given that the arm strength is there, but that’s where some are getting in their “might need to move from shortstop” takes in at. As a college player, he should move quickly through the system.

22 Responses

  1. redwolf

    Will Wilson has not been the same since he got dinged up in a collision at first base about halfway through the season. I could see him dropping into the second round and being a steal there.

    • RojoBenjy

      If only he would still be there at 7. That would be amazing.

    • Doug Gray

      I will personally shower the Reds entire front office with gifts if somehow that happens.

      • donny

        Personally i am not big on catchers. They seem to fade away quicker now and days than before and quicker than regular players. Catching is brutal on players. Look at Buster Posey . He is no way near the player he was 3 years ago. Sure he had a injury but its been what 2 years now or more. Even the best catcher today J. Realmuto is just a average hitter.

        Am i wrong for thinking this way ? Do they not fade away quicker . Is there really a big impact bat in a catcher today except maybe Realmuto. I just think they will be good catchers for 3-5 years .

        Am i wrong for thinking this way ?

      • donny

        Yadier Molina has been a good catcher for a long period of time

      • donny

        I guess what i am trying to say is. There has been so many supposed good catchers being called up to the big leagues through the minors and they end up just being average catchers in the hitting department. So many drafted high in the draft and they end being a bust or just average catcher.
        Sure it’s that way with any position player but if you look at the ”catchers today” and the past ten years i think that theory proves to be more true in the catching department than any other position. When it comes to a real impact bat.

      • donny

        I mean if you put this thought process in Analytics department. I wonder what it would read.

        Help me out hear Doug ?
        I am sure i am going to disagree with you on this one but i just want your thoughts anyway if you have the time and i am sure i will just have to say we will disagree on this one.

      • donny

        Never mind Doug i see your comment above my first one. No need to respond. I get it.
        Every player is a risk and there simply just haven’t been as many good catchers as they other position players.

      • donny

        ”Nevermind” Doug. I came to this comment article section first instead of the Cody Reed article. Just nevermind .

        I guess i just don’t have much confidence in catchers today.

      • kevinz

        I agree i really do not want a catcher either. Catcher that Early is like taking a RB early in the NFL draft. I mean if a catcher the absolute best player then i guess take him. If Take a Hitter give me Stott or Corbin. Both considered plus Hitters.

      • Doug Gray

        Even though you said to not respond, Donny, I will.

        You aren’t wrong about catchers. It’s been a few years since the study came out, but I saw one a few years ago where the riskiest/most failed 1st round draft pick profile was high school catcher. The second riskiest/most failed 1st round pick profile was college catcher. Then high school pitcher.

        Catchers certainly bring more risk. You definitely aren’t wrong. Adley Rutschman just *feels* different. Of course, he’s not going to be there for the Reds anyways.

  2. kevinz

    Drafts you never know. I see 1 through 5 off the Board. 5 through 10 could be their though. Stott Bleday Corbin the 3 Hitters hope get to choose from.

  3. AirborneJayJay

    The top 4 INF will be off of the board by the #7 pick. I don’t think the Reds will go with Stott at #7. However, if by a small miracle CJ Abrams is there at #7, the Reds will be on him like a duck on a June bug. Some with the Reds think he’ll be a Barry Larkin type. High praise indeed.
    If Lodolo and Abrams are already picked, you know how the Reds like them some RHP. I would look for the Reds to select RHP Alek Monoah. You also know how the Reds pitching coaches love pitchers with established change ups. Well Monoah probably has one of the best ones in college along with a great fastball with movement and an above average slider. Maybe Luis Castilo can help Monoah have a better change up. Other than Castillo what Reds pitcher that they have developed came with a good change up? That has been a hard pitch for Romano, Stephenson, Reed, and Mahle to master. The first 3 have lost their starting opportunities and Mahle could also without a better 3rd pitch.

    • Tom

      Change up command is pretty much all I care about for prospects. If they struggle with it now, I would hold little to no investment in them.

      • kevinz

        Feel the same way Tom. I like the Missouri Pitcher in draft. Name is escaping me. He has a nice feel for a change up already. Not sure if make it to 2nd rd reds Pick though.

      • Tom

        TJ Sikkema the LHP converted from relief? His stock is rising. Do the Reds dare?

      • Tom

        Great FB with a filthy slider? Seen it all before. Give me 92-94 with a plus changeup.

      • kevinz

        That is him i was thinking of. I seen has good feel for change with sinking action. He has a filthy slider as his pitch though.

  4. Haven

    I really like Shea from Baylor, I think had he not got hurt earlier in the year he would be higher in rankings.