The Cincinnati Reds will be selecting 7th overall on Monday night in the 1st round of the Major League Baseball Draft. There’s been plenty of talk that the Reds would prefer to draft a bat, but the ones they like at their spot all appear like they will be off of the board when it’s their turn. That’s left them linked heavily to a handful of pitchers.
With that said, teams don’t always do what you expect. Making deals to save money for later in the draft happen and guys slide down. We’ll find out how it all plays out on Monday night. For now, here’s my personal Top 20 draft board.
1. Adley Rutschman – Catcher – Oregon State
Strengths: Above-average to plus tools across the board on both offense and defense.
2. Bobby Witt Jr – Shortstop – Colleyville High School (TX)
Strengths: Can stick at shortstop, has an above-average to plus future power grade.
Weaknesses: There has been some concern about his hit-tool in the past – grades out as average in the future even after improvements.
3. Andrew Vaughn – 1st Base – California
Strengths: Elite bat with plus hit, plus power. Top bat in the draft.
Weaknesses: Limited to first base defensively, a bit undersized. Rare profile as a RHH, short first baseman.
4. CJ Abrams – Shortstop – Blessed Trinity Christian High School (GA)
Strengths: He’s got elite level speed, a potential plus hit-tool, and solid power by most accounts.
Weaknesses: Tough to find one, but there are some scouts who rate his power as below-average if we’re nitpicking.
5. Nick Lodolo – Left-handed Pitcher – TCU
Strengths: Big left-handed pitcher with some physical projection remaining who has above-average stuff across the board.
Weaknesses: Track record of strong performance is limited to just this season. Was average as a freshman and sophomore.
6. Alek Manoah – Right-handed Pitcher – West Virginia
Strengths: Big, tall starting pitcher body, plus fastball, plus slider, above-average curve.
Weakness: Change up needs work.
7. Bryson Stott – Shortstop – UNLV
Strengths: Plus hit tool, can stick at shortstop by most accounts, slightly above-average power.
Weaknesses: Some scouts aren’t thrilled about his throwing mechanics from shortstop.
8. Corbin Carroll – Outfield – Lakeside High School (WA)
Strengths: 5-tool player, with speed being plus, true center fielder.
Weaknesses: He’s only 5′ 10″ and 170-pounds.
9. Jackson Rutledge – Right-handed Pitcher – San Jacinto JC
Strengths: Plus-plus velocity on his fastball, plus slider, above-average curveball.
Weaknesses: He’s showing out, but it’s against weak competition.
10. Hunter Bishop – Outfield – Arizona State
Strengths: Plus-plus raw power, plus speed, may be able to play center.
Weaknesses: He’s struck out more than he’s walked – generally a big red flag, and his fringy arm could push him to left field.
11. J.J. Bleday – Outfield – Vanderbilt
Strengths: Plus power to go with an above-average hit-tool.
Weaknesses: He’s got as many strikeouts as walks as a junior. Defensively he’s a corner outfielder only.
12. Riley Greene – Outfield – Hagerty High School (FL)
Strengths: Potential plus hit-tool with potential plus power.
Weaknesses: There have been some swing-and-miss concerns in the past. Defensively he’s a corner guy.
13. Quinn Priester – Right-handed Pitcher – Cary-Grove High School (IL)
Strengths: Outstanding moving fastball, can flash plus velo. Plus curveball. Plenty of projection remaining.
Weaknesses: Considered a bit raw, change up needs work.
14. George Kirby – Right-handed Pitcher – Elon
Strengths: Above-average fastball, plus curveball, has walked just 6 batters this season.
Weaknesses: Overly reliant on his fastball, secondary offerings are inconsistent at times.
15. Matthew Allan – Right-handed Pitcher – Seminole High School (FL)
Strengths: Above-average fastball velocity, plus curveball.
Weaknesses: Change up needs to improve. Some scouts think he needs to clean up his mechanics.
16. Zack Thompson – Left-handed Pitcher – Kentucky
Strengths: Has 4 pitches, with all being average or better – Slider and curve flash plus.
Weaknesses: He’s struggled with control at times. Has an injury history.
17. Josh Jung – Third Base – Texas Tech
Strengths: Above-average hit and power, good strike zone understanding.
Weaknesses: He’s likely going to wind up at first base down the line – some think very soon.
18. Brett Baty – Third Base – Lake Travis High School (TX)
Strengths: Potential above-average hit tool, potential plus-plus power.
Weaknesses: He’s beat up on much younger competition. He’ll be 20 in November, but is still in high school.
19. Will Wilson – Second Base – NC State
Strengths: Average or slightly better tools across the board except speed.
Weaknesses: He’s walked less than he’s struck out – a general red flag, no stand out tools. Below-average speed.
20. Shea Langeliers – Catcher – Baylor
Strengths: Potentially elite defensive catcher who can do it all defensively. Potential average hit and power.
Weaknesses: He’s struck out more than he’s walked every season. He’s never stood out with his bat.
Overall Thoughts on the 2019 Draft
This draft doesn’t look good today. That’s not a surprise – it’s been considered a weak draft for quite a while now. The guys in the second half of the first round profile like a lot of mid-to-late 2nd rounders in past years. The depth isn’t good, and even the top guys beyond Rutschman and Witt don’t hold up to most drafts. With that said, there is some intriguing talent in that 3-15 range. But there’s also some real question marks on some of the higher upside guys in that range, too. There doesn’t seem to be many “safe” players in this group.