PBR Experts' Draft

PBR Staff

The 2019 MLB Draft starts tonight. There isn’t a team that’s about to hand the reins to our national staff, but we’ll pretend like they would. In the Experts’ Draft, Shooter Hunt, Nathan Rode and David Seifert will alternate taking picks in the first round. The Braves (Shooter), Diamondbacks (Rode) and Dodgers (Seifert) each have two first-round picks so the guys were each assigned a team for continuity’s sake. They are making picks as if they were the scouting directors of the teams. This is not a mock draft, forecasting what teams will do based on intel. Rather, it’s what our experts would do if given they were calling the shots of the respective organizations.

1. ORIOLES (Rode): C Adley Rutschman (Oregon State) has been the guy for this spot, wire to wire. He’s the best draft prospect this decade and is a perfect fit to be the cornerstone of a rebuilding franchise. The Orioles could be picking here again next year and in the top five for a couple. No need to get cute. Gotta get it right. PICK: ADLEY RUTSCHMAN

2. ROYALS (Seifert): With polished, impactful and less risky college bats available at No. 2 it’s tough to pass on J.J. Bleday (Vanderbilt) and Andrew Vaughn (California). However, a potential five-tool, everyday shortstop with MLB bloodlines is just too much to pass up. There was swing and miss last summer, and Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville Heritage HS, TX) does turn 19 years old shortly after the draft, but there’s only one of him in this draft. PICK: BOBBY WITT JR.

3. WHITE SOX (Shooter): The first real test of the first round. Vaughn might be the top hitter in the entire class, and has proven it in the Pac-12 throughout his entire college career that includes being named the Golden Spikes winner in 2018 and a finalist in 2019. His power is tough to ignore, but Bleday has skyrocketed this season after some adjustments over the summer. He, too, has showcased impressive power, and his value on defense combined with a left-handed bat might make him a better fit here.  PICK: J.J. BLEDAY

4. MARLINS (Rode): Anybody that follows me knows how big a fan of OF Corbin Carroll (Lakeside School, WA). He and SS C.J. Abrams (Blessed Trinity Catholic HS, GA) are tempting here, but I can’t pass up the fact that Vaughn is still on the board. I don’t normally go for the right-right first base profile so high, but the bat is just that good. PICK: ANDREW VAUGHN

5. TIGERS (Seifert): Even though the three premium college bats in Rutschman, Bleday and Vaughn are off the board, I’m still in bat mode. The next best impact power college bat is likely OF Hunter Bishop (Arizona State), but I’m just not comfortable at fifth overall with the swing and miss his bat brings. The availability of up-the-middle prospects in Abrams and Carroll is very tempting, but the best bat available who combines hit ability with power production is OF Riley Greene (Hagerty HS, FL). And those who hit, play. PICK: RILEY GREENE

6. PADRES (Shooter): With LHP Nick Lodolo (Texas Christian) still on the board, the top collegiate arm in the draft is still hanging around at number 6, so the chance to bolster the farm system with another arm is certainly an option. However, the Padres are stacked with talent and stocked with prospects, so taking a chance on a high-upside high school athlete might play even better here. PICK: C.J. ABRAMS

7. REDS (Rode): The top of the draft is going to be dominated by hitters and that trend is true here. While it wouldn’t be a reach to go for Lodolo or even RHP Alek Manoah (West Virginia), I’m still eyeing some impact on the offensive side. With Abrams off the board, I don’t have to make a choice, but who are we kidding? I’d snag Carroll anyway. His speed, defense and ability to hit give him a chance to be an all-star. PICK: CORBIN CARROLL

8. RANGERS (Seifert): With several equally talented Texans at the top of our Draft Board, I can just stay in the Lone Star State for this one. Good time to cut a deal for the lowest possible bonus and save some pool money for our extra pick at 41 overall. So, who wants to be a Ranger? College pitchers Lodolo and RHP Jackson Rutledge (San Jacinto JC) are available, as well as hitters C Shea Langeliers (Baylor) and 3B Josh Jung (Texas Tech). High school wise, RHP J.J. Goss (Cy Ranch HS, TX) and the big bat of 3B Brett Baty (Lake Travis HS, TX) would also be considerations. Lodolo is the next man up on our Draft Board, but it’s not likely he will budge on his bonus demand and take the pay cut I’m looking for—similar to Brady Singer who got paid well above slot at $4.25 million at 18th overall in 2018 after not backing off his demands and falling out of the Top 10. I love the power stuff of Rutledge, but his arm action is so short that it worries me long term and a high school right-hander this high in the first round would be foolish considering the risk. Therefore, I’m going with a potential middle-of-the-order power bat, and the one who I could likely save some Texas redbacks. PICK: BRETT BATY

9. BRAVES (Shooter): The Braves have a couple picks to work with in the first round, and a larger bonus pool because of it, so they could try to swing some deals to save money here. However, with Lodolo still on the board this late, it seems hard to turn down the top collegiate arm, so any deals will have to wait until pick 21. PICK: NICK LODOLO

10. GIANTS (Rode): Jung, Manoah and LHP Zack Thompson (Kentucky) crossed my mind here, but C Langeliers is too good to pass up. He’s not Buster Posey, but he’s an athletic backstop with the chance to be an all-star thanks to his plus defense and above average power. PICK: SHEA LANGELIERS

11. BLUE JAYS (Seifert): Without any extra picks this year, it’s simply time to take the best man available. The top college bats are Jung, Bishop and SS Bryson Stott (UNLV). The top college arms are Manoah, Rutledge and Thompson. The high ceiling high school arms of Goss, RHP Matt Allan (Seminole HS, FL) and RHP Brennan Malone (IMG Academy) are certainly intriguing. But, next up on my draft board is an up-the-middle defender who makes plays like this, hits for average, walks more than he strikeouts, has power and produced a slash of .356/.486/.599 this spring. PICK: BRYSON STOTT

12. METS (Shooter): After trading away first-round pick OF Jarred Kelenic to the Mariners in the off-season, I’m looking to add a big bat and position player to the farm system. 3B Kody Hoese (Tulane) could be a solid option here, but I’m leaning towards Jung. He has a deeper track record with the bat, and after performing well at shortstop for the Red Raiders this spring, his ability to lock down third base moving forward looks even more promising.  PICK: JOSH JUNG

13. TWIINS (Rode): There is a lot of pitching available on the board at this point and as much as I like some of the high school arms, I’m more inclined to go the college route. Manoah and Rutledge are worthy candidates, but I remember the first time I saw Thompson—five years ago at the PBR Future Games. The quick, loose arm, the ability to spin a breaking ball. It has all developed into what we see today—a southpaw with two plus pitches in his fastball and changeup and two above-average ones in his curveball and slider. Yes please. PICK: ZACK THOMPSON

14. PHILLIES (Seifert): Since the 2014 selection of future all-star Aaron Nola as the seventh overall pick, it’s been a tough go finding impact talent with high picks in the first round for the Phillies as they have selected outfielders Cornelius Randolph (2015; 10th overall), Mickey Moniak (2016; first overall) and Adam Haseley (2017; eighth overall). The window to win at the major league level is now open, making it a good time to pick a quick-moving college pitcher who can help the title hopes. And with a big arm who could move quickly through the minors still on the board, this is an easy choice. PICK: ALEK MANOAH

15. ANGELS (Shooter): The Angels depleted farm system desperately lacks pitching, so while their recent trend of high-upside, athletic position players (Adell, Adams) would fit here, I like a pitcher in this spot. Allan has two plus-pitches, and looks like a potential frontline starter. His polished stuff and projectable frame combined with elite stuff is too much to pass up here. PICK: MATT ALLAN

16. DIAMONDBACKS (Rode): The Diamondbacks have seven picks on Day 1, eight in the top 100 and a little more than $16 million in their draft pool, a golden opportunity to inject some talent into the farm system. The slot for this pick is a little less than $3.75 million. It’d be nice to get someone at a deep discount and see who falls to 26, so I’m looking at some of the best available, which includes some college guys that shouldn’t force me to go over slot. Rutledge is an option and I like RHP George Kirby (Elon), but I think I’ll roll the dice on some big-time tools and upside with Bishop. Sounds like there’s almost no chance of this happening in the real world.  PICK: HUNTER BISHOP

17. NATIONALS (Seifert): After getting my pocket picked by the D’Backs at No. 16, I’ve quickly turned my attention to the top college arm still on the board. Kirby is a strike thrower with a fastball up to 96-97 and a developing breaking ball. Rutledge is a power pitcher who finds the zone with a fastball up to 99 and a plus slider. I’m going with the top JC prospect since Bryce Harper in 2010. PICK: JACKSON RUTLEDGE

18. PIRATES (Shooter): After getting dominated in trade values the past few years, the Pirates need to stock up on the top pitching available. While Will Wilson (North Carolina State) and Kody Hoese (Tulane) could fit nicely here, I’m leaning towards a trio of right-handed pitchers: Malone, Quinn Priester (Cary Grove HS, IL), and Kirby. Malone handled his business in the spring, but the secondary stuff still concerns me a bit. Kirby was pinpoint with his control, and excelled throughout the year, but this still feels high for him. Priester has the elite velocity with a potential plus-pitch (curveball) to blossom into a frontline guy. PICK: QUINN PRIESTER

19. CARDINALS (Rode): Eighteen isn’t too high for Kirby and he very well could be gone by then or this pick in real life. I’m eyeing him, Hoese and Wilson. This isn’t a mock draft, but Kirby just feels right for the Cardinals. It’s also the closest thing resembling a Phoenix in Major League Baseball. PICK: GEORGE KIRBY

20. MARINERS (Seifert): Although drafting for need isn’t the norm in MLB, it might be best here to do just that. With a big league middle infield of Shed Long, Dylan Moore, J.P. Crawford and Tim Beckham and a minor league system void of much in terms of middle infield prospects, especialy ones at the mid-to-upper levels, No. 20 is the time to go get one. PICK: WILL WILSON

21. BRAVES (Shooter): After seeing the top college arm drop to them at No. 9 in Lodolo, the Braves are sitting pretty. OF Kameron Misner (Missouri) might play well here as a high-risk, high-reward power threat, or 3B Kody Hoese (Tulane) who could end up being the darkhorse of the entire draft. But alas, Malone is still on the board, along with his potential to be a big league starter, and combined with Lodolo would be a huge haul. PICK: BRENNAN MALONE

22. RAYS (Rode): Tampa Bay has a couple Competitive Balance Round B picks so I’m looking to go below the slot, which is a tick over $3 million. That essentially eliminates Goss and RHP Daniel Espino (Georgia Premier Academy, GA). With his third base defense and right-handed power, I’m happy with Hoese, another 2014 Team Indiana Future Games participant. PICK: KODY HOESE

23. ROCKIES (Seifert): After stealing Ryan Rolison at pick No. 22 last June (we ranked him 8th overall), the Rockies can out scout the industry again with another college prospect from the SEC who lost draft value this spring. The lift in his swing will sure look pretty when balls start sailing out of Coors Field on a regular basis. PICK: KAMERON MISNER

24. INDIANS (Shooter): At this point, I think the Indians will be upset to see the string of Priester-Kirby-Malone go before this pick. Being that those big arms are gone, the high floor of 1B Michael Busch (North Carolina) whose left-handed power-bat has been one of the most consistent in college ranks, sits well here. PICK: MICHAEL BUSCH

25. DODGERS (Seifert): Holding two of the next seven picks the Dodgers could get creative or just pick the best prospect available. The top high school arms on the Draft Board are Goss and Daniel Espino. Top high school bat SS/3B Gunnar Henderson (Morgan Academy, AL). College bats 3B Davis Wendzel (Baylor) and SS Greg Jones (UNC-Wilmington). College arm RHP Noah Song (Navy). Wendzel reminds me of Justin Turner, which is all good. Henderson has the potential to be an All-Star at the hot corner, and some even think he can remain at short. And Song combines good stuff with elite performance, but a Naval commitment makes it difficult to pick him here. The Dodgers player development system is one of the best in the game, especially with hitters. I’m taking the switch-hitting, up-the-middle athlete with perennial All-Star potential. PICK: GREG JONES

26. DIAMONDBACKS (Rode): Again, I’m looking to inject some talent into the Arizona farm system. The best available on the PBR Draft Board at this point includes a bunch of high school guys, so I’m taking the one at the top and that’s Goss. PICK: J.J. GOSS

27. CUBS (Shooter): After going pitching heavy in 2017 and then opting for more position players in 2018 (including SS Nico Hoerner in the first round), the Cubs could go in any number of directions here. With the fifth lowest draft pool, might try to save some money here in swinging a deal, which might bring into play SS Anthony Volpe (Delbarton HS, NJ) or Henderson. It might also bring RHP Josh Wolf (St. Thomas HS, TX) to the forefront. Wolf’s electric arm and starter profile are valuable here, and they still might have a chance to save some money PICK: JOSH WOLF

28. BREWERS (Rode): The slot here is a little less than $2.5 million and the Brewers’ total pool is a little more than $5.1 million so I’m leaning toward a college guy here and I’m gonna venture down our board a little bit. RHP Seth Johnson is a good athlete, has very little mileage on his arm and has some mid-90s gas. Worst case scenario, he can come out of the pen and blow it by guys, but I’ll bet on the athleticism allowing him to develop as a starter. PICK: SETH JOHNSON

29. ATHLETICS (Seifert): Last June the A’s shocked us when they selected Kyler Murray at No. 9 overall. This year they are picking much lower in the 1st round where it usually boils down to two types of prospects. High ceiling, high risk high school prospects with high price tags, or lower ceiling college prospects who are likely to sign. With this pick the A’s may be able to snatch a college prospect with some ceiling remaining. However, I think it’s unrealistic that SS Brady McConnell (Florida) as a soph-eligible is signable for slot here and the A’s only have a total pool of $5.6M. Another option is an athletic switch-hitter with tools and projection to stay in the middle of the diamond. Let’s hope SS Logan Davidson (Clemson) can shorten his swing and hit like the ACC version (.291/.402/.535 with 42 career HRs) and not the Cape one (.202/.304/.266). PICK: LOGAN DAVIDSON

30. YANKEES (Shooter): Taking a chance on draft-eligible sophomore SS Brady McConnell (Florida) would make a lot of sense here, but after falling to this spot, it seems far too likely that he will opt to return to school. High school teammates RHP Jack Leiter (Delbarton HS, NJ) and Volpe are also guys for me here. But the combination of the power and hit-tool that 3B Tyler Callihan (Providence School, FL) presents is too much to let go. He will start at third base, and might even catch some, but even if he ultimately shifts to first base, he will provide more than enough power from the left side.  PICK: TYLER CALLIHAN

31. DODGERS (Seifert): This is the pick the Dodgers really didn’t want; compensation for not signing JT Ginn in 2018. In 2015 they selected an injured, yet very talented righty from Vanderbilt who was coming off Tommy John surgery at the back end of the first round; Walker Buehler. This year at No. 31 they cut a deal, save some pool money for flexibility with future picks and select another premium college talent who is battling an injury. It worked once, let’s try it again. PICK: GRAEME STINSON (Duke)

32. ASTROS (Rode): The Astros also have a small bonus pool so taking a high school player probably isn’t in the cards. As much as I like Song, the risk with his service commitment isn’t something I want to take on without extra picks or financial wiggle room. Instead I’m going to take a proven winner on the mound—LHP Ethan Small (Mississippi State). PICK: ETHAN SMALL


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