Which 2019 draft pick will reach the majors first?by Yehuda Schwartz August 20, 2019 0 comments
Every June, the MLB holds a draft at MLB Network’s studios for all eligible amateur players. There are 42 rounds where teams can select players from high school and college to join their organization, assuming they sign with the team they are drafted by.
The age range of these players can span from 17 years old on the youngest end, to 23 years old on the highest end. Naturally, the 21-23-year-olds are presumably from college and closer to the majors than the 17-19-year-olds. This year, the first round had a solid mix of college stars like Adley Rutschman Andrew Vaughn, JJ Bleday, and Nick Lodolo, and a solid mix of high-school stars with the likes of Bobby Witt Jr., CJ Abrams, Brett Baty, and Matt Allan.
It is very unlikely for a high-school player to make an impact for a few years but there are several college players that have the potential to debut as soon as next season. Let’s take a look at the candidates to debut as soon as next season and determine which one has the best chance to beat the rest of the group out.
Andrew Vaughn: The Chicago White Sox took the star first baseman from the University of California with the third overall pick. Vaughn has a decent glove and a great arm as he was a pitcher in his freshman year. He has one of the best all-around bats in the draft, allowing him to hit to all fields and with big power. In the future, he profiles as a big-time 3 or 4 hitter who can create big production. So far in High-A Winston-Salem, Vaughn has hit .265/.377/.476 with a homer and 13 runs batted in through 14 games with a nine-to-seven walk-to-strikeout ratio. The White Sox will likely start him in Double-A come Opening Day 2020, which gives him the potential to debut near the end of the 2020 season.
Braden Shewmake: The Atlanta Braves had two picks in the first round and opted to go for two bats with Shea Langeliers and Braden Shewmake. The junior from Texas A&M is now playing the outfield with Atlanta but was a shortstop in college. He is a former Freshman of the Year thanks to his contributions enabling Texas A&M to reach the College World Series. With amazing hand-eye coordination and a dirtbag style approach, Shewmake has the potential to be an elite hitter with some power on the way to fill out his 6-foot-4 frame. He has decent speed and a good arm which gives him the potential to be an infielder and outfielder. Braden was recently promoted to Double-A after slashing .318/.389/.473 in 51 games as an outfielder with Class-A Rome. He might have the potential to start in Triple-A and be under consideration for the big league club next year around this time if he keeps this production up.
JJ Bleday: The Miami Marlins had a huge selection at No. 4 and went with Bleday, a stud from Vanderbilt. He was the best prospect from the Cape-Cod League and led all NCAA Division 1 players with 27 home runs, leading to Vanderbilt’s College World Series title. With a very strong arm which profiles him in right field and average speed, Bleday has the potential to be a plus defender. Bleday possesses great power and great bat to ball skills which makes him one of the best all-around hitters in the minors already, just a few months in. The Marlins were aggressive and started him in High-A where he has been struggling a bit. Look for Bleday to start in Double-A to start the season and move quickly as he adjusts to full-season ball.
The common denominator between all these players is that they have the potential to make an impact as soon as next year. Bleday and Vaughn look to be ready around August or September of 2020. Shewmake has the potential to be ready June 2020 which would make him the closest to being big league ready of all the players in the draft.
Why no pitchers? The answer is very simple. Usually, teams try to start their pitchers slowly which makes them less likely to be ready.
Braden Shewmake should be a very valuable utility man in very short order. Keep a close eye out as he will keep on bursting into the scene at every stop he makes.