Good morning! June 3, 2019 marks the first day of the culmination of countless hours of scouting thousands of amateur players. MLB’s 2019 First Year Player Draft kicks off tomorrow evening at 6 PM/CDT and takes place in Secaucus, New Jersey. You can tune in to watch on MLB Network or stream coverage on MLB.com. Tomorrow’s coverage will feature the first two rounds (including competitive balance and compensation picks coming at the end of each). For in depth analysis check out the Royals Farm Report 2019 Draft e-Book and listen into our interview with 247 Sports’ Jeff Ellis.
If there’s one silver lining to the big league club’s forgettable 2018 season, it’s that the Royals will be drafting second overall. Since their establishment in 1969 the Royals have only held the second pick on two occasions (Alex Gordon in 2005 and Mike Moustakas in 2007). This year is hitter heavy at the top, and most publications that cover the draft project the Royals to take high school short stop, Bobby Witt, Jr., out of Colleyville, Texas. Witt has been called a potential 5-tool talent and has been the top ranked prep player in the class for quite some time. Other names that the Royals have been linked to would include prep and college bats that include Andrew Vaughn, CJ Abrams, JJ Bleday, and Hunter Bishop.
Perhaps the one thing that could throw a wrench into all of this is if the Orioles use the first overall selection on a player other than consensus number one overall player, Adley Rutschman. Rumors as of 6/2 have Rutschman demanding full slot bonus value for the first overall selection. That would cost the team that picks him $8,415,300. There are also rumors of the Orioles preferring other options based on medical questions surrounding Rutschman’s hip. The truth is something we won’t know until tomorrow but several sources that RFR has reached out to have cast significant doubt on these reports, likely meaning it’s just smokescreen to lower Rutschman’s asking price. According to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, the Orioles could target Bleday, Vaughn, or Witt if they decide to go a different route. The most intriguing aspect of that rumor is if Rutschman and Witt are available when the Royals pick, reports say that the front office is split on which direction they would go.