2019 MLB Draft AL West Recap
June means a lot for America’s pastime: The MLB season is in full swing, players are being called up and sent down as contenders are solidifying rosters and cellar-dweller teams are holding out for the future. And then there is the MLB Draft. 40 rounds of life-changing phone calls are being made as these young men are getting the opportunity to be drafting into Major League Baseball. I’m going to look at who our Houston Astros select and also take a look at the rest of the American League West selections as an analysis of the division’s first round picks and what to expect in the near future for the division and the prospects hopeful roles.
Texas Rangers #8 Overall: John Jung, Third Baseman, Texas Tech University
The Red Raiders righty had enjoyed a good stat line of 72 hits, 11 home runs, 53 RBIs, and 51 bases on balls on .340 at the plate this last season in Lubbock. Jung’s approach to the plate shows he can hit for power but his vision gives him the high batting average. Not exactly where the game is right now, with more home runs and strikeouts than ever but he could provide the Rangers with stability knowing he has long ball potential but he can get on base with consistency. The Rangers have used Joey Gallo primarily in the outfield this season with Asdrubal Cabrera getting a bulk of 3rd base work this season. With the retirement of Adrian Beltre and moving Gallo to the outfield, Jung could show the stability at the plate to be the long-term answer for the Rangers at third.
Los Angeles Angels #15 Overall: Will Wilson, Shortstop, North Carolina State
The Wolf Pack junior enjoyed a stat line of 74 hits, 16 home runs, 57 RBIs, 44 bases on balls on .335 at the plate for NC State. Wilson will be a sneaky good developmental project for the Angels to groom in the next few years in the minors but shows the defensive upside and batting consistency to be a future big leaguer. The Halos won’t have to rush Wilson to the big leagues with David Fletcher on the MLB roster and only 25 years old, so they can get him used to hitting with wooden bats and hopefully add some more power to his hit. His improvement each season in college at the plate should make big league potential something to keep an eye out for. If he can hone his fielding abilities in the minors and hold are fielding percentage around .975, the future will be bright for the young man for many years to come.
Seattle Mariners #20 Overall: George Kirby, Left-Handed Pitcher, Elon University
The Phoenix junior looks like he was created in MLB The Show this last season pitching 88.1 innings, striking out 107 batters and only walking an astonishing 6 batters with an ERA of 2.75. Kirby’s overall game looks to be middle of a rotation guy, and with a team doing just about everything they can do get younger. He has a very strong fastball, indicative of his 107 strikeouts, and good command with only giving up the 6 walks but the big concern is can he develop a secondary and tertiary pitch as he faces a higher level of competition in the minor leagues. If his development goes the way the Mariners hope for, he could potentially be the anchor of the pitching staff but a mid-rotation is nothing to complain about with a fastball like his.
Oakland Athletics #29 Overall: Logan Davidson, Shortstop, Clemson
The Tigers junior had a stat line of 69 hits, 15 home runs, 55 RBIs, and 45 bases on balls on a .291 average this last season. Davidson has good pull power and good long ball potential but timing issues have led to the below .300 batting average and 61 strikeouts. There are concerns over his ability with wooden bats, citing a poor Cape Cod outing and never hitting above .300 at Clemson. He has time to develop his raw abilities into more refined production once he gets with his minor league squad. His strength will be beneficial at shortstop or possibly second base. The A’s have time with Jurickson Profar and Marcus Semien to work on Davidson’s development and hopefully, he turns out to be a solid big leaguer.
Houston Astros #32 Overall: Korey Lee, Catcher, California
The Golden Bear junior held a stat line of 67 hits, 15 home runs, 57 RBIs, and 26 bases on balls on .338 hitting this last season. Lee isn’t considered a premier prospect and might have been a reach on most teams boards. Not considered an elite hitter nor the most elite defensive catcher, he does have hitting and throwing ability that can be groomed over time that could land him in the upper echelon over time. Getting a chance to work with top tier pitchers in time like Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole will help him grow as a catcher and help grow with younger pitchers like Lance McCullers Jr and Corbin Martin. The Astros are definitely taking a flier on Korey Lee but the way it could be seen, he could have a solid career like former 1st round Jason Castro has enjoyed or he could possibly see the Hall of Fame at the end of his career like Craig Biggio.