When the 2019 MLB Draft begins on Monday, June 3, four players will hope to hear their names called in person at Studio 42 in New York City.
Three high school graduates and one junior college player will be in attendance on Monday and the fact they will be present makes them already part of an elite company in MLB history. If their career trajectory follows the same path as many former amateur attendees, the quartet can look forward to long and successful careers. The four players who will be in attendance at the draft are:
Brett Baty, third baseman
This 6’3″, 210-pound 19-year-old from Spicewood, Texas is looking to go from terrorizing Texas 6A pitching from the left-hand side of the plate to doing the same in the minor leagues for some organization. Through the first 29 games of his senior season at Lake Travis High School, Baty is hitting .658 (52 for 79) with 16 home runs and 44 runs batted in. Just one of two high school players to be named to the 2019 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List, winning that award would just be the latest in his line of accolades. Baty already has a Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year and Perfect Game Preseason All-American titles on his résumé. MLB.com’s latest mock has Baty going 18th overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates and CBS Sports projects he will go 22nd overall to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Daniel Espino, right-handed pitcher
A native of Panama, Espino dispatched batters without prejudice in his senior season. For Georgia Premier Academy as a senior, the 6’2″, 200-pound 18-year-old went 9-0 with a 0.32 earned run average and 109 strikeouts. In 44 innings he allowed just 10 hits and issued only nine walks. Like Baty, he was a Perfect Game Preseason All-American. CBS Sports and MLB.com both have him going 25th overall to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Brennan Malone, right-handed pitcher
Malone is a 6’3″ 203-pound native of Matthews, N.C. and played his senior season at the IMG Academy in Florida. In 51 innings pitched he went 11-0 with 69 strikeouts compared to just 23 hits allowed and 14 free passes issued. He matched Baty and Espino with his own nod to the Perfect Game Preseason All-American list. CBS Sports is higher on Malone than MLB.com, slating him in 21st to the Atlanta Braves as compared to 26th overall to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Jackson Rutledge, right-handed pitcher
Rutledge might be the most finished product of the four who are scheduled to attend and it shows in the projections for him. CBS Sports has Rutledge going 10th overall to the San Francisco Giants and MLB.com is even more bullish on him, pegging him ninth overall to Atlanta. The 20-year-old St. Louis, Mo. native is 6’8″ and 240 and made 13 starts at San Jacinto Junior College in Texas. His 9-2 record includes four complete games, a 0.87 ERA, 134 strikeouts, 42 hits allowed and 30 walks over 82.2 innings pitched.
Past amateur draft attendees include Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge so these four players should expect to hear their names called on Monday. While that could be perceived as pressure, these players will have plenty of opportunities in the minor leagues to work on getting ready for the show.