Eight players were taken from North Carolina in the opening night of the 2019 MLB Draft
The first night of the MLB Draft saw several North Carolina college and high school prospects selected in the first two rounds of the draft.
A total of six college players were taken on day one and NC State, UNC and Duke all potentially lost the top rated recruit in their current class.
Here’s a breakdown of all the players taken on day one, including analysis and highlights of each prospect.
NC State SS Will Wilson – 15th Overall – Los Angeles Angels
HT: 6’0” WT: 184
Wilson was the first player from North Carolina colleges taken last night, checking in at No. 15, ahead of where most mock drafts projected him falling (early 20s). Wilson has a plus hit tool, clubbing 16 home runs and sitting over .340 before a rough postseason dragged his average down.
Wilson was a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and won ACC Defensive Player of the Year. If there is a knock on Wilson, it’s that he has below average speed, as he stole only one base in 2019.
Wilson becomes the second NC State shortstop drafted in the first round of the draft this decade, joining Nationals shortstop Trea Turner, who was selected 13th overall by the San Diego Padres in 2014.
Wilson joins an Angels organization with four shortstop prospects in its top 30 prospects list, including Kevin Maitan, who was the No. 1 overall international prospect in 2016 and Jeremiah Jackson, a second round pick out the Alabama high school ranks last year.
Wilson should be a fast riser in the Angels system and could see the major leagues before almost everyone on the Angels prospect list.
Elon RHP George Kirby – 20th Overall – Seattle Mariners
HT: 6’4” WT: 201
Kirby becomes the second Elon player in the Mariners organization, joining Nick Zammarelli in the farm system. Kirby has a plus fastball, jumping into the mid-90s and a plus curveball along with a slider and changeup. Kirby was mentioned as many to be potentially the best pitcher in the draft and his stats and pedigree make a strong case for it.
UNC-Wilmington SS Greg Jones – 22nd Overall – Tampa Bay Rays
HT: 6’2” WT: 190
Probably the most electric and athletic player in the draft, Jones can fly on the base paths. Jones stole 42 bases and tripled nine times, all while hitting .341 and blasting five home runs. He can struggle with contact, but the Rays have to love the massive upside that he presents.
A draft eligible sophomore because he’s 21years old, he enters a Rays farm system stacked with shortstop prospects. Tampa Bay has six shortstop prospects in its top 30, including No. 1 overall prospect Wander Franco, who has hit .325 with six home runs for Single-A Bowling Green.
North Carolina 1B Michael Busch – 31st Overall – Los Angeles Dodgers
HT: 6’0” WT: 207
Busch lands in an excellent situation, joining a team known for consistently developing high-end talent. The Dodgers organization is super light on high-upside outfielders in its farm system, as trades have taken a lot of good prospects out of the pool.
Busch will continue playing for the Tar Heels in the Chapel-Hill regional and could delay joining the Dodgers until mid-to-late June based on the performance of UNC.
Campbell RHP Seth Johnson – 40th Overall – Tampa Bay Rays
HT: 6’1” WT: 200
Johnson was all over the place in mock drafts, although the majority had him going in the late first round. He ultimately slid to the Rays at No. 40, who took two NC college prospects in the draft.
From our write-up on Johnson in the MLB Draft preview article:
"Another tall right-hander, Johnson uses his fastball to overpower hitters and a knee-buckling curve to complement it. He is a junior college transfer whose stock rose considerably this season after a stellar campaign with the Fighting Camels. It’s still a risk to see how his command and experience can hold up in the big leagues, as this is his first full season of college ball pitching and he’s walked 30 batters."
UNC RHP – Tyler Baum – 66th Overall – Oakland Athletics
HT: 6’2” WT: 180
The second Tar Heel taken in the 2019 MLB Draft, Baum is a power right-hander who functioned as the ace of the Tar Heels staff. Here is MLB Pipeline’s scouting report on Baum
"Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45He could have gone in the top three rounds in 2016 had he been signable as a Florida high schooler, but Baum withdrew his name from the Draft because he wanted to attend North Carolina. He has performed capably for three years with the Tar Heels, though he never has dominated as much as hoped. He ascended to the front of UNC’s rotation this year but got knocked around in Atlantic Coast Conference play.Baum can display four pitches that earn solid or better grades at their best. As a starter, he works at 90-92 mph and reaches 94 with his fastball, creating some armside run with some crossfire in his delivery. He uses his high-three-quarters arm slot to stay on top of an upper-70s curveball that is often his best pitch, and he also can manipulate it into a harder, more lateral-breaking slider in the low 80s.Baum also has at least an average changeup with some fade and is doing a much better job of throwing strikes in 2019, enhancing his chances of remaining a starter in pro ball. He has a high floor as a potential No. 4 starter with a fallback of becoming at least a seventh-inning reliever. He has reached 97 mph with his fastball coming out of the bullpen and could have a more consistent plus curveball in shorter stints."
Prep Arms –
Blake Walston – LHP, New Hanover HS (NC) – Committed to NC State
Brennan Malone – RHP, IMG Academy – Committed to UNC
Sam Siani – OF, Penn Charter – Committed to Duke
Walston, the 26th overall selection and Malone, the 33rd overall pick both by the Arizona Diamondbacks, will now have to weigh whether to take the money and sign pro contracts or stick with their college commitments to local schools.
Often times, major league teams will gauge the signability of a prospect in the scouting process and only draft a player they are confident will sign. It’s why you’ll see several highly ranked high school prospects fall, because they are steadfast in their college commitment.
Money talks however, and a large enough signing bonus could entice either of them to leave, especially Malone, who was on set at the MLB Draft last night.
Walston went 11-0 at New Hanover High School (NC) with a 0.23 ERA and struck out 120 batters in 61.2 innings. Malone has touched up to 97 and is a massive upside high school arm.
It will be interesting to watch whether each of these prospects signs.
Siani hit .457 as a high school senior and was ranked as the No. 2 outfielder in the state of Pennsylvania. He was drafted by in-state Pittsburgh and will also face the decision of whether to join the Blue Devils or go pro.
Still left on the big board are:
Duke LHP Graeme Stinson (No. 70 overall prospect by MLB.com)
ECU 1B Bryant Packard (106)
Elon P Kyle Brnovick (185)
Elon P Ty Adcock (186)