Top North Carolina 2019 MLB Draft Prospects
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State List Talent Ranking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(Stars are listed on a 1 to 5 scale relative to what the state typically produces, with 1 being the weakest)
1. George Kirby, RHP, Elon (BA RANK: 20)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Mets '16 (32)
One of the best strike-throwers in the country, Kirby formed an impressive one-two combination with righthander Kyle Brnovich at Elon this spring. Kirby is the higher-rated draft prospect, however, due to his slew of starter’s traits and solid four-pitch mix. While there are pitchers with louder pure stuff than the 6-foot-4, 201-pound righthander, Kirby is among the most likely 2019 draft prospects to make a major league impact because of his clean arm action and plus command. Through 11 starts and 71.2 innings this spring, Kirby had struck out 84 hitters and walked just five, which ranked as the best strikeout-to-walk ratio (16.8) in the country. While some scouts will critique the level of competition that Kirby faced in the Colonial Athletic Association and don’t expect him to miss many bats against better competition, it’s impossible to ignore his strike-throwing ability. There’s also his impressive 2018 in the Cape Cod League, where Kirby worked as a reliever and posted a 1.38 ERA over 13 innings, striking out 24 and walking only one. Kirby’s fastball has reached as high as 97 mph in the past, but this spring he’s worked mostly in the low 90s while touching 94-95 mph consistently. His fastball grades out as a plus offering because of his ability to spot it to both sides of the plate and elevate it when necessary. Kirby throws a curveball and a slider, and both pitches will flash plus at times, but they lack consistency right now and might be average pitches, at best, in a starting role. Kirby’s top offspeed pitch could be his mid-80s changeup, which he throws with conviction and consistently lands in the bottom of the strike zone. Kirby looks the part of a solid, middle- to back-of-the-rotation starter, and he should be selected in the middle of the first round this June.
2. Will Wilson, SS, North Carolina State (BA RANK: 22)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 184 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A third-team Preseason All-American behind fellow shortstops Logan Davidson (first team) and Bryson Stott (second team), Wilson has been one of the most consistent hitters in the ACC the last three seasons. After hitting .300/.377/.504 as a freshman, Wilson has steadily increased his production each season. Through 39 games as a junior, he posted a .333/.412/.667 slash line with a team-high 13 home runs and a career-best 11.8 percent walk rate. The calling card with Wilson is his hitting ability. He has produced everywhere he’s played and projects as a 60 hitter with plus raw power despite a smaller, 6-foot, 184-pound frame. Those offensive tools would suggest a superstar as an ACC shortstop, but Wilson’s supplemental tools are lacking. While he’s handled shortstop for the Wolfpack, most scouts believe his below-average running ability and lack of a quick first step will eventually push him to second base, where he should be a solid defender. His arm likely fits better at the keystone as well, and last summer with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, Wilson played second base while Stott handled the shortstop duties. There are some questions regarding how easily Wilson will be able to tap into his power with a wood bat, as he has a limited track record in that regard and didn’t make much impact in his 24 at-bats with Team USA over the summer. There’s also some swing-and-miss in Wilson’s game, but it’s hard to find a scout who doesn’t believe in his bat and most scouts laud Wilson’s makeup and baseball IQ.
3. Michael Busch, OF/1B, North Carolina (BA RANK: 24)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 207 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
The key cog in the middle of North Carolina’s lineup the last two seasons, Busch has an excellent feel for the barrel and a strong understanding of the strike zone. He walked in 16 percent of his plate appearances as a freshman and recorded a 17 percent walk rate as a sophomore, when he hit .317/.465/.521 with 13 home runs and 55 walks, the latter of which ranked 10th in the nation. While Busch has a solid feel for the strike zone, he also has 60-grade raw power and a strong track record of hitting. He’s produced in both the ACC and with a wood bat in the Cape Cod League, where he hit .322/.450/.567 with six home runs in 27 games last summer. While Busch is a plus defender at first base, he has played mostly left field during his junior season. He’s been perfectly acceptable in the outfield, but he remains a below-average runner with a long exchange on his throws, so he will likely never be a defensive asset in the outfield. Still, he showed he could make all the routine plays and not embarrass himself, or his team, in a corner outfield spot, if needed. Some scouts have wondered what Busch would look like as a second baseman, but his most natural defensive position is first base. While he’s undersized for the position at 6 feet and 207 pounds, he has shown enough promise with the bat to fit the profile. Busch should go off the board in the second half of the first round.
4. Seth Johnson, RHP, Campbell (BA RANK: 28)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 200 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
Johnson played two seasons as a shortstop with Louisburg (N.C.) JC, where he struggled with the bat, hitting just .240/.341/.560 in 56 games. He was athletic and had a strong arm, though, so he jumped on the mound in an attempt to give pitching a chance and was immediately throwing in the low 90s. Campbell decided to bet on Johnson’s arm strength, and during the fall scouts raved about how quickly the righthander had taken to pitching, showcasing a premium arm action and easy delivery. His velocity started climbing throughout the fall, and both of his breaking pitches developed as well. As a further testament to his unusual aptitude, Johnson developed a reliable changeup seemingly overnight. This spring, the results have been mixed for Johnson, but he’s still shown all of the impact stuff that he flashed during the fall. He has plus fastball velocity with natural running life, but that occasionally hurts him, as he doesn’t have the command necessary to avoid the pitch from running back over the heart of the plate. His hard, 83-85 mph slider, which is ahead of his curveball at the moment, comes from a release point that mirrors his fastball and projects as an above-average offering with tight, late-breaking action. His 71-74 mph curveball has solid shape and depth, but it lacks the finish and bite needed to be a legitimate out-pitch at the moment. Johnson’s changeup clocks in the mid- to upper 80s and has slight fading action with good feel. He gets off the mound and fields his position well, which is what you would expect from a former junior college shortstop. He has a long way to go in terms of accumulating innings and figuring out the finer details of pitching, such as pitching with efficiency from the stretch, fastball command and the consistency of his breaking balls, but given where he currently sits with so little pitching background, his upside is high. It would take guts to take a 6-foot-1, 200-pound righthander with Johnson’s limited track record in the first round, but that’s where his pure talent fits, particularly in a down year for college arms.
5. Blake Walston, LHP, New Hanover HS, Wilmington, N.C. (BA RANK: 40)
Source: HS • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 172 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: North Carolina State
One of the most exciting, projectable arms in the 2019 class, teams were aware of Walston last summer but weren’t able to see him much on the showcase circuit due to his commitments as a talented high school quarterback. Listed at 6-foot-4, 172-pounds, Walston is a thin lefthander with an immensely projectable frame that could easily add 30-40 more pounds in the future. He has a clean arm action and delivery, and scouts note that his plus athleticism translates well to the mound, allowing him to be one of the best natural strike-throwers in the high school class. At the moment, Walston throws his fastball in the 86-91 mph range, topping out in the low 90s, but scouts are convinced that he’ll start to throw harder once he gains more physicality. He also has terrific feel to spin a breaking ball that projects as a plus pitch in the future, and he has shown a solid changeup as well. In a down year for high school lefthanders, Walston could see himself selected as soon as Day 1, although he is expected to be a tough sign out of his North Carolina State commitment. While there’s nothing plus with Walston right now, every element of his operation screams upside and plenty of high-level decision makers have laid eyes on him this spring.
6. Greg Jones, SS, UNC-Wilmington (BA RANK: 51)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 190 • B-T: B-R • Commitment/Drafted: Orioles '17 (17)
A late-rising high school prospect in the 2017 draft class, Jones ranked No. 75 on the 2017 BA 500 thanks to his elite speed, plus throwing arm and potential as a switch-hitter. Ultimately, Jones made it to campus at UNC Wilmington due to his lack of track record and the fact that he was older for the class. Now a draft-eligible sophomore, Jones has the same collection of tantalizing tools but is putting together a strong spring with the bat after a mediocre freshman season (.278/.412/.370). Scouts questioned Jones’ hit tool prior to this spring, especially after he struggled in the Cape Cod League last summer with a strikeout rate close to 30 percent. This spring, however, Jones has cut his whiff rate down to 13 percent through 47 games, striking out 29 times compared to 40 walks. He’s hit for more power in games as well, although he does most of his damage via doubles and triples. His 80-grade speed has also shown up on the base paths, where he has 31 stolen bases through his first 38 attempts. Jones didn’t play shortstop at the beginning of the season while he was dealing with shoulder soreness, but even when he got back to the position scouts wondered if he had the skill to stay there at the next level. He has the plus arm strength, range and athleticism to handle shortstop, but he lacks consistency and focus, often struggling on routine plays with questionable hands. He could be a plus defender in center field with his current skill set, and many scouts will submit him to their teams as an outfielder rather than a shortstop. Jones’ upside is tremendous, and he could grow into above-average raw power as he fills out his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame with plenty of bat speed from both sides.
7. Tyler Baum, RHP, North Carolina (BA RANK: 77)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 175 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
One of three exciting North Carolina starters, Baum has stood out as the best in a rotation filled with potential draft picks. A 6-foot-2, 175-pound righthander, Baum lacks the ideal size and arm action of a durable starter at the next level, but his pure stuff has long been exciting and he’s improved his control as a junior. In 2018, Baum walked 4.43 batters per nine innings, but he’s cut his walk rate to 2.63 walks per nine through his first nine starts in 2019. Baum’s best offering is a plus fastball that’s regularly in the 91-94 mph range but can get up into the upper 90s at times. He has a 79-81 mph breaking ball that has tight, 11-to-5 shape and an 81-85 mph changeup that has some fading life with solid arm speed. Both of his secondaries could become average offerings, though some scouts believe he’s more of a two-pitch guy who would be better suited for a bullpen role.
8. Graeme Stinson, LHP, Duke (BA RANK: 84)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-5 • Wt: 260 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A physical, 6-foot-5, 260-pound lefthander, Stinson entered the 2019 season as the top-ranked pitcher in the 2019 class. His standing was in large part due to a plus fastball in the mid- to upper 90s as well a wipeout, 81-85 mph slider that was a plus-plus offering at its best. Stinson showed this premium pure stuff with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team last summer, but scouts were looking forward to seeing what he could do in a starting role over a full season this spring. During his first two seasons with the Blue Devils, 22 of Stinson’s 35 appearances came in relief. And while he did post back-to-back seasons of more than 14 strikeouts per nine innings, teams wanted to see him hold his stuff in a full-time starting role while also improving his strike-throwing ability. Instead, things went about as poorly as they could have gone for Stinson. He pitched infrequently in the preseason and looked like he was still getting stretched out during the first month of the season. The results of his first three games were fine from a statistical perspective, but his stuff was no where close to what he had shown previously. His fastball was routinely in the upper 80s and even ticked down into the 84-86 mph range later in his already brief starts, and his slider lacked the power it had previously shown. In all, Stinson made five starts in February and March—posting a 4.58 ERA in 19.2 innings with 26 strikeouts and nine walks—but he hasn’t pitched since his last outing on March 15. Because of that, teams are struggling to figure out what to do with him on draft boards. At his best, Stinson drew comparisons to White Sox lefthander Carlos Rodon—in regards to both his physicality and pure stuff—and the former N.C. State lefthander was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft. But even when Stinson was throwing well, scouts had reservations about how he would manage his body moving forward, his overall athleticism and the lack of a legitimate third pitch. As it stands, there’s plenty of risk in taking Stinson in the first or even second round because of his shortened season and medical concerns. But at some point, a team might want to gamble on the upside and hope he returns to form.
9. Kyle Brnovich, RHP, Elon (BA RANK: 107)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 179 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
Brnovich has had a lot of success at Elon thanks to a swing-and-miss slider that helped him rack up 347 strikeouts over his first 268 innings (11.65 strikeouts per nine innings), including 73 innings this spring. His delivery is a bit unusual, relying on late hip rotation to get his arm through on time, but he has a good track record of throwing strikes and has made a below-average operation largely effective. He shows good arm speed and the ability to spin the ball with consistency, to the point where some scouts grade his slider out as a plus-plus pitch. Brnovich pitches in the 88-92 mph range with his fastball—a fringe-average offering at best—so he predominantly pitches off of his slider, mixing in a changeup on occasion. He is a good athlete, but his delivery and fastball velocity leave questions as to whether he should be used in the bullpen moving forward. There’s no reason to not run Brnovich out as a starter until he proves otherwise, however, especially with his strong track record and potentially devastating breaking ball.
10. Bryant Packard, OF, East Carolina (BA RANK: 118)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 200 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
An impressive pure hitter with plus raw power, Packard had an exceptional sophomore season in 2018, when he hit .406/.462/.671 with 14 home runs. He led all American Athletic Conference hitters in each of the three triple-slash categories, set an ECU record with a 32-game hitting streak and was selected as a first-team All-American. His track record of hitting is extensive, and he also performed well over the summer in the Cape Cod League, where he hit .305/.421/.576 with four home runs and a 15.8 percent walk rate in 18 games. This spring hasn’t been as strong for Packard, although he still posted an impressive .361/.447/.568 line with 25 walks and 32 strikeouts through his first 48 games. He’s shown less power as a junior, but that could stem from an early season wrist injury that forced him to miss a few games. All of Packard’s value comes from the bat, as his supplemental tools leave much to be desired. He’s strictly a corner outfielder or a first baseman, and scouts are underwhelmed with his outfield defense as a well below-average runner with a 40-grade arm. Still, he has a terrific, loose swing with a great understanding of how to hit, and his wood bat track record against top-level competition should ease concerns over his profile.
11. Austin Bergner, RHP, North Carolina (BA RANK: 120)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 195 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: D-backs '18 (32)
Bergner has been a famous prospect dating back to his high school days, when he showcased a fastball in the mid-90s, promising secondary pitches and won a pair of gold medals with USA Baseball. He made it to campus at North Carolina and was eventually selected by the D-backs in the 32nd round of the 2018 draft as a draft-eligible sophomore, but he ultimately decided to return for his junior season. Bergner has a solid arsenal of pitches and has flashed three plus offerings with his fastball, curveball and changeup. However, he’s never shown that stuff consistently and has underperformed at UNC, getting hit more often than his talent would suggest. There is also some reliever risk with Bergner, who throws with an unconventional arm action and has struggled with command—although that particular aspect of his game has improved each year in Chapel Hill. This spring, scouts have seen Bergner’s low- to mid-90s fastball and low-80s changeup as his best pitches and are starting to question his feel for spin, which adds to his list of concerns. Bergner still has plenty of talent and a 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame that scouts can dream on, but he has yet to put everything together and become the pitcher that he showed signs of out of high school.
12. Spencer Brickhouse, 1B, East Carolina (BA RANK: 132)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 235 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A physical, 6-foot-4, 235-pound first baseman, Brickhouse brings plenty of power to the table and has hit double-digit home runs for the Pirates in each of his first three seasons. Power is Brickhouse’s calling card, with some scouts putting 70-grade raw power on the lefthanded slugger, and this spring has been his most accomplished season with the bat. He hit .333/.473/.648 through his first 46 games with an 18 percent walk rate—easily the best of his career. While he’s hit well this spring, many scouts are concerned about the overall quality of his hit tool. His track record in the Cape Cod League is underwhelming—a .255/.328/.373 slash line over two summers with a 23 percent strikeout rate and 8.6 percent walk rate—and his freshman and sophomore seasons were less impressive from a production standpoint and plate discipline perspective. It’s a power-over-hit profile and Brickhouse will be limited to first base the next level, although he should be an average defender. Where a team values him in the draft will depend almost entirely on his future hit grade. If a team believes he’s close to an average hitter, then he could come off the board early on Day 2.
13. Jake Agnos, LHP, East Carolina (BA RANK: 143)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 5-11 • Wt: 207 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A 5-foot-11, 207-pound lefthander, Agnos ranked as the No. 25 prospect on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team last summer and seemed like a solid relief pitching prospect thanks to his size, two-pitch mix and history of struggling with strike-throwing. However, he’s impressed this spring and put together a career year with the Pirates, posting a 2.19 ERA over his first 13 starts of the season. He cut his walk rate in a big way, going from 5.37 walks per nine as a sophomore in 2018 (when he was used as both a reliever and starter) to 3.58 walks per nine through his first 78 innings of 2019. That strike-throwing improvement has increased Agnos’ draft stock and given him more of a chance to start at the next level, as has the continued progression of his changeup. Over the summer, Agnos mostly threw a 90-94 mph fastball and a 55-grade curveball in the upper 70s. He showed some feel for a slider that could also become a solid-average offering, but he mostly worked off his fastball and curveball. This spring, he’s used his changeup more frequently and has been able to draw swings and misses with each of his offerings, which has helped answer two of the biggest questions surrounding him entering the season. His size limits his upside and there’s not much left to project with Agnos, but he has at least three solid-average offerings, good athleticism and has performed well enough this spring to get drafted early on Day 2.
14. Ty Adcock, RHP/C, Elon (BA RANK: 153)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 213 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
Adcock has serious athleticism and is a successful two-way player for Elon. The converted catcher has been up to 98 mph on the mound, showing the ability to spin a future average slider. While 2018 was a down season for him offensively, Adcock hit nine home runs and held a steady nine percent walk rate through his first 40 games this spring . He has a quiet set up at the plate with good bat speed and shows a feel to hit. His pure athleticism and plus arm strength could allow him to play multiple positions if a team prefers him as a hitter, but with a below-average hitting ability, most prefer him as a reliever, where his plus-plus fastball and slider give him late-inning upside. As a converted pitcher, Adcock could still make major improvements once he focuses his work exclusively on the mound.
15. Morgan McSweeney, RHP, Wake Forest (BA RANK: 197)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 210 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A 6-foot-4, 210-pound righthander, McSweeney has tantalizing raw stuff and athleticism that give him some upside, but he’s struggled to throw strikes consistently while at Wake Forest. That has made some teams hesitant, believing he’ll have to be a reliever at the next level. McSweeney has an above-average fastball that touches 95 mph regularly and flashes two plus secondaries in a cutter and a curveball. McSweeney began his career at Wake Forest in the bullpen as a freshman, when he posted a 3.50 ERA over 25 games with 48 strikeouts (12 per nine) and 18 walks (4.5 per nine). After that, McSweeney moved to the starting rotation for his 2018 and 2019 seasons, where his stuff didn’t play to the same level, striking out just over eight batters per nine in 2018 and a tick over seven per nine through 50.2 innings this spring. What seems to hold McSweeney back the most is his strike-throwing ability, as he’s never walked fewer than 4.5 batters per nine and has walked a career-high 6.4 batters this spring. McSweeney’s delivery is above-average, which is typically good news, except that it means there is less of an obvious tweak to make in order to help improve his control.
16. Joey Lancellotti, RHP, North Carolina (BA RANK: 217)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 5-11 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
Now a draft-eligible sophomore, Lancellotti ranked No. 190 on the 2017 BA 500 thanks to a three-pitch mix that included a fastball in the mid-90s. Lancellotti made it to campus at North Carolina and was an immediate contributor to the Tar Heels’ pitching staff, logging 38.2 innings and posting a 3.96 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 18 walks as a freshman in 2018. Over the summer, Lancellotti tossed 13.1 innings in the Cape Cod League—two starts and two relief appearances—and recorded a 17-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While Lancellotti doesn’t have an ideal pitcher’s frame at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, he has a solid fastball/breaking ball combination that should serve him well as a reliever at the next level. His fastball touches 95 mph regularly and is a plus offering, ticking up to 97 mph at times. He pairs it was a hard, late-biting slider that is also a plus offering. Lancellotti has a strict reliever-only profile because of his lack of size and the effort in his delivery—he has a fairly significant head whack—but the stuff is good enough for him to be picked in the top 10 rounds.
17. Colin Peluse, RHP, Wake Forest (BA RANK: 236)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 230 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
Peluse got whacked around in the ACC, pitching to a 5.52 ERA over his first 14 starts this spring after posting solid numbers during his freshman and sophomore seasons. The righthander’s stuff doesn't pop out, but he shows average pitch grades across with board with good command. Peluse has a feel for an above-average changeup and is improving his breaking ball as well. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound righty has a good arm action and delivery, throwing from a three-quarter slot with a consistent arm circle that allows him to throw plenty of strikes—He’s walked 3.18 batters per nine over three seasons.
18. D.J. Herz, LHP, Terry Sanford HS, Fayetteville, N.C. (BA RANK: 243)
Source: HS • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 175 • B-T: R-L • Commitment/Drafted: North Carolina
An athletic, multi-sport athlete committed to North Carolina, Herz played basketball and was a quarterback on his football team, but has upside as a lefthanded pitcher on the diamond. A hard-throwing lefthander, Herz has been up into the mid-90s this spring, but normally settles into the 88-91 mph range, with a below-average arm action and delivery. Last summer at East Coast Pro, Herz threw out of a funky, crossfire delivery and opened up at 87-90 mph, but ticked the velocity up as his outing progressed. Scouts seem split on the quality of his breaking ball, as some have seen a sharp slider that projects as a solid-average offering, while others have serious questions about his feel to spin. Either way, the pitch lacks consistency at the moment, and Herz will also need to improve his strike throwing.
19. Trey Benton, RHP, East Carolina (BA RANK: 257)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 209 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A 6-foot-4, 209-pound righthander, Benton began his career as a starter for the Pirates, but as a sophomore and junior he has split time between starting and relieving. After posting a 3.13 ERA with 68 strikeouts and 13 walks in 69 innings in 2018, Benton was off to another solid campaign this spring. He’d recorded a 4.01 ERA and a career-best strikeout rate of more than 10 batters per nine innings through 24.2 innings before a season-ending arm surgery ended his junior year in late May. When healthy, Benton has a three-pitch mix, headlined by a fastball in the 89-94 mph range that’s been up to 95 mph. His slider has improved since last summer in the Cape Cod League, where he posted a 2.01 ERA over 22.1 innings, and he also throws a solid changeup.
20. Adam Laskey, LHP, Duke (BA RANK: 280)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-L • Commitment/Drafted: Giants '16 (31)
Laskey hasn’t pitched much this season, making it difficult for scouts to assess him for the draft. A 6-foot-3, 205-pound lefthander, Laskey was a full-time starter in each of his first two seasons with the Blue Devils, though he posted 5+ ERAs in both seasons. He broke out over the summer in the Cape Cod League, where he went 5-0 and posted a 1.19 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 11 walks in 30.1 innings. With that performance for Falmouth, Laskey was named the league’s pitcher of the year. None of Laskey’s pitches are plus when healthy, but he has a solid three-pitch mix of average to above-average offerings including a fastball that gets into the low 90s and a solid breaking ball and changeup. He has feel for both of his secondaries, but with a spotty track record in the ACC and just 12 innings under his belt this spring, will be a difficult draft decision for teams.
21. Matthew Barefoot, OF, Campbell (BA RANK: 290)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 205 • B-T: R-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A 6-foot, 205-pound outfielder, Barefoot has been a tricky player for scouts to evaluate, as he’s a bat-first prospect with lacking supplemental tools who has always produced. He does it with an extremely unconventional swing. Barefoot starts with a high handset behind his head and has a slight leg kick and toe tap in his load, crouching down slightly into his swing, which can flatten out at times. Despite the awkward mechanics, it’s hard to argue with the results, as Barefoot has hit over .300 every year with Campbell after redshirting his freshman season. He has average power in the tank as well. Barefoot may have eased some concerns by going to the Cape Cod League last summer and winning the batting title with a .379/.474/.521 line that included a 22-game hitting streak. Defensively, Barefoot will be limited to a corner as a below-average runner with a fringe-average arm, but his plus hit tool might be enough for a team to disregard his defensive limitations.
22. Evan Edwards, 1B, North Carolina State (BA RANK: 297)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 200 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A priority senior sign, Edwards is a 6-foot, 200-pound first baseman with power. Before he came to N.C. State, Edwards hit 17 home runs with South Carolina-Lancaster and in his two years in the ACC that power has translated. He hit 15 homers during his debut season with the Wolfpack in 2018 and through 56 games this spring, Edwards is hitting .335/.455/.609 with 12 homers, Edwards bats from an open stance and manages to stay balanced with a strong swing. Even though he is physically maxed out, Edwards moves well around the bag at first base and is a sound defensive presence on the infield. His polish, strength and track record make him an attractive senior sign after going undrafted in 2018.
23. Gianluca Dalatri, RHP, North Carolina (BA RANK: 340)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-6 • Wt: 250 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
A physical, 6-foot-6, 250-pound righthander, Dalatri has more starter traits than either of the two draft-eligible UNC starters (Tyler Baum and Austin Bergner) with whom he shares the rotation. However, although Dalatri has excellent command and a great feel for pitching, his stuff is vanilla across the board with no above-average offering. Dalatri has thrown a 92-93 mph fastball in the past, but he mostly pitched this spring in the upper 80s. Despite that, Dalatri posted excellent numbers in six starts this spring before a hip injury ended his season. Over a three-year career, Dalatri has walked fewer than two batters per nine innings, but scouts have struggled with where to slot him this spring thanks to his decreased stuff. In addition to his hip injury this spring, Dalatri missed three months with an arm injury in 2018. If he gets healthy, perhaps his stuff will tick up enough to be a back-end starter. If not, it’s hard to envision a major league future for Dalatri without 80-grade command.
24. Chris Villaman, LHP, Ledford Senior HS, Thomasville, N.C. (BA RANK: 408)
Source: HS • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 185 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: North Carolina State
A 6-foot-2, 185-pound lefthander, Villaman pitched at a number of high-profile showcase events last summer, including the 2018 Under Armour All-America game, where he showed a fastball in the 89-93 mph range. That was generally the range Villaman stayed in throughout the summer, and he also featured a mid-70s curveball with 12-to-6 shape, but his arm slows on the pitch and it lacks bite, though the shape is promising for future improvement. Villaman’s stuff has been down this spring despite putting more weight on his frame, and scouts have seen his fastball dip into the low-to-mid-80s. He has good feel for pitching, but teams might be hesitant to draft him among the top 10 rounds given how his stuff has played this spring. A North Carolina State commit, Villaman could improve his stock in Raleigh if he sharpens his breaking ball and improves his fastball velocity.
25. Corey Joyce, SS, North Carolina Central (BA RANK: 431)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 190 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
Joyce has been a steady offensive presence for the Eagles since his freshman season, when he was named the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference Rookie of the Year after hitting .344/.417/.513 with five home runs. The following year, Joyce became the first North Carolina Central player to be named MEAC Player of the Year and led the team in each triple slash category with a .358/.456/.542 line. His performance alone will get him drafted, as Joyce is an above-average runner, but scouts question what the hit tool will play like against better competition and think he’ll have to move to second base at the next level.
26. Ike Freeman, SS, North Carolina (BA RANK: 470)
Source: 4YR • Ht: 5-10 • Wt: 200 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
Freeman has a solid track record of hitting at UNC and has started to show more power this spring, but he lacks impact tools across the board and moved from shortstop to third base during the middle of the season. With a 5-foot-10, 200-pound frame, Freeman is unlikely to develop more power, and while he’s walked more than he’s struck out this spring, scouts are concerned that his approach won’t be as effective at the next level because he frequently chases breaking balls and expands the strike zone. Freeman is a solid defender, though he lacks the quick-twitch mobility to stick at shortstop and likely doesn’t profile offensively at third base, leaving him as an in-between, utility profile who should go at some point on day three.
27. Kennie Taylor, OF, Duke
Source: 4YR • Ht: 5-11 • Wt: 170 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
28. Brad Debo, C, North Carolina State
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 210 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
29. Brandon Martorano, C, North Carolina
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 160 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: D-backs '16 (36)
30. Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 185 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
31. Ashton McGee, INF/OF, North Carolina
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 200 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
32. Patrick Alvarez, SS, Myers Park HS, Charlotte
Source: HS • Ht: 5-7 • Wt: 165 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: North Carolina
33. Chris Lanzilli, OF, Wake Forest
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 215 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
34. Patrick Frick, INF, Wake Forest
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 200 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
35. Raymond Torres, C, Home School
Source: HS • Ht: 5-11 • Wt: 192 • B-T: B-R • Commitment/Drafted: Louisiana State
36. Will Stewart, C, Rocky Mount (N.C.) Academy
Source: HS • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 185 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: North Carolina
37. AJ Wilson, LHP, East Surry HS, Pilot Mountain, N.C.
Source: HS • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 200 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: East Carolina
38. Dalton Feeney, RHP, North Carolina State
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 200 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Tigers '16 (40)
39. Cam Devanney, SS, Elon
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 195 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
40. Dylan Harris, OF, North Carolina
Source: 4YR • Ht: 5-9 • Wt: 190 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
41. Noah Soles, OF, Ledford Senior HS, Thomasville, N.C.
Source: HS • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 187 • B-T: L-L • Commitment/Drafted: North Carolina State
42. Isaiah Bennett, RHP, Pine Forest HS, Fayetteville, N.C.
Source: HS • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 170 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: North Carolina
43. Kyle Mott, RHP, Pitt (N.C.) JC
Source: JC • Ht: 6-5 • Wt: 175 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: North Carolina
44. Xander Hamilton, OF, Broughton HS, Raleigh, N.C.
Source: HS • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 205 • B-T: L-R • Commitment/Drafted: Virginia Tech
45. Kyle Smith, C, New Hanover HS, Wilmington, N.C.
Source: HS • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 190 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: North Carolina
46. Michael Bienlien, RHP, North Carolina State
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 222 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Reds '16 (40)
47. D.J. Poteet, OF, Wake Forest
Source: 4YR • Ht: 6-4 • Wt: 210 • B-T: B-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted
48. Jason Parker, RHP, North Carolina State
Source: 4YR • Ht: 5-11 • Wt: 197 • B-T: R-R • Commitment/Drafted: Never Drafted