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Baseball America projects Tigers will select SS C.J. Abrams in early mock draft

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Expect this pick to change several times before draft day in June.

Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

We didn’t highlight every single mock draft that came out leading up to the 2018 MLB draft — it would have gotten very repetitive, as eventual No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize separated himself from the pack early — but trust us when we say that there are a lot of them.

How we cover said mock drafts leading up to the 2019 draft remains to be seen, but Baseball America released an early version of theirs, so we’re going to talk about it!

In this very early version of a mock draft, Baseball America projects that the Detroit Tigers will draft C.J. Abrams, a high school shortstop out of Georgia, with the No. 5 pick in 2019.

A superb athlete with speed to burn, Abrams is the No. 2 prep prospect on Baseball America’s board early on in the draft cycle. MLB Pipeline has him graded as the No. 5 overall prospect in the 2019 class. Both outlets praised his incredible speed and athleticism, which are among the very best in the entire class. MLB Pipeline put a 75 grade on Abrams’ speed, or just below “elite.” Perfect Game clocked him at 6.29 seconds in the 60-yard dash, which ranked in the 99th percentile in the 2019 class.

While Abrams has superior athleticism, outlets are mixed on whether he will be able to stick at shortstop long term. Baseball America is confident, saying Abrams “has a quick exchange, advanced body control and above-average range.” Pipeline questions his defensive actions, however, saying he might eventually shift to second base or center field long term. Perfect Game hedged between the two outcomes, saying Abrams “has the tools for shortstop but actions might fit very well at second base.”

Offensively, Abrams profiles as more of a leadoff hitter. He has a smooth swing from the left side, one that leads to some loud contact but not much power. MLB Pipeline likes what Abrams does with the bat, comparing him favorably to current MLB speed demon Dee Gordon.

He has a quick left-handed stroke and controls the bat very well, making consistent contact and using the entire field. While he won’t be a slugger, he has the bat speed and deceptive strength to hit 10-15 homers on an annual basis.

Pipeline added that Abrams has “significantly more pop” than Gordon — though that’s not saying much, given Gordon has just 15 home runs in eight career MLB seasons.

At the top of their mock draft, Baseball America projects that the Baltimore Orioles will take Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. They note that Rutschman is the near consensus top pick among most sources, and compared his lead over the competition to Casey Mize’s in 2018. Rutschman is the top college prospect on their board, and the No. 1 overall prospect on MLB Pipeline’s list.

Behind Rutschman is shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., another player many are hoping will fall a few spots in June. Witt, a prep shortstop from Texas, is the top high schooler in the country and MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 prospect in the class.

(h/t 2080 Baseball for the video)