2019 MLB Draft Preview: Blake Walston scouting report
The 2019 MLB Draft is less than two weeks away — the first round kicks off on June 3, 2019 — so its time to start offering capsule looks at players the Texas Rangers could select with their top picks. The Rangers’ first round pick is at #8, their second round pick is at #50, and they have Milwaukee’s competitive balance pick, acquired in the Alex Claudio trade, which is #41.
Leading up to draft day, we will be doing writeups of some of the players who could end up getting selected by the Rangers with one of their first three picks. Today, we are looking at North Carolina high school pitcher Blake Walston.
Blake Walston is a 6’4”, 170-175 lb. lefthanded pitcher from New Hanover High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. Walston is a two-sport guy — he’s also a quarterback, and has had limited exposure on the showcase circuit because of the time he spent playing football. Walston is committed to North Carolina State, and the consensus appears to be that he’s going to be difficult to sign. Walston is a “pop up” guy who generally throws in the low-90s, and gets praise for his secondaries, particularly his spin on his curve ball. He doesn’t turn 18 until late June, so he’s also younger than most high school draftees.
Baseball America has Walston ranked at #41 on their board, as huge jump from where they had him at #124 previously, and praises his clean arm action and delivery. MLB Pipeline has him at #51 on their list, while Fangraphs has him ranked #39. Keith Law has him at #45 on his board, calling him a “pop up arm” that will be a tough sign.
This is the type of guy who, if the Rangers go below slot at #8, you could see them going after at #41 or #50 on an above-slot deal. Walston has good height for a pitcher, is seen as likely to add weight as he develops (which usually means more velocity), is a two-sport guy, which the Rangers always like, and has a good delivery. He’s the type of projectable pitcher that the Rangers tend to go for, and who could be available due to bonus demands.