2019 MLB Draft Preview: Hunter Barco 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 Jacksonville, Florida high school pitcher Hunter Barco.
Hunter Barco is a 6’4”, 212 lb. lefthanded pitcher out of Bolles High School in Jacksonville, Florida. Barco is a two-way player, a power hitter who, if he ends up going to the University of Florida, where he is committed, would likely be in the lineup as a position player when he isn’t pitching due. Barco throws in the low-90s, though he can apparently touch the mid-90s, and has a slider that’s seen as a potential plus pitch as well as an extremely low spin rate changeup (low spin rate for a changeup is a good thing). Barco has not had consistency with his control this year, and was sidelined for part of the spring with a shoulder issue.
Baseball America ranks Barco at #33 on their board, praising him for his athleticism and his “professional makeup.” MLB Pipeline has Barco at #34 on their board, while Fangraphs has him at #42. Keith Law has Barco at #36, but says that he has had issues with the consistency of his control and his breaking ball.
In an early May mock draft, Jim Callis had Barco going to the Oakland A’s at #29, but generally speaking, Barco hasn’t been mocked to go in the first 34 picks.
Barco has been described as a tough sign, particularly after his shoulder issues knocked him down some boards, but if the Rangers go underslot at #8, he’s the type of player they could target at #41 or #50. We know they like prep pitchers, and Barco is big, athletic and has three potential quality pitches, making him someone they could look to buy out of his college commitment with their second or third selections, if they think they can improve the repeatability of his delivery and improve his control issues.