2019 MLB Draft Preview: Jerrion Ealy scouting report
The 2019 MLB Draft is just under four weeks away — the first round kicks off on June 3, 2019 — 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 Mississippi high school outfielder Jerrion Ealy.
Jerrion Ealy is a 5’10”, 192 lb. righthanded hitting and throwing outfielder out of Jackson Prep in Jackson, Mississippi. Ealy is a two-sport star, being a well-regarded running back who is currently signed to play both football and baseball at the University of Mississippi. Ealy gets praise for his top flight speed, quality hand-eye coordination and his strong arm, but has never focused solely on baseball, meaning he has fewer reps than many top draft prospects do, and he also has signability concerns due to his football commitment.
There’s a big split on Ealy in the rankings — Baseball America is currently the high service on Ealy, having him at #45, though that’s a drop from earlier this year when they had him at #32. Keith Law doesn’t have him among his top 50 prospects. Fangraphs has Ealy at #57, dinging him for a lack of projectability (due to his small size), while MLB Pipeline has him at #77 on their rankings.
Ealy is the type of elite athlete the Rangers often target, and MLB Pipeline mentions that his skill set is comparable to Kyler Murray’s — a speedster with quality bat speed who should be able to stay in center field. Murray, of course, went #9 to the A’s last summer, only to end up entering the NFL Draft and being taken #1 overall after a Heisman Trophy winning season at the University of Oklahoma in 2018.
The big question for teams weighing drafting him is whether Ealy can be bought out of his University of Mississippi commitment — he was a five star recruit who was the #3 running back in this year’s class. Interestingly, in this ESPN write-up in January of Ealy having to make a decision later this year about whether to play football or baseball, they mention Ealy as having been projected to go as high as #8 in the 2019 MLB Draft. The #8 pick, of course, is held by the Texas Rangers.
Texas could go a couple of different directions if they target Ealy. They could do like the A’s did, take him with a top 10 pick, and give him full slot to sign. Alternatively, and what seems more likely to me, they could go below-slot at #8, then look to take Ealy with their second round pick and offer him less than slot at #8, but more than he’d get as, say, a sandwich round pick.
Video of Ealy is below: