Who says the baseball offseason has to be boring? For most fantasy owners, this is when we do most of our dirty work, and it is the time of year that can set yourself ahead of the competition. This offseason at Prospects1500 we conducted a 12 team, 15 round First Year Player mock draft with the intention of providing readers a great resource as they approach their First Year Player Drafts (FYPD) in dynasty. We used the hashtag #P1500FYPD, so you can search that on Twitter and look back at all the picks and analysis we gave during the mock draft.
Looking at the 2019 draft class compared to the two previous years’, one thing is very apparent. Not only does this draft lack elite starting pitching, but it also has much less legitimate pitching depth than recent years. In general, this class is top heavy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a diamond in the rough in the late rounds.
Here I will focus primarily on the earlier rounds of the draft, great value picks, as well as intriguing late round talent. To our readers, I hope you enjoy this resource as much as I enjoyed putting it together! Now, lets get right into it. You can view the entire draft board here:
|1||1||Jacob (@jacob_swain3)||Jasson Dominguez||OF||NYY|
|2||Jake (@berrys_baseball)||Andrew Vaughn||1B||CHW|
|3||Adam (@AdamT_Prospects)||Adley Rutschman||C||BAL|
|4||Jake (@GatorSosa)||Bobby Witt Jr.||SS||KC|
|5||Stoffer (@stoffer81)||JJ Bleday||OF||MIA|
|6||Kyle (@CavghtLooking)||CJ Abrams||SS||SD|
|7||Joe (@JDrake349)||Erick Pena||OF||KC|
|8||Scott (@Scotty_Ballgame)||Riley Greene||OF||DET|
|9||Bailey (@FsuBailey12)||Greg Jones||SS||TB|
|10||Bryan (@CoachBarbaRoja)||Brett Baty||3B||NYM|
|11||Jim (@zbaseball86)||Hunter Bishop||OF||SF|
|12||Tony (@tonybps1)||Bryson Stott||SS||PHI|
If you haven’t been living under a rock this offseason, you should know by now that Jasson Dominguez might be the next big thing. As the number one international signing in 2019, Dominguez was known for having great barrel control and raw power from both sides of the plate. Mix that in with plus speed and you’re talking about a guy with a ceiling as high as any prospect out there. For this reason, he is a lock for the number one overall pick in First Year Player Drafts in my mind.
After Dominguez, we had Andrew Vaughn come off the board. With both hit and power tools grading out as plus (with room for more), Vaughn has a good chance of being a top tier 1B for many years to come. In dynasty leagues, this is very valuable due to the lack of depth at that position. To a lot of people, this is still the number one guy in the class, and if you value high floors and safety in prospects, this very well could be your number one pick. No matter the order, the first two picks in your drafts should be Jasson Dominguez and Andrew Vaughn.
While our draft board may not reflect it, there seems to be a consensus top 5 players in this draft. That group would be the aforementioned Dominguez and Vaughn, Adley Rutschman, CJ Abrams, and Bobby Witt Jr. Rutschman, who may be the best catching prospect since Buster Posey, has a very similar offensive profile to Vaughn, as both project to have plus power to go along with a high batting average. If you are not as concerned about risk and are more interested in fantasy upside, then perhaps one of these two shortstops are for you. In comparing the ceiling production of the two, I see similar value players. Abrams will likely steal more bases and hit for a higher batting average, while Witt Jr. should have considerably more power. While I usually do not like to compare players to current major leaguers, these two shortstops have great matches at the major league level. Abrams combination of a good hit tool and 80 grade speed give him a chance to be a legitimate threat in the stolen base department. Abrams also has a projectable body; thus, he should be able to grow into some power. The player he most reminds me of is Trea Turner, but perhaps with more power upside. One thing to note with Abrams is that he is more than likely going to move off shortstop. With his elite speed and instincts for the game, he’d make a great center fielder. No matter where he ends up, his offensive profile can be special. Bobby Witt Jr. on the other hand possesses great power and speed. If all things click, I think we are looking at a legitimate 30 HR/20 SB upside guy (maybe even more). Witt Jr. reminds me a lot of what Carlos Correa could have been if he stayed healthy. No matter which shortstop you prefer, you’re looking at a couple guys with sky high ceilings, especially in the fantasy world.
All of this said about the top 5 guys, I cannot fault a Marlins fan for taking JJ Bleday where he did. Despite his struggles in his professional debut, this is a guy who recently torched all of college baseball and was one of the best bats in the draft. If you are dying to have a certain player and you really believe in his potential, go get him. Even if it may be perceived as a reach!
Up next, we have a duo of outfielders that should excite fantasy owners. Erick Pena has a very exciting offensive profile including the ability to barrel the ball to all fields and have some raw power. Mix that in with a projectable body and you’ve got a high ceiling profile. The price is high on Pena, but I’m all in and am comfortable selecting him in the top 10. Riley Greene, the most polished high school bat of the draft, is also a no doubt top ten guy. If I had a gun to my head and had to predict the one guy to have the highest career batting average in the draft class, this would probably be my guy. He should also contribute in the power department too. With a solid hit tool and the likelihood of building power, Greene has to be one of the safest high school selections in recent years and should be the first high school player to make it to the show.
Late in the first round, we see some intriguing tools come off the board. At pick number nine, we see an 80-grade speed switch hitter with decent raw pop come off the board in Greg Jones. Jones benefited greatly from a dominant pro debut in which he managed to hit .335 and steal 19 bases in 48 games. If Jones can create more consistent contact and lift, he may have the most upside of any player in this class. He does still have significant swing and miss in his game though, and that makes him an extremely volatile prospect. After Jones, Brett Baty was selected. Baty, like Jones, has one tool that sticks out: his raw power. At 6’3” 210 pounds, Baty has an aggressive left-handed swing that is conducive to hard contact. Among the power hitters in this class, this may be number one. The hope with Baty is that he can develop into a solid average hitter who’s a safe bet for 30 homers annually. He should be able to get on base too. As a Mets fan, I desperately need Baty to reach his ceiling, as I think that is the only thing that could numb the pain of trading Jarred Kelenic. After the selection of Baty, Hunter Bishop was selected. Bishop’s combination of plus power and speed is what we’re after in fantasy, but like many others, he lacks the hit tool. In his debut Bishop hit only .229, however he more than made up for it with his patience at the plate. Despite his low batting average, Bishop managed to have an OPS north of .850 thanks to his very nice 27% walk rate. With a power speed combo and plate discipline, Hunter Bishop is a great get late in the first round.
To finish out the round, Bryson Stott was selected. While Stott may lack a stand out tool, he is a great player, especially in the dynasty format. As a safe bet to stay up the middle defensively, Stott has a great chance of being a productive MLB player in the near future. He will never be a 30 home run or 30 stolen base guy, but he will chip in everywhere and that’s extremely valuable.
Overall, the first round held some great talent. If you happen to be in a league in which the “Kentucky Derby” draft style is used and you can choose your draft position, pick five seems to be the sweet spot here. The top five is extremely talented, and no matter who falls to you at pick five, you should be very happy with your selection!
ROUNDS 2 & 3:
|2||13||Tony (@tonybps1)||Robert Puason||SS||OAK|
|14||Jim (@zbaseball86)||Braden Shewmake||SS||ATL|
|15||Bryan (@CoachBarbaRoja)||Nick Lodolo||LHP||CIN|
|16||Bailey (@FsuBailey12)||Yoshitomo Tsutsugo||3B||TB|
|17||Scott (@Scotty_Ballgame)||Corbin Carroll||OF||ARI|
|18||Joe (@JDrake349)||George Kirby||RHP||SEA|
|19||Kyle (@CavghtLooking)||Josh Jung||3B||TEX|
|20||Stoffer (@stoffer81)||Kody Hoese||3B||LAD|
|21||Jake (@GatorSosa)||Daniel Espino||RHP||CLE|
|22||Adam (@AdamT_Prospects)||Luis Rodriguez||OF||LAD|
|23||Jake (@berrys_baseball)||Alek Manoah||RHP||TOR|
|24||Jacob (@jacob_swain3)||Bayron Lora||OF||TEX|
|3||25||Jacob (@jacob_swain3)||Peyton Burdick||OF||MIA|
|26||Jake (@berrys_baseball)||Shea Langeliers||C||ATL|
|27||Adam (@AdamT_Prospects)||Maximo Acosta||SS||TEX|
|28||Jake (@GatorSosa)||Kameron Misner||OF||MIA|
|29||Stoffer (@stoffer81)||Matt Wallner||OF||MIN|
|30||Kyle (@CavghtLooking)||Michael Toglia||1B||COL|
|31||Joe (@JDrake349)||Jackson Rutledge||RHP||WAS|
|32||Scott (@Scotty_Ballgame)||Hudson Head||OF||SD|
|33||Bailey (@FsuBailey12)||Quinn Priester||RHP||PIT|
|34||Bryan (@CoachBarbaRoja)||Brennan Malone||RHP||ARI|
|35||Jim (@zbaseball86)||Korey Lee||C||HOU|
|36||Tony (@tonybps1)||Keoni Cavaco||SS||MIN|
To start the second round, two shortstops were selected, both of which have very different profiles. Robert Puason, the first selected of this duo is a very intriguing international prospect with a sky-high ceiling. Among fantasy owners especially, this should be a name to keep on your radar. Puason projects to be an above average offensive producer at a premium position, and that makes his price high. With Puason, there is a large range of outcomes, but the best case scenario is a good defensive shortstop with a desirable power speed combo. With Shewmake, we are much more aware of what we’re getting. Viewed by many as the top college shortstop in the class, Braden Shewmake will have a similar profile to Stott. While he will not wow with any facet of his game, he should be a solid all around contributor and reach the major leagues very quickly. In his professional debut, Shewmake worked his way into AA and finished his first season with an impressive .300 batting average. If you want to play the waiting game and don’t mind rostering high risk prospects, Puason is your guy here due to his tremendous upside. That being said, if you are a competing team in your dynasty league looking for an all around boost as early as the 2020 season, than Shewmake is a great target for you.
The second round featured the first four pitchers coming off the draft board, although the order in which they were picked may surprise you. Boosted by a tremendous professional debut, our first pitcher taken was Nick Lodolo, a big lefty with strikeout upside. While his K/9 just a tick below 15, Lodolo showcased his stuff and his number 2 starter upside. Perhaps what was most impressive about his debut though was the fact that he didn’t walk anybody. While he saw his stock rise in his debut, I will need to see him perform next season before I invest in his arm as the number one arm in the class. The next pitcher to come off the board was Seattle Mariners right hander George Kirby. Like Lodolo, Kirby showcased his command in his debut, issuing zero walks in his 9 appearances. On my draft board, Kirby was my number one guy. Kirby has the rare combination of both having a high floor and a high ceiling. It seems like there is no doubt he becomes a starting pitcher at the highest level and there is a chance he is a very good number two one day. While Kirby is my highest ranked pitching prospect from this class, the next pitcher selected is my favorite. With a fastball that reaches triple digits, flashes of two plus breakers, and a developing changeup, how could you not be enamored with Daniel Espino? What’s most impressive to me is his athleticism. The strength, flexibility, and fluidity in his windup force me to believe he will reach his ceiling. You may be thinking, why is this not your number one? Risk. While Daniel Espino’s talent leads to a fairly high floor, the fact that he is a high schooler only adds to the inherent injury risk starting pitchers have. I will not assume injury for any pitcher, but right-handed high velocity guys are as risky as they come. That being said, Espino is an investment that is worth making. The term “ace” cannot be thrown around lightly, but Espino is one of few pitchers who truly have “ace” upside. The last, but certainly not least, pitcher taken in this round was Alek Manoah. Like Espino, Manoah possesses a big fastball and good breaking stuff. With a true workhorse build, Manoah has a chance to be a prominent part of a rotation for many years. While Manoah has showcased solid control, he will need to advance his command to reach his ceiling as a starter. With a power fastball and good breaking stuff though, the worst-case scenario for Manoah is a great late inning reliever.
When I started this draft, there was one player I was very curious to see where he was drafted. That player is Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. He is expected to have a solid amount of power and should contribute in the major leagues very early in the year, if not immediately. While his offensive profile may not warrant this high of a selection, his proximity alone has value. If you need a contributor now, Tsutsugo is a great FYPD option for you.
At pick seventeen overall, we may have the best value pick of the early rounds in Corbin Carroll. Viewed by most as first round talent, Corbin Carroll is a very polished high school hitter with double plus speed. While the dream is that he develops into a 20 home run hitter, I think it is a much safer bet on 10-15 annually. Carroll has a special profile and will contribute in all categories. Although our draft does not reflect it, you can make a case for Carroll as the number three outfielder in the class behind Dominguez and Greene.
Toward the end of round two, we saw two college third basemen selected back to back. Josh Jung, a Texas Tech product enjoyed a very productive debut, as he finished with a promising .316/.389/.443 slash line. While I do not expect Jung to hit .300, Jung has a fairly safe offensive profile with a relatively high floor. From Jung, I think you can easily expect .270 with 20 plus home runs annually, with the potential for more. The second of the two selected was Kody Hoese, who was selected by the Dodgers in the first round. With above average power, Hoese is another corner infielder with a fairly high floor. Another thing that is important to realize with Hoese is that he is going to go through perhaps the best player development system possible. The Dodgers have proved year after year that their player development group is one of the best in the business, as they continue to have a top tier farm system even though they never have high draft picks. In short, I will always have faith in the development of Dodgers draft selections and their ability to develop players.
Moving on to another Dodger bat, I selected Luis Rodriguez with the same confidence in the organization. Rodriguez is a very exciting international player, who has a chance to hit for high average and have power. Although there is a ton of development and hurdles along the way, I think Rodriguez has a chance to grow into the same type of player we expect from Eloy Jimenez. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST. This is a bat to be excited about, and the ceiling warrants a high selection.
To close out the round, we see a young prospect with massive raw power selected. Bayron Lora has proved to be one of the more intriguing power bats in the class. Like Luis Rodriguez and any other young international signing, the range of outcomes is very large, however the ceiling is that of an elite power first corner outfielder. This is a name to watch, as the body alone gives him some of the most upside in the entire class.
Moving on to the third round, a lot of my favorite names were selected. Most of all being Maximo Acosta and Hudson Head. When my pick came up, I did not expect to have the luxury of choosing between the two prospects. In the end, I decided to select Acosta. An international bat with a solid all-around game coupled with a good baseball acumen, Acosta has drawn comparisons to Gleyber Torres. The best part about Acosta is the value in drafts has yet to reflect his true value. If you get this guy anywhere outside of the first round, I think you are getting great value, and if you are excited enough about him, reaching for him with a late first rounder is not all that crazy. Moving on to Hudson Head, it was hard for me to resist selecting him. With plus bat speed, foot speed, and room for growth, Head has risen up rankings this offseason significantly. If you want a player who has a great chance of making his way into top 100s by the middle of next year, Head is a great guy to take a chance on.
This third round also saw three of my favorite arms off the draft board: Jackson Rutledge, Quinn Priester, and Brennan Malone. All three of these right handers have power fastballs and at least one plus breaking ball. If all these arms harness their stuff and develop strong command of their plus offerings, they should be high rotation type arms. With all three of these arms being 20 or younger on draft day though, we will need to wait and see how they develop. These are three names that should be exciting to watch develop for the next couple years, and at this price, they are great picks.
UPSIDE PICKS OUTSIDE OF EARLY ROUNDS:
Outside of the top three rounds, there are not many exciting prospects with any safety associated with them. There are, however, many high risk, high reward picks among this group. From here on out, I will be highlighting one or two players with intriguing upside from each round and the obstacles they face moving forward.
In round four, some of the most exciting tools belong to Rece Hinds and Trejyn Fletcher. Due to the sheer athleticism and physical upside both prospects possess, they are good names to target outside of the premium rounds. Rece Hinds is extremely powerful, however with his combination aggression at the plate and long levers, he is still extremely strikeout prone. Hinds possesses rare raw power though, and for that reason alone, he is worth watching as he develops. Fletcher is another intriguing name in this round because of his all-around athleticism. While he is held back by his lack of polish, his tools stand out and give him a ceiling of a plus defender with 25/25 upside. Fletcher is extremely raw though and for him to reach this ceiling, a lot of things need to go right. His development into a true stud would not be the first time a raw athlete with power and speed worked out though, so he is a prospect worth rostering.
Round 5 starter off with a great pick in Ethan Small. This college lefty recovered very well from Tommy John surgery before his draft year and absolutely dominated college hitters as a junior. I his debut, he was very dominant too. He registered a considerable 36 strikeouts in 21 innings while walking 4 batters and only allowing 11 hits. While he mostly high 80s to low 90s at Mississippi State after his surgery, his velocity was considerably better in his debut, in which he sat low to mid 90s. As the Brewers stretch him out next year, I am interested to see how his arm maintains velocity in long appearances and throughout the season. This is an arm worth taking a chance on though, especially outside the top 50.
One pick from round 6 that stands out to me is the selection of Andry Lara. Early reports on Lara suggest that the Nationals signed the top arm out of the 2019 international class. The upside is there, as Lara commands a plus fastball and flashes a plus breaking ball already. The flaw with him though is his age. Even if all goes perfect in the development process, Lara is still 4-5 years away from contributing at the big-league level. I consider this selection of Lara a reach, but a great reach. Sometimes you see guys go early and you hate the pick, but other times a reach is appropriate. This is an arm to be excited for.
In round 7, the main pick that stands out for upside is the selection of Antoine Kelly. I truly don’t think there is a single player in this draft with a higher range of outcomes than you get with this guy. With already plus plus fastball and projection left in his body, Kelly has elite upside. The only issue with him though is the lack of control. Kelly has a chance to become a great starter, or even an elite reliever, however there’s also a chance he never makes it above A ball. Another name worth mentioning in this round is Hedbert Perez. He has impressed many scouts this offseason and appears to be a steal by the Brewers international team.
Round 8 has two names that I plan on keeping a close eye on as they develop. Those two names are Jimmy Lewis and Luis Medina. Lewis didn’t pitch professionally in his draft year, but he was touted as one of the more exciting arms out of the high school class due to his plus fastball and projectability. Oh and guess who drafted him? The Dodgers. Their track record gives me every reason to believe this kid will impress us in his debut. Luis Medina is an international name that many should target if they’re looking for an upside fantasy contributor. Medina has a sweet swing from the left side and considerable raw power. It appears the Brewers got two great outfielders out of this international class.
The player to watch from round 9 is Blue Jays outfielder Dasan Brown. Brown possesses double plus speed and already has an average hit tool. Because of his double plus speed, his average hit tool plays up, and should help his batting average long term. If Brown could grow into any power, this is an exciting prospect to own. With great athleticism and raw ability, this is a prospect you have to take a chance on, especially this late in the draft!
Round 10 proved to be an interesting round, as we saw two valuable starting pitchers come off the board. Perhaps the best valuable pick of the draft is Matt Canterino. With a solid fastball and two great breaking balls, this right hander has a legitimate shot to stick in the rotation. If he develops a serviceable changeup, this is a guy to watch out for. The floor with Canterino isn’t all that low either, as his two plus breaking balls will at least allow him to be an effective reliever down the road.
The next pitcher worth talking about in this round is Red Sox right-hander Noah Song. If this mock draft had taken place a week or two earlier, I’d bet that Noah Song would have gone five rounds earlier, because the flight school decision was not yet finalized. While Song will assuredly stay in baseball shape and continue to throw, he will be away from legitimate competition for at least two years. If he comes back strong, this is a potential forgotten gem in the Red Sox organization. If Noah Song had no commitment to flight school, this might be one of the first five arms off the board. All of this said, make sure you don’t forget about Noah Song’s existence while he’s flying planes serving in the US Navy.
In rounds 11-15, I decided to highlight just two names for fantasy owners to target. If your draft even goes this deep, you may not think there’s a ton of talent left, but I assure you, there are players worth gambling on. One of these picks was a selection of my own, and that is Roberto Campos. Many readers and fantasy owners alike may not even know his name. He is hardly covered in mainstream media, the video is limited, and his overall exposure to evaluators has been low. What should intrigue fantasy owners is the signing bonus. The Tigers gave out over half of their international budget to ensure that they landed Campos, and he ended up being sixth highest paid player in the 2019 J2 class behind Jasson Dominguez, Robert Puason, Bayron Lora, Erick Pena, and Ronnier Quintero. The Tigers rave about Campos, claiming that he has a special bat ad has the skill set to warrant such a high bonus. While the there is a lot of unknowns with Campos, he is a prospect worth watching in his debut.
Another pick from these late rounds that may end up being tremendous value is the selection of Graeme Stinson. Before his junior season at Duke in which he saw a velocity dip, he was regarded as one of the highest value starting pitchers available. His stock plummeted during his draft year, but we all know that the talent is there, and the Rays are great at developing arms. If there is an arm to take a flyer on this late, Stinson is the guy.
As you approach First Year Player Drafts, do your best to make picks based on value. Throughout this draft, many players fell way further than they should have, and whether they’re the guy you had in mind or not, you should capitalize on these opportunities. That being said, if you are high on a guy and you want to make sure he ends up on your team, don’t be afraid to reach for him. These drafts are extremely unpredictable, so if you want to make sure you get your guys, pay up for them!
Thank you to all of the great writers who participated in this exercise with me. In doing so, I hope that we have both sharpened our skills as evaluators and helped in the preparation of readers as they approach dynasty leagues draft season.