As one of the new guys on the dynasty team here at Pitcher List, I was fortunate enough to participate in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft (FYPD). This meant all 2020 draft picks and prospective January 2021 international free agents were available. With how difficult it has been to come by reliable information for the upcoming international period, I ignored those players assuming they would mostly be a wild guess.
Without further adieu, here are my 2020 picks.
Round 1, Pick 6: Max Meyer, SP, Miami Marlins
At pick 6, the top player is not so obvious. The thought of Zac Veen in Colorado, even with their checkered player development history, is exciting, but he was taken the pick before me. Garrett Mitchell‘s raw toolset in Milwaukee, where there is little to nothing to block his path, was also very interesting.
Ultimately, I went the route of shutdown stuff with Max Meyer. There is not a lot of unknown with Meyer; he absolutely dominated his shortened draft season with a two pitch mix that is on par with peak Chris Archer. In college, he had a 4.15 K/BB and 4.35 K/BB in ’18 and ’19, fueled by 11.1 and 10.2 K/9s. This was before exploding up draft boards with a 5.75 K/BB in 2020 driven by a 15.0 K/9. Ultimately, the questions are his command, height, and whether he will develop a third pitch. However, with two 70 grade pitches already in his back pocket, he may not need a third pitch for quite some time—the stuff plays.
Obviously, his size is out of his control, but he has been healthy to this point, While it’s a risk, it isn’t worth fretting over, seeing as there is no predicting it and the perfect pitcher should not be expected to last until the 6th pick anyway. College pitchers have a long and fairly safe track record, so this was the route I went with my first pick.
Round 2, Pick 19: Cade Cavalli, SP, Washington Nationals
Cavalli is another stuff-first starting pitcher who looks like an ace in uniform, but his injury history is the only reason he was around well into the second round of this draft. Cavalli brings a four-pitch mix that is above average overall, led by a fastball that sits mid 90s. A true lefty neutralizing changeup has not developed yet, but he occasionally flashes a good one, so the potential is in there.
The injury history is longer than we want to see, but as stated before, is why he will be around to gamble on deeper into drafts. Obviously, I have no idea how he will hold up, but this is the part of the blurb where we all have to hope for the best. His stuff is good enough where if he is healthy from here on out, he should have been a first-rounder. While that is a total unknown, it’s a gamble I think is worth taking.
Round 3, Pick 30: Masyn Winn, SS/RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
I like Winn as a hitter, but he was an excellent prep arm. Since the mound evaluation is easy, we’ll start with him being up to 98 as a high schooler. It’s the classic high school power arsenal that mows hitters down with a fastball and breaking ball combo. The command is iffy, but he is so young and athletic that command could be the natural next expected step for him.
At the plate, he’s an athlete first. He has run a 6.5 60 yard dash and has pull power in his live wire frame. The Cardinals are a player development machine, so if I’m going to risk taking a high school player, I might as well draft one in the hands of a team I trust.
Round 4, Pick 43: Alex Santos, SP, Houston Astros
Alex Santos is a New Yorker who had no senior high school season because of COVID. This means all his reports were written based on New York City high school games and showcase events, along with his TrackMan data. With that said, it should come as no surprise that Santos, a TrackMan legend, went to the Astros in the second, their first pick in the draft.
Traditionally, I do not obsess over spin rate, but there is no denying that it is the fuel for pitch movement, and Santos has it in spades on his fastball and breaking ball. For him to go to a premier pitch design team only means he will soon be harnessing his full potential, and likely shall be deployed optimally, making Santos—who will have a longer baking time—be well worth the pick in the fourth round.
Round 5, Pick 54: Blaze Jordan, 1B, Boston Red Sox
Jordan is more of a pick for fun at the end of this draft experiment than someone I truly love. Jordan is a high school first baseman who has very big raw power. Jordan is famous for hitting moonshots in various showcase events both in games and batting practice. However, the swing plane is currently much flatter than you would expect from a slugger. I am curious to see what the new Red Sox regime does with him offensively first, since attack angle seems to be an obvious thing to address.
He was drafted at 17 years old after reclassifying, so he pressured some organizations to project more since he had fewer looks than most players entering the draft. The potential is tremendous because of the power, and that could have been the entire blurb, but the potential to bring that to Fenway makes this all the more interesting, which is why even if I don’t love him, I think he was deserving of being drafted and profiled for readers.
Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter & IG)