When the World Series trophy is raised and the air temperatures begin to drop, mock draft season heats up. Here at Pitcher List, there are plenty of mocks but one of my favorites is the First-Year Player Mock Draft that staff from the Dynasty team puts together.
Just like the draft this summer, this mock was a five-round, snake mock draft, and players selected in 2020 draft, posted (or most likely to be) International players, as well as potential J2 signings. This draft class was filled with top-tier college bats and pitchers (like Spencer Torkelson and Max Meyer) but also intriguing prep players (like Ed Howard and Mick Abel).
I had the fourth overall pick, a spot that I enjoyed selecting from. For me, the first three picks are set in stone but you can go in a few different directions after that.
Round 1, Pick 4: Asa Lacy, SP, Kansas City Royals
With the fourth pick in the draft, I was hoping one that Austin Martin or Nick Gonzales would fall but they did not, unfortunately. However, getting the best pitcher in the draft class is a nice consolation prize. Asa Lacy is your prototypical pitcher with his 6’4′, 215 lb frame. His mechanics are very smooth and has great deception. His fastball sits in the mid-nineties that he pairs with an above-average changeup, power curve, and easily the best slider in the class. It sits in the low nineties and generates a bunch of movement to get batters to whiff. He only had four starts in the short 2020 season but had a 0.75 ERA with a 46:8 strike to walk ratio. Kansas City has selected many of these ’safe’ college arms and has put together one heck of a future rotation. Due to how advanced and polished Lacy is, he should move swiftly through the minors and be a force to the Royals soon.
It might be a bit risky to take a prep catcher but I thought he was the best available player at this point in the draft. Soderstrom’s left-handed swing generates above-average power and still has room to add more power to his frame. He has a patient approach at the plate and has a good feel for the strike zone. Scouts and evaluators believe his biggest flaw is his defense behind the plate and most think he will move from behind the plate at some point before he reaches the major leagues. Due to Oakland’s lack of catching depth in the minor leagues, I could see him sticking behind the plate longer but I could also see him move to third, which would fast track his bat to the majors. Wherever he ends up defensively, Soderstrom’s potential offensive production makes him a top prospect for dynasty leagues.
When my turn came back around, I was pleased to see that Bryce Jarvis was still available. Jarvis, son of MLB pitcher Kevin Jarvis, was having a season of the ages at Duke before the season was canceled. During his second game against Cornell, he threw a perfect game with 15 strikeouts. Jarvis has a fastball that sits in the mid-nineties and a pair of secondaries (slider and changeup) to round out his three-pitch mix. Jarvis is a fast worker on the mound and very pitch efficient. While at Duke, Jarvis has improved his control and posted a 40:2 K:BB during his 27 innings this spring There is still some work that Jarvis needs to do, however. His mechanics are not the most fluid and there are still questions on if his newly found fastball velocity will stick around. That being said, Jarvis is still an amazing talent, extremely competitive, and has the makings of a mid-rotation starter.
Round 4, Pick 30: Tanner Burns, SP, Cleveland Indians
It might be an interesting strategy to take a third pitcher but you know what…I’m going for it. Burns was a workhorse while at Auburn University. He threw over 180 innings during his last two years combined which is impressive for a college pitcher and a typical schedule. While Burns doesn’t have overpowering stuff, everything he has is average to above average. His fastball sits in the mid-nineties and two great breaking pitches. He has the ability to manipulate his fastball that generates a bunch of swings and misses and uses it early and often in counts. He throws strikes while having above-average command. Oh!…and he was drafted by Cleveland which has been one of the most consistent in producing good, reliable starters. However, there is some question about his size (he is only 6 feet tall) and some injury concerns, as his delivery is not as smooth as you would like to see. That being said, I’ll take a gamble on a plus fastball and above-average command.
Round 5, Pick 35: Carson Tucker, SS, Cleveland Indians
When in doubt…draft a Cleveland MI prospect. Carson Tucker, younger brother of SS/OF Cole Tucker in the Pirates organization, was selected in the first round by the Indians. Tucker, like his brother, was drafted as a shortstop but unlike his brother, should be able to stick at the position. Tucker has an open stance and with his quick wrists, is able to get to the ball consistently. Currently, his swing path is indicative of line drives, but if he is able to get a bit more loft on the ball, the over-the-fence power should increase. It was not surprising that Tucker was selected by the Indians as they are known to selected young shortstops during the draft. Tucker is average to above-average in all scouting categories and with his determination and work ethic should become a great major leaguer in time.