It was a winter full of mock drafts for the Pitcher List staff. That included a prospects-only dynasty mock for 12 brave souls. 300 prospect-eligible players were snatched up, and each of the writers is here to tell you the reasoning behind their picks, why you should consider them in dynasty leagues, and for some of them, possibly even redraft leagues.
The way I went about this prospect draft is with the thinking that there would be value in players who have already debuted in the Majors, as guys like that can be perceived as having “less upside,” which I don’t necessarily agree with.
I also went with the strategy of trying to get a good amount of high-level starting pitching, with the majors being so filled with difference-making hitting, the most valuable thing in dynasty leagues is a controllable starting pitcher.
Round 1 (Pick 11): Casey Mize, SP, DET
Picking in the back end of the first round, I was praying for one of Casey Mize or Mackenzie Gore to fall to me, Gore went 4th, but luckily Mize fell to me and after that it wasn’t a particularly challenging pick for me to make.
Health risks aside, Mize represents the safest starting pitching prospect in baseball to me. With three plus pitches and great command, it’s hard to see a path where Mize stays healthy and isn’t a top-end pitching option.
Round 2 (Pick 14): Brendan McKay, SP, TBR
I knew I wanted to start with back-to-back starting pitchers, so after I selected Mize, I had Matt Manning, Brendan McKay and Jesus Luzardo as my top 3 options for my 2nd selection, with Manning being taken 12th, followed by Dylan Carlson at 13. I got my 2nd ranked pitcher out of that group and to me, the fourth best starting pitching prospect in baseball in Brendan McKay.
McKay’s first MLB test could’ve gone a bit better, but the 4.03 FIP with a 56:16 K:BB ratio in 49.0 innings were impressive. I just really believe in the arm talent with McKay and believe that there’s not many lefties with better stuff and command in all of baseball. His two-way ability didn’t impact this selection at all, but he is talented enough to potentially DH once or twice a week by the time he hits his prime.
Round 3 (Pick 35): Nico Hoerner, SS, CHC
I’ve been super high on Nico Hoerner for a while, and was surprised he fell to me after his impressive MLB stint at the end of 2019. Hoerner has flown through the Cubs farm system, being one of the first 2018 draft picks to make their MLB debuts.
In 82 plate appearances, Hoerner’s .282/.305/.436 isn’t jaw-dropping, but it is representative of how I think he’s ready to contribute, which is batting average helped with above average contributions in the runs and stolen bases department. Hoerner probably isn’t ready to contribute in the power department yet, but he should get there at some point. Hoerner’s plate discipline is also very impressive, and it wouldn’t surprise me if in a couple years he’s registering close to even BB:K ratios.
Round 4 (Pick 38): Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL
As I said in my write-up of the Orioles farm system, “A 2018 first-round pick, Grayson Rodriguez has quickly established himself as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. In 2019, Rodriguez proved he was just too dominant for A-ball hitting, as he pitched 94 innings with a 2.68 ERA and a 36:129 BB:K ratio.
Rodriguez’s legitimate four-pitch arsenal is rare for such a young hurler. His fastball sits at around 93-95 mph with subtle movement, and it projects as his best pitch. Rodriguez also possesses a dominant slider that comes in at around 87 mph with sharp movement. His changeup also shows signs of being a dominant offering, with great deception and a consistently steep velocity drop from his fastball. His curveball is his fourth pitch, and it’s distantly his worst. He’s continuously had struggles locating it, but as he develops, it could turn into an average offering.
It’s scary to put a future ace label on a 19-year-old, but Rodriguez shows all the signs of it.”
Round 5 (Pick 59): Triston Casas, 3B, BOS
Knowing I had a Red Sox fan behind me at the turn, I took a prospect I really like slightly higher than I would’ve preferred, but the power potential from Triston Casas was too much for me too pass up on.
Casas was very impressive in his first professional season. He needs to cut the strikeout rate as he matures, but there’s legitimate 35-40 home run potential in his bat. I worry a bit about how Casas performs against left-handed pitching as he gets closer to the upper minors, but if he hits the way I think he will, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Round 6 (Pick 62): Sean Murphy, C, OAK
I said in my opening that the most valuable thing in dynasty baseball is a young, controllable, talented starting pitcher, and while I still believe that, a young, controllable, talented catcher has to be the most rare thing in dynasty.
Sean Murphy is a huge standout defensively, which means he should get some leeway if he struggles early at the plate, but Murphy’s contact skills with above average raw power are alluring enough for me to take a risk on a catcher in the top 65.
Murphy made his MLB debut at the end of 2019, and while the sample was only 60 PA’s, he still was able to impress with four home runs and a .899 OPS in that span, and if there was any question, he easily earned a job as the A’s starting catcher for 2020.
Round 7 (Pick 83): Nick Solak, 2B, TEX
Solak ended up getting 135 big-league plate appearances, and was extremely impressive, posting a .293/.393/.491 slash line with five home runs and two stolen bases. I think Solak ends up becoming a 20 home run, 10 steal contributor with around an .800-.850 OPS, and at second base that’s easily worth a top 85 pick to me.
Round 8 (Pick 86): Shane Baz, SP, TBR
Poor Pirates fans. Somehow the third best piece the Rays received for Chris Archer, Shane Baz has two very good pitches in his fastball and slider, and has a good enough frame where durability shouldn’t be a big issue.
As it is for many young starting pitchers, the command is still an issue, as is finding consistency in his third pitch, his changeup. Baz is probably farther away than most expect, given the Rays organizational tendencies. The risks are clear, but I’m good with making bets on guys with two potentially elite pitches and plus velocity, but if it all goes wrong, the floor is a really good reliever.
Round 9 (Pick 107): Bryson Stott, SS, PHI
The 14th pick of the 2019 draft, Bryson Stott is a legitimate five-tool prospect, with the biggest question mark being if he can hit for power. Stott answered that a little bit in his first professional season with six home runs and an .885 OPS, but the majority of that came against younger competition.
Stott has a very mature plate approach and profiles similarly to my 3rd round pick Nico Hoerner. He has above average speed, and I see him being a high .290s hitter with very good BB:K ratios. Stott is already very sound in the field, and has been touted as a potential gold glove caliber middle infielder by scouts who saw him live in his first professional season.
Round 10 (Pick 110): Yusniel Diaz, OF, BAL
The main prospect back in the Manny Machado trade to the Dodgers, Yusniel Diaz has seen his hype drop slightly after a disappointing start to his Orioles career due to some injuries, but he figured it out in the second half and ended the season with an .807 OPS in Double-A.
Diaz needs to hit for power and improve batting average to be worth this pick. He’s not going to steal many bases, and he doesn’t really have a carrying tool. He’s really polished at the plate and should contribute as soon as he debuts, which I expect will be around midseason of 2020.
Round 11 (Pick 131): Kyle Lewis, OF, SEA
I felt like I had taken enough safety with my hitting, so I decided to shoot to the moon for upside with this pick. Kyle Lewis has finally been able to stay healthy, and despite his minor league numbers not being overly impressive, his MLB sample showed off his raw power.
If Lewis can tap into that power, there’s potentially a 30-35 home run bat, and because of how hard he hits the ball I don’t think the batting average will be a disaster. Given how many knee injuries he’s dealt with and how important he is to the Mariners future, I don’t think Lewis ever runs for more than at most five steals a season, but Lewis’s power upside was too much to pass up.
The obvious flaw is his plate discipline. While he did hit for a .592 slugging percentage in the majors, it came with a 38.7% strikeout rate. He should walk more than he did in his MLB sample (4% BB rate), but that obviously needs to come down. Strikeouts weren’t really an issue with Lewis pre-injury so I do think this is something he eventually grows out of.
Round 12 (Pick 134): Levi Kelly, SP, ARZ
A 2018 8th round pick, Levi Kelly has seen his stock surprisingly rise more than anyone else in that draft class drafted after the first round. Kelly has a strong frame at 6’4″ 205 lbs. That big frame helps him sit around 94 with his fastball, with potential to add to that as he develops. His best secondary is a nasty slider that sits in the mid 80s. Similarly to Shane Baz, he needs to improve his command and his changeup, but Kelly has all the looks of a future top-end starting pitcher prospect.
To go along with the clear tools, the production was there for Kelly in his first full professional season. In 100 1/3 innings, Kelly had a 2.15 ERA with a 126:39 K:BB ratio in 22 starts as a 20 year old in A-Ball. I think we’re going to see Kelly skyrocket up prospect lists in 2020, as he’s really shown all the sings of a potential ace so far in his young career.
Round 13 (Pick 155): Adam Kloffenstein, SP, TOR
I had gone for huge upside with my starting pitching selections, so I decided to go with one of the safer options on the board at starting pitcher to counteract that. Adam Kloffenstein is probably my favorite pitching prospect in Toronto after Nate Pearson.
For a 19-year-old that was drafted in 2018, Kloffenstein is incredibly mature. His four-pitch mix is just extremely rare for someone his age. Kloffenstein’s sinking fastball has done a great job of drawing soft-contact, his slider (which looks more like a cutter to me) is incredibly sharp and well-commanded for someone as young as Kloffenstein. The changeup was really good last year, but was a pretty big question mark to scouts, so he needs to show a little more of it before there’s comfort calling it a plus pitch. His fourth pitch is his curveball, which needs a lot of work, but has gotten some swings-and-misses from immature hitters.
Similarly to Levi Kelly, Kloffenstein was a pitcher who looks to me to have the makings of a quick riser, but whereas Kelly is a guy that may take four or five years to advance through the minors, Kloffenstein has the looks of a guy who could just out-class the lower minors.
Round 14 (Pick 158): Tony Gonsolin, SP, LAD
If Tony Gonsolin wasn’t a Dodger, I would’ve taken him in the top 80. I had legitimately thought about taking him at every pick before this one, but finally decided to trust his talent, rather than being scared of his organization. To be honest I thought Gonsolin looked better than the more-hyped Dustin May in 2019. Gonsolin’s fastball was sharper than I expected it to be, and his slider was just exceptionally commanded.
He dealt with command issues in Triple-A that just weren’t there when he was in the majors. I still think May is a better prospect than Gonsolin, but if you asked me which Dodgers starting pitcher prospect was most likely to have a steady 15-year career, my answer would be Gonsolin. Getting a high-floor pitching prospect like that at pick 158 is value I couldn’t let slip.
Round 15 (Pick 179): Sam Hilliard, OF, COL
After review, this is probably my least favorite pick I made. I was shooting for some Coors Field upside, but given the Rockies consistent hesitancy to play their young guys, Sam Hilliard will probably get stuck in a platoon.
The swing-and-miss in his swing may be too much to overcome as well, although in his MLB sample the strikeout rate wasn’t a disaster at 26.4%. Hilliard’s raw power in Coors Field is alluring, but I may have oversold the upside by taking him at 179.
Round 16 (Pick 182): Randy Dobnak, SP, MIN
Randy Dobnak came out of nowhere and went from undrafted in 2016 to starting a playoff game in 2019. Dobnak has just consistently produced impressive numbers in the minors. Upon joining the majors he was again productive, throwing 28 1/3 regular season innings with a 1.59 ERA (2.90 FIP) and a 23:5 K:BB ratio.
He’s very crafty, throwing four pitches, with all of them commanded well. His best pitch is his curveball, that he uses as his strikeout pitch. He also throws a sinker, four-seam fastball, and a changeup. For a pitcher reliant on command and deception, the velocity isn’t awful, as his four-seamer averaged 93.4 MPH. I think of him as a mid-backend rotation arm, with good K:BB rates.
Round 17 (Pick 203): Dane Dunning, SP, CWS
Before blowing out his elbow prior to the 2019 season, I had Dane Dunning as a top 70 prospect thanks to his three plus pitches, with a chance for upward mobility because I was a bit worried about how the sinking fastball would play against guys that make harder contact. However, Dunning missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery, and everybody recovers from that differently.
I had been thinking about taking Dunning earlier, but with the post-Tommy John concerns, just beyond the top 200 felt about right for Dunning. He recently threw his first bullpen since surgery, and should be back around midseason 2020.
Round 18 (Pick 206): Cody Sedlock, SP, BAL
An Orioles pitching prospect whose early career has been marred by injuries (shocking, right?), 2016 first-round pick Cody Sedlock had a very encouraging 2019 that restored some of his prospect shine.
Sedlock’s 95 innings in 2019 were the most of his professional career, and he showed a lot of signs that there is a path to his becoming a capable starter. His fastball command was great early in the season, although walks were a bit of an issue in the second half. After dominating High-A, Sedlock was called up to Double-A for the first time. His results weren’t bad with 34 strikeouts and a 3.71 ERA over 34 innings, but the 20 walks in that stint were a bit concerning, The majority of the rougher-looking results came at the end of his season, as he ended the campaign with a 5.48 ERA and a 12:19 BB:K ratio in 19 innings over his last six starts—which is a bit understandable given how long it had been since he threw that many innings in a season.
Sedlock’s repertoire is led by his two-seam and four-seam fastballs that sit at around 90-93 mph with consistent movement. His changeup was extremely impressive when I watched him, although reports of it were mostly mediocre to below average down the stretch. The same goes for his slider, but I believe him to be a legitimate four-pitch pitcher if everything can go right.
Round 19 (Pick 227): Jon Duplantier, SP, ARZ
After sitting in the back-ends of top 100 lists prior to the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Jon Duplantier’s 2019 season will make it so he won’t be on those lists anymore, but there’s still reason for optimism. The fastball is still sharp with late movement, and his curveball, slider, and changeup all have shown signs of becoming plus pitches.
It’s just about health, consistency and command for Duplantier, which is obviously a lot to ask. The talent is there for him to be a mid-rotation arm in 2020, but he needs to just be better than he was in 2019.
Round 20 (Pick 230): Lolo Sanchez, OF, PIT
Decided to go back to the upside well. This time with an outfielder in Lolo Sanchez. He’s shown great speed and skills in the field, but has yet to been able to put those skills towards any consistency at the plate. The plate discipline isn’t awful, which gives me hope he’ll figure it out, and with as many tools as he has, he should see a breakout season in 2020.
Round 21 (Pick 251): Mariel Bautista, OF, CIN
Round 22 (Pick 254): Jhonkensy Noel, 1B, CLE
Similar thought process with these two guys. Mariel Bautista is a lanky outfielder with big speed, good raw power, and a projectable frame at 6’3 185 lbs. Jhonkensy Noel is a first baseman with big raw power and solid plate skills. Both of them are super far away.
Round 23 (Pick 275): Bladimir Resituyo, OF, COL
Searching for more upside I went with a 2016 international free agent from Venezuela, Bladimir Restituyo has quickly made noise in the Rockies farm at an extremely young age. Last season at just 17-years old, Restituyo hit for a .310/.326/.476 slash line in 90 plate appearances in Rookie Ball, after starting his season in Low-A and looking a bit overmatched.
Restituyo is extremely raw, but has multiple clear tools. The one that jumps off the screen when watching him is his speed, Restituyo is legitimately one of the fastest players in this organization. He combines that with power that has a chance to be great, but for an 18-year-old is pretty solid already. It’s more gap power that he possesses now, but there’s a legitimate chance Restituyo ends up profiling as a potential 25 home run, 25 stolen base bat. He also has shown great range, although his arm isn’t great. It’s unknown whether or not he’ll primarily play second base, shortstop, the outfield or all of the above as he develops.
The flaws in his game are also very clear, the plate discipline needs to improve. He’s only 18, and plate discipline is typically something that can be developed, so it’s not a disaster that he had a 4:69 BB:K ratio last season in 325 plate appearances for the season in 2019, but it’s definitely something that needs to show improvement in 2020 for him to be a legitimate top of the organization prospect. I’m pretty sure I’ll be higher on Restituyo than most, and when a guy shows this much potential and this many clear tools at such a young age, I’m okay with betting on that.
Round 24 (Pick 278): Adbert Alzolay, SP, CHC
To be honest if I had known Alzolay was still on the board I would’ve taken him 50-60 spots earlier, but for some reason I had accidentally crossed him off my board. 2019 was rough for Alzolay, but he still has a super sharp fastball, and a really good curveball. The velocity is great as well.
Similarly to a couple guys I’ve drafted, the main issues are his changeup development and his control, and this is what it looks like when you don’t fix those things really early in your career. I think Alzolay is more likely than not going to be a really good relief pitcher, but the ace upside is probably gone given his struggles going deep into games.
Round 25 (Pick 299): Julio Carreras, SS, COL
Julio Carreras was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2017, Carreras has a solid frame to build on, currently listed at 6’1” 166lbs, his lead trait is his raw power. Carreras is already starting to show his power in games, as his .168 ISO in 307 plate appearances last season is highly encouraging. He swings extremely hard, but is inconsistent with his swing-path and has a lot of swing-and-miss in his profile as well.
Carreras combines that power with intriguing speed. It’s tough to project speed with guys who project to add weight to their frames, but right now I would project Carreras to be a 15-20 steal player, with a chance to fall to a 5-10 steal guy depending on how he develops. Carreras is very quick in the field also, and should be able to remain at shortstop as he ages. The things to watch for is hopefully an improved walk rate and how his power plays against more advanced competition, but Carreras is certainly already an extremely fun young prospect.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)