Travis Sherer kicked off our Pitcher List mock draft recap on January 20th from the 5th spot, but now it is time to analyze my picks from my absolute favorite draft spot, lucky #16. I hope to hear your judgment, criticism, and/or feedback while you hopefully learn something for your next dynasty draft. Lets jump right into it.
As a refresher, here are the basic rules:
- Head-to-Head League
- Hitting Categories: R/HR/RBI/SB/AVG/OPS
- Pitching Categories: ERA/WHIP/K/SV/QS/HR Allowed
- Weekly Pitching Minimum: 35
In addition, we had three additional rules for roster construction:
- Only players/prospects signed by an MLB team available (no college/amateurs)
- This league would be a dynasty league (everybody is kept from year to year)
- No Contracts. You keep all your players until you drop/trade them
Round 1 (Pick 16) Gerrit Cole, SP, NYY
I know people tend to prefer hitters at the beginning of drafts, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when 15, yes I repeat 15 straight position players were taken to start the draft. For a company named PITCHER List, us writers sure love some offense. That left me as the lucky beneficiary of the best pitcher in the game, Gerrit Cole. While he is a little older than some young studs that tend to get taken higher in dynasty formats, I figure if the Yankees are willing to pay him $36 million a year for the next nine years, then hopefully we will be able to get some sustained production there.
Round 2 (Pick 17) Shohei Ohtani, SP/DH, LAA
Let me get this out of the way—Shohei Ohtani is a stud. The guy has the potential to not only be a .285/.350/.530 type of hitter, but also a legitimate ace. I not only feel like he is undervalued because of his Tommy John injury, but I truly believe he can be the clear cut first overall pick in dynasty drafts two or three years from now. His value is even higher in league that have daily lineups, as you can use his bat all week before inserting him into your pitching rotation on his start days to rack up all those Ks. Think of it this way, while everybody else in this draft has drafted one player, I essentially have the equivalent of three.
Round 3 (Pick 48) Manny Machado, SS/3B, SD
Despite my earlier bragging about having the equivalent of three players after two rounds, the hard part of drafting from the #16 spot is watching 31 straight impact players go off the board before getting to pick again. When it finally came back to me, I had begun to realize that the best option for me in this draft would be to build a competitive, win-now team and worry about the future later. With that in mind, I took a perennial All-Star who is coming off a little bit of a down year but is still in his prime and has all the tools to bounce back. As the Padres creep closer to contention, I fully expect Machado to level up his own production and get back to the superstar we saw in Baltimore.
Round 4 (Pick 49) Carlos Correa, SS, HOU
Speaking of superstars not fully living up to their potential, it seems like Carlos Correa has been talked about as a potential MVP candidate for the past several years, but hasn’t quite broken out in the way we were all expecting. Still just 25 years old, I believe this is the year he fully explodes Yelich style and becomes a perennial MVP candidate (provided this pick was made before the sign-stealing scandal). In the fourth round, I’ll take that value all day long and continue to build my team with the goal of immediately contending.
Round 5 (Pick 80) Whit Merrifield, 2B/OF, KC
At this point in the draft I was looking to keep adding the best overall impact players and Merrifield was the best available on my board. It also didn’t hurt to add some speed as Merrifield can swipe 25+ bags while slashing .290/.340/.450. With the last pick in the fifth round, you take that production every day of the week.
Round 6 (Pick 81) Josh Donaldson, 3B, MIN
This is where I first second guessed myself because while Donaldson was the best player available on my board, I didn’t need a 3B and had Ohtani in the utility spot for when he’s in the lineup. I heavily debated taking Strasburg or Stanton, but decided Donaldson’s value was too good to pass up and decided to grab him here. It likely means I make a trade at some point, moving one of Donalson/Machado/Correa/Polanco for an OF or an arm.
Round 7 (Pick 112) Jorge Polanco, SS, MIN
Again in a position I didn’t need, I decided to go with Polanco, despite taking Donaldson in the previous round, because I believe he is an absolute steal at pick 112. Polanco is consistently undervalued and had a surprising power surge last season (although the baseball might have helped with that). As mentioned previously, this pick all but guarantees a trade from my infield depth will be coming, especially with a DH only player being among my picks later in the draft.
Round 8 (Pick 113) Lourdes Gurriel Jr., 2B/OF, TOR
As a Blue Jays fan, I was ecstatic that Gurriel fell to me in the eighth round. With my current lack of OFs, the situation worked out perfectly and I expect Gurriel to anchor my theoretical left field for the next several years. When he was playing the infield, Gurriel often carried his defensive woes to the plate with him, but ever since his transition to the OF has played freer and hit very very well. I fully expect him to improve even further which makes this a great value selection.
Round 9 (Pick 144) Tommy Pham, OF, SD
Going back to the OF ranks, I snagged Pham with pick 144. A good player who does a little bit of everything, Pham has the potential to go 20/20 while slashing .275/.370/.465. For a team looking to contend, that kind of production is great value at the end of the ninth round.
Round 10 (Pick 145) Matthew Boyd, SP, DET
If I said you could take 180+ innings with a K/9 rate of 11.6 in the 10th round would you take it? 100% you take it every day of the week and twice on Sundays. That is essentially what you get with Matthew Boyd, who tends to have a lower draft stock due to playing in Detroit and giving up his fair share of home runs. Regardless, at pick 145 this is good value.
Round 11 (Pick 176) Nate Lowe, 1B, TB
A young 1B who has a lot of future potential, Lowe has the potential to contribute significantly in 2020, but also should become one of the premier first basemen in future seasons. He has 30+ home run potential and given the run of prospects taken in the previous round it felt like a good spot to grab him.
Round 12 (Pick 177) Liam Hendriks, RP, OAK
At this point in the draft I was surprised to see that several high quality relievers were still available. I am a big fan of loading up on closers with low ERAs and WHIPs, as they have the ability to directly impact three categories. Hendriks has the closer role locked down in Oakland and should get his fair share of save opportunities. In the 12th round, you take that all day long.
Round 13 (Pick 208) Roberto Osuna, RP, HOU
Another reliever on a good team with the closer role locked down, Osuna is a lock to get 35+ saves with a sub 3.00 ERA. Whatever your opinions are on the Astros or Osuna, you can’t deny that production like that is a steal with pick #208.
Round 14 (Pick 209) Nelson Cruz, DH, MIN
Now this is a pick I’m excited about. Nelson Cruz does nothing but rake year after year, and year after year he can be grabbed on draft day at a significant discount. Granted, he is 39 years old, but for a team looking to contend he provides consistent power and OPS numbers. He also provides insurance for when I eventually move one of my infielders as mentioned earlier in the article.
Round 15 (Pick 240) Aroldis Chapman, RP, NYY
Another reliever on a perennial playoff contender, Chapman will rack up the Ks and saves while providing a low ERA and WHIP. At this point in the draft with Chapman, Hendriks, Osuna, Cole, Ohtani and Boyd, I am extremely confident that my pitching staff will be able to match up every week and win me many games. I was also surprised he was still available, as other managers were picking middling starters such as Luke Weaver or Joe Musgrove in this range which leads me to believe that they are falling into the SP trap.
Round 16 (Pick 241) Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, CHW
My team certainly won’t be the youngest in the league as Encarnacion is another guy who is on the older side of the coin. Despite that, he puts up consistent numbers year after year and provides insurance at 1B. He should have plenty of RBI opportunities in the new look White Sox offense and will get plenty of time in my starting lineup with the uncertainty surrounding Lowe.
Round 17 (Pick 272) Sean Murphy, C, OAK
Without a catcher at this point, I was praying that Murphy would last the long, long, long wait of 31 picks to get back to me. Thankfully, he did just that. Murphy is young, will be starting and has a solid hit tool and power potential. At this point in the draft, I am very happy with Murphy and am confident rolling with him as my starting catcher going into the season.
Round 18 (Pick 273) Ryan Mountcastle, 1B, BAL
Finally making my first pick that hasn’t yet played in the MLB, the other guys gave me a bit of a hard time by reminding me this was in fact a dynasty draft. Despite their ribbing, I feel like this is a good spot to pick Mountcastle as he is near MLB ready and should provide insurance to Lowe and Encarnacion at 1B. Look for Mountcastle to establish himself this year and be in the center of the Orioles lineup for years to come.
Round 19 (Pick 304) Lorenzo Cain, OF, MIL
Needing another OF, I decided to get another established vet who provides consistent production year after year. Cain will also chip in with steals, so combining that production with guys like Pham and Merrifield should cover me for SBs. Cain could eventually be moved to my bench if I get another OF in a potential infielder trade, but for now I am happy with his production as a back-end OF.
Round 20 (Pick 305) Jon Gray, SP, COL
Ah, the joys of pitching in Colorado. Gray is a guy who has always had potential and will rack up some K’s, although he is liable to have an inflated ERA. I believe he pairs well with the relievers I drafted earlier who might be lighter on Ks, so if you do draft Gray in your drafts make sure you also get low ERA guys to counterbalance and get the best of both worlds.
Round 21 (Pick 336) Stephen Matz, SP, NYM
Similar to Gray, Matz has been in the show for a few years but hasn’t quite broken out yet. I’m not saying that is going to happen, but there are some potential breakout qualities here and in the 21st round Matz can provide value even if he stays in line with his current production.
Round 22 (Pick 337) Tyler O’Neill, OF, STL
This pick was made prior to the Martinez trade, so I actually believe this is insane value. The problem with O’Neill has always been his high K rate, but he has put up insane AAA numbers in the past and has plus plus raw power. Given that he should have more playing time in 2020, I fully expect O’Neill to breakout and put up 30+ home runs with a decent average.
Round 23 (Pick 368) Michael Pineda, SP, MIN
Some more pitching depth, Pineda should provide decent back-end numbers when he returns from his suspension in May. In the 23rd round on a contending team, you can’t go wrong with depth pieces and the only alternatives to these sort of picks would be to start adding prospects (Which I will do later).
Round 24 (Pick 369) Brian Anderson, 3B/OF, MIA
Did you know Brian Anderson had a 3.8 WAR and .811 OPS last year? Neither did I, until recently. Anderson had a sneaky, under the radar season and is still only 26, meaning he has even more room for improvement. Nearly 370 picks into this draft, that kind of production is now very very scarce.
Round 25 (Pick 400) Alek Manoah, SP, TOR
Prospects! At pick 400, I feel like my team is now well established and I can now transition into looking towards the future. Granted, a fair share of prospects are already taken at this point, but you can still find some diamonds in the rough. Manoah was a first round pick in 2019 out of West Virginia, and at 6’6″ is the definition of a power pitcher. Look for him to make a large leap in 2020 and shoot up the prospect boards.
Round 26 (Pick 401) Eric Pardinho, SP, TOR
Another Blue Jays pitching prospect, Pardinho is very different from Manoah but just as liable to be an impact starter. Sitting at just 5’8″, he isn’t the biggest pitcher, but as shown by Marcus Stroman it is possible to have success as a smaller Blue Jays starter. It will be interesting to see if Pardinho put on any weight as he continues up the prospect ladder.
Round 27 (Pick 432) Jon Duplantier, SP/RP, ARI
A former top-100 prospect, I believe Duplantier can bounce back from injuries and become an impact player in Arizona over the next few years. He may pitch out of the bullpen in 2020, but I do believe he can be a starter down the road and can be a sold No. 3 in most rotations.
Round 28 (Pick 433) Keoni Cavaco, SS, MIN
At this point in the draft with most of the top prospects already taken, I decided it would be best to take some boom or bust prospects. Cavaco fits the bill, as he was a first round pick in 2019 but struggled in his pro debut. He could break out and become a top prospect or he could fade into oblivion. We’ll find out.
Round 29 (Pick 464) Malcom Nunez, 3B, STL
Another boom or bust prospect, Nunez tore up the DSL in 2018 to the tune of .415/.497/.774 but struggled over two levels in 2019 for a .229/.305/.318 line. If he can get back to anything remotely close to 2018, he will be a top prospect but there is a fair chance he continues to struggle against advance pitching, making this a very good risk-reward pick at No. 464.
Round 30 (Pick 465) Kendall Williams, SP, TOR
Last pick! To close it out I took my third straight risk/reward prospect pick and third Jays SP prospect. Williams fits the frame of a power pitcher, but needs to add weight to his frame and continue to develop his secondary pitches. He had success during his initial cup of coffee in the GCL, so it will be interesting to see how he continues to develop in full season ball in 2020.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)