Pitcher List’s 2019 First-Year Player Mock Draft⁠—Reviewing Hunter Denson’s Picks

I always enter a first-year player draft with a bat-heavy mindset, albeit one that can shift based on how the actual selections unfold. Despite my general hesitancy to draft arms, I have found that young pitchers tantalize many owners in fantasy baseball, making them interesting trade pieces in dynasty leagues. That is how I try to view any player I might draft: as a potential piece I could deal to acquire another asset.

I focus on power and approach when drafting hitters and potential or experience when drafting arms. I also tend to lean toward safer prospects in general unless I am at the end of the draft, when I will go potential over a high-floor player. While it may seem strange to consider all potential picks from a deal-first perspective, I find it helps ensure I take value instead of reaching for a player I should leave behind.

If you would like to see how everyone else drafted, you can see the draft board here. Additionally, here are links to the other posted analysis articles from this draft:

 

Brennen Gorman’s Analysis Adam Lawler’s Analysis
Travis Sherer’s Analysis Jamie Sayer’s Analysis
Paul Ghiglieri’s Analysis Shelly Verougstraete’s Analysis
Andy Patton’s Analysis Scott Chu’s Analysis
Daniel Port’s Analysis Hunter Denison’s Analysis

 

Pick #10: Brett Baty, 3B, New York Mets

 

My plan here was to draft Josh Jung, yet I was sniped right from the onset by Andy Patton. Once I got over that disappointment, Brett Baty was an easy consolation choice. The 6’3″, 210 lb. lefty slammed 19 home runs as a high school senior, catching the eye of the New York Mets, who selected him at 12th overall. Baty has drawn wide praise for his potential. MLB TV analyst Jonathan Mayo called him the best high school bat in the draft, and fellow analyst Harold Reynolds called him Freddie Freeman with power (an odd comparison given Freeman’s 23 home runs this season). Either way, Baty has potential and not just because of his light tower power. A strong approach at the plate (49 walks to nine strikeouts) makes me even more excited to land Baty here despite the questions some had with his production given his age (19) compared with his high school competition.

Pick #11: Bryson Stott, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
After selecting Baty with my first pick, I decided to take a college bat with my second selection, eventually landing on UNLV shortstop and Bryson Stott. The newly minted Philly enjoyed a nice GCL debut this week, flashing some of the power that made him such a sought after middle infield option in the draft. Stott built on an impressive sophomore season (.365/.442/.556 with four home runs and 14 stolen bases), hitting .356/.486/.599 and showing more power as a junior (10 home runs) without seeing a decline in his approach at the plate (55 walks, 39 strikeouts). In a Baseball America interview, Phillies scouting director Johnny Almarez described him as a “very productive major leaguer. What I mean by that 15-20 home runs, a lot of doubles, hit at the top of the lineup somewhere and play shortstop.” That kind of promise plus the potential for additional value on the bases is exactly what I want in my middle infield prospects.
Pick #30: Matthew Lugo, SS, Boston Red Sox
As you can see, I never made it out of the infield with my bats in this mock. My plan was to take an outfield bat such as Kyle Stowers here, but in the end, I could not pass up another strong middle infield bat. MLB Pipeline tagged Lugo with straight 50 grades on all of his tools (55 on his hit tool), and he has the chance to be a solid all-around player in the big leagues. He’s far away (he turned 18 in May) but has a nice approach at the plate and an uncle (Carlos Beltran) who knows a bit about hitting. The Boston Red Sox have had a lot of success with younger infield prospects (Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, etc.), and while Lugo may not reach their levels of play, his potential is hard to ignore.
Pick # 31: Seth Johnson, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
As many have noted, pitching is not the strength of this draft. The fact that a converted shortstop such as Seth Johnson (one full season of pitching experience) was drafted 40th overall by the Tampa Bay Rays tells you that much. Lack of experience or not, Johnson could be special. The former Campbell Camel struck out 85 batters in 66 innings and touched 98 mph at times in his 14 appearances. MLB Pipeline rated his slider as a plus pitch (55) and thinks he can bring his other secondary offerings up to at least an average rating with more time on the mound.
Pick #50: RHP Ryan Pepiot Los Angeles Dodgers
We now reach Mr. Irrelevent. I surprised myself by taking another pitcher with the last choice of this mock, selecting Los Angeles Dodgers draftee Ryan Pepiot. Though not rated as highly as other hurlers in this draft, the 6’3”, 205 lb. righty is sturdy and may possess the best changeup (MLB Pipeline gave it a 60 grade) in the class. He missed bats with regularity in college (306 strikeouts in 219.1 innings at Butler) and continued that trend in the competitive Cape Cod league (41 strikeouts in 27.1 innings). Pepiot does need to work on his control (44 walks in 78 innings this past season) and may need to tone down his delivery in order to do so.
Hunter Denson

Hunter currently writes for PitcherList, Fantasy Assembly, and Last Word on Baseball. He once fouled off a pitch against former big-leaguer Jon Lieber, only to strike out spectacularly on the next pitch. Representing the Red Sox Nation out in the Pacific Northwest

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