One of my favourite times of the year for fantasy is the First-Year Player Drafts. I scour the scouting reports, making list after list of intriguing pop up guys I can target in the first round and beyond. Prep pitchers I shy away from, as TINSTAPP, but McKenzie Gore has made me reconsider that. Hitters are where it’s at, and the guys who can combine patience with power butter my biscuit.
Here at Pitcher list, ten of us got together and put together our own five-round first-year player mock draft. We will each have our own analyses running from July 1-5 and again from July 8-12.
|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 #5: J.J. Bleday, OF – Miami Marlins
Brennan made my choice much easier here, as I seriously considered taking Jasson Dominguez even though he’s so young. Bleday is more than worthy of the #5 selection however and should be one of the best bats from this class.
Standing at 6’3″ and weighing 205 pounds, Bleday is very athletic and shouldn’t have any issues as a corner bat. At Vanderbilt, he crushed competition to the tune of .347/.465/. 701, setting a Vanderbilt record for home runs (27). He possesses a very advanced approach at the plate, with a 51:50 BB:K ratio in the SEC last year and it should help him tap into his power. With the ability to hit to all fields and above-average bat speed, Bleday should also hit for a high average. At peak, Bleday could be the type of hitter to hit 25-30 HRs, a decently high average and a boatload of walks. Behind Andrew Vaughn and Adley Ruschmann, I think Bleday is the next safest, yet still very impactful, bat. He will never run, but when you swing a bat like Bleday does, you don’t need to. Just look at this sweet swing:
BLEDAY INTO RIGHT!
He’s homered in four straight games.
— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) March 30, 2019
Pick #16: Kody Hoese, 3B – Los Angeles Dodgers
This pick was as much about the team who drafted him along with the bat of Hoese. The Dodgers for a couple of years now have been able to rework players’ swings and get the best out of them (Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, etc).
Hoese might not necessarily need a swing change, as he slashed .391/.486/.779 with 23 home runs and 39:33 BB:K ratio in his junior season at Tulane (notice a trend I tend to like with prospects?). The nitpicking with Hoese starts with the fact he was a late bloomer, as he hit a combined five home runs the previous two years. He’s not great defensively at third, but most scouts think he will hold his own and be able to stick there for the long-term. The guys over at FanGraphs also had this to say about him:
There’s a posture issue to fix in his swing, but clubs will be wary of trying to change too much while everything is going well.
He seems like the perfect Dodger. Justin Turner is getting up there in age, and if all goes according to plan, Hoese could be the heir to the third-base throne.
Pick #25: George Kirby, RHP – Seattle Mariners
I tried to take Alek Manoah here as I decided I wanted one of the top pitchers and thought Manoah had the most upside. It turned out Dan had taken him three picks earlier and I was blind, so I went with someone who’s a little safer—that doesn’t mean Kirby can’t be a No. 3-4 eventually, however. Much like in 2018 with Logan Gilbert the Mariners took a higher-floor pitcher in Kirby, and I’m sure they’re hoping he can explode into pro ball much like Gilbert has done.
Kirby is 6’4″ and 201 pounds, so he has the pitcher’s frame and shouldn’t have any concerns there. He’s got four average or above pitches, his best his mid 90’s fastball, along with pristine control. In the CAA this year Kirby had 107 strikeouts in 88.8 IP with ONLY six walks. Granted it was against lesser competition, he also had a good showing in the Cape Cod League in 2018, with a 1.38 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 13 innings. He profiles as someone who should move fast, but it solely depends on how his secondaries develop. His curve, slider, and changeup could all end up being just average, limiting his upside. Also, TINSTAAP.
Pick #36: Kyle Stowers, OF – Baltimore Orioles
It seems like I had targets on a lot of outfielders this year, but I must admit, it seemed like a lot of value in this draft was through them. Kyle Stowers is one of those guys I think I’m higher on than the industry. But boy oh boy, does he bring the potential for a lot of power.
One of the better teams for Stowers to go to was the Orioles, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him hitting bombs in Camden Yards by 2021. Heaps of raw power is what you’re getting in Stowers, even if he has some tendencies to swing and miss. He could end up as center fielder, which would help mitigate some of the potential strikeout issues if he can stick there. He sometimes will run into issues with his timing mechanisms, causing the increased strikeout rate.
Some scouts do believe he’ll end up in a corner though, but that shouldn’t hurt him too much. The guys over at Fangraphs were the highest on Stowers, placing him 32nd on their MLB draft rankings, a boon from were the Orioles actually got him at 71st. With the chance for an average hit tool, Stowers could end up having a similar stat line to fellow Oriole Mark Trumbo in the future. Remember, Trumbo had some pretty stellar years.
Pick #45: Sammy Siani, OF – Pittsburgh Pirates
Oh, another outfielder? You don’t say. Sammy Siani is an interesting pick for me, as prep outfielders like himself aren’t normally my jam. His older brother Mike Siani, however, showed this sort of profile can still be successful. One of the best prep outfielders in the draft was originally planning planning to sign with Duke, but the Pirates were able to sign him away.
Sammy Siani, much like brother Mike, is a hit-over-power outfielder with an advanced approach at the plate. With above-average speed he is also someone who profiles to stick in center field, Standing at 5’11” and only weighing 175 pounds, it’s not crazy to see his build and dream on him adding more muscle and in turn, more pop. His hit tool is the big calling card here though for fantasy, as he’s working with a 55 and potentially even a 60-grade hit tool, which would help him become fantasy relevant. In 2018, Siani hit .457 with six home runs and 16 stolen bases in 32 games, showcasing the hit tool with some pop and speed. It will probably take a couple of years for Siani to become fantasy relevant, but the wait could be worth it.
As far as picks go for FYPDs, I feel I went a touch safe. I believe it’s always best to side with the players you feel will make it to the show, but I think I’m lacking the true shot-in-the-dark upside picks. I’m truly excited to have the ’19 MLB drafted players get their first taste of pro ball and come back in six months to evaluate potential studs!
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)