Prospects will break your heart. For example, Travis Snider was going to be the Savior for the Blue Jays, after years and years of mediocrity. After dominating the minors with relative ease in 2007, Snider got a shot to burst on to the scene in 2008 and prove he was worthy of such high praise. He did well in his initial stint, but unfortunately for Lunch Box, he was rushed and never could replicate his success from the minors in the majors, having a career MLB wRC+ of 93. Many other prospects like Snider have blasted through the minors, seeming like obvious locks for MLB super-stardom, only to go on to fail or not live up to expectations. Matt Wieters, Matt LaPorta, Delmon Young, the list can go on and on.
So, back to my original point, prospects will break your heart nine times out of ten. I personally find its best to use prospects as trade chips, as they can be helpful and can help build your squad, but ultimately used best when traded for current value. And that was my strategy throughout this prospect draft, early on taking safer yet decent prospects and pairing them later on with higher upside pieces that will more than likely gain some helium over the next year or two.
For this draft as well we really didn’t have any particular guidelines in terms of format specificity; it was just draft the best team of prospects you could. I felt as though it made the most sense to draft a full squad, meaning at least one of each position had to be taken. Without further ado, let us review my picks from the Pitcher List Dynasty Prospects Mock Draft.
Pick 1.7 – Nick Senzel, 3B, Cincinnati Reds – AAA
After thinking about it, I PROBABLY should have gone with Minnesota Twins Alex Kirilloff here, as I believe he’ll have a better combo of hit/power tools in the end. But Senzel still has a lot going for him. Senzel was sidelined most of the 2018 minor league season with a bout of vertigo and a torn thumb tendon, but when he was healthy he showcased one of the best hit tools in the minors. He had a slash line of .310/.378/.509 in 44 games in AAA and would certainly not have been eligible for this draft if he was not hurt. A potential 70-grade hit tool, along with playing in one of the best offensive environments in Great American Ballpark should allow Senzel to thrive. Add in the possibility for 10-15 steals and you could have a five-category stud. In the present day MLB, the Reds may want to use him in a super utility role, which would be even better for his fantasy outlook.
Pick 2.18 – Carter Kieboom, SS, Washington Nationals – AA
Another relatively safe pick, I decided to pick Carter Kieboom over Colorado Rockies Brendan Rodgers as I don’t fully trust Rodger’s hit tool, even with the Coors effect baked in. This was considered a reach by some during the draft, but I knew there was no chance he made it back to me for my next pick and I am ENAMORED with Kieboom. On FanGraphs recently updated Top 100 List, they have Kieboom at exactly 18th as well, so great minds think alike. Kieboom struggled once he reached AA in 2018 but showed immense power potential in A+ with a .196 ISO. While there are concerns he may have to move off SS eventually, he has a good enough hit tool, patience, and pop to become an above average regular there.
Pick 3.31 – Brent Honeywell, SP, Tampa Bay Rays – AAA
I knew I really wanted to nab one “ace” like starter, and it was between Brent Honeywell, Chicago White Sox Michael Kopech, and St. Louis Cardinals Alex Reyes. I ended up deciding on Honeywell, as I’ve preached so far, I felt he was the safest of the three pitchers, with 5 average or better pitchers and what should become pin-point command. Honeywell is super unique as well for his signature screwball pitch, which is a thing of beauty. He tore his UCL in Spring Training of 2018 but should come back mid-season. His deep arsenal tore up AAA in 2017, with an 11.06 K/9 and only 2.26 BB/9, showcasing that he also currently has above-average command. While the Rays have so many young starters, Honeywell should break the rotation sometime late in 2019.
Pick 4.42 – Francisco Mejia, C, San Diego Padres – AAA/MLB
I would consider a much riskier pick than I would want to make this early, but Francisco Mejia was too good to pass up. Mejia was traded to the Padres this year for Cleveland Indians Relief Pitchers Adam Cimber and Brad Hand, and as of right now it seems like the Padres got a heck of a prospect. Blessed with an above-average hit tool and growing power, Mejia could possibly blossom into an amazing catcher. The only issue is he’s a below average receiver and with defensive catching stalwart Austin Hedges and Austin Allen right behind him, Mejia might be better suited for the Padres in the OF, where his bat becomes less special. However, the upside is a catcher who is a .280+ hitter with 20 home runs, and in today’s environment, that’s a top 5 catcher.
Pick 5.55 – Jonathan India, 2B/3B, Cincinnati Reds – A
I absolutely love the Reds prospects wise and it’s showing with two in my first five. Jonathan India should rise through the system fairly quickly and while he may not have any plus-plus skill, a solid contributor across the board still holds value, especially playing in Great American Ballpark. India is flying up fantasy lists currently, and the guys over at Prospects Live have him 23rd on their top 100 list. He’s got a great feel for the strike zone and elite bat speed that should allow him to punish mistakes, along with a smart run game, allowing for some steals in the future. He eventually will wind up at third base, but he still profiles well there and should become an offensive force.
Pick 6.66 – Ian Anderson, SP, Atlanta Braves – AA
Ian Anderson gets lost in the deep Atlanta Braves pitching pool, but I believe he may have the best combination of stuff/floor of the bunch. While he doesn’t have Touki’s ceiling or Soroka’s floor, the combination of his three above-average offerings plus the potential for plus command gives Anderson the edge in my eyes. Originally thought to be taken at 3rd overall to sign an under-slot deal, he’s proven he was worth the draft pick. While he does throw over the top and sometimes can struggle with control (as per his 4.19 BB/9 in AA), he does regularly pound the strike zone with ease. Some worry about his low spin-rate pitches, but until he proves otherwise, they don’t seem to be an issue.
Pick 7.79 – Brandon Marsh, CF, Los Angeles Angels – A+
This is where I started to take some riskier guys. The Angels have done an amazing job gathering toolsy outfielders and Brandon Marsh fits in this mold. Health has been an issue with Marsh in previous years and it was good to see him play quite a bit last year, albeit with some power issues. He struggled upon his promotion to High A but started to show more pop eventually. He cooled off closer to the end of the minor league season, possibly due to a workload he isn’t accustomed to. While he is prone to strikeouts he is willing to take a walk and showcased a power/speed combo few in the minors have. He has a decent floor thanks to his defense, and if his bat can keep up, a good chance at a top 36 OFer.
Pick 8.91 – Jon Duplantier, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks – AA
With one of my favorite names in the minors (I always put on a HEAVY french accent to pronounce it JEAN DU-PLAN-TI-EH, thank the Eastern Canadian in me) Jon Duplantier has risen the minors fairly quickly after questions surrounded the health of his arm. 2018 didn’t help those concerns in any way, as he went down with biceps tendonitis and a hamstring injury, but while he was on the field he was pretty dominant. Armed with a 60-grade fastball and a recently introduced but already effective slider, Duplantier can utilize his four pitches effectively to get groundballs (53.3% groundball rate in 2018) and strikeouts. He should see some time in the majors in 2019 and the humidor in Chase Field should only help his case as a decent starting pitcher.
Pick 9.103 – Grant Lavigne, 1B, Colorado Rockies – R
Yes? Okay fine. Grant Lavigne was drafted in the comp round last year, and all he did was smoke the crap out of the ball. It’s hard to put a lot of stock into a cold-weather prep first baseman, but Lavigne has done everything you could ask to get onto your radar. Slashing an absurd .350/.477/.519, it was clear he was too advanced for rookie ball. He has 70-grade raw power and should have a good enough hit tool to use it in game. If you did end up clicking on the videos of him hitting bombs, you may have noticed all three were opposite field home runs, and something Lavigne himself wants to do is utilize an all-fields approach. While he’s only 19 and anything can go wrong with a player that young, he’s the perfect first baseman to dream on.
Pick 10.114 – Jordyn Adams, CF, Los Angeles Angels – R
Another toolsy Angels outfielder! Jordyn Adams, like Marsh, could become a five-tool stud, but his calling card is his immense speed upside. Compared to Marsh, however, Adams is…. *ahem* HE’S BLOODY RAWWWWWWWW. Athleticism oozes off of Adams, and he had a fairly decent introduction to pro ball except for breaking his jaw in an outfield collision. FanGraphs gives him an 80-speed grade, and he is one of just five guys to get that distinction (of that group, only MAYBE Christian Pache has a better all-around skill set and more upside than Adams). Be prepared to let Adams work his way up to the majors, as they have plenty of outfield prospects ahead of him on the depth chart. Can you IMAGINE an outfield of Adams, Angels Mike Trout and Jo Adell in 2022? Holy smokes, highlight reel plays every night. I might be becoming an Angels fan.
Pick 11.127 – Jonathan Loaisiga, SP, New York Yankees – AAA/MLB
The Yankees are a starting pitching factory, and Jonathan Loaisiga is just another product of their excellent scouting staff. Loaisiga is a very lively arm, having potentially three 60-grade pitches (fastball, slider, and change) and decent command to boot. So why is he just getting recognition now? Well, that’s because he’s only thrown a combined 35 innings in affiliated ball coming into 2018. Shoulder injuries and Tommy John surgery made Loaisiga look like a long-shot to making the MLB, but he finally reached it in 2018, and did VERY well, ignoring his ERA. He should be one of the first pitchers up when the Yankees have an injury, and with CC currently as the 5th starter, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Loaisiga getting quite a few innings this year in the majors.
Pick 12.138 – Oneil Cruz, SS/3B, Pittsburgh Pirates – A
This was purely a potential pick as Oneil Cruz could become a 30 HR shortstop, and those are QUITE valuable. The one big issue with that is just how absolutely massive Cruz is, as he stands at a mighty 6’8″ tall. For example, Troy Tulowitzki, who has been considered very tall for the shortstop position, stands at just 6’3″. More than likely he will have to shift over to 3B and he could still be an above average bat, thanks to his raw power. He could grade out as a 40 hitter thanks to his height and length of his swing, but he’s got a surprising amount of speed for someone as giant as Cruz. He’s handled aggressive assignments well and hit a healthy 134 wRC+ for the Pirates Single-A ball team last year. Only 20 years old, Cruz struck out just 22.6% and had an ISO above .200, both excellent numbers for a player over two years younger than the average A ball player.
Pick 13.151 – Daniel Lynch, SP, Kansas City Royals – A
A sleeper of mine in FYPD, Daniel Lynch was a steal for the Royals at 34th overall in the pitching haul of the 2018 Royals draft class. A tall, power lefty (my FAVOURITE type of pitcher) he could end up being the best of the group, as once he debuted in pro ball he saw an uptick in fastball velocity. He sits around 93 MPH with his four-seam but tops out at 96-97 with the pitch, also throwing a two-seamer with a ton of sink, has a wipeout slider and a change-up that gets nice velocity separation from his fastballs. One of the bigger issues, however, was Lynch couldn’t hold his velocity up late into his starts and had troubles going deep into games because of this. With some more time and development, we should see Lynch iron out this issue and potentially become the Royals best prospect, as he has the strikeout upside and projectability that teams yearn for. One last thing: his stat line in 40 innings of A ball consists of a 10.58 K/9, 1.35 BB/9, 49.5% ground-ball rate and a 1.90 FIP.
Pick 14.162 – Tyler Nevin, OF/3B/1B, Colorado Rockies – A+
Cornering the market on Rockies corner infielders has to work out for me, right? It’s taken a couple of years for Tyler Nevin to come onto everyone’s radar, but after a successful 2018 and a blazing AFL appearance (in which he batted .426/.535/.593) he’s a hot commodity. Injuries have plagued Nevin since being drafted in 2015, but when healthy, all he’s done is prove that he can hit like his dad Phil Nevin. While he may not become a massive home run hitter, he’s got an advanced hit tool that should help him put up big numbers in Coors Field. I have him listed as outfield and third base eligible but more than likely he ends up at first base, which could complicate him and Lavigne in the future (until the DH comes to the NL).
Pick 15.175 – Ronny Mauricio, SS, New York Mets – Rookie
Projection is the biggest thing with Ronny Mauricio. Standing a lean 6’3″, Mauricio has all of the aspects of a prospect you can dream on; he’s incredibly athletic, has a good frame to grow into, and held his own in a league that on average was three years older than he was. The Mets pushed Mauricio and he responded well, showing a good hit tool for his age and didn’t show any signs of bad plate discipline. The guys over at FanGraphs said he looked like Free Agents Manny Machado, Hanley Ramirez and Houston Astro’s Carlos Correa did at that age, which further enforces the prospects of Mauricio growing into some power (and maybe superstar power). Next year should be an interesting year for Mauricio and will show whether he becomes a top 100 dude or someone we will have to wait a bit for.
Pick 16.186 Mike Siani, OF, Cincinnati Reds – Rookie
I swear I am not a Reds fan. Their drafting over the last couple of years, however, has made me a fantasy Reds fan. Mike Siani is a prep outfielder that showed an above-average hit tool (17.1% strikeout percentage) for someone that young and has plus speed with a plus arm in the outfield. He’s safer than most prep batters normally are and when all is said and done could develop into a four-tool outfielder with decent pop. It wouldn’t surprise me if Siani moved faster than most prep outfielders and reaches the majors in a year or two. He doesn’t have much projection left in terms of power and did struggle with it in his first taste of pro ball (0.98 ISO) but at this point of the draft, every prospect taken has SOME warts.
Pick 17.199 Orelvis Martinez, SS/3B, Toronto Blue Jays – DNP
My lone homer pick here is the second highest paid IFA signing the Blue Jays have ever made in Orelvis Martinez (highest is, of course, Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr). At only 17 years of age and with very little statistical information, I’m going to just have to use what little video I’ve found and scouting reports. While he’s currently listed at shortstop, most scouts expect him to grow out of the position and end up at third base, but his bat will play up mightily anywhere. Blessed with quick bat speed and massive raw power, Martinez could eventually become a prototypical cleanup hitter who hits 30+ home runs. However, we must remember he’s only 17, and AT BEST is more than likely four years away. Unless he hits like Vlad*. Then it’s *heart eyes emoji* for all of his backers.
*Note: He will probably not hit like Vlad. Vladdy almost became the first minor leaguer to hit .400 over a full season. He’s very good.
Pick 18.210 Spencer Howard, SP, Philadelphia Phillies – A
It’s amazing what adding a couple of MPH to a fastball can do for a prospect. While Spencer Howard has always been lauded for having great stuff, last year he saw an increase in velocity that allowed him to hit the high 90’s and armed with his wipe-out slider, had a 31.6% strikeout percentage last year in A ball. In 2017, while he still struck out almost a third of batters, he battled control issues to the tune of a 14.6% walk rate, which is remarkably bad. He was able to get the command issues under control in 2018 and dropped his walk rate to 8.6%, which is still kinda high but more manageable. At the age of 22, he should start 2019 in AA and could see an MLB audition later in the year depending on how he does. He also threw a no-hitter in a playoff game last year, so that’s super cool.
Pick 19.223 Jeremiah Jackson, SS, Los Angeles Angels – Rookie
I did not realize just how heavy I went into the Reds and Angels farms. But for a good reason! Jeremiah Jackson was the Angels second round pick this year and showed intriguing power potential from the middle infield spot. While he did strike out quite a bit (over 30% in his first year of pro-ball) it wasn’t too major for an 18-year-old in rookie ball and he absolutely destroyed the ball (.805 OPS despite having a .314 OBP). He, much like the other Angels prospects, has a ton of athleticism that, if he can work on his first-step, should allow him to become a good defender at shortstop, as he has an above-average arm there. He has above average speed as well so some stolen bases could be in his future, albeit not trailblazing speed. He should start back in the Pioneer league but if he ends up crushing it don’t be surprised if he ends in A ball or even High A.
Pick 20.234 Ethan Hankins, SP, Cleveland Indians – Rookie
At one point, there were rumblings Ethan Hankins had a shot to become just the first prep pitcher to go 1.1 in the draft, however, a shoulder injury his draft year wrecked whatever chance he had. Cleveland still liked him enough to take him with the 35th pick and more than likely will be thrilled to have gotten him there. He stands at 6’6″ and is athletic as hell, but it’s so so hard to trust a prep arm that has a history of shoulder injuries. WHEN HEALTHY, Hankins sports a fastball that has gotten 70 grades and three other pitches (slider, curve, and change-up) that have gotten above-average potential grades slapped on them. It’s a real “wait and see” thing with Hankins, but this late he has soooooooo much potential that I couldn’t pass him up. I also put some stock into the Indians farm system and how they’ve been able to churn out arms. They always seem to get the best of players’ abilities, and hopefully, this will be no different.
Pick 21.247 Luis Oviedo, SP, Cleveland Indians – A
Speaking of the Indians and their ability to get the best from players, let me introduce you to flamethrower Luis Oviedo. After posting a 7.14 ERA in 2017, Oviedo made massive strides in 2018, and started utilizing his height (6’4″) to induce a lot of ground balls and strikeouts. Part of the bad year in 2017 also can be accounted for his coaches asking him to work on certain pitches. While his change-up is currently his best secondary pitch, he also uses a slider and curveball that have the potential to be average to above. He struggled with a promotion to A ball in 2018 so he more than likely will start there, with a chance to end the year in AA or even AAA if all goes well.
Pick 22.258 Shervyen Newton, SS/2B/3B, New York Mets – Rookie
Shervyen Newton, much like his teammate Mauricio, was challenged by the Mets and put into Kingsport, skipping the GCL completely. Unlike Mauricio, however, he destroyed pitching to the tune of .280/.408/.449. The guys at FanGraphs compared his size to that of an NFL wide receiver prospect and projects to have plus raw power at maturity. Someone his size may have issues sticking at shortstop, but his bat could potentially play just as well at third or second base. He’s the type of lottery pick I’d be looking to make this late into the draft, as his ceiling is that of a superstar, but he could also potentially flame out in AA.
Pick 23.271 Sherten Apostel, 3B, Texas Rangers – A-
Why do I like Apostel? He’s currently got 55 grade raw power which is pretty good for a 19-year-old, and should only grow into more. He also has stellar patience, as shown by his 0.82 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 2018. The downsides? Well, at peak he may only have a 45 hit tool and may have to move to first base, which wouldn’t be ideal. He could become a three true outcomes type of player, which in today’s environment wouldn’t be the worst outcome for him, despite the negativity towards them. Adam Dunn made a whole career being a three outcome guy for frig sakes! Ahem, sorry. 2080 Baseball put an interesting Nolan Jones comp on him as a ceiling, and that is a good enough reason to take him this late.
Pick 24.282 Andy Young, 2B, Arizona Diamondbacks – AAA
THAT DAMN CARDINALS DEVIL MAGIC! Wait, he’s not a Cardinal anymore? THE POINT STILL STANDS! Andy Young was a fairly unheralded prospect coming up through the St Louis Cardinals system, being drafted in the 37th round (pick 1126!). After some underwhelming seasons for a player his age, Young had an explosive 2018, posting a .950 OPS in AA (with a crazy .556 slugging percentage). Labeled as a prototypical Cardinals player (scrappy, gets the most of his tools, etc.) Young may never walk a ton, but has an intriguing bat with a bit of pop (a la Cardinals Paul DeJong, Yairo Munoz, seriously how do they keep doing this?). The Arizona Diamondbacks liked what they saw in Young and got him as part of the deal for franchise player Paul Goldschmidt (sorry Diamondback fans). Young should get of playing time eventually in 2019 with only Arizona Diamondbacks Wilmer Flores, Nick Ahmed, and Ketel Marte ahead of him on the middle infield depth chart and could surprise once up.
Pick 25.295 Tristan Pompey, OF, Miami Marlins – A+
Of course with my final pick of the Pitcher List Prospect Mock Draft I would take a GOOD ‘OL CANADIAN BOY! Tristan Pompey (younger brother of Toronto Blue Jays Dalton Pompey) was picked in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft by the Miami Marlins, and he hit well breezing through three levels of the minors. Pompey profiles as having an above average eye at the plate, as he’s very disciplined and has a patient approach. While he doesn’t currently have a ton of pop, he could grow into 20+ home runs despite a potential average hit tool. He did work on that after being drafted, however, eliminating a stutter-step and introducing a leg kick, which helped him square up pitches better and his timing overall. As my last pick, I loved the prospect that Pompey could breakout this year and make the Marlins look really smart for taking him.
So there we have it. Looking over my team I think I probably should have taken another catcher (especially since Mejia might not even be a catcher a year from now) and possibly another starter. I think I did a good job overall having a mix of everything. Young and old, power and speed, patience and…no patience. I think I’ve built a powerhouse here and I’m looking forward to coming back to this in five years and seeing just how right I was.
(Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)