Winners and Losers from the MLB Draft

Jamie discusses his five team winners and losers from the MLB draft.

With arguably the weirdest draft in MLB history over, we can start to dissect and analyze each team’s drafts. Time will tell who truly wins but we as fantasy players are clearly bored and need to find SOME WAY to itch the fantasy bug in our brains! Today I’ll be talking about five winners and losers from the draft and discuss each of the picks I liked and disliked.

 

Winners

Detroit Tigers

It’s hard to not win a draft when you’re drafting from the 1st spot but you sure can lose it. Thankfully for Tigers fans that was not the case, as they seemingly allowed the picks to fall to them (after Spencer Torkelson of course) and got some of the top players available. Of their six picks, I liked all of them, and only one was drafted earlier than projected. They were:

 

1.1 – Spencer Torkelson – 1B – While he may not have been the unanimous #1 overall pick, Torkelson is arguably the safest bat in the draft. Even though R/R first basemen are worrisome, Torkelson has an easy time getting to his massive power. He will hit with power to all fields and go up the middle when presented. His patience will help him keep a higher on-base and control the at-bats. Interestingly enough the Tigers announced him as a third-baseman but he will likely end up back at first base or in left field.

2.38 – Dillon Dingler – C – Dinger was projected in many places as a 1st round talent, but slipped to the Tigers in the 2nd round. He broke out offensively in 2019 with a .291/.392/.424 slash-line then in his small 2020 sample destroyed baseballs. His .340/.404/.760 slash was asinine and while it wouldn’t stay that high, scouts had previously theorized he had more power in the tank. On top of his bat, he’s lauded for his defensive game behind the plate and as a good receiver. With the game going towards an automatic strike-zone that might not matter as much, but his bat could still take him far.

2.62 – Danny Cabrera – OF – The best value pick of their draft, Cabrera was one of the best pure hitters of the collegiate crew and projected to go in the 1st. The fact the Tigers were able to get him this late is insanity. Cabrera has a smooth left-handed swing and will be able to hit for power and average. He more than likely ends up in left-field even though he played in right-field last year.

3.73 – Trei Cruz – SS – Third time’s the charm for Cruz who was previously drafted by the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals. Son of José Cruz Jr, last year with Rice he showed a modified leg kick that allowed him to tap into his power more frequently. He’s got good contact abilities and should become someone that hits 12-15 home runs a season. Whether he sticks at shortstop or slides over to second base is the biggest question with him.

4.102 – Gage Workman – 3B – Torkelson’s teammate, Workman showed a ton of pop in his big, 6’4 frame. A switch-hitter, Workman is able to tap into the power more often from the left side. He may need to work on his strikeouts as they’ve been an issue in the past, but he has time to improve there as a younger college drafted player at just 20 years old. I can see him returning to Arizona State but if the Tigers can sign him, they got a steal here. Also, his middle-name is Tater and that’s super freakin’ awesome.

5.132 – Colt Keith – SP/SS – A two-way player, some scouts are mixed on which position he should play in the future as he shows that much potential at both. A good roll-of-the-die this late, he makes hard, consistent contact and shows some pop. With continued growth, he could become a power bat and tap into the raw power he shows. He could also become a decent starter, featuring a 91MPH fastball and a good, biting curveball. Like most young pitchers his changeup is a work in progress, but we’ll see if he continues to develop it.

Toronto Blue Jays

Anytime you have the 2nd best prospect fall to you at five you win. As a Jays fan, I didn’t expect Austin Martin to make it that far in the draft but was thrilled when he did. Thankfully, one of the losers decided to get cute, and here we are. Who else did they draft to make them a winner? Pretty much all of their picks have upside few other teams could match.

 

1.5 – Austin Martin – SS – Arguably the best overall player in the draft, there’s a good chance Martin ends up a better real-life player than fantasy. Don’t let this sway you on him for fantasy purposes though as he does a ton right. He’s got a quick swing that allows him to make stellar contact and control the zone effectively. He led the SEC last year in average and on-base, and while he isn’t known for power he can still tap into it effectively. He could end up at second, third, shortstop, or centerfield depending on how his throwing progresses.

2.42 – CJ Van Eyk – SP – A complete starter package, Van Eyk features a fastball, curveball, and change. His fastball sits 93-94 MPH and he gets solid bite on his curveball. The changeup needs work but with time should grow. Walks have been an issue for him in his collegiate career and will need improvement to reach the majors. He has reliever risk on him but has shown an ability to mix-in his pitches in any count and has good spin-rates.

3.77 – Trent Palmer – SP – Palmer got a ton of helium before the draft and for good reason. In the small sample of 2020, he pitched 27.2 innings with 41 strikeouts and a shiny 1.30 ERA. He also showed well last year in the Cape Cod and for this reason, was popped a lot earlier than most people expected. He features good velocity on his fastball, hitting 98 and showing an ability to hold the velocity late into starts. He also shows a slider and splitter that both get mixed scouting results.

4.106 – Nick Frasso – SP – Thought to have 1st round potential before the season started, two bad starts then arm tightness (and the shut down of the season) ended that train of thought. He features a low-90s fastball he utilized up in the zone for strikeouts. He also has a sweeping curveball sitting 74-76 MPH that tunnels well with the fastball, fooling hitters and making them look silly. His changeup also shows plus. As a whole, he needs some work as he just focused strictly on baseball going into college, so patience is needed with him.

5.136 – Zach Britton, OF –  As a Jays fan, I must say I LOVED the Jays for drafting Britton just for the memes. He more than likely was a senior sign to ensure Austin Martin signed, but Britton also showed some potential. He showed excellent power production this year with a .322/.446/.542 line before play was ended. He seems to have made adjustments that might have been fueling a breakout. He seems to fit a prototypical corner outfielder so he’ll really have to slug to fit there but in deep dynasties, I would keep him in mind.

 

Colorado Rockies

When I saw that Zac Veen had not only dropped to but subsequently draft by the Colorado Rockies, I began to salivate. They also did well with their next two picks but to be honest, nothing could have deterred me after they got Veen. He will be a top 3 pick in dynasty leagues and for good reason.

1.9 – Zac Veen – OF – The top prep bat in the 2020 class, Veen landed in the dream scenario for himself and fantasy owners. A beautiful left-handed swing, Veen has a lot of strength he can add to his 6’4 frame. Don’t take that as no present power, however, as he has the ability to show that power during batting practice when he utilizes a more upright stance. Elite bat-speed helps him make consistent contact and will help him take full advantage of Coors Field. Currently a center-fielder, he’ll more than likely have to move to a corner but will hit enough to play there.

1.35 – Drew Romo – C – Is Romo the chosen one? The catcher to FINALLY get a chance to make Coors his playground? I sure hope so. Romo was projected to go as early as the 1st round, so the Rockies got a steal here. Romo was known mainly for his stellar defense and advanced receiving skills before breaking out offensively last year. He’s a switch-hitter that is currently hit-tool over power, but some scouts have said he has massive raw pop as-is.  As with most prep catchers, there’s a good chance he doesn’t make the leap but his potential is quite high in Coors.

2.46 – Chris McMahon – SP – Pitchers in Coors are always in a scary position, but they still need ’em, so why not take someone who should have gone earlier? Projected to go in the 1st round by MLB.com, McMahon is the complete package. His fastball sits 94 MPH, touching 98 MPH and throws it mostly down in the zone (which might have been a product of the collegiate game but better for Coors). He switched from a cutter to a longer slider that helped him unlock another gear and his changeup gets groundballs. Coors field is scary, and McMahon won’t get drafted in too many dynasty leagues, but don’t be surprised if he is able to be a mid-rotation option for the Rockies.

Philadelphia Phillies

While the Phillies were missing their second-round pick, they really nailed the picks before and after it. Getting potentially two fantasy studs meant they’ll have to get the two other picks under slot. That’s certainly okay when the two guys are oozing with as much potential as they are.

 

1.15 – Mick Abel – SP – Abel was mocked in the top 10 in a lot of places so the Phillies had to pull the trigger on him at 15. Prep arms can be scary, but Abel is the perfect prototype for what you’re looking for in one. He’s got a big frame, three/four pitches that should play above-average, and a good, clean delivery. He was able to hit 97 MPH on his fastball and still has room for muscle, which means there may be more room to gain some additional velocity.

3.84 – Casey Martin – SS – Martin might have the loudest tools of this class. I love to gamble on players like him as he has the potential to swing your fantasy team if he hits and shouldn’t cost too much. I took Martin myself in the Pitcher List MLB 2020 Mock Draft at 31st overall believing the talent could overcome the major strikeout issues currently present. He features explosive speed and power but needs to work on both his stolen base and plate approach. This is a boon for the Phillies in the 3rd and gives them one of the better draft duos in terms of upside. Quite good for not having a second-round pick.

Chicago White Sox

You could argue the Chicago Cubs were also a winner but I couldn’t put them in over the White Sox haul. Anytime you have the chance to take two top 15 prospects, you do it. The White Sox will have to sign the rest of their picks severely under slot to get it done, but there’s still a good chance they can pull it off.

1.11 – Garrett Crochet – SP – It’s unfortunate Covid-19 hit (for many reasons, of course), robbing us of watching Crochet possibly hit 100 MPH with his fastball. In his lone college start in 2020 he hit 99 MPH after maxing at 97 MPH last year and was working 95+. He features a sweeping slider reminiscent of Andrew Miller‘s wipeout beast. Both his fastball and slider feature high spin-rates and his changeup flashes plus. His control can waver at times, being so tall and lanky, but for his height can throw strikes better than you would expect. I love a tall lefty with strikeout stuff, and Crochet checks all the boxes tenfold.

2.47 – Jared Kelley – SP – Want an insane stat to show just how good Kelley was this year? Kelley pitched 12 innings before everything was shut down this year. Of the 36 batters he got out, he struck out 34 of ’em. Like all Texas prep arms, Kelley features a big, strong frame and a big fastball. Of all the prep arms he has the most impressive fastball, pushing it up to 98 MPH with little effort. His best strikeout pitch is his changeup that features a ton of fade and is already advanced for his age. While his slider/curve isn’t a stellar pitch as is, it has the potential to be at least average. If this doesn’t happen, an elite relief ace is a good fallback option.

 

 

 

 

Losers

Baltimore Orioles

Now, this isn’t really fair to the Orioles. I do think Baltimore recovered nicely after their mediocre day 1, but in a draft that’s only 5 rounds, you gotta really nail your early picks. That’s not to say I don’t like Heston Kjerstad, but I felt like he was the ninth-best player available in the draft, not second. Like the Winners section, I’ll be listing the picks I particularly didn’t like and list why while still describing the player.

1.2 – Heston Kjerstad – OF – I liked the logic behind what Baltimore was trying to do if they were able to land Nick Bitsko with this pick. Unfortunately, that was not the case and they had to pass up Austin Martin and co. to try. Kjerstad himself is an enticing bat. He’s showed arguably the most raw power of any lefty in the class and destroyed all throughout his collegiate career despite a complicated swing. He was off to a blistering start in 2020 with a .448/.513/.791 slash line in 16 games. His main drawback, and my biggest worry, is the strikeouts. The 2nd overall pick shouldn’t have such a glaring hole in his game. His power will play in Camden Yards, however, and has a chance to become the next big slugger.

2.30 – Jordan Westburg – SS – There’s no way that Westburg would be able to get people as excited as someone like Nick Bitsko. That’s just the unfortunate case, as Westburg isn’t a bad prospect at all but doesn’t have nearly the upside guys like Bitsko, Jared Kelley, Cole Wilcox, and JT Ginn have. As the White Sox did, that should have been the optimal strategy, trying to get two top-end guys. The great thing about prospects is this could make me look awful in five years! Back to Westburg, he has shown he’s got good power and speed but currently his approach needs work. The concern is strikeouts could limit the overall package, as he is very aggressive and his pitch recognition isn’t the best. He doesn’t have one standout offensive tool but if he can rework the approach, he’s got a chance to become a bat you’d be interested in.

2.39 – Hudson Haskin – OF – Orioles fans, please don’t hate me! I just wouldn’t have approached the draft the way they did. Haskin seems like a pick you would make if you were trying to under-slot him, but they already did that with Kjerstad? A quick glance at Haskin’s stat-sheet and you’ll notice he’s walked more than he’s struck out in college. That’s very good and something that will take him far if it continues. His swing is very unique but works for him currently. I saw currently as it’s quite possible once he starts seeing better pitching it’ll become too long and have trouble with velocity. His ceiling is a five-tool outfielder that leads off but I don’t currently love the bat. He’ll have to come out swinging next year to get me on board.

3.74 – Anthony Servideo – SS – Alex Fast and Ben Palmer will never read my stuff again! Before this year Servideo never really hit all that well, with concerns on his bat popping up on the Cape Cod last summer. What isn’t a question is his defensive ability, as he’s a slick shortstop that should stay there for the future. The one intrigue I have is he added a leg kick coming into 2020 and exploded to a .390/.575/.695 slash-line. He’s a developmental project and could be something interesting, just don’t love it here.

 

 

Boston Red Sox

Losing their second-round pick because of the sign-stealing scandal, the Red Sox had to get creative to acquire the talent they wanted. Creative is a good way to describe their first-round pick, as no one expected such an off the board pick (many places had him in the 100s).

1.17 – Nick Yorke – 2B – This kid is going to have a ton of unfair pressure placed on him. First, because Red Sox fans tend to be passionate, and second because anyone drafted in the mid-first round already has some level of expectation placed on them. Yorke has some enticing potential as an offensive-first second-baseman but needs to show his shoulder has healed properly. He spent all of 2019 DHing for his High School team because of shoulder surgery and reports were mixed on his arm-strength when he played in 2020. Offensively he’s got good plate discipline and an advanced hit tool for his age. Red Sox scouting director Paul Toboni comped him to Kevin Youkilis only adding to the fuel of hype he’s going to face.

3.89 – Blaze Jordan – 3B/1B – The big reason for drafting Yorke so early was to be able to get Jordan this late. Famous for his showcase home-run derby winning shot of 395 feet at the age of 11 (yes, you read that right), Jordan still has that type of power teams salivate over. While he was drafted as a third-baseman I expect him to have to shift over to first sooner than later. His biggest concern is the strikeouts, as he struggled mightily when facing older competition last year. 70-grade raw power is the biggest appeal to Jordan though, and if that is something that interests you he could be a good get. I just don’t think he’s going to hit well enough to tap into it and once he’s a first baseman, he’s really going to have to hit.

 

Texas Rangers

 

Now, I’m no GM (obviously) but this seems….. super weird? I’m the “get your guy” type but drafting a guy in the second round who you could probably have gotten in the last round of the draft seems odd. I got nothing. They went pretty prep heavy, more than likely saving some cash from their first-round pick. This is an interesting route to take, as its very high risk but high reward. With the recent draft history by the Rangers in mind, I think we have the right to question what they were doing.

1.14 – Justin Foscue – 2B – I don’t hate this pick, but Foscue was projected half a round later and might not end up staying at second. His bat is legit, though. His exit-velocities were off the charts using a pull-heavy approach and elite bat-speed. He doesn’t strike out a ton despite an aggressive approach, showcasing this with a crazy 15:3 BB:K ratio in his small 2020 sample. Pull-only power might be an issue in the future but has the approach to succeed in fantasy as a higher floor bat that has a surprisingly high ceiling if the power sticks. Hard to say it will, as most scouts don’t project for one standout tool. I’m buying in fantasy but in real-life that’s a different story.

2.50 – Evan Carter – OF – Who? Like, I’m fairly certain I knew most of the prospects drafted or at least have read something about them but I legitimately had no idea who he was when he was popped. A raw (like, sushi raw) outfielder, Carter wasn’t on MLB.com’s top 200 or BA’s top 500 draft prospects, so I’m sure I wasn’t the only one questioning if he was real or not. He shows some speed and has a good frame but strikeout issues are a major concern for him. This could be just a player the Rangers scouted heavily and liked much more than others but feel they could have gotten him later.

 

Atlanta Braves

I gotta say, as a Jays fan, I am well aware that Alex Anthopolous always makes things interesting. After losing their second-round pick signing Will Smith during the off-season, the Braves felt the need to reach for their first pick as they didn’t see him making it to their second. For the rest of their picks, it seems as though they went the college seniors route, odd considering their 1st round pick should sign for slot (unless money is tight).

1.25 – Jared Shuster – SP – More of a finesse pitcher before showing a velocity spike this year, Shuster shows a good feel for his changeup (a legit 70-grade pitch) and has a third slurvy pitch. His changeup had a 60% whiff rate on it and along with the four-seamer (that sits 93 MPH) showed good strikeout potential. His Cape Cod showing helped solidify himself as a legit prospect last summer with a 1.36 ERA and 4-0 record. If the velocity holds more, he’s got the chance to be a mid-rotation guy but his breaking ball needs a ton of work. They passed up a lot of talent to select Shuster and I’m quite surprised they didn’t try to cut a deal with him to take him in the 3rd.

3.97 – Jesse Franklin – CF – A broken collarbone in a skiing accident cost Franklin his 2019 season and because of COVID wasn’t able to get into any games in 2020. What scouts did see in 2018 was that he became very pull-happy and used that to produce his pop at the cost of strikeouts. He’s also got some speed, but like anyone who hasn’t really played baseball in two years is very raw. His reads in center-field weren’t stellar when he did play and doesn’t project to have the bat to play left-field. A lot of places had him much later, as a last round type of signing but it’s possible he’s not going to cost a lot and was a senior they liked more.

 

San Fransisco Giants

Last but not least, the San Francisco Giants. They went and drafted a catcher with their first pick, which in and of itself isn’t bad. But when you take the best catcher available after spending the 2nd overall pick on a pretty damn good one in Joey Bart, you can start to question what the thought process is. With the rumor the DH is coming to the NL sooner than later, maybe this is a move for that? It doesn’t help to have more catcher depth and I’m sure Bart could play first-base if needed. But they passed on many guys like Mick Abel, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Garrett Mitchell who I all view as higher-upside types of plays. The Giants also had a total of seven picks, the most of any team, and really didn’t get as much upside as you would expect for a team with as much allocation money. Super weird, especially when they need as much talent as possible for an upcoming rebuild. Best player available always, I know, but man this is an instance where maybe you pivot to a player with just as much potential.

1.12 – Patrick Bailey – C – Easily the best catcher in the draft, I’ve already laid out why drafting Bailey seemed odd for the San Francisco Giants. A complete player, he doesn’t seem to have any major flaws. At the same time, he doesn’t present any standout offensive tools, so stardom doesn’t seem to be in his future at this present time. A switch-hitter, he’s more gap power than homers but from the left side shows good raw power. He isn’t afraid to draw walks and before the season was shut-down was destroying the baseball. His defense should take him to the majors but the real question is how the bat is going to progress. It’s hard to like any player in Oracle Park, and catching prospects are hard to love for fantasy so I’ll be passing on Bailey.

2.49 – Casey Schmitt – 3B – A two-way star at San Diego State, Schmitt is an interesting case as a reliever/third-base prospect. He features a pretty damn good splitter at 78 MPH to go with his 94 MPH fastball as the Aztec’s closer. He showed good raw power as a third baseman, performing well on the Cape Cod last year with five home runs (as many as he had as a sophomore). It’s an interesting profile but lacks the upside at either position you would want from a second-round pick. He may be valuable as a 26th man on the roster or potentially decent bat but I don’t believe in the hit-tool enough to become impactful. 

2.68 – Jimmy Glowenke – SS/2B – Listed as a shortstop, Glowenke lacks the range and speed to play shortstop in pro ball so second-base will be his future home. A toolbox of average tools, his one above-average tool is the hit tool that features line-drive contact ability. He didn’t hit well in the Cape Cod league and some worry hitting with wooden bats may be an issue. He does have an ability to control the strike zone and helps prop up the on-base by getting hit by pitches. MLB.com comped him to other previous Dallas Baptist draftee Ryan Goins, so you can hear my excitement while I write this. 

 

So, there you have it. I gotta admit I was very excited to finally get a chance to write about something new. Baseball probably isn’t coming back in 2020 (THANKS MLB OWNERS) so prospects are all I have currently. 

 

Feature Graphic Designed by James Peterson (Follow @jhp_design714 on Instagram & Twitter)

Jamie Sayer

Dynasty and prospect extraordinaire, Jamie loves writing about prospects of all ages. A Diehard Bluejays, Leafs and Raptors fan, Jamie can be reached on Twitter at @JamieSayerPL and on Reddit /u/jamiesayer.

3 responses to “Winners and Losers from the MLB Draft”

  1. Andy Andy says:

    Excellent write-up! The Tigers did exactly what they needed to do to replenish a pitching-heavy farm system, glad to see them get some love here!

  2. Avatar Tom says:

    Dude you literally stole damn near word for word from MLB network and a few other sites. Extraordinaire my ass you just take words from others who actually have a say and name.

  3. Avatar Todd Osborne says:

    Pretty weak blaming MLB ownership when MLBPA has been so poorly run not to mention MLBPA being unable to apparently read or understand contract language they already agreed to back in March. At worst both sides have been ridiculous and unwilling to compromise. So you’re soap box comment blaming management is inappropriate and inaccurate too!

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