Two Saturdays ago, I released the top 15 picks in my First Year Player Draft Rankings. I then followed this up with the latest edition of the Prospect Podcast this past Saturday, where Halp and I mocked out the first 32 picks of a First Year Player draft with Matt Thompson of Friends With Fantasy Benefits, and Smokey. Today we complete the dynasty nerd trilogy with the resolution of my rankings. Because I’m incapable of making difficult decisions and setting boundaries I went a little past 30. Don’t complain, I’m giving you extra. How ungrateful can you be? In today’s post I get a little deeper into the J2’s, as I included 10 of them. This year we had a solid J2 class and a weak draft class, so there’s more of an International flavor in the 2017 rankings than there might have been in past years. (Hopefully the international flavor is Jerk seasoning, but I will settle for Chimichurri, or a solid curry.) It’s also a pitching heavy class, with it being an extremely soft year for college bats. I can’t remember having so many pitchers, particularly prep, in my rankings. Enough with the “Hi, hows ya fathers”, let’s get into it!
16. Jorge Ona, OF Padres: The big powerful outfielder is more than likely one of the top three players in this year’s international class, (behind Maitan and Morejon). Blessed with 60 grade power and an above average hit tool, the Cuban teenager looks to have a middle of the order ceiling. Of course, he’s a long ways off still, so you’ll have to be patient in dynasty leagues.
17. Joey Wentz, LHP Braves: The lefty recovered from a bout of dead arm that kept him from pitching on the prep showcase circuit this past summer. Instead Wentz “showcased” (<–see what I did..) his hitting ability as a powerful first base prospect, a performence that easily would have earned him a selection in the first three rounds of this year’s draft. Fortunately/unfortunately he overcame his dead arm issue and was able to toss 44 innings in his pro debut. He showed swing and miss stuff, but often at the expense of his control. He’s young, and still learning to harness his stuff, so I wouldn’t sweat the walk rate. He’s got the size, the repertoire, and the stuff to project as a potential top of the rotation starter. He also throws with clean arm action, and an athletic repeatable delivery.
18. Bobby Dalbec, 3B Arizona: After setting the PAC-10 on fire as a Sophomore, Dalbec struggled to duplicate the success in his junior season. Struggling with strike outs and the weight of being the big bat in the Wildcats lineup, Dalbec faltered. Despite a heroic performance in Arizona’s College World Series run, Dalbec dropped to the Red Sox in the fourth round. Upon assignment to class A short season Lowell of the New York Penn League, Dalbec raked, averaging nearly a RBI per game and cranking 7 homers in 35 games. He’s one of the better values in first year player drafts, and someone I’ll own everywhere. Draft Dalbec.
19. Matt Manning, RHP Tigers: One of the better raw prep pitching talents in the 2016 class, Manning was a surprise top 10 selection for the Tigers. While there are concerns about the control and command, the Nasty K upside was on display in his first bout with proball. As he averaged a very exciting 14.11 K/9 to a very reasonable BB/9 of 2.15 in the rookie level GCL.
20. Taylor Trammell, OF Reds: In the first pick of the Comp round the Reds scooped up the athletic Trammell. As a senior at Mount Paran Christian High School in Georgia, Trammell was considered one of the top football recruits in the state. In a trend I hope to see continue, Trammell scorned the advances of top notch NCAA football programs to persue his dream of playing in the major leagues. Blessed with plus speed and projectable power, Trammell is one of the better athletes in the class. Which I’m pretty sure is prep speak for black, but I’m not sure.
21. Dakota Hudson, RHP Cardinals: The arm strength and projectability of Hudson has been well known since his time as a Tennessee high school talent. However, he opted to attend Mississippi State, where he honed his plus 94-97 MPH, and nasty cutter/slider breaking pitch. He mixes that with average change and curve offerings, but throws all four for strikes. With a durable frame and deceptive, if not bizarre delivery. He’s one of those players, where you read the scouting reports and wonder, “why didn’t he go earlier”. Scouts are batt shizz, that’s why.
22. Forrest Whitley, RHP Astros: This draft has some real giants, Puk, Hansen, and Wentz, but none more opposing than Whitley. At 6’7 240 he has the workhorse frame, and the plus stuff to have front end starter upside. He’s worked hard to firm up his big frame; has great polish and body control for a big guy.
23. Delvin Perez, SS Cardinals: Perez went really early in our Mock First Year Player Draft to friend of the show Matt Thompson of Friends With Fantasy Benefits. Admittedly he’s a Cardinals fan, and it was a homer pick, but the upside is there. While the PED stuff garnered questions, his first go at pro ball in the GCL was quite solid. While he’ll likely never be a fantasy superstar, he does possess enough speed and hit tool to at least project as a top of the order run producer in his best years.
24. Josh Lowe, 3B Tampa Bay: Some reports rate Lowe as the best pure hitter not only in Tampa’s 2016 draft class but also in the entire system. Lowe shows extremely good plate approach and strike zone recognition, particularly for someone his age. If he can cut down on his strikeouts, and make more consistent contact, he should be able to really tap into his raw power, and develop into the middle of the order bat the Rays desire. Could be Evan Longoria’s replacement.
25. Braxton Garrett, LHP Marlins: Following Tyler Kolek’s recent TJ the Marlins took it extra cautious with Garrett. Holding him back from any innings in the minors, in order to preserve his arm/elbow/shoulder/boyish charm. Possesses the best/second best hook in the draft only next to Groome, and has a solid low to mid-90’s heater. He’s rather safe for a prep pitcher, and still has some projectability.
26. Bryan Reynolds, OF Giants: Usually the best hitter at Vanderbilt carries some cachet. For whatever reason the switch-hitting Reynolds slid to the Giants in the second round. He possesses above average power and a little speed. His approach leaves something to be desired, but it’s not awful either. He’s a player who does a lot of things pretty well, but no outstanding tool.
27. Ian Anderson, RHP Braves: On this week’s prospect podcast Anderson was highly contested pick by my co-host, and spirit animal Michael Halpern. Matt Thompson and I were a little skeptical of his overall fantasy upside. I think he projects to be a Rick Porcello type, ground ball and 7 K/9 pitcher.
29. Anfernee Grier, OF Diamondbacks: Here’s a toolsy college hitter with a lot of strides to make to accumulate to the next level. He possesses elite speed and gap to double digit homer power. If he can refine his hit tool and use his speed on the bases, Grier could develop into a top offensive talent. Lots of risk/reward with this pick.
30. Lucas Erceg, 3B Brewers: A powerful all or nothing corner infielder, Erceg fell off/down a lot of team’s draft radars due to his season at a small school. His reports range from potential middle of the order bat to inconsistent power hitter. He’s still got the one tool that makes most fantasy owners drool, power.
31. Nolan Jones, 3B Indians: Pennsylvania prep player blessed with excellent bat speed and great raw power. He’s inevitably tied to first rounder Josh Lowe as two of the top power hitting prep corner infielders, but has yet to show any game power, unlike Lowe. There was some discussion on the podcast this week as to who we each preferred Lowe or Jones, and after much thought and deliberation, I’m taking Lowe.
32. Riley Pint, RHP Rockies: Could be the most talented pitcher in the draft but unfortunately he was cursed with the pick of the Rockies, and now he’s destined for streamable starts and 4+ ERA’s, for shame.
33. Cody Sedlock, RHP Orioles: How bad is the O’s system that he’s arguably the best prospect in the system? While I’m not one to believe in Orioles pitching prospects, Sedlock offers some intriguing long term potential. He features a four pitch arsenal, led by a mid 90’s fastball with sink, two above average breaking pitches in a slider and curve, and an average change that’s still a work in progress. Much like former college teammate and 2015 first round pick Tyler Jay, Sedlock started out in the Illinois bullpen before being moved into the rotation last year. The results were excellent following the move, and he looks destined for a starting gig long term.
34. Lazarito, OF Athletics: By far the biggest question mark in this year’s first year player draft. Some scouting reports would place him a not too distant second to Maitan in the international crop, while others say he’s got bust written all over him. The tools are high end power/speed upside. However, the inconsistent reports, mixed with the correction in the Cuban market, has seen his stock drop a bit compared to where it would have been in past years. With that said, he’s young and talented, so he should have the time to form good habits. Now it’s just a question of “is he coachable?”
35. Eric Lauer, LHP Padres: The junior lefty from Kent State finished the 2016 season with an ERA of 0.69, the lowest from a division 1 starter in 37 years. Following his record setting season, Lauer was selected by the Padres at the end of the first round. The pick landed the Friars their second polished college pitcher after taking Cal Quantrill with their first pick. Lauer doesn’t possesses the ceiling of some of the other arms taken in this draft, yet he offers fantasy owners one of the better floors. A four pitch arsenal and an easy, repeatable, and athletic delivery, make him a likely fast mover through the minors. Could be the first starter taken in the 2016 draft to reach the majors.
The Rest of the Top 50
36. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP Reds
37. Peter Alonso, 1B Mets
38. Luis Almanzar, SS Padres
39. Justin Dunn, RHP Mets
40. Will Benson, 3B Indians
41. Victor Garcia, OF Cardinals
42. Yanio Perez, 3B/OF Rangers
43. Kyle Muller, LHP Braves
44. Chris Okey, C Reds
45. Freudis Nova, SS Astros
46. Alec Hansen, RHP White Sox
47. Cionel Perez, LHP Astros
48. D.J. Peters, OF Dodgers
49. Jordan Sheffield, RHP Dodgers
50. Randy Arozarena, SS/OF Cardinals
51. Ronald Bolanos, RHP Padres
52. Cody Thomas, OF Dodgers