Ouch. *cues voice of a young British child named Harry* That really hurt! I can’t say I actually know the level of pain Harry felt when his younger brother Charlie bit his finger that fateful day, but I do know this: last Wednesday really hurt. I mean, yes, it was glorious. It was day one of the 2020 MLB Draft, and it was real. It was baseball, or at least something relevant to the product we so desperately wish to see dancing before our eyes on the diamond during these summer months. It was consumable. It was on live television. It was something I needed and I know a lot of you needed as well.
But as it related to my 2020 MLB Mock Draft, it was a disaster — it truly hurt. It was like being brutally bitten by a bald-headed baby (alliteration on fleak!). I won’t even hide from it. There’s the link. Check it out. There isn’t a whole lot that I got right. Then again, most everyone who took a shot at it got it utterly wrong this year. I love Heston Kjerstad and he’s an incredible player. I believe he’s an excellent prospect to target in upcoming fantasy first-year player drafts (FYPD). But find me a mock that had him going No. 2 overall. Find me a mock that had Nick Yorke going No. 17 to the Red Sox. There were a lot of surprises, even within the top 10. And now, with it all over, we’re left to pick up the pieces.
Truthfully, it doesn’t matter if you watched or not. Even if you didn’t, you can look up who was drafted where, get lost in the hype, and decide who you want to target in your dynasty league. I play in a few home leagues where I already know I’ll have the most efficient FYPD of anyone in my league. While many people select prospects based on where they were drafted, or what Harold Reynolds said about them on TV, I’ll be picking out the future fantasy gems hidden along the way. Just because someone went 30 picks later than another player doesn’t mean they should necessarily be drafted later in FYPD. Hopefully, if you’re in a high stakes league, you already understand that concept. But the MLB Draft, regardless of your own personal philosophy of how teams should pick players, does not provide an outline for the top 150 players to target, ranked from best-to-worst.
If I were you, I would draft Tanner Burns (No. 36) over Jared Shuster (No. 25), just like I would select Daniel Cabrera (No. 62) or Isaiah Greene (No. 69) instead of Hudson Haskin (No. 39). That doesn’t mean I don’t like Shuster or Haskin, it just indicates I won’t be letting MLB Draft position dictate how I draft, and neither should you. That being said, here are 16 players I think should be targeted much higher than their draft position indicates. No one within the first 25 picks was under consideration (I made an exception for Sabato, that incredible hulk of a man), as they likely come with gaudy FYPD stock as is.
First basemen always have a tough time in the MLB Draft’s first round and Sabato was no exception. He was one of two first basemen to have his name called on day one last week – the other being Spencer Torkelson. If you’re simply seeking offensive upside and not concerned about stolen base potential, Sabato might be the best bargain among all first rounders. He’ll be on the edges of the radar for a lot of your leaguemates, but his potential from a pure hitting and raw power perspective is enormous. He slashed .343/.453/.696 with 18 home runs and 25 doubles across 230 at bats AS A FRESHMAN in 2019, then followed that up with another impressive season in 2020 in which he swatted seven long balls in just 65 at bats. The best part? He went two-for-three this past February with a double against Max Meyer, the No. 3 overall selection in the draft.
Pick No. 36: Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn (Indians)
There’s two reasons why you should draft Burns higher in FYPD than many of the arms before him. First, he was a potential first round talent and could have easily been taken between picks 18-29. Second, he got drafted by Cleveland, an organization that is phenomenal at developing and getting the most out of their young arms. Don’t be surprised if he makes his way to the Bigs within the next two years with less fanfare than the members of the big four (Meyer, Lacy, Hancock, Detmers), but ends up being just as serviceable from a fantasy perspective as any of them. Or none of them. Or all of them. Or none of them. Sorry, just taking a page out of the Rob Manfred handbook and throwing you through a sick roller coaster of emotions for no reason whatsoever. Anyway, I also broke down Burns back in March and I’m even higher on him now that he’s with the Tribe. You can find Sabato’s bit in there as well.
CJ, I’m sorry for putting you through all this. First, I ranked you as my No. 8 overall college prospect for dynasty leagues, then I backtracked on my overly high take and moved you to No. 20. Now, I’m bringing you back into the conversation yet again, to try to undo some wrongs — to try to make sure the fantasy world values you for who you are. Where does that put him exactly? Van Eyk should be valued alongside first rounders Cade Cavalli (No. 22), Jared Shuster (No. 25) and Bobby Miller (No. 29), similarly to Burns. If you took Van Eyk before both Shuster and Miller, I would see no problem with that.
Pick No. 46: Chris McMahon, RHP, Miami (Rockies)
Much of what was just said about the previous two pitchers can also be said here, except McMahon has arguably the best command among the three and has long been lauded for his feel for pitching. He should be valued as a day one talent as well, but then again, Rockies. It’s your call how much emphasis you want to place on that component.
In our respective mock drafts, I had Kelley going at No. 23 to the Indians and Itch pegged him at No. 21 to the Cardinals. It appeared we had a relatively similar consensus on how teams would value Kelley, one of the presumed top three prep arms on the board. Boy, were we off! Kelley ended up being the seventh high school pitcher to hear his name called. Some of the players that went before him, like Dax Fulton and Jared Jones make me feel tingly and excited, but I’d still be thrilled to get my hands on Kelley in a FYPD for the right price. He is definitely better than the No. 47 player in this draft and intends to sign with the Sox despite the draft day fall.
Funny that Winn makes this list, as he was drafted at pick no. 54, which is the exact same spot he was listed at in MLB Pipeline’s top 200 for the draft. Safe to say, he went right where his value was. But before we jump all over my you-know-whats, take a look at the player. Winn is a legitimate two-way talent, and his velocity and spin rates on the mound really pop off the page for a prep kid. He can touch 98 MPH and has three offerings all grading at 55 or above. This is an incredibly intriguing player that should be highlighted on your FYPD board.
This is one of the draft falls I really have trouble understanding. Cabrera was a near-consensus first rounder as recently as this past February and all he did in 2020 was slash .345/.466/.500 with two home runs and six steals over 58 at bats. According to yours truly, whose opinion I value quite highly unless it concerns the matter of dressing myself each morning, Cabrera was the No. 14 college prospect to target in dynasty leagues heading into the 2020 Draft. I won’t waver much from that assessment, and Cabrera will be an early-to-middle target for me in FYPD.
In the words of Investigation Discovery star Joe Kenda, “My, oh my.” How did this happen? Beeter had no business falling to No. 66, but leave it to the Dodgers to be the organization smart enough to snatch him up. This is an arm you’ll want included in your prospect pool. I had Beeter in the first round in my 2020 MLB mock and you can read more about him in my draft sleepers post.
Pick No. 69: Isaiah Greene, OF, Corona Senior HS (Mets)
Here’s what my good friend Itch said about Greene while putting him in the first round in his mock draft: “Greene brings elite speed with solid hit and field tools and might be a fast-riser come FYPD season in dynasty leagues thanks to his fantasy topside.” I won’t say much more, because I agree with everything Itch said. Greene has a 55-hit tool and 65-legs. He’s the kind of prospect that should get an automatic boost in the fantasy realm due to his ability to swipe bags. Freakish athlete, so don’t let him fall far.
This was James Click’s very first draft pick with Houston and he nailed it, snagging a prep arm with significant upside that really had no business still being on the board at No. 72. This selection is more about trusting Click and his track record with the Rays. With a 6′ 3″ frame, there’s a lot of room for Santos II to continue to fill out and add velo, although he already sits 92-94 MPH with his 55-grade heater. His slider and changeup are graded at 55 and 50 grade, respectively, and could very well progress into plus offerings. Don’t sleep on this one.
Whether it’s baseball bloodlines with Cruz or five category potential (featuring a whole lotta legs) with Servideo, these two will go undrafted in many FYPD and shouldn’t. Looking for more reasons why? Check out their blurbs in my 2020 MLB Draft Sleepers post.
Despite being a top 25 prospect heading into the draft, Wilcox lasted until the third round due to a reported $3 million price tag. Somehow it appears the Padres are going to work this one out, as they are expected to offer Wilcox a record $3.3 signing bonus, which comes in roughly $2.7 million over slot value. Safe to say if he signs, he should be an early target in FYPD. Wilcox was my No. 19 college prospect to target in dynasty leagues heading into this draft. I wrote that while watching The Mandalorian in my boxers and sipping iced chai. Don’t believe me? Check out the aforementioned prospect breakdown. Pinkies up.
Pick No. 87: Casey Martin, SS, Arkansas (Phillies)
Casey Martin this. Casey Martin that. Enough already, Hobbs! Go eat worms. It’s first grade recess all over again. Well, I can’t. And I won’t. And this is one of the best picks of the 2020 MLB Draft. Here’s what I said about Martin back in March while ranking him the No. 11 prospect (later dropped to No. 12) for dynasty leaguers to target: “Martin projects as a future fantasy contributor in all offensive categories with some of the best tools in this year’s crop, but he’s raw and will likely struggle through the middle-to-upper minors before making his way into a Big League uniform. If he’s undervalued by your league-mates and you can restrain your filthy, millennial-infused instant gratification – pounce.” And that’s me pretending to be Grey by quoting me! My advice: don’t grab him too high, but if the price is right… my childhood hero (actually still my hero, TBH), Bob Barker, says, “Own! Own! Own!”
Workman was the No. 21 (No. 23 in the updated rankings) player in my college prospect top 25, which has gotten more love in this post than a celebrity nose hair on ebay. Free promo! I’ll keep this short, since we’re already at the tail-end. But Workman had no business lasting until pick No. 102, and Itch agrees, writing, “Gage Workman at 102 is a ludicrous value given his grades around the game as a late-first, early second round talent.” Not sure if he’ll fit into your plans depending on the structure of your league, but he’s worth a look and definitely should be valued higher in FYPD than his draft position would otherwise show. It’s about to be a good time to be a Tigers fan.
Pick No. 143: Joe Boyle, RHP, Notre Dame (Reds)
It depends how deep your league is and just how many rounds are in your FYPD. Boyle touches 102 MPH and has no control whatsoever, but is another name I mentioned in my 2020 MLB Draft Sleepers piece. He’s worth a dart throw in FYPD, but not much more.
One last note before I sign off! I recently created my own Twitter account to better engage with our readers and provide real-time prospect analysis, so shoot me a follow @WorldOfHobbs! I already have a whopping 26 followers, equating to just 9,974 shy of 1k. Be there by next week!