With the MLB draft right around the corner it’s time to start looking at the players entering our prospect sphere and what they could bring to the table for our virtual dynasty teams. We’ll start today with the first in a series of posts I’ll be doing on 2016 draft prospects. We’ll start with the 30,000 foot view and dial down the closer we get. So if you’re a MLB draftnik this might be relatively rudimentary, but the vast majority of the fantasy baseball playing world barley knows beyond the top 100 or so prospects. So, in other words, you’re special. You probably also rarely leave your house and are entirely unproductive at work between the months of February and September. Seriously I’m a model employee for 4 months a year, and the rest I do work between baseball stimulation of one kind or another. So today we dive into ten prospects that should have your attention.

 

Jason Groome, LHP Barnegat (N.J.) – New Jersey is a weird place. Partially dirty, partially beautiful, full of loud Italians and bougie WASPS. It gave us my wife, the world’s best bagels, Smokey, and Grey. It also is home to the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association, an organization so bizarre it decided to scold the top prep player in the state’s history for attending IMG in Florida his junior year to boost his draft stock. I know what you’re asking “How Ralph did the NJIAA scold Jason Groome for spending a year in Florida?” Well Groome decided to return home to Barnegat for his senior season, to obviously take advantage of all the Jersey girls sure to be all over him now that he’s a soon to be millionaire. Now girls aside, Groome pitched the first two weeks of the season for Barnegat culminating in a 19 strikeout no hitter. Following that start the good folks at the NJIAA decided that due to Groome attending IMG he had violated a rule in place to stop players from attending schools outside of the town of their residence. Problem is Groome’s parents never moved, he simply went to out of state to IMG and returned to his former school. Technically this doesn’t violate the rule because he did not attend another school governed by the NJIAA. Doesn’t make sense, but administrators that monitor amateur athletics rarely do. I digress… As for Groome’s actual skill set, makeup, and why you should pay attention to a prep arm for Christ sakes. First he brings a very tasty plus-plus fastball/plus-plus curveball combo, and every so often mixes in a plus change. Second he has clean mechanics, a big frame, and works around the plate. The fastball sits around 94-96, and the curve shows some bite.

Riley Pint, RHP St. Thomas Aquinas (Kan.) – Yes it’s indicative of just how weak a draft is at the top when the best two prospects (maybe 3) are prep players. It’s even worse when the top two are prep arms. Regardless Pint has earned his spot near the top as he features an intriguing repertoire that features a grade 70 fastball, that can touch 100+, a plus-plus curve, a plus-plus change, and a plus slider. The one issue that drops Pint below Groome in my book is his control, or at times lack thereof. There are also concerns about his mechanics and ability to repeat his delivery constantly. Might have the highest ceiling of any player in the draft.

Kyle Lewis, OF Mercer (NCAA) – What if I told you the best college hitter in the draft was a strongly built outfielder that drew comparisons to Jason Heyward but with more power. Or in other words the player everyone thinks Jason Heyward is or will be between the months of December and March. Would you run to draft that player? Well look no further than Kyle Lewis of Mercer University. Lewis has been a major climber on draft boards the last 18 months with many scouts loving his across the board offensive game that includes 60 grade power, a 55 grade hit tool, and 50 grade speed. Many think he eventually moves to right from center, but has the ability to be a multi-category contributing fantasy star. If first year player drafts took place today, I’d take Lewis first.

A.J. Puk, LHP Florida (NCAA) – Dating back to last year many have viewed Puk as the potential top pick in the draft. Just for the record I don’t. It’s no secret that Puk is the owner of potentially the best stuff of any arm in the draft. It’s also no secret that Puk has struggled with inconsistency throughout his college career. Over the last 12 months Puk has done little to differentiate himself from the other players at the top of draft boards. With a 70 grade fastball that sits 96-99, a plus slider, and above average change, Puk has an intriguing arsenal. I wonder if he projects more as a closer than starter eventually but time will tell. Certainly whoever takes him within the first 5 picks will use him as a starter until he proves he can’t.

Blake Rutherford, OF Chaminade (California) – One of the most well known, and heavily scouted prep players in recent memory, Rutherford is more of a known commodity than most prep hitters. He features a well rounded skill set where he does a little of everything very well but nothing exceptional. Well, nothing except play the actual game of baseball.

Corey Ray, OF Louisville (NCAA) – Coming into the season Ray was considered the top hitter in the 2016 class. His stock hasn’t dropped so much as the aforementioned Lewis has surpassed him. Ray is an advanced hitter with a tasty speed/power profile. A left handed bat, Ray hits to all fields with power and consistently makes good contact. His best asset though is his speed where he shows the ability to terrorize opposing batteries on the basepaths. Ray looks like one who’s ready made for pro ball and could move quickly.

Nick Senzel, 3B Tennessee (NCAA) – Another reminder that I need to get to more Cape Cod League games, Senzel dominated the CCL last summer leading the league in most offensive categories and winning the MVP and best prospect honors. A right-handed batter with patience and power to all fields. Another player vying for top college bat in the draft.

Mickey Moniak, OF La Costa Canyon (California) – Entering the summer showcase circuit of 2015 Moniak was a relatively unheralded prep prospect from So-Cal. I feel hella cool when I use terms like So-Cal and Nor-Cal. Less so when I say hella. Any the who, over the course of the summer Moniak shot up prospect ranks and solidified himself as one of the top prep bats in the class with Rutherford, Josh Lowe, and Alex Kirlloff. His hit tool is potentially the most advanced of any of the prep hitters in the draft, but at this point his power is more of the double variety. His ability to get on base, spray line drives, and use his speed on the basepaths makes him an intriguing long term play in dynasty leagues. Scouts see him as a future gold glove outfielder destined to roam centerfields of major league parks for a long time.

Delvin Perez, SS Puerto Rico – It’s been 4 years since Carlos Correa went first overall, and in that time a Puerto Rican prospect hasn’t sniffed the first round. That will change this year as the talented Perez looks like the first shortstop off the board. At this point Perez is a glove first player with raw offensive tools. He’s destined to be overrated, like most shortstops, in dynasty league first year player drafts. So I’d be cautious about drafting him with a top 20 pick. Let someone else invest in Perez early and keep an eye on his development. If he shows the ability to hit and get on base then consider moving for him. Good real life prospect but extremely risky as a fantasy option.

Dakota Hudson, RHP Mississippi State – Originally drafted as a Tennessee high schooler in the 36th round of the 2013 draft by the Rangers, Hudson is a big righty with a four pitch repertoire. The arsenal includes a top end fastball with run and sink that touches 97, and a vicious slider with cut that clocks in with high 80’s velocity, giving Hudson a good split on his two most dominate pitches. He also throws an above average curve and change that he mixes in with his top two pitches. The total package projects as a top 2 starter with less risk than Puk or the prep arms. I’m very intrigued by the possibility of owning  Hudson next year.

 

On Sunday I’ll be back with the next ten prospects. Until then I bid you adieu…

  1. OaktownSteve says:
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    I played Little League with Moniak’s dad and my cousin’s kids are on his HS team. My cousin texted me the other day all fired up, “Billy Beane is here!!!”

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @OaktownSteve: That’s really cool! Must be exciting for your cousin’s kids playing with such a high profile prospect. My HS scrimmaged against Rocco Baldelli’s Bishop Hendricken team my junior year. The guy was a monster, those guys stick out. California has a lot more prospects than New England though so maybe it’s not as big a deal.

      How was his Dad?

      • OaktownSteve says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        Not all that great as I recall. Not one of “the” guys.

  2. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    I my friend, am also a NJ native..lol

    Great stuff Ralph..I will try and find a place on my team for a couple of these guys..

    Cheers,

    MP

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: Pork roll for the win!

      I actually love NJ. Best Pizza, bagels, Italian subs, and women. I love me a Jersey girl!

  3. Curt C says:
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    Best Bagels without a doubt is Long Island!…..

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Curt C: NJ in landslide! Plus the pork roll egg and cheese on an everything is so NJ. Truthfully it’s all the same. The city, NJ, LI best pizza/bagel/sub battle is hilarious. I mean you’re all within a 25 mile radius.

  4. OaktownSteve says:
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    Is Barnegat on Long Beach Island? There’s a light house there? I been there I think. It’s the part of the Jersey shore where all the families from Philly congregate. One of those things where you’re next door neighbor in Pennsylvania is also your summer next door neighbor on LBI.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @OaktownSteve: Barnegat light you’re thinking of, different place. I asked my wife the same thing last night. LBI is great! The in laws vacationed there throughout my wife’s childhood. It’s probably the best place on the Jersey shore. They protect it so it doesn’t have that scum Seaside Point Pleasant feel.

      Random Ralph life fact of the day.
      First time I went there was the first week of August 2004. I was in the car driving there on deadline day, when Nomar was traded. The funny thing is all of my wife’s family (who are Yankees fans) took it as a sign that the Sox were throwing in the towel.

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Wow, a lot must have changed. I grew up on the jersey shore in the 70’s and Seaside and Wild Wood were the best places on the whole coast. Left for Cali in 1979 and have never been back..

        The sausage and pepper sandwiches on a sub roll on the seaside boardwalk, were the best thing we ever ate as kids..

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Malicious Phenoms: Seaside is gross, just google Mtv’s Jersey Shore.

          Yeah I mean Wildwood is okay and Point Pleasant is fine, I just grew up in Massachusetts where dunes and beach are protected, they don’t build boardwalks over it. Different head I guess. LBI has the natural beauty of the beach, which is what I love about the beach. Not skill cranes and frozen custard.

  5. Test Kitchen says:
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    Ralph,

    Have you heard/seen anything about Peraza and what the reds might be thinking as far as a timetable?

    I saw that his stats aren’t super impressive at AAA so far with 2 SB and 4 CS.

    Thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Test Kitchen: Yeah I’m backing way off of Peraza, far more focused on getting my speed from Arcia and Turner callups.

      A while back OTS made an excellent point. Maybe he’s just not that good at baseball. Might be right.

  6. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Hey,

    Add any of these guys listed below, for Jose Peraza..

    I have enough MI depth and Perza has done nothing, don’t really need him.

    Kevin Maitan
    Rowdy Tellez
    Magneuris Sierra
    Billy McKinney
    Jomar Reyes
    Kyle Lewis
    Nick Senzel

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: Lewis, Maitan, Reyes, Senzel. I’d go Lewis though, I’m a huge fan of his.

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: cool, thanks man!

  7. Hoss says:
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    Would you trade Jose Fernandez and Delino DeShields for McCutchen?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Hoss: In dynasty no, unless I was crazy deep in pitching.

      In redraft, if you have pitching and need an outfielder , sure.

  8. Runner says:
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    corasco or nola in keeper league ?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Runner: Carrasco

  9. J-FOH says:
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    For a guy that doesn’t get/know how to play dynasty leagues I must of stumbled/lucked into acquiring Ray and Lewis this past off season….ignorance is bliss!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J-FOH: Nah, you built in that league. More or less didn’t want to deal with your overtly critical evaluations.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: dissenting opinions have no place in fantasy baseball!

  10. OJ Simpson says:
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    Keep it up !

    I was proposed this today in my keeper 5×5 OBP, QS league, my sano and orlando arcia for his corey seager, gallo and dee gordon.
    I have Maikel at 3rd, Odor at 2nd, and my OF consists of Heyward(ugh), McCutchen and Blackmon.

    sano and seager have same round keeper value. and dee gordon is not a keeper with the way our 2 round penalty works. gallo and arcia are same value as well.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @OJ Simpson: If you can’t keep Dee I wouldn’t do it then.

  11. Wild Thing says:
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    Ralph – we’re not worthy! This is fantasy gold. Thanks!

    Best,
    Fake Grogan

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Wild Thing: Thanks Steve!

  12. Green monstah says:
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    Howdy Ralph !

    I’m a Lowell spinners season ticket holder so I’m curious to see who the Red Sox will draft at #12.

    What are your thoughts on who they’d potentially pick & any of these stand out?

    Forest Whitley, RHP, Alamo Heights HS (TX)

    Buddy Reed, OF, Florida

    Connor Jones, RHP, UVA

    Mickey Moniak, OF, La Costa Canyon HS (Cali)

    Will Craig, 3b, Wake Forest

    I thought when the Sox drafted Benintendi it was a steal at 7, mainly I heard a lot of teams didn’t think he was eligible for the draft. Is there another player like that for 2016?

    I did my research & the history & not a great track record at number 12; the best one out of the bunch is jay Bruce

    • Green monstah says:
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      @Green monstah:

      Also when will Benintendi be promoted to AA Portland? Do you see him being promoted by or after June 1st?

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Green monstah: At this point it could be any day now. He’s been in god mode for awhile, I’m not sure what else he can prove.

        • Green monstah says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz:

          Exactly! Hopefully it’s soon for my selfish reason to see Benintendi as a Portland sea dog when they play in Manchester NH (fisher cats)

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Green monstah: I’m thinking of hitting some Hartford Yard Goats games too. Get to check out Dahl while he’s raking and it’s surprisingly close to me

            • Green monstah says:
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              @Ralph Lifshitz:

              Hey why not!! Last year I gave razz ball writer Mike tips on Benintendi , I saw him first hand with my spinners season tix, I contacted Him via Twitter do you have a Twitter that I can let you know on players progression

              • Ralph Lifshitz

                Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                @Green monstah: @ralphlifshitzbb

                I’m also about 25 minutes from Lowell

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Green monstah: All of those are possabilities. I’m not crazy about adding Reed do they really need a speedy outfielder with no power? Josh Lowe, Alex Kirilloff, Nolan Jones, and Bryan Reynolds on the hitting side. Pitching there’s a ton my wish would be that Hudson falls, but Anderson, Wentz, Whitley, Garrett, Jones, and Sheffield are all possabilities.

      One guy that could fall out of the first and into the supplemental I like is Logan Shore, he’s a teammate of Puk’s at Florida and has been the Friday night starter (usually the ace) over Puk for three years. Stuff isn’t of the charts like Puk, but he knows how to pitch.

      We might run into each other at Lowell this year. Thanks for reading.

  13. Clint says:
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    Tweeted you about this this morning (reposted from Grey’s blog):

    I modeled my 1st year 14 team h2h pts dynasty league rules mostly on the Razznasty one Mike posted back in late January. I’m encountering some pushback so I’m wondering how the commish there deals with minor slots enforcement. How are you balancing the grace period of 5 days to get a guy in the right slot (be they coming up or going down) to get their roster straight & if they don’t what occurs?

    I’m using Fantrax & they have a set up to trigger roster violations if the 8 minor slots are not filled completely, taking away points for however long a team allows that to go on, but they do NOT have a setting that does the same if a guy is in a minors slot that shouldn’t be there anymore so I’m having to go back & trigger the same penalties & people are complaining. Seems to be the same old ‘we don’t have time to keep up with this schizz’ excuses (which I will NEVER buy in the age of smartphones w/apps & notifications, myself). The league’s a free one so maybe that’s a problem but the rules were spelled out ahead of time in those regards I feel like tough schizz. Am I wrong & what can I do?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Clint: I think you’re right if people aren’t following the rules you just have to lock them from accruing points until they are compliant

      • Clint says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:
        Thanks Ralph. That’s what I thought, just wanted to see if I was missing something. I was told to cut down on these kinds of issues I should just make the dynasty league a paying league but I’ve been hesitant to do it.

  14. Landisimo3 says:
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    What’s up Ralph! 12 team Dynasty .. Thinking about picking up Kevin Maitan but need to drop one on my farm:

    Crawford
    Albies
    Meadows
    Chapman
    Lazarito
    Travis
    Tapia
    Peraza
    K Hayes
    Bell

    Is this worth doing for any of the above?? Thanks Man!

  15. Nightpandas says:
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    Hey deeper data,

    Got a couple of questions:

    1. H2h Dynasty where I am competing for this year :

    Was offered Carrasco for my M Chapman, Kapriellan and 1st round pick next year (20 teams, keep 23 on major roster)

    2. 15 team keep 11, drop Manaea for De Leon, heard he may be up soon?

  16. GoJays says:
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    Hey Ralph, gimme your thoughts on Trayce Thompson. We have to start a rookie hitter, and due to unfortunate circumstances, I’m stuck with Tyler Naquin (and believe it or not I’m still in first). Thompson is available on waivers (I have to be picky since we only get one claim per week) – is he a big upgrade over Naquin? He seems to be getting a fair bit of starts lately, and I’m not sure if it’s temporary or not. Thoughts?

    • GoJays says:
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      @GoJays: Rafael Ortega is also available, but we count Slugging % as a 6th offensive category. Thanks for your feedback in advance!

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