In dynasty baseball, the June draft is must-watch television and the July 2 international signing day is fodder for a million clicks.
Months later, typically in February or March, dynasty leaguers select their favorite college, high school and international players in annual first-year player drafts. I have attempted to consider and rank this year’s player pool for your reading pleasure.
*Note: I’ve written a fair bit about each of these guys if you’d like more than the words here and are curious enough to follow the threads to my Top 150 for 2020 Fantasy Baseball or my organizational top ten lists.
** Note pt. 2: I recommend synthesizing this list—or some list of your own design—with your league’s free agent pool if that’s allowed in your league. Guys like Francisco Alvarez, Luis Matos, Heriberto Hernandez, and Joe Ryan won’t be listed here, but they might be available in your league.
21. OF Hunter Bishop | Giants
23. SS Maximo Acosta | Rangers
24. OF Hedbert Perez | Brewers
25. RHP Kameron Misner | Marlins
This tier is a good window into just how loaded this year’s FYPD is. Each of these guys would be a decent fit in a first-round every other year, and here they are drifting toward the third in a 15-teamer.
Bishop and Misner are power-speed college bats who’d be great gets in any league.
Shogo Akiyama offers the awkward promise of an everyday gig before we see him play. He played against just five teams in the Japan Pacific League. It’s a six-team league. What? Might look back and think he was much too low here; might be just the opposite. Posted excellent slash lines showing plus plate skills.
Maximo Acosta and Hedbert Perez are helium-filled fever-dreams building momentum across a long winter. They won’t have stat lines until Summer, and when guys are getting excellent publicity like these two, they might just build value until they sink or swim. I prefer Perez because his dad was a big leaguer and because he’ll be cheaper on draft day. Maximo is climbing so fast he might be a consensus first rounder a couple weeks from now.
26. OF Hudson Head | Padres
27. 3B Brett Baty | Mets
28. OF Luis Rodriquez | Dodgers
29. SS Reggie Preciado | Padres
No, really, it’s THIS tier that shows how happy fun this draft is.
Brett Baty was the top high school bat on a lot of boards, and Hudson Head was an over-slot, tooled-up third rounder who flashed against strong competition in the Arizona league.
Luis Rodriguez was a consensus top five player in this year’s J2 class, landing second on some lists. A strong defender in center with plus tools across the board, he’s become one of my favorite slow-build values of the season. Who doesn’t love an uber-talented teenage Dodger?
Just down the road, A.J. Preller has enjoyed incredible success on the international market in part because he enjoys the scouting work, grinding it out to see as much baseball as he can. Reggie Preciado is his latest big-money splash. He was already kind of a big deal among Panamanian youth baseball players, but now he’s also signed the highest bonus. Tall shortstops are in right now. Pretty obvious benefits like power and speed on offense. Here’s Preciado demonstrating one reason it works on defense.
Gets his own tier here, and I already feel like I’m undervaluing him. Yusei Kikuchi and the story of the terrible no good happy-fun baseball did a lot to suppress the price of guys like Shun, who has better raw stuff, especially the life on his fastball.
31. LHP Blake Walston | Diamondbacks
32. SS Kyren Paris | Angels
33. OF Bayron Lora | Rangers
34. LHP Ethan Small | Brewers
I love all these guys.
Walston might be special, and I think he’ll climb some mid-season boards, but we are moving toward a range where you might not find much near-term trade value. Makes sense seeing as we’re in the third round of a 15-teamer now, but it’s something I’ve noticed nonetheless. Lots of good players after this point, but this general area feels like the trade-up line. Beyond this point, you’re probably better off just waiting for your pick than scrambling to move up.
Bayron Lora’s got light-tower power, Insta-model money and name value after signing for $ 3.9 million.
Kyren Paris might be on his way to the Dodgers. We don’t even have whispers of that and don’t know the full details, but Paris is a silky fast shortstop with big upside, and these are the Dodgers. Could be a bump coming as this trade continues its slow reveal, but whether or not he’s in it, I’m flying to Paris first chance I get.
Ethan Small is actually six foot three.
He’s my kind of dude though: four-pitch, plus command lefty with creativity and good-enough stuff to generate elite WHIPs if it all comes together.
35. RHP Jackson Rutledge | Nationals
36. SS Bryson Stott | Phillies
37. 3B Aaron Schunk | Rockies
38. 1B Michael Toglia | Rockies
39. SS Will Wilson | Giants
40. 2B Tyler Callihan | Reds
41. SS Braden Shewmake | Braves
Apologies for the glob. We’re not in yawn city by any means. Sorry for invoking the action. The research is in on this: we can make each other yawn. Words . . . ya know? Wild stuff.
Rutledge is enormous (6’8”) and has barely pitched but was good when he did.
Stott is the best branch manager in the history of Dunder Mifflin. (Also a bag of 50’s with an idea at the plate.)
Aaron Schunk went both ways in college, but who didn’t? He’s in Colorado’s cushy system, so he might not play real baseball (AA) for a full year yet. Sharp leagues might devalue him for that and the whole Rockies mind-eff thing.
Rinse and repeat for the Michael Toglia blurb. These two might be the best on the mountain of corner prospects in Colorado’s system, but we’ll never know it. Or wait . . . will we?
The other day, I started to think the dam would break soon (meaning I was anticipating the inevitable firing of a total stranger during my free time) and that someone would step in to a glut of talent and find a way to stop messing it up. Stop spending dumb, sunk money. Allow the best players to reach the level their skill demands in real time–not get promoted and sit the bench and shuttle and bus for years and years. Someone might step in and use Colorado to its max capacity as a hitter-development system. Start trading bats like crazy the way great orgs lean into their strengths.
Anway, weird day.
Will Wilson and Tyler Callihan are better fantasy prospects than real-life prospects, and Braden Shewmake is the opposite. The first two might struggle to hold a position but can rake, and while I think Shewmake is a likelier big leaguer than either, I’m not confident he’ll hit or run enough to really help.
42. SS Keoni Cavaco | Twins
43. OF Emmanuel Rodriguez | Twins
44. OF George Feliz | Mariners
45. 3B Rece Hinds | Reds
46. SS Arol Vera | Angels
Big dreams tier here. Just buy, hold, and hope. I like all five at the price. Especially Feliz. It’s time to get happy!
Also like Emmanuel Rodriguez. Betting on Twins hit-tool types all day. Which is
Cavaco I’d take, but he won’t fall this far.
Hinds has the kind of power that tastes good with everything (except steak, you monster . . . although . . . new thought: catsup on steak might look enough like blood that it triggers some primordial saliva thing . . . so . . . go ahead and put Hinds on your steak if you’re nasty?).
47. OF Ismael Mena | Padres
48. SS Gunnar Henderson | Orioles
49. OF Alexander Ramirez | Mets
50. C Ronnier Quintero | C Cubs
Okay as we come to the end of the night, let’s bow our heads and say a prayer for Ismael Mena, wishing him good health, continued (and increasing speed) and batted ball success. He’ll probably go earlier than this in some, but scoop him up if not.
Baltimore is doing some good things on the development side, so I won’t be shocked to learn I was low on Henderson here, but I’m not worried. So many good players in the class. I can afford to miss one that’s going slightly higher than I like.
There’s another Alexander Ramirez on the Angels, and he’s good, too, so be careful or just go ahead and draft em both.
We have finally made it to our second catcher: Cubs’ top international acquisition Ronnier Quintero. I’d pass if I thought he’d go undrafted because it’s hard to own catchers long-term in dynasty, but this could be a quick mover as a lefty power bat. Go with OF Peyton Burdick if you’re looking for near-term power or LHP Zach Thompson for a near-term arm. LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim makes sense too, if you need a pitching flier for 2020.
Thanks for reading! Best of luck in your leagues!!