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. 

 

1. SS C.J. Abrams | Padres

2. OF Jasson Dominguez | Yankees

Steals are drying up, but more importantly, they’re coagulating around not-good hitters in an era when everyone is hitting so well it makes the Dee Gordons and Mallex Smiths of the world that much tougher to start. Would love to have either guy. 

 

3. 1B Andrew Vaughn | White Sox

Get Vaughn up! (in the immortal tones of Lou Brown)

Totally reasonable to react that way to this sequence and wind up taking him over the top two here. Elite hit-tool potential. I’ve always believed wooden bats let the super elite hit-tools separate themselves because the sweet spot matters so much with the wood. That’s what she said. 

 

4. OF Corbin Carroll | Diamondbacks

5. C Adley Rutschman | Orioles

6. SS Bobby Witt Jr. | Royals

League-dependent qualifiers apply to Rutschman. I might take him over Carroll in a 20-teamer with two catchers, but in most leagues I’m rolling the dice on a special combination of speed, hit, power, and defense in Corbin Carroll

Witt’s got the crazy exit velocity read-outs to suggest he should go among the top two. 

 

7. RHP George Kirby | Mariners

8. OF Erick Peña | Royals

9. LHP Nick Lodolo | Reds

10. SS Robert Puason | A’s

I’m surprised at my own ranking here. The first-year-player draft is a time for bats, but I’m so excited for these arms that they keep jumping out at me. It’s not easy to separate the fast movers from the slow on the pitching side, but that’s a good way to make a profit, and these two college-ace, first-round picks just scream fast-track to me. 

Peña or Puason are the choice if you’re doing a slow-burn, pure-upside build, but if you’re running the combo game where you try to build/maintain and contend simultaneously, these arms are the kind of special that should help on start-days and be MiLB eligible to expand the bench when they’re not on the bump. Their trade value should be comparable to the teeny boppers’.  

 

11. SS Greg Jones | Rays

12. OF Riley Greene | Tigers

13. OF J.J. Bleday | Marlins

14. 3B Josh Jung | Rangers

15. 3B Kody Hoese | Dodgers

16. OF Yoshi Tsutsugo | Rays

17. 2B Michael Busch | Dodgers

Riley Greene feels like swinging for a double, which probably isn’t fair, but it’s a tough world when the guy beside you has 80 speed and you’re a long way from the finish line. 

Which means Greg Jones is the play here for the risk-happy roller. 

Bleday, Jung, Hoese and Busch feel just as doubly as Greene, but they’re much further along than the rest of this group, and time is money. They’re all plus plate-skills, developing-to-plus-power, plus hit-tool types with solid college track records. Each took a big step forward in his junior season in 2019, and they all feel like good value here. 

Had Yoshi hatched elsewhere on the map, he could’ve been ten spots higher. In Tampa, his topside feels capped. Might be a tough sell in weekly leagues but creates a buying opportunity in the daily game. 

 

18. RHP Alek Manoah | Jays

He’s easily in the previous tier in a league where pitching is prized, but in most standard settings, I’d prefer the bats. 

 

19. RHP Daniel Espino | Indians

20. 1B Bryce Ball | Braves

Ace is a fuzzy word, clearer in fantasy than reality. Espino is a dream match of athleticism and organization: Cleveland knows arms and got a gift in Espino. 

You don’t have to draft Ball here to get him, but I just missed him slow-playing perceived value in the Razz 30 Supp draft, and it did not feel good. He’s a tall lefty with fast hands and crazy power. 

 

 
  1. Whatever says:
    (link)

    Which one do you prefer? Shogo Akiyama or Evan White?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Hi Whatever!

      White, by quite a ways.

  2. senormota says:
    (link)

    Great List! I’m surprised to see CJ above Vaughn, why CJ #1? And how close a guy is to the bigs influenced your list?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Thanks, senormota!

      I see flashes of Griffey Jr. in Abrams.

      Also the 80 speed and a little Padres trust.

      I’m influenced by ETA but that can be build specific, and I’ll try to point out when that’s especially influential.

      • Senormota says:
        (link)

        Thanks! I have pick 2 in my dynasty league. I’m trying to compete sooner, so was leaning Vaughn but now make take CJ. Thanks again!

  3. Upper deck power says:
    (link)

    Thank you for the list itch. My draft is rt around the corner and you have been killing it all offseason. Keep up the good work sunday and Wednesday are must read days for me

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Thanks for the kind words, Upper deck power!!

      I’ll do my best!!!

  4. Lenny says:
    (link)

    First off, your posts are incredible. I have always loved the prospect analysis in the past, but man, you are bringing the heat lately. Thank you so much and please keep diving super deep. I can’t wait to thank you when I win my dynasty league this season.

    Dynasty draft question. I have the 5th pick in my 10 team prospect draft. Based on all of the other site rankings (fantrax etc.), I am pretty sure Vaughn, Rutschman, and Julio Rodriguez will be off the board. Who would you choose between Abrams and Luciano?

    I, also, want to draft your BFF Jose Garcia. How high would you take him?

    Lastly, what do you think of Jackson Rutledge? Would take all of the above pitchers ahead of him in a dyansty draft?

    Thanks for the hard work. You are my new #1 at Razzball. Grow a mustache.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Made my day, Lenny!!!!

      Thank you so much!!

      I am happy to alleviate any facial hair concerns: I am currently wearing a mustache of my own making. Well, beard, thing. Can’t even remember the last time I shaved it all . . . a decade at least . . . not real big into the shaving. Electric only, and sparingly.

      And wow, that’s tough on Abrams or Luciano. Can’t go wrong. I’d draft C.J., but I play a speed-heavy game in dynasty 5×5 and have gotten accustomed to making trade-offs at times to do so. Luciano brings a bit more certainty and would be great pick, too.

      Not knowing the exact layout of the draft, if it’s happening soon, I would say try not to stretch on Garcia. I’ll tie break in his favor, but we’re still in a window where he can be a bargain, I think.

      On Rutledge, I would take the guys here above him, but he’s coming up soon. Very interesting half-giant.

      Thanks again!

  5. Jolt In Flow says:
    (link)

    Itch, thank you.

    I’m deliberating between Jasson and Kirby.

    Question; what year’s the earliest (everything falls right for him) you see Jasson arriving in the bigs?

    The same question for Kirby.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      No, Jolt in Flow, thank you!! : )

      Gotta be Jasson, I think.

      I can see the case for not taking him because I think it’s kind of impossible to answer your next question about his ETA before we see how they handle him or how he responds, but I guess you’re asking ideal outcomes every step of the way so . . . .

      Didn’t the Reds play a 16-year-old once?

      So . . . that, I guess? He’s Steve Nebraska in the World Series this year?

      Hmmmmm . . . so he crushes Appy this year,

      A ball and High A next year

      2022 = AA and a phone call away . . .

      Oh, and Kirby, 2020, in a best-case, Mariners don’t suck scenario.

      Most likely, they do, and will wait until 2021 to unveil their pink combat bubble for the upcoming Smash Bros tourney.

  6. Harley Earl says:
    (link)

    Wow, love this list. Impressive.

    I’ve seen so many lists and they seem to have all forgotten Robert Pauson. It’s like they don’t remember that the A’s plunked down $5 million to sign him. That’s the Money Ball Oakland A’s dropping a chunk of cash!!! OK, so he’s 4 years away. If you’ve got the time, there’s a lot to love.

    In your opinion, what’s the potential for Pauson? Also, what could you see him producing HR/SB in his prime? I’ve ready he’s a 25/25 guy and I’ve also read he could be a 30/30 guy. What are your thoughts?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Thanks Harley!

      And well said! Puason is an outstanding value this year.

      Incredible bat speed and all-around athleticism.

      Easy to see how a team would do all it could to sign him.

      He certainly looks like a power/speed type to me.

  7. Hey itch,

    If you were placing Skubal in this list where would he slot?

    Thanks

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Hi Handy!

      Great question!

      Hmm . . .

      Think He’d be in the Carroll tier, if not pushing up to just below the Vaughn (#3) range.

  8. c says:
    (link)

    great list, but I feel that Greene’s going to add some weight and those doubles are doing to turn into HRs. He’s got such a pretty swing and his hit tool has been labeled as Plus. Eric Cross thinks he’s already got the power but that he needs to add loft (which is doable). I think he’s more Soto and less Garrett Anderson than you think.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Thanks, c!

      Sorry for the goofy wording on my part–didn’t mean to imply Greene wouldn’t hit home runs–just that drafting him was a high-floor, four-category play. You’re right that a whole lot of time and work separates most these guys from who they’ll have to be to help our fantasy teams. Lotta guesswork from this timeline.

      Cut to poor Garret Anderson, Angels’ Hall of Famer and c’s low-end outcome for Riley Greene, “Why we gotta drag me into this!?”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOqEAIEMeYI

  9. Matt says:
    (link)

    This is just what we needed as we head to FYPDs. Finally someone puts Carroll over Witt.

    I may try the strategy of only taking J2 guys, see if I can land a start or two. Is that too rigid? I a just tired of seeing these international guys blow up on other teams.

    Thanks as always.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Thanks Matt!!

      I do think most blanket strategies are too inflexible to maximize value opportunities.

      If you’re doing a ground-up, long-term build though, you could do a lot worse than load up on J2 bats.

      I prefer to prioritize those guys in June/July in the run-up to the short-season leagues. There have typically been several of the top 30 or so left in free agency in my leagues.

  10. Swfcdan says:
    (link)

    Nice list, just what I’m looking for with my prospect draft approaching.

    A name available but not a first year guy though, Abraham Toro. Obviously blocked by some Bregman guy but with a trade could he be valuable? Worth the gamble once the top 14 or so have gone?

    Also is there any chance of a prospect zombie like Moniak coming back to life again? Was thinking of taking a flyer with my 3rd pick at 2.3 (yes lot of picks traded around) and likely either Jung, pitching prospect (Lodolo, Kirby) or him. Or am I mad to be thinking that!

    • Swfcdan says:
      (link)

      Oh and where’s Hunter Bishop on this list?

  11. Michael Baltimore says:
    (link)

    I have the top 2 picks in my FYPD with these 3 available.
    Julio Rodriguez
    Dylan Carlson
    Tarik Skubal

    How would you rank these 3?

    Thanks

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Hi Michael,

      Same order you have them here.

Comments are closed.