During the Major League Baseball Rule 4 Draft, I am usually in China, eating my favorite breakfast in the world: a crispy pork bun and a pizza-shaped, spicy-salty bread that I don’t think I could describe, except maybe to say “mouth heaven.”

And that’s kind of the thing about China: the food. The cultures are old and the ethnicities are varied. Mainland China is comprised of some 57 different people groups with different cultures and cuisines. Food is a national pride and pastime. The word “variety” doesn’t even begin to describe the diversity of dishes and flavors. 

Mock drafts are not like Chinese cuisine.

Sure you might encounter a spicy pepper or two, but you’re not going to find sauteed eel, boiled jellyfish or barbecued squid on a stick. 

Maybe you’ll think it’s good to not find these specific foods, but if you don’t try everything once, you’ll be missing out on that miracle dish you’re surprised to find is perfect for you—the flavor combination you’ve been waiting a lifetime to find–and I’m happy to report that sauteed eel is incredible. 

So that’s what we’ll do here: saute some eel, boil some jellyfish, taste some chaos.

 

Pick Team Player Position Age
1 Tigers Spencer Torkelson 1B 20
2 Orioles Nick Gonzales 2B SS 21
3 Marlins Austin Martin 3B OF 21
4 Royals Asa Lacy LHP 21

Chalk then its opposite.

Though really I just inverted the fibonacci here. Most mocks perambulate around the idea of Baltimore passing on Martin in favor of more money to spread throughout the draft. These mocks park it back on the ferrari before the ink dries in part because if you get the second pick wrong it’ll goof your whole draft board. Makes sense, but it’s 2020, so I’m thinking let’s have one of these follow the disaster-prepper scenario into oblivion.  

Miami is pleased. They produce enough pitching to only briefly mourn the loss of Lacy.

The Royals have a history of taking college pitching that falls in their lap, so I suspect they’d swerve from a plan that seems to involve Zac Veen. Their organizational pitching depth gets downright racy with an added Lacy.

Pick Team Player Position Age
5 Blue Jays Max Meyer RHP 21
6 Mariners Emerson Hancock RHP 21
7 Pirates Heston Kjerstad OF 21
8 Padres Zac Veen OF 18

Meyer reminds of a bit of big time Timmy Jim Lincecum–more the draft profile than the player–a dominant arm people know can pen it up in the majors and maybe immediately but who might just be an elite starter if given the chance. 

Hancock is a nice get for Seattle on the perceived value front.

Kjerstad might land in Baltimore on a cut-rate deal, here in a cut-rate org, or perhaps in Colorado where he can look forward to ~350 plate appearances a season in his athletic prime.

Veen at eight would be highway robbery. Always summer in San Diego. 

Pick Team Player Position Age
9 Rockies Reid Detmers LHP 21
10 Angels Robert Hassell III OF 18
11 White Sox Patrick Bailey C 21
12 Reds Austin Hendrick OF 18.99

Not the happiest section of the draft board for me.

Detmers will be fun anywhere, but you hate to see any pitcher go to Coors.

I’m giving the Home Depot Angels some benefit of the doubt here. I don’t know how they can make it look good if they are indeed the team that’s floated the idea of punting this pick. (If they do go this route and blow up a young player’s life, I guess I’m hoping it’s a high school kid with a college commitment he’d be somewhat happy to fulfil or enough in his favor that he could just bounce to a JuCo and come back making more immediate cash in 2021.

The Reds like power. Who doesn’t? Precisely how we got McCarthyism?

Pick Team Player Position Age
13 Giants Garrett Mitchell OF 21
14 Rangers Justin Foscue 2B 21
15 Phillies Cade Cavali RHP 21
16 Cubs Tyler Soderstrom C 18
17 Red Sox Pete Crow-Armstrong OF 18

San Francisco seems like kind of a wild card. I had pieced Mitchell together with the former Dodgers front man Farhan Zaidi very early in the process. He’s seen swing changes in both Oakland and L.A.

Texas has been into plate skills college bats and is happy to have Foscue. 

I like all five of these fits, actually. Boston has been linked to college pitching, and that makes all the sense in the world, but I just keep thinking Pete Crow-Armstrong is perfect for them and an incredible value here. Almost sent him to the White Sox. Not sure why it’s all footwear based. 

Pick Team Player Position Age
18 Diamondbacks Mick Abel RHP 18
19 Mets Ed Howard SS 18
20 Brewers Nick Loftin SS 21
21 Cardinals Jarred Kelly RHP 18
22 Nationals Cole Wilcox LHP 20

From Sox to Wilcox and away we go! The World Series Champs (remember that!?) are thrilled to get a guy they drafted in 2018. 

Arizona, New York and St. Louis all get guys who might go ten spots higher in a rona-free reality.

Loftin feels like a Brewer. (Comes from a long line of beverage makers?) Teams don’t draft for need in baseball, but they can still draft for fit when one lines up.

Pick Team Player Position Age
23 Cleveland Nick Bitsko RHP 17
24 Rays Garrett Crochet LHP 21
25 Braves Jordan Walker 3B 18
26 Athletics Aaron Sabato 1B 20

When Daniel Espino fell to Cleveland in last year’s, I was flabbergasted: just a perfect fit of player and organization. Bitsko would evoke a similar response. 

I probably have the Rays pick wrong, but a healthy Crochet in Tampa would be dreamy.

Jordan Walker is neck-and-neck with Isaiah Greene for my favorite fantasy prospect from this high school class. Atlanta gravitated toward college players in 2019, but every year is new. 

Sabato to Oakland would be mildly disappointing for fantasy if they manage to lock up Matt Olson long term, but A) that’s probably not happening, and B) Sabato would still be fun as a DH. 

Pick Team Player Position Age
27 Twins Isaiah Greene OF 18
28 Yankees Carson Tucker SS 18
29 Dodgers Tanner Witt RHP 18

I’ve had Bryce Jarvis and Bobby Miller penciled into the Twins at Yankees at one point or another, but the Dodgers have seemed like a great fit for the 6’6″ Witt since I started putting this together.

All three organizations here get high-end talents they have plenty of time to mold. 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.

Carson Tucker is the brother of Cole Tucker, Pirates shortstop. The bloodline seems to be helping him in this info-light high school class.

Just for kicks, here’s a list of guys I’ve had in the first round at one point or another.

Bryce Jarvis RHP 22
Dillon Dingler C 21
Tanner Burnes RHP 21
Austin Wells C OF 21
Jared Jones RHP 18
Jordan Walker 3B 18
Clayton Beeter RHP 21
Justin Lange RHP 18
Bobby Miller RHP 21
Chris McMahon RHP 21
CJ Van Eyk RHP 21
Casey Martin SS 21
Masyn Winn SS RHP 18

 

Thanks for reading! I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter and Reddit.

 

 
  1. Hobbs

    Hobbs says:
    (link)

    Love it, Itch! By my count, we have six of the same picks in our mocks: Torkelson (No. 1), Hancock (No. 6), Kjerstad (No. 7), Detmers (No. 9), Hassell III (No. 10) and Hendrick (No. 12). I’m looking forward to following along tonight and seeing how we do. Even more excited to break this down with you on the podcast in the coming weeks.

    Interesting top four. We have the same four, but in an entirely different order after Torkelson. If I’m making the call as a GM, I’d probably do it the way you have it. You already know I think Gonzales should have received more No. 1 consideration. I’m shocked at the mocks that have him falling out of the top five.

    Good stuff man! Until next time.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Thanks, Hobbs!!

      Oh what a night!!!!

      Looking forward to the dialog!!

  2. krazyivan says:
    (link)

    Good job. Good to see Patrick Bailey go 13 to the Giants. I can see him as another Buster Posey.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Thanks!

      Yeah that was a fun moment.

      Amsinger nearly lost his shizz.

  3. Jolt In Flow says:
    (link)

    I was tired. I meeded some sleep. It’s 11:59pm on the East Coast.

    And as much as I want to sleep, I can’t because your article got me all excited again.

    Thanks for putting this together oh so quickly. Hats off to you.

    Time to dig in.

    • Jolt In Flow says:
      (link)

      Drats! Just realized it wasn’t about the actual picks.

      No matter; still excited to see your hits and misses.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
        (link)

        Thanks, Jolt in Flow!

        I think I’d have assumed the same, given the chaotic nature of the draft.

        We’d be wise to build in a day-after reaction piece for future seasons. My reflections will post Sunday morning.

  4. c says:
    (link)

    I love the Braves pick you mocked. I sort of hate the real life pick they made (Shuster) as it looks like a “safe” and “signable” low-upside arm. In the present situation of only 5 rounds (and not having a 3rd for signing Ozuna), they should have gone upside. Ugh.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      I agree. Theirs might’ve been my least favorite pick of the round. Shuster’s mechanics just ain’t it for me.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
        (link)

        And he joins an org full of like entities.

  5. c says:
    (link)

    Also, Sabato to the Twins is very interesting as it seems that the Kirilloff to 1B rumours can be shot down? Or is Sabato a DH. As an UNC alum, it’s cool to see that kid get drafted. He’s a nice one.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Yeah I tend to think DH for Sabato, and I think it’s a great pick for them.

Comments are closed.