While it seems so far away, before you know it the 2020 MLB Draft will be here. For us fantasy players, that means some first year player drafts will start happening as well (although you should really wait until the end of the season), and players who many know little about could soon become the future of your dynasty team. Many of you may also be participating in best ball drafts, where some of these guys have the potential to contribute to your team in the next 5 years. The point is, it’s never too early to start looking into the players in the MLB Draft Class. I’m going to talk about a few names that stick out for me, and talk about their fantasy outlook, as well as where they could end up.

Spencer Torkelson, Arizona St., 1B

If you missed out on Andrew Vaughn this year, I have great news for you; he’s been cloned for the 2020 Draft so you have another chance. Torkelson isn’t exactly the same player, but there are some distinct similarities. Both are elite college 1B from the Pac 12 who weren’t drafted out of high school, and both possess elite bat speed, easy power, draw tons of walks; the list could go on. Andrew Vaughn was widely considered the #1 player in 2020 FYPDs, and Torkelson might be even better. So far in college, Torkelson has put together a ridiculous .336/.449/.727 slash line along with 50 HR, which matches Vaughn’s 3 year total. That being said, Torkelson doesn’t quite have Vaughns hit tool or approach, but it’s still elite nonetheless. Whereas I see Vaughn as a potential 65 hit 60/65 power guy, Torkelson is more of a 55/60 hit 70 power guy, which could be even better for fantasy. If everything works out well, Torkelson has the potential to be one of the best hitters in all of baseball (as does Vaughn). While it’s not a drastic difference, it’s also worth noting that Torkelson will still be 20 on draft day, which is pretty young for a college player. Despite being a 1B, Torkelson has a chance to go #1 overall in June.

Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek High School, Florida Commit

Zac Veen is a name that has gotten a lot more hype recently, but I’ve been on him for a while. When MLB Pipeline had him at #23 for the 2020 Draft Class I thought it was absolutely ridiculous, and it looks even worse now. Veen is a big dude at 6’4″, with some even listing him at 6’5″. He’s reported to have added 20 pounds of muscle before the season (that’s what they always say), but was most recently listed at 190 pounds. The main thing you have to know about Zac Veen is that he can straight up hit. He has a beautiful swing, comparable to Christian Yelich’s, and has the potential for some serious raw power. He’s also fairly athletic, and while he won’t ever be a burner, he could contribute a few SBs every year at his peak. Most will say that Hassell/Hendrick/Veen are at about the same level, but for me it’s easily Veen, and I think he could be the #2 player in the 2021 FYPD. Veen has been mocked as high as #8 to the Padres, but I think it’s very possible that he doesn’t even make it that far.

Nick Gonzales, 2B, New Mexico St. 

If you follow college baseball at all, then you’ve already heard about what Nick Gonzales did last week, but for those of you that don’t, I’ll give you the short summary. In just 4 games, Gonzales slashed .571/.727/1.571 with 4 HR, 2 2B, 6 BB, and 17 RBI. Let me just repeat that first part again; he did that in 4 games. New Mexico St. constantly produces underrated hitters, but Gonzales is one who is finally getting the recognition he deserves. The main thing you need to know is that Gonzales can flat out hit. A potential 60/65 hit bat, Gonzales’ power has been a bit disrespected in the past due to his size (i.e. Pipeline giving him 45 power). Despite being just 5’10”, Gonzales packs a punch, as he hit 16 HR as a sophomore and 7 HR in the Cape Cod league in under 200 PA. I’d say Gonzales’ power is about a 55, and I don’t think 20 HR at his peak is unrealistic. Gonzales is a likely top 5 pick in June, and should be in 2021 FYPDs as well.

Markevian Hence, RHP, Watson Chapel High School, Arkansas Commit

These next two are my “sleeper” picks. I put that in quotes because both are seen as top 100 2020 guys by most, so they’re not really ‘sleepers’, but I personally think they’re both underrated. We’ll start with Markevian Hence, who is a 6’1″, 175-pound pitcher from Arkansas. Hence is currently ranked #61 by Fangraphs and #87 by Pipeline, but I personally have him much higher. What I love about Hence is his absolutely explosive athleticism and arm speed. His fastball touches 96 with some sink, although I personally think his explosiveness is better suited for a four-seamer. His slider and changeup have also showed promise, but he’s still super raw. If he adds weight to his very skinny frame, I could see Hence as a guy who touches triple digits. Another great thing about Hence is that he’s one of the youngest players in the entire draft, as he will still be 17 at draft time. Especially if he gets drafted by a team that can develop pitching, Hence has immense potential. High school pitchers are tricky in fantasy, but in a year stacked with high school pitching, Hence could be a top 10 arm.

Alejandro Rosario, RHP, Miami Christian High School, Miami Commit

Much of what I said about Hence applies here as well. Also considered undersized at 6’1″ 165 pounds, Rosario makes up for it with his athleticism and ridiculous arm speed. With an electric fastball that hits 97, Rosario is known for attacking hitters with fairly solid command. He compliments this with a splitter, that is somewhat of a multi-purpose pitch depending on how he throws it, but has the potential to be an elite pitch. Most people’s main gripe with Rosario is that his arsenal ends there, with only a fastball and a splitter, but he is reportedly working on a slider this spring. Rosario is ranked a bit higher than Hence (#56 for Fangraphs and #66 for Pipeline), and that’s likely due to more experience against high-level competition, but I see both at a very similar level. Come draft time, I think Hence and Rosario are both top 10 high school arms.

  1. Harley Earl says:

    Might want to scribble down the name Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas. National player of the week last week. Already has 4 HR and 10 RBIs. Is considered a top 10 draft pick by MLB. Dude can rake all day long and twice on Sunday.

    • Will Scharnagl

      Will Scharnagl says:

      oh don’t worry I’m plenty familiar with Kjerstad. this article isn’t my top 5 or anything, just names that i wanna throw out there. personally not too big of a fan of Kjerstad, with most of my concerns coming with his hit tool, but he has a ton of fantasy potential

      • Harley Earl says:

        I really like Torkelson and Gonzalez. I’d buy a share of Kjerstad though. He’s a good one.

  2. LenFuego says:

    Great stuff, I have been hoping for an article like this.

    Our league has a five-year horizon for prospects, with large rosters to accommodate stashing prospects (18 bench spots). You can stash a prospect two years without affecting your auction budget, then have to make a decision whether to dump him or offer a 1, 2 or 3 year contract (with a $5 salary increase for 2 year contracts and a $10 salary increase for 3 year contracts) before having to let him go, so it really helps to have a good feel for what you have by the end of the second year.

    Given that, it can sometimes pay to take a late flyer on a college prospect who will be ready at the MLB level sooner rather than later (e.g., Vaughn or Rutschman), but essentially never a high school guy, who will just never be able to contribute in time. It sounds like Torkelson and to a lesser extent Gonzalez would be the guys to consider taking an early flyer on in this class. Anyone else come to mind?

    • Will Scharnagl

      Will Scharnagl says:

      that sounds super cool. I put this together because I was playing Best Ball which is just 5 years with super deep rosters and a lot of 2020 draft guys were going. The top college guys are obviously the best options. Both Martins, Kjerstad, Hancock,, Lacy, Crochet, Mitchell, etc.

      does your league allow foreign players too? there’s some good Japanese players who could come over in the next 5 years. Also Ha-Seong Kim from Korea is a solid player and should be coming over next year.

      • LenFuego says:

        Yes, foreign players can be rostered … essentially any human being on the planet can be rostered. Last year was the first time anyone has rostered a pre-MLB draft prospect (both Vaughn and Rutschman by the same owner), and there are typically 1-2 speculative international players rostered each year.

        It is not a true dynasty league, though — more of a keeper/dynasty hybrid. Teams can protect only up to 7 players each year plus up to an additional 5 “supplemental” keepers. (To be eligible as a supplemental keeper, a player must be on a roster all season but never have been put into a starting lineup – in the third year of ownership, a supplemental keeper automatically gets transferred to the “active” roster, meaning they count against the auction budget.)

        With a limited number of keepers and prospects affecting the auction budget by their third year, a prospect must generally make it obvious within the first two years of ownership he will have lineup value in the following three years or he will just be dropped back into the free agent pool – it almost never makes sense to carry a prospect into year 3 waiting for him to contribute in year 4 or 5 because keeper spots are too scarce.

  3. Jason says:

    Based almost exclusively on the accounts of the deepness of the 2020 draft that accompanied the Dodgers’ trade of Jeter Downs for that comp pick–I don’t remember who else was in the deal–I might have taken 11 consecutive college guys (so far!) in my 5-year-horizon best ball dynasty draft. Pitchers are Lacy, Crochet, Detmers, Ginn, and Van Eyk. Hitters are Gonzales, C. Martin, Mitchell, Kjerstad, Cabrera, and Chavers. I don’t actually know much about college baseball, but I think they mostly have good-sounding pro names. Debating whether to take Westburg and Mlodzinski next or to just stop it. Guys like Burns, Cavalli, Wilcox, and Zamora are also still available, as well as future-Blue Jay Jack Leiter.

    Do you think it’s worth taking top high school guys with a 5-year horizon? I mean, Adell and Gore flew through the minors, but even they were still drafted all the way back in 2017.

  4. Stupid Sexy Glanders says:

    can’t remember if i already asked you this, i know i asked itch and grey.
    NL only, 10 team h2h OBP over AVG, total bases added, net steals over steals, holds added and QS over wins. start 1 of every position (4 OF, 1 CI, 1 MI, 1 util). 5 SP, 4 RP and you want to own about 8 SP (1 streamer usually). 5 DL and 1 NA spot. keep 3 per year at previous season’s end of season fantasy pros ADP’s.
    freeman (2, this seems easy)
    strasburg (4)
    l.castillo (8)
    mcneil (16)
    j.urias (15)
    edman/lux/hilliard/berti (25, if 2 in 1 round 1 moves to better round)

    grey said pretty sure the safer: freeman/stras/castillo
    pretty sure itch said freeman/j.urias and somebody else (lux probably)
    neither liked edman much since seemingly little upside, could have tons of negative regression but does have a 5 category floor and possibly less playing time issues than lux. mcneil is like more OBP (by a lot actually), less speed than edman (also safer playing time though). lux has the upside. hilliard/berti have so much playing time issues that they probably aren’t in the convo.

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