1. Rangers OF Wyatt Langford (21, AAA)
Could not be contained by minor league pitching. Texas is going to be scary in the outfield for a long time with Evan Carter and Langford patrolling the grass.
2. Nationals OF Dylan Crews (21, AA)
Can’t complain about getting Crews with the second pick. He hit .208 and slugged .278 in 20 games at Double-A, but he’ll almost certainly bounce back after the offseason reset. Was a long season for LSU. No reason he had to skip High-A. Will be good for him if they pump the brakes a bit and let him develop outside of a wins-are-everything environment.
3. Pirates RHP Paul Skenes (21, AA)
Kind of a weird first pro season for Skenes, who skipped through the three leagues in just 6.2 innings. The team shut him down after two outings and 2.2 innings at Double-A. If healthy, he’ll open 2024 with an outside shot to make the opening day rotation out of spring training but will likely get a couple starts at Double and Triple-A.
4. RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto (25)
Orix does not have to post Yamamoto but could clear a sizable fee if they do so. Several reports have speculated that Yamamoto is likely to be posted, so I’m including him here even though I typically prefer to wait until that kind of thing is made official. He’s been incredible throughout his career and is coming off a 1.21 ERA across 164 innings. I’m open to contenders taking him over Crews in pitching-heavy formats.
5. Twins OF Walker Jenkins (18, A)
Slashed .392/.446/.608 in 12 Low-A games. Quite a prize if he falls to the five spot in your draft. He’s not a burner like Clark or Bradfield further down the list, but he’s plenty fast and athletic enough to stuff the categories for our game.
6. Cubs SS Matt Shaw (21, AA)
A polished college bat, Shaw was a popular pick for fantasy success before dominating his way through three levels and slugging .523 with three homers and six steals in 15 Double-A games.
7. Tigers OF Max Clark (18, A)
Hit just .154 in 11 games at Low-A, but who cares. There’s a lot to love about Clark, but we’d be wise to ignore the Corbin Carroll comps. That’s a generational talent.
8. Orioles OF Enrique Bradfield Jr. (21, A+)
Started all three years as Vanderbilt. 80-grade speed and a solid hit tool in a great organization, particularly for developing left-handed hitters with untapped gap power. Stole 20 bases and posted a .494 OBP in 17 games at Low-A.
9. Atlanta RHP Hurston Waldrep (21, AAA)
Name sounds like old money. Like maybe it’ll wind up on a library someday through no work of his own. He’s ready enough that I’ve wondered if he’d get conscripted into this year’s title run given the team’s issues on the mound. He still might, I suppose, but more important for our purposes is that he stays healthy after tearing through the minors in his draft season.
10. Angels 1B Nolan Schanuel
Might be a trap for standard 5×5 rotisserie leagues but a nice windfall for OBP leagues.
11. FA LHP Shota Imanaga (30)
A classic crafty, composed lefty who’s been great since 2018, Imanaga will make a nice gift for contenders seeking innings near the back of their drafts. Landing spot is going to matter here, I think. In front of the right team in the right park, Imanaga will be a contributor to the wins category.
12. Giants OF Bryce Eldridge (18, A)
Listed at 6’7” 223 lbs, Eldridge gives the large-human lovers an easy target at the draft table. He manages the zone well and posted a .293/.406/.379 slash line in 15 Low-A games. He was announced as a two-player on draft night and offers a world of potential for this organization to unlock. If anyone’s gonna catch a bunch of shine over the winter and fly up the lists, my money’s on this guy.
13. Red Sox C Kyle Teel (21, AA)
It’s hard for me to imagine myself making this pick just because I don’t tend to invest in catchers, but Teel is a high-probability big leaguer who’s had no trouble with minor league pitching, posting wRC+ scores of 166 and 167 in High-A (14 games) and Double-A (9 games). Every time I dig in to try and drop him down this list, I wind up moving him up.
14. Diamondbacks SS Tommy Troy (21, A+)
Features an exotic dancer’s name with a well-rounded game. The 12th overall pick out of Stanford, Troy slashed .247/.343/.447 with four homers and eight steals in 23 games with High-A Hillsboro.
15. Nationals 3B Yohandy Morales (21, AA)
In want of an easy win here, I landed on a corner-only thumper with a path to playing time. At 6’4” 225 lbs, Morales is not going to help us in the stolen base category, but the 2nd rounder out of Miami has mashed during all three of his years on campus and then easily swung his way to Double-A by hitting .390 in Low-A and then .314 in High-A. Fangraphs has him at a 35/40 hit tool, but I think his plate skills let that play up. He struck out just 36 times and drew 19 walks in 42 pro games across three levels.
Thanks for reading!