The Rule 4 Draft kicks off this Wednesday! Time to get amped for an actual sporting event! 

Or not. I mean it’s your call. Would totally understand if you’re so irritated by big-wig greed you can’t pretend MLB doesn’t suck at being a professional league for a couple of weeknights. 

2020’s will be a supremely weird draft, but I’m geeked for it. I’ll post a mock draft here midday Wednesday, after which I’ll continue these rankings. I know some leagues like to do their First-Year-Player Drafts immediately after the July 2 signing date for international amateurs (in a typical season), so I figured the time was right to start synthesizing the talent trickling into our game this summer. 

 

1. Spencer Torkelson | 20 | 1B

2. Nick Gonzales | 21 | 2B/SS

3. Austin Martin | 21 | 3B/OF

4. Seiya Suzuki | 25 | OF 

The Torkelson’s was wholesome family programming in the early days of the Disney Channel. Spencer Torkelson is Disney Plus. Sure there’s wholesome goodness and classic animation, but there’s also superhero franchises and space westerns. Dude rakes, is what I’m saying. He and Andrew Vaughn, last year’s shortish corner masher, can breathe life back into a thinning position for fantasy. 

As of today, speedy-enough Nick Gonzales is second here, but if we had a regular year and got to see him hit the ground smoking in pro ball, I’d probably jump him over Tork, especially if his pro org wanted to see him at shortstop. I’d be trying to move from first to second in my FYPD if I could pick something up in the process because Gonzales has my favorite swing in the draft and a track record of hitting and running that’s second to no one in the class. 

Rare to see a Ferrari looking like a decent value, but this is 2020: “rare” is kind of the norm. Martin should race to the bigs and has some untapped power potential with the baseline hit skills to attempt a slight swing change if he wants to trade a little contact for thump. 

Suzuki is less likely to be posted than the next guy but has a sharper skill set for fantasy in my opinion. In 2020, he won the batting title at .335 with 28 home runs and 25 stolen bases. He’ll have a case for the top spot if posted. 

 

5. Tetsuto Yamada | 27 | 2B

6. Zac Veen | 18 | OF

7. Asa Lacy | 21 | LHP

8. Carlos Colmanarez | 16 | SS

9. Wilman Diaz | 16 | SS 

10. Cristian Hernandez | 16 | SS 

If you’re in a rebuilding phase, you might bump Yamada down a tier. Or not. He’ll turn 29 next July, so it’s not like he’s used up. While it’s impossible to know the future postings, the current arrangement is friendly enough to encourage Japanese clubs to sell before their Guys hit free agency, and we don’t know what the 2022 Collective Bargaining Agreement will bring. Yakult is not a financial powerhouse and might be wise to cash in while they can. If so, Yamada’s power/speed/patience profile jumps to the 8 spot on my Dynasty Second Base Rankings for 2021 Fantasy Baseball

Veen is seen as a Yelich Bellinger chimera who says he wants to be better than both. His swing is poetry: lefty bat speed on an uppercut that’s not quite as extreme as Belly’s. 

Lacy is the rare pitcher I’d consider in the top group of a first-year-player draft, but even so, I’ll bet one of these J2 kids jumps him by winter. I’m starting to think they have a unique edge this year. While high school, college and minor league players were losing out on crucial reps, international amateurs were living something of their normal existence. 

Colmanarez is the most physically and mechanically developed of these three—a catch 22 in that some will knock his topside for these exact reasons. He’s expected to sign with Tampa Bay, always a good thing for prospect development. 

Hernandez and Diaz are batting practice monsters also likely headed to excellent organizations in the Cubs and Dodgers, respectively. Hernandez might find himself in the top tier by January because he’s mid growth spurt and has incredible topside. His swing has a double trigger mechanism he’ll need to iron out against elite pitching. Diaz employs a smoother swing and barrels balls with apparent ease. This tier makes me want as many early 2021 picks as I can get.

Thanks for reading!

 
  1. Philip says:
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    Itch, you’re a huge help. Thanks for sharing this.

    I’m thinking of dropping Honeywell for Clarke Schmidt or Jhoan Duran. What would you suggest? I’m in a rebuild the next few years.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Philip!

      I’d prefer Duran bc he’s enormous—listed at 6’5” but seemed even taller at field level—has truly wipe-out stuff and pitches in a kinder environment.

      Full disclosure: Minnesota’s Midwest League Kernals are the closest minor league team to me—about 50 minutes—so I’m likely impacted by familiarity bias.

      • Philip says:
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        Right on. Would you take Balazovic over Duran?

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          Duran again for me because his stuff is unique, but it’s real close among these three, even Honeywell, I’m not out on yet.

  2. Dougie says:
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    Itch(!), what up my guy?
    I would love to see where these new draftees fit into your dynasty list and prospects list overall.

    Keep up the good work my man

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