The only thing better than doing something once is doing something twice.
After last week’s events, two new classes of U.S. amateur players have entered professional baseball since the class of 2014, which has seen some fast-moving performers. This means it’s a good time to take the pulse of that class again and peek at just how differently it might have turned out if we were drafting with the information that we know now. You may remember that we did this last year as well, so we’ve included those selections as well—if you want to get the full picture, this is the reason hyperlinks were created.
Running down the recent draftees who could have the greatest fantasy impact.
In some ways, it’s a chicken or the egg argument as to whether the growing popularity of the MLB draft is leading to the boom in dynasty leagues, or whether the boom in dynasty leagues is leading to increased interest in the draft. Either way, it is much more common today for fantasy owners to pay attention on draft day, to get a glimpse of the players they are either going to be drafting later this month, this off season or throwing out at auctions in three-to-five years.
There has been much talk over the last year or so about the quality of this draft class, and while it certainly is great for major league organizations, it’s not ideal for those fantasy owners picking at the top of dynasty drafts. What this class makes up for in incredible depth, it lacks in potentially elite fantasy talent at the top. This means that instead of 2014 being a great year to be picking at the top of draft (sorry, those of you who were tanking to get Rodon last year), it is a great year to have multiple selections. Last year, Kris Bryant was the slam-dunk no. 1 option among Rule 4 draftees, but this year offers no such clarity. It also didn’t help that a few choice players in the top-10 went to organizations that are big detractors from their fantasy value. Just taking two examples, if Alex Jackson had gone to Colorado and Kyle Freeland to Seattle, there would be more net fantasy value in the draft. However, the opposite happened and we are now left in the balance by a combination of those rough home parks and the organizations’ abilities to develop those types of players in recent history.
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Starring a showdown between two of the highest profile arms in the 2014 draft, Tyler Beede and Aaron Nola.
I was in Nashville two weekends ago for the much-anticipated matchup between two of the top programs in the SEC, as well as two of the top arms in the 2014 draft class: Vanderbilt’s Tyler Beede and LSU’s Aaron Nola. Beede and Nola took the bump opposite each other in Friday night’s opener and proceeded to solidify their claims to first round consideration. The series concluded with a doubleheader on Saturday, with a number of talents on each side standing out—particularly a handful of underclassmen with first round aspirations.
We put eyes on Alex Blandino, Casey Gillaspie, Bradley Zimmer, and other amateurs of interest for this year's draft.
After a focus on the Virginia/East Carolina series last weekend, this week’s Draft Ten Pack returns to catching you up on early-season action across the college ranks. Steffan Segui and Ethan Purser provide notes from the southeast, while Perfect Game’s Todd Gold contributes from the west coast, with thoughts on some of the top underclass arms in the country. I chip in with some national notes, including a player spotlight on an infielder who is ringing in the season with a loud offensive performance. Tomorrow, we’ll have another Ten Pack on prep prospects.
Introducing Scouting the Draft: Positional Preview Series
As the start of the amateur baseball season draws near, we will be rolling out a twelve part preview series that introduces many of the key names in play for the 2014 MLB Draft. The series will cover both the high school and collegiate levels, in each case with one piece devoted to the catchers, middle infielders, corner infielders, outfielders, right-handed pitchers, and left-handed pitchers. Yesterday we kicked things off with a look at the high school catchers, touching on twenty total players and providing some thoughts and video on each.
The Positional Preview Series will serve as our mechanism to catch you up with anything you might have missed on the amateur circuit since last June's MLB Draft. While not all encompassing, they should provide a helpful "CliffsNotes" style summary of the big names to know as of the start of the spring season. These twelve pieces will prepare you for the four months of amateur action leading up to June's draft, while also setting the stage for the remainder of our draft coverage to come.
In-depth looks at the prep catchers you'll be paying attention to this June.
Position at a Glance Evaluating and projecting out high school catchers is a difficult task, with high developmental attrition rates stemming from the fact that the hit tool and catcher defense are two of the most difficult skills to grow and refine at the professional level. The most sought-after talents within this cross section are those players who have elite present ability with either the hit tool or defense, with the holy grail being that unique player capable of stepping into a minor-league system and thriving defensively while also projecting out with the bat. This year’s crop boasts an elite talent in Alex Jackson, as well as a number of players who could step into that top tier with a little further growth this spring.
Video and reports on some of the top prep players in the nation.
With the playoffs approaching and the cellar-dwelling teams counting the days until 2014, let’s take a look at some high school bats who shined at the Area Code Games last month. Earlier, we looked at the pitchers.