Draft week culminates with the top 40 players you need to know in dynasty leagues right now.
Sometimes we all need a little divine intervention, no matter the shape it takes. Of course, there’s the serious, life-altering kind and then (way, way, way down the list) there’s the fantasy baseball kind. Dynasty leaguers got a little of that with the way this draft class ended up dispersing among the major-league teams selecting them. The first nine picks on Monday night included four hitters going to hitters’ parks and three pitchers going to National League teams. It continued throughout the rest of the first round, although not quite at that pace. It’s as though it was known that this class needed help.
As the draft rolls on, more and more of the selections will be someone that scouts just had a gut feeling on.
While scouts can’t always explain the reasoning behind their “gut-feel” guys, something stood out about them. Athleticism, size, power, makeup, rawness. Some will admit that they don’t even get long looks at some of these players. The signing scout behindTrevor Rosenthal only saw him throw one inning.
“The Cardinals gave each scout three “gut feel” stickers to use, and those would help guide late-round decisions. Aaron Looper pressed one of his onto Rosenthal’s magnet and spoke passionately about what he saw in that one inning. Rosenthal featured a fastball that sizzled in the 90s, and he also displayed indicators the Cardinals valued: athletic ability, agility from his past as a shortstop, obvious arm strength and a low-mileage arm.”
With that said, here are my gut-feel guys for the 2017 draft.
Evan Marquardt, RHP, R-So., Ball State University (Muncie, IN)
Marquardt, who I profiled here in March, has a lot going for him, but he has a lot going against him as well. Let’s start with the positives. His fastball could be a plus offering, he shows quality feel for a breaking ball with hard action and depth, and he has good size (6-foot-6, 260 pounds) with good athleticism for his size. There are a fair amount of negatives though. He doesn’t have a collegiate track record (threw 59 IP this year, 13 IP the year prior), doesn’t throw a lot of strikes, and, while he started strong in my viewing, he wore down as the season progressed and finished with 40 walks. But hitters didn’t hit him that hard, allowing only 11 XBH in an offensive league (and home park). There are warts, but there are good building blocks to work with.
Trent Autry, RHP, R-Fr. Florence-Darlington Tech (Florence, SC) (JUCO)
I first saw Autry, not surprisingly, while going to see someone else. I drove to Palatka, FL to see Pearson McMahan (profiled here) and noticed they were playing Florence-Darlington Tech. I knew one of their coaches from a prior event and called him, as well as their head coach to discuss their squad. The first player he mentioned to me was Autry, a player who transferred over from another JUCO, who would take the bump in their first game. Suffice to say, Autry has been put on notice. He finished the year with 115 strikeouts in 75 innings (10th in the nation) and led Florence to the JUCO World Series. While not an ideal size (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) his fastball could be an above-average offering which features cut life, and a hard SL in the 84-85 range. It was a trip well worth taking, and while he could go back for another season at JUCO, he could be a flier on Day 3.
Raudy Martinez, OF, So., Polk State College (Lakeland, FL) (JUCO)
While somewhat of a reach, the main thing I am banking on is size, athleticism, and raw power. The concern with Martinez is that there is a lot of swing and miss, in what is a poor pitching league. But I am reminded of a player the Reds have in their organization, Narciso Crook. A 21st rounder in 2013 out of JUCO, he had the tools, but lacked feel for the game and had a lot of swing and miss. While it hasn’t panned out for Crook yet (he is still only 21, and shows all those tools), Raudy is a similar play. He has plus raw power, athleticism, size (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), and is an above-average runner. While he might not be able to play CF on a daily basis in pro ball, he can handle either OF corner. I have him as a pure lottery ticket, one that, if he hits, he looks like an everyday regular.
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Some potential senior signs that could go on Day 2 of the draft.
Every draft is full of them, last year, the significance of quality seniors was higher than ever as draft bonuses soared, giving teams more money to work with for higher upside players. While this left the seniors with little leverage, their importance has dominated the later stages of Day 2 in the draft.
“(They) said they’d be able to give me a $100,000 bonus,” Ratledge said, “but I’d have to tell teams not to draft me the rest of the day.” So Ratledge called to ask the club offering $20,000—let’s call it Team B—not to select him.
Team B wasn’t happy; it had to find a new senior to save money, but the area scout had a plan in place and found one. Ratledge, though, had to wait a nervous night until the next day. The 11th round came and went, and the third team didn’t draft him. The same thing happened in the 12th; still no pick, and no $100,000 bonus. Ratledge says his nerves were shot. He was ready to just get it over with.
“I 100 percent believed they were going to take me, but they kept passing and passing,” he said. “I was expecting it wouldn’t be easy, and I know it’s a business, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so cutthroat.”
Five years later and this draft class still looks about the same. Big-time talent at the top. Big-time drop off at the bottom.
With just hours before the 2017 draft class starts getting their names called on the MLB Network, we wanted to take a look back to see how things have changed with the draft class with which it’s been most compared. A lot can happen in five years. In fact, a lot can happen in three years as well (the first time we redrafted the 2012 crop was back in 2014). So we assigned 35 picks to BP authors and re-drafted from scratch, selecting only from the pool of players who were both selected and signed in 2012. Here's how the new draft shook out:
1:1 Houston Astros Actual Selection:Carlos Correa, SS Re-Draft Selection:Carlos Correa, SS (2012 no. 1 pick) Draft Position Change: 0 Explanation: Well, then. As it was in June of 2012, compelling arguments can be made for other players. The differences between Carlos Correa and Corey Seager are nearly impossible to express quantitatively. But Correa, already a star, nonetheless stands out as a singular player who most frequently causes involuntary raising of the eyebrows. The suspicion, the conviction, that there is another explosive level of stardom here keeps Correa in the No. 1 slot. —Zach Crizer
1:2 Minnesota Twins Actual Selection: Byron Buxton, CF Re-Draft Selection: Corey Seager, SS (2012 no. 18 pick) Draft Position Change: +16 Explanation: Like Correa, Seager is a large physically imposing shortstop that faced a lot of questions about whether he could stick at the position. Well, Seager has proven he can handle short, and the bat might be even better than we thought. He was supposed to be his brother, Kyle, with more power, but has become his brother, with a better average. Either way, his offensive profile plays in heart of the Dodgers lineup for years to come. —J.H. Schroeder
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.
26. Inexact Science: Part I,I
Being drafted in the first round is no guarantee of future major-league stardom, much less even reaching the promised land. Among 1,198 players selected in the first round (June, regular phase only) from 1965-2009, only 827—or 69.0 percent—had ascended to the big leagues by the start of the 2014 season (no provision has been made for first-rounders drafted from 2010-13). Understandably, the success rate for first-round draft picks has climbed through the years as baseball scouting has become more sophisticated. From 1965-74, in the first decade of the draft’s existence, the success rate of first-rounders was only 62.9 percent; in the five-year period from 2005-09, it had jumped to 76.3 percent. But it has not been a steady, upward trend, as 75.2 percent of first-rounders reached the big leagues in the decade from 1985-94, while only 67.7 percent were successful from 1995-2004.
Breaking down the players who could most benefit their future fantasy owners in the 5x5 categories.
If you’ve been hanging around Baseball Prospectus over the past few weeks, you’ve certainly noticed the heavy draft content that we’ve had, driven by our draft guru Nick Faleris. Just about all of that information has been from a real-life baseball perspective, so now that these players have teams (and contracts hopefully soon), we can finally start digging into them from a fantasy perspective. Next week, I’m going to be releasing a top 50 list of 2014 draftees from a dynasty league perspective, but for now, we’re going to do something a little more high-level and fun.
With the first round now in the books (and analyzed by Faleris), it’s time to take a fun look at the players who are most likely to make a fantasy impact in each of the ten standard categories. We’re obviously a long way from knowing what these players are going to be (especially the ones at the prep ranks), but based on what we know now, here’s a quick run through out where some of the standout categorical contributions could come from this very deep draft class:
Continually updated video library of 2014 First-Year Player Draft prospects.
Welcome to the 2014 MLB Draft Video Library -- this space will feature periodic uploads of videos of 2014 MLB draft prospects from now through June. It will be updated every single day and the new videos for a particular week will be featured at the top of this page with the archived videos directly below. Chances are if you are looking for a draft prospect you will find some video of him on this page between now and June.
In the first of a two-part series, Allan takes you through 25 of the most notable moments and events in draft history.
Major League Baseball is conducting its 50th first-year player draft this week, and we thought it would be a golden opportunity to take a 50-year retrospective on the baseball draft as part of our general preview coverage of this year’s proceedings.
Naturally, we’ve enlisted our resident draft historian, Allan Simpson, to take a look back at some of the highlights—and lowlights—of the draft through the years and shed some of his own perspective on how the draft has evolved, and the impact it has had on the game.