While the June supplemental draft is one of the annual highlights of the Scoresheet calendar, as the top Rule 4 draft picks get picked over by teams, May is probably the best chance to pick up some early breakouts and respond to trends. Here are our recommendations for the upcoming supplemental draft, again looking only at players still available in a majority of leagues. You may also want to review our April recommendations, as we still stand behind… well, most of them.
Lance McCullers (23.2% owned in AL leagues): It’s hard to predict these things, of course, but our guess is that McCullers is the most likely player to be the 38.1 pick. It’s not often that a first-round talent goes unowned all the way into the big leagues. In this case, McCullers’ unique path as a second-round bonus baby, plus the shoring up of his secondary pitches and rapid rise to the majors, makes him a good long-term pick for early non-contenders.
Preston Tucker (8.1%): We ended up drafting Tucker in our AL leagues after failing to mention him in our April article. Oops. It looks like he’s still available in most leagues in May, but of course, his profile is now raised. Big fans here, as the ungainly swing is clearly going to pay off, and the defensive lapses aren’t as big a deal in Scoresheet unless the Astros punitively bench him. The Astros’ outfield is already crowded and only going to get more so (every Astros corner-bat prospect seems to be having a good year), but Tucker’s still a borderline keeper who’ll be providing a fourth outfielder bat this year.
Carlos Sanchez (31.8%): With Micah Johnson going down to the minors, Sanchez becomes the next in line for the middle infield job in Chicago. He’ll probably face competition from Emilio Bonifacio and Gordon Beckham, but third base may be an open opportunity on the South Side as well. He’s not much more likely to hit than Johnson was, but a hot start will give him some run, and he’s always carried a healthy sense of the strike zone. Continued surprising performance may make him a borderline keeper, which is always a hit for someone as young as Sanchez is.
Chris Capuano (14.7%): He’s back. You probably need a starter. That’s about all there is to say. Capuano’s always been a tick underrated, and even at this age seems likely to give you some back-end rotation depth. The loss of Chase Whitley and Masahiro Tanaka’s Schrodinger’s injury status means that a few poor starts are less likely to sock him into the bullpen for good.
Kyle Blanks (10.0%): Yeah, well, you’ve probably ridden this train before. His hot 60 at-bats mean that he’ll get drafted in your league by someone with recency bias on their mind, but those same 60 at-bats also get banked into your playoff stats, and also give him a little extra playing time. It’s no mean feat to expect Blanks to remain healthy for four months, but he may be the lefty-masher you need to complete your platoon.
Max Muncy (0.5%): That’s right. Muncy is currently owned in only one Scoresheet league. Congrats to that lucky so-and-so. Let’s assume that number rises dramatically in May. Should you be the owner, though? Ike Davis is still coming back, and Muncy still came into the season as a replacement-level talent. The A’s tend to get creative with players, and are already using Muncy at third sometimes, but the bat may not hold up enough to be worth it. On the other hand, solid playoff teams can just enjoy the banked stats this September.
James McCann (47.4%): With Alex Avila hurt again, McCann is getting some run and holding his own with the additional playing time. The batting average is going to come down a bit, making him something of a replacement level Scoresheet player, but enough AL teams need catching depth at the moment that this has some significant value. He’ll be drafted by someone.
Blake Snell (2.8%): He was only drafted in three leagues in the April supplemental draft. He hasn’t allowed a run since that time, and we’ll hazard a guess that he’s taken in more than three leagues this time around. He’s going to allow a run this season (we think), but what’s most promising is that he’s made the jump to Montgomery without much performance degradation. Tampa is slow to promote its pitchers, but Snell may be in for the Matt Moore/David Price memorial playoff run.
Brent Honeywell (3.8%): Snell isn’t the only hot pitching prospect in the Rays’ chain, however. Honeywell is known for his screwball (the pitch—he’s not a Howard Hawks fan, we think), but he’s showing some well-rounded talents at Bowling Green. He’s farther from the majors than we like to see in our Scoresheet draftees, but if you’re trying to sign players who will gain some value in season, this is a fine pick.
Buck Farmer (3.8%): Of course, the reason we don’t usually recommend low-A pitching prospects is because it’s sometimes just as easy to find players with nearly as much potential much closer to the majors. Farmer rocketed up the system so quickly last year that he didn’t have time to establish mastery of the upper levels, and the hard-thrower is resolving that early in the season. Farmer is almost certainly one of the top five starters in the Tigers organization at the moment, and it’s not as though much more has to go wrong to give him an opportunity.
Trevor Story (22.9% owned in NL leagues): The cat hasn’t only left the bag here, it’s darn near left the whole house (it’s an indoor cat). Story’s big start and Colorado Rockies pedigree is making him a popular pickup already, but those are also the main reasons to draft him. While he’s not going to come close to keeping up that batting average in the season ahead, he only has to push out D.J. LeMahieu or see a Troy Tulowitzki trade to become an offense-first starting middle infielder for the Colorado Rockies, one of the inherently most valuable positions in Scoresheet.
Gleyber Torres (10.6%): Thought experiment: What if, instead of a Venezuelan bonus baby, Torres was a draft-eligible 18-year-old with a name like Hunter or Tanner or something similar? Does Tanner Hunter go 1-1 in the draft? Torres hasn’t shown even moderate power yet, but everything else seems to be on track, and he’s the youngest player in full season ball. If your team is not contending, it’s time to pick him up.
Mike Bolsinger (27.0%): Okay, so he was a desperation pickup. Nevertheless, it’s starting to look like the Dodgers may have a little something here. Bolsinger’s high ERA last year masked some league average peripherals, and he may have taken another little half-step forward on this go-round. He’s no guarantee to stick in the rotation, but the rest of the Dodgers staff has made it an easier sell. There’s a small chance you can get a playoff-caliber starter here. Of course, if you don’t like him, there’s always…
Carlos Frias (17.0%): Frias is the nominal fifth starter, and should be the first to get the boot from the rotation, but half the rotation isn’t coming back, and one of the remaining members is Brett Anderson. Frias has pitched well in his first extended look, and remains one of the harder throwers in the game. Of course, even if Bolsinger and Frias do surprise, the Dodgers have all the money and impetus to replace them anyway. It’s best to look at them as needed depth for the next month.
Wilmer Difo (15.6%): This pick looked a lot more under-the-radar on the podcast, but now with his call to the majors, his spot has been blown up. Difo owners should be hoping that this interlude is temporary, as he probably will have more value to your team as a minor league protect than as a depth bat and average offensive player. If he ends up exhausting his rookie eligibility this year, it’ll be a tough protect in the offseason, but he’s shown enough spark in double-A to be worth the risk, and he may well have a starting job in 2016.
Matt Reynolds (26.1%): Wilmer Flores may have his name legally changed to “The Wilmer Flores Experiment” at this point, and Daniel Murphy is always a week away from being traded. Reynolds is net man up, and if you need a shortstop for the stretch run, he can hit a little bit, and is worth a flyer.
Jose De Leon (5.0%): De Leon has become a popular “sleeper” after gaining six MPH on his fastball through a rigorous offseason diet of spinach eating. We’d probably like to see him bring the show to Tulsa for a start or two before getting fully on board, but in your league, you’re likely not going to get the chance to wait.
Cory Spangenberg (44.0%): He’ll be an early pick in most NL leagues, so we’ll pull the reins a bit. His recent struggles have already knocked his hot start back to average, and he may not even be this good a hitter. Middle infielders with flexible position eligibility and steady jobs are worth drafting anyway, but just don’t go in expecting someone pushing your team towards the playoffs.
Justin Bour (11.0%): Another player unlikely to maintain his hot start, Bour can still hit well enough to be a fair pinch hit option for you. His playing time is contingent upon his manager realizing that the general manager’s offseason deal for Michael Morse was a mistake and a sunk cost. Thank goodness they aren’t the same person or anything.
Adam Liberatore (16.5%): We missed our chance to get on the Yimi Garcia hype train, and we won’t let that happen again. Most of the breakout Dodger pitchers should actually be credited to Ned Colletti and his team, but Liberatore is an obvious Andrew Friedman find. A lefty who didn’t get the call to Tampa despite strong pitching in Durham, he’s had a hot start in his introduction to the majors. The good news is that the 10 strong innings are banked for you into the playoffs, the better news is that he’s talented and likely to keep it up.
On the Podcast:
This week, the Outcomes look forward to the May supplemental draft. They mock draft the 38th round, and mostly manage to avoid talking about players they already mentioned back in April.