Previous entries in this series:
Vientos flashed his power upside in 2017, hitting four homers in the Gulf Coast League as a 17-year-old, but his performance in 2018 was even more impressive. He was the Appy League’s third youngest hitter, yet ranked in the top 10 in wRC+ (132), ISO (.202) and BB/K (0.86). At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, he has an ideal frame for his age and position. It is not a stretch to say he is tracking toward 30-plus homer power, and while he is unlikely to ever hit .300, his 14.1 BB% portends a high enough OBP to justify placement in the middle of a big-league lineup.
122) Ralph Lifshitz, Prospects Live — Ryan McKenna, OF, Orioles
The Orioles outfielder burst onto the Prospect scene this year with a strong showing early in the Carolina League, he was promoted to AA Bowie, where he continued to hit, but did have a few periods of adjustments during his time in the Eastern League. A former 4th rounder from the New Hampshire prep ranks, McKenna is the classic late blooming cold weather project. His combination of speed, on base ability, and average power give him a nice offensive profile for a player with plus defensive abilities in centerfield. I believe McKenna has an outside shot of being a standout OBP option, if his leadoff profile continues to blossom.
123) J.P. Breen, MKETailgate — Monte Harrison, OF, Marlins
Look, I tried not to do this. I tried not to be the guy who co-hosts a Brewers podcast and then goes ahead to take a former Brewers prospect. But as we’re well outside the top-100 picks, Harrison represents value that’s too good to pass up. He’s perhaps the best pure athlete in the minors, boasting the raw power and raw speed to be a perennial 20-20 contributor, if not more. It’s why he went in the top-40 of this thing last year. Well, that and the fact that he hit a combined 22 homers, stole 27 bases, and posted a 110 DRC+ in 2017. Things didn’t go so well in 2018. He struck out 36.9 percent of the time, and there’s no sense that the hit tool will ever be particularly good. If he can refine his approach to the point that his OBP is passable, however, I could easily see him re-creating the good Drew Stubbs years. That’d make him a top-100 fantasy player, especially since speed is so rare these days. Is that a likely outcome at this point? Let it suffice to say that there’s a reason why I was able to grab him during the ninth round in a mock draft with smart people.
Basabe gave a glimpse of his upside to a national TV audience when he homered off a 102-mph Hunter Greene fastball during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in July. He keeps improving offensively and has a good chance of becoming a 20-20 center fielder. Not saying this will happen, but wouldn’t it be funny if he wound up as the best prospect the White Sox received in the Chris Sale deal?
I’ll roll the dice here. The Cardinals top international prospect put on an impressive show in the DSL, hitting .415/.497/.774! They tried to bring him stateside but some visa issues got in the way. He was at Cardinals camp a week ago and reports from Jupiter said the pull-side power is very real. There are some big questions here, and he’s 100% a first baseman, but it’s worth a shot here.
126) Jesse Roche, The Dynasty Guru — Esteury Ruiz, 2B, Padres
Esteury Ruiz repeatedly draws comparisons to Alfonso Soriano, given his wiry frame, batting stance, and offensive/defensive outlook. Like Soriano, Ruiz is an aggressive, instinctual base runner, allowing his above-average speed to play up (49-for-60 in stolen bases in Low-A). In addition, he possesses a lightning quick bat and projects to develop nearly as much raw power as Soriano, which some project to plus. Unfortunately, he is a similar free-swinger at the plate, leading to tons of swing-and-miss (28.6% strikeouts and 16.8% swinging strikes), and he has comparable deficiencies in the field. Despite the substantial risk, Ruiz has significant five-category, Sorianian upside.
127) Ben Carsley, Baseball Prospectus — Wander Javier, SS, Twins
Let’s skip the tired jokes and get down to the player, shall we? Javier is a super risky choice here. He’s barely played in the past two years thanks largely to shoulder issues, but that’s the only reason he’s available here, because on talent alone he would’ve gone two or three rounds ago. Javier’s bat is potentially special, and if healthy I expect him to make relatively short work of his re-introduction to low-minors pitching. That’s a big if with Javier, but at this point in the draft the price is right.
128) D.J. Short, Rotoworld — Triston Casas, 3B, Red Sox
After being selected 26th overall in last year’s draft, Casas was limited to just five plate appearances during his first stint in pro ball due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb. It was disappointing that we didn’t get to see more, but it shouldn’t have much of an impact for our purposes. The 19-year-old brings serious power potential from the left side, though he’s more likely to play first base than third base in the long-term. Selecting him here will require some patience, but he could take a healthy jump in next year’s mock.
Fox hasn’t been great as a professional, but I got very good reports on the shortstop from the AFL, and it’s never been a question of talent. He should be able to stick at shortstop, and that matters as it gives him positional value that he needs. He has improved his approach, and he should make enough hard contact for at least a solid-average hit tool, possibly above. He should steal plenty of bases, and that should justify the lack of power. Also, please note that I didn’t make a Batman reference [EDITOR’S NOTE: He did in the draft email chain though].
130) Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus — Dan Vogelbach, UT, Mariners
Oh the gchats and DMs I got after making this pick. I had originally planned to take him as my final pick, but upon looking at the draft board, I doubted he’d get back to me with Wilson picking twice between (he later confirmed this with expletives). We know what we know at this point, but Vogelbach was damn good in Triple-A last year with a .979 OPS and well more walks (77) than punch outs (59). He’s still only 26 and looks to have the inside track to a job this spring with a rebuilding team likely to give him plenty of at-bats if he just shows something. If it translates, he can still be a borderline top-15 first baseman capable of hitting .280 with 25 homers. If not, I guess that’s one more 18-year-old we have to wait four years for that I couldn’t take.
131) Wilson Karaman, Baseball Prospectus — Brayan Rocchio, MI, Indians
What the hell, let’s dip into Cleveland’s 2017 J2 well again, shall we? Tribe signed Rocchio for $125k in the same haul they landed previous pick George Valera, and he came stateside last summer at the tender age of 17 to rope balls all over the Sonoran Desert. A switch-hitter, Rocchio unleashes a naturally handsy, balanced stroke from both sides with all manner of aesthetic appeal. Both the approach and bat-to-ball are well advanced for his age, and you can project a bunch of physical development into supporting strength. A plus runner who draws rave reviews for his baseball brain and work ethic, he’s one of my favorite rookie-level bats around. It’s a ground-floor investment, but one that carries a significant potential for value creation in the year ahead.
132) Brent Hershey, BaseballHQ — Daniel Lynch, LHP, Royals
Lynch was a pop-up arm from University of Virginia whose added velocity (now 91-94) from the left side moved him into the first round of the 2018 draft. He blew through rookie and full-season A-ball in his draft year as an experienced collegian should, throwing two version of a slider as well as a promising change-up, and he limited opponents to just nine ER in 12 starts. His advanced command gives him a solid floor—his K/BB numbers in 51.1 pro innings were 61/8—and his late-blooming status hints at some additional upside.
133) Tom Trudeau, The Dynasty Guru — Jorge Mateo, SS/OF, Athletics
Mateo’s 2018 season was an unmitigated disaster at AAA except that he played in a career high 131 games. He was an easy top 20 prospect a year ago for me personally (I have the terrible trade receipts to prove it), which makes his fall past 100 one of the biggest non-injury related drops in dynasty value that I can remember. Despite the warts, Mateo is a great buy low opportunity for a couple of reasons. The 40+ steal upside that made him a great fantasy prospect is still there. Despite the poor production, by all accounts the 80 speed is still there. He played at shortstop all year after spending some time in the outfield in previous years – the ability to handle shortstop with versatility could get him to the Majors. Lastly, we have a chance to know Mateo’s fate pretty quickly. That means we won’t need to roster him for years hoping and praying… it’ll either be a quick death or a speedy rebound.
134) Jeffrey Paternostro, Baseball Prospectus — Lazaro Armenteros, OF, Athletics
135) Craig Goldstein, Twitter — Geraldo Perdomo, MI, Diamondbacks
Another from the pre-full season ranks for me here, Perdomo is a middle infielder with a smooth stroke from both sides of the plate, and enough loft and bat speed to project plus potential power. He’s not flashy in the field and might end up at second base when it’s all said and done. While he hasn’t played full season ball yet, Perdomo already shows the ability to track pitches and has an approach at the plate. Add in above-average to plus speed and there’s a lot to like. There’s a long way to go, but the Diamondbacks aren’t afraid to challenge their prospects and if Perdomo can even hold serve on an aggressive pace, he should rocket up the rankings next year.
136) Craig Goldstein, Twitter — Edward Olivares, OF, Padres
One of the benefits of this being my last pick is that I can admit I was also looking at guys like Griffin Canning, Shervyen Newton, and William Contreras. I’m opting for a toolsy outfielder because I need to be true to myself. Olivares shouldn’t have trouble sticking in center field, which gives me some confidence in his ability to reach the majors. He’s got a great frame and can thwack some line drives, even if his current power output is lacking a bit. If he can learn to incorporate some loft into his swing, it will pair well with his ability to swipe bases. It’s not exactly a swing for the fences with the last pick, but a guy I like that has some upside and some floor. I’ll take it in the 10th round.
137) Jeffrey Paternostro, Baseball Prospectus — Griffin Canning, RHP, Angels
138) Tom Trudeau, The Dynasty Guru — Antonio Cabello, OF, Yankees
You know the type – international teenager, tools, video game stats. It describes more than a few prospects, but Cabello is among the better such stashes thanks to his production as just a 17-year-old, plus (perhaps double plus) speed and precocious plate discipline.
139) Brent Hershey, BaseballHQ — Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Red Sox
Since Round 10 is especially Hail Mary time, I’ll go with Dalbec. Finally healthy, he put together a monster power season (32 HR) between Hi-A and Double-A, though admittedly the severe swing-and-miss is a gaping hole. But he’s also shown enough plate discipline to at least scratch the Three True Outcomes level. Is there a Joey Gallo Lite result here? And does that make him fantasy relevant? Questions, questions.
140) Wilson Karaman, Baseball Prospectus — Tristen Lutz, OF, Brewers
D.J. took Lutz 139th in this draft last year, so our boy here is nothing if not consistent value-wise. The performance was anything but last year, which is why he remains stuck down here in the 10th round. Gnarly first and last months obscured a middle of the season with strong production in an advanced league and notable growth at the dish for 2017’s 34th overall pick. He’s got a bunch of power potential, a swing plane geared perfectly to tap into it, and sneaky athleticism for a gentleman his size – enough to lend credence to optimism for double-digit stolen base production. He’s not likely to evolve into an AVG asset, but he can be good enough there to justify investment in the big power/little speed profile.
141) Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus — Tirso Ornelas, OF, Padres
Speaking of 18-year-olds, Ornelas won’t turn 19 until mid-March and like Mitchell, who I took in the 8th round, he showcased his hitting ability in full-season ball last year. He’s already a Top 101 prospect for me on the shoulders of his strong plate discipline and plus raw power (along with, well, his impressive shoulders). He won’t provide double-digit steals, but he could put up big numbers in Lake Elsinore this season and catapult himself up into the next wave of high-end offensive prospects.
Last year, Hays went in the third-round. This year, Hays probably wouldn’t have been drafted if I could forget how good he looked in the 2017 season. He’s not long removed from putting up terrific numbers and even getting a cup of coffee with the Orioles. I’ll take a bet on Hays bouncing back — maybe not to the level he once was, but I still think there’s a potential regular in his right-handed bat.
143) D.J. Short, Rotoworld — Kevin Smith, MI, Blue Jays
After making some swing changes, Smith greatly improved his stock last year with 25 homers and an .886 OPS over 129 games between Class A Lansing and High-A Dunedin. His production wasn’t as impressive after the promotion, so it’s going to be interesting to see how he progresses against advanced competition. The approach carries some questions. But I’m happy to take my chances on his power/speed potential as my final pick.
144) Ben Carsley, Baseball Prospectus — Buddy Reed, OF, Padres
You won’t find more athletic dudes on a baseball diamond than Reed, who’s got incredible speed, decent power and the ability to truly go get it in center field. The big question is an important one, though; can he hit? He crushed High-A, but more advanced arms exploited Reed’s aggressive approach and pitch-recognition issues. The most likely outcome here is a fourth outfielder, but if Reed’s hit tool kicks up a grade or he ends up a second-division starter, he could challenge for 30-40 steals a year.
145) Jesse Roche, The Dynasty Guru — Corey Ray, OF, Brewers
The Brewers selected Ray fifth overall in the 2016 Draft, after an eye-popping junior year performance in which he hit 15 home runs and stole 44 bases in . . . 44 attempts. Not until this past year did his promised tantalizing power/speed combination truly manifest in games (27 HR/37 SB). The chief concern remains elevated swing-and-miss (29.3% strikeouts and 17.5% swinging strikes) and contact issues. At this juncture in the draft, it is time to gamble on raw tools. There is a very real possibility Ray may never hit enough to actualize his potential. If he does, however, he is a potential 20/20 or better fantasy performer, offensively similar to Mike Cameron.
147) Jim Calls, MLB Pipeline (MLB.com) — Ronny Mauricio, SS, Mets
I might as well swing for the fences with my last pick and I’ll do so with Mauricio. He has yet to play above Rookie ball and might wind up at third base, but that won’t matter if he realizes his upside of a plus hitter with plus power.
148) J.P. Breen, MKETailgate — Jake Burger, 3B, White Sox
Burger had Achilles problems that cost him the entire 2018 season. The bat, however, was promising for dynasty purposes in the 2017 Draft, and I’ll take a gamble on our large adult son returning to the batter’s box with a vengeance this year. The Missouri State product offers massive power potential. There’s a chance it could be paired with a solid batting average, too. The injury and defensive questions preclude him from being a top-100 dynasty prospect, but he’s a worthwhile gamble around the 150 slot.
149) Ralph Lifshitz, Prospects Live — Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers
It’s all about the power and OPS skills. Stewart has honed his craft in the minors for three full seasons, hitting 83 homers since 2016. He combines a high OBP skill set, plus raw power, and a hit tool that continues to improve. Christin’s K rate has dropped each season since 2016, while not sacrificing any of his power. Unfortunately his defense is well below grade, limiting him to leftfield or DH duty. Should make an impact on the big league club this season.
Pratto has struck out more in pro ball than the pre-draft scouting report foretold, but he has still produced, and that production reached a new level in the second half last year. From July 14 on, Pratto hit .343/.422/.596 with seven home runs, a 24.5 K% and an 11.5 BB% in 192 PA. He uses the whole field and his 22.9% line-drive rate was the second-best mark by a teenager in the Sally League. The ingredients are there for him to become the player the Royals thought he would be. His development just won’t be linear — it rarely is.
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