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To see the previous rounds of this mock draft please click here: Rounds 1-2

In all of our responsibilities, we make decisions and come up with ideas that are not our finest moments. It’s human nature. It’s what drives us to do better. When I came up with the idea to create a mock prospect draft for dynasty leagues years ago, it was one that frankly I wasn’t sure would be super helpful or entertaining—but it has turned into one of my favorite exercises of the off-season. And it’s only become more fun as the participants have gotten stronger. This year we added names from CBS, BaseballHQ, and Rotoworld—along with many of our household-name-in-the-fantasy-community participants form last year.

Just like we did last year (and the year before that), we first must examine the parameters. There are always parameters. These were the instructions for the participants of this draft, straight from the email I sent out prior to kickoff:

“The premise is very simple, we're drafting a minor-league roster for a brand new dynasty league team (no one has a major league roster yet). The "league" is a standard 15-team 5×5 rotisserie where you keep all players indefinitely with no contracts/salaries involved. The first rule is that any player you select must currently still have their prospect status in tact. The second rule is that there are no other rules. You don't have to fill any position requirements, it's just about building the type of farm system you would want to start from scratch with. And yes, both Rusney Castillo and Yasmany Tomas are eligible.”

Just 15 guys drafting 10 minor leaguers a piece to start a dynasty league roster with. And the most fun part about this exercise is that with all of the picks, I asked each “owner” to write a quick comment on why they were taking the player—so you’re going to be reading analysis directly from the person who made the pick in the draft. The result of this is not a precise prospect list by any means, but a great representation of how minor league players are valued for fantasy across the industry.

And as an added bonus, I’m going to add in a few noteworthy picks from last year’s corresponding rounds—since many of the participants returned to test their meddle once again. Here are a few picks that jumped out as particularly prescient (and no, I’m not excluding my own picks, as there are a few that I’m proud of—and the ones I’m not, you’ll have to dig through the archives to find yourself):

  • At Pick 3.29, Eno Sarris took Mookie Betts and found himself very much on the defensive, if he were to have read the comments. What seemed like a reach to many, ended up being quite a bargain.
  • At Pick 3.33, yours truly took Jose Abreu and it didn’t take long for that pick to look prescient. A likely first-round pick in all leagues this year, Abreu is a bona fide star and fantasy monster.
  • At Pick 4.46, Craig Glaser took Jorge Soler and his stock soared up to what was expected when he signed for $30 million out of Cuba. The Cubs likely Opening Day right fielder has 30-homer upside and an exciting future.

With those pleasantries out of the way, here are rounds 3-4 of the 2015 Baseball Prospectus Experts Mock Prospect Draft:

Round Three

3.31) Jose Peraza, 2B, Atlanta Braves (Jim Callis, MLB.com)
“Keep the steals coming, and give them to me at a premium position. He's capable of playing shortstop, though that probably won't happen as long as Andrelton Simmons is Atlanta. Wherever Peraza plays, he's a threat to deliver 50-plus steals, hit for a high average and score plenty of runs. All of the elite pitching prospects are gone, and while there are some interesting arms out there, they're also more volatile than the best bats still available. I'll wait before grabbing some pitchers.”

3.32) Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (Nick Shlain, Baseball Prospectus)
“Much like my second-round pick, Jon Gray, Stephenson has swing-and-miss stuff and is destined to pitch in a hitter-friendly ballpark. His 4.74 ERA for the season at Double-A last year showed he is an unfinished product, but he still struck out 140 batters with a 23 percent strikeout rate. He needs to improve his control in order to take the next step, but I’ll take that chance in the third round.”

3.33) Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros (Al Melchior, CBS)
“There were several pitchers I considered for my Round 3 pick, but ultimately, I went with Mark Appel on the basis of the strength of his recent performances. Instead of seeing his mystifyingly-bad Cal League performance as a red flag, I'm impressed with how well he rebounded, both in the Texas League and Arizona Fall League, Giving him a mulligan on his stint in Lancaster, a high whiff rate in the Texas League speaks to his strikeout potential, while he has kept walks and flyballs at a reasonable level at each minor league stop.”

3.34) Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals (Craig Glaser, BSports)
“After taking Clint Frazier with my second-round pick, I'll continue with the young player with upside theme in Round 3. We've already had a number of shortstops selected and Mondesi seems like a worthwhile gamble among those who are left. He had a rough season in High-A ball in 2014, batting only .211 owing to a lot of strikeouts and a BABIP of only .274. That being said he flashed some power and stole 17 bases while only being caught four times. He was also about five years younger than the average age of players in the league so he has plenty of time to work on his weaknesses and maximize his considerable skill set.”

3.35) Kyle Schwarber, C/OF, Chicago Cubs (John Sickels, Minor League Ball)
“Schwarber had an outstanding professional debut coming out of the 2014 draft, the Indiana University product hitting .302/.393/.560 in the difficult Florida State League. His combination of power, bat speed, and strike-zone judgment should get him to the cusp of the majors very quickly, the main thing holding him back being questions about his position. Even if he can't catch in the long run he offers more than enough hitting to hold a job at a corner outfield spot or first base. With both Schwarber and Corey Seager on board, my farm roster now has two of the top left-handed hitting prospects in all of the minor leagues, plus a premium shortstop prospect in Franklin Barreto. I'll worry about pitching later.”

3.36) Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees (Brent Hershey, BaseballHQ)
“Judge is a big man (6-7, 230), but has the athleticism to make it all work. He continually hits the ball hard, whether singles, extra-base hits, or outs, and of course, with arms extended, he has considerable home-run power. He does need to watch his strikeout rate, which increased after his mid-season jump to High-A, and has shown some trouble with breaking stuff. But he's a patient hitter, too; pitch-recognition skills and a disciplined approach resulted in solid walk rates in his first full pro season. In an era short on right-handed power, Judge, who likely will start at Double-A in 2015, makes a nice power upside play on any dynasty roster.”

3.37) Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox (James Anderson, Rotowire)
“The knocks on Anderson are pretty evident, but so is the upside. He walked just seven times in 345 plate appearances between High-A and Double-A last year, and there is a strong likelihood that he eventually moves off of shortstop. However, it’s hard to rip a guy's approach when he is raking like Anderson was last season. He was able to cut down his K-rate to a manageable 22.7 percent at High-A, so I don’t see the approach being a debilitating problem going forward. The potential here is immense, as he could go 20/30 with a lot of doubles and triples, and there is room to dream on even a little more pop, given his eventual home ballpark. I wanted a high-end shortstop for my farm system, and Anderson was, in my estimation, easily the best guy left with a sliver of hope to stick there. Even if he moves to center field, he could do enough across the board to be a top-50 fantasy player in his prime.”

3.38) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Los Angeles Angels (Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus)
“With Schwarber and Anderson going within the three picks ahead of me, I nearly threw both John and James out of the mock. But once I gathered my composure (I promise, I’m not rash), I grabbed the highest ranked player on my board, and one who should contribute plenty in 2015. Heaney had an eventful offseason, being dealt twice, but I still believe he gets to his strong number three ceiling in relatively short order, and the park in Los Angeles will help him suppress homers quite nicely.

3.39) Josh Bell, OF/1B, Pittsburgh Pirates (Chris Crawford, Draft to the Show/ESPN)
“I only have two real concerns with Bell: Where is he going to play, and when is he going to play? Those are obviously important factors, but I think the bat plays anywhere, and he's going to be worth the wait. He's going to hit for power and average, and he's a sneaky fast runner who can steal you a handful of bases. Even if he's forced to move to first base, Bell's offensive upside is just too great to let him pass me by in the third round.”

3.40) Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies (Eno Sarris, FanGraphs)
“Power with decent contact rates is my catnip. As the game's batting average tanks in the face of strikeouts, it's okay for major league teams to reach for the high-K low-BA sluggers—but in fantasy, batting average is still an important category. Franco's bat control and bat speed have combined for good contact rates in the minor leagues, and I think very soon he'll pair those with good power in Philadelphia. His big league situation is conducive for the power and the playing time (it's not like Cody Asche's glove is going to keep Franco from playing third)—and he's close.”

3.41) Nick Williams, OF, Texas Rangers (Ben Carsley, Baseball Prospectus)
“One of my favorite prospects in all the minors, Williams can flat out hit. I fell in love with his bat speed and swing when I saw him in Spring Training last year, and his performance in High-A last year solidified my belief that he's going to be an offensive beast. He needs a firmer (any) grasp of the mental side of the game, and he might be limited to left field. But that doesn't matter in most leagues, and even if Williams doesn't run much, he's talented enough to routinely hit .280-plus and strong enough to routinely challenge for 20 homers. In this offensive environment, that's a borderline OF2 when paired with decent R and RBI totals, and I think Williams will reach the majors at some point in 2016.”

3.42) Hunter Harvey, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Mike Rosenbaum, Bleacher Report)
“Grabbing Harvey here was a reach, especially with some of the bats still on the board, but I was expecting there to be a run on high-upside arms in the late third/early fourth rounds. That didn’t quite happen, but I’m still happy to get the young right-hander with my third pick. Few pitchers in the low minors were as impressive as Harvey in 2014, as the then-19-year-old dominated hitters in the South Atlantic League with basically his fastball-curveball combination before getting shut down in late July with a right elbow strain. The right-hander’s three-pitch arsenal gives him big-time strikeout potential, though I do worry about his durability given his lack of strength. Assuming he’s healthy, Harvey should open the 2015 season at High-A Frederick, with the potential to reach Double-A before the halfway point. Like many of the Orioles’ other top draft picks in recent years, Harvey should be able to move quickly through the minor leagues, especially in comparison to his peers from the 2013 draft class.”

3.43) Steven Matz, LHP, New York Mets (D.J. Short, Rotoworld)
“Matz has been overshadowed by Noah Syndergaard in the Mets' system, but he's quickly nipping at his heels. Selected in the second round in 2009, the 23-year-old southpaw saw the early part of his pro career stall after Tommy John surgery and didn't make his debut until 2012, but he has made remarkable progress over the past two seasons. Matz throws hard and also features a plus-changeup and a developing curveball, so the arsenal is there and improving. He has also made some nice strides with his control, especially during his time in Double-A last year. Matz is expected to begin 2015 with Triple-A Las Vegas, but he could make his way to the majors by the end of the year. Naturally, I tend to be conservative with pitching prospects in these kind of formats, but I feel that he's a nice value at this stage in the draft.”

3.44) Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies (Craig Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus)
“One of last year's preferred late-round fliers, Tapia had a successful age-20 season in Low-A, slashing .326/.382/.453. For a relatively raw prospect with the hitting ability Tapia boasts, that's a solid walk rate, and it's nice to see that full-season arms weren't able to diminish his ability to make contact. He certainly benefited from playing in one of the minors' oddest/friendliest ballparks, but he's a potential five-category contributor even if his power only gets to reach fringe-average. He should develop the ability to help in batting average and stolen bases, and can likely help with runs if he hits towards the top of the lineup. With Coors field as a future home, I couldn't resist the overall package of tools from Tapia with the 44th pick in the draft.”

3.45) Alex Jackson, OF, Seattle Mariners (Ray Guilfoyle, Fake Teams)
“The sixth-overall pick in the 2014 draft saw just 94 plate appearances in Rookie-level ball after signing, hitting .280/.344/.476 with 10 of his 23 hits going for extra bases. A catcher in high school, the Mariners seem to want to speed his bat to the big leagues, making him a right fielder. He has the power to be a middle of the order hitter, and could move quickly through the Mariners system.”

Round Four

4.46) Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres (Ray Guilfoyle, Fake Teams)
“Another young hitter with big power, Renfroe put up solid power numbers last season, but struggled upon a promotion to Double-A. He will more than likely start the season in Double-A, and will have to work on reducing his whiff rate, as he struck out in 134 of his 567 plate appearances in 2014. If all goes well, we could see Renfroe in right field in Petco Park by the middle of the 2016 season.”

4.47) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Craig Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus)
“Getting Taillon with the 47th pick surprised me. Not that I think it's a massive steal, but tabbing a guy this late, who has pitched at Triple-A and who carries the pedigree that Taillon does, is a bonus. Sure, any pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery is concerning, but Taillon boasts a combination of ceiling and immediacy (even with the surgery factored in) that few on the board could match. Plus, our format is starting a dynasty league from scratch, so only getting a half-season from him in '15 isn't as big a deal as it would be if I had a team in place that required immediate help for the rotation. If he can show he's healthy early on this year, I fully expect him to close the gap between, and perhaps surpass Tyler Glasnow as the Pirates top prospect. While that happening is far from a certainty, 25 picks between the two makes me content to take the risk.”

4.48) Michael Taylor, OF, Washington Nationals (D.J. Short, Rotoworld)
“Taylor has always had the tools, displaying excellent speed and defense in center field along with raw power potential, but his pop didn't really show on a consistent basis until last season. He amassed 23 home runs over 110 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014 after hitting just 27 in his previous 421 minor-league games combined. We already know about what he can do on the basepaths (he stole 37 bases last year and 51 in 2013), so the power progression is pretty exciting from a fantasy perspective. He's obviously far from a sure thing, though. Taylor struggled in his first taste of the majors last year and his plate discipline isn't a strength. His ability to make consistent contact is a legitimate question. There's bust potential here, but I'll take a chance on the power-speed combo.”

4.49) D.J. Peterson, 3B, Seattle Mariners (Mike Rosenbaum, Bleacher Report)
“Peterson was the best bat still on my board, and with so many MLB-ready or nearly MLB-ready guys already off the board, I’m honestly surprised/thrilled to land him in the fourth round. Peterson split the 2014 season between the High-A California League and Double-A Southern League, accruing 31 home runs and 31 doubles between both stops while batting .297/.360/.552 in 547 plate appearances. I view Peterson as one of the more advanced hitters in the minor leagues, projecting as an above-average hitter with usable plus power. There’s uncertainty about the 23-year-old’s long-term defensive home; he’s currently a third baseman, but his lack of range, quickness and athleticism means he’ll likely shift to first base. Regardless, Peterson’s offensive profile should be a clean fit at either infield corner, and hopefully the Mariners find a way to get his bat in the lineup at some point in 2015.”

4.50) Rymer Liriano, OF, San Diego Padres (Ben Carsley, Baseball Prospectus)
“San Diego's offseason moves have killed much of Liriano's 2015 value, but I still really like his loud tools and athleticism. There's destined to be a fair amount of fluctuation with his average on a year-to-year basis, but he could challenge for 20/20 in a more neutral park, and while the body profiles as one that could fill out and limit his speed, it's an attractive package nonetheless. Liriano is a high-variance player, but given the dearth of close-to-MLB-ready hitting talent remaining in this draft, I'm happy snatching him up here and choosing between the 213,430 no. 3/4 starters that will likely remain when I pick next.”

4.51) Steven Souza, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (Eno Sarris, FanGraphs)
“Once again, I chose a player that's ready to contribute now. The stakes are raised in fantasy—in real life, a player can be a platoon or utility player and avoid the bust label, but in fantasy they need to not only play every day, but be good at the five main categories. Now, Souza probably won't have a great batting average. He's a bit more of a power and patience guy. But what I do like is that he's shown speed to go with his power, and he's probably going to get a full year of leash in that Tampa outfield. I'll know quickly if I've got a four-category asset for my fantasy team, and he won't clog up my farm system for years to come. Souza led the Arizona Fall League in velocity off the bat in 2013—he hits the ball hard when he makes contact.”

4.52) Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox (Chris Crawford, Draft to the Show/ESPN)
“It's unlikely that the first three guys I took this year will help you in 2015, but I do expect a contribution from Owens next year. He misses bats with his fastball and change, and though the command isn't elite it's certainly good enough for him to be a starter at the next level. Assuming he can throw enough strikes to stick in the rotation, there's no. 2 potential in his left arm, and at this point in the draft, I love the medium-risk, high-reward potential.”

4.53) Jorge Alfaro, C, Texas Rangers (Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus)
“If you had told me heading into this draft, I’d have two pitchers and a catcher (not named Kyle Schwarber) in the first four rounds, it would seem like reason for disappointment, but sometimes the values just fall in places that you don’t expect. Catching prospects get devalued in fantasy because of the developmental curve and diminished playing time, but Alfaro has the chops to be special at the position. One of the few catching prospects in the minors who projects to hit for power in the middle of a lineup, the legendary one could be a perennial top-three catcher as soon as 2017 or 2018. Plus, no one ever lost points for adding a few steals on the base paths or calling Arlington their home park.”

4.54) Braden Shipley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (James Anderson, Rotowire)
“Shipley’s stuff, size, and athleticism coupled with the fact that he is relatively inexperienced as a pitcher leave me higher on the 6-foot-3 righty’s potential than his numbers in his first full season in pro ball might warrant. He climbed two full levels, finishing the year at Double-A Mobile, and posted a 3.86 ERA with a 127-to-42 K:BB ratio in 126 innings along the way. I don’t suspect most preseason rankings to echo this sentiment, but I believe a case could be made that Shipley has surpassed Archie Bradley as the team’s most appealing pitching prospect moving forward. If he can develop his curveball into a third plus offering to go with his fastball and changeup, look out.”

4.55) Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Brent Hershey, BaseballHQ)
“Somewhat surprised that he's still here in the mid-fourth round, given his pedigree: excellent starters’ build, easy delivery, plus FB/CB combination and a considerable ground-ball lean. But I imagine issues with his control and a less-than-exciting strikeout rate during 2014 may be the reason. On the flip side, he has some successful MLB time (albeit BABIP-enchanced) already and, to channel my inner Eno, he's ready to contribute now. MLB role is still a question, but if he does move to the bullpen, there's a good chance some saves come his way in 2015 and perhaps beyond. So I find Sanchez' versatility—he could still become a nice SP2 for fantasy if the control is cleaned up—appealing in this spot.”

4.56) Luis Severino, RHP, New York Yankees (John Sickels, Minor League Ball)
“Severino was a sleeper prospect a year ago but now he's one of the top right-handed pitching prospects in the game and probably the top Yankees prospect overall. He showed a mid-to-upper-90s fastball last year, a strong change-up, and a rapidly improving slider. His command is sharp and you can't complain about the statistics: 2.47 ERA, 126-to-27 K:BB in 113 innings at three levels, 93 hits, just three homers allowed all year. He's only 20 and he finished strong in Double-A with a 2.52 ERA, 29-to-6 K:BB in 25 innings. Severino has both the stuff and pitchability to thrive.”

4.57) Tyler Kolek, RHP, Miami Marlins (Craig Glaser, BSports)
“There were a number of arms I considered here but ultimately I decided to go with Kolek, the 2nd overall pick in the 2014 draft. Kolek is a big guy with a big fastball, which often hit triple digits in high school. He has thrown both a curveball and a slider, and while we haven't seen much of him in the pros yet, I couldn't pass on his big arm here.”

4.58) Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Al Melchior, CBS)
“I'm still getting used to the fact that the Twins have several enticing pitching prospects, and given Alex Meyer's struggles with control last season, Berrios has moved to the top of the chart for me. His domination of the Florida State League at age 20 was impressive, and to exhibit decent command and an above-average whiff rate in the Eastern League was just as much of a head-turner. In another organization, I might worry some about Berrios' fly-ball tendencies, but they should play to his advantage once he reaches Target Field.”

4.59) Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs (Nick Shlain, Baseball Prospectus)
“Almora is just 20 and played 36 games at Double-A last year, but he has the talent to potentially advance quickly. He’s a good enough hitter that he could manage a .290 AVG with 15 home runs and some steals. Almora also plays a good center field defensively, which adds to the likelihood of him being a regular for years.”

4.60) Trea Turner, SS, Limbo (Jim Callis, MLB.com)
“I would have taken Luis Severino here, but with him gone, there aren't any pitchers I have to have so I'll keep taking position players. I'll go with another big stolen-base threat in Turner, who eventually will go to the Nationals from the Padres as part of the Wil Myers trade. There were questions about Turner's swing this spring, but I think he'll settle down when he's not asked to be a run producer in the middle of the lineup and can focus on getting on base as a leadoff man. He has a little bit of pop and while he's not a Gold Glover, he can definitely stay at shortstop.”

To be continued…

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lewist
1/29
These are all top prospects so it's hard to dislike any draft. After a few round 1 surprises from Craig Goldstein (Francisco Lindor) and Ray Guilfoyle (Austin Meadows), they have both turned it around quickly with nice picks here. I love the Alex Jackson / Hunter Renfroe and Raimel Tapia / Jameson Taillon picks. I can't believe any of the four made it this far!
TheArtfulDodger
1/29
Lindor was actually my second round pick
backwardgalaxy
1/29
Am I the only one seeing 3-4 and not 1-2?
traindoggah
1/29
Yep - me confused.
TheArtfulDodger
1/29
This is the post for rounds 3 & 4. 1 & 2 are available up where it says "Previous Column" as usual, or if you want to past this link into your browser:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=25446
statsrath
1/29
Fixed a typo that was contributing to the confusion. These are rounds 3-4. There is a link at the top to see rounds 1-2 from earlier this week.
Deadheadbrewer
1/29
"since many of the participants returned to test their meddle"

They're likely testing their mettle, unless the point of the exercise is to intentionally screw up the people drafting after you.

Good stuff, regardless!
lipsgardner
1/29
I would've drafted a good team if it wasn't for those damn medlen kids/arm surgeries
okteds
1/29
Is it just me, or does Kyle Schwarber seem like a steal coming after Mondesi and Appel?
boatman44
1/31
Liriano at 50 seems a very nice pick to me , there , nice work Ben.
Buccos2013
2/09
I personally liked the Souza pick. I realize he's becoming a popular sleeper pick since having playing time concerns eliminated via trade, but at the same time I think he's dissed a little overall. I probably would have snagged Aaron Sanchez before him, but that can be debated depending on who else is already in your minors.