Updated 2017 Top 50 Dynasty Baseball First-Year Player Draft Rankings

Things have changed since I wrote my 2017 Top 40 Dynasty Baseball First-Year Player Draft Rankings back in mid-October … I’m about five pounds heavier. The first-year player draft rankings changed too though. This update is a tiered ranking with just a few thoughts on each tier. For a more detailed look at most of these players, you can check out my 2017 Top 200 Dynasty/Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings and my above linked Top 40. Here is the Updated 2017 Top 50 Dynasty Baseball First-Year Player Draft Rankings:

Top College Bats

1) Nick Senzel CIN, 3B
2) Zack Collins CHW, C
3) Kyle Lewis SEA, OF
4) Corey Ray MIL, OF

The very top college bats usually have the best combination of safety, proximity, and upside, and this year’s class is no different. I wouldn’t argue too hard against ranking these guys in any order.

The #1 Overall Draft Pick and the #1 International Signing

5) Mickey Moniak PHI, OF
6) Kevin Maitan ATL, SS

The risk is inherently higher with teenagers, mostly because they have a long way to go, but I’ll take the top “high school” bats after the best college players are off the board. Maitan has that mysterious, limitless upside, so if you like to live on the edge, I wouldn’t blame you if you took him #1 overall.

Top 100 Worthy

7) Will Craig PIT, 3B
8) A.J. Puk OAK, LHP
9) Ian Anderson ATL, RHP
10) Jason Groome BOS, LHP
11) Matt Thaiss LAA, 1B/C
12) Cal Quantrill SD, RHP
13) Heath Quinn SF, OF
14) Bobby Dalbec BOS, 3B
15) Bryan Reynolds SF, OF
16) Taylor Trammell CIN, OF
17) Blake Rutherford NYY, OF
18) Alex Kirilloff MIN, OF
19) Braxton Garrett MIA, LHP
20) Adrian Morejon SD, LHP
21) Lucas Erceg MIL, 3B

Alex Reyes’ injury is just another reminder of how risky pitching prospects can be. I do like to keep a relatively balanced farm system, though, so I would start to consider the top pitchers in this group of lower upside college bats and far off high school hitters.

Boom or Bust

22) Jorge Ona SD, OF
23) Matt Manning DET, RHP
24) Delvin Perez STL, SS

Tons of unrefined raw talent. Perez actually didn’t look all that raw at the plate in his pro debut, so this ranking admittedly might be too reliant on pre-draft reports.

Close Proximity and Sneaky Upside

25) Eric Lauer SD, LHP
26) Dakota Hudson STL, RHP
27) Lourdes Gourriel Jr. TOR, 2B
28) Peter Alonso NYM, 1B
29) Justin Dunn NYM, RHP
30) Norge Ruiz OAK, RHP
31) Randy Arozarena STL, INF

Gourriel and Dunn’s upside might be less sneaky than the others, but you get the point.

Pu Pu Platter

32) Anfernee Grier ARI, OF
33) Will Benson CLE, OF
34) Joey Wentz ATL, LHP
35) Forrest Whitley HOU, RHP
36) Vladimir Gutierrez CIN, RHP
37) Jordan Sheffield LAD, RHP
38) Luis Almanzar SD, SS
39) Lazaro Armenteros OAK, OF
40) Freudis Nova HOU, SS
41) Chris Okey CIN, C
42) Josh Lowe TB, 3B
43) Nolan Jones CLE, 3B
44) Cionel Perez HOU, LHP
45) Victor Garcia STL, OF
46) Bo Bichette TOR, SS
47) Yasel Antuna WASH, SS
48) Ronnie Dawson HOU, OF
49) D.J. Peters LAD, OF
50) Dane Dunning CHW, RHP
* Riley Pint COL, RHP

At this point in the player pool, it should be more about picking your favorites and/or team needs (position, speed/power, upside/proximity, etc …), rather than a rigid ranking. There is still a ton of talent in this group, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising if the best player from this entire class ended up being one of these players. Pint gets singled out because he was my top pitcher before Colorado drafted him, but I avoid Coors pitchers like Major League Baseball avoids free market principles.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016/17 Complete Top 40 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings

The MLB regular season may be over, but that means Dynasty Leagues are just starting to ramp back up. Leading up to Saturday’s special edition of the Razzball Prospect Podcast: First-Year Player Mock Draft, I ranked the top draft picks and international free agents who signed with pro teams this season (make sure to also check out Ralph Lifshitz’ Top 30 over at Razzball). Here are the 2016/17 Complete Top 40 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings:

*All projections are now juiced, like the balls

1) Nick Senzel CIN, 3B – I ranked Senzel 5th in my Top 30 MLB Draft Rankings, but his impressive pro debut (.305/.398/.514), combined with Kyle Lewis’ knee injury, Corey Ray’s struggles in High-A, and Will Craig’s mediocre power output, has undoubtedly vaulted him to the top spot. Prime Projection: 90/20/90/.286/.354/.469/14

2) Zack Collins CHW, C – The 10th overall pick in the draft, Collins responded to his aggressive High-A assignment, slashing .258/.418/.467 with 6 homers and a 39/33 K/BB in 36 games. Chicago is also the type of organization to stick with him behind the plate, despite his questionable catcher defense. Prime Projection: 78/26/87/.264/.364/.485/2

3) Kyle Lewis SEA, OF – Would have ranked #1 overall if not for the devastating knee injury, but I’ll bet on modern medicine and not drop him too far. He has been updating his rehab progress on Twitter. Prime Projection: 83/24/87/.278/.350/.491/8

4) Corey Ray MIL, OF – Unlike Collins, Ray struggled at High-A, slashing .247/.307/.385. He still flashed his enticing power/speed combo, but the struggles just exacerbate the questions that surrounded his hit tool coming into the draft. Prime Projection: 86/16/71/.261/.328/.441/22

5) Will Craig PIT, 1B/3B – The power didn’t show up, with only 2 homers 63 games at Low-A, but his .412 OBP and 37/41 K/BB proves he is one of the most advanced hitters in the draft. Prime Projection: 80/22/90/.284/.359/.480/3

6) Kevin Maitan ATL, SS – Pure projection and scouting reports. Highest upside in the rankings, but he is 16 years old … seriously, he was born in the year 2000. Prime Projection: 90/27/100/.285/.345/.510/6

7) A.J. Puk OAK, LHP – More projection than you would like for a college starter, but he is a big, hard throwing lefty who put up a pitching line of 3.03/1.07/40 in 32.2 IP at Low-A. Prime Projection: 3.51/1.26/195 in 185 IP

8) Mickey Moniak PHI, OF – Not the most exciting fantasy prospect, but has a plus hit tool, speed, and pumped up trade value being the #1 overall pick in the draft. Prime Projection: 89/12/63/.290/.357/.420/19

9) Ian Anderson ATL, RHP – 2.04/1.13/36 in 39.2 IP in rookie ball debut. Has an advanced 3 pitch mix for his age, and will be in a great pitching situation in Atlanta and the NL East. Prime Projection: 3.39/1.16/184 in 190 IP

10) Jason Groome BOS, LHP – 6’6’’, 220-pound lefty with a devastating curveball. Drafted 12th overall but had the talent to be the top overall pick in the draft. Unlike Anderson, will be facing adverse pitching conditions in Fenway and the AL East. Prime Projection: 3.44/1.20/197 in 195 IP

11) Matt Thaiss LAA, C/1B – Safe, fast moving college bat, but don’t expect him to light the world on fire. (Side note: Ralph and I have been butchering his name on the podcast for weeks now. It is pronounced “Thighz.” Check out this Youtube video for the correct pronunciation of his name, and also to see the extremely wide batting stance he employs.) Prime Projection: 78/20/84/.278/.344/.453/4

12) Cal Quantrill SD, RHP – Reports have been positive in the early going coming back from Tommy John surgery. Still some unknowns after basically not pitching since his freshman year of college, but has the upside to be the top pitcher on this list. Prime Projection: 3.50/1.22/180 in 180 IP

13) Heath Quinn SFG, OF – One of my favorite sleepers coming into the MLB Draft (ranked 14th overall), and he remains so after dominating in Low-A to kick off his professional career (.344/.434/.564). Getting drafted into AT&T Park is not the best situation, but as long as the balls don’t suddenly unjuice faster than Barry Bonds in retirement, he should be aight. Prime Projection: 79/23/87/.263/.339/.471/6

14) Bobby Dalbec BOS, 3B – Had the potential to be a first-round pick coming into the season, but a disastrous junior year turned him into a draft day sleeper. Boston scooped him in the 4th round, and after utterly destroying Low-A in 34 games (.386/.427/.674), it has to catapult him up the fantasy baseball rankings. Expect lots of power and strikeouts. Prime Projection: 76/23/85/.250/.322/.463/6

15) Bryan Reynolds SFG, OF – There seems to be about 4-5 MLB teams that are so far and away superior at the draft process that it makes the rest of the league look like they are stuck in the stone age. San Francisco is one of those teams, and they managed to snag one of the best college players in the country in the 2nd round. Expect Reynolds to do a little bit of everything, but not standout in any one category. Prime Projection: 83/18/77/.265/.340/.449/13

16) Taylor Trammell CIN, OF – Another one of my favorite prospects coming into the draft (13th overall), the raw Trammell didn’t look all that raw in his pro debut, slashing .303/.374/.421 with 2 homers and 24 steals in 61 games. An All-American running back in high school, he has speed and athleticism up the wazoo, to go along with excellent bat speed and the potential to hit for both average and power. Prime Projection: 88/14/74/.273/.340/.434/26

17) Eric Lauer SD, LHP – 0.69/0.74/125 in 104 IP in the MAC this year, a middling D1 conference, and looked strong in his pro debut as well, putting up a line of 2.03/1.07/37 in 31 IP. He remains possibly the safest starter on this list. Prime Projection: 3.47/1.23/175 in 190 IP

18) Dakota Hudson STL, RHP – Big, strong righty with electric stuff. Control and command still needs work, but if any organization is going to get the best out of him, it is St. Louis. Prime Projection: 3.59/1.27/186 in 190 IP

19) Adrian Morejon SD, LHP – The top international pitcher on the list, and can easily end up the best pitcher on the list too. Doesn’t have the huge fastball (low 90’s) or huge size (6’1’’), but has tremendous polish for his age. Only reason he is this far down is because he is a year younger than even the high schoolers taken in the draft, and there are just more unknowns here in general. Prime Projection: 3.43/1.19/190 in 188 IP

20) Peter Alonso NYM, 1B – Was one of the best hitters in one of the best conferences in college baseball this season, slashing .374/.469/.659 with 14 homers and a 31/31 K/BB in 58 games in the SEC. He didn’t miss a beat once reaching pro ball, either, slashing .321/.388/.587 with 5 homers and a 22/11 K/BB in 30 games at Low-A. I might actually be too low on him here, but he is a 1B only and Citi Field is not exactly a power hitter’s haven. Prime Projection: 75/21/84/.271/.333/.465/2

21) Jorge Ona SD, OF – 19-year-old Cuban outfielder who signed for $7 million with San Diego. He is 6’2’’, 200 pounds with plus bat speed and raw power. He also dominated in the 2014 U18 Pam American Championship. There is risk due to the fact he just hasn’t played that much in the past year, but the upside is massive for fantasy. Prime Projection: 83/25/92/.260/.330/.500/5

22) Blake Rutherford NYY, OF – The 19-year-old Rutherford was ripping up Rookie ball (albeit with an over 20% K rate) before a hamstring injury ended his season. He doesn’t currently possess huge power or speed, but he can do a little bit of everything, and there is potential for more power down the line. Prime Projection: 80/18/80/.276/.332/.451/11

23) Alex Kirilloff MIN, OF – Known for his raw power coming into the draft, Kirilloff didn’t disappoint, knocking out 7 homers with solid contact numbers (32/11 K/BB) in 55 games at Rookie ball. He doesn’t have the quickest swing and he still needs to refine his plate approach, but there is a lot to like. Prime Projection: 77/22/87/.270/.329/.462/7

24) Braxton Garrett MIA, LHP – The 7th overall pick in the draft, Garrett throws an advanced curveball to go along with a low 90’s heater and developing changeup. He got drafted into a great situation for young pitchers in Miami, and is actually relatively safe as far as high school pitchers go. Prime Projection: 3.40/1.17/180 in 190 IP

25) Matt Manning DET, RHP – Basically the complete opposite of Garrett. Manning throws a fastball that can approach 100 MPH, but has an inconsistent curve and a changeup in the very early stages of development. His 46/7 K/BB in 29.1 IP in Rookie ball shows his limitless upside, but he is still very raw. Prime Projection: 3.72/1.29/198 in 187 IP

26) Justin Dunn NYM, RHP – Dunn is a recently converted reliever who throws an electric fastball/slider combo. Limited experience as a starter and slight build (6’1’’, 170 pounds) prevents me from ranking him higher, but the Mets have done an excellent job with developing starters in recent years (especially if you ignore the whole injury thing). Prime Projection: 3.61/1.24/173 in 180 IP

27) Anfernee Grier ARI, OF – I ranked Grier 10th in my pre-draft rankings, but his lackluster pro debut (.236/.277/.337) has him dropping. I love the power/speed combo, and am far from jumping off the bandwagon, but other guys have just passed him at this point. I would still target Grier in drafts, and you should be able to get him at great value now. Prime Projection: 79/16/72/.260/.316/.432/18

28) Chris Okey CIN, C – Okey was another one of my favorite pre-draft sleepers (ranked 19th overall), and he had a solid, if unspectacular pro debut, slashing .243/.323/.432 with 6 homers and a 49/14 K/BB in 42 games at Single-A. He also gets a bump for being a sure bet to stick at catcher. Prime Projection: 72/20/78/.258/.319/.447/4

29) Lucas Erceg MIL, 3B – Was a bit of a mystery coming into the draft because after a strong sophomore season in the PAC-12, he was forced to transfer to the less competitive Menlo College for academic reasons. But a strong pro debut, where he slashed .281/.328/.497 with 7 homers in 42 games at Single-A, has allayed some of those concerns. Erceg is your classic power hitting corner infielder. Prime Projection: 72/20/83/.262/.309/.449/7

30) William Benson CLE, OF – His Rookie ball numbers say it all, where he slashed .209/.321/.424, with 6 homers, 10 steals, and a 66/22 K/BB in 44 games. High risk, high reward. Prime Projection: 81/27/90/.241/.323/.473/10

31) Luis Almanzar SD, SS – The 16-year-old Almanzar signed with San Diego for $4 million. He is your classic toolsy SS who always makes bank during the international signing period, and they probably deserve to get paid even more. All projection and a long way off, but his upside can rival anybody’s. Prime Projection: 87/20/87/.285/.345/.480/10

32) Lazaro Armenteros OAK, OF – The 17-year-old Armenteros signed with Oakland for $3 million. He has dominated in international competitions and has oodles of raw talent. Prime Projection: 80/23/90/.270/.330/.480/18

33) Delvin Perez STL, SS – Almost a sure bet to stick at SS (but not sure how much a bump we should be giving SS in fantasy anymore) and a great real life prospect, but he is still very raw with the bat. He has plus speed and the talent to figure it out at the plate, so the potential to be an impact fantasy hitter is still there. Prime Projection: 84/10/66/.269/.309/.379/24

34) Jordan Sheffield LAD, RHP – Electric stuff with a mid-90’s fastball, but there is size, injury, and bullpen risk here. Prime Projection: 3.68/1.26/170 in 178 IP

35) Joey Wentz ATL, LHP – An uber-talented lefty who throws a low 90’s fastball with an already solid curveball and changeup. Has an athletic, repeatable delivery, and his potential is probably about equal to any pitcher on this list. Prime Projection: 3.56/1.18/191 in 186 IP

36) Forrest Whitley HOU, RHP – 6’7’’, 240-pound beast who has workhorse starter written all over him. Not much projection left, but he already throws a mid-90’s heater and power curveball. Prime Projection: 3.55/1.24/183 in 200 IP

37) Josh Lowe TB, 3B/OF – Showed the power is for real, blasting 5 homers in 54 Rookie ball games, but his .249 AVG and 59 K’s shows there is plenty of improvement left to go. Prime Projection: 83/23/87/.269/.345/.469/9

38) Victor Garcia STL, OF – Might have the most raw power and bat speed of anybody on this entire list, but still very raw. I wrote about him way back in my Week 12 Fantasy Prospect Rundown as one of my favorite international signing period sleepers. Prime Projection: 77/29/93/.250/.315/.490/2

39) Nolan Jones CLE, SS/3B – Mediocre Rookie ball debut, slashing .257/.388/.339 with 0 homers and a 49/23 K/BB in 32 games, but the potential remains the same. Prime Projection: 82/21/85/.267/.348/.460/8

40) Ronnie Dawson HOU, OF– A great power/speed draft sleeper who displayed those same skills upon reaching pro ball (7 homers and 12 steals in 70 games at Low-A), but didn’t do anything to answer the questions about his hit tool (.225 AVG). Prime Projection: 78/15/73/.249/.322/.425/16

*Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Unsigned, SS/OF – Unranked because he hasn’t signed with a Major League team yet. He is a toolsy, but still raw 22-year-old who would probably slot in around the 30-ish range. Prime Projection: 82/18/77/.275/.335/.440/13

You can check out my Top 30 MLB Draft Rankings for more in depth information and scouting reports on most of these players.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016/17 Top 40 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings: 31-40

The MLB regular season may be over, but that means Dynasty Leagues are just starting to ramp back up. Leading up to Friday’s special edition of the Razzball Prospect Podcast: First-Year Player Mock Draft, I will be ranking the top draft picks and international free agents who signed with pro teams this season (make sure to also check out Ralph Lifshitz’ Top 30 over at Razzball). Here are the 2016/17 Top 40 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings: 31-40:

1-10 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings
11-20 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings
21-30 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings

*All projections are now juiced, like the balls

31) Luis Almanzar SD, SS – The 16-year-old Almanzar signed with San Diego for $4 million. He is your classic toolsy SS who always makes bank during the international signing period, and they probably deserve to get paid even more. All projection and a long way off, but his upside can rival anybody’s. Prime Projection: 87/20/87/.285/.345/.480/10

32) Lazaro Armenteros OAK, OF – The 17-year-old Armenteros signed with Oakland for $3 million. He has dominated in international competitions and has oodles of raw talent. Prime Projection: 80/23/90/.270/.330/.480/18

33) Delvin Perez STL, SS – Almost a sure bet to stick at SS (but not sure how much a bump we should be giving SS in fantasy anymore) and a great real life prospect, but he is still very raw with the bat. He has plus speed and the talent to figure it out at the plate, so the potential to be an impact fantasy hitter is still there. Prime Projection: 84/10/66/.269/.309/.379/24

34) Jordan Sheffield LAD, RHP – Electric stuff with a mid-90’s fastball, but there is size, injury, and bullpen risk here. Prime Projection: 3.68/1.26/170 in 178 IP

35) Joey Wentz ATL, LHP – An uber-talented lefty who throws a low 90’s fastball with an already solid curveball and changeup. Has an athletic, repeatable delivery, and his potential is probably about equal to any pitcher on this list. Prime Projection: 3.56/1.18/191 in 186 IP

36) Forrest Whitley HOU, RHP – 6’7’’, 240-pound beast who has workhorse starter written all over him. Not much projection left, but he already throws a mid-90’s heater and power curveball. Prime Projection: 3.55/1.24/183 in 200 IP

37) Josh Lowe TB, 3B/OF – Showed the power is for real, blasting 5 homers in 54 Rookie ball games, but his .249 AVG and 59 K’s shows there is plenty of improvement left to go. Prime Projection: 83/23/87/.269/.345/.469/9

38) Victor Garcia STL, OF – Might have the most raw power and bat speed of anybody on this entire list, but still very raw. I wrote about him way back in my Week 12 Fantasy Prospect Rundown as one of my favorite international signing period sleepers. Prime Projection: 77/29/93/.250/.315/.490/2

39) Nolan Jones CLE, SS/3B – Mediocre Rookie ball debut, slashing .257/.388/.339 with 0 homers and a 49/23 K/BB in 32 games, but the potential remains the same. Prime Projection: 82/21/85/.267/.348/.460/8

40) Ronnie Dawson HOU, OF– A great power/speed draft sleeper who displayed those same skills upon reaching pro ball (7 homers and 12 steals in 70 games at Low-A), but didn’t do anything to answer the questions about his hit tool (.225 AVG). Prime Projection: 78/15/73/.249/.322/.425/16

*Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Unsigned, SS/OF – Unranked because he hasn’t signed with a Major League team yet. He is a toolsy, but still raw 22-year-old who would probably slot in around the 30-ish range. Prime Projection: 82/18/77/.275/.335/.440/13

You can check out my Top 30 MLB Draft Rankings for more in depth information and scouting reports on most of these players.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016/17 Top 40 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings: 21-30

The MLB regular season may be over, but that means Dynasty Leagues are just starting to ramp back up. Leading up to Friday’s special edition of the Razzball Prospect Podcast: First-Year Player Mock Draft, I will be ranking the top draft picks and international free agents who signed with pro teams this season (make sure to also check out Ralph Lifshitz’ Top 30 over at Razzball). Here are the 2016/17 Top 40 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings: 21-30:

1-10 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings
11-20 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings

*All projections are now juiced, like the balls

21) Jorge Ona SD, OF – 19-year-old Cuban outfielder who signed for $7 million with San Diego. He is 6’2’’, 200 pounds with plus bat speed and raw power. He also dominated in the 2014 U18 Pam American Championship. There is risk due to the fact he just hasn’t played that much in the past year, but the upside is massive for fantasy. Prime Projection: 83/25/92/.260/.330/.500/5

22) Blake Rutherford NYY, OF – The 19-year-old Rutherford was ripping up Rookie ball (albeit with an over 20% K rate) before a hamstring injury ended his season. He doesn’t currently possess huge power or speed, but he can do a little bit of everything, and there is potential for more power down the line. Prime Projection: 80/18/80/.276/.332/.451/11

23) Alex Kirilloff MIN, OF – Known for his raw power coming into the draft, Kirilloff didn’t disappoint, knocking out 7 homers with solid contact numbers (32/11 K/BB) in 55 games at Rookie ball. He doesn’t have the quickest swing and he still needs to refine his plate approach, but there is a lot to like. Prime Projection: 77/22/87/.270/.329/.462/7

24) Braxton Garrett MIA, LHP – The 7th overall pick in the draft, Garrett throws an advanced curveball to go along with a low 90’s heater and developing changeup. He got drafted into a great situation for young pitchers in Miami, and is actually relatively safe as far as high school pitchers go. Prime Projection: 3.40/1.17/180 in 190 IP

25) Matt Manning DET, RHP – Basically the complete opposite of Garrett. Manning throws a fastball that can approach 100 MPH, but has an inconsistent curve and a changeup in the very early stages of development. His 46/7 K/BB in 29.1 IP in Rookie ball shows his limitless upside, but he is still very raw. Prime Projection: 3.72/1.29/198 in 187 IP

26) Justin Dunn NYM, RHP – Dunn is a recently converted reliever who throws an electric fastball/slider combo. Limited experience as a starter and slight build (6’1’’, 170 pounds) prevents me from ranking him higher, but the Mets have done an excellent job with developing starters in recent years (especially if you ignore the whole injury thing). Prime Projection: 3.61/1.24/173 in 180 IP

27) Anfernee Grier ARI, OF – I ranked Grier 10th in my pre-draft rankings, but his lackluster pro debut (.236/.277/.337) has him dropping. I love the power/speed combo, and am far from jumping off the bandwagon, but other guys have just passed him at this point. I would still target Grier in drafts, and you should be able to get him at great value now. Prime Projection: 79/16/72/.260/.316/.432/18

28) Chris Okey CIN, C – Okey was another one of my favorite pre-draft sleepers (ranked 19th overall), and he had a solid, if unspectacular pro debut, slashing .243/.323/.432 with 6 homers and a 49/14 K/BB in 42 games at Single-A. He also gets a bump for being a sure bet to stick at catcher. Prime Projection: 72/20/78/.258/.319/.447/4

29) Lucas Erceg MIL, 3B – Was a bit of a mystery coming into the draft because after a strong sophomore season in the PAC-12, he was forced to transfer to the less competitive Menlo College for academic reasons. But a strong pro debut, where he slashed .281/.328/.497 with 7 homers in 42 games at Single-A, has allayed some of those concerns. Erceg is your classic power hitting corner infielder. Prime Projection: 72/20/83/.262/.309/.449/7

30) William Benson CLE, OF – His Rookie ball numbers say it all, where he slashed .209/.321/.424, with 6 homers, 10 steals, and a 66/22 K/BB in 44 games. High risk, high reward. Prime Projection: 81/27/90/.241/.323/.473/10

31-40 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings

You can check out my Top 30 MLB Draft Rankings for more in depth information and scouting reports on most of these players.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings: 11-20

The MLB regular season may be over, but that means Dynasty Leagues are just starting to ramp back up. Leading up to Friday’s special edition of the Razzball Prospect Podcast: First-Year Player Mock Draft, I will be ranking the top draft picks and international free agents who signed with pro teams this season (make sure to also check out Ralph Lifshitz’ Top 30 over at Razzball). Here are the 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings: 11-20:

1-10 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings

*All projections are now juiced, like the balls

11) Matt Thaiss LAA, C/1B – Safe, fast moving college bat, but don’t expect him to light the world on fire. (Side note: Ralph and I have been butchering his name on the podcast for weeks now. It is pronounced “Thighz.” Check out this Youtube video for the correct pronunciation of his name, and also to see the extremely wide batting stance he employs.) Prime Projection: 78/20/84/.278/.344/.453/4

12) Cal Quantrill SD, RHP – Reports have been positive in the early going coming back from Tommy John surgery. Still some unknowns after basically not pitching since his freshman year of college, but has the upside to be the top pitcher on this list. Prime Projection: 3.50/1.22/180 in 180 IP

13) Heath Quinn SFG, OF – One of my favorite sleepers coming into the MLB Draft (ranked 14th overall), and he remains so after dominating in Low-A to kick off his professional career (.344/.434/.564). Getting drafted into AT&T Park is not the best situation, but as long as the balls don’t suddenly unjuice faster than Barry Bonds in retirement, he should be aight. Prime Projection: 79/23/87/.263/.339/.471/6

14) Bobby Dalbec BOS, 3B – Had the potential to be a first-round pick coming into the season, but a disastrous junior year turned him into a draft day sleeper. Boston scooped him in the 4th round, and after utterly destroying Low-A in 34 games (.386/.427/.674), it has to catapult him up the fantasy baseball rankings. Expect lots of power and strikeouts. Prime Projection: 76/23/85/.250/.322/.463/6

15) Bryan Reynolds SFG, OF – There seems to be about 4-5 MLB teams that are so far and away superior at the draft process that it makes the rest of the league look like they are stuck in the stone age. San Francisco is one of those teams, and they managed to snag one of the best college players in the country in the 2nd round. Expect Reynolds to do a little bit of everything, but not standout in any one category. Prime Projection: 83/18/77/.265/.340/.449/13

16) Taylor Trammell CIN, OF – Another one of my favorite prospects coming into the draft (13th overall), the raw Trammell didn’t look all that raw in his pro debut, slashing .303/.374/.421 with 2 homers and 24 steals in 61 games. An All-American running back in high school, he has speed and athleticism up the wazoo, to go along with excellent bat speed and the potential to hit for both average and power. Prime Projection: 88/14/74/.273/.340/.434/26

17) Eric Lauer SD, LHP – 0.69/0.74/125 in 104 IP in the MAC this year, a middling D1 conference, and looked strong in his pro debut as well, putting up a line of 2.03/1.07/37 in 31 IP. He remains possibly the safest starter on this list. Prime Projection: 3.47/1.23/175 in 190 IP

18) Dakota Hudson STL, RHP – Big, strong righty with electric stuff. Control and command still needs work, but if any organization is going to get the best out of him, it is St. Louis. Prime Projection: 3.59/1.27/186 in 190 IP

19) Adrian Morejon SD, LHP – The top international pitcher on the list, and can easily end up the best pitcher on the list too. Doesn’t have the huge fastball (low 90’s) or huge size (6’1’’), but has tremendous polish for his age. Only reason he is this far down is because he is a year younger than even the high schoolers taken in the draft, and there are just more unknowns here in general. Prime Projection: 3.43/1.19/190 in 188 IP

20) Peter Alonso NYM, 1B – Was one of the best hitters in one of the best conferences in college baseball this season, slashing .374/.469/.659 with 14 homers and a 31/31 K/BB in 58 games in the SEC. He didn’t miss a beat once reaching pro ball, either, slashing .321/.388/.587 with 5 homers and a 22/11 K/BB in 30 games at Low-A. I might actually be too low on him here, but he is a 1B only and Citi Field is not exactly a power hitter’s haven. Prime Projection: 75/21/84/.271/.333/.465/2

21-30 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings
31-40 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings

You can check out my Top 30 MLB Draft Rankings for more in depth information and scouting reports on most of these players.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings: 1-10

The MLB regular season may be over, but that means Dynasty Leagues are just starting to ramp back up. Leading up to Friday’s special edition of the Razzball Prospect Podcast: First-Year Player Mock Draft, I will be ranking the top draft picks and international free agents who signed with pro teams this season. Here are the 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings: 1-10:

*All projections are now juiced, like the balls

1) Nick Senzel CIN, 3B – I ranked Senzel 5th in my Top 30 MLB Draft Rankings, but his impressive pro debut (.305/.398/.514), combined with Kyle Lewis’ knee injury, Corey Ray’s struggles in High-A, and Will Craig’s mediocre power output, has undoubtedly vaulted him to the top spot. Prime Projection: 90/20/90/.286/.354/.469/14

2) Zack Collins CHW, C – The 10th overall pick in the draft, Collins responded to his aggressive High-A assignment, slashing .258/.418/.467 with 6 homers and a 39/33 K/BB in 36 games. Chicago is also the type of organization to stick with him behind the plate, despite his questionable catcher defense. Prime Projection: 78/26/87/.264/.364/.485/2

3) Kyle Lewis SEA, OF – Would have ranked #1 overall if not for the devastating knee injury, but I’ll bet on modern medicine and not drop him too far. He has been updating his rehab progress on Twitter. Prime Projection: 83/24/87/.278/.350/.491/8

4) Corey Ray MIL, OF – Unlike Collins, Ray struggled at High-A, slashing .247/.307/.385. He still flashed his enticing power/speed combo, but the struggles just exacerbate the questions that surrounded his hit tool coming into the draft. Prime Projection: 86/16/71/.261/.328/.441/22

5) Will Craig PIT, 1B/3B – The power didn’t show up, with only 2 homers 63 games at Low-A, but his .412 OBP and 37/41 K/BB proves he is one of the most advanced hitters in the draft. Prime Projection: 80/22/90/.284/.359/.480/3

6) Kevin Maitan ATL, SS – Pure projection and scouting reports. Highest upside in the rankings, but he is 16 years old … seriously, he was born in the year 2000. Prime Projection: 90/27/100/.285/.345/.510/6

7) A.J. Puk OAK, LHP – More projection than you would like for a college starter, but he is a big, hard throwing lefty who put up a pitching line of 3.03/1.07/40 in 32.2 IP at Low-A. Prime Projection: 3.51/1.26/195 in 185 IP

8) Mickey Moniak PHI, OF – Not the most exciting fantasy prospect, but has a plus hit tool, speed, and pumped up trade value being the #1 overall pick in the draft. Prime Projection: 89/12/63/.290/.357/.420/19

9) Ian Anderson ATL, RHP – 2.04/1.13/36 in 39.2 IP in rookie ball debut. Has an advanced 3 pitch mix for his age, and will be in a great pitching situation in Atlanta and the NL East. Prime Projection: 3.39/1.16/184 in 190 IP

10) Jason Groome BOS, LHP – 6’6’’, 220-pound lefty with a devastating curveball. Drafted 12th overall but had the talent to be the top overall pick in the draft. Unlike Anderson, will be facing adverse pitching conditions in Fenway and the AL East. Prime Projection: 3.44/1.20/197 in 195 IP

11-20 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings
21-30 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings
31-40 – 2016/17 Dynasty League First-Year Player Draft Rankings

You can check out my Top 30 MLB Draft Rankings for more in depth information and scouting reports on most of these players.

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

Checking in on the Top 30 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospects

I went on road trip after road trip in the last month and checked out as many of my Top 30 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospects as I could. The players I didn’t see, I got multiple reports on from team scouts, executives, and industry insiders … Just kidding, I did none of that stuff. I’m a blogger with none of the resources or connections to do that (I wish I could, though). But I have pored over the early numbers, looked at every available video of them online, and read every article I could find in Google news. That will have to do for now. Here are how the Top 30 2016 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospects are performing so far:

Kyle Lewis SEA, OF – My #1 ranked prospect on my MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings, but the #11 overall pick in the MLB Draft, Lewis is off to the best start of all the highly touted draft prospects. He’s slugged his way to a .897 OPS in Low-A to go along with a 15/14 K/BB in 24 games. The Mariners have simplified his swing a bit, and it is showing up in his excellent contact numbers without losing any power. Combined with Tyler O’Neill’s success, Seattle’s hitter development reputation is on the upswing, not that it could have gotten much worse.

Corey Ray MIL, OF – Milwaukee was aggressive with Ray’s assignment, sending him immediately to High-A. He has played in only 8 games on the year but has struggled, slashing .209/.217/.209 with 1 steal and a 7/1 K/BB. He’s recorded 7 hits in his last 4 games, so we are going to need a much larger sample to conclude anything.

Will Craig PIT, 3B – The samples are obviously very small for everyone, but I expected Craig to hit much better at this point. He is slashing .159/.337/.203 with no homers in 21 games at Low-A. He does have a 14/14 K/BB with a .337 OBP, so I do think it is just a matter of time before he starts making better contact and more hits start dropping in.

Zack Collins CHW, C – Played in only 3 games at Rookie Ball, but struck out 7 times with no walks and 1 hit in those games. Long way to go.

Nick Senzel CIN, 3B – As I wrote in this week’s Fantasy Prospect Rundown, “Playing exactly as advertised in his first 21 pro games, displaying an advanced plate approach (12/11 K/BB), speed (10 steals), and doubles power (7).”

Mickey Moniak PHI, OF – Hitting for a decent average (.277) at Rookie Ball, but is striking out (10 K) and not hitting for much power (2 extra base hits, albeit a triple and a homer). He is a raw high schooler who is not projected to hit for much power, which is why I originally ranked him 11th in my rankings, but bumped him to 6th after he was drafted 1st overall. Even I can’t resist that extra shine that being a #1 overall pick brings.

A.J. Puk OAK, LHP/Ian Anderson ATL, RHP – Puk made his pro debut at Low-A Tuesday night, pitching 2 innings of no hit ball, and recording all 6 outs on the ground (including an error and double play). I caught up with him after the game and asked him how he felt out there, “My command was really good,” Puk said. “I threw my fastball wherever I wanted to, moved it in and out. They were just reaching out for it and beating it into the ground. I had some good secondary offerings as well and got a lot of quick at-bats.” Here is the actual article I got that quote from if you want to read more about the start. Anderson made his pro debut in Rookie ball last night, going 3 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BB, 2 K. I ranked both of these guys in the 90’s on my mid-season top 100.

Anfernee Grier ARI, OF – My favorite sleeper from the draft, ranking him in my top 10. Grier hasn’t been great in the early going, but is showing flashes of why I love him so much. He hit his 2nd bomb of the season last night, and is now slashing .246/.297/.377 with 7 steals in 18 games. He has hit much better in the last week and remember that he is one of the younger college hitters in his draft class. I’m definitely still in on Grier.

Taylor Trammell CIN, OF – Another one of my favorite sleepers, Trammell is off to an excellent start in Rookie ball, slashing .307/.366/.360 with 6 steals and a 16/6 K/BB in 19 games. Considering he was supposed to be raw after spending a lot of time playing football in high school, this is a very encouraging start. (Note: Nolan Jones, who is ranked one spot ahead of Trammell in my rankings, is 2 for 9 in his 3 games in Rookie ball).

Eric Lauer SD, LHP/Justin Dunn NYM, RHP – Two college pitchers with not much to note. Lauer went 1.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BB, 3 K in his debut and Dunn has made 2 appearances out of the pen, going 4 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BB, 3 K. They both got drafted into great fantasy situations for pitchers, and both have the potential to be impact fantasy starters.

Matt Thaiss LAA, C/1B – Thaiss is living up to the billing of being one of the most advanced hitters in the class, slashing .341/.400/.561 with 2 homers and a 7/6 K/BB in 19 games. He has already collected 6 hits and 2 BB in his first 4 games at Single-A. He will likely end up at 1B (he has played only 1B so far this year), and doesn’t have monster power, but his arrow is pointing up right now.

Heath Quinn SF, OF – Ranked 14th on my rankings and drafted 95th overall, so I think that qualifies as a sleeper. Quinn is off to a very promising start, slashing .306/.403/.468 with 1 homer and a 12/6 K/BB in 17 games mostly at Low-A. Getting drafted into one of the worst hitter’s parks in the majors, AT&T Park, is a little discouraging, but I have to respect how good San Francisco is at drafting.

Bryan Reynolds SF, OF – Another San Francisco steal, Reynolds was considered one of the safer bats in the draft, and he hasn’t disappointed, slashing .364/.488/.455 with no homers or steals. There is some swing and miss in his game (11/6 K/BB in 10 games) and he doesn’t have the highest ceiling, so I wouldn’t be too excited for fantasy.

Chris Okey CIN, C – Cracked a couple homers and not much else (.179/.211/.313). He is likely to stick at catcher, and there is enough power here that he has a legitimate chance of being fantasy relevant in 12 team leagues.

Blake Rutherford NYY, OF/ Delvin Perez STL, SS/Alex Kirilloff MIN, OF – 3 high schoolers who have all been solid at Rookie Ball in the early going. Rutherford hit his first pro homer on Tuesday, Perez is hitting .358 with 7 steals, and Kirilloff is hitting .326 with a homer and 6 K’s in 12 games.

Matt Manning DET, RHP/Will Benson CLE, OF/Josh Lowe TB, 3B/OF – 3 high schoolers who I ranked 25th, 26th, and 30th in my draft rankings, respectively, but were drafted 9th, 14th, and 13th in the draft. Manning is getting hit around in Rookie ball, giving up 9 hits and 7 ER in 5.1 IP, but he is flashing his K upside with a 10/1 K/BB. Benson is hitting .167 with a 15/4 K/BB in 11 games, but is flashing his power upside with a .143 ISO. Lowe is hitting .083, and doesn’t have much of a silver lining to mention other than he is walking 20% of the time.

Ronnie Dawson HOU, OF – A sleeper who cracked the back end of my list, Dawson has struggled in his first 22 games at Low-A, slashing .145/.276/.181, but he is flashing his power/speed combo with a dinger and 7 steals.

Joey Wentz ATL, LHP – Already has 3 starts on the year, going 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BB, 12 K. He is someone I liked early on in the draft process, but he kept dropping with reports of reduced velocity. He’s a great athlete with an effortless delivery and will be pitching in a great environment in Atlanta. Keep an eye on Wentz.

Stephen Wrenn HOU, OF – Not ranked in my top 30, and drafted by the Houston Astros in the 6th round, Wrenn has been the best hitter in the class so far. He is dominating Low-A, slashing .308/.397/.635 with 8 homers in 25 games. I wouldn’t be calling him the next Harrison Bader/Willie Calhoun quite yet, though, as those guys mashed in college, while Wrenn hit only 5 homers with a .799 OPS in the SEC this year.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

Thoughts Following Day 1 of the 2016 MLB Draft and Re-Ranking the Top 30

1) You are dead to me Riley Pint. Pint was my top fantasy pitching prospect coming into the draft, but after being picked by the Colorado Rockies 4th overall, I wouldn’t touch him. Just check out his face after finding out he was going to Colorado. I feel for the kid, but he still falls completely out of my top 30.

2) I guess it wasn’t enough that my top pitching prospect got drafted by Colorado. My top hitting prospect, Kyle Lewis, got drafted by the Seattle Mariners, a team who has left a graveyard full of failed hitting prospects in their wake. My boy Tyler O’Neill has taken a step forward this year in Double-A, and the Mariners were smart enough to jump on Lewis when he fell to #11, so maybe they are actually starting to figure things out. Lewis remains my top overall prospect.

3) I was not the biggest fan of Blake Rutherford, a 19-year-old high school player, so of course my beloved Yankees were the team to pick him. When I was 19 years old, I was a junior in college at Penn State, and I would have ripped up high school baseball then too 😉 I’m still not a huge fan of Rutherford for fantasy, but I’m all aboard the hype train in real life. Sometimes you just gotta buy in when it is your favorite team.

4) I was already relatively high on Ian Anderson (#9) before the draft, but I was tempted to rank him even higher, and I should have. Anderson was drafted #3 overall to the Atlanta Braves, which is obviously a great situation for pitchers. He jumps Jason Groome, who got drafted 12th overall by the Boston Red Sox, and he is neck and neck with A.J. Puk, who went 6th overall to the Oakland Athletics. Braxton Garrett (#22) also moves up in the rankings after being scooped by the Miami Marlins at #7.

5) I’m still concerned about Mickey Moniak’s ultimate power potential, but I can’t deny that being the #1 overall pick puts some extra shine on him. At the very least, his trade value will be very high right from the start. I bumped him from #11 to #6.

6) As expected, my top 30 looks nothing like how the draft actually played out. Drafting for fantasy is obviously much different than drafting for real life, and in some cases, I just straight disagreed with the pick. Anfernee Grier (#10) went 39th overall to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Nolan Jones (#12) went 55th overall to the Cleveland Indians, Taylor Trammell (#13) went 35th overall to the Cincinnati Reds, Bryan Reynolds (#17) went 59th overall to the San Francisco Giants, Chris Okey (#19) went 43rd overall to the Cincinnati Reds, Ronnie Dawson (#25) went 61st overall to the Houston Astros, and Heath Quinn (#14) went 95th overall to the San Francisco Giants. These are my favorite sleepers right now before we learn a lot more about all of these guys in pro ball.

Post-Draft 2016 Top 30 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings:
(You can click here for a more detailed analysis of each player)

1) Kyle Lewis SEA, OF
2) Corey Ray MIL, OF
3) Will Craig PIT, 1B/3B
4) Zack Collins CHW, C
5) Nick Senzel CIN, 3B
6) Mickey Moniak PHI, OF
7) A.J. Puk OAK, LHP
8) Ian Anderson ATL, RHP
9) Jason Groome BOS, LHP
10) Anfernee Grier ARI, OF
11) Nolan Jones CLE, SS/3B
12) Taylor Trammell CIN, OF
13) Eric Lauer SD, LHP
14) Braxton Garrett MIA, LHP
15) Matt Thaiss LAA, C
16) Heath Quinn SFG, OF
17) Dakota Hudson STL, RHP
18) Chris Okey CIN, C
19) Bryan Reynolds SFG, OF
20) Cal Quantrill SD, RHP
21) Justin Dunn NYM, RHP
22) Blake Rutherford NYY, OF
23) Jordan Sheffield LAD, RHP
24) Delvin Perez STL, SS
25) Matt Manning DET, RHP
26) William Benson CLE, OF
27) Ronnie Dawson HOU, OF
28) Alex Kirilloff MIN, OF
29) Forrest Whitley HOU, RHP
30) Josh Lowe TB, 3B/OF
31) Joey Wentz ATL, LHP

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

Final Updated 2016 Top 30 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings

The 2016 MLB Draft will be held on Thursday, June 9, 2016, and for fantasy baseball, that means a huge influx of talent is about to join the player pool. For fantasy, I generally prefer college over high school players, because most fantasy leagues have limited space for minor leaguers and there is a greater incentive for them to quickly reach the big leagues. Value can also change post-draft depending on what team/ballpark a player gets drafted to. For example, you should upgrade hitters drafted by Colorado and downgrade pitchers. How players perform once reaching pro ball can also have a big impact on their value. With that in mind, here are the 2016 Top 30 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings:

Update: Thoughts Following the 2016 MLB Draft and Re-Ranking the Top 30

1) Kyle Lewis Mercer, OF – Elite bat speed, power, and athleticism is just about all that you can ask for in a top fantasy prospect, and Lewis possesses all three. The 6’4’’, 195-pound Lewis jacked 20 homers this year (17 last year), and he is triple-slashing .395/.535/.731 in 61 games in the Southern Conference this season, a middle of the pack D1 conference. I wouldn’t be surprised if that 195-pound weight is outdated, though, because Lewis is built like a solid rock, and when he steps up to the plate, he does so with bad intentions. Just check out this quick video to see the talent we are dealing with here. There are a lot of moving parts in his swing, and he is still a bit raw, but I don’t even think those things are negatives. He is only 20 years old, and if he is this good already, imagine how scary good he can be with continued refinement and improvement. Lewis is the guy I want with the top pick in fantasy drafts.

2) Corey Ray Louisville, OF – Ray presents the best power/speed combo in the draft, as he is slashing .319/.396/.562, with 15 homers, and 44 steals in 62 games in the ACC, one of the best conferences in D1. He has top end bat speed, athleticism, and base running ability, and he is a 5-category producer who is bound to hit atop a Major League lineup in a few short years. He doesn’t have the physicality of Lewis, but considering the tougher competition he has faced, and more well-rounded production, I can see a case for Ray being #1 overall, as well.

3) Will Craig Wake Forrest, 1B/3B – Craig is an “unathletic,” poor defensive player who just destroys the highest levels of D1. He has blindingly fast bat speed, and is triple-slashing .379/.520/.731 with 16 homers in 55 games in the ACC. At 6’3’’, 235 pounds, Craig has been criticized for his soft body and speed that you can time with a sundial, but actually being able to hit is much more important than just looking the part; Craig is in the mold a Lance Berkman. Ignore his relatively low ranking on real draft lists due to his defensive concerns, Craig should be treated as one of the top hitters in this draft class for fantasy baseball.

4) Zack Collins Miami, C – Collins smashed 11 homers as a 19-year-old freshman in the ACC in 2014, and he has kept raking since then. He is slashing a ridiculous .358/.534/.631, with 13 homers in 57 games this season, and there are no questions about his advanced bat. The only question is if the 6’3’’, 225 pound Collins can stick at catcher, but for fantasy, that would just be icing on the cake. Being able to mash is much more important, and he can obviously mash. Once again, ignore his relatively low ranking on real baseball draft lists, Collins is the type of fast moving college hitter who can pay dividends for your fantasy team very quickly.

5) Nick Senzel Tennessee, 3B – Senzel would rank even higher if not for his moderate home run power, but he is still one of the most advanced college hitters in the draft, and he has some speed, as well. He is currently dominating the best conference in D1, slashing .352/.456/.595, with 8 homers, and 25 steals in 57 games in the SEC. He has displayed more raw power in batting practice than in games (don’t we all), and he has a good chance of sticking at 3B. If you want a fast moving, safe college bat who should provide solid numbers across the board, Senzel is your man.

6) Riley Pint HS, RHP – If I’m taking a risky high schooler, I’m going all the way, and taking the riskiest of them all. Pint has by far the most electrifying stuff in the draft (skip to the 45 second mark), and it is not just his upper 90’s heater with great movement, but also his excellent, deceptive changeup. His biggest problems are that his delivery is a bit of a mess, and his control and command are all over the place, but safe high school pitcher is an oxymoron to me, anyway. The 6’4’’, 210-pound Pint has raw ability that you can’t teach, and after the top college bats are off the board, I want the player with the highest upside and most freakish talent.

7) A.J. Puk Florida, LHP – A.J. Puk sounds like the name of a bad guy in a Mighty Ducks movie, and he has the size to fit the role too, standing a gangly 6’7’’, 230 pounds. His best pitch is a mid-90’s fastball that has good deception and swing and miss ability, and he pairs that with an inconsistent slider and changeup. He strikes out a ton of batters (12.21 K/9), but it comes with serious control and command issues (3.99 BB/9). Puk is a high risk, high reward college pitcher who tops out as a strong #2 fantasy starter, and bottoms out as a guy who just can’t command his pitches well enough to remain an effective starter.

8) Jason Groome HS, LHP – The 6’6’’, 220-pound Groome is known for his devastating curveball that he already has good command over. He also throws an effortless low 90’s heater that he can dial up to the mid-90’s at times, along with a still developing changeup. There is no denying that if you were going to build a pitcher from scratch, he would look something like Groome, but without the no doubt upper 90’s heater, and considering the development time and inherent risks with high school pitchers, I can’t place him higher than 8th.

9) Ian Anderson HS, RHP – Anderson doesn’t have the upper 90’s fastball, either, sitting 91-95, but he has an advanced feel for pitching and can already throw 3 above average pitches in any count (fastball, changeup, curveball). This video at the 25 second mark is a great example of his easy, repeatable delivery, and how he can throw all of his pitches with the same arm speed and arm angle. He has a projectable frame, and if he gains velocity as he ages, he can become a legitimate fantasy ace. I actually really like Anderson a lot and I’m tempted to bump him up over Puk and Groome.

10) Anfernee Grier Auburn, OF – Grier looks like he has two tree branches for arms, and he uses that power to absolutely crush the baseball. He is the breakout college player of the 2016 class, and is slashing .366/.457/.576, with 12 homers, and 19 steals in 56 games in the SEC so far this year. There are some strikeouts in his profile, but the power/speed combo is too much to ignore, and Grier has the potential to be a fantasy stud. He is also almost a full year younger than many of the other college prospects, as he is not turning 21 until mid-October.

11) Mickey Moniak HS, OF – Moniak is considered the best pure high school hitter in the draft. He has a loose and easy swing that sprays line drives all over the field, and he pairs that with plus speed. While his slight build leads to some questions about his ultimate power potential, Moniak is a good bet to hit for high average with 15+ steals. If he bulks up and adds more power down the line, he can truly be a special player.

12) Nolan Jones HS, SS/3B – The 6’,4’’, 200-pound Jones has a quick swing that is geared for both average and power. He is one of the best athletes in the pool, and he recently gained 30 pounds of muscle. He is likely to end up at 3B long term, but the bat profiles just fine there. If you are looking for an upside power hitting corner infielder, Jones is your guy.

13) Taylor Trammell HS, OF – Trammel very well may be the best pure athlete in the draft. He could have played college football after rushing for 2,479 yards and 36 touchdowns on route to winning Georgia’s Offensive Player of the Year Award this season, but he chose baseball instead. His best tool is plus, plus speed, but the bat has potential too, displaying vicious bat speed (54 second mark) and the ability to hit for both average and power. He is higher risk than even your typical high school player, because he is still raw after splitting his focus between football and baseball, but he has the potential to end up the best player in this draft. I’ll take the risk at this point in the rankings.

14) Heath Quinn Samford, OF – The 6’3’’, 220 pound Quinn can flat out hit. He loads his hands well and creates excellent bat speed with his swing. It has resulted in him absolutely dominating the Southern Conference for 3 straight years, doing his best work this season, slashing .343/.452/.682 with 21 homers in 61 games. While the Southern Conference is only a middling D1 conference, Quinn also performed very well in the Cape Cod League last year, slashing .317/.384/.486 with 4 homers in 39 games. He might not be able to completely keep up his mammoth homerun power on the next level, but he has some to spare, and I might actually be a little too low on him at #14.

15) Eric Lauer KENT ST, LHP – Lauer might be the safest college pitcher in the draft. He has absolutely dominated the MAC, putting up a pitching line of 0.69/0.74/125 in 104 IP. He throws a traditional 4 pitch mix, but his fastball sits in the low 90’s, and he doesn’t have a real put away pitch. If he threw his fastball in the 93-96 MPH range, he might be the top pitcher in the draft, but without that big fastball and/or put away pitch, I can’t justify ranking him higher. If you hear reports of added velocity at any point before the draft or into his professional career, I would jump on Lauer very quickly.

16) Dakota Hudson MISS ST, RHP – Hudson is your typical low risk college starter who can reach the Big Leagues in a hurry. He is a sturdy 6’5’’, 205 pounds, with a 92-96 MPH fastball, and a MLB ready hard curveball/slider. There isn’t even much projection left to see a mid-rotation starter with some strikeout ability, but don’t expect a true difference making fantasy starter.

17) Bryan Reynolds Vanderbilt, OF – Reynolds is a high floor, low ceiling college bat who hit very well in the SEC this year, slashing .330/.461/.603, with 13 homers, and 8 steals in 62 games. He strikes out a bit too much, and while he does have opportunistic speed, he is far from a burner. Reynolds is a nice college bat to scoop up at this point in the rankings.

18) Matt Thaiss Virginia, C – Thaiss is an elite contact hitter, striking out only 16 times and walking 39 times in 60 games in the ACC. He has some power too, hitting 10 homers last season and 10 this season playing his home games in a pitcher’s park. There is some concern that he won’t be able to stick behind the plate, but he has one of the most advanced bats in the draft, and should be a fast mover.

19) Chris Okey Clemson, C – Okey is a good bet to stick at catcher, and he has a strong bat as well, slashing .339/.465/.611 with 15 homers in 64 games in the ACC. He is a strong dude, and while he doesn’t project to be a star, it is not hard to imagine him becoming a top 12 fantasy catcher in what has become an especially weak offensive position.

20) Justin Dunn Boston College, RHP – Dunn has only 7 starts on the year after being converted to a starter mid-season, but he has seriously impressed in those outings, and even with the short track record, he deserves a spot in the top 20. His best pitch is a mid 90’s fastball which he pairs with a plus slider, average curveball, and developing changeup. He’s on the small side at 6’1’’, 170 pounds, but he has electric stuff and should reach the big leagues relatively quickly.

21) Blake Rutherford HS, OF – I have to admit that I am not the biggest Rutherford fan. He is a year older than many other players from his high school class and he did not take a step forward in the power department this year. He is obviously immensely talented and the guy can hit, so I readily admit that I might end up being too low on him.

22) Braxton Garrett HS, LHP – Garrett is like the less advanced version of Lauer, except with higher upside being that he is 2 years younger. He throws a low 90’s heater that he pairs with a plus curveball and developing changeup. If you prefer the upside of Braxton over the safety and proximity to the majors of Lauer, I can see swapping them in the rankings.

23) Jordan Sheffield Vanderbilt, RHP – Sheffield is a small right handed pitcher with nasty stuff and a high effort delivery. He is dominating the best conference in D1 right now, putting up a pitching line of 3.01/1.20/113 in 101.2 IP. He has a strong 3-pitch mix and baseball bloodlines (Gary Sheffield is his Uncle – Update: Turns out that is a false internet rumor. Gary Sheffield is not his Uncle). I might be falling into the same trap that many others have in undervaluing small right handed pitchers, but he has some control issues (3.28 BB/9) and there is injury and bullpen risk, as well.

24) Delvin Perez HS, SS – Perez looks like a sure bet to be an exciting, above average shortstop, but there are questions surrounding his bat, which is not what fantasy owners like to hear. He has plus speed and he does have the raw talent to figure it out at the plate, so Perez still cracks the Top 25.

25) Matt Manning HS, RHP – The 6’6’’, 185-pound Manning is the son of former NBA player Rich Manning. His best pitch a big fastball that sits in the mid 90’s, with recent reports having it all the way up into the upper 90’s. He pairs that with an inconsistent curveball and changeup. Manning is your prototypical projectable high school starter, and I can see wanting to bet on his big frame and big fastball.

26) Ronnie Dawson Ohio St, OF – Dawson has an intriguing power/speed combo, slashing .331/.419/.611, with 13 homers, and 21 steals in 65 games in the Big 10. He hit well from his very first year in college, and with his power explosion this season, I would prefer to take a shot on him rather than one of the many upside high schoolers still on the board.

27) Alex Kirilloff HS, OF – His best tool is his plus raw power, which is exactly what fantasy owners like to hear. He won the 2015 Home Run Derby at the Perfect Game All-American Classic, and if you are looking for a lottery ticket power bat, Kirilloff if your guy.

28) Forrest Whitley HS, RHP – The 6’7’’, 250-pound Whitley throws a low 90’s heater, power curveball, and developing changeup. There isn’t much projection left, but he already has the build of a workhorse starter, and the raw stuff to go with it, too.

29) Josh Lowe HS, 3B/OF – Lowe is one of the best athletes in the draft and he displays plus raw power and speed. The skills aren’t completely refined yet, but his upside is as high as anybody’s.

30) Joey Wentz HS, LHP – Wentz is another high upside high school pitcher in a draft jammed packed with them. He has an easy, athletic delivery which he fires a 90-95 MPH fastball from, and he pairs that with an above average curveball and changeup. He is also a good enough power hitting first baseman that he is considered a legitimate prospect there too. In other words, the guy is an elite athlete who can do anything on a baseball field. There is some risk here as with any high school pitcher (Update: And that risk has already reared its ugly head, as reports have Wentz’s fastball sitting in the high 80’s now), but Wentz has the potential to be a top of the rotation starter.

31) William Benson HS, OF – Nothing to say other than watch this video of Benson hitting. High risk, very high reward.

* Cal Quantrill Stanford, RHP – Quantrill might have been the top pitcher chosen in the draft if not for needing Tommy John surgery in March 2015. Before the surgery, he threw a traditional 4-pitch mix with his plus changeup being his most dangerous weapon. His dad is longtime Major Leaguer Paul Quantrill. If you want to bet that Quantrill can fully recover from the surgery, I can see slotting him as high as #15.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

Updated 2016 Top 30 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings

The 2016 MLB Draft will be held on Thursday, June 9, 2016, and for fantasy baseball, that means a huge influx of talent is about to join the player pool. For fantasy, I generally prefer college over high school players, because most fantasy leagues have limited space for minor leaguers and there is a greater incentive for them to quickly reach the big leagues. Value can also change post-draft depending on what team/ballpark a player gets drafted to. For example, you should upgrade hitters drafted by Colorado and downgrade pitchers. How players perform once reaching pro ball can also have a big impact on their value. With that in mind, here are the 2016 Top 30 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospects:

June 9, 2016 – Final Updated 2016 Top 30 MLB Draft Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings
June 10, 2016 – Thoughts Following Day 1 of the 2016 MLB Draft and Re-Ranking the Top 30

Update – Updates will be in italics in places where the rankings have changed. All stats have been updated, as well.

1) Kyle Lewis Mercer, OF – Elite bat speed, power, and athleticism is just about all that you can ask for in a top fantasy prospect, and Lewis possesses all three. The 6’4’’, 195-pound Lewis jacked 20 homers this year (17 last year), and he is triple-slashing .395/.535/.731 in 61 games in the Southern Conference this season, a middle of the pack D1 conference. I wouldn’t be surprised if that 195-pound weight is outdated, though, because Lewis is built like a solid rock, and when he steps up to the plate, he does so with bad intentions. Just check out this quick video to see the talent we are dealing with here. There are a lot of moving parts in his swing, and he is still a bit raw, but I don’t even think those things are negatives. He is only 20 years old, and if he is this good already, imagine how scary good he can be with continued refinement and improvement. Lewis is the guy I want with the top pick in fantasy drafts.

2) Corey Ray Louisville, OF – Ray presents the best power/speed combo in the draft, as he is slashing .320/.396/.575, with 15 homers, and 39 steals in 59 games in the ACC, one of the best conferences in D1. He has top end bat speed, athleticism, and base running ability, and he is a 5-category producer who is bound to hit atop a Major League lineup in a few short years. He doesn’t have the physicality of Lewis, but considering the tougher competition he has faced, and more well-rounded production, I can see a case for Ray being #1 overall, as well.

Update – Craig gets bumped up over Collins because I like his bat a little bit more. He strikes out less, has a higher ISO the past two seasons, and is out OPS’ing Collins 1.303 to 1.170 this season. My only reservation is that Collins has a chance of sticking at catcher, so if you highly value positional scarcity, I can see sticking with Collins at #3.

3) Will Craig Wake Forrest, 1B/3B – Craig is an “unathletic,” poor defensive player who just destroys the highest levels of D1. He has blindingly fast bat speed, and is triple-slashing .392/.537/.766 with 16 homers in 52 games in the ACC. At 6’3’’, 235 pounds, Craig has been criticized for his soft body and speed that you can time with a sundial, but actually being able to hit is much more important than just looking the part; Craig is in the mold a Lance Berkman. Ignore his relatively low ranking on real draft lists due to his defensive concerns, Craig should be treated as one of the top hitters in this draft class for fantasy baseball.

4) Zack Collins Miami, C – Collins smashed 11 homers as a 19-year-old freshman in the ACC in 2014, and he has kept raking since then. He is slashing a ridiculous .364/.540/.630, with 12 homers in 54 games this season, and there are no questions about his advanced bat. The only question is if the 6’3’’, 225 pound Collins can stick at catcher, but for fantasy, that would just be icing on the cake. Being able to mash is much more important, and he can obviously mash. Once again, ignore his relatively low ranking on real baseball draft lists, Collins is the type of fast moving college hitter who can pay dividends for your fantasy team very quickly.

5) Nick Senzel Tennessee, 3B – Senzel would rank even higher if not for his moderate home run power, but he is still one of the most advanced college hitters in the draft, and he has some speed, as well. He is currently dominating the best conference in D1, slashing .352/.456/.595, with 8 homers, and 25 steals in 57 games in the SEC. He has displayed more raw power in batting practice than in games (don’t we all), and he has a good chance of sticking at 3B. If you want a fast moving, safe college bat who should provide solid numbers across the board, Senzel is your man.

6) Riley Pint HS, RHP – If I’m taking a risky high schooler, I’m going all the way, and taking the riskiest of them all. Pint has by far the most electrifying stuff in the draft (skip to the 45 second mark), and it is not just his upper 90’s heater with great movement, but also his excellent, deceptive changeup. His biggest problems are that his delivery is a bit of a mess, and his control and command are all over the place, but safe high school pitcher is an oxymoron to me, anyway. The 6’4’’, 210-pound Pint has raw ability that you can’t teach, and after the top college bats are off the board, I want the player with the highest upside and most freakish talent.

7) A.J. Puk Florida, LHP – A.J. Puk sounds like the name of a bad guy in a Mighty Ducks movie, and he has the size to fit the role too, standing a gangly 6’7’’, 230 pounds. His best pitch is a mid-90’s fastball that has good deception and swing and miss ability, and he pairs that with an inconsistent slider and changeup. He strikes out a ton of batters (12.34 K/9), but it comes with serious control and command issues (4.25 BB/9). Puk is a high risk, high reward college pitcher who tops out as a strong #2 fantasy starter, and bottoms out as a guy who just can’t command his pitches well enough to remain an effective starter.

8) Jason Groome HS, LHP – The 6’6’’, 220-pound Groome is known for his devastating curveball that he already has good command over. He also throws an effortless low 90’s heater that he can dial up to the mid-90’s at times, along with a still developing changeup. There is no denying that if you were going to build a pitcher from scratch, he would look something like Groome, but without the no doubt upper 90’s heater, and considering the development time and inherent risks with high school pitchers, I can’t place him higher than 8th.

9) Anfernee Grier Auburn, OF – Grier looks like he has two tree branches for arms, and he uses that power to absolutely crush the baseball. He is the breakout college player of the 2016 class, and is slashing .366/.457/.576, with 12 homers, and 19 steals in 56 games in the SEC so far this year. There are some strikeouts in his profile, but the power/speed combo is too much to ignore, and Grier has the potential to be a fantasy stud. He is also almost a full year younger than many of the other college prospects, as he is not turning 21 until mid-October.

Update – The two best high school bats in the draft each move up two spots, and a third, Trammell, moves up 5 spots to come join them. I’m very cautious when it comes to high school hitters, but at some point you have to take a shot on that enormous upside.

10) Mickey Moniak HS, OF – Moniak is considered the best pure high school hitter in the draft. He has a loose and easy swing that sprays line drives all over the field, and he pairs that with plus speed. While his slight build leads to some questions about his ultimate power potential, Moniak is a good bet to hit for high average with 15+ steals. If he bulks up and adds more power down the line, he can truly be a special player.

11) Nolan Jones HS, SS/3B – The 6’,4’’, 200-pound Jones has a quick swing that is geared for both average and power. He is one of the best athletes in the pool, and he recently gained 30 pounds of muscle. He is likely to end up at 3B long term, but the bat profiles just fine there. If you are looking for an upside power hitting corner infielder, Jones is your guy.

12) Taylor Trammell HS, OF – Trammel very well may be the best pure athlete in the draft. He could have played college football after rushing for 2,479 yards and 36 touchdowns on route to winning Georgia’s Offensive Player of the Year Award this season, but he chose baseball instead. His best tool is plus, plus speed, but the bat has potential too, displaying vicious bat speed (54 second mark) and the ability to hit for both average and power. He is higher risk than even your typical high school player, because he is still raw after splitting his focus between football and baseball, but he has the potential to end up the best player in this draft. I’ll take the risk at this point in the rankings.

13) Ian Anderson HS, RHP – Anderson doesn’t have the upper 90’s fastball, either, sitting 91-95, but he has an advanced feel for pitching and can already throw 3 above average pitches in any count (fastball, changeup, curveball). This video at the 25 second mark is a great example of his easy, repeatable delivery, and how he can throw all of his pitches with the same arm speed and arm angle. He has a projectable frame, and if he gains velocity as he ages, he can become a legitimate fantasy ace.

14) Dakota Hudson MISS ST, RHP – Hudson is your typical low risk college starter who can reach the Big Leagues in a hurry. He is a sturdy 6’5’’, 205 pounds, with a 92-96 MPH fastball, and a MLB ready hard curveball/slider. There isn’t even much projection left to see a mid-rotation starter with some strikeout ability, but don’t expect a true difference making fantasy starter.

15) Heath Quinn Samford, OF – The 6’3’’, 220 pound Quinn can flat out hit. He loads his hands well and creates excellent bat speed with his swing. It has resulted in him absolutely dominating the Southern Conference for 3 straight years, doing his best work this season, slashing .343/.452/.682 with 21 homers in 61 games. While the Southern Conference is only a middling D1 conference, Quinn also performed very well in the Cape Cod League last year, slashing .317/.384/.486 with 4 homers in 39 games. He might not be able to completely keep up his mammoth homerun power on the next level, but he has some to spare, and I might actually be a little too low on him at #15.

16) Eric Lauer KENT ST, LHP – Lauer might be the safest college pitcher in the draft. He has absolutely dominated the MAC, putting up a pitching line of 0.69/0.74/125 in 104 IP. He throws a traditional 4 pitch mix, but his fastball sits in the low 90’s, and he doesn’t have a real put away pitch. If he threw his fastball in the 93-96 MPH range, he might be the top pitcher in the draft, but without that big fastball and/or put away pitch, I can’t justify ranking him higher. If you hear reports of added velocity at any point before the draft or into his professional career, I would jump on Lauer very quickly.

Update – Three rock solid college bats move from #21-23 to #17-19. I don’t think any of these guys are going to turn into stars, but you know I love me those fast moving college hitters. I couldn’t resist.

17) Bryan Reynolds Vanderbilt, OF – Reynolds is a high floor, low ceiling college bat who hit very well in the SEC this year, slashing .335/.462/.615, with 13 homers, and 7 steals in 60 games. He strikes out a bit too much, and while he does have opportunistic speed, he is far from a burner. Reynolds is a nice college bat to scoop up at this point in the rankings.

18) Matt Thaiss Virginia, C – Thaiss is an elite contact hitter, striking out only 14 times and walking 36 times in 57 games in the ACC. He has some power too, hitting 10 homers last season and 10 this season playing his home games in a pitcher’s park. There is some concern that he won’t be able to stick behind the plate, but he has one of the most advanced bats in the draft, and should be a fast mover.

19) Chris Okey Clemson, C – Okey is a good bet to stick at catcher, and he has a strong bat as well, slashing .330/.450/.577 with 12 homers in 60 games in the ACC. He is a strong dude, and while he doesn’t project to be a star, it is not hard to imagine him becoming a top 12 fantasy catcher in what has become an especially weak offensive position.

Update – Perez cracks the top 20. He is a sure bet to stick at SS, has elite speed, and the raw potential is there for him to become a good hitter. The risk is worth it at this point.

20) Delvin Perez HS, SS – Perez looks like a sure bet to be an exciting, above average shortstop, but there are questions surrounding his bat, which is not what fantasy owners like to hear. He has plus, plus speed and he does have the raw talent to figure it out at the plate, so Perez still cracks the Top 20.

21) Blake Rutherford HS, OF – I have to admit that I am not the biggest Rutherford fan. He is a year older than many other players from his high school class and he did not take a step forward in the power department this year. He is obviously immensely talented and the guy can hit, so I readily admit that I might end up being too low on him.

22) Braxton Garrett HS, LHP – Garrett is like the less advanced version of Lauer, except with higher upside being that he is 2 years younger. He throws a low 90’s heater that he pairs with a plus curveball and developing changeup. If you prefer the upside of Braxton over the safety and proximity to the majors of Lauer, I can see swapping them in the rankings.

Update – Sheffield falls from #16 to #23. Carson Fulmer’s struggles might be jading my opinion of Sheffield too much, but they are both small right handed pitchers from Vanderbilt with a high effort delivery and some control problems. I still like him (and Fulmer too) but there is definitely risk here despite his dominate college stats.

23) Jordan Sheffield Vanderbilt, RHP – Sheffield is a small right handed pitcher with nasty stuff and a high effort delivery. He is dominating the best conference in D1 right now, putting up a pitching line of 2.73/1.17/107 in 95.2 IP. He has a strong 3-pitch mix and baseball bloodlines (Gary Sheffield is his Uncle). I might be falling into the same trap that many others have in undervaluing small right handed pitchers, but he has some control issues (3.28 BB/9) and there is injury and bullpen risk, as well.

Update – One of my favorite deep league fantasy sleepers in this draft, Dawson turned it on even more of late, and I can’t help but to bump him up to #24.

24) Ronnie Dawson Ohio St, OF – Dawson has an intriguing power/speed combo, slashing .329/.423/.617, with 13 homers, and 20 steals in 62 games in the Big 10. He hit well from his very first year in college, and with his power explosion this season, I would prefer to take a shot on him rather than one of the many upside high schoolers still on the board.

25) Matt Manning HS, RHP – The 6’6’’, 185-pound Manning is the son of former NBA player Rich Manning. His best pitch a big fastball that sits in the mid 90’s, with recent reports having it all the way up into the upper 90’s. He pairs that with an inconsistent curveball and changeup. Manning is your prototypical projectable high school starter, and I can see wanting to bet on his big frame and big fastball.

26) Alex Kirilloff HS, OF – His best tool is his plus raw power, which is exactly what fantasy owners like to hear. He won the 2015 Home Run Derby at the Perfect Game All-American Classic, and if you are looking for a lottery ticket power bat, Kirilloff if your guy.

Update – Wentz was not able to hold the added velocity he displayed earlier this year, and reports have him sitting in the high 80’s now. This is just a reminder of how volatile these high school pitchers are. He drops to #27.

27) Joey Wentz HS, LHP – Wentz is another high upside high school pitcher in a draft jammed packed with them. He has an easy, athletic delivery which he fires a 90-95 MPH fastball from, and he pairs that with an above average curveball and changeup. He is also a good enough power hitting first baseman that he is considered a legitimate prospect there too. In other words, the guy is an elite athlete who can do anything on a baseball field. There is some risk here as with any high school pitcher, but Wentz has the potential to be a top of the rotation starter.

28) Forrest Whitley HS, RHP – The 6’7’’, 250-pound Whitley throws a low 90’s heater, power curveball, and developing changeup. There isn’t much projection left, but he already has the build of a workhorse starter, and the raw stuff to go with it, too.

Update – I was already low on Lowe, but he keeps dropping to #29 because he isn’t as consistent as some of the high school players ranked above him.

29) Josh Lowe HS, 3B/OF – Lowe is one of the best athletes in the draft and he displays plus raw power and speed. The skills aren’t completely refined yet, but his upside is as high as anybody’s.

30) William Benson HS, OF – Nothing to say other than watch this video of Benson hitting. High risk, very high reward.

* Cal Quantrill Stanford, RHP – Quantrill might have been the top pitcher chosen in the draft if not for needing Tommy John surgery in March 2015. Before the surgery, he threw a traditional 4-pitch mix with his plus changeup being his most dangerous weapon. His dad is longtime Major Leaguer Paul Quantrill. If you want to bet that Quantrill can fully recover from the surgery, I can see slotting him as high as #16.

By Michael Halpern
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)