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
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)