Richest prospect haul in years awaits in 2016 draft

The 2016 I-75 League Draft is shaping up to be the richest haul of top prospects that we’ve had since expanding to 15 teams.

One year after facing a dearth of top prospects, the league will have all kinds of elite entry-level talent available when we start choosing ’em up for our 37th season.

Even teams late in the draft order will be happy with the opportunity to land either a strong 2016 card or a top-flight young player.

Most of the top young players are position players, and available starting pitching in general looks thin compared to past years.

So whether you’re writing off 2015, or keeping one eye on the playoff race and the other on your crystal ball, you’ll be interested in our first look at the Not-A-Mock-Draft for 2016. Here we go:

1. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros, 20, bats R: There are so many good prospects that a lot will depend on the need of the team drafting No. 1. If that team needs a franchise corner infielder or a franchise outfielder, an easy case can be made for the players slotted at No. 2 or No. 3 on this list to go No. 1. But all things being equal, Correa merits the first overall pick, by a narrow margin. Only 20 years old, he boasts an .858 OPS at the moment, with 8 homers in 163 ABs. He was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 draft. His MLB.com scouting grades (scale of 20 to 80) shake out impressively as Hit: 60 | Power: 70 | Run: 50 | Arm: 70 | Field: 50 | Overall: 70.

2. Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs, 23, bats R: The most seasoned of the elite prospects (joined the Cubs in April), Bryant got off to a fast start but has faded each month, and is having a miserable July, but he still has 13 homers and an .803 OPS in 326 ABs. Was the overall No. 2 pick of the 2013 MLB Draft. Has the best mix of overall skills with an emphasis on power. MLB.com scouting grades evaluate him at Hit: 55 | Power: 75 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 70.

3. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins, 21, bats R: Regarded by some as baseball’s best prospect since being taken No. 2 overall in 2012, Buxton is the classic five-tool player who has started slowly and is currently fighting a thumb injury. He also missed most of 2014 with a wrist injury. He may not be back til rosters expand in September. As long as you don’t buy into that injury-jinx worry, he’s the top overall outfield talent in the draft. Exceptional speed highlights his MLB.com scouting grades: Hit: 70 | Power: 60 | Run: 80 | Arm: 70 | Field: 75 | Overall: 75.

4. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, N.Y. Mets, 22: The pitcher Most Likely to Have His Name Misspelled, Syndergaard joined the Mets’ rotation in May and has a 1.14 WHIP in 13 starts, with opponents hitting .236 off him. At 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, Noah is your classic hard-throwing righty. He’s a first-round (supplemental) pick from 2010 with MLB.com scouting grades of Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 60 | Overall: 65.

5. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland, 21, bats S: Not a lot of pop in his bat, but he’s a wizard in the field and that switch-hitting ability will be appealing too. Chosen eighth overall in the 2011 draft. Needs to kick it into gear to be a contributor to your 2016 Strat team, as his OPS is a tame .662 and he’s made five errors in 35 games. You might have to stash these MLB.com scouting grades on your taxi squad for a year: Hit: 60 | Power: 40 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 70 | Overall: 65.

6. Addison Russell, IF, Chicago Cubs, 21, bats R: He’s playing second base now but is expected to move to his natural position of SS when Starlin Castro gets traded. Like Lindor, he might not post the kind of stats this year that will make him playable on your 2016 Strat team; in particular he’s been horrible against lefties. But his overall well-rounded talent will make him a worthwhile high pick. His MLB.com scouting grades peg him at Hit: 60 | Power: 60 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 65.

7. Yasmany Tomas, 3B-OF, Arizona, 24, bats R: The Cuban native is hitting over .300 and has played both third base (though not well) and right field.

8. Miguel Sano, DH, Minnesota, 22, bats R: Sano’s defensive skills may be questionable but his power is not. He’s only been up since July 2, but his .922 OPS is impressive. He’s only played one game in the field, however, limiting his usefulness. His MLB.com grades show him at Hit: 55 | Power: 75 | Run: 40 | Arm: 70 | Field: 40 | Overall: 65.

9. Alex Rodriguez, DH, N.Y. Yankees, 40, bats R: If you’re paying attention, we’ve finally gotten to a non-rookie draft slot in the 9 position. A-Rod has had a comeback year, with 23 homers in 321 at-bats and a .914 OPS that includes a . 375 on-base average. You probably won’t want to play him in the field, but his bat could be attractive to a lineup that is set in the field and is going for it in 2016.

10. Mark Teixeira, 1B, N.Y. Yankees, 35, bats S: Also having a comeback year, 24 homers, .913 OPS. More doubles but a lower batting average than A-Rod, but at least you can play him in the field.

11. Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City, 26, bats L: First purely LHB in the set, having a very nice year vs. RHPs with a .321-.384-.488 slash line.

12. Kyle Schwarber, C, Chicago Cubs, 22, bats L: All of a sudden the lefty hitters are coming out of the woodwork! Actually Schwarber is here because of his position. Not great defensively, but Schwarber can hit and hit for power. It’s early, but he has an awesome .425/.477/.750 slash line. His MLB.com scouting grades illustrate his pros and cons: Hit: 60 | Power: 65 | Run: 40 | Arm: 40 | Field: 40 | Overall: 55.

13. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona, 22: Keep an eye on his current shoulder injury, and ignore his 1.63 WHIP. He was the seventh pick overall in the 2011 draft and throws in the mid- to upper-90s. MLB.com scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 65 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 65.

14. Matt Duffy, 3B, San Francisco, 24, bats R: The Panda replacement is having a skewed batting year that is favorable vs. right-handed pitchers, with a .323/.360/.496 slash line.

15. Carlos Rodon, LHP, Chicago White Sox, 22: The No. 3 overall pick in 2014, Rodon has climbed quickly to the majors and sports a devastating slider, but to date his control has evaded him, with 44 walks in 77 innings, leading to a 1.58 WHIP. Can reach high 90s with his fastball. MLB.com scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 70 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 60.

The Watch List:

Outfielders
Delino DeShields, 22, bats R
Randall Grichuk, 23, bats R

Middle Infielders
Devon Travis, Toronto, 24, bats R

Corner Infielders

Joey Gallo, Texas, 21, bats L
Mitch Moreland, Texas, 29, bats L

Catchers

Blake Swihart, Boston,  23, bats S

Starting pitchers
Daniel Norris, Toronto, 22, throws left
Eddie Butler, Colorado, 24, throws right
Steven Matz, N.Y. Mets, 24, throws left
Joe Ross, Washington, 22, throws right
Lance McCullers, Houston, 21, throw right

Relief pitchers
Carson Smith, Seattle, 25, throws right
Roberto Osuna, Toronto, 20, throws right
Will Harris, Houston, 30, throw right

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3 Responses

  1. […] one where there is as much first-year talent available as the draft we’ll enjoy in 2016. Since our midseason analysis, even more young stars have come on the scene. Our updated projections below, based on […]

  2. I’m Gung Ho over Jung Ho Kang. With a two homer game yesterday, Kang is now hitting .290 with 20-2-12 power numbers. He is likely going to get a SS-3 rating by Strat. What round do you foresee Kang going, Mr. Site Manager? To enhance his value, he hits RHP better than LHP!

  3. Carlos Correa is amazing! Noah Syndergaard has likely overtaken Kris Bryant as a few weeks have now gone by since Gary’s post. I don’t know what to make of Kyle Schwarber yet. Just how bad of a catcher is he? He sure can swing the bat, though!

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