If the season ended today and the draft were tomorrow…

(Edit: Steve Hart correctly pointed out that Howie Kendrick is on Satellite Beach’s roster… I have updated the rankings to remove Kendrick at 14, bump Jay Bruce to 14, and insert Hunter Pence at 15. We apologize for the oversight.)

…here are the top 15 players on my list who’d go in the first round of the 2020 I-75 League draft. And why.

Retreads

15. Hunter Pence, OF/DH, Texas. Because even though he’s 36, he’s raking like it’s 2013, hitting .294 with a .353 on-base percentage, a .608 slugging percentage and a .961 OPS. One of only three draft-eligible players with enough qualified at-bats who has a slugging percentage over .600. The other two rank 1-2 on this list.

14. Jay Bruce, OF/1B, Philadelphia. Because he’s got 24 homers in 268 at-bats and nearly identical slugging and OPS splits vs. lefties and righties (overall, .575 and .867).

Because they’re prospects

13. Keston Hiura, 2B, Milwaukee. Because the league has a love affair with prospects even if they haven’t done much yet. Hiura has just 101 ABs so far and unremarkable hitting stats (one double? five walks?) but his range factor of 4.65 would be second-best in baseball (behind Kolten Wong) at second base if he had enough qualifying at-bats, so maybe he’ll be a 1? Who knows, I’ve given up projecting fielding ratings. Scouting report says high average, medium power, medium fielder, pretty much opposite of what he’s displayed.

NIck Senzel

Senzel

12. Nick Senzel, CF, Cincinnati. Because the league has a love affair with prospects even if they haven’t done much yet. Senzel is looking good against lefties (.973 OPS), struggling against righties (.703). Former No. 2 overall pick who has moved to the OF from 3B/2B. Scouting reports says his best quality is ability to hit for average; at .263 in 213 at-bats he has room to grow. As a center fielder, fielding rating may bump him up or drop him down from 12.

11. Eloy Jimenez, LF, Chicago White Sox. Because the league has a love affair with prospects even if they haven’t done much yet. This one though is only 22, with prodigious power yet not much of a fielder, scouts say. So far he’s clubbed 16 homers in 228 at-bats, but is hitting just .241 and his on-base percent is just .303. With 72 whiffs, he’s your prototypical all-or-nothing slugger.

 Getting to the good stuff

10. Chris Paddack, SP, San Diego. Because we figured we should put at least one pitcher on the list. In 15 starts, Paddack owns a 0.92 WHIP and opponents are hitting just .194 off him. He has yet to allow a stolen base, has made just one error, and he’s just 23.

MIchael Chavis

Chavis

9. Michael Chavis, 2B/1B, Boston. Because he’s showing good power in a half-season in Fenway, with 15 homers (but also 99 strikeouts, most among all draft-eligible players) in 270 at-bats. Another middle infielder whose draft position will be affected by the range rating he earns. Potential to deliver 25 homers a year for you for a decade from the second base slot.

8. Kevin Newman, SS, Pittsburgh. Because think of all the fun you’ll have impersonating Jerry Seinfeld everytime “Newman!” makes an out. There won’t be many of those, however, if he keeps hitting .327 with a .371 on-base average. His splits favor him nicely against RHPs and he’s made just three errors at short. Also plays second, third and outfield.

7. Austin Riley, LF, Atlanta. Because 16 homers in 187 at-bats and because of the contingent of Braves’ fans in the league. Problem is he has very imbalanced splits that favor a devouring of lefties (.868 slugging and 1.277 OPS, gulp). Has more errors than assists in the outfield, and only 10 walks so far.

Christian Walker

Walker

6. Christian Walker, 1B, Arizona. Because unlike some of the other sluggers in the top 15, Walker isn’t all-or-nothing. He has a healthy home run total of 17 in 304 at-bats, but also 20 doubles. Hits better against righties; can run a little bit; sports a .994 fielding percentage at first base. Having been buried behind Paul Goldschmidt, he’s already 28, which you can also view as being in the prime of his career.

5. Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pittsburgh. Because everyone will have sluggers, but how many teams will have a switch-hitting leadoff man with a .414 on-base percentage in front of them? Hitting .345 against lefties, .341 against righties; sports on-base averages of .391 vs. lefties and .421 vs. righties. Just 24 years old.

4. Yordan Alvarez, LF/DH, Houston. Because he has shown ridiculous power from the left side of the plate, with seven homers in 73 at-bats, earning a. 726 slugging percent and 1.141 on-base percent. Sure, there’s a good chance those numbers will drop and so will his draft ranking. But for now, drool over the full-season projections for the Cuban import who just turned 22 on June 27. Won’t help you much defensively.

Because they’re clearly the top three

3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto. Because even though he’s the game’s top prospect, and he’s just 20 years old, there’s still two other guys I’d rather have if the season ended today and the draft were tomorrow, thanks to his middling .741 OPS so far. Plus there aren’t that many teams in need of a third baseman. But sure, depending on who ends up with the first pick, he could go No. 1.

Fernando Tatis

Tatis

2. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, San Diego. Because even though he’s the game’s next great shortstop, and has posted a mind-blowing 1.013 OPS to this point with 13 homers and 13 steals, and he’s just 20 years old, there’s still one other guy I’d rather have if the season ended today and the draft were tomorrow. Maybe he’ll be a 1, and that will entice someone to take him No. 1, but more likely a 2, and playing an up-the-middle position I’ll take him over Guerrero.

1. Pete Alonso, 1B, N.Y. Mets. Because it’s become a kill or be-killed sport and this guy has 30 homers at the all-star break.  Thirty! Thirty homers plus a .280 average, .372 on-base average, .634 slugging average and 1.006 OPS. In 325 at-bats, so that’s battle-tested. Major league baseball is on pace to crush the season record for homers. If your team isn’t hitting homers, you’re at a severe competitive disadvantage. And Alonso isn’t an all-or-nothing guy, even though he has 92 Ks — he can pound the ball to the gaps and the corners, with 21 doubles. He’s really slow, and not a great fielder, but unless he completely craters in the second half, you can’t look past his well-balanced power card.

2 Responses

  1. Enjoyed this. Howie Kendrick is on Satellite Beach’s roster, though, and is likely to be retained.

    • Good catch Steve, thanks. I’ve updated the rankings to remove Kendrick and insert a new player at 15. Hendrick is listed as a free agent in our Yahoo league, that threw me off.

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