Emergency Top 15 update: Keston Hiura is on fire

Forget everything we said about projected No. 13 pick Keston Hiura, second baseman for the Brewers, having an unimpressive season at the plate. Check out what he’s done in his last 10 games:

Can you read that? (Click on it to go to his page if you can’t.) His batting average has jumped 71 points and his OPS has skyrocketed 192 points! If the draft were held July 20, we’d bump him up to No. 6.

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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. Continue reading

Are your stars aligning for 2020?

2019 All-Star Game starters, reserves and pitchers have been announced, giving us a chance for an early peek at who might hold the upper hand in the 2020 Strat season. And the answer is: West Atlanta, with seven of the 64 representatives. The Crush’s strategy of punting on the 2019 season and drafting for the future looks to be paying early dividends, with five pitchers highlighting West Atlanta’s representation in Cleveland on July 9.

Bushwood checks in next with six representatives, three hitters and three pitchers. Three clubs — Margaritaville, Boulder and Dyersville — boast five representatives at this point.

There are seven all-stars who currently are not on any teams, either because they weren’t drafted or don’t yet have a card.

In the reshuffled divisional alignment, the new South and new North divisions have nearly identical aggregate All-Stars (22 and 21), while the new West can claim just 14. Here’s a look at the team-by-team totals:

NORTH (21) SOUTH (22) WEST (14)
Bushwood (6) West Atlanta (7) Dyersville (5)
Margaritaville (5) Boulder (5) Tatooine (3)
Satellite Beach (4) S. Grand Prairie (4) Applegate (3)
Destin (3) Savannah (4) Bismarck (2)
New New York (3) Greendale (2) Superior (1)

Free agents: 7

Here’s the complete rundown of all-star starters, reserves and pitchers as originally announced (before changes): Continue reading