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“Allurhing Strategy” MLB Draft Recap – AL Style

MLB’s Amateur draft might not get the pomp and circumstance as the NFL or NBA. However, many of the players that were draft between June 5-7, 2014, could become future household names and fantasy superstars. Football and Basketball prospects often have the opportunity to provide immediate impact to their parent organization and your fantasy team. Baseball’s developmental system is much deeper and requires most prospects to spend time to “learn” and develop their craft in order to contribute at the Major League level. Football and Basketball prospects with high levels of athleticism and raw ability can use that to make an immediate impact at the highest levels AS they hone their skills. Baseball prospects often require time to develop that raw skill and athleticism into smooth mechanics that can be repeated over and over again. This is necessary to succeed at the highest levels of baseball. Most players drafted in baseball never reach the Major Leagues and that includes first round picks. Even the best prospects may take three to five years to get a cup of coffee in the “bigs.” All that being said, the shrewd fantasy baseball owner, especially those in dynasty and deep keeper leagues, should pay attention to the draft. Many dynasty leagues have yearly amateur drafts or prospect claim systems. Right now might be the only time to get this guys on your minor league roster. At the very least, getting familiar with some high ceiling players will help you be able to pick up some of these guys before the rest of your league even knows who they are. Today, we will look at how the draft may affect the future of the American League and ultimately your fantasy team. Draftees have until July 18th to sign with their team and there might be a few names below that won’t sign, choosing to go/return to college. Keeping this in mind, I will be focusing mostly on college players here as they will be more signable and a quicker impact for fantasy teams.

Best Team Draft

Toronto Blue Jays – The Jays had the advantage of two first round picks due to the inability to sign last year’s first round pick, Phil Bickford. Since the had two picks in the top 11, they took a risk and selected Jeff Hoffman, RHP out of East Carolina University. Hoffman would likely have been a top 5 pick if he south park blue jayshadn’t elected to undergo Tommy John surgery this spring. A year ago, he was considered by some scouts as the best pitcher in college. If he returns to pre-TJ form, he has 4 major league pitches and 3 are plus pitches. His fastball is consistently in the mid-90s with movement with a changeup in the low-80s. His out pitch is his 12-6 curve which he can throw with the same arm speed as his fastball. With the risky first pick, they were probably shocked to see catcher, Max Pentecost out of Kennesaw State University, still there at number 11. Pentecost is likely the best “pure” catcher in the draft and he projects to stay at the position. He possess a plus hit tool and average power and speed which is actually a plus for a catcher. He will likely develop into an above average defensive catcher, but the time needed to do that will likely mean it will take a little longer to reach Toronto. Blue Jays definitely addressed their lack of catching talent by drafting, high school catcher, Matt Morgan in the 4th round. One of the slickest picks they made was getting high school RHP, Sean Reid-Foley, in the 2nd round. He was considered a first round talent but likely to go to college. Toronto brass must have known something as they already got him to sign at the 2nd round slot that he was drafted.


Biggest Steal

Bradley Zimmer (CLE)Brother of KC prospect, Kyle Zimmer, Bradley was ranked as the 10th overall draft eligible prospect by Cleveland actually had two first round picks plus a first round compensatory stealpick and they used them wisely. They selected the college OF out of the University of San Francisco who could
reach Cleveland quickly due to a polished bat and exceptional defensive skill. I could see him called up as early as next summer. He has one of the best hit tools in the draft, plus speed and plus-plus arm that projects to be a future gold-glove Rightfielder. He hasn’t displayed much power yet, but I would not be surprised to see that develop as his swing is so smooth. He does swing and miss quite a bit, but should have a great OBP with good plate discipline and knack for getting hit by pitches.


Biggest Reach

Matt Chapman (OAK) – I really didn’t think any of the American League teams reached too far in the first round. (National League is another story, tune in next week for more on this) The first AL teamreach draft pick that was a head-scratcher to me, was the 3B out of Cal-St Fullerton. He has a plus-plus arm as a former pitcher and has developed decent footwork at the hot corner. However, scouts seem split on his glove and his ability to stay at 3B. He may have to move across the diamond as a cliché power hitting 1B. Chapman has plus power and bat speed, but will really need to learn to hit breaking balls if he wants to develop the hit tool to warrant the first round pick. Not a horrible pick, I just think there are a dozen or so guys that were drafted after him that have a higher upside than Chapman.


Quickest Path To The Show

Jacob Lindgren (NYY) The Yankees didn’t have a first round pick due to their free agent signing of bronxBrian McCann, but they made a shrewd pick in the 2nd round with the selection of LHP, Lindgren, out of Mississippi St. Although, I think New York’s 3rd round pick, RHP Austin DeCarr, was their best pick, Lindgren was taken #55 in the second round because he could be pitching in the Bronx as early as THIS season. He was a former starter that got moved into the bullpen in college out of team necessity. His fastball velocity improved and his plus slider is nearly unhittable. He does throw strikes and completely dominated college hitters out of the bullpen. If the Yankees find themselves in a tight playoff chase this summer, they may consider bringing him up as a spark in late August.


Highest Ceiling Fantasy Impacthigh ceiling

Carlos Rodon (CWS) – The White Sox were thrilled to see Rodon drop to them at #3. The LHP out of NC State was once considered a possible #1 overall pick in the draft. His stock dropped due to concerns over his command, however, he quietly, lowered his ERA and walk rate this season while striking out 117 in 99 innings. He has arguably the filthiest slider in the draft that will make both righties and lefties look silly. His fastball can reach in the high-90s but will settle into the low to mid-90s which he will blow by anyone sitting on the slider. Out of all the college pitchers in this draft, Rodon easily has the highest ceiling and future fantasy impact.


Bryan Luhrs
Real Deal Dynasty Sports Leagues, Creator & Commissioner, Fantasy Baseball Writer
Major League Fantasy Football Radio starts on Sunday July 13th at 11:30am – 12:30pm EST
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio runs every Monday from 1pm – 2pm EST Join us this Monday the 16th of June for a MLB draft rundown with our featured guest Bryan Luhrs of Real Deal Dynasty Sports as well as some player analysis with Corey Roberts, EJ The Rainmaker, and Joe Iannone.
We are a proud partner of Sports Palooza Radio Network owned by Lisa Iannucci and E.J. “The Rainmaker” Garr.

Faith, Family and Fantasy Sports.These are the three words that best describe me. I am a faithful husband and father of 6 amazing children. I work to earn a living, but I live for every precious moment I can spend with my family and a passion for sports.



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