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“Alluhring Strategy” 2015 MLB Draft Recap: AL EAST

Final stop on your recap of the MLB Draft brings us to the American League East. There wasn’t any team here that brought home a payload like the Houston Astros, but there were some notable selections that savvy fantasy owners should keep on their radar and dynasty owners should be targeting immediately. 

 

Highest Ceiling Pick

#13 Garrett Whitley OF, TB

 

Height – 6’1”

Weight – 195 lbs

School – High School (NY)

Expected Draft Range — #7 – #20

Signing Status — Unsigned

ETA – 2019

 

I considered using Andrew Benintendi here as the Red Sox first round draft pick came out of nowhere to become the SEC Player of the Year this spring. While he does look like he could be the real deal, Garrett Whitley may be the only true five-tool player drafted by the AL East. I was shocked to see him get by Miami at #12 and Tampa wasted no time grabbing a rare cold-weather prep outfielder in the first round. He has dazzled over the past year; last summer and this spring. If he didn’t reside in New York and played competitively all year around, he would have been a Top 10 pick if not Top 5. Although the tools are there, the Rays will be patient and let him develop. He likely won’t be ready for the Major Leagues until 2019 or later.

Whitley already has plus speed and projects as a plus glove in CF with range. He has a quick right-handed swing that is already above-average that could develop 20+ HR power. He looks like he has a plan at the plate and is developing the hit tool. He does need to improve his contact rate, but all the tools are there and with pro coaches, trainers and year-round baseball, Whitley looks to prove he has the highest ceiling. Hate to throw “Mike Trout” comparisons out there, but he may have the best tool set of a cold weather hitter since Trout. Dynasty league owners take note.

 

Biggest Steal

#29 Jon Harris RHP, TOR

 

Height – 6’4”

Weight – 190 lbs

School – Missouri State University

Expected Draft Range — #8 – #18

Signing Status — Signed for $1.944,800 bonus (At Slot Value)

ETA – 2018

 

I’m not sure how RHP Jon Harris lasted all the way to #29, but the Toronto Blue Jays did not hesitate to add him to the list of impressive pitching prospects that they are filling their minor league system with over the last few years. Harris was being considered a Top 10 pick early in the spring but it seems that clubs may have been scared away from his low quality of competition he faced in the Missouri Valley Conference. He didn’t fare well in his only SEC battle against Arkansas (Harris went 5.2, gave up 8 ER on 9 H, walked 1 and struck-out 3). His fastball sits in the low 90s but his frame may allow him to build up strength and velocity. He showed improved command over the last year with just over 10 K/9 and just over 3 BB/9.

I am excited about Harris because regardless of his competition, his stuff should translate as he has a four pitch arsenal with three flashing plus potential. Although the velocity of his fastball doesn’t light up the gun, he does play up due to his 6’4″ frame and natural sinking movement. His curveball should be another plus pitch with a hard break that can develop into his out pitch. If he can get three of the four pitches to above average or better, he should be a solid #3 to #4 starter in the Big Leagues. If he can develop that fastball and curve into true plus pitches, he could easily become a #2 Starter with fringe Ace potential with improved command. He will need a few years in the minor league system, but once he reaches AA, he could progress quickly if he can handle the competition. Dynasty league owners should be looking at Harris as a Top 5 pitcher to snag from this draft class.

 

Biggest Reach

#30 Kyle Holder SS, NYY

 

Height – 6’1”images-1

Weight – 185 lbs

School – University of San Diego

Expected Draft Range — #36 – #63

Signing Status — Signed for $1,800,000 bonus ($114,900 below slot value)

ETA – 2018

 

Kyle is quite possibly the best defensive SS in a deep draft for SS talent draft. He already possess a plus arm and glove and should become a regular, everyday SS on his defensive prowess alone. My contention is not that the Yankees selected him, it’s where they selected him. Prior to the draft, MLB.com had him ranked as their #51 draft prospect and Fangraphs had him at #66. My guess is they didn’t want to take the chance he wouldn’t be there at #57, so they reached for “their” guy. Kyle Funkhouser and Daz Cameron were drafted after Holder and would have looked nice in pinstripes. I understand what the Yankees are trying to do. They have spent a lot of money on signing teenage international free agents, so they wanted to fill in their system with “high floor” players. The majority of their talent is in the lower-levels and this draft intended to get players that could move quickly through the system.

In order to quickly overview his offensive skill set, Holder has a below average hit tool and power. He isn’t likely to develop power and he doesn’t have much speed. The one thing he has going for him his a high contact rate. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a great overall approach at the plate and doesn’t put together good consistent at-bats. Fantasy owners… nothing to see here.

 

Quickest Path to the Majors

#16 James Kaprielian RHP, NYY

 

Height – 6’4”

Weight – 200 lbs

School – University of California, Los Angeles

Expected Draft Range — #14 – #24

Signing Status — Unsigned

ETA – 2016

 

As previously discussed, it was not a surprise that the Yankees selected a “high floor” college player with their first pick. Kaprielian wasn’t a bad pick, although he might have been a slight reach. Despite the likes of Brady Aiken, Ashe Russell and Walker Buehler still on the board, the Yankees went with a polished college arm that has arguably the best “pitchability” in the draft. Players may not have much control on what skills they were born with, but “pitchability” is the part of their development that they can really work on and control. What does “pitchability” mean? The stuff might not be dynamic, but he can throw and pitch at any time in any part of the zone.

Kaprielian has an average fastball and curve. He pitched out of the bullpen at the beginning of his college career, but these pitches aren’t dominate enough to project as a back end reliever. However, he does have an above-average slider and a plus-change with above-average command. Once he signs, he should move quickly through the Yankees system. He projects as a starter and assuming the Yankees are committed to developing him as a starter, he should be able to polish up his repertoire and command within a year and could be a spot-starter in the Bronx next summer. His ceiling is probably a #3 starter and his floor is about the same. He was the safest arm in the draft and the Yankees are hoping he gives much needed pitching depth in the upper levels of their minors in short order. Fantasy owners should keep him on their radar as a possible streaming option in 2016.

 

Best AL EAST Team Draft

Tampa Bay Rays

#13 Garrett Whitley OF, #52 Chad Betts C, #148 Joe McCarthy OF

 

Whitley is a potential stud, but the Rays got two more first round talents in over the first five rounds. If they can sign them all, they will easily have scored the best haul in the AL East.

Chris Betts, Cimages-1

Height – 6’2”

Weight – 220 lbs

School – High School (CA)

Expected Draft Range — #11 – #26

Signing Status — Unsigned

ETA – 2019

Betts has a commitment to Tennessee that the Rays are trying to persuade him to forgo. He is definitely a first round talent that likely dropped to round two due to the lack of a professional position. He is a prep catcher with a strong arm. However, his glove and mechanics behind the plate lead scouts to believe that he doesn’t have a future at the position. In fact, his glove is suspect at any position. Fortunately, Tampa plays in the American League where they have the DH slot in the lineup where players with Betts’ particular set of skills are very valuable.

As a prep hitter, Betts shows an above-average hit-tool and already flashes plus-power. He has little speed, but should develop into a extra-base-hit machine in the future. He could follow in the path of someone like Evan Gattis. He will have a chance to prove he can develop as a catcher. Then, he will probably be moved to the OF to help him focus on hitting. Finally, the Rays will realize that they can slot him in the middle of the order as an everyday DH who will mash from the left side of the plate.

 

Joe McCarthy, OF

Height – 6’3”imgres

Weight – 215 lbs

School – University of Virgina

Expected Draft Range — #37 – #70

Signing Status — Unsigned

ETA – 2018

McCarthy’s tools should have put him in the first round, but his back injury has forced teams to be cautious with him. Even with the injury, I thought someone take a chance on him him the sandwich rounds or at least in round two. He projects as a corner outfielder, likely RF, with power and arm strength. His swing needs work in order to develop that raw power into real plus-power and that can’t happen until he is completely healthy. This will take some time and the Rays don’t need to rush. If they get these three guys signed and in the system, they have dramatically improved the position player prospects in their organization with some high ceiling bats. Due to his low draft slot, McCarthy might fall below the radar in dynasty leagues. He is a good stash candidate if you have large carryover minor league rosters in your league.

 

 


 

 

Bryan Luhrs
Major League Fantasy Sports
Writer & Contributor
Real Deal Dynasty Sports
League Developer & Executive League Commissioner

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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