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Five Dynasty Standouts: 2016 MLB Draft

It is always very exciting for me as a baseball fan and prospect analyst to see the MLB Draft coming back around. Though I understand that many believe it lacks the excitement of the NFL, NBA, or even NHL draft because most players taken won’t reach the professional league for several years, I still believe that it is so exciting to see the path teams take to rebuild, reload, or restock their organizations.

And with the draft come the top prospects that are mostly considered ‘can’t miss.’ These are guys expected to be guaranteed first round picks, probable top 10 picks, and possible top-five picks. What does this have to do with you, the fantasy owner? Well, if you are a dynasty owner, then it has a lot to do with you. These guys can be stashed in your leagues and are the next wave of stud prospects. These are future aces, future middle of the lineup bats, and future All-Stars and should be owned in all dynasty leagues.

Editor's Note: you can read even more about 2016 MLB draft sleepers for fantasy baseball. Check our dynasty prospects, rookies and call-ups section for lots more great dynasty league analysis.


Five Dynasty Standouts in the Upcoming Draft

Jason Groome (SP, Barnegat HS, NJ)

When you hear about a guy receiving comparisons, premature as they may be, to Clayton Kershaw, you know this guy has to be some kind of special. And there is little doubt that Jason Groome is just that. The 17-year-old southpaw is regarded by many to be the best pitcher available in the upcoming draft, even if it seems unlikely that he will be taken first overall. For dynasty owners, there is a lot to like in this guy even if he is just coming out of high school.

Groome has everything that scouts look for in a future ace: he has the mid-upper 90s fastball, an absolutely lethal curveball, a solid third option (in Groome’s case, a changeup), superb control, and size. Standing at 6’6” and 220 pounds, the southpaw from New Jersey understandably draws comps from a physical perspective to the 6’4” 225 pound Kershaw. As stated earlier, it is a little premature to compare the stuff to the best pitcher in baseball, but the upside is certainly there for him to develop into a dominant ace.

Dynasty owners will probably have to wait a while to reap the rewards of Groome as most high school pitchers require four to five years of development before they are ready for the big leagues. But if Groome is as good as they say he is, he could reach the majors in three years and prove to be an ace for years to come to dynasty owners willing to stash him. He's a must own in all dynasty leagues. Even if he isn’t the next Kershaw, there is little doubt that he is going to be a true front of the rotation starter in the big leagues.


Kyle Lewis (OF, Mercer)

Arguably the top position player in the draft, Kyle Lewis has so much to offer dynasty owners. All you really have to do is look at the ridiculous numbers that he put up in his junior season at Mercer to be able to tell how stellar this outfielder is. He's slashing .395/.535/.731 with 20 home runs and is 6/11 in stolen bases. He has also walked 66 times and struck out only 48 times. Keep in mind that these stats are in 61 games played on the season.

The only real tool of Lewis’ that is up for debate is his speed. Some think that he has enough to swipe 20 bags in a season and play solid center field defense while others believe that he could possibly steal 10 bags, but is destined for a corner outfield spot. What tools aren’t in debate? Everything else. Many scouts view him as the best power bat in the draft and very few question that he can eventually hit for average. With his maturity and plate discipline at the dish, he is a guy who is unlikely to spend much time in the minors and could be in the majors by next June.

The 20-year-old outfielder looks like a future All-Star and a franchise type outfielder. He won’t be the next Mike Trout (but really, who will be), but he has the upside of a guy like 2015 Andrew McCutchen (.292 average with 23 home runs and 11 stolen bases). Unlike with the aforementioned Jason Groome, dynasty owners should not have to wait too long for him to become a producer in the majors. He should be owned in all dynasty leagues at this point.


Corey Ray (OF, Louisville)

Corey Ray is having an absolutely outstanding season for Louisville in 2016 and reaffirmed the belief that he is one of the most electric players available in this year’s draft. Ray is currently slashing .324/.399/.570 with 15 home runs and an ACC-leading 44 stolen bases. Even his plate discipline has been outstanding this season as he has walked 34 times and only struck out 37 times. There really aren’t any  negatives when looking at Ray’s game.

Part of what makes Ray such a tantalizing prospect is his steady swing. He has proven capable of driving the ball to all fields, often with some power. His smaller stature does bring into question how well his power will translate to the big leagues, but most scouts still believe that he should be good for 10 home runs per season. His most promising attribute is his well-above average speed. Ray has arguably the best instincts and best pure speed of any player in the draft, making him a probable candidate to steal 25+ bags per season.

There are still questions about his defense and his plate discipline, but it should not take too long for those issues to be ironed out. Between him, Kyle Lewis, and Nick Senzel, it is probable that Ray will be the last of the three bats taken and the last of the three bats to reach the big leagues, but his near elite speed and above-average pop give him the highest fantasy upside of the group. Even if he doesn’t reach his full potential, Ray still looks like a special bat and is well worth owning in all dynasty leagues.


Nick Senzel (3B, Florida)

When scouts look at polished bats in the draft, many considered Nick Senzel to be the most MLB ready. Does he have the outrageous tools of Corey Ray and Kyle Lewis? No, but he sure does look like the most certain to reach his full potential. With Florida starter A.J. Puk likely to go first overall in the draft, there has been a lot of talk of Nick Senzel being the first bat to go in the draft with the Reds taking him with their second overall pick. While it is uncertain if he will beat Lewis as the first bat taken in the draft, it is almost certain that he will be the first to the majors.

What do I mean when I say that Senzel is clearly the most MLB ready? His stats aren’t nearly as flashy as Lewis’ as Senzel is only slashing a (relatively) modest .352/.456/.595 with eight home runs and 25 stolen bases in 29 attempts. Scouts look at his discipline and his steady swing at the dish and believe that he has the most mature plate approach of all the hitters in this season’s draft. He did manage 25 steals, but fantasy owners need to understand that he really only has the speed to top out at 10-15. He can, however, be expected to hit more than eight home runs in a season and should be able to hit 13-20 home runs in a season with a .280+ average.

Owners wise enough to add Senzel will not have to wait too long for their investment to pay off. He should be able to do enough of everything to make him a potential top-15 third baseman in the league. He may not have the tools or upside of Lewis or Ray, but he has the highest floor of any batter in this draft and is a very low risk own.


A.J. Puk (SP, Florida)

A.J. Puk is not the most talented pitcher in the draft, but nonetheless he is the most likely to go first overall. Many have believed that the Phillies have been settled on him as their first round pick even if there have been some recent mock drafts suggesting that the Phillies may go with a bat. When you look at Puk’s numbers in the tough SEC, it is no wonder that he could go first overall. The 21-year-old southpaw has a 3.21 ERA in 70 innings of work with 31 walks, 50 hits allowed, and 95 punchouts. Considering that the SEC is generally regarded as one of the best baseball conferences in the NCAA, those are very impressive statistics.

Puk certainly has the stuff to be a top of the rotation starter worthy of the first overall pick. He has an upper-90s fastball and an upper-80s/low-90s slider that really keep hitters off balance. His changeup does not quite rank up with his other two offerings, but with enough development has shown the upside to be a quality outpitch. The biggest question surrounding Puk is with his command as he has shown tendencies to be a bit wild.

Even with those questions about control, there is still little doubt that Puk will eventually reach the big leagues. The only question becomes whether he will be an ace or a middle of the rotation guy with elite stuff and no command. Dynasty owners are advised to take that risk as he has too much upside to pass up.


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