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MLB Draft Prospect Stock Watch


The 2019 Amateur Draft has come and gone, with fantasy owners looking to the next wave of impact talent. Depending on league format, some of these names might be ready to contribute from the start, but others will be added in drafts this winter. For those readers who did not have the time to watch the draft, Rotoballer has you covered with fantasy analysis.

All draft prospects come with risk, but like other prospects, locations matter as much as anything. Below, owners will find players who lost or gained value with their landing spots. Who enters a team with a path to the Majors, and who will be blocked?

Read along and grab these names before others in your dynasty league catch on to their potential. With players organized by draft stock and short-term impact, there are prospects listed at all points along the development curve. Happy drafting!

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Stock Up

Andrew Vaughn (1B, CWS)

The third overall pick could not have landed in a better situation for his fantasy value. Not only is Vaughn on a similar age path with other top prospects in the system, but he faces little competition at first. This means that Vaughn will arrive when the team is ready to win, but also without having to carry the load at first.

Perhaps entering 2020 as the team’s sixth prospect, behind most of the pitching, Vaughn is a crucial fantasy target in all formats. In terms of a player comparison, there is a lot of Jeff Bagwell, without the plus hit tool to partner with the plus power. Take out the squat at the plate, and the contact point looks the same. For now, expect that level of fantasy production.

ETA: late 2021
Future Value: 65 - 1st Division Starter at First

 

Hunter Bishop (OF, SF)

Another player who landed in a great spot based on organizational depth, Bishop has the tools to play every day in San Francisco soon. The key will be the power, as he posted grade numbers of 70 and 80 on the raw power at Arizona State. With that, the park will be a concern. Still, with the overwhelming power upside, the limit will still allow him to play in fantasy.

Do not expect the hit tool to come around, so there are some batting average concerns, even with other skills. The other good news for Bishop's value is that the plus glove will keep him in center. For now, the ceiling is lower than other prospects, but fantasy owners will be happy with the high floor.

ETA: late 2021
Future Value: 55 - 2nd Division Starter in Center

 

Bryson Stott (SS, PHI)

Stott could not have landed in a better organization for his current development path. As a polished, college shortstop, Stott will have a shorter journey to the bigs that others drafted around him. With the likes of Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and others sticking around for that time, Stott will land with a full team around him.

The fantasy concerns are centered on the bat, but the glove will play right away. This also gives him a carrying tool as the hit tool develops. Stott is the best infield prospect for the Phillies since J.P Crawford and will be a valued asset in dynasty formats.

ETA: Opening Day 2021
Future Value: 50 - Utility Option with a 55 hit tool

 

Zach Thompson (SP, STL)

For a starting pitcher with this type of frame, joining a team known for development will only help Thompson. The plan is to keep him in the rotation based on the pick value, but the polish fits the mold that St. Louis uses with development and the bullpen. Expect him to have a chance to make some appearances early next year in a John Gant-type role.

While the command will be the concern, the team looks to be a good fit with this bullpen model. Michael Wacha and Austin Gomber fit similar players that will be models for Thompson. Expect Thompson to be ready to pitch in the Bigs soon, but will be a slow burner in terms of the third pitch development and his overall mix. A trade option next year based on the window, Thompson is at the top of my pitching draft board.

ETA: mid-season 2020
Future Value: 60 - No. 3 Starter

 

Peyton Burdick (OF, MIA)

A toolsy hitter from a small school, Burdick's true value is a question mark as he enters the Marlins system. Still, he hit over .400 this year at Wright State and complemented that with a 16 K%. Power is the concern, with only 15 homers this year, but that could change with time in the minors.

The fact that he has landed with the Marlins will ease his time to the majors, as he enters the system as the best outfielder not named Victor Victor Mesa. If he moves quick, Burdick could be Michael Brantley without the power which plays in fantasy leagues. He might slow down as he moves through the minors, but the floor is worth the investment.

ETA: mid-2021
Future Value: 55 - 2nd division starter

 

Jacob Wallace (RP, COL)

The Rockies get on the plus side of the board, adding what could be the best relief arm in the draft. When most other teams were taking prep arms with some reliever risk, the Rockies added a polished college arm who could pitch in the Coors bullpen tomorrow. Will he move that fast? Perhaps not, but from the day he signs is the heir to Wade Davis.

At UConn he pitched in 39.1 innings, earning 16 saves, and posting  0.69 ERA. Only 10 walks in that time show the control, and the stuff is there with 63 Ks. While he might have gone a bit early based on the Big Board, Wallace is a fantasy asset with a floor in the back end of the pen.

ETA: 2020
Future Value: 60 - top-10 closer in Majors

 

Stock Down

Brett Baty (3B, NYM)

Baty was one of the top prospects entering the night, appearing on the live draft with his family. The reason he is down on this half of the list, and the real the concern has less to do with the team, but rather, the league. Baty is one of the better pure bats in the draft without a doubt. Even at 19, which is quite old for High School, the tools are there.

This works in his favor and Baty should be a quick mover. The issue is the glove, as the scouting grades hint at a below-average arm and glove at third. There is no chance to move Pete Alonso off first and if he cannot play at third, Baty will not play the outfield. The Mets took the best player on the board, but for fantasy owners, there is a question on where he will play when ready. Draft and hope for a trade, but if not, stay away and let others take the chance on that glove.

ETA: 2021
Future Value: 55 - Starting Corner best suited as a DH

 

Jackson Rutledge (SP, WAS)

The JuCo draftee stands 6’8’’ and might be the most massive pitching prospect in the draft. The concerns with this pick stem from the development, and the quickly rising draft stock. While a name entering college, Rutledge hurt his hip at Arkansas and lost some time to compete. Rather than take time away from the game, he transferred to San Jacinto JC and kept pitching the following year. A downgrade in competition always opens questions, but he played well enough to convince the Nationals at least. Scouts like the arm, but there are concerns that he will be a bullpen option in the future.

While he does have one of the top fastballs in the draft class, the secondary pitches are yet to develop, hurting his projection. When the Nationals are trying to be competitive and lack a robust minor league system, expect Rutledge to debut in the pen. If not, there is a risk on the length from the start, hurting his value in fantasy formats.

ETA: 2020
Future Value: 60 - high leverage bullpen arm

 

Michael Togila (1B, COL)

This might seem like an odd fit as Togila is a power bat heading to Colorado. The main concerns are tied to the plate discipline and defense tools that are both behind the class. Even with power on both sides of the plate, Togila could post a 35 K% early in his career and will have a hard time pushing that floor down without changes in the swing.

Even in an era of swings-and-misses, that will hurt his chances to move up the ladder. Even more, he lacks the athleticism to play an average first base defensively and is a liability right now. Too much of a risk at this spot in the draft, and with how the Rockies use rookies, fantasy owners should be staying away.

ETA: 2022
Future Value: 50 - reserve corner bat

 

Michael Busch (1B, LAD)

Busch had some concerns attached to his draft stock, and while sliding a bit, stuck in the first round. Projected as a sleeper pick, the fact that he fell this far should raise even more red flags. Not only did teams who fit his profile pass, but the defensive concerns also came to the fore. After a down year at North Carolina this past campaign, Busch will need to play well early in his pro career to change opinions on the declining hit tool.

This means that the Dodgers are either getting a steal or nothing more than a trade piece. Blocked at first by Cody Bellinger, Busch will need to play up to his ceiling to even get a shot. For now, the stock is down, but to be fair, there are worse places to hit than Los Angeles.

ETA: 2022
Future Value: 45/50 - 2nd division start in left field if the glove develops, or bench first baseman

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