Matt Harvey appeared in the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game, but where does he appear in Round 2 of a 20 team dynasty league minors draft? (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Happy Valentine's Day and welcome to the review of Round 2 of my 20-team dynasty league minor league draft. If you want to know who went in Round 1, just click here. As a reminder, this draft consists of four rounds and only players with less than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched are eligible to be drafted. This league is not starting from scratch and has been under way for several years now. One other note, Yu Darvish, Yoenis Cespedes, Jorge Soler and Gerardo Concepcion were all eligible to be picked under our guidelines with the idea that they were or would be with major league teams within a short period of time. And for those of you without love, just remember today for what it really is...a celebration that we're only 5 months away from Bastille Day!!! But seriously, celebrate that we've got two teams (Seattle and Oakland) who already have pitchers and catchers in camp and we're that much closer to baseball.
Alright, let's get to the picks...
Two surprises right off the bat here for me. Obviously the Matt Adams selection seems extremely premature as he is someone normally left for waiver wire fodder even in a league as deep as mine. This is where the "you'll see what I mean" came from in the first article. Team 1 has never been a strong minor league drafter, often preferring older players who have accumulated stats while ignoring scouting reports. That said, Adams could be productive - just not the type of player I'd pick at this juncture in the draft.
Wong was the second surprise for me, and I don't have anything against the reigning World Series champs before you ask, but as far as I can tell he is an empty average type second baseman. Wong certainly has a place in this draft, but he went about two rounds too early for my taste.
The other three won't draw much criticism from me. I mentioned Marte and Erlin in my top 12 for '12 articles on hitters and pitchers respectively, and while I would have preferred some other talent at those picks, they are completely reasonable. Liriano was my favorite pick out of the first five. I also reviewed Liriano in a prospect comparison, and I think he very well could have gone at the back end of the first round without anyone blinking.
A strong first three picks here before it tails off with the last two. Middlebrooks has been somewhat controversial to me. I've never seen the stats living up to the hype he's received, though he has improved as he's moved on up the chain. Middlebrooks is another prospect deriving much of his value on the defensive side of the ball, though BaseballAmerica projects his power tool as a 65 and his hit tool as a 50. While Middlebrooks isn't someone I am high on, he's certainly a worthwhile pick at this spot.
While I thought nothing of it at the time, the Mahtook pick has really grown on me during this look back. Though the Rays rarely put anyone on the "fast track" I feel that Mahtook could be an exception to that rule. He shows an advanced approach at the plate and performed quite well in the Arizona Fall League. I like his power speed combination and he shows average or better tools across the board.
I reviewed Cuthbert in this prospect comparison with Nick Castellanos, so suffice it to say, I think he represents good value going in the second round here as I think the tail end of the first would have been appropriate.
The Bradley selection was solid but uninspired and I again felt that there was a better combination of ceiling and floor available in the draft. I like Bradley for what he is, but there were players who could be much more valuable in the long term taken well after him, though he is certainly a safe selection. Panik is the pick that baffled me the most in this round and quite possibly the draft.
While Panik absolutely owned the short-season Northwest League in his pro debut some view him as a future utility man (think Jamey Carroll, not Ben Zobrist) and even the more optimistic scouting reports see a player without power or speed. Panik's fantasy value will need to come from a high batting average and a reliance on those around him in the batting order to drive him in. Suffice it to say, that's not the type of prospect I like to buy into, nor do I believe in San Francisco's ability to create a lineup that would enhance Panik's value if he does reach his potential (Yes, I'm a Dodger fan so that might have been an unnecessary shot at SF, though the numbers should back me up on that one).
The second half of the second round was filled with a ton of value. Based on value I really like these picks better than those in the first half, though that's to be expected when a draft has depth more than impact talent. Jungmann is a solid pick here, primarily a fastball pitcher who has good velocity, movement and plane on his pitches. He compliments that with an improving slider and a work-in-progress change-up.
Emotion trumped logic with my pick of Swihart at 12, as I already had 6 catchers between my majors and minors rosters, but I am extremely high on Swihart's ability. I like taking chances on guys who have bats that will play anywhere but could stick at a premium position. A switch hitting catcher, Keith Law had him at 100 on his top 100 prospects, and BaseballAmerica rated his hit tool as the best overall in the Boston system. It was a combination I just couldn't pass up.
Team 13 gets great value as Taveras absolutely dominated the Midwest League by posting a .386/.444/.584 slash line, picking up a MWL batting title along the way. Taveras has an unusual swing that may not play at higher levels, but counters it with incredible hand-eye coordination. He's someone who could be sitting in the top 20 on prospect lists next year if he can develop his power a bit.
Sonny Gray has been a favorite of mine since he arrived at Vanderbilt, and though he gets dinged for his height, he has a low to mid 90s fastball with movement and pairs it with a curveball that rated the best in the 2011 draft according to BA. He pitched briefly at Double-A last year and should be able to break into the big leagues by mid 2013 if not sooner.
Olt was a player I considered taking with my pick at 12, and someone I could have argued for in the top 5 picks of this round. While he's likely won't approach a .300 average as a hitter, Olt shows plus power and the ability to not only stay but excel at third base defensively. He also shows an advanced approach at the plate with an OBP 120 points higher than his average in 2011. While defense is certainly part of the hype around Olt, his abilities of the offensive side of the ball more than justify a selection at this juncture.
Yet another strong group of picks here to finish off the second round. I love Schoop, as detailed here in my prospect comparison, and also thought about popping him at number 12.
Harvey is another one of those picks who is good value but who I was planning to avoid. He was plagued by inconsistency in his first two years at UNC, though he put it all together during a strong junior campaign. He carried that success over to his first forays into the pros, leading the Florida State League in strikeouts at the time of his promotion to Double-A. Harvey was a bit old for the FSL at 22, and once reaching a more age appropriate level, did see some struggles, before righting the ship over his final 9 starts.
Odorizzi, who might end up being the most valuable piece of the Zack Greinke trade (not a high bar to clear, really), showcased his stuff in Hi-A, piling up 103 strikeouts in a mere 78 innings against only 22 walks. He employs a dominant fastball that makes hitters miss, and backs it up with three offspeed offerings that have the potential to be average. The key word there is potential, as none of them are quite up to par yet, and Odorizzi learned that upon his promotion to Double-A where he didn't fare quite so well. I believe that Odorizzi can and will improve his secondary offerings and revert to his dominant form when he returns to Double-A to start 2012.
Syndergaard burst onto the scene in 2012, blowing through rookie ball and short-season ball before landing at Lo-A Lansing. Syndergaard operates in the mid 90s and has shown the ability to reach the triple digits. He will likely return to Lo-A to start 2013 at age 19, though Toronto clearly won't hesitate to give him a mid-season promotion if he earns it. Syndergaard is mostly fastball at this point, though his breaking ball shows potential and his change-up has good separation from his dominant fastball. This is a nice pick because Syndergaard has a lot of present ability, but also has a lot of room to grow and could fly up prospect lists for next year.
This is a great spot to snag someone with May's talent. Though he has his question marks, May absolutely tore apart the FSL with 208 strikeouts in only 151 innings. He did it with a low to mid 90s fastball that has heavy life and great plane. He also shows a power curve, though he can overthrow it at times and a developing change that has sink. Back to those questions though...He still averaged almost 4 walking per 9 innings in what was essentially a repeat of the FSL, as he opened 2010 there only to be demoted after some extended struggles. All that said, at the end of the second round, it's worth taking a gamble on someone with May's stuff.
Despite the rough start, this might have been my favorite round of the draft overall. As I've said, that's to be expected when a draft is heavy on depth and less so on impact talent. There were obviously some interesting picks thrown out there, but those were balanced by the great value some teams were able to get with their late selections. What do you all think? Am I being too harsh on some of the picks I don't like? Am I too high on the guys I do? Is there anyone you thought would have been picked by now? Let me know in the comments...