Two out of three of these 2011 draft picks were selected in the 4th round of a 20 team dynasty league minors draft. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Welcome to the fourth and final round in my 20 team dynasty league minors draft. If you want to catch up, here are links to rounds 1, 2 and 3. This round continues the trend of first round pick/bonus babies but also sees some intriguing flier options and a lot of guys that won't make any top 100 lists. Without further ado, I present to you round 4:
1. Team 1 - Daniel Corcino (SP CIN)
Signed for a mere $25,000 in 2008, Corcino has been brought along slowly, spending more than 3 seasons in rookie ball. He broke out last year in Lo-A Dayton, racking up 156 strikeouts compared to only 34 walks in 139 innings. Corcino draws comparisons to Johnny Cueto, and with good reason too. Though he doesn't have the control Cueto showed in the minors, Corcino's stuff plays similarly. He delivers a 92-94 MPH fastball, and can touch 96, though with little plane (he's 5'11). He also shows an average slider and change-up. In his current form, scouts are split as to whether he is a mid rotation starter or a reliever, though Cueto was able to evolve into a frontline starter. While he doesn't have Cueto's breaking ball, there is always the chance that Corcino can progress. As is, the Reds will be happy to send him to Hi-A for 2012 and see what he can do.
2. Team 2 - Joe Wieland (SP SD)
I loved this pick, as I anticipated someone with Wieland's numbers and proximity to the big leagues to get picked as early as the second round, so this is great value for Team 2. You can read my expanded thoughts on Wieland in my Top 12 pitching prospects for '12 article.
3. Team 3 - Jorge Alfaro (C TEX)
If you drool over upside I invite you to grab a paper towel and take a gander at Jorge Alfaro. Signed for a Colombian-record $1.3 million in 2010, Alfaro oozes potential. As the second youngest player in the short-season Northwest League last year, Alfaro posted a .300/.345/.481 slash line. He sports a howitzer for an arm and generates plus-plus raw power due to great hip rotation and remarkable batspeed. Despite showing early signs of pitch recognition skills, Alfaro walks less than Paris Hilton's dog, with a total of 9 career walks in 332 at-bats. Behind the plate Alfaro has above-average athleticism and the aforementioned top of the scale arm strength. His footwork is sloppy and inconsistent and he needs more repetitions. He has the tools to stay behind the plate, and if he does he's a potential star.
4. Team 4 - Dan Vogelbach (1B CHI)
Known for his power, Vogelbach has a chance to be more than that due to advanced pitch recognition skills and good patience. He will have to rely on his bat though, as he is a first base prospect only, and though he takes pride in his defense he will likely never be above average due to his well-below average athleticism (6'0/250 lbs). His advanced approach at the plate could get him to open 2012 at Lo-A.
5. Team 5 - Joe Ross (SP SD)
This was an absolute heartbreaker of a pick for me. It tore me up more than when Bruce Willis switches spots with Ben Affleck in Armaggedon, and if you don't cry during that scene you're a robot with no soul. I mean we just lost Bruce Willis in favor of Ben Affleck! But I digress. The younger brother to the A's Tyson, Joe Ross was my sleeper pick for the 4th round as a highly athletic pitcher with smooth mechanics that allow him to repeat his delivery and throws strikes. He operates in the low 90s but tops out at 96 MPH. His change-up currently projects as plus and he throws a curveball that lags behind his other pitches for now. I think there's a decent chance that Ross adds to his current velocity as he fills out his frame, and will move quickly, beginning 2012 at Lo-A throwing to second rounder Austin Hedges.
6. Team 6 - Alex Meyer (SP WAS)
Meyer first broke onto the scene when he was offered $2 million by the Red Sox as a 20th round pick in 2008, and subsequently turned it down to go to Kentucky. After two mostly down years in Lexington, Meyer put it all together in 2011, prompting the Nationals to offer him that same $2 million as their second pick of the first round (23 overall). Meyer sits in the mid 90s and can reach the triple digits with his four-seam fastball. He also throws a low 90s two-seam fastball, and flashes a plus slider though it is inconsistent. His mid 80s change-up is behind his other pitches, though it shows enough separation from his fastball to be useful and he does have a feel for it. At 6'9, repeating his delivery is crucial for Meyer in regards to throwing strikes. Though his height would seem to give him good plane on his pitches, his arm slot ranges from three-quarters to low three-quarters, mitigating some of that effect. While he has plenty to work on, Meyer has the build and stuff of a front of the rotation starter with only his mechanics and command holding him back.
7. Team 7 - Sean Gilmartin (SP ATL)
I'm surprised it took someone this long to pop Gilmartin given the comps (Mike Minor) and praise heaped on him as an advanced lefty who should move quickly through the minors. I'm glad it took this long for someone to take him though as I feel like the comp is a bit forced, and that drafting a back end starter at best isn't worth it. Minor added several MPH to his fastball once in the Braves system and that really improved his long term outlook. If that doesn't happen for Gilmartin, we are looking at a high 80s/low 90s lefty with a plus change-up and a solid average slider. He's intelligent on the mound and is willing to mix his pitches, though that might be out of necessity. He's unlikely to get many whiffs at the upper levels but generates groundballs due to the life on his fastball. He's likely to begin 2012 in Double-A for his first full season in the pros.
8. Team 8 - Dante Bichette Jr (3B NYY)
We all know he's the bloodlines for the bigs, but how good is he really? That is the question Bichette faced after being the Yankees top pick (51st overall) in the 2011 draft. He did his best to answer that with a dominant .342/.446/.505 slash line that earned him the MVP in the Gulf Coast League. Bichette showed the ability to adjust quickly in pro ball after getting off to a sluggish start. He brings an advances approach to the plate, and complements it with above average bat speed and hand-eye coordination that allows him to make good contact and walk almost as much as he strikes out (30 BB/41 K in GCL). Bichette has power that plays right now, though he is willing to sacrifice some of that power to use the whole field and shows a good two-strike approach that is focused on contact over power. Bichette was considered a lock to move off third base as an amateur but has impressed the Yankees with his agility and work ethic at third and now stands a chance of sticking on the dirt. Bichette's polish gives him the chance to move quickly, and he will start at Lo-A in 2012.
9. Team 9 - Brian Goodwin (OF WAS)
The last of Washington's three picks in the top 35, Goodwin was taken with the 34th overall selection in the 2011 draft. His $3 million dollar deal just beat the August 15 deadline and he was unable to showcase his skills before the end of the 2011 season. That bonus will let you know just how highly the Nationals think of Goodwin's skillset. Speaking of which, Goodwin is a pure athlete who has the potential to bring all five tools to the table given some (ample) development. He brings plus to plus-plus speed to the table, but is still learning to steal bases. He has impressive bat speed with quick wrists and a patient approach at the plate, but also features a metal-bat swing that needs to be overhauled. He should have no trouble sticking in centerfield and has the arm for it as well. Goodwin could be an impact player at the major league level, and my favorite Goodwin in the majors since Curtis, but he'll require major steps to get there. He will begin that journey at Lo-A in 2012.
10. Team 10 - Scooter Gennett (2B MIL)
Drafted in the 16th round in 2009 Gennett has hit over .300 in both years since he's been drafted. He has an aggressive approach at the plate that limits his strikeouts, but also his walks and thus his OBP. Though he's shown some pop in the minors in the form of doubles and home runs, Gennett is only 5'9 and isn't expected to hit for power at the upper levels. His speed is average, though he's not much of a basestealer, going only 11/20 in 2011. Gennett has the ceiling of an everyday second baseman, though he's likely to be more valuable in real life than in fantasy given his lack of OBP, power and speed. He will begin 2012 at Double-A.
11. Team 11 - Rougned Odor (2B TEX)
Do you smell what Rougned is cooking? All jokes aside, Odor has neither the elbow nor the eyebrow to act anything like The Rock. What he can do is straight up hit. Signed for $425,000 in 2011, Odor debuted as the youngest prospect in the short-season Northwest League where he put up a .262/323/.352 slash line. While that may not be inspiring, he was extremely young for the level. He doesn't possess one elite tool, but what he does have plays up due to his baseball smarts and instincts. While his slash line may not reflect it, Odor has remarkably quick hands that give gap power right now and the potential for more down the road. His quick hands also allow him to barrel the ball well and should enable him to hit for average in time. Defensively, Odor has enough arm strength for either middle infield position, and displays smooth actions around the bag. An average runner, he stole 10 bases in 14 tries in 2011. Ticketed for Lo-A in 2012, Odor will continue to be one of the youngest players in his league and his slash lines will likely reflect that, but don't let that fool you into thinking he's not developing as a prospect. I like Odor, but it's hard for me to get excited about him as a prospect until his power begins to develop.
12. Team 12 - Yordano Ventura (SP KC)
After missing out on
Bruce WillisJoe Ross, I went through a box of tissues, gathered myself and decided to throw caution to the wind and select my super sleeper in Yordano Ventura. I love the natural talents that Ventura brings to the mound, as he can hit triple digits, though he's better off when he focuses on executing his pitches rather than how hard he's throwing. When he's not throwing 100 MPH, Ventura sits at a very healthy 94-97 MPH with late life, and complements it with a potentially plus, though inconsistent curveball. His change-up lags behind the other two, though he gets absurd separation from his fastball with the change coming in 79-83 MPH. Ventura's biggest problem is overthrowing, and it affects all his pitches, as he loses control of his mechanics, and his curve will flatten out. He is also on the short side for a starting pitcher at 5'11, though I see him in the Carlos Martinez mold based on his stuff and the ease in which he generates his velocity. What sold me on Ventura was his terrific strikeout to walk ratio (88/24 in 82 innings) as a 20 year old in Lo-A. Ventura has front of the rotation upside and plenty of Ace Ventura jokes in his future, though if he doesn't pan out as a starter, he profiles as a shutdown reliever.
13. Team 13 - Marcell Ozuna (OF MIA)
Ozuna's full season slash line of .266/.330/.482 either obscures or serves as a testament to his tremendous second half line of .310/.371/.585. Ozuna reached Lo-A in 2011 as a 21-year old and made important strides in his development, almost doubling his career walk total and learning to lay off the low and away breaking ball in favor of pitches that he could drive. Ozuna's calling card is power, both in his bat and in his arm, as he has plus raw power and an absolute rifle for an arm. He also displays a good feel for basestealing, succeeding on 17 of 19 attempts in his first real taste of full season ball. Ozuna has great passion for the game and that gives me hope that he will continue building on the strides he has already made. I love this pick as a flier because he has a chance to be a true impact fantasy player, though he may always pile on the strikeouts (121 in 496 at-bats in 2011).
14. Team 14 - Gerardo Concepcion (SP CHI)
Concepcion has generated a lot of headlines this offseason, frankly, far more than I ever think he'll be worth in the future. Concepcion is a lanky 6'2, 19 year-old left-hander who features a low 90s fastball, a curve that has earned mixed reviews and an in progress change-up. The Cubs signed him for $7 million this offseason, and he is viewed as an extremely polished pitcher who profiles toward the back end of the rotation. What worries me about him is that he hasn't shown the ability to miss bats (sub 5 k/9), even in the Cuban league which profiles similar to Hi-A here in the states. The Cubs must hope that he has some projection left, otherwise I don't understand the rationale behind giving Concepcion $7 million other than to prove exactly how much the draft depresses the players' ability to earn their market value.
15. Team 15 - Robert Stephenson (SP CIN)
Stephenson laid claim to first round status by throwing back-to-back no-hitters in his first two starts, and the Reds obliged by taking him 27th overall. Stephenson provides easy velocity, pumping mid 90s fastballs and touching 97 MPH. He's fairly polished for a high school pitcher, with a clean, repeatable delivery that allows him to locate well. While he threw a splitter in high school, Cincinnati has shelved that due to the stress it puts on his arm. What he's left with is the idea of a curveball and the concept of a change-up...so basically he's a one pitch pitcher at the moment. I was excited about the idea of drafting Stephenson immediately post-actual draft, but that subsided when I learned that he only had the one pitch to go on at the moment. That doesn't mean he's not a future frontline starting pitcher however, as he is advanced in his fastball command and shows a willingness to learn the curve and change. Due to his advanced approach, Stephenson has a chance to skip rookie ball, but even if he reports there, he will remain on pace for a high school draft pick.
16. Team 16 - Jordan Akins (OF TEX)
Speaking of sleeper picks...just who the hell is Jordan Akins?? A third round draft pick in 2010, Akins was primarily a football player in high school, and a veritable swiss army knife at that, playing quarterback/wide receiver/defensive back and kick returner... oh yeah, and he played a little baseball too. Akins arrived to the Texas organization sushi-level raw and it showed in his .187/.241/.252 slash line. He improved in 2011, posting a .283/.312/.428 triple (double?) slash. So what the heck is anyone doing drafting this guy you're asking? Well, the best reason I can give you is that Akins flashes five plus tools. He puts on a show in BP with tremendous raw power (has reminded scouts of Mike Stanton at times), though his swing still flattens out at times. He also has plus-plus speed and should be able to stick in center, though he has enough arm for right field if it comes to that. He's only spent time in rookie ball so far in his career and will attempt to tackle (puns!) Lo-A in 2012. A bit of a bizarre pick to be sure, but this team selected Enny Romero in the last round of last years draft and is sitting fairly pretty with that pick right now. I know I just became a lot more interested in Akins as a prospect after this pick.
17. Team 17 - Vincent Catricala (1B/3B/OF SEA)
While Catricala had merely very good numbers in 2009 and 2010, he absolutely exploded in 2011 posting a combined .349/.421/.601 slash line between Hi-A and Double-A. While the video game numbers can be overlooked in the hitters paradise that is the California League, Catricala continued his torrid pace upon his promotion to Double-A Jackson. Catricala features a compact swing that allows him to hit for average and above average bat speed that enables him to hit for power. What he doesn't feature is a defensive home, playing 3rd/1st and outfield in 2011. He is definitely not suited for third base committing 14 errors in 54 games there last year, and will likely settle into left field given Justin Smoak's presence at first base for the foreseeable future. It seems unlikely that Catricala can continue to replicate his eyepopping numbers going forward, but if he even comes close to it, Seattle will be happy to make room for him in their power starved lineup.
18. Team 18 - Matt Davidson (3B ARI)
Davidson has had to share third base with fellow 2009 draftee Bobby Borchering throughout his time in the minors, though he (Davidson) profiles as the better overall prospect. With a swing geared for contact, Davidson still manages to generate power because of the strength throughout his body. He has a good approach at the plate, but he's continued to rack up the strikeouts year after year. He does draw his share of walks, though he'll never be an OBP monster. While he's not a natural at the hot corner, Davidson has worked hard and made himself an average defender, and he will be able to stick there for the long haul. He will be a mere 21 years of age as he begins 2012 at Double-A and I wager that this pick made many owners in this league feel stupid (I certainly did) when it was made. A great value at the tail end of the draft, Davidson should be able to hit for decent averages and 20+ home runs, which is more than enough to hold value at third base in real life and in fantasy.
19. Team 19 - Adonys Cardona (SP TOR)
Signed for $2.8 million in 2010, the Venezuelan youngster made his stateside debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2011. While his 4.55 ERA was nothing to write home about (When home is Venezuela you have to be selective), Cardona was able to post solid peripherals with 35 strikeouts compared to 12 walks in 32 innings. Cardona threw in the high 80s/low 90s when he signed and was able to add a few MPH to that in 2011. At 6'4/170 lbs some think he still has room to add even more velocity, though it would benefit him more to add a breaking ball. Cardona's second best pitch is a change-up that he sells with good arm speed, and while he does have a curveball, he needs to spend some time (both quality and quantity) with it before it becomes viable. Toronto has worked to lower his arm slot, which has made his delivery more repeatable and aided his control, though he still exerts a fair amount of effort in his delivery, which could ultimately land him in the bullpen. At just 18 years old, it's fair too early to consign him to that fate however, and he will start until he proves he can't. Another of Toronto's bevy of young, talented arms, Cardona will likely spend 2012 in instructs and then short-season ball.
20. Team 20 - Andrelton Simmons (SS ATL)
Mr. Irrelevant everybody! This is another pick that I understand even if I'm not a fan of it. Simmons is a no-doubt shortstop with good range and instincts at the position, and has more than enough arm for the position as well. Simmons will never lead any Occupy First Base rallies, as he uses an aggressive, contact oriented approach at the plate. Though he hit over .300 in 2011 in Hi-A, I've seen many questions from scouts regarding his hit tool and not too many positive answers. I haven't seen any questions on his power tool however, and not in a good way. While he has the batspeed to turn on fastballs, he still generates little pop and doesn't project to get better in that regard. Simmons does show some speed and was able to swipe 26 bags this season, though he was caught an unacceptable 18 times. Certainly not a bad choice this deep into a draft as he is sure to stick at a position of scarcity, though I don't think he hits for average or power at the ML level.
There you have it! 80 prospects later we reach our conclusion. I will be doing one more post on this subject that will show each teams complete draft as a small summation. Before we get to that though, what did you all think? Who had the best 4th round pick? Who squandered their last opportunity to add depth/trade fodder to their team? Let me know in the comments.