This is a 20-team dynasty league. We have 25 man rosters, 22 keepers, and a 15 man minor league system. Roster cut downs were made prior to the MiLB draft, and the MLB portion of the draft is held after the MiLB draft. Not everyone's minor league rosters are stocked but of the 300 available minor league roster spots, I would guess over 200 of them are filled. Our rosters use only three outfield spots, not five, but are restricted by LF/CF/RF positions, not the generic OF. This puts extra value on centerfielders who can produce and also changes team needs a substantial amount.
Foreign imports (Ryu, Fujikawa et al.) are eligible to be picked in our draft. The other rules are standard; the players must be rookie eligible by MLB standards with the exception of service time, meaning fewer than 130 at-bats for hitters and fewer than 50 innings pitched for pitchers.
Lastly, this is not a snaking draft. In a league this deep, we gear the draft toward replenishing the weaker teams as much as possible. Each team has three picks in the three rounds and trading of MiLB draft picks is not allowed*, so keeping track of each teams haul should be relatively easy. With all that said, let's get to the picks.
As the leader of the #CageMattSkole movement, you can imagine how this pick went for me. I shuddered as I typed it out above. It's too bad too, because between Polanco and Wacha, I really liked how this teams draft was going. Let's just go over the reasons I've become so recalcitrant to give Skole much credit. Yes, he absolutely mashed at 2 levels in 2012 compiling a .291/.426/.559 slash line between Lo- and Hi-A. But the best parts of that slash line (OBP and SLG) are skewed by the fact that he's a 23 year old in A ball. He should have an advanced approach and be strong enough to mash at that level. He should be able to beat up on younger more inexperienced pitchers. While you could position Skole as doing what was expected and say we shouldn't knock him for that, I'll say that we should expect a 23 year old to at least be in Double-A and that we shouldn't give him credit for not getting there. If he hits in Double-/Triple-A in 2013, I'll reconsider, but until then I think he's a product of having solid but not good tools and being old for his level.
I love Team 12's draft on the whole, mainly carried by the first two picks, as one might expect. I do think that Gausman was the way to go in the first round based on value but there's room for discussion there. Berrios is a solid pick this late. I'm not in love with him and you worry about the height at times, but he should be a higher floor type guy with a #3 starter ceiling. When a guy like Roberto Osuna goes more than a round earlier, you're getting good value on a guy like Berrios.
This is a weak pick. Buckel burned through the lower minors on the strength of pitchability and a plus curveball. His fastball resides in the lower minors and he has a penchant for pitching up in the zone with it, a habit that could prove troublesome as he moves up the organizational ladder. His curveball is a true plus offering that is highly effective when fed a steady diet of high fastballs. My concern is that more refined hitters will beat up on the fastball and rendering the curve less effective (still effective though). He's a back end starter at best and I just worry when that's the ceiling of the guy I draft. It's a defensible pick for sure but if Buckel doesn't reach his ceiling this is a wasted draft pick. If a higher ceiling guy doesn't reach their ceiling, they still might be useful.
I go back on forth about whether I like this pick. I made this pick over a weekend after I had left my prepared list at work, so I was a bit disheveled in the process of making this selection. I had desperately wanted McCullers but with him gone I was stuck choosing between a high ceiling bat that I liked such as Nomar Mazara or Ryu who could walk right onto my major league team and be part of my rotation. I had use for another starter and as a contender this year I opted for the short term gain. I immediately regretted my decision and still long for the idea of Mazara's bat in my system. That said, the benefit of Ryu is obvious. He's probably a 4 at the major league level but has a shot to be a 3 and can contribute immediately. There's a good chance I trade him, or his presence allows for the trade of another starter. Part of the logic working against Mazara was that by drafting Mondesi I just took a talent who was potentially 5 years away. I try not to have too many of those guys in my system at once.
Pederson could go one of two ways. If you like him you see an offense first potential centerfielder who has a bat that could survive in a corner. If you don't, you have doubts that he can stick in center and don't think the bat plays anywhere else; he's a tweener. I fall more into the latter category. Pederson has real tools and he makes them play up. He's a grinder and a gamer and all that usual jargon. I have my doubts about him as a real life player and that results in bigger fears about his fantasy value. This has the potential to be a stellar value pick if he can hold on as a centerfielder but if he doesn't, he ends up as a 4th outfielder.
Uninspired. Especially after snagging Marrero in the 2nd round. So the round after taking a defense first shortstop with a limited stick, you take a defense first shortstop with an even more limited stick? Color me unimpressed. I'm all for up the middle talent but at some point the player has to hit. This is fantasy and while positioning matters to some extent, production matters the most.
Team 17 - Matt Wisler - SP - San Diego Padres
First Round Pick: Lucas Giolito
Second Round Pick: Clayton Blackburn
A strong third pick in my opinion. Wisler was a sleeper of mine and I was hoping he'd go undrafted so I'd have a shot at him next year. Wisler had an awful senior year of high school but was signed for well over slot money after being drafted in the 7th round in 2011. A wise investment it seems, as Wisler brings heat in the mid 90s and throws a swing-and-miss curve. His change lags behind the first two but he can keep lefties honest with it. Stingy with the home run, Wisler should be a mid-rotation starter when it's all said and done with the chance for more if the change up comes along. His fantasy value gets a spike with his future home being PETCO as well.
If you can be surprised but not at all, then this pick did it for me. Glasnow didn't make any iteration of my lists in preparing for this draft, so it's a surprise pick in that sense. But I also know that this team has a habit of going for an off the board guy with their last pick, so while I didn't know who it would be that would surprise me, I knew it would be a surprising pick. For those who aren't familiar with him, Glasnow is a 6'7 RHP who has just begun filling out his frame. He's added velo to his fastball since entering the organization and now throws in the low 90s and can touch 96 MPH. His curveball flashes plus but remains inconsistent and his change up is well behind the curve. Command is a struggle for Glasnow as well but this is the type of arm that can grow in leaps and bounds or just steadily improve throughout the minors. He's a big arm to bet on, but a long way from his ceiling. It's likely he'll move quite slowly, but Lo-A should be within his reach in 2013.
Y'know, somehow, if it wasn't for the meteor-sized disaster of a first round pick that is Bethancourt, I'd love this team's haul. Coulter in the second round is a win for me and I love Maurer at the tail end of the draft. Truth be told, I briefly considered him with my pick in this round but his injury history scared me off to the point I wanted the immediate returns of Ryu. Still, Maurer has a chance to be a good 3 if he can just stay healthy. Great value this late.
I am almost entirely against taking relief pitchers in a minor league draft, but this may be the exception. There's almost no chance Fujikawa makes it to this team in the MLB draft that is upcoming and as the reigning champion, we know this team will contend. If they needed a closer to shore up a weak spot, this pick makes a lot of sense. Fujikawa may never record a save, but all it cost was the last pick in the draft. Relative to the second round pick spent on Bruce Rondon, this is a good get. I still can't endorse grabbing a maybe closer in a minor league draft, but if you must, this is the pick to do it with.
I'll be back on Thursday with a draft wrap up and to throw out some superlatives. Hope you've enjoyed so far.