We are entering the second season of the Fake Teams Dynasty League in 2013, and with that of course came our five-round minor league draft. First, some details about our league:
Setup: 16 team head-to-head (categories) mixed league - $120 salary cap
Categories: R, HR, RBI, AVG, SB, BB, OBP, W, SV, HLD, K, ERA, WHIP, QS
Eligible players: Any player who has signed a contract with a Major League organization, has not been drafted in previous years, and has not made their debut in the Majors.
Other notes: All players drafted in the minor league draft are assigned a $1 for 6 year contract. This contract does not count against the cap or start until they are called up by the owner, which must be done before the player reaches 250 AB or 100 IP in the Majors. For example, a player called up by his owner in the 2014 season would be under contract through the 2019 season, regardless of whether they were drafted in 2012 or 2013.
There are a few other things of note to be aware of with this draft. First, we have cycled through a large number of owners within the first year, so while I will likely discuss other players within their system, bear in mind that there are new owners for a lot of them, which likely means a change in strategy. Secondly, there were a few owners that were replaced during the draft (or after the draft), so some of the picks were completed well after their turn had passed. As a result, the players available when they were able to make their selection were different than if they had taken the pick in turn. Finally, draft picks are tradable in our league, but it does not tend to happen very much. With that in mind, here's the results from the third of our five round minor league draft.
Asche had a very good year last year between High-A and AA, hitting .324/.369/.481 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases. Unfortunately, the reports on Asche point to a player who doesn't have a particularly high ceiling for his position, likely hitting a similar number of home runs and just being average in terms of his contributions to batting average. He'll likely debut at some point in 2013, and could be the next 3B in Philadelphia after Michael Young's contract ends at the end of the season.
At this point in the draft, I wanted an upside pick, and McCullers fit the bill on that one. He was viewed as a potential top ten pick, but concerns about his signability dropped him into the supplemental first round instead. There are concerns about whether or not he will be a starter or a reliever long term, which is at least part of the reason he fell this far in our draft.
Winker was a supplemental first round pick by the Reds in last year's draft, and is a prospect where our format may help his value out somewhat. He's not expected to be a huge power threat, but has already shown an excellent eye (40 BB/50 K in 272 plate appearances in the Pioneer League), along with a .338/.443/.500 slash line. He could be a pick we all wish we had made this time next year, or could be just filler on the minor league roster.
I know this made Craig sad, as he is a huge fan of what Joe Ross could be. There is a ton of upside with Ross, and after struggling at full season Low-A last year was able to right himself and performed better at the end of the year. He'll return to full season Low-A to start the 2013 campaign, and still has the upside to be a #2 or #3 starting pitcher.
Ozuna is a consistent power threat, hitting at least 22 home runs in each of the last three seasons despite playing in some definite pitchers' environments. The questions on Ozuna center around his ability to consistently make contact, and he will likely only be average at best in providing batting average long term. He'll likely head to AA to start the season, and could potentially be the replacement should the Marlins decide to trade Giancarlo Stanton in the next few years.
I've gotten to see Grant Green in person multiple times in the past year, and while the bat is very interesting, it remains to be seen exactly where he fits on the diamond long-term. The A's tried him in the outfield to start last year, and it was pretty clear that he hadn't played there for any length of time prior to that. It sounds like the A's had hoped he would win either the 2B or utility job, but they also optioned him back to AAA a few days ago.
Pederson had a breakout season in the California League in 2012, hitting .313 with 18 home runs and 26 stolen bases in the inflated environment of Rancho Cucamonga. He is known not as having any tools which profile as elite, but an across-the-board solid contributor. He played center field primarily last year, but there are significant questions about whether he can stay there or will have to move to left field eventually. AA San Antonio will provide a good test, and it could be very interesting to see him and Yasiel Puig there (if that's where they decide to start him).
This pick was made after the draft, but to be completely honest, I had never heard of Margot, and actually had to look him up. Margot plated in the Dominican Summer League last year, where he hit .285/.382/.423 with 21 extra base hits, 33 stolen bases, and 36 walks to 25 strikeouts in 309 plate appearances. This one could look absolutely brilliant next year if he can repeat some of this performance stateside.
Pick 5.9 - Sean Nolin, SP, TOR
Previous Picks: Gregory Polanco, Michael Wacha, Bruce Rondon, Jackie Bradley, Delino Deshields Jr., Justin Nicolino, Grant Green
Nolin had an excellent season in 2012, reaching AA for 3 starts before the end of the year. He profiles as a mid-rotation starting pitcher for the Blue Jays, and the profile seems to point to a pitcher who will be more of an innings-eater than necessarily an elite level fantasy producer. That said, he will likely be ready by midseason 2014 at worst, and appears to have a high floor for fantasy owners.
The Romero pick was made well after the draft ended, but could be an interesting one in the long-term. It remains to be seen whether Romero has any shot of sticking at 2B, but the kid can flat out hit. The defense could limit his value though, as there aren't too many other places to try him if second base doesn't work.
This could turn out to be a steal, and I wish I had taken the shot on him instead. Brinson profiles as a five tool center fielder if everything works out as planned, but he remains extremely raw at the moment. Craig saw him last weekend down in Spring Training, and even shot some video of him, which you can find here.
Swihart came into his professional career with questions about whether or not he could improve his defense enough to stick behind the plate long term, and the reports point to a player where there were improvements this season. His defense overall is still very raw, but he is expected to be able to stay there, and could be a top 10 fantasy catcher providing a solid batting average and double digit home runs.
The opposite of Swihart, Austin Hedges has been lauded since the draft about his defense, to the point where it has been described as major league ready right now at times. The excellent offensive performance last year in the Midwest League was a bit of a surprise, as he hit .279 with 10 home runs and 28 doubles in just 96 games. It will be hard to tell if the numbers remain real this year as he moves to High-A in the California League, but he could vault up fantasy rankings if he does.
Coulter and Shaffer were probably two of the best bats remaining here in the draft, and while neither is guaranteed to stay at the position they currently play, both could play for fantasy almost anywhere on the diamond. Coulter has shown an advanced approach at the plate (37 BB/40 K) which will be an additional benefit in our league. While Shaffer is blocked at 3B in his organization for a long time, his bat is expected to be good enough to play in either a corner outfield spot or even possibly at first base.
Another selection that was made well after the draft had ended, this one has a bunch of upside potentially. Sardinas played at Low-A last year, hitting .291 with 32 stolen bases. He'll likely go to High-A in the Carolina League, and see if he can repeat the performance again.