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10 Fantasy Baseball thoughts from the 2nd Week of June

Mark shares some MLB draft thoughts.

2020 Major League Baseball Draft Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It’s Friday! And we had the MLB Draft this week!

1.) The MLB draft, unlike the other four major sports, relies more on cultivation and farm systems to make a professional player rather than the draft. Many of the draftees will take 4+ years to reach the MLB. And though many are talented, it ultimately comes down to how well the minor leagues can cultivate their skills rather than how early they were drafted off their raw skill.

2.) The NFL currently has 346 members in its Hall of Fame (established 1963). The MLB (established 1936) has 333 members, so it’s fairly close between the two. The NFL has 14 No. 1 overall picks in the Hall of Fame, and the MLB has three (so the NFL has 4.6X as many). The NFL draft has been around since 1936 vs. the MLB draft which began in 1965. This means the NFL draft has been around for 84 years vs. 55 for MLB (50% longer).
NFL HOF #1 overall members: Orlando Pace (1997), Troy Aikman (1989), Bruce Smith (1985), John Elway (1983), Earl Campbell (1978(, Lee Roy Selmon (1976), Terry Bradshaw (1970), O.J. Simpson (1969), Ron Yary (1968), Buck Bauchanan (1963), Paul Hornung (1957), Chuck Bednarik (1949), Charley Trippi (1945), Bill Dudley (1942).
MLB HOF #1 overall members: Ken Griffey Jr (1987), Chipper Jones (1990), Harold Baines (1977).

3.) I think I will need to add this to my list of books to read: Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between (by Eric Nusbaum). It covers the foundation of the Dodgers stadium and the surrounding communities in the early 1950s.

4.) Max Meyer reacts to being taken third overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. It sounds like he has a strong competitive spirit.

5.) Losing Ed Farmer is a notion that hits hard for me. Whether it is Jay Allen with the Tigers, Dick Enberg with a few teams, Ron Fairly with the Mariners or a host of others. They are that voice who guides you, teaches you, and explains to you the stories or background that you are missing in the current culture. Farmer had a phenomenal life. He played for nine teams, was named to the 1980 MLB All-Star team, and was an announcer for almost 30 years. Just unbelievable.

6.) I was initially skeptical but I am really coming around to the advantage the Astros will have with no fans at MLB games in 2020. Recent podcasts have had players and staff mention that they hear comments from fans, and at times it has caused them to make errors. I am also continually amazed at how the Red Sox will seemingly glide past this with little or no recourse by comparison, both in terms of MLB punishments and the optics from the public.

7.) There was one first baseman taken in the first round of the MLB draft: Aaron Sabato, North Carolina to the Minnesota Twins at pick 27th overall. Last year there were two: Andrew Vaughn (3rd overall) and Michael Toglia (23rd). Two years ago there were none. Three years ago there were four (if you include Brendan McKay) Pavin Smith (7th), Nick Pratto (14th) and Evan White (17th). 2016 had none. 2015 had one (12th). I point this out in that the 2017 draft had as many first basemen taken in the first round (4) as 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020 COMBINED. It’s much more common to see the pitchers, shortstops, and outfielders taken these days.

8.) Here is the list of MLB batters who had at least 100 at-bats vs. left handed pitching and were below a .175 batting average last season: Tyler White (.146), Mike Zunino (.154), Steve Wilkerson (.154), J.P. Crawford (.160), Daniel Vogelbach (.161).

Here are the players who did the same vs. right handed pitching: Jake Rogers (.088), Chris Owings (.124), Keon Broxton (.147), Derek Fisher (.155), Guillermo Heredia (.156), Jeff Mathis (.161), Mac Williamson (.163), Lewis Brinson (.164), Richie Martin Jr. (.170), Travis Shaw (.171), Mike Zunino (.171), Curtis Granderson (.173), Justin Bour (.173), Daniel Descalso (.173), Jung Ho Kang (.175). I imagine many names on these lists don’t surprise you, as they either burned you last season or you avoided them like the plague. Looking through this list, I noticed three constant themes. A player on this list shouldn’t have this many at-bats being this bad in the split unless: (1) they are a touted rookie who is getting some space to try to find their way, (2) they are on a bad team and there are no better options, (3) they are all about power and not one to hit for an average.

9.) The Pirates are slowly building a ‘quietly’ great farm system and a great young team. Sure, they will likely sell them off once they are lucrative. But looking at Nick Gonzalez, KeBryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz, Mitch Keller, Travis Swaggerty, Tahnaj Thomas and Liover Peguero, I’m intrigued to see how this system continues to grow.

10.) Heston Kjerstad (Arkansas) surprised many at being taken by Baltimore 2nd overall in this week’s MLB Draft. He also hit safely in all 16 games when he last played, for an amazing .448 batting average. Baltimore’s compensatory pick of Jordan Westburg from Mississippi State rounded out a very solid first day. Could the Orioles be on the cusp of being competitive in...2023?