Pitcher List Dynasty Mock: Erik van Rheenen’s Picks

Erik van Rheenen breaks down his picks from our 16-team, 30-round dynasty mock draft.

Dynasty leagues are far and away my favorite template for fantasy baseball; there’s a kind of kinship that grows between yourself and the players that become mainstays on your squad, and a swelling of pride when you snag an up-and-coming prospect off the waiver wire before your league mates are even cued into their understatedly-great batted-ball profile or pitch arsenal. As a dynasty league player, my goal is to keep an even keel. I don’t entirely mortgage the future for the sake of winning now, and I don’t sell off all my team’s present value for players still several years from reaching the big leagues. In our 16-team mock draft, I tried to pull together a squad that will keep in contention now while also banking on young studs to forge a bright future when the veterans start to falter.

As a refresher, here are the basic rules:

  • Head-to-Head League
  • Hitting Categories: R/HR/RBI/SB/AVG/OPS
  • Pitching Categories: ERA/WHIP/K/SV/QS/HR Allowed
  • Weekly Pitching Minimum: 35


Round 1 (Pick 15) Rafael Devers, 3B, BOS


Picking right before the pivot spot, snapping a streak of 14 straight batters and selecting Gerrit Cole as the first starting pitcher off the board was certainly a viable (and intriguing) option. Instead, I opted for a linchpin third baseman who will provide elite five-category production. Only 23, Devers broke out in a big way in 2019, spinning a 91st-percentile hard-hit rate and 94th-percentile exit velocity into a .311/.361/.555 triple-slash with 32 bombs. And he’s not a zero in stolen bases! (Hey, eight at least puts you on the SB board.)

The ceiling is sky-high for Devers, and Statcast buys the batting average upswing as legit (.295 xBA last season). Devers boasts a 47.5% hard-hit rate and whittled his strikeout rate from 24.7% in 2018 to 17% last season. If he can keep up his batting average and OBP gains along with his prodigious power, he’ll be a force in the Sox lineup for a long time yet.


Round 2 (Pick 18) Yordan Alvarez, DH/OF, HOU


I leaned into young sluggers early in the draft, and with a gulf between my second-round pick and my third-rounder, I knew there was virtually no chance Alvarez would make it all the way back to me at pick 47. Yes, there are knocks against Alvarez: We’ve only seen him play half a season in Houston. He’s destined to be a DH-only type since he’s a liability in the field. Well, if Alvarez remains a Statcast darling (his hard-hit rate and exit velocity both track at a ferocious 95th-percentile clip) and flirts with .300/.400/.600 (all marks he achieved this past season), I can’t imagine a better player to plug into my UTIL spot. 2019 was a coming-out party for young Yordan, and at just 22, he’ll rack up everything but stolen bases for the next decade. The kid can mash, as proven by a 48.9% hard-hit percentage, but a keen eye at the plate (14.1% walk rate, good for top 6% of the league) makes him all the more valuable.


Round 3 (Pick 47) Bryce Harper, OF, PHI


While I know better than to chase Harper’s historic 2015 campaign, I couldn’t pass up on picking him in the tail end of the third round. Harper is entering the second year of his mega-deal with the Phillies, it’s easy to imagine the outfielder (still only 27) finding himself more comfortable with his new team and improving on an already-solid .260/.372/.510 year in which he belted 35 long balls and stole a nifty 15 bases. We’ve all seen the upside (even if we’re multiple seasons removed now), but Harper’s prodigious power and consistently high walk rate (14.5% in 2019) make him an easy pick here. Despite his swinging-strike rate elevating to 15.1% in 2019, it’s easy to think that it’ll regress closer to his career mark of 12%, and improvement in making contact (last season’s 68.3% contact rate was down nearly 6% from his career percentage) will boost Harper’s all-around value.


Round 4 (Pick 50) Chris Sale, SP, BOS


My first pitcher off the board! With some marquee names still available and no pick in sight until 79th, I was more than willing to buy back in on Chris Sale as my staff ace. Even in a season marred by injury and frustration, Sale racked up 218 punchouts in just 147.1 innings, good for a blistering 13.32 K/9. His 4.40 ERA in 2019 feels like a career outlier, especially when other indicators (3.39 FIP, 2.93 xFIP) fell more in line with the stats we’re used to from Sale. Maybe I won’t get 200 innings from him again, but if he comes into 2020 healthy, the 30-year-old Sox starter should prove he has plenty left in the tank. That “if” is a risk, but Sale’s track record is one I’m willing to bet on. Down years for his four-seamer (13.6 pVAL in 2018, 0.4 in 2019) and slider (19.2 pVAL in 2018, more than halved to 7.0 last season) are calling for positive regression, and his strikeout numbers remain elite.


Round 5 (Pick 79) Corey Seager, SS, LAD


Seager burst onto the scene with a stellar 2016 campaign, and his next season was almost as strong as his first one. Tommy John surgery and a hamstring sprain left the shortstop with a long road to recovery in 2019, but the younger Seager brother showed glimmers of the skills that made him such a force at the plate early in his career, belting 44 doubles despite missing a month of play. And it’s easy to forget he’ll turn just 26 this season!

I may be the high man on Seager, but we’ve seen just how good he can be; he should enter 2020 (finally!) fully healthy again, and a return to a .300 average and around 25 home runs perennially makes him a shortstop worth building around. While his young career has been derailed by injuries, I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Seager just yet.


Round 6 (Pick 82) Stephen Strasburg, SP, WAS


Strasburg showed off his durability in the 2019 season, starting 33 games and posting 209 innings while playing a pivotal role in the Nationals’ World Series run. While he wasn’t the youngest pitching option on the board, I didn’t want to pass up an ace talent like Stras simply because he’s over 30. After inking an extension with a talented Washington squad, it’s easy to imagine Strasburg remaining a strong source of strikeouts (251 last season, sporting a 10.81 K/9), quality starts, and an ERA stabilizer to match some more high-variance arms I selected later in the draft. Strasburg boasts a Money Pitch curveball (43.2% zone rate, 15.3% swinging-strike rate, and 40.6% chase rate) that he’s not afraid to lean on as his primary pitch, and wields a devastating changeup (22% swinging-strike rate), so he’ll be able to age gracefully out of his prime even if his fastball loses a little zip.


Round 7 (Pick 111) Clayton Kershaw, LAD, SP


Like Strasburg a round ahead of him, I found Kershaw too valuable not to draft in the 7th. Unlike Strasburg, Kershaw’s workhorse days as the Dodgers’ rotation ace are behind him; especially on a team notorious for reducing risk for its pitchers through IL stints (coming down with a case of Dodgeritis is apparently infectious), it’s tough to envision Kershaw going more than 175 innings at this stage of his career. But, even as he’s turning 32 this season and has been pockmarked with injuries, the quality of those innings more than make up for the quantity.

His slider remains elite (a true Money Pitch with a 49.9% chase rate, 40.3% zone rate, and 19.9% swinging-strike rate), and his fastball spin (92nd percentile) and reliability of command (54.3% zone rate in 2019) make up for the pitch’s flagging velocity (15th percentile). An ERA around 3.00, more than 20 quality starts, and at least a strikeout per inning make Kershaw a more-than-capable third starter for my team.


Round 8 (Pick 114) Adley Rutschman, C, BAL


After bargain hunting for a pair of veteran starting pitchers, I infused some youth into my squad by way of MLB Pipeline’s fourth overall prospect. The switch-hitting backstop has advanced skills at the plate for just having been drafted as the top pick last year, and plus power to match his hit tool bodes well for what I think will be a quick ascent to the majors. Rutschman is the kind of blue-chip prospect I’m happy to snag, knowing he should remain a fixture in the catcher spot for the better part of a decade. For a position that’s notoriously shallow, I’m more than happy to have Rutschman plant his flag behind the plate for my team, especially if he can meet his MLB Pipeline ETA of 2021. He was quick to show off his plate discipline during a brief run in A ball (12.8% walk rate), and is already a non-roster invitee to the Orioles’ spring training camp.


Round 9 (Pick 143) Starling Marte, OF, ARI


At 31 years old, Marte isn’t getting any younger, but his sprint speed (92nd percentile on Statcast) and xBA (96th percentile) are proof his skills are still wholeheartedly intact. After neglecting steals with Devers, Alvarez, and Seager, Marte brings a much-needed influx of speed to the team, good to pencil in for at least 25 SBs (Steamer projects him for 26) with potential for more. Marte’s not a rabbit, either: his bat packs enough of a punch to chip in around 20 homers. I can understand showing some restraint when an outfielder with zip is over 30, but getting Marte’s generous speed/pop combination in the ninth round feels like a steal (pun unapologetically intended). Although he was a Pirate when I picked him, Marte finds himself likely to bat leadoff in the Arizona desert after the Diamondbacks plucked him from Pittsburgh in exchange for a couple prospects. Setting the table for a more potent lineup than his previous club in a stadium that plays up right-handed hitting (Chase Field boasts a 1.40 RHH park factor) compared to his previous home (-1.71 RHH park factor for PNC Park) keeps the arrow pointing up for Marte.


Round 10 (Pick 146) Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B, MIN


My preferred brand of prospects in dynasty drafts are ones close to making an impact at a major-league level. While teens like Jasson Dominguez and Marco Luciano in all likelihood will be electric additions when they finally break into the big leagues, I’m glad to snap up guys like Kirilloff who are already knocking down the door of their major league clubs. Wrist injuries torpedoed Kirilloff’s 2019 season (although when a .283 batting average marks a down year from .348, down belongs in emphatic quotation marks), but when he’s healthy, he’s going to hit for both contact and power. There’s a good chance he moves to first base full time, but whether he makes his hay in a corner outfield spot or the infield, Kirilloff’s consistent hard-contact profile will play up anywhere.


Round 11 (Pick 175) Willie Calhoun, OF, TEX


Cue “Will You Be There.” Like a killer whale leaping from the confines of an aquatic amusement park, Texas finally freed Willie in 2019, and the young outfielder landed in Arlington with a splash, belting 21 home runs in 337 plate appearances. Making contact has long been part of Calhoun’s prospect profile: he doesn’t walk much (6.8% BB rate), but he doesn’t strike out prolifically, either (15.7% K rate). In a recent Going Deep article, Matt Wallach pointed out how Calhoun sports an above-average zone contact rate (89.1% to the MLB average of 82.9%) and below-average whiff rate (15.9% to 24.3%), which proves the 25-year-old isn’t just a free-swinging power bat. Now that Texas should turn Calhoun loose in the corner outfield (barring the signing of a guy like Yasiel Puig), a 30-homer season with a good batting average, plus the chance for a jump in counting stats if he earns a higher spot in the batting order, is definitely the kind of line I have faith freed Willie can produce.


Round 12 (Pick 178) Dinelson Lamet, SP, SD


Lamet pitched 73 innings in his return from Tommy John surgery, proving his strikeout stuff was as good as it’s ever been, riding his wipe-out slider to a 12.93 K/9 and lights-out 33.6% K rate. There are concerns over Lamet as a two-pitch guy and that he might face a future relegated to the bullpen, but after posting a 3.91 FIP and looking utterly dominant at times, I can’t imagine San Diego moving Lamet from the rotation unless he gives them reason to. And it’s hard to complain when one of those two pitches is simply marvelous. That slider garnered a 23.6 pVAL in 2019, flirting with Money Pitch status at a 41.1% chase rate,  23.2% swinging-strike rate, and 36.5% zone rate. His fastball sits around 96 mph and has above-average spin (81st percentile on Statcast), so while it hasn’t provided positive value, there’s room for improvement as Lamet seeks to reduce contact against the heater. He’ll likely never be an innings-eater, but his punchout prowess and some ERA upside (Steamer slots him at a 3.74 ERA in 2020) make Lamet a slightly risky but enticingly promising addition to my pitching staff.


Round 13 (Pick 207) Kyle Hendricks, SP, CHC


I see you about ready to minimize this tab to read about more interesting pitchers, and I’ll fully concede to the notion that drafting Kyle Hendricks is boring. His nickname is the Professor! At about 87 mph (you’re looking at 1st-percentile velo on Statcast), his fastball moves slower than my grandma’s Pontiac on the freeway! But, hey, when you invite risk into your portfolio of pitchers, you call in a stabilizer like Hendricks. Strikeouts will never be part of the Professor’s syllabus (7.63 K/9 in 2019 and a strikeout rate just north of 20%), but an ERA cozily nestled in the low-3s, a steady stream of quality starts that will provide an antidote to the occasional Lamet blow-up, and a history of strong command of the strike zone (4.4% walk rate last season and 5.5% for his career) to deflate my team’s WHIP all bring value. Pairing volatile arms with trustworthy ones is a strategy I follow, and although Hendricks offers little-to-no razzle-dazzle in his profile, I just need him to stick to the lesson plan that’s made him successful.


Round 14 (Pick 210) Tim Anderson, SS, CWS


I didn’t pay up for steals early in the draft, so I’m probably a little lucky Tim Anderson was available in the 14th round. And yes, maybe he was a little lucky to post a .335 average last year on the back of a .399 BABIP. Dreaming on another batting-title season from Anderson might be a foolish dream, but his 92nd-percentile xBA and 88th-percentile sprint speed on Statcast portend 20/20 seasons ahead, with an average I’d ballpark around the .270-.280 mark, even if a characteristically low walk rate (right around 4% for his young career) keeps OBP expectations tempered. Only 26 years old and part of a White Sox lineup that’s only going to improve with the floodgates opening for Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, and Nick Madrigal, netting Anderson near the middle of a dynasty draft feels like a winning move, especially when trying to assemble a stolen-bases-by-committee lineup.


Round 15 (Pick 239) Kevin Newman, 2B/SS, PIT


Hello, Newman! This is the phase of my draft where I really started to shore up my stolen bases since I devoted most of my early picks to batters who provide legit middle-of-the-order pop. Which is good, since Kevin Newman has the kind of power profile Blake Snell might disparage on one of his Twitch streams. But Newman’s contact skills are for real (11.7% strikeout rate, .308 batting average, .291 xBA in 2019), and if he can chip in 10 home runs (asking for more of his 2.1% barrel rate in 2019 would be silly) while contributing his usual 15-20 stolen bases (his 84th-percentile sprint speed on Statcast might help pick up some slack now that Starling Marte moved west), he’ll put up some sneaky good stats across a couple of categories. If the Pirates pencil Newman back into the leadoff spot, where he absolutely shined (.328/.374/.502 in the role during 2019), he could see a modest uptick in runs as a young Pittsburgh lineup gels around him.


Round 16 (Pick 242) J.D. Davis, 3B/OF, NYM


I love Davis, but not as much as Statcast does: The batting numbers in his Baseball Savant profile (90th-percentile exit velocity, 91st-percentile hard-hit rate) are easy to swoon over. Davis showed excellent pop and a stellar batting average (.307, backed up by an even better .308 xBA) after coming over to Queens from Houston in what felt like a season-long audition for a full-time role, which is where most concerns with him start. Will the Mets find him everyday at-bats? They’d be silly not to. The outfield is crowded, but Jake Marisnick is a glove-first guy, Dom Smith is fine but unspectacular, and who knows what the shambling husk of Yoenis Cespedes brings to the batting order in 2020? I’m betting big on Davis’ success remaining sustainable. Keeping his strikeout rate around the 21.4% mark he posted in 2019 will go a long way in keeping his batting average an asset, and earning consistent plate appearances will bolster Davis’ counting stats.


Round 17 (Pick 271) Shane Baz, SP, TB


The player-to-be-named when the Rays plundered the Pirates’ farm system in exchange for Chris Archer, Baz is a live-wire arm with electric stuff (especially a biting slider) and a heater that can touch triple-digits. At only 20 years old, Baz still has a journey ahead of him before becoming a linchpin in the Tampa Bay rotation, but I’m banking on a program that has a proven track record of developing young arms: Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, and Brendan McKay have all shown some levels of success in the big leagues, while Brent Honeywell and Shane McClanahan are touted prospects. (Matthew Liberatore too, before he was jettisoned in the Jose Martinez deal with the Cardinals.) If the Rays’ staff and their minor league counterparts can help hone Baz’s control and rein in his delivery, he could be among the best of those names. Baz has already brought his BB/9 down to 4.1 since coming over to the Tampa Bay system and improving his command bodes well for the youngster’s future in the rotation.


Round 18 (Pick 274) Jean Segura, 2B/SS, PHI


My quest to compile stolen bases in the middle-to-late stages of this dynasty draft brought me to a stable source of batting average in Jean Segura. While last season’s SB total dipped to 10, Segura’s 2019 sprint speed (27.6 ft/s) barely moved the needle from his 2018 mark of 27.9, a season in which he swiped 20 bags. If he can rediscover his more prolific level of thievery and return to the .300-or-higher batting average he posted in the three seasons prior to joining the Phillies, Segura’s safe floor as a source of runs and as a bat that really doesn’t hurt you anywhere makes him a savvy depth piece this deep into the draft. He’ll be 30 when the 2020 season opens and is an easy plug-and-play option if younger players like Newman or Josh Rojas (more below) struggle to find their footing right away.


Round 19 (Pick 303) Kyle Wright, SP, ATL


He may be Wright, and I may be crazy. Wright’s first appearances with the Braves were fairly disastrous (4.50 ERA,  8.83 FIP, and 6.32 xFIP in six 2018 innings; 8.69 ERA, 6.16 FIP, 5.44 xFIP over 19.2 major league innings last seas0n), as he failed to establish himself in the Atlanta rotation. While his brief cups of coffee were more like lukewarm fare you’d pour at a convenience store at three in the morning, I’m not discouraged by the promising young starter. Of the Braves’ touted stable of pitching prospects, Wright ranks only behind Ian Anderson on FanGraphs’ list of the team’s top prospect-eligible players, with the scouting team of Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel giving him a 50 future value. He’ll also be competing for a spot as the Braves’ fifth starter this spring, so he could make a quick impact if he finally sticks this season. Once the 24-year-old arm gets a handle of his command in the big leagues (an unsightly 5.95 BB/9 in 19.2 innings with Atlanta last season, but a 2.80 BB/9 mark in Triple A), a deep four-pitch repertoire and a fastball that gets up to the high 90s should make him a steady fantasy starter.


Round 20 (Pick 306) Yuli Gurriel, 1B/3B, HOU


With Kirilloff still in the pipeline as my likely future first baseman, I opted to address my current need at the position with a reliable veteran. Gurriel can slot in at both corner infield spots and should provide robust counting stats as a fixture in a deep Astros’ lineup. Gurriel’s power breakout (13 home runs in 2018, 31 last season) is a little much to really bank on, but he did raise his launch angle from 11.5 to 14.5 degrees in 2019 and boosted his hard-hit rate a tick to 37.5%. Even if he settles into being a 20-home run guy, his career-average triple-slash (.293/.330/.478) will help buoy my team’s rate stats. Age is my only concern for Gurriel, as he’ll turn 36 during the 2020 season, but not every player on a dynasty team roster will be a hotshot rookie. Gurriel has a proven role on a good team and has performed well into his mid-thirties thus far.


Round 21 (Pick 335) Keibert Ruiz, C, LAD


Ruiz makes up the second half of my tandem of prospect catchers, and while Will Smith was first to the Dodgers’ backstop job, I still like Ruiz’s ceiling over the Fresh Prince’s. Ruiz saw his 2019 season end with a broken finger in August, but the switch-hitting catcher showcased his stellar plate discipline during a short stint in Triple-A ball, posting a .316/.350/.474 slash line with a microscopic 2.5% strikeout rate across 40 plate appearances. That disciplined approach (only a 6.8% BB rate in a wider Double-A sample) makes Ruiz a safe bet for a good batting average. Still just 21 years old, there may be some untapped power potential in his profile. Prospects flew off the board quickly in Round 21, which felt like the right time to take a chance on the 73rd-ranked MLB Pipeline prospect. If he ends up a prized piece in a blockbuster deal (his name has cropped up in trade talks during the offseason), Ruiz could carve out a quicker path to major league playing time.


Round 22 (Pick 338) Taylor Rogers, RP, MIN


There’s an old adage in fantasy baseball not to pay for saves: Relievers are a fickle bunch, and bullpen turnover can be tough to gauge, especially in a dynasty format. So I was more than happy to wait until Round 22 to snag my first closer: Taylor Rogers was dynamite in 2019, notching 30 saves with an 11.74 K/9 and a 2.61 ERA backed by his FIP (2.85) and xFIP (2.84). Rogers has an electric arsenal, including a Money Pitch slider (44.5% chase rate, 43.7% zone rate, 17% swinging-strike rate), a hard sinker (sitting 95 mph) that returned an 8.6 pVAL, and a curveball that coaxes a 14.9% swinging-strike rate. He ranks in the 90th percentile in terms of strikeout percentage, and the Twins have built a playoff-caliber team that will offer numerous save chances for the foreseeable future. Rogers is the kind of guy I like building a bullpen around.


Round 23 (Pick 367) Josh Rojas, 2B/OF, ARI


Admittedly, I liked this pick better before the Diamondbacks swapped a couple of prospects for Starling Marte, a move that stymied a more clear path to playing time for the 25-year-old Rojas. But I’m still salivating over what Rojas, a cog in the deal that sent aging ace Zack Greinke to the Astros, brings to the table as a speed-power combo threat. Rojas stole 37 bases across three levels (Double-A, Triple-A, and the majors) last season, and Statcast shows his swiftness is legit, notching a 77th-percentile sprint speed. He also swatted 25 home runs, and while torturing pitchers with some big numbers in the notoriously offense-heavy Pacific Coast League definitely helped Rojas’ cause, a 20-20 season isn’t outside the realm of possibilities for the utility player. He’ll play; the only question, for now, is where.


Round 24 (Pick 370) Garrett Richards, SP, SD


Recovered from Tommy John surgery and pitching in spacious Petco Park, I’m happy to take a late-round flier on Garrett Richards while filling the back-end of my pitching staff. Health has long been a concern for the veteran starter, but when he’s on the mound, his talent is evident. He only pitched 8.2 innings with the Padres in 2019, but an 11.42 K/9, 26.8% strikeout rate, his fastball sitting at a robust 95 mph, and a slider inducing a 19.6% swinging-strike rate are all indicators of just what Richards can bring to the Padres rotation when he’s not on the shelf. Steamer projects 165 innings with an over a strikeout per inning and a 3.89 ERA for 2020, and if Richards can find that kind of success and avoid the IL, he’ll be a steal this late in the draft.


Round 25 (Pick 399) Emmanuel Clase, RP, CLE


The hard-throwing youngster may not be first in line for saves in the Cleveland bullpen, but Clase should be able to ride his blistering stuff to a role as a late-inning stalwart for several years to come. The fireballing Clase throws an absolutely ridiculous cutter (100th-percentile velocity, 97th-percentile spin) that tops out in triple-digits and sits around 99 mph, finding the zone 52.2% of the time in 2019 and making batters chase at a 40% clip. Paired with a hard slider that lives around 90 mph and kept the ball low for a 60% ground ball rate, Clase has the skill set to become a lights-out closer. The Indians’ organization clearly likes him, as he was the centerpiece of a trade that sent Corey Kluber to Texas, and I think he’s the heir apparent to the closer role in Cleveland.


Round 26 (Pick 402) Corey Knebel, RP, MIL


The last of my bullpen picks, I’m back in on a soon-to-be fully healthy Knebel to regain his spot in the back of the Brewers’ bullpen as their closer. Josh Hader has proven he’s most valuable as a multi-inning fireman, and Corey has proven he can be straight-up evil Knebel to opposing batters in the ninth inning: He posted a 14.31 K/9 in 2018, and his FIP (3.03) and xFIP (2.40) indicated that his ERA of 3.58 was at least a little unlucky. It’s a risk to assume Knebel will immediately supplant Hader at closer once he’s done rehabbing, but as long as the fastball velocity (just about 97 mph) and elite strikeout stuff round into his form of old, I have faith he’ll win his job back in his 28-year-old season and hopefully keep his grip on it for some time after.


Round 27 (Pick 431) Adam Eaton, OF, WAS


Adam Eaton is boring, sure, but snagging him with the 431st pick of this draft feels like highway robbery. A table-setter for a top-heavy Nationals’ lineup, Eaton is no spring chicken at 31 years old, but is as close as you can get to a 15 HR-15 SB lock with a high OBP when he plays a full season. That kind of steady output is rare this late in a draft, and Eaton’s sprint speed (81st percentile) and xBA (75th percentile) show no sign of slowing down on his Statcast profile. An average around .280, an OBP near the .360 mark, and somewhere between 80 and 100 runs feels about right for Eaton, and hitting ahead of guys like Juan Soto and Trea Turner keeps his value high.


Round 28 (Pick 434) Anthony DeSclafani, SP, CIN


Tony Disco cobbled together a quietly good 2019 campaign, striking out over a batter per inning as he bumped his overall strikeout rate to 24% while only issuing free passes at a 7% rate. A quasi-Money Pitch slider (42.6% zone rate, 41.2% chase rate, 14.5% swinging-strike rate, good for a 7.4 pVAL) and a sinker (5.4 pVAL) that found the zone reliably at a 59% clip carried DeSclafani to a 3.89 ERA, and continuing to work with pitching coach Derek Johnson should continue to help him improve over the course of his next couple of seasons. Tony Disco may not offer the sexiest strikeout potential or grooviest ERA projections, but I’ll gladly take his steady production and safe floor to the dance when his price is just about free.


Round 29 (Pick 463) Brandon Marsh, OF, LAA


While Jo Adell is (rightfully so) the crown jewel of the Angels’ farm system, Brandon Marsh is no slouch himself, ranking as the 79th overall prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list. Marsh acquitted himself at the Double-A level as a 21-year-old, slashing .300/.383/.428 and swiping 18 bases in 96 games. And he was just as good (if not better!) in the Arizona Fall League, flaunting some power potential with eight extra-base hits and a .909 OPS in 19 AFL games. Marsh’s consistent double-digit walk rates and ability to hit to all parts of the field make him an exciting source of average and speed, with room to grow into some pop (FanGraphs puts a 55 present value/60 future value on his raw power). A declining Justin Upton and not-very-exciting Brian Goodwin currently occupy the corner outfield spots, according to Roster Resource, so Marsh may not have to wait long before getting the call.


Round 30 (Pick 466) James Kaprielian, SP, OAK


With my last pick in a dynasty draft and mostly dart-throw players left on the board, I’ll gamble on James Kaprielian, who Oakland finally got to see pitch after being sidelined with injuries for two consecutive years. He looked good in his brief run in the minor leagues, posting a 1.63 ERA and 3.60 FIP in Double-A (27.2 innings), and was sharp with six strikeouts in four innings of Triple-A ball. Kaprielian’s luster as a prospect has certainly faded after being traded in the 2017 deal that brought Sonny Gray to the Bronx, but he’s flashed four plus pitches and belongs to an organization that’s shown success in developing young arms. He’ll take most of the spring and early 2020 season to get stretched out, but at 25 years old, I have a feeling Kaprielian could sneak into the A’s rotation and make an impact once he feels completely right.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Erik van Rheenen

Erik van Rheenen is a Syracuse University alumnus, aspiring novelist, Yankees fan, live music enthusiast, and a believer in long-winded lists and the Oxford comma. You can find him on Twitter @therealvandyman.

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