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Dynasty Prospect-Only Mock Draft (2020 Fantasy Baseball)

by Brendan Tuma | @toomuchtuma | Featured Writer
May 24, 2020

Unsurprisingly, Wander Franco goes first overall in our prospect-only mock draft.

As we (hopefully) inch closer and closer to the 2020 Major League Baseball season, we found this to be a good time to dive into some dynasty league content. This week, our writers conducted a two-round, prospect-only mock draft for fantasy baseball purposes. This is for a 14-team dynasty league with each of our seven writers controlling two teams. They each provide a pick along with their reasoning for the selection.

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May 2020 Prospect-Only Mock Draft

Pick 1.01 – Wander Franco (SS – TB)
The consensus number one prospect in baseball, Franco has a career 155 wRC+ through three levels of the minor leagues. He projects to hit in the middle of the order and produce several .315, 30+ homer seasons regularly, with the potential for double-digit stolen bases. His top-of-the-chart 80-hit tool, plus 60-grade potential for his power and speed is salivating. You can never count on the Rays to handle prospects predictably, but we should see Franco full-time as soon as 2021, and he’ll be a perennial All-Star shortly after.
— Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

Pick 1.02 – Luis Robert (OF – CWS)
Luis Robert has an elite combination of speed and power, and he combines a high long-term ceiling with what will likely be some significant short-term production. If you’ve followed me during my time at FantasyPros, or if you’ve read my writeups in real and mock drafts, you know that’s my dynasty drafting stragety. Though there are some concerns with Robert (his K:BB ratio is one), there are few prospects in the game who offer his potential long-term ceiling with his short-term opportunity for prduction and playing time.
— Mike Maher (@mikemaher)

Pick 1.03 – Jo Adell (OF – LAA)
Jo Adell might take some time to develop his power, but the raw talent is there. He hit 33 home runs in 199 games above rookie ball and has at least 60-grade raw power. I almost went Gavin Lux with this selection, but I ultimately decided to take a chance on Adell, who I believe has 30-20 upside. The 21-year-old will form quite the dymanic duo with Mike Trout in the Angels’ lineup for years to come. Adell’s batted profile continues to improve and could be up in the majors as soon as 2020.
— Brad Camara (@beerad30)

Pick 1.04 – Gavin Lux (2B – LAD)
The Joc Pederson trade that wasn’t would have locked up everyday playing time for Gavin Lux in 2020, but with the pedigree that Lux has — and the way he tore through the minors in 2019 to reach the big leagues at age 21 — Lux will have no trouble finding his way into the LA lineup regularly. His plus-power and elite contact rate, especially with second base eligibility a week into the season, will make him a valuable fantasy asset for the short- and long-term future.
— Michael Waterloo (@MichaelWaterloo)

Pick 1.05 – MacKenzie Gore (SP – SD)
MacKenzie Gore is my top prospect. Period. I have him above Wander Franco — albeit slightly — and would take him with my first selection in any format. Of course, there’s an added risk with valuing a pitcher so highly, but Gore is as close to perfection as we can get. A 70-grade overall (according to Baseball America) left-handed starting pitcher — are you drooling yet? Gore ranks as the top pitching prospect in the sport. Assuming that he can stay healthy, we’re looking at a floor projection of a number-three starter. The ceiling is an ace among the best in the league.
— Mario Mergola (@MarioMergola)

Pick 1.06 – Jesus Luzardo (SP – OAK)
Injuries aside, let’s not forget Luzardo might be the best pitching prospect in baseball. He’s got a plus-fastball that hovers between 96-98, a plus-changeup that might be the best in the minors, and the inate ability to miss bats. In 12 big-league innings in 2019, he allowed just two earned runs, while striking out 16 batters and recording two saves and two holds. If he manages to really develop a solid breaking ball, he will be the ace of the A’s for years to come.
— Joe Buttgereit (@JoeButter_)

Pick 1.07 – Adley Rutschman (C – BAL)
The first overall pick in the 2019 amateur draft, Adley Rustchman is already viewed as the top catching prospect in baseball. Not only is the Orgeon State alum considered a future Gold Glove winner, he figures to make a big impact offensively, which is what we care about most for fantasy purposes. A 22-year-old switch hitter, Rustchman projects to hit for both power from both sides of the plate. There could ultimately be questions about how many counting stats he can contribute while playing for Baltimore, but that isn’t something to overthink at this stage of his career. Despite never having played a game in the majors, Rutschman would be the first catcher off my board in startup dynasty league drafts right now.
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

Pick 1.08 – Jarred Kelenic (OF – SEA)
Kelenic made a big move up prospect boards last year for good reason. He advanced through three levels of minor-league ball, hitting 23 homers, stealing 20 bases, and producing a 153 wRC+ across 500 plate appearances. He should continue to get even better, too, since he’s still 20 years old and has been in the minors for less than two years. His peak seems to be a .300 average with 30 homers and some steals, and he should be a full-time outfielder for the Mariners beginning in 2021.
— Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

Pick 1.09 – Nate Pearson (SP – TOR)
If Nate Pearson didn’t pitch in the AL East for a team that isn’t the Yankees, Red Sox, or Rays, he would be an even more highly touted prospect. And despite the fact that he pitches for the Blue Jays (and against the teams listed above), Pearson has the kind of stuff that should allow him to compete right away. There was some question about whether or not he would be promoted to the big league squad in 2020, but increased roster sizes and the lack of a minor league season could change things.
— Mike Maher (@mikemaher)

Pick 1.10 – Royce Lewis (SS – MIN)
Royce Lewis was the number one overall pick in the 2017 draft, and he has the pedigree to become a force in the majors for years to come. He flashed his upside in the Arizona Fall League, slashing .353/.411/.565 with three home runs and five steals across 22 games. Lewis struggled a little in spring training, where he hit .200 with two home runs and 7:0 K:BB across 25 plate appearances. The 20-year-old might need some seasoning in the minors, but he is a 70-grade runner and is expeected to be called up in the majors in 2021. Lewis’ upside and speed make him an intriguing fantasy prospect.
— Brad Camara (@beerad30)

Pick 1.11 – Julio Rodriguez (OF – SEA)
With Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic, Noelvi Marte, Logan Gilbert, and George Kirby in the minors, the future looks brighter in Seattle than it has for a long, long time. Rodriguez falling to 11th overall was a welcomed surprise, as you could argue the J2 talent belongs inside the top five without blinking an eye. His across-the-boards skills were on display last year, as he was the youngest player in the Arizona Fall League. He has a real shot at reaching the big leagues before he turns 21.
— Michael Waterloo (@MichaelWaterloo)

Pick 1.12 – Casey Mize (SP – DET)
I love when I can prove myself wrong, as it means that my initial bias was overruled by actual facts. I was wrong about Casey Mize. I wasn’t sold when the Detroit Tigers selected him with their first overall pick in 2018, but I have been converted. Mize features multiple pitches thrown at high velocity — fastball, cutter, and splitter — and couples them with solid control. Most importantly, he’s delivering on the field as he moves up through the Minor League ranks with relative ease.
— Mario Mergola (@MarioMergola)

Pick 1.13 – Dylan Carlson (OF – STL)
He’s a true five-tool prospect. Carlson may heavily benefit from a universal DH should 2020 finally get underway. It’ll give him a much clearer path to regular big-league at-bats, and he’ll have the chance to show the Cardinals what they’ve got in the young outfielder. A power-hitting switch hitter with excellent plate discipline will have the Cardinals — and fantasy owners — salivating every time he steps foot on the field.
— Joe Buttgereit (@JoeButter_)

Pick 1.14 – Carter Kieboom (SS – WAS)
I was admittedly high on Carter Kieboom when he got called up to the World Champion Nats last season. There were a lot of reasons to be excited. In Triple-A last year, he wound up hitting .303 with a .902 OPS and 16 homers. However, he flopped miserably in a brief cup of coffee in the majors, batting .128 in 11 games. I’m convinced that the fantasy industry would be much higher on Kieboom entering 2020 had he never gotten that call-up. The height of a prospect’s perceived value is always right before a big-league debut. The minor league stats are still mesmerizing, and he has yet to fail on the biggest stage. Just remember that this was an 11-game sample. Kieboom wouldn’t be the first top prospect to initially struggle in the bigs and then become a star. Entering the off-season, I didn’t think we would see Kieboom for a while this year, but the Nationals talked openly about giving him a chance to win the third base job in spring training. The former shortstop was hitting just .233 without a homer when spring training ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the team’s off-season comments show how highly they still think of him. I want to have him on my teams for when he gets a second chance in the bigs.
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

Pick 2.01 – Andrew Vaughn (1B – CWS)
Vaughn is an archetypical slugging first baseman, but his 65-grade potential hit tool should separate him. A mature college hitter, he figures to get a cup of coffee in 2020, and he’ll eventually take over at first base for an aging Jose Abreu in 2021. At this draft slot, I’m expecting Anthony-Rizzo type numbers — but with a few more bombs (35+).
— Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

Pick 2.02 – Brendan McKay (SP – TB)
McKay dominated during his brief time in the minor leagues, but he had some mixed results after his promotion to the bigs. But as far as I’m concerned, I just grabbed a future ace who could contribute right away in the second round of a prospect draft. Maybe his 5.14 ERA in 49 big league innings last season scared people off, but I’m betting on the dominance that he showed while earning his promotion. Plus, the Rays were shuttling him back and forth and tinkering with his start dates. He should return to form once he can settle into a normal routine.
Mike Maher (@mikemaher)

Pick 2.03 – Forrest Whitley (SP – HOU)
Forrest Whitley missed seven weeks due to shoulder fatigue, but he has some of the best pure stuff in the minors. He struggled with a 12.21 ERA in eight appearances in Triple-A. Whitley was dominant in the Arizona Fall League, and he owned a 2.88 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and a 32:9 K:BB across 25 innings. The 22-year-old figures to be a key member of the Astros’ rotation in 2021, and barring injury could be fantasy ace in the near future.
— Brad Camara (@beerad30)

Pick 2.04 – C.J. Abrams (SS – SD)
The calling card for C.J. Abrams out of the draft was his 80-grade speed, but there’s a reason that he’s shooting up prospect lists across the industry. Sure, his speed is nice and much needed, but he’s looking like a five-category contributor, as his power looks to project around 18-22 homers per year. You’ll need to be patient as he’s fresh out of high school, but if you’re a San Diego fan, how can you not be excited about the idea of Abrams and Fernando Tatis up the middle for the forseeable future?
— Michael Waterloo (@MichaelWaterloo)

Pick 2.05 – Michael Kopech (SP – CWS)
If you play in a deep fantasy baseball league, try to acquire a starting pitcher via a trade. Not easy, right? Pitchers carry a premium, and it’s crucial to find value wherever we can. Michael Kopech is clearly a risk as he returns from Tommy John surgery, but this helps keep his draft stock low. At his best, Kopech touches triple digits on his fastball and has the makeup of a ferocious starting pitcher. Maybe we won’t see his best, but it’s better to invest now than when the price eventually rises.
— Mario Mergola (@MarioMergola)

Pick 2.06 – Mitch Keller (SP – PIT)
While Keller seemingly took a hit after his poor 2019 debut, the numbers are a bit misleading. He won just one game in 11 starts, pitching to 7.13 ERA. However, he still managed to strike out 12.2 hitters per nine innings, which was his highest mark at any level since two starts at Low-A ball in 2017. His xFIP in 2019 was 3.47, which tells you that he didn’t necessarily benefit from above-average defensive play, either. I’m expecting a strong bounce back from what was once a very highly touted prospect.
— Joe Buttgereit (@JoeButter_)

Pick 2.07 – Spencer Howard (SP – PHI)
Spencer Howard is viewed by many as one of the “winners” of a potentially shortened season in 2020. This is because the Phillies were considering making the right-hander their fifth starter to begin the regular season after he put up a 2.03 ERA in 15 minor league starts in 2019. The only drawback was going to be that Howard would be on an innings limit. That’s no longer a concern for this year, so Howard is a name to start familiarizing yourself with today. As for dynasty purposes, the 23-year-old has an impressive four-pitch repertoire highlighted by a fastball that touched 99 mph in the Arizona Fall League. Philadelphia appears ready to commit to him and dynasty league players should feel the same.
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

Pick 2.08 – Matt Manning (SP – DET)
There were several players that I was considering taking here (Kristian Robinson, Marco Luciano, and Jasson Dominguez), but I liked Manning’s short-term value and long-term projection better than the others. The 22-year-old has very similar grades to Casey Mize, and he has a great chance to become a better fantasy baseball pitcher due to his higher strikeout rate. His fastball and curveball have already demonstrated above-average grades, and his league-average third pitch (a changeup) should keep hitters off balance. Further, Manning’s 2.56 ERA (and 2.53 FIP) in 133 innings at Double-A suggest that he could be ready for the big leagues by the end of this year, and he should be able to claim a full-time spot in the Tigers’ rotation in 2021.
— Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

Pick 2.09 – Bobby Witt Jr. (SS – KC)
If you’ve been following along in these mock drafts and in my fantasy career in general, you know that I love balancing potential with short-term production when drafting in keeper and dynasty leagues. As the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft and a player making the jump directly from high school, Bobby Witt Jr. does not fit that mold. I’m gambling on someone I think will be a future star in the major leagues, but it will probably take at least a few years before we see him in a big-league uniform.
— Mike Maher (@mikemaher)

Pick 2.10 – A.J. Puk (SP – OAK)
A.J. Puk had Tommy John surgery in 2018, but he should be free of limitations in 2020. He owned a 3.18 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and a 13:5 K:BB across 11 1/3 innings for the Athletics in 2019. Puk came out of the bullpen last season, but he’s being groomed a starter for 2020. The 25-year-old is slotted to be in the back end of Oakland’s rotation. Puk has the size and stuff to be one of the top left-handed starters in the majors. He is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, and barring a setback, he has the upside to be fantasy ace for years to come.
— Brad Camara (@beerad30)

Pick 2.11 – Luis Patino (SP – SD)
TINSTAAPP. You know what, you’re right, but the value on Luis Patino here was too good to pass up to pair with Julio Rodriguez. He’s dominated every level of competition, and while there are concerns that he’s a short pitcher, he has electric stuff that can hit the high-90s. While others are grabbing the Tigers’ trio, feel free to wait and target Patino, who doesn’t have the hype behind him that the other top pitching prospects have.
— Michael Waterloo (@MichaelWaterloo)

Pick 2.12 – Sixto Sanchez (SP – MIA)
Sanchez has been a top pitching prospect for years, but it might finally be time for him to deliver as a Major League ballplayer. There are certainly some risks — questions about the health of his elbow in the past and the fact that he was traded within his division are red flags — but his numbers speak for themselves. In 18 AA starts, Sanchez held his ERA, FIP, and xFIP all under 3.00, and he reached 100 innings for the first time in his professional career. The grooming period is effectively over. Sixto Sanchez is ready.
— Mario Mergola (@MarioMergola)

Pick 2.13 – Alex Kirilloff (OF – MIN)
Kirilloff could very well become a product of very fortunate circumstances. Should he get an opportunity to crack the Twins’ lineup full-time, he’ll slot right into one of the most powerful lineups in Major League Baseball. It’ll be tough to keep him down much longer (barring injury) as he’s done nothing but hit at every stop in the minors. A career .317/.365/.498 hitter with a very low strikeout rate (16.1%) would mesh very nicely in that lineup at Target Field.
— Joe Buttgereit (@JoeButter_)

Pick 2.14 – Joey Bart (C – SF)
If Adley Rustchman is considered by everyone to be the best catching prospect in baseball, then Giants backstop Joey Bart can’t be too far behind. The Georgia Tech alum, a first-round pick in 2018, is the heir apparent to Buster Posey in San Francisco, and he could arrive relatively soon. Last year Bart advanced to Double-A, and between two minor league stops, he hit .278/.328/.495 with 16 homers in 79 games. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but Bart’s defense is going to make him a starting catcher at the big league level. I’m betting he hits enough to be fantasy-relevant at a thin position.
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

2020 Draft Kit: View printable cheat sheets, sleepers & mistakes to avoid >>

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