2014 Rule 4 Draft Picks to Target
Any idiot in your league can take a highlighter to a list of players drafted in the most recent June Amateur Draft and take the highest available player on the board when their turn comes in an amateur dynasty league draft. You will watch in bemusement when that guy wastes a high pick on Kodi Medeiros this year. Any experienced dynasty league owner knows that there can be a big difference between how an actual GM views amateur talent come draft time versus the way a dynasty league owner views the same talent. For the purposes of this endeavor, we will be taking a look solely at players drafted the old fashioned way in June of last year, so no Cubans (whom are deserving of a separate post) or July 2nd players.
If you’ve already had your draft, now might be the time to approach a snoozing owner who might not realize the asset that they have on their hands.
Spencer Adams, Starting Pitcher (Drafted Second Round, 44th overall, Chicago White Sox)
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper is already all smiles when he thinks about the work that he can do with this 6 foot 5 inch Georgia high school product. Adams played basketball in high school and his athleticism works well in helping him repeat his delivery and utilize his four pitch mix. Rarely are there large lessons to be learned when looking at the stat lines of recently drafted high schoolers in their first taste of pro ball, but the 59 strikeouts registered against just four walks that Adams posted in 41.2 innings at the complex level shows the advanced feel for pitching that made Adams the 23rd ranked player coming into the draft by Baseball America.
Brent Honeywell, Starting Pitcher (Drafted Second Round, 72nd overall, Tampa Bay Rays)
Taken out of a Tennessee Junior College, Honeywell channels his inner Fernando Valenzuela by mixing in a screwball as a legitimate out pitch. Viewed at the time of the draft as a under-slot reach signing by Andrew Friedman and Co., Honeywell impressed enough in his nine-appearance pro debut for Baseball America to rank him fifth among Appy League prospects, appearing ahead of numerous players taken before his draft position in recent years. Honeywell experienced a bump in velocity in college and maintained it in his pro debut, touching 96 and sitting in the 90-94 range with his fastball. Honeywell’s hair also rates as a plus, in the Jacob deGrom mold.
Brian Anderson, Second Base/Third Base (Drafted Third Round, 76th overall, Miami Marlins)
Have you been burned by a Brian Anderson in a dynasty league before? Sure, we all have. Don’t hold it against this former Razorback. Anderson played second in college, hit .325 as a sophomore and .328 as a junior, and played second and third in his 59 games of pro ball between the New York-Penn League and the Sally League. Anderson put up a robust .300/.363/.496 (.859 OPS) line with 11 home runs between the two stops, raising his OPS up over a hundred points when he reached Low-A Greensboro. Anderson can hit, and the Marlins will find a spot for him if he continues to do so in pro ball, and he has the athleticism to play multiple positions around the diamond.
Gavin LaValley, Third Base (Drafted Fourth Round, 125th overall, Cincinnati Reds)
LaValley played center in high school, not on the basketball floor – but snapping balls on the football field. He certainly had the build of an offensive lineman, but that didn’t stop LaValley from crushing the baseball, hitting 54 home runs in his Oklahoma prep career. He has already reportedly lost upwards of 50 pounds since his high school days, but could be limited to a first base/DH role in the future, putting further pressure on him to tap into his power potential. LaValley has already turned 20, meaning he might move quicker than a typical high school hitter, making for a nice potential trade chip if he taps into his power early.
Kevin Padlo, Third Base (Drafted Fifth Round, 143rd overall, Colorado Rockies)
If you miss out on Forrest Wall earlier in the draft and have to qwell your fetish for young Rockies hitters, this California high schooler could be your guy. Padlo was set to follow the Kris Bryant plan and play third base and attend the University of San Diego, when the Rockies signed him to an over-slot deal for $650,000. Padlo was assigned to the Pioneer League in the hitter’s haven of Grand Junction and posted crazy numbers, a .300/.421/.594 line with a .294 ISO (155 wRC+) despite not turning 18 until after he started his pro career. Padlo might be able to recreate some of the magic in the Rockies other minor league bandboxes and is worth a look if you’re scrambling for a late pick that might turn a nice profit.