Looking Outside the 2014 Amatuer Draft – Who Might Not be Owned
One of the least fun things to do in a dynasty draft is to take a player who isn’t a first year player. Despite being a better talent, they can be less exciting and leave you with a feeling of sadness because you somehow missed on them the first time around. While it may not make you feel clean, these players offer a chance to get a player that not everyone may be aware of and give you a value over your competition. Whether a player is available depends on a lot of factors from when/how you can make pickups, to how many teams, to the guy who never drops anyone and lucks into a guy breaking out 3 years after he drafted him.
Here are some guys who somehow may not be owned in your league depending on its size. In terms of where I would take them in a draft I am going to use Bret Sayre’s excellent Top 50 Dynasty League Signees list from January. Some of the names on Bret’s list may have moved because he wrote it 2 months ago, but the point remains similar.
Reynaldo Lopez – SP – Nationals
Lopez has gotten plenty of buzz this offseason and so I won’t talk too much about him. He was unowned in a pair of my 30 team league drafts this week, so there is a good chance he is available in your league.
Where to Take: In the 8-13 tier, I would take him after Kolek (10) and before Holmes (11)
Ozhaino Albies – SS – Braves
Albies is probably a better real life than fantasy prospect because he does things like draw walks and play defense. However, the 18 year old shortstop has the speed to put up good stolen base numbers and should hit enough to be on base plenty to give himself a lot of chances. Albies is polished enough to move quickly if he hits the ground running in low-A.
Where to Take: Nick Gordon has more power, Trea Turner is more polished, but Albies slots in behind them. He probably should go off the board in the 20-23 range with similar projection players like Michael Chavis and Derek Hill
Jorge Mateo – SS – Yankees
Mateo didn’t even make Baseball America’s Top 30 Yankees prospects a year ago after two years in the DSL. Mateo made a 15 game appearance in the GCL this year before breaking a finger. He has elite speed, better raw power than Albies, but lacks the hit polish of Albies. Mateo should go to full season ball next year and could break out in a big way.
Where to Take: In fantasy he should probably go ahead of Albies because of the multiple category upside, but he is a riskier player than Albies because his track record of success is shorter. He should go off the board in a similar range to Albies, the order depends on your risk acceptance.
Justin O’Conner – C – Rays
O’Conner’s stock has been so up and down there is a chance he has slipped through the cracks. He was originally taken in the first round of the 2010 draft and has always been known as a superb defender. In 2013 he showed power, but a .233/.290/.381 batting line was far from inspiring. Last year he mashed through hi-A (.282/.321/.486 with 10 HRs in 80 games), before making a difficult 21 game stop in AA. While catching prospects are very risky, O’Conner has reached AA and has the defensive chops to hold down a job long term. Even if the average sinks some, he could hit 15+ home runs a year, which is pretty valuable from your starting catcher.
Where to Take: He should slot nicely in front of Max Pentecost (22) who just has shoulder surgery, and has more upside but much more risk at this point.
Brett Phillips – OF – Astros
It was a breakout year in 2014 for Phillips who hit .310/.375/.529 a year after hitting .242/.347/.331. The numbers make his tools standout a bit more than in his actual skill level. His bat has some questions, and the power is not quite as big as you may be seeing right now. However he could be a guy who hits .280 with a chance at 20/20 at his peak, but likely more 15/15. Some of his current prospect hype is tied to his ability to play center field (and that he is a cannon attached at his right shoulder) so keep that in mind.
Where to Take: Should probably go ahead of Astro’s teammate Derek Fisher (18) based on proximity, but it is hard to push him above the middle infielders and high upside arms in front him.
Duane Underwood – SP – Cubs
Underwood probably has the best raw stuff of any pitcher in the Cubs organization, but even though he is in better shape and throwing better, his stuff still lacks consistency. The likely result for underwood is well below the ceiling, but if he can build on 2014 he could be a near ace level talent. Early reports in 2015 should tell whether he has shown up in shape and ready to go for the new year.
Where to Take: It is important to evaluate Underwood against the new shiny new toys. Brent Honeywell (34) might have more upside, but Underwood is a level higher, Sean Newcomb (31) is safer without sacrificing a ton of upside, and after that it is hard to take any other draft arm over Underwood.