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2019/2020 First Year Player Draft, Rounds 1 & 2

Following the 2019 MLB Draft in early June, I gathered sixteen prospect writers from across the industry for a six-round first year player draft. This esteemed group includes writers from Baseball Farm, Baseball HQ, Baseball Prospectus, Fantrax, MLB Pipeline, Prospects 365, Prospects 1500, Prospects Live, Rotographs, Rotowire, Rotoworld, and, of course, The Dynasty Guru.

Alex JensenMLB Draft Lead & Prospect Scout for Baseball Farm@jensen_juicy
Bret SayrePresident of Baseball Prospectus & Founder of The Dynasty Guru@BretSayreBP
Chris BlessingProspect Writer for Baseball HQ@C_Blessing
Christopher CrawfordWriter for NBC Sports/Rotoworld@Crawford_MILB
Eddy AlmaguerWriter for Prospects Live@EddyAlmaguer
Eric CrossLead MLB Writer & MLB Prospect Analyst for Fantrax@EricCross04
James AndersonLead Prospect Analyst & Assistant Baseball Editor for Rotowire@RealJRAnderson
Jesse RocheSenior Prospect Writer for The Dynasty Guru@jaroche6
Matt ThompsonCo-Founder of Prospects Live & Co-Owner of Friends With Fantasy Benefits@mdthompFWFB
Mike RosenbaumProspect Writer for MLB Pipeline@GoldenSombrero
Ralph LifshitzCo-Founder of Prospects Live@ProspectJesus
Ray ButlerFounder of Prospects 365@Prospects365
Shelly VerougstraeteWriter for Rotographs, FWFB & Pitcher List and Nationals Correspondent for Prospects 1500@ShellyV_643
Tom TrudeauWriter for The Dynasty Guru@TomTrudeau
Will ScharnaglRoyals Correspondent for Prospects 1500@WillScharnagl
Wilson KaramanProspect Content Editor for Baseball Prospectus@vocaljavelins

The rules of the first year player draft are simple. The hypothetical league is a standard, 5-by-5 format with a 500-player active roster and unlimited minors (to the extent the 96th selection is rosterable). All recent draftees and anticipated international free agents are eligible. No other amateur or professional players are eligible.

In order to better capture player value, participants could trade draft picks, and, of course, there were several trades.

  • Tom trades 1.5 and 5.5 to James for 1.16 and 2.1
  • Will trades 1.10, 3.42, and 5.74 to Tom for 1.16, 3.37, and 4.60
  • Will trades 1.16 and 4.60 to Eric for 2.30 and 3.35

This article details the results of the first two rounds of the first year player draft. Over the next two weeks, the rest of the draft results will follow! Previously, I touched upon many of the top fantasy prospects in the 2019 MLB Draft, and I provided my live observations during Day 1. What do the industry experts have to say?

2019/2020 First Year Player Draft, Rounds 1 & 2

Pick No.ParticipantPlayer NamePositionMLB Team
1Eddy AlmaguerAndrew Vaughn1BChicago White Sox
2Jesse RocheAdley RutschmanCBaltimore Orioles
3Eric CrossBobby Witt Jr.SSKansas City Royals
4Matt ThompsonJ.J. BledayOFMiami Marlins
5James AndersonJasson DominguezOFNew York Yankees
6Ralph LifshitzRiley GreeneOFDetroit Tigers
7Wilson KaramanCJ AbramsSSSan Diego Padres
8Alex JensenCorbin CarrollOFArizona Diamondbacks
9Bret SayreHunter BishopOFSan Francisco Giants
10Tom TrudeauGreg JonesSSTampa Bay Rays
11Shelly VerougstraeteBrett Baty3BNew York Mets
12Chris BlessingKeoni Cavaco3BMinnesota Twins
13Christopher CrawfordAlek ManoahRHPToronto Blue Jays
14Ray ButlerWill Wilson2BLos Angeles Angels
15Mike RosenbaumJosh Jung3BTexas Rangers
16Eric CrossKameron MisnerOFMiami Marlins
17Tom TrudeauRobert PuasonSSOakland Athletics
18Mike RosenbaumJackson RutledgeRHPWashington Nationals
19Ray ButlerGeorge KirbyRHPSeattle Mariners
20Christopher CrawfordErick PenaOFKansas City Royals
21Chris BlessingDaniel EspinoRHPCleveland Indians
22Shelly VerougstraeteTyler Callihan2BCincinnati Reds
23Will ScharnaglGunnar HendersonSSBaltimore Orioles
24Bret SayreBryson StottSSPhiladelphia Phillies
25Alex JensenMichael Toglia1BColorado Rockies
26Wilson KaramanKody Hoese3BLos Angeles Dodgers
27Ralph LifshitzMichael Busch2B/OFLos Angeles Dodgers
28Tom TrudeauMatt WallnerOFMinnesota Twins
29Matt ThompsonBrady McConnellSSKansas City Royals
30Will ScharnaglNick LodoloLHPCincinnati Reds
31Jesse RocheQuinn PriesterRHPPittsburgh Pirates
32Eddy AlmaguerRece Hinds3BCincinnati Reds

1.1. Eddy Almaguer – Andrew Vaughn, 1B, Chicago White Sox

I’m on a crusade to make sure the fantasy community knows how good Vaughn can be. We’re looking at a 60 hit, 60 power masher with elite plate discipline. Vaughn is a borderline top-10 overall prospect that should be on a fast track to the majors and is an attractive player for rebuilders and contenders.

1.2. Jesse Roche – Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore Orioles

Rutschman deservedly was the first overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. All told, he profiles as a rare, sure-fire catching prospect with potential plus hit and power tools from both sides of the plate. While catchers carry more limited value in most fantasy formats given the real-life physical demands of the position, Rutschman is truly special. In addition, it does not hurt he will play half his games in Camden Yards.

1.3. Eric Cross – Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Kansas City Royals

The third pick in this year’s first year player draft is a great place to be. With a discernible top-3, you can grab whomever is left of the elite trio, and, in this case, it was Bobby Witt Jr. Witt Jr possesses a tantalizing power/speed blend from the shortstop position and could be a fantasy monster if he develops his overall hit tool and approach.

1.4. Matt Thompson – J.J. Bleday, OF, Miami Marlins

The powerful outfielder from Vanderbilt led the nation in homers in 2019. Bleday is a high-floor bat that could move quickly if the Marlins let him. After he started to focus solely on hitting, his bat took a big step forward. Notably, he had a 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in addition to his newly-discovered power stroke. Bleday is a future four-category star.

1.5. James Anderson – Jasson Dominguez, OF, New York Yankees

I drew the short straw and was picking 16/17, which is an awful place to be in this first year player draft. I believe there are 14 hitters in this class who are clear top-100 prospects for dynasty leagues, so the odds are not great of getting two of those 14 at 16/17. In this case, Robert Puason was the only player from that top 14 who made it back to the turn, which made me feel vindicated for trading my first and second rounders for the 5th overall pick and a fifth rounder.

With the fifth pick, Dominguez was an easy call — I have him ranked third after Adley Rutschman and Andrew Vaughn. Despite being just 16 years old, Dominguez is built a little like Russell Wilson, and I mean that in a good way. He is chiseled, athletic, and his movements are very powerful. He could develop into a 30/30 or 40/20 center fielder, and I think he will always hit at least .270 in his prime years due to his elite bat speed.

1.6. Ralph Lifshitz – Riley Greene, OF, Detroit Tigers

Arguably the best pure hitter in the draft class, Greene pairs a plus hit tool with a burgeoning power profile and enough athleticism to stick in right field long term. I was more than happy to take the Tigers future slugger here.

1.7. Wilson Karaman – CJ Abrams, SS, San Diego Padres

The Padres certainly have a type for high first round picks of late, and Abrams is an exciting, high-ceiling player to grab here. The power is a question mark, as it usually is for 80-grade speed prospects, but there is enough strength and theoretical hit tool here for him to push towards double-digit dingers. I, for one, am way down with a Lorenzo Cain kind of scene at shortstop.

1.8. Alex Jensen – Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

This is an unfortunate spot to pick. I had a clear tier drop off after the top 7. Still, I am very happy to grab Carroll! He has 5-tool upside with very underrated power, and both plus to plus-plus speed and hit tool. Further, his defense is plus across the board and will allow for full-time at-bats. Recently, 70-hit tool undersized guys with even average raw power have a great track record. Carroll reminds me of a slightly souped up Alek Thomas with Andrew Benintendi upside.

1.9. Bret Sayre – Hunter Bishop, OF, San Francisco Giants

My fourth-ranked player in the 2019 Draft, Bishop is not your typical high-end, polished college hitter. Instead, he is toolsier and without a long track record of elite performance (though, a 1.226 OPS in the Pac-12 is incredibly impressive no matter what stands around it). Bishop has easy plus raw power and above-average speed, which could propel him to a 30-homer, 20-steal future if he limits the strikeouts enough to hit .260 or so.

1.10. Tom Trudeau – Greg Jones, SS, Tampa Bay Rays

Depending on who you ask, Jones has true 80-grade speed that might grade as 80+ if such a grade existed. (Feel free to borrow that one, scouting community.) The Rays will surely take their time with Jones, so this could be a slow burn compared to your average college dude. With steals at a premium in our sport, Jones could be worth the wait.

1.11. Shelly Verougstraete – Brett Baty, 3B, New York Mets

Baty is a third baseman with the highest ceiling in the 2019 prep class. He is also the oldest prep player at 19 years old. In addition to baseball, Baty played basketball in high school, so scouts think he has enough athleticism to stick at the hot corner. His plus power is not only generated from his athleticism but also bat speed and swing path. In addition, Baty is not just a free swinger so he should be able to contribute to the average category as well.

1.12. Chris Blessing – Keoni Cavaco, 3B, Minnesota Twins

This is one of the weaker first year player drafts we have seen for fantasy ownership. I shopped this pick and hoped two of my three likely targets for the pick were here. With Hunter Bishop and Greg Jones off the board, I targeted upside with Keoni Cavaco, even though I question the hit tool all day long. In a weaker player pool like this, I’m targeting higher upsides, regardless of the risk, over moderate upsides with higher floors. Cavaco has the power potential to be a fantasy darling.

1.13. Christopher Crawford – Alek Manoah, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

I’m the first person to select a pitcher, which is not a huge surprise considering this poor first year player draft class. I’m a big fan of Manoah, however, and I think he offers the size and arsenal to be a durable hurler who can miss plenty of bats. He could move quickly for a team that has a chance to be very, very good in a couple of years with their young talent.

1.14. Ray Butler – Will Wilson, 2B, Los Angeles Angels

Wilson will be a second baseman as a professional, but he has the offensive tools (60-hit, 55-power potential) to be a fantasy darling at the cornerstone. As a college hitter, he should have the chance to move through the Angels’ system rather quickly.

1.15. Mike Rosenbaum – Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Rangers

Picking at the back end of this first year player draft, even with the snake format, was not ideal. A lot of the sick hitters were off the board by my pick, but I think I got a good one in Jung. In this spot, considering the pool of talent, he is someone who I hope can put up big league-caliber numbers for the position and get there relatively quickly as an advanced college player. Eric, who picked after me in the first round, snagged Kam Misner, the other college player I had my eye on.

1.16. Eric Cross – Kameron Misner, OF, Miami Marlins

As we were able to make trades here, I traded up to snag Kameron Misner with the 16th overall pick. Misner has one of the top power/speed combinations in this draft and makes enough contact to hold a respectable average. He could easily end up as one of the five best offensive players from this draft.

2.17. Tom Trudeau – Robert Puason, SS, Oakland Athletics

The track record of elite bonus babies in recent years is strong, and Puason draws familiar toolsy adjectives (power/speed). Puason is generally considered to be the second most promising of the J2 prospects. This is an upside play that could yield big dividends.

2.18. Mike Rosenbaum – Jackson Rutledge, RHP, Washington Nationals

Just as I was looking for an advanced college bat who could be quick to the big leagues a few picks ago, I took the same approach off the turn and went with Rutledge. I’m psyched. He is a beast with more potential to an unlock . . . a big deal if it all clicks. Yes, there is considerable reliever risk with him (because that is what we always think), but he is also 6’8″ with hot stuff and some borderline OMG potential, so I’m fine with that risk. Long run, I’m fine with getting just a 3- or 4-starter from this spot, but hopefully Rutledge is something more.

2.19. Ray Butler – George Kirby, RHP, Seattle Mariners

My favorite college arm from the 2019 draft class, Kirby is a prolific strike-thrower with the potential to possess three above-average offerings to pair with his plus command. Along with Justin Dunn, Logan Gilbert, and a quickly-ascending Ljay Newsome, the Mariners suddenly have several interesting arms in their system.

2.20. Christopher Crawford – Erick Pena, OF, Kansas City Royals

I got some safety — if there is such thing as safety in this type of draft — in Manoah, and I get my upside in Pena. I’m always wary of prospects this young, but reports indicate he has a chance to have two 60 grade tools in his hit and power. I can’t pass on that kind of upside at this point in the draft.

2.21. Chris Blessing – Daniel Espino, RHP, Cleveland Indians

Again, I’m going all in on upside. Espino has the best pure stuff in the draft. Sure, there are concerns about the long arm-action. However, watch the work he does with his lower half, it is dynamic, powerful, and in sync with his upper body. I believe in the Indians staff to corral some of the arm-action while maintaining his work with the lower half. Always bet on the arm here and hope it comes up smelling like 1-starter roses. The only other player I considered here was Brady McConnell, a favorite from my coverage this year.

2.22. Shelly Verougstraete – Tyler Callihan, 2B, Cincinnati Reds

Callihan is a physically mature prep player from Florida with an excellent track record against great pitching on the tournament circuit. At the plate, he has amazing quick hands and can stay inside the ball to hit to all fields. In addition, he is also a pretty quick runner for his size. In the field, Callihan has the tools for third but I can see him manning the keystone in Cincinnati.

2.23. Will Scharngal – Gunnar Henderson, SS, Baltimore Orioles

Henderson was projected to go in the first round, but ended up falling to the Orioles at 42. Not even 18 yet, he is extremely young for his class, yet his physical tools are very advanced. Henderson projects to have above-average to plus, gap-to-gap power as he adds muscle to his 6’3” frame. I could definitely see him hitting 25-30 HR in his prime, especially playing in one of the best hitter’s parks in baseball. Further, Henderson could hit for a solid average while chipping in a few stolen bases as well. Scouts are divided on whether he will stay at shortstop, but he has a solid arm and quick hands, so I think he has a solid chance to stick, but his bat profiles well at third base, too. I would have taken this kid at 10th overall if I had not traded back. Henderson is that good.

2.24. Bret Sayre – Bryson Stott, SS, Philadelphia Phillies

I was very surprised that both a number of pitchers and non-Martian international players went off the board before Stott, who should be a fast-moving strong fantasy contributor in Philadelphia. Loaded with plus hit and speed tools, along with an advanced approach, the UNLV product projects to hit at the top of the lineup with a .300 average and 25-30 steals in play. Even his below-average power should play up in Citizens Bank Park—just ask Scott Kingery.

2.25. Alex Jensen – Michael Toglia, 1B, Colorado Rockies

I was very pleasantly surprised to see Toglia still on the board for this pick. To me, he is a top-15 player in this first year player draft. Early season struggles dropped him down some draft boards, but he finished the year on an absolute tear and wound up with a .314/.392/.624 line with 17 home runs. Toglia is a premium athlete a la Cody Bellinger or Evan White at first base, and he can even play outfield well. The hit tool is coming along and looks more average at this point than early in the year. The fit for a 70-grade raw power who takes walks at Coors Field, along with the track record of Colorado developing hit tools make his upside monstrous here.

2.26. Wilson Karaman – Kody Hoese, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers

I mostly made this pick for the gif and smack talk potential, but I’m also a sucker for draft season risers, and Hoese was very much that after slugging 23 homers with a 1.276 OPS for Tulane. Evaluators have long liked his swing, but a bunch of added strength and physical maturity over the past year brought big power into play. Now, he is in an excellent organization in which to maximize that power’s game utility. I think this is a real steal of a pick here.

2.27. Ralph Lifshitz – Michael Busch, 2B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

One of the better players I caught in the Cape Cod League in 2018, Busch is a personal favorite. He has an advanced hit tool, pairing the ability to make consistent contact with a plus plate approach. The clean lefty swing has natural loft with the ability to extend to drive the ball to all fields, generating at least average game power. The Dodgers are rumored to be using Busch at second base, a position he has played sparingly over the years.

2.28. Tom Trudeau – Matt Wallner, OF, Minnesota Twins

Wallner has been on my radar for a couple of years thanks to his track record of recording high on-base percentages against college pitching. He did not progress as I had hoped this year, but he still has the makings of a maybe Michael Conforto power and patience type.

2.29. Matt Thompson – Brady McConnell, SS, Kansas City Royals

The tooled up McConnell was the Royals second round pick. The power over hit tool profile is a bit unusual for the shortstop position, but it is hard to ignore what he did as a draft eligible sophomore in the SEC. There are some serious strikeout concerns here, but the plus raw power and above-average speed make it a potentially rewarding gamble.

2.30. Will Scharnagl – Nick Lodolo, LHP, Cincinnati Reds

While I’m personally not a fan of pitching prospects in fantasy, Lodolo is too good to fall this far, and as a Reds fan I felt entitled to take him. The consensus best college pitcher in the draft, Lodolo should rise quickly through the system with a very high chance of being a mid-rotation starter. The introduction of a tight, low-80s slider this year allowed Lodolo to finally put it all together (2.36/0.98, 11.4 K/9). This pitch compliments a low-90s fastball, which he throws downhill with solid sinking movement, and a lesser-used, but promising, change-up. All three pitches have flashed plus potential. Lodolo will also hopefully add more fastball velocity, as his 6’6” frame certainly has room to add more strength.

2.31. Jesse Roche – Quinn Priester, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

A self-taught pitcher, Priester promises tantalizing projection, an ideal 6’3” frame, superb athleticism, and well-regarded work ethic. This spring, his stuff took a step forward and, now, he flashes two potential plus offerings, including a lively, low-to-mid-90s fastball, touching 97 mph, and a biting, low-80s curveball. In addition, he has a picture-perfect delivery, which bodes well for his command.

2.32. Eddy Almaguer – Rece Hinds, 3B, Cincinnati Reds

I’ll admit, the thought of Hinds in Great American Ball Park ran through my head as I made this pick. He is the prep bat with the most power in the class (70-grade raw), and I’m betting on the Reds to ensure he does not fall victim to his (lack of a) present hit tool. Hinds is currently listed at 6’4″ and 210 pounds so the frame already exists to unlock all the power potential. If you are looking for a high-risk, high-reward profile, this is it.

Next Monday, I will provide the results of Rounds 3 and 4 of the first year player draft!

Jesse Roche's 2019 Prospect Series

11/5/18Top 600 Dynasty League Players, Fall Preview
11/12/182019 Top 40 Fantasy Catcher Prospects
11/19/182019 Top 30 Fantasy First Base Prospects
11/26/182019 Top 30 Fantasy Second Base Prospects
12/3/182019 Top 40 Fantasy Third Base Prospects
12/10/182019 Top 70 Fantasy Shortstop Prospects, Part 1
12/17/182019 Top 70 Fantasy Shortstop Prospects, Part 2
12/24/182019 Top 140 Fantasy Outfield Prospects, Part 1
12/31/182019 Top 140 Fantasy Outfield Prospects, Part 2
1/7/192019 Top 210 Fantasy Pitching Prospects, Part 1
1/16/192019 Top 210 Fantasy Pitching Prospects, Part 2
1/21/19Upon Further Review: Notable Grade Changes
1/28/192019 Top 500 Fantasy Prospects
2/11/192019 Top 100 Upside-Only Fantasy Prospects
2/20/192019 First Year Player Draft Rankings
3/11/192019 Impact Prospects
3/18/192019 Breakout Prospects
4/1/19Prospects Breaking Camp
4/3/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, March 2019
4/4/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, March 2019
4/5/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, March 2019
4/22/19Scouting Report: Grayson Rodriguez
4/29/19Scouting Reports: Delmarva & Greensboro
5/2/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, April 2019
5/4/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, April 2019
5/8/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, April 2019
5/10/19Top 200 Fantasy Prospects, May 2019
5/27/192019 MLB Draft: Top Fantasy Prospects
6/3/192019 MLB Draft Live Observations
6/5/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, May 2019
6/6/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, May 2019
6/7/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, May 2019
6/10/19Top 200 Fantasy Prospects, June 2019
6/17/192019 Short Season Assignments: DSL, PIO, NWL & NYP
6/24/192019 Short Season Assignments: AZL, GCL & APP
7/1/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, June 2019
7/3/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, June 2019
7/5/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, June 2019
7/8/192019/2020 First Year Player Draft, Rounds 1-2
7/12/19Top 600 Dynasty League Players, July 2019
7/15/192019/2020 First Year Player Draft, Rounds 3-4
7/22/192019/2020 First Year Player Draft, Rounds 5-6
7/29/19Short Season Breakout Prospects
8/7/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, July 2019
8/8/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, July 2019
8/9/19Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, July 2019
8/12/19Top 200 Fantasy Prospects, August 2019
8/19/19Scouting Report: Seth Corry
9/11/19Monthly Prospect Update: Infielders, August 2019
9/13/19Monthly Prospect Update: Outfielders, August 2019
10/4/19Top 200 Fantasy Prospects, September 2019

Please feel free to post comments, questions, or your own observations!

On Friday, the updated Top 600 Dynasty League Players. Stay tuned!

Follow me on Twitter @jaroche6

The Author

Jesse Roche

Jesse Roche

Jesse is an attorney, currently residing in Greensboro. An avid fantasy baseball player, Jesse has experience in a diverse range of leagues, including head-to-head, rotisserie, points, and simulation. Jesse is a five-time website-wide champion at Benchwarmer Baseball and a repeat champion of a dynasty league with John Sickels at Minor League Ball. With a specific interest in baseball prospects, Jesse plans to provide in-depth analysis of up-and-coming stars accessible to all league sizes and types.

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