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2019/2020 First Year Player Draft, Rounds 5-6

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

Over the last two weeks, I revealed the results of Rounds 1-2 and Rounds 3-4 of the first year player draft. This week, we complete the first year player draft! 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 5-6

Pick No.ParticipantPlayer NamePositionMLB Team
65Eddy AlmaguerDasan BrownOFToronto Blue Jays
66Jesse RocheJames BeardOFChicago White Sox
67Eric CrossEthan SmallLHPMilwaukee Brewers
68Matt ThompsonNoah SongRHPBoston Red Sox
69James AndersonJimmy LewisRHPLos Angeles Dodgers
70Ralph LifshitzLogan Wyatt1BSan Francisco Giants
71Wilson KaramanYordys ValdesSSCleveland Indians
72Alex JensenIsmael MenaOFSan Diego Padres
73Bret SayreJosh WolfRHPNew York Mets
74Tom TrudeauGlenallen Hill Jr.SSArizona Diamondbacks
75Shelly VerougstraeteChristian CairoSSCleveland Indians
76Chris BlessingColin BarberOFHouston Astros
77Christopher CrawfordDrey JamesonRHPArizona Diamondbacks
78Ray ButlerArol VeraSSLos Angeles Angels
79Mike RosenbaumAntoine KellyLHPMilwaukee Brewers
80James AndersonDauri LorenzoSSHouston Astros
81James AndersonEnmanuel RodriguezOFMinnesota Twins
82Mike RosenbaumRyan JensenRHPChicago Cubs
83Ray ButlerLuis GutierrezLHPSan Diego Padres
84Christopher CrawfordMaximo AcostaSSTexas Rangers
85Chris BlessingWill HollandSSMinnesota Twins
86Shelly VerougstraeteStephen PaoliliOFAtlanta Braves
87Will ScharnaglRonnier QuinteroCChicago Cubs
88Bret SayreGraeme StinsonLHPTampa Bay Rays
89Alex JensenJose SalasSSMiami Marlins
90Wilson KaramanJoe Naranjo1BCleveland Indians
91Ralph LifshitzKevin MadeSSChicago Cubs
92Tom TrudeauBeau PhilipSSAtlanta Braves
93Matt ThompsonRyan PepiotRHPLos Angeles Dodgers
94Eric CrossLuis MedinaOFMilwaukee Brewers
95Jesse RocheJhon DiazOFNew York Yankees
96Eddy AlmaguerJunior SanchezSSMiami Marlins

5.65. Eddy Almaguer – Dasan Brown, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

I’m a sucker for speed, and Brown is hands down the fastest player of the entire class, showcasing true, 80-grade speed. While he can be a plus defender in center, there is a lot of room to improve at the plate, where the Canadian standout can only handle fastballs at the moment. I expect a slow ascent through the minors but the steals can be gaudy.

5.66. Jesse Roche – James Beard, OF, Chicago White Sox

Beard rivals Brown as the fastest player in this first year player draft. Not only does Beard receive top-of-the-scale, 80 grades for his speed, but Kiley McDaniel posited he “could be the fastest man in pro baseball.” Indeed, he reportedly ran a 6.21 60-yard dash last summer. Most importantly, he has aggressively utilized his speed on the bases at showcase events and throughout his high school career. Beard’s hitting ability and power potential are open questions, however, and early returns from his debut evidence his raw bat.

5.67. Eric Cross – Ethan Small, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers

While Small might have been a reach as a first round pick, there is still solid upside here with three above-average offerings and strong command. He has the looks of a mid-rotation arm.

5.68. Matt Thompson – Noah Song, RHP, Boston Red Sox

Song was one of the top pitchers in college this year, and led the nation in strikeouts per nine innings, but questions about a Naval commitment caused him to slip to the third round. The fastball is the best pitch here, but his curveball took a step forward and is now a plus pitch as well. It is a high-risk, high-reward pick, but Song has the look of a future 2- or 3-starter.

5.69. James Anderson – Jimmy Lewis, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

With Lewis, it is all about projecting how much his arsenal could improve in the coming years. While his fastball is currently a low-90s offering, he should add good weight to his 6’6″ and 200-pound frame, which, coupled with pro training, could lead to his fastball being a 70-grade pitch. Lewis also features a potentially plus curveball and an average changeup. Despite his size, his delivery should prove repeatable, and he is athletic enough that I expect him to develop average command. That is a 2-starter ceiling.

5.70. Ralph Lifshitz – Logan Wyatt, 1B, San Francisco Giants

Wyatt is another advanced college hitter with a good plate approach. In many ways, his bat profiles in a similar way to Michael Busch, and they share many of the same concerns in my mind. It is hit over power with some questions about the bat playing at first base long-term. While I think these concerns are magnified in Wyatt’s profile versus Busch, his on-base ability is on par with the Dodgers’ first rounder and among the best in the draft. Much like Busch, there were some power gains over the summer and into the spring. Wyatt slugged .438 in the Cape Cod League last summer, which is better than it sounds, as only six players slugged over .500 in 2018. He proceeded to tapped into more power this season with Louisville producing his first .200+ ISO campaign.

5.71. Wilson Karaman – Yordys Valdes, SS, Cleveland Indians

No, this league does not include FRAA among its scoring categories, but as arguably the top defensive shortstop from the prep ranks this year, Valdes is going to get a whole lot of leeway and investment in the development of his bat. I think there is sneaky projection to his frame, and there is likewise some raw material to work with in building a future swing that drives pitches with more authority than he has to date.

5.72. Alex Jensen – Ismael Mena, OF, San Diego Padres

I was really surprised to see Mena still on the board here after many international prospects had gone. He is a 6’3″ and 185-pound, 16-year-old who draws comparisons to a young Gregory Polanco. Likely the fastest runner in the international class, Mena receives double-plus speed grades. Further, he is a plus center fielder with a very strong arm and good jumps. While his large frame may cause his speed to regress as he fills out, he should be able to stay in center field. Meanwhile, he likely will grow into even more power. At the plate, Mena makes good contact to all fields. This package is second only to Jasson Dominguez in this international class for five-category upside. In fact, Mena may offer even more pure upside due to frame differences (though, Dominguez has a much higher floor). Further, the Padres have a favorable history of developing similar profiles.

5.73. Bret Sayre – Josh Wolf, RHP, New York Mets

I was eyeing Jordan Brewer with this pick after I took Nick Quintana in the fourth round, but the spotlight from the College World Series shone a little too bright and Wilson snapped him up. So I pivoted, and went with the highest-upside arm left on the board. In reality, there is not much of a difference between Wolf and prospects like Blake Walston and Kendall Williams, who went 25-30 picks earlier. It is a typical fastball/curve prep pitcher profile, so I will keep my fingers crossed.

5.74. Tom Trudeau – Glenallen Hill Jr., SS, Arizona Diamondbacks

5.75. Shelly Verougstraete – Christian Cairo, SS, Cleveland Indians

The son of major leaguer Miguel Cairo, Christian is on the smaller side but there is some growth potential. He is super fast on the base paths and in the field. This slick defender should be able to stay at short. Cairo has a high-contact, spray the ball to all fields approach. There is upside here for a guy that hits doubles to the gaps with the ability to pick up a few steals here and there.

5.76. Chris Blessing – Colin Barber, OF, Houston Astros

A fourth round pick, Barber is the only non-college pick in the first 17 rounds for Houston. Some scouts knocked the level of competition he played against in high school. However, on the showcase circuit, Barber showed plus bat speed and over-the-fence power.

5.77. Christopher Crawford – Drey Jameson, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Jameson is yet another college player for me — the prep side of this first year player draft just did not do much for me — but I think there is more upside here than some people think. When he was at his best this year, he showed three plus pitches, and the fastball would flash plus-plus. The question is if he can do that consistently, but he does not turn 22 years old until August, so there is definitely time. Worst come to worst, I think Jameson could be a closer.

5.78. Ray Butler – Arol Vera, SS, Los Angeles Angels

Standing at 6’2″ and 170 pounds, Vera is a switch-hitting shortstop and the second best Venezuelan prospect in this international class behind Luis Rodriguez. Physical projection is the name of the game for Vera as he possesses a frame you can dream on. His development could eventually cause a move away from shortstop, but the teenager possesses the offensive tools and fluidity to be a difference maker regardless of defensive position.

5.79. Mike Rosenbaum – Antoine Kelly, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers

After a million-pick layoff, basically any player I thought might fall to me was already taken. You sharks. So for lack of a better strategy, I just continued to go after potential high-ceiling arms who had fallen down our board. Kelly is an athletic but raw lefty with a 94-96+ mph arm and an idea how to repeat, and there is something to be said for the Brewers ability to identify and develop college arms. I’m betting on him just as they are. This was my favorite pick.

5.80. James Anderson – Dauri Lorenzo, SS, Houston Astros

I really love Lorenzo’s bat speed. He should be able to use that quick bat to hit for a high average and hit for power from both sides of the plate. He is also a plus runner. For me, he ranks fifth in this international class behind Jasson Dominguez, Robert Puason, Luis Rodriguez and Erick Pena. Lorenzo’s 6’1″ and 160-pound frame is perfect for adding good weight without compromising athleticism. He may stick at shortstop, but I really do not think it matters. The bat should play anywhere on the dirt.

6.81. James Anderson – Enmanuel Rodriguez, OF, Minnesota Twins

After the top-tier guys in every international class, I like to go after guys whose power potential is their “weakest” tool as long as they (a) have a strong hit tool, (b) are at least above-average runners, (c) are not built like a twig, and (d) will add some defensive value. Prospects who check all those boxes often develop power later. Rodriguez fits this profile perfectly. It will be crucial for him to work diligently on his cardio and his diet so that he does not get too stiff in the midsection.

6.82. Mike Rosenbaum – Ryan Jensen, RHP, Chicago Cubs

Jensen is nasty. I get the stigma, because he is a normal-sized human and right-handed and all, but he is also just nasty with a really live arm and live stuff. That plays. There is something here. I do not know what, honestly, but the Cubs think he is something and they beat us all on Nico Hoerner a year ago. Jensen, with his stuff, should have Major League value. P.S. Anyone want to make a trade for one of my pitching prospects?

6.83. Ray Butler – Luis Gutierrez, LHP, San Diego Padres

I always target upside and projection at the tail-end of first year player drafts, and I believe I’ve attained that by snagging Gutierrez with my last pick. Still only 15 years old, the southpaw is currently undersized at 5’11” and 170 pounds. However, international evaluators believe Gutierrez has a frame that will add size—both in height and weight—as he develops physically. The left-hander’s arsenal currently consists of three pitches: a high-80s fastball that will undoubtedly tick-up as he develops, a sharp curveball that currently projects as his best pitch, and a changeup that shows promise but needs further refinement. Drafting Gutierrez is a long-term commitment, but upside, athleticism, and projectability are hard to come by so late in a first year player draft. I trust the Padres to properly develop the 15-year-old Venezuelan.

6.84. Christopher Crawford – Maximo Acosta, SS, Texas Rangers

Acosta reportedly has one of the most advanced hit tools of this international class, and I cannot pass on that this late in the first year player draft. It is also worth pointing out Texas has done very well in developing these types of talents, so, I like that, too.

6.85. Chris Blessing – Will Holland, SS, Minnesota Twins

Holland was on my board at 4.5 and 5.12 despite going against my upside strategy. He was a borderline first round pick leaving the Cape last year for some teams. Then, he had a disastrous 2019 season at Auburn, knocking him to the 5th round. The Twins went over slot to sign Holland who fits at shortstop and has a history of wood bat performances.

6.86. Shelly Verougstraete – Stephen Paolini, OF, Atlanta Braves

There are not many reports on Paolini, but I like what the Braves have done with hitters in recent years. He is a cold-weather (Connecticut) prep outfielder with plus speed. One report also mentioned Paolini should be able to hit for a bit of power from the left-hand side. To me, he sounds Ender Inciarte-ish.

6.87. Will Scharnagl – Ronnier Quintero, C, Chicago Cubs

The Cubs added yet another talented catcher in Quintero from Venezuela for $3 million. This far down in the draft, you are better off investing in upside. Young catchers take a lot of work, but Quintero has the tools to make it worth the wait. Quintero has easy power from the left-side, and compliments it with an advanced approach and a knack for making solid contact. I could easily see him hitting 20+ home runs, which would already make him one of the top fantasy catchers, but throw in a .275+ average and the potential for even more power, and you are looking at a guy who could be the best catcher in baseball. Although he is not elite defensively, he has solid mechanics and a strong arm, so it is likely he will stay behind the plate, where few have more potential in their bat than he does.

6.88. Bret Sayre – Graeme Stinson, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays

This deep in the draft, I might as well go with the player equivalent of the shruggy guy. Once thought of as the top lefty in this draft class after a dominant sophomore season (mostly in the bullpen), Stinson was not only bad in his brief junior season at Duke, but his velocity dropped precipitously and an injury held him out the last six weeks of the season. It is a dart throw, but if the mid-90s velocity returns, he could see a future as an elite reliever.

6.89. Alex Jensen – Jose Salas, SS, Miami Marlins

Salas is a hyper-athletic switch-hitting shortstop from Venezuela who just signed for $2.8 million. He sports plus to double-plus run times depending on reports with good instincts. With a 6’1″ and 150-pround, projectable frame, Salas has real power upside. Last summer, he stood out at the WWBA National Championship with elite contact skills. Salas has been mentioned as having 30/30 upside although I think 20/30 is more likely. His father, Jose Salas, is likely the top trainer in Venezuela and has trained other top prospects including Daniel Flores, who was regarded as arguably better than Wander Franco before tragically dying of cancer the summer of 2017.

6.90. Wilson Karaman – Joe Naranjo, 1B, Cleveland Indians

6.91. Ralph Lifshitz – Kevin Made, SS, Chicago Cubs

I wanted to get in on some of the international action, so I grabbed Made with my last pick. Hold your puns… Signed by the Cubs for $1.7 million, he has been praised for his ability to hit for power and his defensive prowess by Baseball America’s Ben Badler. Not sure if I knowingly did this, but I sandwiched four college bats between two highly touted teenagers.

6.92. Tom Trudeau – Beau Philip, SS, Atlanta Braves

6.93. Matt Thompson – Ryan Pepiot, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

It is not surprising that this high spin rate arm ended up being selected by the Dodgers. Armed with a plus changeup to go along with his mid-90s heater, Pepiot was third in strikeouts per nine innings in Division I. The landing spot combined with the newly plus changeup make him an interesting flier late in drafts.

6.94. Eric Cross – Luis Medina, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

It is damn impressive to see a 16-year-old with as much raw power as Medina. With plus or better raw power and a swing that generates loft, the power potential here is massive. In addition, Medina projects to hit for a decent average.

6.95. Jesse Roche – Jhon Diaz, OF, New York Yankees

Overshadowed by the Yankees’ more high-profile international signee Jasson Dominguez, Diaz also has five-category upside. Although he has a stocky build, and lacks as much projection as other international prospects, he still packs a punch, with potential average raw power. The draw here, however, is his well-regarded present hitting ability with a quick, compact swing, a feel for all-fields contact, and solid plate discipline. Add present plus speed to the mix and you have a prospect with potential average-to-above future hitting ability, power, and speed. Meanwhile, Diaz has consistently performed in games, and he receives unanimous acclaim for his baseball instincts.

I also strongly considered Alexander Ramirez, OF, New York Mets, another high-upside international prospect, and Josh Smith, 2B, New York Yankees, an advanced college bat from LSU with potential average tools across the board.

6.96. Eddy Almaguer – Junior Sanchez, SS, Miami Marlins

A Dominican shortstop that signed for just over $1 million, Sanchez has a projectable frame that should fill out, especially in his upper body. The lefty’s best tool is his hit, where it could be potentially above-average thanks to his zone awareness and average bat speed. The upside is not tremendous here, but it is a commendable lotto ticket to cap the draft.

Final Thoughts

The 2019/2020 First Year Player Draft is now complete! I want to again thank all the writers who participated in the draft. It was a ton of fun and an excellent exercise, even if the value of many of these players fluctuates over the coming months. Finally, I encourage our readers to follow each of these writers on Twitter and read their articles. The more perspectives, and eyes on, prospects, the better!

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!

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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