This afternoon, here at Nook Nacks, we’re going to do something different. Different is great sometimes (the occasional Fresca!) and other times it’s not so great (that time you tried wasabi peas!). Today we’re shooting for Fresca. As you undoubtedly know, the MLB draft started last night, and the players listed below were drafted. I can’t really imagine how amazing that must’ve felt for them. Back in elementary school there were a few times where I was picked pretty early on in the kickball draft and it really did feel great to go early. You’re being publicly judged by your peers and the results are positive. It puts a hop in your step. Having a professional team decide that you’re so good at baseball that they want to pay you millions of dollars to come play for them has to be awesome. Bully for everyone that heard their name called last night, and bully for everyone else that’ll get drafted today and tomorrow.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably going to draft some of these players in the future. Maybe you’re in a dynasty league and you’ll draft in a few weeks. Maybe you’ll take Alex Jackson with the 10th overall pick in your 2020 5X5, ten team draft. Regardless of when you draft them, you’ll need to know about these players in that particular future. Here’s just a tiny bit of info about a few guys that I think can have huge fantasy impacts.
Pennies for Someday
Brady Aiken, LHP — HS | Drafted: 1: 1 — Houston Astros
Everyone seems to love Brady Aiken, and for good reason — he’s a big, 17 year-old left-handed starter who’s got an extremely rare combination of present stuff and command, as well as having some projection left. It’s hardly fair to drop a Clayton Kershaw comp on a 17 year old, but I’ve seen it happen quite a bit the past few weeks. The draft prognosticators generally feel that Aiken could be up in the majors before he can legally have a drink. Big lefties that throw strikes and have three potential plus pitches are fantasy assets, and he should probably be the first pick in your dynasty draft this year.
Carlos Rodon, LHP — NC State | Drafted: 1: 3 — Chicago White Sox
Rodon had an up and down spring — sometimes he looked like the best pitcher in college baseball, at other times he looked like just one of the best pitchers in college baseball. If Rodon puts his up and down spring behind him he could easily be the best fantasy player in the draft. He’s got a devastating slider that he couples with a fastball that can touch 96. If he sorts out his command issues, he’s a staff ace who piles up strikeouts that could be in the bigs in 2015. I have him in the number two slot on my dynasty draft board.
Alex Jackson, OF — HS | Drafted: 1: 6 — Seattle Mariners
As Jason wrote after the M’s grabbed Jackson with the sixth selection yesterday, this prepster can flat out hit. Some say he might end up behind the plate or at third or in right field, but regardless of where he plays on defense, he’ll have fantasy relevancy. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Jackson’s a big kid who’s going to hit for average and power. If the M’s put him out in right and just let him hit, he could be in the majors as soon as 2017. At his peak he could be a .280-.300 hitter who gets on base at a solid clip and hits 25 to 30 bombs. That’ll play.
Michael Conforto, OF — Oregon State | Drafted: 1: 10 — New York Mets
Conforto is one of the surest bats in the draft, and I think the Mets made a great selection when they took him. Teams should never draft for positional need, but the Mets have a pile of young arms and not nearly enough prospects that can run around the field behind them. Conforto won’t look pretty when he’s playing left field, but he can hit enough that you’ll forget about all of that. He has a patient approach at the plate and is more than happy to take a walk, but it’s doubtful he’ll ever be a .300 hitter. His ability to get on base and hit for power will be what gets him to the majors, and that’s why he’s a solid, top-10 target for dynasty drafts this year.
Trea Turner, SS — NC State | Drafted: 1: 13 — San Diego Padres
Trea Turner is fast. He’s got Not Quite Billy Hamilton (but only Billy Hamilton has Billy Hamilton) Speed, which could lead to him racking up piles of steals. The issue is that he might not get on base enough to steal those piles of bases, as his hit tool has been questioned by some. If he can get on base at a .340-.350 clip then he’s one of those players that can win you steals on his own week to week. Turner is far from a sure thing, but he has a chance to hit .270 and steal over 50 bases in the bigs. He’s probably a top 10 dynasty pick.
Jacob Gatewood, SS/3B — HS | Drafted: CB A: 41 — Milwaukee Brewers
Gatewood has one of the highest fantasy ceilings in the draft. If he figures everything out and can stay at shortstop, you’re looking at 30 taters along with the runs and RBIs that come along said taters. The issue with Gatewood is his swing has some issues — there’s a lot going on with it and it can mess with his timing. However, if the folks in Milwaukee can smooth out his mechanical flaws and he reaches his potential, he’s a top 10 player in all of fantasy — if they can’t then he might not make it out of AA. If you think Gatewood is going to hit, then he’s going in the first 15 or so picks in your dynasty draft.