It’s FYPD season! Below we have the Prospect One top 25 2019 First Year Player Draft ranked prospects. You’ll also find five to watch.
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2019 FYPD RANKS
|1) Victor Victor Mesa||OF||MIA|
Older and more polished than the rest of the international class, and more or as much experience as most college kids, Mesa comes in with a ton of questions and things to dream on. We dream on his bat speed and that it will generate 15+ or more power as puts on some more strength and work with pro teams. We also dream on the speed, which if hitting towards the top of a lineup and unleashed, seems to be a 30+ range. The questions though are big! He hasn’t really hit for around 2 years professionally, so can, or better yet, will he mature as a hitter with the Marlins. The biggest that is tied to his fantasy value seems to be, will he hit for power? That’s what we’re banking on. If I’m taking risks, which with prospects you shouldn’t be afraid to do, I’m going to bank on the player that scouts have raved about with bat speed and growth potential regardless of being 22, who has plus defense to keep him on the field, and the speed that’ll instantly make him fantasy relevant. Could he be Ender Inciarte? Yes, that’s not all bad. Could he be Albert Almora (as some have compared to him as a better version of) he could, but don’t discount the idea that 20-30 with a high average is in the cards.
|2) Nolan Gorman||3B||STL|
The top end of power in the 2018 draft class. I saw Gorman just before being drafted, going up against his friend Matthew Liberatore. Libs got the better that day. I saw some of the big swing that comes with someone who hasn’t developed the pitch recognition quite yet. I also heard and saw him connect on a Liberatore fastball that cracked through the stadium to right field. Gorman has that 35+ home run potential all over him. I have worries on the average. His rookie season was a tale of two sides. Rookie ball he dominated with a .350 avg and 11 home runs in just under 150 at-bats. He went up to low-a where he struggled hitting just over .200 in 90 something at-bats, but struckout more in low-a than rookie ball. Like I said, adjustments are his key. I think he can make them, and if/when he does, his bat will be electric. Not much speed, but we are playing the big bat game.
|3) Yusei Kikuchi||SP||SEA|
Signed out of Japan, and has pitched for eight season there. Kikuchi has proven to be the next big international signing (not from the INT rookie pools). Kikuchi struckout 217 in 2017 in only 187.2 innings. 2018 he struggled with injuries and some command issues going only 163 innings and striking out 153. Kikuchi is a big FB/SLD pitcher, but like many japanese pitchers before him is full of an arsenal of big curveballs, sliders and taking stuff off them to alter the pitchers. We get excited for all that. Long term though, I think he might compare closer to a Kenta Maeda SP3 in a rotation type pitcher, and has struggled with injuries some over the last 4 ish years. MLB team, MLB Coaching, new year, everything is possible. He has shown it before, just not against this level of competition. I think Kikuchi can be the #1 in FYPD if looking for now, but I don’t know if it’ll hold three years from now.
|4) Trevor Larnach||OF||MIN|
I’m a big fan of Larnach. Almost a 300-400-500 season his rookie year across two levels should be the first eye opener if you are not in on Larnach yet. double digit BB% and under 20 K% are a couple more fantastic supports for the cause. He hit .300 his last year at OSU, and found his power the final year. His advanced approach with combo of avg and power, actually makes him maybe a early baby version of Alex Kirilloff (though Kiriloff is still younger). 2019 will be big to see which direction he goes, but a lot of floor here with Larnach.
|5) Jonathan India||3B||CIN|
India’s final year at Florida vaulted him up boards for a lot of people. Almost a home run every 10 at-bats in college (almost). His swing for many of us prospect evaluators got a ton of the buzz. The bat speed and violent upcut approach when he connects is something to watch if he continues making solid contact in the coming years. He didn’t have a great pro debut hitting around .240 and some strikeouts to accompany that average. I’m not reading too much into that small pro debut. All the signs in the bat point to a productive hitter who will steal some as well. 20/15 seasons with a .280 plus average will go far.
|6) Casey Mize||SP||DET|
The top pick in the draft who is also one of the most pro ready. He’s got three plus-ish pitches and a devastating splitter. I’m not even sure major scouts or talking heads ever talked themselves into saying Mize was the pitcher with the best stuff, but that he was the most complete pitcher and pro ready. I mean he went first, so that would say he’s the best, but I think this class is super deep in pitching. I am not aggressive on drafting him in FYPD, but at this moment, he seems one of the safest to hit the rotation and do it before most anyone else.
|7) Nick Madrigal||SS/2B||CHW|
Does. Not. Strike. Out. Hit’s for higher average. Steals bases. The question is will he hit for power. He gets the Altuve comp all the time due to his size, but it’s also there because many do thing his make contact approach and the loft on his swing will generate power. Maybe not to the Altuve degree, but it’s out there. OBP leagues he can take a boost here, because he seems like an easy .380 plus if being a little safe. I think Madrigal will find some power, not 20+, but enough to work. Let’s say he’s hitting two, a .290-12-90-65-25 is very doable. I think we can go higher, but he’s a floor player with upside.
|8) Joey Bart||C||SF|
As catchers become less and less attractive in fantasy, Bart bring us back to earth a little. Bart didn’t have his footing under him when I saw him in the AZL, but once he moved to low-a he hitting 13 home runs (along with another 16 XBH’s) in 180 at-bats. He’s got massive power. He was built like a linebacker when I saw him as well. If he can maintain his average, while cutting the strikeouts down, we’ll look back and be disappointed where he went in FYPD’s. The reason for the question and the position for me land him where I do.
|9) Nico Hoerner||SS||CHC|
One of the buzziest players in the 2018 draft class post AFL. I liked Hoerner enough at Stanford, but when I saw it in action during the AFL, I was amazed how polished he was. He looked like he put on off-season muscle. He played high caliber defense, and he smoked the ball across the AFL with some fantastic competition from around the minor leagues. I do beg the question, what did evaluators miss leading up to the AFL. Up close scouting? Production against his peers? His hype came full circle during the AFL, when many more than just me got an eye on him. Are we getting a little over excited? Maybe I moved him up greatly to represent where we are, but I wonder what happens if he struggles early on in 2019? How much will people fall off? First round FYPD value without a doubt.
|10) Jered Kelenic||OF||SEA|
One of the best bats in the high school ranks coming into the 2018 draft. 6 HR, 15 SB and a .287 average in his pro debut with the Mets. He’s now a Mariner, and I think they got a solid around bat. High AVG 20-20 guy is what I am looking at. He can swing a lot of different ways, so don’t let him slide in FYPD’s (which he probably won’t due to his name being in the public due to the trade) but also don’t go too nuts due to the same thing.
|11) Matt Liberatore||SP||TB|
This might be the guy we look back on from this FYPD, and not only ask why he went where he did the real draft, but why people let him slip in their FYPD. I frankly want him higher, but I do sit more firmly hitting over pitching in fantasy. I’ve seen his arsenal in person, and it’s something else at his age. I also witnessed some of the command issues that he needs to work on, but he has an incredible feel for his pitches, over some of the hard throwers I’ve seen in the recent past. The Rays will sit on him longer than most, so you’ll have to be patient, but don’t be surprised when he’s the top dog from this class.
|12) Xavier Edwards||SS||SD|
I ended up being the lower guy on him, which is surprising I guess. I was at his pro-debut specifically to see him (well at Kristian Robinson make his pro-debut). Two things stood out, plate discipline and speed. If I recall, he may not have even swung the bat in his first plate appearance. He has a contact approach that, as I saw it, wasn’t super indicative of impactful future power. Can he adjust? For sure. Will he? Let’s see. I don’t see the power that many our putting on him this year. I see high average, I see lots of speed, on-base skills and athleticism, but many that have him top 3 or whatever are projecting 15-20+ home run power, which I just haven’t seen yet ( and I saw a handful of his pro games with the AZL Padres). I wonder who hits more home runs in 2019, Madrigal or Edwards? I’ll saw Madrigal. Don’t get me wrong, Edwards is a dude, he just isn’t moving into my top 5.
|13) Marco Luciano||SS/OF||SF|
Hit tool my friends. When you hear scouts talk about the advanced hit and power tool that will develop, you get excited. When you watch video, you can see the projections. Then you notice he was near the top of the international class, and you have to take notice. I actually don’t fully understand the lack of attention given to the fantasy community sometimes. I get these KIDS are a long way away. A lot can happen, but it’s also the difference of owning Wander Franco before he blew up. The difference of holding onto Eloy for two years when little attention was on him, and then BOOM. All-in. The international scouting has gotten better than in years past, so I tend to treat international prospects and their projected tools with serious consideration. Not just the very top of the class. Luciano though is one of my favs (who I will get to see soon in the AZL). Prospect drafting and ownerships are about risk taking, so do it.
|14) Seth Beer||OF||HOU|
A lot was made about metal to wood bats with Beer, but he kind of squashed it in 2018 at least by hitting .300 and swatting 12 HR in 67 games across three levels. His bat is exciting, but people don’t love his swing (almost reminds me of how people talked about Goldy’s swing), and the biggest knock is where he plays. 1B/LF is the spot, but a spot at DH could be the end game for him. He has to hit, but that’s all we want anyways. I feel like the safe thing to say is a .250 30-90-90 type guy is near the top (which I mean we’ll take), but not crazy he proves us wrong on average. If he does, than watch out.
|15) Brady Singer||SP||KC|
Once thought to be the top pick in 2018, Singer slipped a bit to KC. He didn’t pitch in 2018, except in instructs where I saw his “debut.” He was rusty, but he showed of the plus FB and SLD combo. The command wasn’t there, but I’m not holding that back. One of my favorite pitchers to draft due to his fall in FYPD’s.
|16) Alec Bohm||3B||PHI|
This one bugs me. I was as high as anyone on Bohm coming into the draft. I even liked him the previous year as I did my research. I started to fade him a bit as the draft hit due to some AVG issues. His pro-debut for the most part was marginal. He struggled at two levels, while hitting well at one stop in rookie ball. The reason this will bug me is when he’s good that I came down. I love his power and he doesn’t strikeout a ton. The combo of players I let jump due to more complete packages and worry of AVG pushed me down, but It’ll hurt for me if he pans out. I’ll say I was on it once, but left the train when it mattered.
|17) Jordan Groshans||SS/3B||TOR|
Groshans jumped up boards as the draft finished and people got a small look. He’s a solid combo of AVG and power. I’m not sure any will be standout. He thrived in the GCL, but struggled moving to the APP league. Finished 2018 with a .296 AVG with 5 HR in 186 at-bats. Solid get, not spectacular to me yet.
|18) Ethan Hankins||SP||CLE|
Hankins was another of my “watch pro-debut” guys. He’s a huge kid, and what threw me off was the ease that he threw with. Almost like he wasn’t trying. He was mainly FB, which the Cubs AZL team they were playing caught onto quick, so he was hit around. His off-speed was well…off that night, but the flashes with the FB show you why he could be special in a rotation. Another in the line of players we may look back on with a, “huh” to why he went where he went.
|19) Jordyn Adams||OF||LAA|
Adams tools are there. I saw a lot of him in the AZL, and he flashes all the tools once in a while. He’s aggressive at the plate. I think that’ll stick, which is good if he makes really solid contact. I’m not sure that happens, but that doesn’t mean he’s hitting .220. He found his stroke when he went up a level, which is a very positive sign. I think he’ll get unfairly compared to Adell this coming season, so watch out, but if you are patient, he may pay off. I think he’s a very talked about name in 2021 (maybe in the Bubba Thompson mold) .
|20) Grant Lavigne||1B||COL|
A bat first 1B with massive power who dominated rookie ball. He walked more than struckout, had the beautiful 300-400-500 line that fantasy can dream on. He’s only 19, and we don’t want to freak out over rookie ball numbers, but regardless of being a 1B in fantasy, he’s someone I would bank on in FYPD’s.
|21) Mike Siani||OF||CIN|
I like Siani more than most. Siani is known more for his plus defense, but there is bat potential sitting in there. He jumped over the AZL and went to the APPY league where he had some good early success hitting .288, flashing some speed and hitting a few homers. I think Siani is one of the more complete players in this class, and will tap in and make the most out of his at-bats. He goes much later in drafts, so plan accordingly.
|22) Orelvis Martinez||SS||TOR|
Major offensive potential. Only 17, but already displays advanced bat speed and raw power that could be 25+. It’s not exact, but Orelvis swinging makes me think of Acuna. Again, it’s not exact, as Acuna is more advanced and explodes on the ball more, but Orelvis is a draft target.
|23) Brice Turang||SS||MLW|
I had a chance to talk to Brice during his first few games in the AZL. A very laid back California kid who knows his place on the field. That laid back attitude makes things look very easy. At the same time, I don’t know if he matches up tools wise across the board for fantasy. He makes a lot of contact, is patient at the plate and will steal a lot of bases. If he finds power he could be a power mans Trea Turner. I’m not sure that happens, but three out of five categories has a place for fantasy.
|24) Alexander Vargas||SS||NYY|
Little seems to be known industry wide on 17 year old switching hitting Cuban. Most notably the focus is on the solid defense that will keep him at SS, and the hard contact he makes. Many believe as he grows, as will his power. He’s already a threat on the bases, so a .280-15-30 is a lower end projection. Yankees do their work, so jump on early.
|25) Jeremiah Jackson||SS||LAA|
Jackson’s mix of solid power and speed was on display for me during the AZL. He had a very smooth swing that sprayed the ball around the field. The five HR and 6 SB during his 22 game AZL stint was a solid sign. He’s still working on pitch recognition, which I think he will fix. He’s got a wide range of outcomes, which makes me intriguing, but .270 15-25 is floor range if he keeps going.
The recent Kyler Murray news took him off this list. We were dealt with so much speculation, which to many people’s credit, they had used even the littlest question to tank his value, and they guest right. Now that we have much more definitive information that he not only has entered the NFL Draft (which was expected to be a formality), but that multiple NFL Sources and GM’s have leaked that he has a first round grade, it is more than likely he is no going to the NFL. This messes up all the stuff for the A’s and anyone who might have had a draft before Jan 9th. The good thing, was his cost was never insane. I haven’t taken him off my board altogether yet, but he took a big dive, and will continue to nosedive as more info leaks.
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