The 2015 draft started off with a run on college players who have gone on the become solid big league contributors. Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman were then followed by high school infielder Brendan Rodgers, who was selected third overall but has yet to establish himself in the Major Leagues. However, Rodgers has had a taste of big-league action as a member of the Rockies’ 40-man roster.
There many former high school picks from the 2015 draft that have yet to even make it onto a 40-man roster, let alone reach the Majors. And this fall will represent the deadline to add those prep players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft in December. Let’s take a look at a few names that could be added to teams’ 40-man rosters and also potentially help fantasy owners in 2020 and beyond.
Tyler Stephenson, C, Reds (AA): The Reds organization lacks a true starting catcher (apologies to Tucker Barnhart) but that could change when Stephenson reaches The Show. He was selected 11th overall in 2015 but, as is often the case, the high school catcher’s development has been a slow one. Stephenson has yet to tap into his raw power potential but he’s posted three straight seasons of offensive results surpassing the league average. Even without the home-run results to show for it, he’s getting stronger and has hit a lot more line drives over the past two seasons. The young catcher also has posted three straight seasons with walk rates above 10%. Along with the patient approach, he shows a good eye and has struck out just 55 times (17% K-rate) in 79 games this year. Stephenson is a tall catcher so it’s taken time for him to show improvements on defense but he has a very strong arm and has used it to throw out 28% of base runners so far this year. There are few concerns about his ability to stick at catcher and be able to play every day.