Hey y’all! Can you believe it is almost the end of August and the end of the minor league season? I know I am not ready for the season to end. With the minor leagues almost finished for the year, I thought it would be fun to check out some recent draftees you might want to draft in your First Year Player Drafts. It is never too early to get a hit start on draft prep! Today, I’m bringing you two outfielders, one with speed and the other with power, and two pitchers who are performing well in their first taste of pro ball.
Greg Jones (TBR A-) OF Age:21 ETA: 2022
The Rays first-round pick this year, Greg Jones has hit the ground running, literally. A product of UNC-Wilmington, Jones was one of the fastest college bats in the recent draft class, possessing 70-grade speed. Prior to the draft, he was ranked 27th ranked player by Eric and Kiley with a FV of 45, and he is currently ranked 13th in the loaded Rays organization. He is an athletic, switch-hitter who played shortstop in high school and college but the Rays are trying him in center, but the speed should enable him to stick at the position. After being drafted, the Rays assigned him to the New York-Penn League, where he has hit .327/.395/.467 with 14 stolen bases. Even though he is very fast, he will have to learn when to steal as he has been caught seven times. If he can hit, he should be an asset for all fantasy leagues due to the speed alone. Jones should be on your radar for your off-season FYPD.
Peyton Burdick (MIA A) OF Age: 22 ETA 2021
The Marlins picked Peyton Burdick in the third round of the draft this year. His was not ranked on THE BOARD prior to the draft, but with a recent update he is now a 40 FV and ranked 25th on the Marlins list. The 6’0” outfielder slugged 26 home runs and 51 doubles while hitting .344/.434/.575 during his three years at Wright State. The Marlins assigned him to Short Season Batavia. After six games, he was quickly promoted to A ball and he continued to mash. In 51 games, Burdick has knocked eight balls out of the park to go along with his two triples and eighteen doubles. He has also swiped three bases at Clinton, which is not out of nowhere since he stole 40 bases during his college career. He is currently hitting .318/.404/.551 with a 10.2 BB% and 21.6 K%. While at school, he manned centerfield, but he’s square-framed and will probably move over to right field as his career progresses. The quick promotion to A ball is a sign Burdick could move quickly through the Marlins system, and his power should play in the bigs, even if he makes his home in Marlins Park.
Ethan Small (MIL A) LHP Age: 22 ETA: 2021
Coming out of Mississippi State, the Brewers selected the southpaw, Ethan Small with the 28th overall pick in this year’s draft. He was ranked 58th on the pre-draft Board with a FV of 40. With Keston Hiura graduating this year, Small now ranks sixth on the Brewers list. As a junior, he led the SEC in strikeouts with 160 and also had a 1.80 ERA and 0.80 WHIP. He doesn’t seem like a guy who will blow it by you — his fastball sits around the upper 80s to low 90s — but he lives in the zone and gets guys to swing and miss. In the first 13 innings of his professional career, Small has racked up 21 strikeouts with one walk and eight hits. In an excellent piece written by our very own Eric Longenhagen, he stated Small is “Kershaw’s mechanical doppelgänger” and his fastball has traits that cause it to miss bats despite mediocre velocity, the way Kershaw’s has as it has slowed down. If Small can develop his curve, it would give him that third pitch that every major league starter needs. Small might be a pitcher to throw a late-round draft pick during your FYPD.
George Kirby (SEA A-) RHP Age: 21 ETA: 2022
Just like Ethan Small, George Kirby throws strikes. During his last year at Elon University, Kirby has 107 strikeouts and just six walks in 88 innings. This year’s draft was not heavy in pitching talent, but the Mariners selected George Kirby with the 20th overall pick. We had him ranked 19th prior to the draft so the Mariners might have gotten a steal here. He is currently ranked 9th on the Mariners list. Due to his heavy workload this spring, the Mariners have been limiting his innings. He usually goes about three innings per start. However, what Kirby has done has been pretty impressive. In his twenty innings of work, he has racked up 23 strikeouts with zero walks. With how aggressive the Mariners have been with Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez, I feel pretty confident they will be aggressive with Kirby’s assignment next year. Using a FYPD pick on a pitcher is risky, but this might be a risk you should take.