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Prospect Roundup

New Top Prospects After MLB Draft

by Christopher Crawford
Updated On: June 15, 2020, 1:42 pm ET

The draft came and went on Wednesday and Thursday; a five-round affair that saw a few surprises, which was to be expected because of how different the event was than any other we’ve seen.

Now it’s time to take a look at where a few of these top prospects fit in their new organization. While very few of these players have actually agreed to contracts, we’ll go ahead and assume that the top names will put pen to paper and sign with the teams that selected them. Also, a reminder that this is from a fantasy standpoint.

Here’s a look at the drafted prospects who are now either the best or second-best prospects in their new system. 

New No. 1 prospects

Austin Martin, OF, Toronto Blue Jays -- Martin was the top prospect in the draft in my humble estimation, and while I wasn’t surprised to see him fall past the Tigers with the first pick, it was shocking to see him fall past the Orioles at two. And the Marlins at three. And the Royals at four. Those teams' losses -- not that the players taken there aren’t quality, they all make a portion of this list -- is the Blue Jays’ gain. Martin can contribute in every category, and is just starting to tap into his power. I think he more likely plays in the outfield than shortstop, but it can’t hurt to give him a look there. Wherever he plays, the right-handed hitter has a chance to be a fantasy superstar in a short time. This was very close because Nate Pearson is a potential ace, but I’ll take the hitter over the pitcher, in this case.

Spencer Torkelson, 3B, Detroit Tigers -- Believe it or not, it was more difficult to place Torkelson as the top prospect in the system than you might expect. In fact, I had Torkelson listed with the group below until a last-minute change. This is more of a compliment to Casey Mize than it is an insult to the former ASU slugger; I think Mize is the best right-handed pitching prospect in baseball. Ultimately, Torkelson’s ability to hit for power and the chance that he might be able to play first base gives him the slight edge over the pitcher, and it’s worth pointing out that Mize has struggled to stay healthy. They’re going to be ranked very, very close to each other in updated lists, however. Super, super close.

Max Meyer, RHP, Miami Marlins -- This one was also close, but the debate here was between two pitchers: Meyer and Sixto Sanchez. With all due respect to Sanchez, Meyer is the better fantasy prospect. He has a 70 fastball, a 70 slider and also shows a competent change with the ability to throw all three pitches for strikes. There’s a chance he may need to move to relief, but even if that happens, his ability to miss bats while having the arm strength to give you multiple innings of quality rates -- with a chance to pick up saves if he moves to that role, as well. Sanchez has a higher floor, perhaps, but Meyer’s upside makes him a must-get in dynasty formats.

Garrett Mitchell, OF, Milwaukee Brewers -- This one was not close. Some of that has to do with the fact that the Milwaukee system is not exactly loaded with quality prospects, but having Mitchell as the most talented player in your system is not an insult. He’s an outfielder with top-of-the-scales speed who can hit for average and steal bases, and there’s likely untapped power in his left-handed bat. Mitchell has a high-floor because of his speed and defense, and a high-ceiling because he does have a chance to hit for average and power with some adjustments to his swing. 

Ed Howard, SS, Chicago Cubs -- Howard is a personal favorite, and you can’t discount the positional value here. Not only is he a terrific defender at shortstop, he also has a chance to hit for average thanks to his line-drive swing, and there’s at least average power potential in his bat to go along with a chance to steal 20 bases. While Nico Hoerner offers a similar skill set, he’s more likely to play second base or in the outfield, and again, the fact that Howard is more likely to be a long-term shortstop goes his way. He’s not a future fantasy superstar, but there’s a lot to like about his skill set from both a real-life and a fantasy perspective. 

New No. 2 prospects

Zac Veen, OF, Colorado Rockies -- Veen was going to rank highly on whatever system he entered, and if not for Brendan Rodgers, he’d be the top prospect in this system. He was the top prep player in this class, and the 6-foot-4, 190-pound outfielder has a chance to help in every category in a few years, and you can’t help but be intrigued by the fact that he could be playing everyday in the hitting utopia that is Coors Fields. There’s obvious risk that comes from a prep bat, but the reward is as palpable -- if not more. Assuming Rodgers graduates in 2021, Veen will be the top prospect in the Colorado system by a significant margin. 

Asa Lacy, LHP, Kansas City Royals -- Bobby Witt Jr. is still the top prospect in this system after the draft, but the Royals got a good one in Lacy with the fourth pick on Wednesday. The left-hander can get his fastball up to 97 mph with life, and he complements that heater with a plus slider, 60-grade change and a curveball that gets similar grades when he stays on top of it. The command needs work and he’ll never be confused for Greg Maddux with his command, but Lacy has a chance to pitch at or near the top of a rotation, and he should be starting for Kansas City by the end of 2022.

Heston Kjerstad, OF, Baltimore Orioles -- Kjerstad was a surprise second pick, as the Orioles passed on Martin as well as several high-quality pitchers named above along with Emerson Hancock and Nick Gonzales. While I believe that was a mistake, the former  Arkansas stalwart still offers plenty of fantasy relevance, I’d rank him just ahead of Grayson Rodriguez; but several spots below Adley Rutschman. He has plus power from the left side to all parts of the field, and he should hit for a high enough average to be closer to an asset there than a detriment. Don’t expect many steals, but Kjerstad has a chance to hit in the middle of the order, hit 25-to-30 homers a year, and drive in plenty of runs. You can do a lot worse than that. 

Austin Hendrick, OF, Cincinnati Reds -- Hendrick was considered one of the top prep bats coming into Wednesday, and there’s no question that his stock bumped up after the Reds took him with the 12th pick. He has easy plus power from the left side, and you can’t help but be intrigued by how that pop will play in Great American Ball Park. He’s also an above-average runner, so on top of 30-plus homer potential, he also could bring 20-plus steal seasons when he’s ready to go. It’s not all sunshine with Hendrick’s profile; he has a long swing that may lead to contact issues, and that likely means he doesn’t hit for a high average. Still, it’s very easy to imagine the 18-year-old becoming a middle-of-the-order hitter; one who can help you in the power, RBI and steal categories.

Christopher Crawford

Christopher Crawford is a baseball and college football writer for NBC Sports Edge. Follow him on Twitter @Crawford_MILB.