Drafting teams from the Top 10 Prospects by Position lists

32 minutes ago

It’s ranking season at MLB Pipeline, with the 2024 Top 10 by position lists in the process of being released and the new Top 100 Prospects list right around the corner. That makes it the perfect time of year for fun debate and thought experiments regarding baseball’s best young players.

In the latest installment of the Pipeline Podcast, prospect gurus Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo put on their drafting caps for a unique exercise. The goal: to draft a mock 10-player team of prospects ranked in the Top 10 at their position. Easy enough, right?

But there was a catch. In drafting their teams, Mayo and Callis were only allowed to take one player per position and one player per ranking spot, so: one player ranked first on his position list, one ranked second, one ranked third, etc.

Put a different way: If you draft the top-ranked catcher with your first pick, for example, you cannot take a top-ranked player at any other position for the rest of the draft. The point of the ground rules being to add nuance and strategy for a two-person draft so it doesn’t become a mere rehashing of the new Top 100 list.


Mayo: Jackson Holliday, BAL (No. 1 on Top 10 SS)
The strategy for all this is trying to weigh the strength of the list with the rankings. But when you’re picking right at the top, you need to take the very best player. I am not shocking anybody by saying it’s Jackson Holliday.

Callis: Samuel Basallo, BAL (No. 2 on Top 10 C)
You know I’m competitive, Jonathan, and I’m hurting you at catcher by taking Basallo because I think he’s far better than any other catcher you can take.


Callis: Wyatt Langford, TEX (No. 3 on Top 10 OF)
One criteria for me was [to target] the guy who ranks the lowest but who can be an elite, superstar talent. For me, that’s Langford, the No. 3-ranked outfielder.

Mayo: Walker Jenkins, MIN (No. 5 on Top 10 OF)
This is where I started looking at value. I went down a little bit on the outfield list. He’s a No. 1 [pick]-caliber-type talent. He had a very, very strong pro debut and I think he can move a little more quickly than anticipated.


Mayo: Aidan Miller, PHI (No. 9 on Top 10 3B)
This is really good value. We’re all going to look back and see that we had Aiden Miller at No. 9 on the third baseman list as low.

Callis: Dylan Crews, WSH (No. 4 on Top 10 OF)
Potential superstar. I find that when we do these drafts, getting three of the best outfielders is always the best way to go. Granted, all 10 outfield prospects are pretty appealing.


Callis: Jackson Ferris, LAD (No. 7 on Top 10 LHP)
I know who I’m taking with the No. 1 spot, and I’ve already used my 2, 3 and 4 slots. That’s taken a lot of the lefties out of play for me. So I am going to take a lefty I really like.

Mayo: Max Clark, DET (No. 6 on Top 10 OF)
Playing on the fact that that outfield list is very, very deep.


Mayo: Pete Crow-Armstrong, CHC (No. 8 on Top 10 OF)
Ready to hit the big leagues full time. Gold Glove-caliber center fielder. Chance to be a very good all-around player.

Callis: Haydn McGeary, CHC (No. 10 on Top 10 1B)
I don’t know if you had this in your mock draft. I didn’t want to spend a premium pick on first base or second base, and then tried to make the rest of my team as strong as possible.


Callis: Juan Brito, CLE (No. 8 on Top 10 2B)
If this was the amateur Draft, I would be saving money on these picks to go over slot on my next guys. Very exciting.

Mayo: Robby Snelling, SD (No. 3 on Top 10 LHP)
We’re at a point now where we can pick who we want to pick and then figure out the positions. Snelling is super young, made it to Double-A as a 19-year-old, three above-average-[to]-plus pitches with above-average control. I think he’s going to reach another gear this year.


Mayo: Kyle Manzardo, CLE (No. 2 on Top 10 1B)
Hit over power profile and the power really started to show up in the Fall League. I hope it continues and we see him in Cleveland at some point this year.

Callis: Dylan Lesko, SD (No. 9 on Top 10 RHP)
I think Lesko could be one of the best values in the No. 9 ranking slot. As he puts Tommy John surgery further behind him, he should show why we thought he was the best pitcher in the 2022 Draft — high school or college — before his elbow gave out.


Callis: Brady House, WSH (No. 6 on Top 10 3B)
Unlike many of the third basemen ranked ahead of him, I think he’s going to stay at the position.

Mayo: Harry Ford, SEA (No. 4 on Top 10 C)
In preparing for this, I put together a wish list of sorts. And I did have Harry Ford as my catcher. I love the bat, the athleticism and his desire to stay behind the plate.


Mayo: Connor Norby, BAL (No. 7 on Top 10 2B)
Talented guy. He can really hit with a good amount of pop. He’s done it at the upper levels and he’s looking for a big league opportunity now.

Callis: Marcelo Mayer, BOS (No. 5 on Top 10 SS)
I think the shoulder injury he had last year hampered him; he was off to a great start before that. I think he’s going to bounce back.


Callis: Jackson Chourio, MIL (No. 1 on Top 10 OF)
We’re going to slot Chourio down like the Angels did to Mike Trout in 2009, [pushing] him down the board because we can get him when we want him.

Mayo: Noble Meyer, MIA (No. 10 on Top 10 RHP)
I love the pitchability and the upside. I think he has a chance to be a really, really good starting pitcher prospect.

Team Mayo
C: Harry Ford, SEA
1B: Kyle Manzardo, CLE
2B: Connor Norby, BAL
3B: Aidan Miller, PHI
SS: Jackson Holliday, BAL
LF: Walker Jenkins, MIN
CF: Pete Crow-Armstrong, CHC
RF: Max Clark, DET
LHP: Robby Snelling, SD
RHP: Noble Meyer, MIA

Team Callis
C: Samuel Basallo, BAL
1B: Haydn McGeary, CHC
2B: Juan Brito, CLE
3B: Brady House, WSH
SS: Marcelo Mayer, BOS
LF: Wyatt Langford, TEX
CF: Jackson Chourio, MIL
RF: Dylan Crews, WSH
LHP: Jackson Ferris, CHC
RHP: Dylan Lesko, SD

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