This article is part of our Farm Futures series.
Accompanying this article is the brand new First-Year Player Draft Top 100, which I would recommend opening in a separate tab. I've provided descriptions of every player there, along with ETAs. If you want more detail or opinions on any players, don't hesitate to ask me in the comments or on Twitter.
There are many ways to approach a first-year player draft, but here are my general biases:
- Elite college hitters are the absolute cream of the crop. Not every class has more than one or two of these. They get to the big leagues two-to-three years earlier than their prep counterparts and we can have much more confidence in their hit tool grades, as they will have typically played in a tough conference or will have experience in the Cape Cod League.
- Elite international hitters who typically sign on July 2 (but will instead be signing on Jan. 15 for the foreseeable future), along with elite prep hitters, are the next best players to invest in. You can get superstars from these subsets, but they are typically at least four years away from the majors and have the potential to completely fizzle out early on in pro ball.
- Top college pitchers are the next best players to go after. They are risky, but they can join big-league rotations in two-to-three years. We can have more confidence in their command grades and they are less reliant on projection.
In this class, there aren't any truly elite prep hitters