Jordan Hicks (Cardinals/RP)
It’s still unclear if Hicks will be the closer, but if he gets the job, he has a chance to finish as a Top 10 closer. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s this year’s Blake Treinen. Hicks has skipped Double-A and Triple-A and made his major league debut last season at age 21. He averaged 100.5 miles per hour with his fastball and is difficult to hit. He did struggle with walks and didn’t get as many strikeouts for a guy that throws as hard as Hicks, but is using a slider more in the spring and he has a lot of movement on his pitches.
Mike Moustakas (Brewers/3B)
Moustakas is slated to move to second baseman and will get eligibility there early in the season depending on league rules. Moustakas gets a full season in Miller Park, and it’s a big boost for left-handed hitters. He hit 38 home runs two years ago playing half his games in Kansas City. He had 28 home runs and 95 RBIs last season between the Royals and Brewers. He had at least a 45 percent fly ball rate the previous two seasons and a career-best 41.2 percent hard-hit rate in 2018. There’s a lot of power upside in a good lineup, and he’s being drafted outside the Top 12 third basemen.
Chris Paddack (Padres/SP)
Paddack has been impressive in the spring, and while many young players are being assigned to minor league camp, Paddack is still with the Padres, and there’s a possibility he opens the season with the Padres. The 23-year old right-hander leads the Cactus League with 20 strikeouts and has walked two, allowed three earned runs and allowed 13 hits in 12 2/3 innings. He misses a lot of bats and has a good fastball and changeup. Paddack won’t throw a lot of innings since he had Tommy John surgery in 2016 and has pitched 90 innings over the last two years. I drafted Paddack in round 23 of the 15-team Tout Wars draft and won him for $2 in a 15-team auction Thursday night with many industry people in it.
Domingo Santana (Mariners/OF)
Santana hasn’t been getting a lot of love in drafts, even with a hot spring. Just two years ago, Santana had a slash line of .278/.371/.505 with 88 runs, 30 home runs, 85 RBIs and 15 stolen bases with the Brewers. Santana wasn’t good last season, and it didn’t help that his playing time diminished with the acquisition of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. While the park in Seattle isn’t as hitter-friendly as Milwaukee, Santana will get the chance to play every day again, and he has power and speed. I drafted Santana in round 13 of Tout Wars and got him for $6 in a 15-team auction.
Ross Stripling (Dodgers/SP)
Some might shy away since he’s not locked into a starting rotation spot. The Dodgers have a lot of good arms, but several of them always spend time on the injured list. Stripling could start the season in the rotation if Clayton Kershaw isn’t ready to start the year. Either way, Stripling will find a way to throw 150 innings because the skills are too good. In 122 innings last season, Stripling had a 3.02 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 27 percent strikeout rate and a 4.4 percent walk rate.
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