Each year around mid-May we're inundated with information regarding the incoming draft class. Hundreds of names flash before our eyes, everyone with a different sleeper, breakout, etc. While there's no MLB answer to Mel Kiper Jr./Todd McShay there's plenty vying for the title, myself included.
We all want to be the first to suggest a name that pops. But in the big scheme of things does it matter? For example, today's subject Xavier Edwards, was not one of my early favorites. Did I like Edwards? Yes, I had him 19th overall in my first edition of my first-year player draft. Then he stole 22 bases on 23 attempts, hitting .346 across two levels of rookie ball.
Now Edwards is approaching my top 5. I'm not the high man on Edwards. If memory serves it's the Dynasty Guru's Tom Trudeau who is. He was long singing Edwards praises prior to the shortstops strong professional debut. I am however, a believer in the combination of hit, speed, and some untapped pop. Over the last few years I've come to never underestimate a great athlete with a hit tool. It’s for this reason I want Edwards everywhere I can get him. Speed and hit is a phenomenal baseline for future production, particularly when it's paired with power potential. Now, when I say power potential, we're not talking 25-30 bombs. We're talking like 15-18 at peak, which with all the other skills, and an up-the-middle defensive profile, makes for a valuable everyday player.
Edwards rose from the Florida youth baseball factory, teaming with other 2018 draftees like Triston Casas over the years, before making a name for himself at Trinity Christian before transferring to North Broward Prep. His senior year Edwards hit .416, with 24 steals and 14 XBH, which followed up a junior year where he hit .424. So there’s been a track record of success for quite awhile. We already mentioned Edwards production in his professional debut, but what’s made it even more impressive is he did it hurt. Edwards had a minor wrist injury that limited him to batting left handed. Of course Edwards is a switch-hitter, and if you take a look at the below swings, it’s easy to see his right-handed stroke is far more geared toward driving the ball.
Let’s take a quick inventory of what we’ve covered so far. Edwards is an athletic shortstop with 70- to 80-grade speed, base-running instincts, a plus hit tool, quick wrists, and subsequent bat speed to develop average power. You’re essentially dreaming on a switch-hitting Mookie Betts. Albeit one with a significant amount of pedigree.
You’ll see Edwards squarely in my top 5 in our forthcoming first-year player draft rankings. This leads me to my hot FYPD take. I’d actually take Edwards over Nick Madrigal in a fantasy draft. I’m not sure that’s really even a hot take. It really shouldn’t be. When you consider Edwards age, performance, and upside, it seems obvious he’s the better gamble to return plus value. That’s no knock on Madrigal, really, it’s more indicative of where my head is at with Edwards.
Conclusion: Aggressively target in Dynasty Leagues with extreme prejudice.