Last year I recapped a three round dynasty league draft from a 20-team league that I’m in over at Fake Teams, and I’ll let you check out the link to get filled in on the depth of the league, what types of players are available and all of that. I received multiple requests to do the same this year, but it was pushed back due to TDGX coverage. Now that we’re free from those shackles, let’s tackle this once more:
We should note that each team here is named after a major league team but otherwise has no affiliation whatsoever.
1. Milwaukee - Kris Bryant (3B CHC)
This is where I would have gone too. Hindsight being what it is, we see that the Jose Abreu hype was justified at least for a month. That said, Bryant will be up by next year at the latest, plays a premium position (for now) and boasts prodigious power. Without the pre-season questions that plagued Abreu/Tanaka, this was the safest route and doesn’t lack ceiling either.
2. Colorado - Masahiro Tanaka (SP NYY)
Another reasonable selection. Had/s the added dimension of immediate production even if we were unsure of what that production looked like. Turns out it’s pretty freaking spectacular. It will be interesting to note whether Tanaka is as successful his second or third time through the league, but it’s hard to question the Yankees (or Rockies in this case) investment thus far.
3. San Diego - Mark Appel (SP HOU)
As much as I like Appel, this was a pick too early for me. While he was the top overall pick in the draft and was expected to move quickly through Houston’s minor leagues, they also have little reason to rush him given their timetable to contention. His velo has been down recently and he’s been sent back to extended spring training, but neither of those are huge concerns just yet. Appel looked downright nasty in his first few starts and should be able to provide return on investment sooner than most products.
4. Atlanta - Jose Abreu (1B CHW)
This is the guy that I had third on my ranking just because power doesn’t come available every day, much less the opportunity to pair it with a solid hit tool. That said, it’s not as easy as all that because there were rumors that it was slider bat speed and like Tanaka, Abreu is subject to the second/third time through the league issue. The game is about adjustments, and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts back. The immediate production is a bonus once again, as we see a theme in the first three picks.
5. Oakland - Clint Frazier (OF CLE)
Our dear leader Bret’s favorite prospect, I’m considerably lower on Frazier, though I do agree this is the right range for him to go in. He’s got the bat speed we weren’t sure that Abreu did but he’s also somewhere between 3-5 years away from the majors leagues. I’m a bat speed-whore as much as the next guy, but Frazier might be a corner outfielder (relevant in this league) and I’m not sure he’s a premium speed guy, which puts that much more pressure on the bat. He probably has the most upside in the draft, but he carries plenty of risk as well.
6. Arizona - Jonathan Gray (SP COL)
Gray is tough in fantasy leagues. He might be the best non-Tanaka pitcher available in this draft and yet the Coors-factor combined with his heavy slider usage in college makes some prospective owners weary. On the upside, the Rockies likely won’t let him waste too many bullets in the minors, as Gray is already in Double-A and their rotation will likely need help sometime this summer.
7. Baltimore - Alexander Guerrero (2B LAD)
There’s some history here as this particular owner tends to side for players who have performed well statistically in the upper majors, or MLB-ready imports. This strategy has resulted in Cory Vaughn being drafted (not in the first round, but still) but also Yasiel Puig last year. Guerrero obviously didn’t crack the major league roster out of spring training, but he should be there sometime this year and is doing remarkably well in Triple-A. If Dee Gordon wasn’t performing better than anyone anticipated, he’d likely be back up by now.
8. Chicago AL - Arismendy Alcantara (2B CHC)
My heart, it yearns. There was little to no chance Alcantara was making it to me at 16th overall, but I was a little surprised to see him go this early. That doesn’t mean it’s undeserved though. He’s hitting well in Triple-A, though he’s not showing the patience he did in Double-A, and with Darwin Barney struggling to hit more than normal, we could see Alcantara prior to the June Super Two deadline. He should be able to hit for a moderate average while providing speed and pop.
9. Chicago NL - Eddie Butler (SP COL)
Butler has been nothing short of great throughout his minor league career and has the advantage of being in the upper minors, but his cross-fire delivery has led some to believe he’ll end up in the bullpen long term (several years down the line). That same delivery enables him to generate a tremendous amount of ground balls though, a huge positive given his current and future home parks. I like Butler a bunch, but I’ll admit to preferring some of the arms that went after him in this situation.
10. Toronto - Maikel Franco (3B/1B PHI)
I’ve been notably down on Franco as a prospect because I think when it’s all said and done he’s a first baseman, and that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the bat. Perhaps spending too much time talking to my TDG colleague Ben Carsley is wearing off on me though, as I can’t help but like this pick. Pressure on the bat or not, Franco is an asset at the plate with the ability to hit for power and average. If he’s a first baseman, it might be a second division ceiling, but that’s still worthwhile in a league this deep, and if he sticks at third base (a growing possibility) that’s a tremendous value. Given the huge number of arms available and the preference for bat-first prospects anyway, I really like this value.
I’ll be back next week with picks 11-20, and if there’s a way to make these recaps a little more usable, by all means, let me know in the comments.