Drafting a Dynasty League Roster: Major League Draft, Rounds 1-3
For those of you who’ve been around these parts for a while, you may remember the initial dynasty league I agreed to participate in at the beginning of the off-season for the purposes of writing up a full draft (and the thought process that went into it) on this site. We had the minor league draft through the boards back in November, and I wrote it up in a few different posts (Rounds 1-3, Rounds 4-6, Rounds 7-9, Rounds 10-12, Rounds 13-16, Rounds 17-25), but now this past Wednesday night was the marathon major league portion of the draft.
The draft started at 9:30pm ET, and by the time 1am rolled around, I still had a spot or two still left to fill. On top of this, I was running a fever the whole night and it ended up being the start of one of the worst viruses I’ve ever had in my life (that I’m just recovering from now). So by the end of the draft, I was mildly delirious and my gchat words were being used as internet fodder by a fellow TDG writer.
Over the course of the next week or two, I’m going to write up the entirety of the 25-round major league draft and then examine my full team at the very end. But from the outset, I will say that I’m very happy with how this whole draft turned out – and though my team certainly has some weaknesses, it’s a 20-team league, and that’s bound to happen. My strategy from the outset was that I was going to secure the offense first with firepower, and then build my pitching staff with depth. And in the end, I stuck to that plan exactly.
But first, before we dive into the draft, a few reminders about the context of the league, as it’s not a straight-forward format. It is a 20-team 7×7 H2H league that uses all of the standard 5×5 categories, plus OPS/Total Bases for hitters and Quality Starts/Holds for pitchers. The active rosters are one player per position (OF are broken out by LF/CF/RF) plus a Utility player on offense, and nine pitchers (2 SP, 2 RP, 5 P). On top of that, there are 7 reserve spots, 3 DL spots and 25 minor league spots (which were all already filled). We were given strict instructions that if you drafted a player already on someone’s minor league roster, we would not be going back to reverse picks, so it would just be considered a party foul and we’d move on. All in all, it’s a very deep league with an active lineup that skews a little towards pitching and deep minor league rosters (500 total prospects are rostered). Oh, and by the way, I’m the Minnesota Twins.
So here is a review of rounds 1-3 of the draft. I’m going to use the same format as my write up of the minor league side of the draft – looking at who I picked and why (along with others I was considering) and who the best/worst picks of the round were (mine excluded). Hopefully this helps with the preparation for your own dynasty league draft.
(1) Boston Red Sox – Mike Trout CF
(2) Arizona Diamondbacks – Bryce Harper CF
(3) New York Mets – Ryan Braun LF
(4) Milwaukee Brewers – Andrew McCutchen CF
(5) Baltimore Orioles – Giancarlo Stanton RF
(6) Pittsburgh Pirates – Miguel Cabrera 3B
(7) San Diego Padres – Starlin Castro SS
(8) Los Angeles Angels – Robinson Cano 2B
(9) Washington Nationals – Matt Kemp CF
** (10) Minnesota Twins – Joey Votto 1B
(11) Chicago Cubs – Jason Heyward RF
(12) Detroit Tigers – Prince Fielder 1B
(13) Houston Astros – Clayton Kershaw SP
(14) Cincinnati Reds – Justin Upton RF
(15) Oakland Athletics – Carlos Gonzalez LF
(16) San Fransisco Giants – Buster Posey C
(17) Seattle Mariners – Stephen Strasburg SP
(18) Toronto BlueJays – Jose Bautista RF
(19) Colorado Rockies – Troy Tulowitzki SS
(20) Texas Rangers – Josh Hamilton CF
My selection: At the outset of the draft, I was crossing my fingers that either Harper or Stanton would fall to me at #10. When they were both gone in the top-5, I just started checking names off my list to see who would make it to me. It was almost Matt Kemp, who went a pick earlier, but in the end, there’s no passing up the best of the stud first basemen, especially when total bases and OPS are extra categories. Joey Votto should be a top-7 pick in similar formats, over McCutchen and Cano, who were both ranked higher than Votto for standard leagues. [Other considerations: Prince Fielder, Justin Upton]
Best picks of the round: Miguel Cabrera (1.6), Matt Kemp (1.9)
Worst picks of the round: Andrew McCutchen (1.4), Josh Hamilton (1.20)
There’s absolutely no way Cabrera should last to the sixth pick in ANY draft, so grabbing him here was a king-sized coup for the Pirates. He’s a stud, he’s in his prime and he will qualify at 3B for the foreseeable future. Matt Kemp gets a similar statement, but slightly understated – he was a top-6 talent in this draft and should have been taken as such. There’s nothing wrong with Andrew McCutchen, but reaching for him over Cabrera and Stanton is a mistake I think the Brewers will end up regretting in the end. Josh Hamilton is exactly the kind of guy who usually goes for great value in a dynasty draft, but instead got taken a little too early for my tastes. Though with that said, it was on the snake, and he certainly wasn’t getting back to this owner.
(21) Texas Rangers – Justin Verlander SP
(22) Colorado Rockies – Felix Hernandez SP
(23) Toronto BlueJays – Edwin Encarnacion 1B
(24) Seattle Mariners – Albert Pujols 1B
(25) San Fransisco Giants – Adrian Beltre 3B
(26) Oakland Athletics – Evan Longoria 3B
(27) Cincinnati Reds – Jose Reyes SS
(28) Houston Astros – David Wright 3B
(29) Detroit Tigers – Jay Bruce RF
(30) Chicago Cubs – Hanley Ramirez 3B
** (31) Minnesota Twins – Dustin Pedroia 2B
(32) Washington Nationals – David Price SP
(33) Los Angeles Angels – Ian Kinsler 2B
(34) San Diego Padres – Matt Cain SP
(35) Pittsburgh Pirates – Adam Jones CF
(36) Baltimore Orioles – Manny Machado 3B
(37) Milwaukee Brewers – Craig Kimbrel RP
(38) New York Mets – Cole Hamels SP
(39) Arizona Diamondbacks – Brett Lawrie 3B
(40) Boston Red Sox – Gio Gonzalez SP
My selection: For about three minutes, I was fully convinced that Hanley was going to fall to my spot and I was going to get the bargain of the entire draft. In the end, it was another owner’s bargain to be had, but I still grabbed a middle infielder who provides production everywhere at a very weak position. The real reason I went with Pedroia over Jones, even though I do have Jones ranked higher in almost every circumstance, is that with the roster settings, a 2B (where 20 are started) is much more valuable than an OF (where 60 are started). This is why you always need to pay attention to your settings when making draft/roster decisions – many leagues are anything but standard. [Other considerations: Adam Jones, David Price]
Best picks of the round: Albert Pujols (2.4), Hanley Ramirez (2.10)
Worst picks of the round: Edwin Encarnacion (2.3), Craig Kimbrel (2.17)
The first surprise of the draft was seeing how far Pujols was dropping. Yes, he’s aging and coming off a down year for him, but he should have been a top-15 pick, easy. However, this was quickly topped by the free fall of Hanley Ramirez – who took the Pujols situation to another level, given the depth of the league and his SS/3B eligibility. Again, I was super bummed that he went the pick before me. I have gone on record that I’m a believer in Encarnacion, but over Pujols, Longoria and Beltre? That’s a little drastic for my tastes. I don’t need to touch again on my beliefs about closers in dynasty formats. Kimbrel may be the best of them, but he still falls prey to their whims. In the fourth round, I get it, even though I certainly wouldn’t be the one doing it. In the second round, it’s sheer insanity. Saves are saves, people.
(41) Boston Red Sox – Carlos Santana C
(42) Arizona Diamondbacks – Yu Darvish SP
(43) New York Mets – Ryan Zimmerman 3B
(44) Milwaukee Brewers – Yoenis Cespedes LF
(45) Baltimore Orioles – Wil Myers RF (Party Foul)
(46) Pittsburgh Pirates – Madison Bumgarner SP
(47) San Diego Padres – Cliff Lee SP
(48) Los Angeles Angels – Billy Butler 1B
(49) Washington Nationals – Chase Headley 3B
** (50) Minnesota Twins – Allen Craig 1B
(51) Chicago Cubs – Desmond Jennings LF
(52) Detroit Tigers – Mat Latos SP
(53) Houston Astros – Zack Greinke SP
(54) Cincinnati Reds – Aroldis Chapman SP
(55) Oakland Athletics – Adrian Gonzalez 1B
(56) San Fransisco Giants – Pablo Sandoval 3B
(57) Seattle Mariners – Eric Hosmer 1B
(58) Toronto BlueJays – R.A. Dickey SP
(59) Colorado Rockies – Jered Weaver SP
(60) Texas Rangers – Brandon Morrow SP
My selection: It had to be done. Although I don’t consider myself to be in the Paul Sporer class of Allen Craig believers, I do believe he’s a top-30 type talent in a league like this, and was thrilled that he was available at Pick 50. He is a legitimate threat to hit .300 with 30 HR, 100 RBI throughout his prime, if he can just shake the nagging injuries that have plagued him a bit so far. But at this point in the draft, he doesn’t even need to do that to be a win for my team. [Other considerations: Alex Gordon, Adrian Gonzalez]
Best picks of the round: Yoenis Cespedes (3.4), Eric Hosmer (3.17)
Worst picks of the round: Aroldis Chapman (3.14), Brandon Morrow (3.20)
Cespedes is a potential stud, and for someone to get him in the third round was surprising. I had him pegged to go in the top-30, and was on the short list for my second round pick. I’m a believer in the Hosmer come back, but surprisingly, not too many owners in this league seemed to be. And to go more than 20 picks after Manny Machado? They should be taken much closer together than that. Aroldis Chapman and Brandon Morrow are two pitchers I personally like, but they are not the type of pitchers you take in the third round of a dynasty league draft. Here are the pitchers they both went before: Matt Moore, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, CC Sabathia and Adam Wainwright. It’s tough to make an argument for either one of them over a pitcher in that group (unless you’ve traveled back in time from the day that Chris Sale’s arm finally falls off).
Stay tuned for Rounds 4-6 coming later this week..
Follow me on Twitter at @dynastyguru.