By now, you are well aware that my TDG mates and I have been participating in an intense 40-round, first-year dynasty league draft called The Dynasty Guru Experts League. We’re already 34 rounds deep and the pickings are slim — we’ve recently entered the part of the draft where the CBS player universe doesn’t house all of the players we’d like to draft on our respective teams. I entered the draft with a plan to stick strictly to value, but, as you’ll see, sometimes you need to re-adjust your plan on the fly.
The first ten picks from Team Kantecki:
1.03 — Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
After Mike Trout and Bryce Harper went first and second, respectively, there wasn’t much debate at No 3. Miggy is a top-three dynasty selection no matter how you slice it. While he’s on the wrong side of 30 and will likely lose third-base eligibility after this year, Cabrera should still provide elite numbers for at least the next three seasons. Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew McCutchen entered my thoughts briefly, but I couldn’t pass up the back-to-back American League MVP.
2.38 — Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
I was both shocked and happy to watch Gomez fall into my lap late in the second round. When Rotowire’s Nick Shlain selected Edwin Encarnacion at No. 37, my decision was easy. As the only player to go 20/40 in 2013, I believe I cherry-picked the best value in the first two rounds. I expect his batting average to come down some (think .265-.270), but I’m not projecting him to fall off the cliff like some others in the industry. At 28, Gomez can provide multiple seasons with a unique combination of speed and power. If he comes close to repeating his 2013, his dynasty value will only increase.
3.43 — Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals
Not many moons ago, Strasburg was the starting pitcher everyone on either side of the Mississippi wanted to get his or her hands on. Luckily for me, injuries soured his value just enough to give me the opportunity to snatch him in the early third — he was the fourth starter drafted overall, following Clayton Kershaw (1.07), Jose Fernandez (1.17) and Yu Darvish (1.18) all went in the first round. I’m confident that Strasburg’s worst injuries are behind him, and, at 25, he’s a top-five dynasty-league starter capable of numerous 200-strikeout seasons and a Cy Young (or two).
4.78 — Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
With so many prospects flying off the board, I don’t know how Correa made it back to me in the fourth round. He’s one of the top-five offensive prospects in my estimation — Byron Buxton, Xander Bogaerts, Oscar Taveras and Javier Baez are the others — but he was the eighth prospect selected in #TDGX. I expect him to contribute as early as late 2014, with a very good chance of being a regular contributor by the start of 2015. If he sticks at the position, I have my shortstop for the next 10 years.
5.83 — Jayson Werth, OF, Washington Nationals
This wasn’t an easy decision. I’m well aware that Werth is turning 35 in May, but I desperately wanted to lock up a second outfielder capable of producing top-20 numbers in 2014. I believe there are 25 more home runs in his bat and I love the potential run production in a strong Washington lineup. It’s definitely a high-risk proposition, but one I thought was worth it. My other options included Allen Craig and Alex Gordon, but neither can match Werth’s power. We’ll see if I regret this one in time.
6.118 — Ian Kinsler, 2B, Detroit Tigers
After my Werth selection, it became obvious that I must commit to a “win-now” strategy. Kinsler fit that description perfectly, as a second baseman — a position of deep need at this point — capable of giving me 30 HR+SB. I still view Kinsler as a top-five second basemen this year, so getting him here was an absolute steal.
7.123 — Matt Adams, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
With a huge hole at first base and few starting options available (the next first baseman selected was Jonathan Singleton in the ninth round), Adams was yet again an easy choice. Making it easier is my belief that he’ll hold onto the starting job all season long, virtually guaranteeing 25 home runs in a deep St. Louis lineup from top to bottom. Adams is the breakout power bat I most highly coveted. He’s only 25 and I see multiple seasons with 25-plus dingers. He could reach 30 if everything falls right.
8.158 — Wilson Ramos, C, Washington Nationals
Maybe my favorite pick in the first ten rounds, I jumped on Ramos on the heels of the fourth highest batted-ball distance in 2013 (309.51 feet), behind only Carlos Gonzalez (313.76), Paul Goldschmidt (313.67) and Pedro Alvarez (311.36). I’m expecting a true breakout from Ramos, with upwards of 20 home runs and 70 RBI. He’s No. 16 in TDG’s Consensus Catcher Rankings, but he’s a top-10 backstop on my personal board.
9.163 — Kris Medlen, SP, Atlanta Braves
Well crap. I was applauded by my #TDGX mates for this selection, so, naturally, Medlen goes out and suffers what looks like the spring’s most serious injury. Medlen’s 2014 season is now in doubt, which really stings. He is was my No. 2 starter. So it goes.
10.198 — Carlos Martinez, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
In a 20-team dynasty league, it’s nearly impossible to pass on one of your favorite prospects and expect him to come back to you, even if his future positional value is not yet defined. The risk of losing Martinez would have soured my draft immensely, so I grabbed him while I still had the chance. As you’ll see, Martinez wouldn’t be the only smallish starter-in-limbo I would take in #TDGX. If he’s not the Cardinals’ No. 5 starter out of spring training, he should at least start the year in St. Louis’ bullpen as a high-strikeout late-inning arm with solid ratios.
Alex Kantecki also writes for Fake Teams and Vigilante Baseball. You can poke him on Twitter at @rotodealer.