Three years ago, Bret Sayre introduced the world to the Dynasty Guru Expert League. 20 teams of experts, 40 man rosters, keep forever. This year, several TDG writers and fans united with one common purpose: do something crazier. It is in this spirit that we introduce the TDG Expert Dynasty Draft-and-Hold league, aka “Draft-and-Hold On For Dear Life” aka #TDG99.
If you aren’t familiar, draft-and-hold leagues are incredibly competitive leagues that restrict transactions. There are no trades, no adds, no drops, no DL. The team you draft is the team you manage, through weekly lineups, until the end of the season. We decided to put a dynasty spin on the draft-and-hold format by expanding team rosters even deeper and tracking teams for even longer than a single season.
For our league, champions aren’t crowned in a year. Instead, each team drafted will be managed for five years with winners determined at the end of each season. In order to give everyone a decent shot at implementing a strategy that can hold up with no transactions over five years, we require incredibly deep rosters. The team you finish the draft with will be the only team you get.
The initial draft is 99 rounds. Fifteen teams, 99 rounds, 1485 players rostered in total.
We require a special brand of fantasy baseball masochist to fill a league like this. Below, in draft order, are the mix of experts, TDG readers, and weirdos in this league along with their affiliations and where you might pester them online.
- Billy Heyen, TDG, @wheyen3
- Mark Barry, Baseball Prospectus/TDG, @hoodieandtie
- Tyler Baber, TDG, @tylersnotes
- Jack Cecil, TDG, @jackcecil1
- Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus/TDG, @bretsayrebp
- Ryan Cook, Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks, @RyanCook13
- Eric Erhardt, TDG, @EricJErhardt
- Lance Brozdowski, Razzball/Big Three Sports, @LanceBrozdow
- Jesse Meehan, TDG, @JesseMeehan
- Matt Pullman, TDG, @2outwalks
- Travis Johnson, TDG, @TwinsFanTravis
- Eric Roseberry, Baseball Prospectus/Banished To The Pen, @ericroseberry
- Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball, @Ralphlifshitzbb
- Paul Monte, Dynasty Sports Empire, @3cardmonte13
- Greg Wellemeyer, Baseball Prospectus/TDG, @GregWellemeyer
The draft-and-hold format is modeled after NFBC: no transactions allowed. In order to make the format work across multiple years, some changes were made to the scoring and roster settings.
The scoring settings are 6×6: OPS has been added to the standard Batting Average, Steals, Home Runs, Runs Scored, and RBI for hitters. For pitchers, we’re using Saves+Holds and K/BB in addition to the standard Wins, ERA, K and WHIP. There was fierce debate about the potential use of Quality Starts over Wins, but the old school minds won the day.
The rosters are expanded– with so many players owned, getting the most value out of one’s roster each week is important. Active rosters include 2 catchers, 1b, 2b, SS, 3B, CI, MI, IF, 6 OF spots and 2 Util spots, along with 5 SP and 13 P spots. Benches are 64 players deep and teams can set lineups weekly.
The universe of available players is limited to guys signed within the MLB universe: no college, high school, or international player adds. In order to accommodate the churn and burn that will inevitably occur in a transaction-free league, each off season teams can drop 10 players and there will be a 10-round non-snaking supplemental draft.
A nominal buy-in was set to participate in the league, and will pay out to first and second place each year over the next five years.
At-bat and Innings-pitched minimums are set at 5000 and 1000 respectively to encourage teams to fill active rosters. In dynasty leagues, minimums can be exploited to secure the better draft pick. Since picks can’t be traded and there are few paths out of the cellar for bad teams, the first overall pick in each supplemental draft will always go to the worst team to EXCEED the minimum at-bats and innings pitched.
The Initial Draft
The initial 99-round draft is a snake draft, order was determined at random. The draft starts tomorrow (Wednesday) and will be a slow draft until it’s over (TBD). We anticipate this draft will be a helpful reference for any dynasty or keeper leagues starting up this year, and as it gets into the later rounds will become revealing as a means of evaluating rankings for super-deep leagues or ultra-fringey prospects. There are 1200 players total on Major League 40-man rosters, and 1486 players will be owned by the end of this draft.
The team one drafts will be the team one manages for the next five years. To succeed will take a mix of strategy, foresight, and luck.
You can follow the draft through the hashtag #TDG99 on twitter, or join the discussion at The Dynasty Guru Facebook group. Participants will be writing, tweeting, blogging, podcasting, and crying their thoughts on the draft as it plays out. If you’re interested in copying this format for some insane reason, you can view the constitution here.