Abandon Ship on Your Upcoming Dynasty Draft

In dynasty we are always looking for the next great thing to build around, constantly attempting to produce a franchise cornerstone. Unfortunately, the 2018 draft is not looking like the place to do that kind of shopping for your team. I’ll profile a few of the 2018 players, but the key here is to read this through to the end.

This years draft is rich on pitching. They are coming from both the high school and college side, but for the most part, pitching prospects are red flags. To prove my point here are some of the previous years top college and prep arms according to mlb.com, and how they’ve looked so far as pros:

  • 2016
    • AJ Puk, Florida – inconsistent mechanics have him walking tons of hitters, bad body makes it difficult to imagine he has a long peak or career. Presently is striking out and walking 47.7 of all hitters he faces.
    • Jason Groome, New Jersey- lat injury, yet to play.
  • 2015
    • Carson Fulmer, Vanderbilt- strikeout rate has dropped in his last 5 professional stops, small body arms typically end up being relegated to the pen.
    • Ashe Russell, Indiana -yet to pitch this year after being left in extended spring to work on mechanical adjustments, has been awful in his small sample of innings he has accrued.
  • 2014
    • Brady Aiken – hasn’t show the power or control he had pre Tommy John surgery
    • Carlos Rodon – legitimate strikeout arm, presently hurt, but has ace potential
  • 2013
    • Mark Appel – a nuclear disaster in prospect form.
    • Kohl Stewart – has repulsed his owners by watching his K/9 drop year after year, while seeing his walk rates increase.
  • 2012
    • Mark Appel/Kyle Zimmer – remember when the Pirates drafted Appel? Zimmer’s arm is now held on with old tape and crusty old sun dried rubber bands.
    • Max Fried – strong pitching prospect


So the best pitching from high school and college over the past 5 drafts are not looking great. This conforms with the idea that pitching prospects fail at a high rate, and the upcoming arms that litter your next draft player pool match that statement.

According to MLB.com 5 of the top 10 draft prospects are pitchers, with one of those also being a first baseman (Brandon McKay). Thirteen of the top 20 are pitchers. Baseball America has six of the top 10 being pitchers, and 11 of the top 20 being arms. Now if you’re coming in dead last and you are hoping that you can potentially get Shohei Otani, if he comes over, that pick is worth it since he Japanese success has already shown us his risk is much lower than the standard pitching prospect. But here are the top college arms:

  • Brandon McKay – does not have a power fastball to build around, nor is he built with the physique to be an ace, but more a reliable mid rotation arm. He also has top 10 talent as a first baseman, so collectively, we all must pray that whomever takes him, lets him hit.
  • Kyle Wright- has legitimate first round talent, with big a big body, and a matching big arm. The problem is he hasn’t thrown strikes enough, and he’s been more hittable than scouting reports would have expected. Inconsistency is not a great attribute for a first rounder.
  • J.B. Bukauskas – has had the best results of the three, but stands only 6ft tall and is already being referred to as a potential reliever.

The other two pitchers from the top 10 are from high school:

  • Hunter Greene – the highest profile arm in the draft. He has a 100MPH fastball, and the body of an ace pitcher. He also has a strong bat. Super power arms seem like the they should be able to overcome the issues high school pitchers have, but their history states otherwise.
  • MacKenzie Gore – a polished left handed pitcher, who is under consideration for the #1 overall pick. Lacks the size of a true ace, but has shown wonderful command and stuff so far.


So the picture is bleak, the high school arms seem promising (they always do), however we’ve learned this is the riskiest investment of them all. The college arms have warts, with McKay hopefully being drafted for his plus bat. The top bats aren’t flashing the across the board tools you’re looking for with a top pick. Those bats are the following players:

  • Jeren Kendall – a very fast plus defensive CF with a very questionable hit tool and solid power. He’s ran into his fair share of homers this year, but his slight build doesn’t give the confidence that you’re likely looking for when you want early round power at the next level. Unfortunately, with his more powerful approach he’s shown this year, he’s also shown more swing and miss than you want to see in a top of the order bat. He recently was called a 30 grade bat by Eric Longenhagen.
  • Royce Lewis – almost a carbon copy of Kendall but at the high school level. A potentially faster, lower power defense first OF. At the high school level its harder to grade his bat, but it seems legitimate.
  • Pavin Smith – a first baseman who has shown the most with the bat out of all the bat only players in this years class. Smith has struck out 7 times in 183 AB. He has a lot of body to try and fill out, but a fairly skinny 1B could be the most promising bat in this years draft.
  • Austin Beck – an outfielder from North Carolina who has shown a lot of promise, but against lesser competition due to injury. He has power, but the lack of concrete knowledge means you’re going to have to have an eye on his every move in rookie ball before drafts.
  • Nick Pratto – a hit first high school first baseman, who has started showing some pop this year. Again not the sexiest profile.

But 1000 negative words are quite enough, the reason for this article is not to bash the class of 2017 as it may have seemed, but to shine light upon the glorious class of 2018 that we have to look forward too, and the two main bats that it will gift us:

  • Luken Baker- Baker is a monstrosity in the batters box, he stands 6’4” 270 lbs. Right now, in his sophomore year, he’s hitting .324/.463/.538. He pounds balls to all fields, and has shown a patient eye. More impressive, his plate discipline has allowed him to walk 38 times, while striking out only 33 times. It’s hard to put how much you’re going to want this guy into words when he becomes draft eligible. For those of you concerned with track record he was actually slightly better in his freshman year, where he put up a 1.060 OPS. Additionally, during his freshman year he was also closing, because he throws 90 MPH, and before entering college he was the blonde monster you remember winning the Under Armour home run derby at Wrigley Field. Baker is the cream of the crop, when it comes to getting cornerstone impact fantasy on your team.
  • Seth Beer – The Clemson 1B/LF is hot on Baker’s tail when it comes to being the most impressive bat in next years class. The chiseled lefty stands 6’3 210 lbs, and has been belting baseballs left and right this year. Admittedly, I fell in love with Beer first last year when he produced a .369/.535/.700 triple slash, but this years downturn to .283/.458./.610 is yet another monster campaign from the smooth swinging lefty. Similar to Baker he also has quite an astute eye, which leads to him having 46 BB with only 24K.

These hitters check the boxes that Brandon McKay checks, plus more. If you are trying to get players who can separate themselves from the rest of the field, that’s not going to be happening this offseason. So if you can move picks, flip them while you can and stock up for 2018, that’s when the studs are coming.

The Author

Jack Cecil

Jack Cecil

Jack Cecil is an extravagant baller who lives a lifestyle you can only dream of. After a childhood spent on the streets, he moved some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, and where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. In his leisure time, he enjoys watching a baseball game or two, its possible he watched 337 full games at work in 2016...


  1. The Diesel
    May 10, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Those top pitching prospects that you mentioned are not necessarily the top talents from their drafts. There was talent in the first round of those drafts, just not in the form of your choices. Dynasty owners have the advantage of not needing to worry about cost-saving selections and many have the benefit of a half season of pro debut to look at. As you briefly mentioned, there could be some high-end IFA talent as well. The year ahead always looks better than the current one!

    • May 12, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      “the previous years top college and prep arms according to mlb.com,” Those weren’t cost saving selections or even personal choices, those were the players Jim Callis and Jon Mayo viewed as the best HS and College arms in their respective drafts.

  2. Walt
    May 12, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Otani is the key. If he is available then there is a cornerstone with the first pick in a dynasty draft.

  3. The deisel
    May 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Fair enough. I have been doing dynasty drafts for a decade and at no point would I have considered drafting most of those players very highly. We dynasty folk have the benefit of a debut – we dont need to dwell on the whiffs of mlb.com. Just saying that is not a fair way to judge the talent pool. It would be more genuine if you picked out the actual top players today. Prep arms always look embarrassing in retrospect.

    • May 14, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      While what you are saying is true for your leagues, plenty of dynasties draft right after the MLB draft, so the leeway you suggest doesn’t exist for all. Second, I agree that high school pitchers are a wild card, but considering the draft breaks down to high school and college position players and pitchers, and in our SP rankings the #1 (Kershaw), 2 (Syndergaard), and 4 (Bumgarner) pitchers were high school guys, high school arms may be a necessary evil because of their high risk/high reward nature. Obviously I am cherry picking since their presence on the list falls off after that.

      But truth be told, I watch college games every single day. The talent from college alone is not enticing as the best bat may be drafted as a reliable mid rotation arm. The best bats are either enticing on the statistical research side, or the scouting side, there isn’t anyone that really fills out both of those types of research. The high school bats are obviously still an unknown, but Royce Lewis hasn’t lit up the scene as you’d hope for the top HS bat, Austin Beck (my personal favorite) hasn’t played anyone talented because of his issues with injuries and Nick Pratto is a HS 1B. My main mantra has always been to build a fantasy team with offense first, and this draft doesn’t have the depth at offense, or a super high ceiling guy I can dream on. Following that with everything I covered in the article (screw pitching and this draft doesn’t really have any true aces) I think it’s a smart idea to move on from this years draft crop unless we find out Otani is coming, which I doubt, and start planning for the upcoming draft that has two star potential hitters already.

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