Waiting for Spring: The Dynasty Guru’s 2019 Mock Draft
Because baseball season can never arrive soon enough, a group of eight Dynasty Guru writers came together to do an early mock draft for the 2019 season. We went twelve rounds and drafted using the following Head-to-Head categories: R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP, W, SV, K, ERA and WHIP. Lineups were Our focus, as always, was assembling a dynasty powerhouse. The Participants in our draft were:
- Keaton DeRocher: Sr. Podcaster Extraordinaire, TDG Staff’s Adopted, Large Adult Son
- EJ Fagan: Baseball Prospectus and Dynasty Guru Contributor
- Jesse Roche: The Dynasty Guru’s Sentient Prospect Database
- Patrick Magnus: Podcaster, Social Media Czar, Lives in China
- Dr. Mike Tanner: Medical Doctor, Baseball Prognosticator, and TDGx2 Runner-Up
- Jonathan Merkel: 2018 TDGx2 Champion and Hack Writer
- Jake Devereaux: Unofficial TDGx2 Champ and Dynasty Guru Podcaster
- Adam Lawler: Podcast Producer and German Marquez Enthusiast
Here are the results:
|Round||1. Keaton||2. EJ||3. Jesse||4. Patrick||5. Dr. Mike||6. Merkel||7. Jake||8. Adam|
|1 >||Mike Trout, OF, LAA||Mookie Betts, OF, BOS||Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, ATL||Jose Ramirez 3B, CLE||Bryce Harper, OF, WAS||Alex Bregman 3B/SS, HOU||Francisco Lindor, SS, CLE||Manny Machado, 3B/SS, FA|
|2 <||Trevor Story, SS, COL||Kris Bryant, OF/3b, CHC||Nolan Arenado, 3B, COL||Trea Turner SS, WAS||Christian Yelich, OF, MIL||Aaron Judge, OF NYY||Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, TOR||Juan Soto, OF, WAS|
|3 >||Blake Snell, SP, TB||Carlos Correa, SS, HOU||Andrew Benintendi, OF, BOS||Jose Altuve 2B, HOU||JD Martinez, OF, BOS||Gleyber Torres, 2B/SS NYY||Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL||Corey Seager, SS, LAD|
|4 <||Ozzie Albies, 2B, ATL||Aaron Nola, SP, PHI||Javier Baez, 2B/SS/3B, CHC||Giancarlo Stanton OF, NYY||Cody Bellinger, 1B, LAD||Rhys Hoskins, 1B/OF PHI||Chris Sale, SP, BOS||Eloy Jiménez, OF, CWS|
|5 >||Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS||Anthony Rendon, 3B, WAS||Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, LAA||Luis Severino SP, NYY||Jacob deGrom, SP, NYM||Paul Goldschmidt, 1B ARI||Max Scherzer, SP, WAS||Vícto Robles, OF, WAS|
|6<||Eugenio Suarez, 3B, CIN||Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, SDP||Corey Kluber, RHP, CLE||Trevor Bauer SP, CLE||Gerrit Cole, SP, HOU||Matt Chapman, 3B OAK||Noah Syndergarrd, SP, NYM||Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CHC|
|7 >||Walker Buehler, SP, LAD||Clayton Kershaw, SP, LAD||Adalberto Mondesi, SS, KC||Gary Sanchez, C, NYY||Carlos Carrasco, SP, CLE||Kyle Tucker, OF HOU||Whit Merrifield, 2B, KC||Joey Gallo, 1B/3B, TEX|
|8 <||Willson Contreras, C, CHC||JT Realmuto, C, MIA||Starling Marte, OF, PIT||Matt Olson 1B, OAK||Justin Verlander, SP, HOU||Mitch Haniger, OF SEA||George Springer, OF, HOU||Khris Davis, OF, OAK|
|9 >||Jose Berrios, SP, MIN||Jameson Taillon, SP, PIT||Stephen Strasburg, RHP, WAS||Yasiel Puig, OF LAD||Jose Peraza, 2B/SS, CIN||Mike Clevinger, SP CLE||Tommy Pham, OF, TB||Madison Bumgarner, SP, SF|
|10 <||Scooter Gennett, 2B, CIN||Charlie Blackmon, OF, COL||Patrick Corbin, LHP, ARI||Aaron Hicks, OF NYY||Josh Donaldson, 3B, CLE||Zack Greinke, SP ARI||Michael Conforto, OF, NYM||Germán Márquez, SP, COL|
|11 >||Eddie Rosario, OF, MIN||Matt Carpenter, INF, STL||Joey Votto, 1B, CIN||Yoan Moncada, 2B CWS||Jack Flaherty, SP, STL||Miguel Andujar, 3B NYY||James Paxton, SP, SEA||Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL|
|12 <||Travis Shaw, 2B, MIL||Forrest Whitley, SP, HOU||Nomar Mazara, OF, TEX||Rafael Devers 3B, BOS||Wander Franco, SS TB||Edwin Diaz, RP SEA||Jesus Aguilar, 1B, MIL||Kyle Freeland, SP, COL|
On Trout at 1.1: Yeah he’s still the best player in the game.
On Story at 2.8: Story has been a topic much discussed on Dynasty’s Child. While shortstop is loaded, a shortstop with 30/30 potential that’s 25 years old and calls Coors home is too much to pass up on. Is there a chance for regression? Sure, but 20/20 is still pretty impressive and I’ll bank on the upside here in Round 2.
On Snell at 3.1: I did not realize this pick was going to kick off as much discussion as it ended up doing in our draft thread. All in all, the differences between the starting pitchers at the top isn’t much, so this pick was really based on Snell’s age and the potential of top-tier production over a longer period of time than, say, Kluber/Sale/Scherzer/deGrom and the like. Not only that, Snell is still getting better. Over 61 innings pitched in the second half, he lowered his walks-per-nine by a full walk and increased his strikeouts-per-nine by a full two. We love potential, and when imagining those numbers over a full season it doesn’t seem like a stretch to take Snell as the first starting pitcher off the board.
On Albies at 4.8: Albies’ impressive display of power in his first full season resulted in his value skyrocketing this year. The guy is 20 years old with 20/20 potential at a surprisingly weak position at the keystone. I feel pretty darn good with this pick here at 33.
On Bogaerts at 5.1: I already took a shortstop in the second with Story, but this mock league set up plays two utility spots, and for dynasty purposes, I felt that Bogaerts was the best available at the pick. Adding Bogaerts gives me a fourth player that is a homers/steals dual threat which should 1) lock up a sparse category in steals, and 2) lock down a young core that contributes in just about every category.
Overall Impressions: I like my team. I was able to get one of the two or three clear top-tier players in Mookie Betts, who will provide lots of five-category support for years to come. However, I think my draft was strongest in the later rounds. Matt Carpenter, Charlie Blackmon and maybe Anthony Rendon should all have gone significantly higher in the draft. While some of them are getting old, all are still very productive players with the potential to put up first round value for at least the next few years.
My riskiest pick was definitely Carlos Correa in the third round. Correa is coming off a real down year in both real stats and Statcast’s xstats. A third round pick (especially in an eight-team league) is a large investment, and I could get burned if Correa drops off a map. That said, I believe in the talent and age. Correa hit .315/.391/.550 as recently as a year ago, and is likely to stay at shortstop for a long time. If he bounces back to his previous performance level, he is the best pick of the draft. If he performs like he did in 2018 going forward, it will be the worst pick. If he’s somewhere in between, say along the lines of Didi Gregorius in 2018, he’ll still be a solid pick in the third round.
My least favorite pick was Clayton Kershaw. I’m hoping that he ages gracefully into his 30s, putting up the inner circle Hall of Fame-like numbers that many of his recent contemporary all-time greats have done. He could also be done after this year. In hindsight, Verlander or Carrasco might have been a better use of this pick.
On Nola at 4.7: Aaron Nola is a sneaky great dynasty pitcher. His 2.37 ERA, 212 IP and 224 strikeouts in 2018 were elite. Unlike some other available young options like Luis Severino and Noah Syndergaard, he raises no alarm bells. I expect his performance to regress a little bit toward his low-3s FIP, but not too much. Best of all, Nola is still just 25 years old.
On Rendon at 5.2: I am pretty surprised that Rendon is still available here. I picked him despite being set at third with Kris Bryant (who will fill an outfield spot). He had an overlooked, but excellent, 2018 season. Rendon was top-5 in NL batting average, top-10 in slugging, and led the league in doubles despite missing a few weeks. He is one of the more reliably elite players in fantasy.
On Tatis Jr. at 6.7: At this point, I felt like my team was in pretty good shape to take a prospect, with five elite, young players on the roster. I considered Victor Robles for his potential 40+ steals but settled on Fernando Tatis Jr. Tatis held his own at Double-A at just 19 years old and looks poised to join the Acuna/Torres/Soto group of new young power hitters. I’m not sure yet where he will slot into my lineup with Correa at short, but that’s a problem for another day.
On Acuna at 1.3: At just 20 years old, Acuna Jr. dominated in his rookie season, slashing .293/.366/.552 with 26 home runs and 16 stolen bases in just 111 games. In the second half, he elevated his performance, hitting .322/.403/.625 with 19 home runs and 14 stolen bases. In fact, Acuna Jr. was the second best post-break hitter in 5×5 OBP formats, trailing only Christian Yelich. With a plus hit tool, plus-plus power, and plus speed, he is already a true five-category performer, and the sky is the limit.
On Arenado at 2.6: Another year, another .295/.370/.560 with 35+ home run season for Nolan Arenado. Over the last four seasons, he has played in 156 or more games per season, with nearly identical elite numbers. Still just 27 years old, Arenado is squarely in his prime. As he enters his final year of arbitration, however, the specter of a potential move away from Coors Field clouds his dynasty value. This past year, Arenado hit just .248/.325/.447 in away games. Even though he is still a solid hitter outside of Coors Field over the course of his career, a move away would greatly diminish his value. With that said, Colorado recently has locked up one of its stars (Blackmon) and it appears both Arenado and the Rockies want to seriously pursue an extension this offseason.
On Benintendi at 3.3: A second-half power and speed outage (.279/.343/.384 with 2 home runs and 4 stolen bases) has dampened Andrew Benintendi’s outlook. Despite his empty finish to the season, he still managed a 16/21 sophomore season with 103 runs and 87 runs batted in. Just 24 years old, Benintendi has even more upside, and could soon experience a Christian Yelich-type breakout season. Regardless, he hits in the middle of a potent lineup, should be a safe bet for several more 20/20 (give or take) seasons, and possesses a high floor for such a young player.
On Baez at 4.6: One of the top 2018 breakout stars, Javier Baez slashed .290/.326/.554 with 34 home runs, 21 stolen bases, 101 runs, and 111 runs batted in. Notably, he was remarkably consistent all year long. In addition, Baez provides incredible eligibility at second base, shortstop, and third base. Although he is a slight detriment in OBP leagues, he was still the 7th best hitter in OBP leagues last year. Turning 26 years old in December, Baez is in the middle of his prime.
On Ohtani at 5.3: On October 1st, Shohei Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery. As such, he will not pitch during the 2019 season. Nevertheless, this is a dynasty draft, and Ohtani still possesses immense long-term upside. Further, he should contribute with the bat next year. During his injury-plagued rookie season, Ohtani still placed 22nd on ESPN’s player rater. Imagine if he was fully healthy! At just 24 years old, the sky remains the limit for Ohtani. Given his talent and dual-eligibility, he could easily become a top-10 fantasy player by 2020.
On Rounds 6 – 12: The rest of the draft, I focused on high-upside bats and high-floor arms. Corey Kluber remains a steady, top-5 fantasy pitcher, though he is about to enter his age-33 season. Adalberto Mondesi trailed only Christian Yelich in performance over the last month, and hit .286/.317/.517 with 11 home runs and 27 stolen bases in just 54 second-half games. Despite being on the prospect radar seemingly forever, Mondesi is just 23 years old. With power and elite speed, he could produce similarly to Trea Turner at a far cheaper price. Of course, Mondesi will need to hit, but a floor similar to Tim Anderson with 40+ stolen bases seems reasonable. Starling Marte is a consistent 15-20 home run and 30+ stolen base producer (though, I did not realize Charlie Blackmon was available at this pick, oops!). Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin are solid, somewhat risky arms with big strikeout potential. Joey Votto is a god in OBP, except last year. Here is to hoping the end is not nigh. Nomar Mazara is mediocre, but still just 23 years old, and I believe a 30+ home run season is close at hand.
Overall Impressions: In an eight-team dynasty league, it’s tough to come out with a team you don’t like. I’ll be surprised to find a team in this draft who came out disappointed. So surprise! I love my team. I managed to land what I consider three players who are the very best at their position: Jose Ramirez, Jose Altuve, and Gary Sanchez. Fair to say, I’m pretty pleased about that. While I admire Jesse’s choice of Acuna as the third pick in the draft, I was thrilled to land Ramirez at the third pick.
Good golly, did pitching go quickly in this league! I managed to grab two players I consider aces, but it’s probably impossible not to end up with at least one in an eight-team league. While it seems ridiculous to have to say this, I do feel I have to: “Luis Severino is an ace.” Yes, that’s right, and he feels underrated in dynasty. At a mere 24 years old he’s struck out over 200 batters, and had advanced metrics to match for the last two years. Trevor Bauer is 27 and figured it all out in 2018, and even if I feel gross taking him because he’s a massive jerk, I’m stoked about the numbers he will post.
Finally, I was excited to snag two high-upside young players in Devers and Moncada towards the end of the draft. Love both these post-hype players.
Dr. Mike Tanner:
Overall Impressions: Go into the draft with a plan: that is one of the most important rules of any draft. My plan was to draft young 22-26 year-olds with a high OBP and multiple category contributions with my first three picks, pretty much ignoring position. After that, I planned to draft the best player available regardless of position or age and land at least one top-five prospect in the first 8-12 rounds. I planned to build a ‘compete now’ team so the prospect is one that I believe will be good trade bait in a year or so if I need to ‘reload.’ At my fifth pick it was either Francisco Lindor, Bryce Harper, or Alex Bregman. Last year, Harper was the consensus #2 in dynasty OBP leagues, I really considered Bregman, and Lindor is awesome, but I think we just saw his career year. Harper had the edge in OBP, pedigree, and if he signs at a favorable park, oh my! Some might argue that shortstop is a more valuable position, but that tends to vary from year to year, so in dynasty I just want the best assets.
On Yelich at 2.4: We may have just seen Yelich’s career year with an inflated HR/FB rate, but the guy is a boss, in an excellent lineup, and a great park for power. Yes, please. I also believe there is room for growth in some ways. A five-category contributor who also contributes to the OBP base I need in order to take value picks on potential risers later in the draft.
On Martinez at 3.5: Using the settings for this league in an ‘earned auction value calculator’ the only person to earn more than JD in 2018 was Mookie Betts. While he is 30, he doesn’t have as much mileage on those tires as most and as long as he is in Boston with that lineup, nothing in his profile is unsustainable in the next three years.
On Bellinger at 4.4: Bellinger hit 39 bombs as a 21-year-old. He has elite power and I’ll take the sophomore slump discount, no problem. He may play more CF in ’19, but I believe he plays enough first to qualify and anchor that position for me for the better part of the next decade.
On deGrom at 5.5: As the elite hitters thinned out I was pleased to see my SP2 in dynasty still on the board. deGrom was unbelievably unlucky in the wins category, but I’ll take the skills, durability, and profile to the bank. Yes, the 2018 Cy Young winner missed time in ’17, but his injury profile moving forward is something I am very comfortable with.
On Cole at 6.4: I debated taking Cole with my previous pick, so he was a no brainer.
On Verlander at 8.5: At this point in the draft it was time to cash in on elite players that are getting heavily discounted due to age. Remember, my team is going to be built to compete now, so the highest earning pitcher (behind Scherzer) on an excellent team, contributing in four out of five pitching categories was an obvious pick.
On Peraza at 9.5: The Peraza pick was the mistake of my draft. I like the player: he proved me wrong in ’18 and appears to be in the Reds’ plans long-term as they move Senzel to the outfield. I lacked speed, but letting Blackmon get past me here was a colossal mistake. Admittedly, being on a golf trip (and away from my rankings) didn’t exactly help.
On Picks 10 thru 12: My last three picks followed the plan I had previously laid out: highest upside while ignoring age and position for the most part. The more I read about Donaldson, the more convinced I am that the Blue Jays mishandled the situation and couldn’t get on the same page as the player. I’ll take the seven round discount in ’19 and will be buying everywhere I can. Flaherty was the best starting pitcher on my board, and Wander Franco could be the top prospect in two years and the perfect trade bait to reload if a few guys fall off due to age (Verlander).
Overall Impressions: As you can probably tell, I love drafting home run hitters. My yearly strategy is to build a team with the most power per square inch. It has been my experience that if I’m able to do this, good things tend to happen. As such, I opted for a collection of high-upside, high-floor bats to lay the foundation for this dynasty. Guys like Alex Bregman, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Rhys Hoskins, Matt Chapman, Mitch Haniger and Miguel Andujar give me a ton of solid young talent to build around. Picking Aaron Judge in the second round felt especially nice. I couldn’t help but sense that if Judge had played a full season in 2018, he’d have been chosen somewhere in the first round. His power and patience more than makes up for his swing and miss tendencies, and when he gets hot there’s almost no one better in baseball. Finally, the aging Paul Goldschmidt should have enough left in the tank to put this core over the top offensively in the short term at least.
The biggest question for my team arose after my first pick: Was it stupid to draft Alex Bregman over Francisco Lindor? Probably. Will I regret owning Bregman? I don’t really think so. I love this kid, his plate discipline, power and approach. He’s a great ball player on a great team. We’ve watched him become an MVP caliber player and he will be a dynamite dynasty asset for his entire career. And while Lindor also qualifies for each of these distinctions, I’m ok with letting him fall to Jake at seven. Bregman was my guy here.
As for my pitching, or lack thereof, I’m still feeling confident. Mike Clevinger was probably a surprising name to see as my first pitcher selected, but he put up top tier numbers by throwing for 200 innings with a strikeout-per-nine over 9.00 and very reasonable walk totals. He also had the 12.0% swinging strike rate to back it up. Zack Greinke, like Goldschmidt, provided me with a solid veteran piece. His role would be to provide some stability to my pitching staff while I develop younger arms behind him. Edwin Diaz as my final pick may have been aggressive as a reliever pick, but I love this kid. His strikeouts are unreal as are his ratios. Wherever he plays in 2019, he’s going to bring it. I’ll be happy to have him piling up punchouts and saves for my team.
Overall Impressions: Having the seventh selection in the draft, I wasn’t banking on being able to end up with a guy like Francisco Lindor. I anticipated that it would go Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and then Jose Ramirez as the consensus top three. I figured Lindor would go right after those three, so when I had a chance to take the number one shortstop in baseball entering his age-25-season I needed to pounce. Establishing myself a franchise player at a premium position was very important and allowed me to make an aggressive second selection by choosing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to be my third baseman. These two generational studs will be my core for years to come.
Following those selections I began to build my team with gobs of premium talent including my number one dynasty first baseman Freddie Freeman, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, and Noah Syndergaard. While it may seem risky to draft three pitchers in a row, all three of those players are set to return much more value than similarly ranked position players. Take any advantages where you can get them. I again shot for a premium position player at second base with Whit Merrifield, my second ranked dynasty option. I feel he is the safest elite second basemen in fantasy right now and speed is at a premium.
With outfield being so shallow right now my next three selections were George Springer, Tommy Pham, and Michael Conforto. The commonality with nearly all of my sections was high ceiling, in their prime, at positions that I felt were very shallow. Scherzer was the only player to buck the trend of young guys, but I feel pitchers of his caliber don’t follow the normal rules of aging. He sure has shown no signs of slowing down.
On Machado at 1.8: Yes, shortstop is the deepest it’s ever been. Yes, there are legitimate arguments that Francisco Lindor is better than Manny. However, the proximity between Machado and Turner/Correa is widening. It’s impossible not to believe in the prospect of Manny succeeding wherever he goes as he enters his age-27 season.
On Soto at 2.1: Mountains of digital ink have been spilled attesting to his greatness. What can I say that hasn’t been said? He’s 19. He’s ultra-talented. In about 10 years, when Bryce Harper is nearly 35 and Soto is entering his prime, Nationals fans are going to look at Dr. Mike’s fifth pick and say, “Who? Oh yeah, that guy that did some cool stuff at that one HR derby? Yeah, his entire career was almost as good as Juan Soto has been in the first decade.”
On Seager at 3.8: Another round, another shortstop. What can I say? I like what I like. It wasn’t too long ago that Jesse Roche listed Seager as #10 on his top 500 list. Sure, the Tommy John is less than ideal, but that didn’t stop the Merk with the Mouth from drafting Gleyber a few picks before me. I’m no doctor, and maybe I need to consult Dr. Mike, but “arthroscopic hip surgery” can be a wide range of things with varying degrees of impact. All the reports I’ve read say that Seager will be back for spring training. Maybe he needs routine days off, but who doesn’t nowadays? He’s entering his age-25 season with plenty of gas in the tank. I feel lucky to grab a potential MVP candidate this late in the game.
On Jimenez at 4.1: Noticing a trend here? Young shortstop, younger outfielder. Power for days. Success at every level. ETA to Chicago early 2019. Yep. Pretty thrilled with my team thus far.