New Dynasty League Draft Part I: Slow Drafting during a Pandemic- Round 1
Are you starved for baseball content? Of COURSE you are! Well come on over and draft vicariously through our own Phil Barrington, who just joined a new start-up dynasty league. – Ian Hudson, Baseball Editor
Staring out the window, waiting for
Like many of us, I used to check my phone all the time for all sorts of things, one of those being baseball. Dynasty articles, trade rumors, rankings, mock drafts, prospect lists, any posts on my favorite sites would be consumed. Until two weeks ago, when our office was closed and I was sent to work from home. Baseball was postponed and no one seems to have a handle on if or when it will return. My interest in baseball dropped to nil. At the time I was planning for multiple drafts, thinking of what players I wanted to write about, assessing my Dynasty teams, and signing up for the MLB.tv package.
All drafts had been postponed, but at least my home league keeper draft was coming up, and I hoped that would re-ignite my interest. As I am the commissioner I was emailing and texting making sure everyone paid and knew the draft was coming. As I entered all my values I felt the want for baseball creeping back in. I asked everyone to get to the room 15 minutes early so we could discuss how we would proceed about when the season would start, and if we would have one at all. Weirdly enough, when I tried to log-in on my computer the draft would not load. Within two minutes I am getting texts, emails, even a call about how people cannot log-in. After waiting for thirty minutes we gave up. Funnily enough, the draft went on auto-pick and completed in 20 minutes. I emailed the host site and they apologized, which did us no good. So we decided to table the draft, and my interest went back to nil.
Lo and behold, a message comes from a league mate from another league asking to join a new 16-team, Head-to-Head Dynasty league. I immediately said yes. A channel was set up and since we are all at home it was active from the get-go. I was the fifth team to join. Within 48 hours we had the league full, everyone paid, and the 65-round slow draft began. So while we have the time, and I have in the inclination, I am going to be posting on each pick, for as long as I can. I feel a little like the musician Sufjan Stevens, who if you did not know attempted to write an album about each state, which is insane on its face, but a great marketing ploy*. While I am not promising anything near as creative, I will try to do individual picks as long as I can, and eventually, move to more summary as the draft gets into the later rounds.
*[ he ended up only doing two albums, so I’m really hoping this doesn’t similarly fizzle out, Phil.- Ed.]
Categories: Hitters: R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OPS Pitchers: K, K/BB, ERA, WHIP, W+QS, SVx2+H
Rosters: Starters: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 4 OF, 2 UTIL, 9 SP; 10 Bench
Overall, 30 players is not a lot for a Dynasty league roster, but add in 35 minor league spots and hoo boy, this is going to be fun!
Since my interest had been waning I had not updated my rankings for a bit. Once I knew the draft was going to start quickly I spent the one night before reviewing our March 2020 list, tweaking rankings and adding prospects to my draft list. At midnight I gave in and went to bed. Christmas came early and when I woke up in the morning the first pick was my gift. For the last few seasons, I have taken over Dynasty teams in already formed leagues and see what I can do with them. When joining a new league, deciding if you can compete in the short term or build for the long term, is step one. My strategy is to try and win year one, especially since I have the first pick.
I did not expect the first pick (as it has been about 15 years since I’ve gotten the first pick in any league type) so I was actually giddy (as a grown man writing that feels silly, but that is how I felt, so I’ll own it). I had not even thought of the possibility of choosing between Mike Trout, Ronald Acuna Jr. or Christian Yelich. Categories are always important to consider (and will be touched on in Part 2) but all three guys in most formats are the top three choices.
I will not keep you in suspense long; Ronald Acuna Jr.(1) was my choice. Internal debate led to see what the rest of the interwebs were saying; while Trout was more chosen and I do like him (I have seen him hit a half dozen home runs live in my time living in southern California) I like Acuna Jr. slightly more for Dynasty leagues. Since I knew I was going to be a veteran (read over 30) team, Acuna would be such a large trade piece in future seasons that I could rebuild more quickly if needed.
Pick 2: Cody Bellinger (6). This is why I love real, money league drafting; you can read about mock after mock (and I have) and it is typically the same top three. Not here, not now. While sixth overall on our spring 2020 list; it’s hard to argue against the 24-year-old Bellinger being a Dynasty cornerstone for years, so I will not.
Pick 3: Mike Trout (3). Number three overall on our list, and he goes third overall here. Fair enough.
Pick 4: Juan Soto (2). Similar to Acuna Jr., what is his ceiling? Could he hit .400? Why not? The only thing it appears he will not do in great numbers is steal bases, hence him being behind Acuna Jr. on our list.
Pick 5: Christian Yelich (4). A great start for a team that was lucky he fell a bit; he could have gone at pick two.
Pick 6: Fernando Tatis Jr. (10). The first pick that made me go “wow.” While I love the risk/reward of this pick, I would not have chosen him before Lindor or Story at shortstop. While Tatis is sexy, those other guys are in their prime. Now Phil, you say, didn’t you just argue the opposite for picking Acuna Jr. over Trout? A comparison could be made, sure. However Lindor and Story will both steal bases, hit more home runs and should have a better average and OPS over the next three seasons (the typical look-ahead period for dynasty). I still love Tatis and could see him going in the first round, just a bit later.
Pick 7: Mookie Betts (5). Cannot argue with this pick; I’m a big fan of Betts. Do not understand why the shine is wearing off. Normally if a top-five player gets traded from one of the biggest franchises on the east coast to the biggest franchises on the west his value (perceived, at minimum) goes up. Maybe it is more a testament to the other guys at the tippy top.
Pick 8: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (13). Another “wow” pick. I love Guerrero as he could hit 60+ home runs; think some of those Sammy Sosa seasons as a possible ceiling. Just hard to choose him over Devers, Bregman, and Arenado at pick eight.
Pick 9: Francisco Lindor (7). Love Lindor like I love eating lindor truffles. Would have taken him sixth.
Pick 10: Rafael Devers (12). A great pick here as his upside is also immense. We are really lucky as baseball fans with how many young baseball players are in the league right now, with seemingly immeasurable peaks. Do not let any pundit or writer tell you they know the peak of Devers, Acuna Jr. Soto, etc. They don’t, so draft them as such.
Pick 11: Alex Bregman (8). An unpopular pick, as no one is a big fan of Bregman right now. Before the cheating scandal, he came off as a guy who really loved baseball, which is why it was such a surprise he so blatantly cheated, along with the others. Still, the guy can rake, is in his prime, and qualifies at SS and 3B.
Pick 12: Gerrit Cole (14). Only 29, Cole is a great pick based on the categories. QS+W is built for him to dominate, as is K/BB and the other major SP categories. However, as I lean toward elite hitters over elite pitchers, I still would have chosen Devers, Arenado or Story here.
Pick 13: Wander Franco (21). I was not expecting him to make it out of the second round but it is simply too early for an 18-year-old, regardless of his future value, with guys like Turner, Story, and Arenado still on the table. Prospectors going to prospect.
Pick 14: Trea Turner (9). Using our rankings this is great value as the 27-year-old Turner should not slow his wheels for the next few seasons.
Pick 15: Trevor Story (11). Love this pick. Story plays in Colorado at a currently deep position but that shouldn’t deter anyone from grabbing him earlier than this.
Pick 16: Jacob deGrom (22). Every top pitcher that goes earlier than our rankings is attributable to league setup, or at least that is what I am going with, as you will see in Part 2.
So that is round one; I’d love to hear how some of you would have drafted instead. Do you agree with my assessments, and our rankings here at the Dynasty Guru? Let me know in the comments!