New Dynasty League Draft Part IV: Slow Drafting during a Pandemic-Rounds 5 and 6
Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic
Hope everyone is being safe and staying healthy out there. I joined a new Dynasty league in late March with 16 teams, and 65 roster spots (30 majors, 35 minors) and decided to write about it in real-time. So you will be reading some of my decisions/conundrums/snipes that were happening during the draft. Find Part I here, Part II here, and Part III here. We are up to two rounds a post so read on and enjoy!
For ease here is the league setup:
Categories: Hitters: R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OPS Pitchers: K, K/BB, ERA, WHIP, W+QS, SVx2+H
Rosters: MLB: Starters: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 4 OF, 2 UTIL, 9 SP; 10 Bench; 35 Minor League Roster
Two notes: In parentheses is the ranking from our March Top 500 Dynasty list. If I do not mention the team in question’s prior picks, they are following in italics.
Part III ended with my team adding Adalberto Mondesi in the Fourth Round to a team consisting of Acuna Jr., Freeman, and Rendon. A starting pitcher in the top two tiers is still needed, and I was left considering Gallen, Corbin, Berrios, Kershaw, and Bauer. Without further suspense, the first pick of the fifth round was Patrick Corbin (67). Now that I have my staff ace I can take a breather on pitching for a few rounds.
Pick 66 Zac Gallen (97) Tremendous Upside Potential here. A reach by our March rankings, I could see Gallen making some strides by our next Top 500 list. Two SP in a team’s first five picks is too much pitching for me as a lot of really good hitters are still on the board, especially the one at pick 71 who would have looked great on this team. Already drafted: Cody Bellinger, Gavin Lux, Austin Meadows, Brandon Woodruff.
Pick 67 DJ LeMahieu (165) New winner of biggest reach, he was drafted in this league almost 100 spots higher than we ranked him. I agree with our rankings especially since if he doesn’t get a ton of counting stats his value drops considerably. A high average also helps much more in roto leagues than H2H. This felt like this pick “checked the box” for a second baseman on this team. Already drafted: Mike Trout, Jack Flaherty, JD Martinez, Joey Gallo.
Pick 68 Josh Hader (95) Of course a lot depends on set-up and since the category is Saves x 2 + Holds closers are doubly as valuable as hold-producing middle relievers. Still, drafting a closer in the top 100 of a new Dynasty draft is unnecessary, even if he’s the best one. My two least favorite picks back to back. Already drafted: Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani, Corey Seager, Aaron Nola.
Pick 69 Starling Marte (65) Entering his age 31 season, Marte’s steals are declining, homers are up, and he is coming off his best season for batting average (.297) and OPS (.845). Moving to a better lineup I would expect the trend of fewer steals and more homers to continue, albeit slightly for both. A good addition to this team ready to compete. Already drafted: Christian Yelich, Shane Bieber, Aaron Judge, Justin Verlander.
Pick 70 Kyle Tucker (92) So torn on Tucker because of playing time (or lack thereof) and lackluster MLB stats so far, but the pedigree of a top prospect is still there. This is a good spot for him to get drafted by a team where he is suited (upside). I would much rather have had the next guy, but this team already had Moncada so it is understandable. Already drafted: Fernando Tatis Jr., Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Kris Bryant.
Pick 71 Matt Chapman (49) Great value here and Chapman is a player that can make the leap to being a second rounder going forward. Already drafted: Mookie Betts, Bo Bichette, Jo Adell, Stephen Strasburg.
Pick 72 Jeff McNeil (99) I don’t know how I feel about McNeil. He was on and off waiver wire until midseason last season and then he turned it up by adding power when one thought there was none. Is that due to juiced ball? Based on his minors numbers last season was his best as a professional, and maybe at 28-years-old he figured it all out and then some, but I am not buying it. For this team he really does not fit the youth movement of Robert, Guerrero Jr., Luzardo and Hiura, so it is a head scratching pick.
Pick 73 Josh Bell (57) While Bell had a subpar second half of last season after a monster first half, seems like most forgot about the first half. I am a first half believer, and thus love this pick here. This team can compete sooner and later. Already drafted: Francisco Lindor, Gleybar Torres, Chris Paddack, Tyler Glasnow.
Pick 74 Dylan Carlson (82) With all the other prospects taken thus far, Carlson not going higher surprised me. He was having a big spring and could start this season in the Cardinals outfield. There will be growing pains of course but the upside is worth it at this pick number. Not for this team though as he is the #1 OF on a team with Albies, Devers, Bogaerts, and Snell when really good veteran hitters are still available, for example the guy taken next.
Pick 75 Anthony Rizzo (64) It has become apparent to me that age 30 is the breaking point for most of this league. If a guy is over 30, he’s going to go lower than we have him ranked. Rizzo is and has been one of the most consistent first baseman, nay, hitters in fantasy the past few years. Why would he fall off at 30? For the next few seasons he’ll continue his high floor production, with some steals even possible as a bonus. This team has a playoff-making offense already and an ace. Already drafted: Alex Bregman, Bryce Harper, Ketel Marte, Lucas Giolito.
Pick 76 Nate Pearson (172) Big fan of the big (6’6, 240 lbs.) Pearson but he is somewhat divisive in the fantasy community. Some say he is best suited to be a top reliever while others see him as a number two or three starter. He is in the group of minor league pitchers after Gore which includes Puk, Mize, Manning, Whitley, Kopech and McKay. Most likely this team could have taken any of that group with their next pick. After drafting Gerrit Cole, Jose Ramirez, Javier Baez this team went with Gore and Pearson for its past two picks. This is a team going in two different directions at this point in the draft which can make it much harder in the long run. Both Gore and Pearson are trade pieces though, and moving either would bring back a good haul, but this team could have drafted hitting studs instead. Just unsure as to the strategy here.
Pick 77 Julio Rodriguez (51) Although a top ten prospect, being only 19 I can only assume is why he went after some other prospects. This team is going youth and prospect heavy; they have chosen they want to build for the future and their picks support the plan. We will come back to this idea later. Already drafted: Wander Franco, Yordan Alvarez, Victor Robles, Mike Soroka.
Pick 78 JT Realmuto (70) Was considering Realmuto with my next pick but probably would have passed as punting catcher is a typical snake draft move for me. Realmuto should only be drafted by a team looking to win now and he was. Already drafted: Pete Alonso, Trea Turner, Max Scherzer, Luis Castillo.
Pick 79 Max Muncy (105) He should play every day for the Dodgers, is only 29, and deserves to be in the discussion for top second baseman in fantasy. Though maybe I am alone in that sentiment, as he goes 28 picks sooner than we have him ranked, and well after the top group. Three position eligibility with power you can depend on and a great lineup for counting stats? Sign me up. Already drafted: Trevor Story, Walker Buehler, Matt Olson, Manny Machado.
Pick 80 Tim Anderson (88) Tim Anderson is one boring name (while his personality is anything but). A four-year vet at age 26, this former first round pick is entering his prime while being overshadowed by all the sexier shortstops. In 2018 he had a 20-home run, 26-steal affair followed that up in 2019 with 18 home runs, 17 steals and a .335 average. Once the White Sox offense takes off and his runs and RBI are in the 90s everyone will want in. Already drafted: Jacob deGrom, Nolan Arenado, Mike Clevinger, Jose Altuve.
Pick 81 Jose Berrios (93) This team is really looking to win the starting pitcher categories with deGrom and Clevinger already taken. If this team wants to compete it needs more hitters. Passing on guys like Laureano, Correa, Hoskins, Springer, Conforto (all guys who went later in this round) for Berrios is inexcusable in team building (see the Vaughn blurb just inches below). Already drafted: Jacob deGrom, Nolan Arenado, Mike Clevinger, Jose Altuve, Tim Anderson.
Pick 82 Ramon Laureano (83), Pick 83 Charlie Blackmon (78) One outfielder on the rise, the other on the decline. Laureano more than likely will not reach Blackmon’s career heights though should surpass him in stats starting next season. Both went to teams looking to win now.
Pick 84 Julio Urias (159) The biggest reaches in the draft so far, when compared to our list here at the Dynasty Guru, have been pitchers (except DJ LeMahieu because…I have no earthy idea). Interestingly enough, pitchers are much more volatile, prone to long injuries, etc. so I will not be risking my team on them (as you will continue to see as you read on) and I do not recommend you do either. Does not mean I am not a fan of Urias (I am) or that he does not fit this dynasty team (he does). Already drafted: Wander Franco, Yordan Alvarez, Victor Robles, Mike Soroka, Julio Rodriguez.
Pick 85 Andrew Vaughn (81) Best first base prospect in minors. Fine pick here (in a vacuum. My favorite take away from writing this piece is that team construction is of the utmost importance. So getting to see how others construct their roster helps me (and you readers out there) in my other dynasty leagues, while also making me a better player, writer, and analyst. It is what Michael Scott calls a win, win, win. This team is now evenly three stud MLBers and three stud MiLBers. I implore you not to do not do this in your first year Dynasty League drafts. Pick a way to go, either win now or later and draft accordingly. Simply cannot do both and expect to win, now or later, unless you win every trade and not on every future draft pick. Already drafted: Gerrit Cole, Jose Ramirez, Javier Baez, MacKenzie Gore, Nate Pearson.
Pick 86 Frankie Montas (147) As my pick approaches, I have not been sniped yet, phew. There is still a lot of MLB quality talent, and using our own rankings from March 2020 the top remaining players are: George Springer, Carlos Correa, Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew Benintendi, Jonathan Villar, and Michael Conforto. Not ready to jump in on the prospect market as too many are still available and a big part of going with a win now strategy is letting prospects go. It can be harder than one realizes, though, as I see the remaining group of Mize, Whitley, McKay, Manning, Patino, May, Howard, Kopech, and Puk as all guys I want on my team. Only the last four may help in the upcoming season though, so they are the only ones I would consider and not for a few rounds, when most likely they would be gone. C’est la vie. Already drafted: Alex Bregman, Bryce Harper, Ketel Marte, Lucas Giolito, Anthony Rizzo.
Pick 87 Gary Sanchez (77) After the oddly fitting Carlson pick this team is back on the “win-now” train. Already drafted: Rafael Devers, Ozzie Albies, Xander Bogaerts, Dylan Carlson.
Pick 88 Carlos Correa (38) My comment on the message board was “I was just about to start talking myself into Correa…” and in all honesty in would not have been a long conversation. At this point in the draft, he is absolutely worth it. He went to a team with Lindor already, so is not needed at shortstop and could even consider moving Lindor to shore up another position. Already drafted: Francisco Lindor, Gleybar Torres, Chris Paddack, Tyler Glasnow.
Pick 89 Rhys Hoskins (85) A great value as if we were drafting before the 2019 season he would’ve gone much higher. A bounce back is coming as he finished second in the league in walks last season (and probably would’ve finished first if not for the guy who finished in first knowing the next pitch). Already drafted: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Luis Robert, Keston Hiura, Jesus Luzardo, Jeff McNeil.
Pick 90 Max Fried (127) Fried compliments Strasburg well, though with the hitters still available Fried most likely would have made it back around. Already drafted: Mookie Betts, Bo Bichette, Jo Adell, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Chapman.
Pick 91 Jarred Kelenic (94) Right about where we thought he would go. Already drafted: Fernando Tatis Jr., Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Kris Bryant, Kyle Tucker.
Pick 92 Clayton Kershaw (123) I was contemplating taking Kershaw with my pick but a little too early for my taste. Now I am laser focused on OFs, namely Soler, Conforto, and Springer. Springer has dropped a lot, the curse of the Astros upon him. This team also really did not need Kershaw. Already drafted: Christian Yelich, Shane Bieber, Aaron Judge, Justin Verlander, Starling Marte.
Pick 93 Eugenio Suarez (55) Not getting near enough love, Suarez is ending up on many of my yearly teams, as he hit 49 homers last season. That’s right, 49 and he won’t turn 29 until June. This team totally redeems themselves from the Hader pick last round. Already drafted: Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani, Corey Seager, Aaron Nola, Josh Hader.
Pick 94 Trevor Bauer (87) A lot of teams are taking their number two starters, and here is another one doing the same. Already drafted: Mike Trout, Jack Flaherty, JD Martinez, Joey Gallo, DJ LeMahieu.
Pick 95 Michael Conforto (73) Glad I did not have to choose between the three. Conforto, like Soler and Springer, is another guy who will have power whether or not ball is juiced. Love all three for OPS leagues. Already drafted: Cody Bellinger, Gavin Lux, Austin Meadows, Brandon Woodruff, Zac Gallen.
Pick 96 George Springer (47) I could not be happier with getting Springer here at the end of the sixth round. Even if he is 30 and coming off the cheating scandal, he still is going to hit atop a killer lineup for a few more seasons. Already drafted: Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rendon, Adalberto Mondesi, Patrick Corbin.
As the band starts to play me off for going over time, there is still plenty more of the Covid-19 2020 First Year Dynasty Draft coming, so keep an eye out!