New Dynasty League Draft Part V: Slow Drafting during a Pandemic-Round 7
Welcome, welcome, welcome! 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, Part III here, and Part IV here. Read on to see how round seven progressed and after that, some more team-building fun.
But first, 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.
Pick 97 Jorge Soler (75) He should be a full-time DH, let’s be clear, though as he is only 28 years old, he will continue to play the outfield occasionally, which is good for us fantasy players. He actually was used as an example of the juiced ball in a recent league chat, because 48 homers, while leading the league, must have been due to the juiced ball. For proof, a league-mate brought up his career stats before last season in 307 games he hit 38 homers, which could point to last season as an outlier (and/or juiced ball). However, this is where his career big league career numbers, which for Soler are split over five seasons, do not accurately convey his stats, as injuries and minor league stints over all those seasons combined to not tell the whole story.
His 2018 injury was a big set back for him but finally healthy he had his best season at age 27 and showed improvement in every major power stat. Soler’s contract is up in 2021 so he very well may be traded to a better team and/or a better park. Should have gone higher with the format being OPS. Already drafted: Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rendon, Adalberto Mondesi, Patrick Corbin, George Springer.
Pick 98 Eddie Rosario (89) Big Rosario fan going into this season, and while he derived a good amount of value on counting stats last year, the Twins offense has only improved around him. This team is coming together nicely. Already drafted: Cody Bellinger, Gavin Lux, Austin Meadows, Brandon Woodruff, Zac Gallen, Michael Conforto.
Pick 99 Roberto Osuna (116) As you may (or may not) have missed, Saves x 2 + Holds is one category, so a stud closer has a lot of value. In a first-year dynasty my personal preference is to pass on closers for the most part (I’ll have to take one eventually) and go after holds guys much later. Each team has at least 2-3 guys that could be closers and should provide holds and a decent K/BB weekly. Always make sure to know your league setup, as if you are in one that awards no points for holds your strategy would be much different. Having to wait so long to pick again means that this is either getting ahead of the inevitable closer run or passing on a lot of good-to-great hitters still left. Already drafted: Mike Trout, Jack Flaherty, JD Martinez, Joey Gallo, DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Bauer.
Pick 100 Giancarlo Stanton (53) The Suarez pick before and this one shows there’s always value in taking guys that drop. Stanton is now at 30, and usually, a human’s health does not improve past that age, which is why he dropped so far. Not sure this team can take the risk of Stanton but the value cannot be beaten. Already drafted: Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani, Corey Seager, Aaron Nola, Josh Hader, Eugenio Suarez.
Pick 101 Andrew Benintendi (68) Another value pick by a team where he fits well. I did not realize I would join a league where everyone felt as blah as I do about Benintendi. This was one more sign this league has a chance to be special. Already drafted: Christian Yelich, Shane Bieber, Aaron Judge, Justin Verlander, Starling Marte, Clayton Kershaw.
Pick 102 Michael Kopech (179) Team upside continues its collecting (Kris Bryant notwithstanding). We had Kopech much lower but a consistent theme throughout this draft is starting pitchers going higher than we ranked them. Something to think about if you approaching a First-Year Dynasty draft, meaning if you start to see starters going earlier than we have them ranked, adjust your rankings accordingly, as I had to do during this draft. Already drafted: Fernando Tatis Jr., Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Kris Bryant, Kyle Tucker, Jarred Kelenic.
Pick 103 Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (124) The number three hitter in the best young lineup in baseball coming off 20 homers in half a season of At-bats? Yes, please. This team is shaping up nicely, especially if Adell comes up quickly, or can be moved. Already drafted: Mookie Betts, Bo Bichette, Jo Adell, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Chapman, Max Fried.
Pick 104 Kirby Yates (154) Went to Arizona for spring training this year (and that feels like a lifetime ago) and got to see Kirby leaving the stadium. A few cold beverages in me and I let him know who I thought was the best closer in baseball, rather loudly, in fact. He was appreciative and gave me a cap nod. Good guy, that Yates. This team did a 180 after four upside guys followed by three vets, no idea what they do with their next pick. Already drafted: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Luis Robert, Keston Hiura, Jesus Luzardo, Jeff McNeil, Rhys Hoskins.
Pick 105 Jasson Dominguez (110) This brought some groans from the draft room which should not be that surprising; while the Martian has the chance to be the top prospect in the game by this time next year, he turned 17 in February, so he is far away from the big leagues. Does it fit this team? Nope. EIther of the next two guys would have been a better fit for this team. Already drafted: Francisco Lindor, Gleybar Torres, Chris Paddack, Tyler Glasnow, Carlos Correa.
Pick 106 Oscar Mercado (156) This is a great pick here as it brings this team speed, good counting stats as he is currently penciled in as the #2 hitter in Cleveland’s lineup, and double-digit homers. Not having a top SP at this point may come back to haunt this team but the hitters are boss. Already drafted: Rafael Devers, Ozzie Albies, Xander Bogaerts, Dylan Carlson, Gary Sanchez.
Pick 107 Nicholas Castellanos (113) Figured the hype train would have him go sooner but the prospect hype train went by much faster though and here he goes only six spots earlier than we have him ranked. I feel I could have drafted this team. Already drafted: Alex Bregman, Bryce Harper, Ketel Marte, Lucas Giolito, Anthony Rizzo, Frankie Montas.
Pick 108 Casey Mize (107) There are similar SP prospects that went later and Mize is not close enough to help this team in 2020 (or 2021 even). As such, I passed on Mize here, even though we here at the Dynasty Guru almost nailed where he would go. This team decided to go upside after taking three vets in the first three rounds and is going (read: will need) to make some trades to compete sooner rather than later. Already drafted: Gerrit Cole, Jose Ramirez, Javier Baez, MacKenzie Gore, Nate Pearson, Andrew Vaughn.
Pick 109 Cavan Biggio (141) As this is an OPS league, Biggio goes higher than we have him ranked. Wherever he hits in that lineup he will accumulate counting stats, hit some home runs, and steal some bases to boot. Count me in and fits well on this team. Already drafted: Wander Franco, Yordan Alvarez, Victor Robles, Mike Soroka, Julio Rodriguez, Julio Urias.
Pick 110 Whit Merrifield (86) I was so out on Whit going into the season but it appeared that everyone else is too, so I want to jump back in. Zig when they Zag, as it were, so the value is good here, and team-building-wise this is a great pick. Already drafted: Pete Alonso, Trea Turner, Max Scherzer, Luis Castillo, JT Realmuto, Charlie Blackmon.
Pick 111 Franmil Reyes (137) The OPS league bump has him drafted before we had him ranked. Lindor, Ramirez and Mercado should get used to trotting around the bases following a bomb from the Indians #5 hitter. This team has excellent power with a little speed to boot, I am a fan. Already drafted: Trevor Story, Walker Buehler, Matt Olson, Manny Machado, Max Muncy, Ramon Laureano.
Pick 112 Royce Lewis (162) & Pick 113 CJ Abrams (121) These two picks, taken at the turn by the same team, drive me crazy, and if you’ve been reading the whole time, you already know why. Though my strategy was not shared by all my league-mates, as you will shortly see. Already drafted: Jacob deGrom, Nolan Arenado, Mike Clevinger, Jose Altuve, Tim Anderson, Jose Berrios.
Team Building Exercise:
After the last post went up, there was a debate on our group message board about my disparaging of the drafting strategies of other teams. I am a big proponent of picking a lane, meaning only drafting MLBers or Prospects, for a vast majority of a team’s picks in the first half of a draft. In a first-year Dynasty I want to win immediately and so I go with MLBers. I do not agree with taking both MLB vets and prospects, as it can be very hard to win because the concentration of assets is spread too thin.
Another reason I do not recommend taking any prospects for at least the first 10 rounds is just the lack of successful prospects that pan out. In this league, we all need a minors roster of 35, so 35 x 16 teams is 560 (minimum) minor leaguers drafted. Top ten guys fail to meet their potential all the time, top 100 at a greater clip, and so on. Check out our 2018 top prospect list, and if you dare 2017, to see recent successes and failures (the lower you go on the list, the more misses). Furthermore as many out there do I look at those minor leaguers like dart throws, so if it’s between a regular MLB starter and an upside prospect, I am going MLB.
But you may not agree with me (and that shocks me, really, as I am a pretty agreeable guy), and would never draft that way, and that is absolutely fair. This league is pretty active in conversing about most everything, from the league setup to trades to the start of the MLB season to discussing the prior posts in this series. Not everyone agreed with my ‘Pick a lane” drafting strategy and I wanted to know why. So one of my new leaguemates, Dan Diaz, was so gracious as to share a little on his Dynasty drafting strategy, using a dynasty league (20-team) he is in that started before the 2019 season:
As far as combined MLB and MiLB dynasty start up drafts go, a strategy that employs both ends of the spectrum is not necessarily a ticket to perpetual purgatory. The goal of this strategy is not to win now nor a few years later, but exactly next year and beyond. Winning trades and adding free agents that contribute is essential to building a long-term winner. Therefore, drafting the best perceived overall value on your board at your pick and giving yourself a one-year window to make moves that make sense can pay dividends.
Acuna Jr. was drafted first overall in another league even last year. If a prospect projects to be a superstar, this strategy allows you to “reach” and grab him a year ahead in the first round. This year I only have Wander in that ball park. Last year there was two, Vladdy & Tatis Jr. I traded back into the first round using a package of picks and was able to grab Fernando Tatis Jr. At eighteen overall after going with Vladdy at six.
Zac Gallen was drafted in round 19 and was used as a centerpiece along with Casey Mize and Gary Sanchez to acquire Christian Yelich and Jose Berrios. New owner takes over a nice orphan and makes a mean blunder, underselling Yelich. Another trade was Nate Pearson, Brady Singer & 9th overall pick in FYPD for Freddie Freeman & pick 33 and the final major one was acquiring Victor Robles and JP Crawford for Brian Anderson and Julio Urias. The team finished sixth in year one (suffered many injures down the stretch) and is well set up to compete to win year 2.
*Please note, this team made other trades to varying degrees of success and hit (and missed) on a few other draft picks as well; there just is not enough space to detail it all. Thank you Dan, for sharing some of your insights with us here.
While I can appreciate a different view, my biggest issue with this is counting on trades to help you. I have been in all kinds of leagues over my 20 years playing fantasy baseball, and they are all different, especially in regards to trades. Relying on others to trade with you, and ensure you get maximum value for your assets, is very difficult. In the above, Dan needed a couple trades to be in his favor to really push this team to the forefront. So it can be done, yes, however, Dan’s strategy is a bit different than the team that just chose two top 25 prospects after picking MLBers for their first six picks. Dan targeted the top two prospects last year, Vladdy and Tatis Jr. Lewis and Abrams could get there, but are not currently, and to maximize value this is counting on them to get there, and then be able to trade them for better pieces. Too many ifs for me.
Stay tuned for Round 10 and beyond. Also I would love to hear other First Year Dynasty Draft strategies, so please, share them! See you next time.