New Dynasty League Draft Part VII: Slow Drafting during a Pandemic-Rounds 10-13
Been away for a couple weeks but I am back breaking down a new, head-to-head, 16 team, Dynasty league draft that I joined at the end of March. The season still has not started as of today, so that just allows more time to breakdown this draft. Find Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here, Part V here, and Part VI here.
Going forward, I’m not going to address every pick per team, but once per post as team building becomes clearer the farther the draft progresses (obvious, I know). So we will knock out four rounds in this post. We will also see our rankings here at The Dynasty Guru deviate more from the overall pick number as teams focus on filling spots. 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
Notes: In parentheses is the ranking from our March Top 500 Dynasty list. Round 10,11,12, 13 picks in that order. The team drafting team’s prior picks are in italics. I made the first selection in Round nine (AJ Puk, taken over Yu Darvish) and thus have the last pick of round ten. We will look at my team at the very end (since I have the turn picks), so stay tuned!
Pick 145 Brad Hand (208), Pick 176 Tommy Pham (108), Pick 177 Michael Brantley (148), Pick 208 Sean Manaea (210)
This team adds its first two outfielders as well as a closer and fourth starter. While built to win now, Pham and Brantley are better third and fourth outfielders. Hand is fine as a #1 closer, however other outfielders available taken in the same round were Calhoun, Schwarber, and JD Davis. Already drafted: Jacob deGrom, Nolan Arenado, Mike Clevinger, Jose Altuve, Tim Anderson, Jose Berrios, Royce Lewis, CJ Abrams, Jose Abreu.
Pick 146 James Paxton (134), Pick 175 Nick Anderson (320), Pick 178 Alex Kirilloff (150), Pick 207 Mitch Garver (207)
Paxton is a fine SP3 and the two Twins are good values and additions to this team. Anderson is a big reach by our rankings, and as he is not the clear cut closer in Tampa. This team has the hitting and an ace to be solid for years to come. Already drafted: Trevor Story, Walker Buehler, Matt Olson, Manny Machado, Max Muncy, Ramon Laureano, Franmil Reyes, Marcell Ozuna, Lance McCullers Jr.
Pick 147 Taylor Rogers (265), Pick 174 Charlie Morton (138), Pick 179 Aaron Civale (329), Pick 206 Yuli Gurriel (214)
Here is what I wrote at the time about the Civale Pick: Another young pitcher gone, who no way should have gone before Kluber, Gray, Ryu and Carrasco, but here we are.
Civale does not have good peripherals, and many out there (including us) have noticed, but he has some name value/recency bias, so if you own him in a Dynasty league, you may want to put him on the block, see what happens. As far as team-building goes, unsure why Rogers was needed as this team already had two closers. Hopefully, Morton and Yuli play a few more seasons. Already drafted: Pete Alonso, Trea Turner, Max Scherzer, Luis Castillo, JT Realmuto, Charlie Blackmon, Whit Merrifield, Aroldis Chapman, Liam Hendriks.
Pick 148 Willie Calhoun (224), Pick 173 Austin Riley (161), Pick 180 Brendan McKay (120), Pick 205 Luis Arraez (273)
Calhoun will move up our rankings as back in March he was still recovering from being beaned in the face. Riley hit a lot of home runs and then slumped badly last season; the skills are there for a rebound so this pick is not as risky as it appears. McKay dropped a lot, especially when the group of young pitchers he usually is associated with went a few rounds earlier. Arraez is a complimentary piece for a competing team that has a low batting average so he does not fit here. Already drafted: Wander Franco, Yordan Alvarez, Victor Robles, Mike Soroka, Julio Rodriguez, Julio Urias, Cavan Biggio, Adley Rutschman, Luis Severino.
Pick 149 Kyle Schwarber (118), Pick 172 Byron Buxton (139), Pick 181 Alec Bohm (213), Pick 204 Tarik Skubal (227)
Prospect-Vet-Prospect Vet has been the drafting strategy so far…and this time it is Vet-Vet-Prospect-Prospect. Glad we looked at four rounds so the pattern can be (reasonably) kept. Already drafted: Gerrit Cole, Jose Ramirez, Javier Baez, MacKenzie Gore, Nate Pearson, Andrew Vaughn, Casey Mize, Jonathan Villar, Kristian Robinson.
Pick 150 Amed Rosario (111), Pick 171 Brendan Rodgers (168), Pick 182 Brandon Lowe (177), Pick 203 Madison Bumgarner (189)
Rosario, along with Polanco and DeJong, is in the group of forgotten shortstops since there are so many good ones, but do not forget about those others, who can each contribute to your team in their own ways. There is some more risk in the other three picks, but this team is still a big-time competitor year one. Already drafted: Alex Bregman, Bryce Harper, Ketel Marte, Lucas Giolito, Anthony Rizzo, Frankie Montas, Nicholas Castellanos, Max Kepler, Spencer Howard.
Pick 151 Sonny Gray (145), Pick 170 Luke Weaver (185), Pick 183 Garrett Hampson (239), Pick 202 Evan White (270)
Waiting a bit to start drafting starting pitchers yields Lamet, Gray and Weaver? Not too shabby as a top three. Hampson and White were both reaches by our rankings, and by my own as well, as neither is established enough to warrant their draft slots. Already drafted: Rafael Devers, Ozzie Albies, Xander Bogaerts, Dylan Carlson, Gary Sanchez, Oscar Mercado, Marco Luciano, Dinelson Lamet.
Pick 152 Willson Contreras (117), Pick 169 David Dahl (106), Pick 184 Hunter Dozier (230), Pick 201 Kyle Hendricks (204)
Dahl and Dozier are possibly a better top two outfield compared to the earlier team with Brantley and Pham, though I would not choose either, and it makes me discount both teams as top contenders. I do like the value of Contreras as well as Hendricks (who is vastly underrated), who is a great SP4 on this team. Already drafted: Francisco Lindor, Gleybar Torres, Chris Paddack, Tyler Glasnow, Carlos Correa, Jasson Dominguez, Mike Moustakas, Mitch Keller.
Pick 153 Jorge Polanco (226), Pick 168 Matthew Boyd (188), Pick 185 German Marquez (190), Pick 200 Nomar Mazara (178)
Polanco is another great value, and these other picks are fine, but as team building goes I have to wonder what the overall plan is. It is definitely not to compete for this season, or next probably…unless trades? We shall see. Already drafted: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Luis Robert, Keston Hiura, Jesus Luzardo, Jeff McNeil, Rhys Hoskins, Kirby Yates, Bobby Witt Jr., Joey Bart.
Pick 154 J.D. Davis (180), Pick 167 Yasmani Grandal (151),Pick 186 Miguel Andujar (166), Pick 199 Carlos Santana (169)
All these picks fill open roster spots as well as adding Andujar, who still has some upside besides the injuries. He can hit, and the Yankees will find a spot for him in their lineup. In a shortened season this team could make the playoffs, but there are some if’s. Already drafted: Mookie Betts, Bo Bichette, Jo Adell, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Chapman, Max Fried, Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., Nick Madrigal, Zack Wheeler.
Pick 155 Noah Syndergaard (62), Pick 166 Luis Patino (219), Pick 187 Chris Sale (50), Pick 198 Drew Waters (119)
Glad the same team took Syndergaard and Sale since it is the same story with both: Tommy John surgery in late March (after our rankings came out, hence the disparity), Sale is older yet better and both could be trade chips. The other two are prospects, though this league did not have the love for Waters that we here at TDG do. Already drafted: Fernando Tatis Jr., Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Kris Bryant, Kyle Tucker, Jarred Kelenic, Michael Kopech, Nick Senzel, Forrest Whitley.
Pick 156 Zack Grienke (132), Pick 165 Edwin Diaz (167), Pick 188 Ryan McMahon (223), Pick 197 Kenley Jansen (205)
Grienke dropped lower than our rankings, which has been consistent for over age-30 starting pitchers (and over age-32 hitters) in this draft. I participated in another similar first-year Dynasty in the interim and over age-30 vets fell, but not as far compared to this draft. In any case, take heed that if you want to wait an extra round on over age-30 vets for the younger guy, you probably can. This is the most veteran team so far and thus needs the 2020 season to start immediately. Already drafted: Christian Yelich, Shane Bieber, Aaron Judge, Justin Verlander, Starling Marte, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew Benintendi, Marcus Semien, Paul Goldschmidt.
Pick 157 Robbie Ray (175), Pick 164 Michael Chavis (220), Pick 189 Marcus Stroman (245), Pick 196 Ken Giles (228) All four guys were picked before we had them ranked and there are some warts on all of them; will Ray push past just being a strikeout guy and become a good pitcher? Is Chavis the second baseman of the future or a bench bat? Can Stroman continue to make good in NY? Will Giles get enough save opportunities in Toronto? Already drafted: Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani, Corey Seager, Aaron Nola, Josh Hader, Eugenio Suarez, Giancarlo Stanton, Eduardo Rodriguez, Tommy Edman.
Pick 158 Josh Donaldson (131), Pick 163 Trey Mancini (149), Pick 190 Jake Odorizzi (289), Pick 195 Brailyn Marquez (NR) First off, I had to take some ribbing over Marquez not being ranked by us here at TDG. He should join the list on the next iteration, though he is young, and the Cubs are not known for developing pitchers. Odorizzi an obvious reach, especially with Wins not being their own category. Donaldson will provide good value for at least the next couple of seasons in a good lineup for counting stats. Already drafted: Mike Trout, Jack Flaherty, JD Martinez, Joey Gallo, DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Bauer, Roberto Osuna, Sixto Sanchez, Matt Manning.
Pick 159 Will Smith (199), Pick 162 Paul DeJong (194), Pick 191 Scott Kingery (160), Pick 194 Bryan Reynolds (171) Will Smith will be better in this league with OPS while the other three are all good values with modest upside and decent floors; this team is looking really good hitting-wise, we will see if Gallen and Dustin May get some help in the next rounds. Kingery is a solid sleeper and was next in my queue when he was drafted immediately in front of me, snipe! Already drafted: Cody Bellinger, Gavin Lux, Austin Meadows, Brandon Woodruff, Zac Gallen, Michael Conforto, Eddie Rosario, Carter Kieboom, Dustin May.
And now, here is my team: Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rendon, Adalberto Mondesi, Patrick Corbin, George Springer, Jorge Soler, Miguel Sano, AJ Puk. This team is ready to rock day one, and even in a shortened 2020 season, should still easily make the playoffs, as long as I continue to draft MLB contributors. My debate last pick was between Yu Darvish and AJ Puk; I went young and figured Darvish would be gone. But lookie here…
Pick 160 Yu Darvish (140), Pick 161 Alex Verdugo (152)
What I wrote during the draft: Whelp, Darvish made it back to me, so I drafted him immediately. Debated between some others for my pick at the top of Round 9. David Dahl, Alex Verdugo, Scott Kingery, Yasiel Puig. As Puig does not have a team is a big reason he is dropping. If he signed during the draft he would be the next pick. If only playing for this season Dahl is who I would choose; not because he’s that old, just because a shortened season gives him less time to get hurt. Kingery I hope will make it back. I wrote about Verdugo in the top 51-75 OFs so already had a liking for him, and foresee better numbers than most have predicted him for so I like him as my fourth OF. Next up are the twelfth and thirteenth round picks.
Pick 192 Corey Kluber (142), Pick 193 Nico Hoerner (186)
What I wrote during the draft: The twelfth round is underway, and I had Tommy Pham queued up if he made it to the end of the round, but alas he did not. Looking at our rankings here, my best available players are Puig, Kluber, Sonny Gray, Carlos Carrasco. I mentioned in the initial post that QS+W is a category, as is K/BB. But pitchers over 30 have been treated very poorly thus far, so I should be able to grab one of these guys and Puig. Puig has not signed as of this writing, and the teams that are talking to/about him, the Giants and Marlins, do not inspire confidence in counting stats. Puig did almost go 20/20 last year, and with 600 At-bats he could do the same, but I am not confident and he has still not signed. Spoiler alert: he dropped far. Kluber pitched poorly in April because that is how he rolls historically, then had two injuries (broken forearm and oblique) which ended his season. I am of the opinion that last season was a lost one, so excited to add him as my SP3.
There are also prospects Brendan McKay, Vidal Brujan, Nate Lowe, Nico Hoerner, and George Valera. Lowe, Hoerner, and McKay could contribute in 2020, so they are in the mix. McKay I passed on due to taking Puk earlier, and not wanting to risk two young pitchers. At first base, the team already has Sano and Freeman, so Lowe is extra. Nico intrigues me by being a high floor future second baseman of the Cubs. No one is in his way, and my team has a need at second base, so Nico is on the team.
Any guys taken way too early or too late? Agree with my reasoning and picks? Let me know and thanks for reading. Remember if we all wish for a season, maybe we will get one, so get wishing!
Hi Phil, I have been reading your series. I waited to respond because I was interested in seeing how your team materialized before I said something. I understand your drafting strategy to be hitting focused over pitching focused, especially early….maybe consider the opposite next draft.
Here are some thoughts on some of your draft picks
2/3 turn – why not Giolito/Strasburg or best 2 SPs on your list? Freeman is fine because 1st base depth is thin…but Rendon was not a good pick in my opinion. Not because Rendon is bad player because 3B is so deep and drop-off in SP after the top 8 to 10 is substantial. I think you could have gotten Suarez at the 4/5 turn and have 95% Rendon production with a top flight SP or 2 SPs
4/5 turn – Mondesi was your main choice…your write up basically said you are All In because he can win the SB category by himself. But your #1 draft pick can do that too. If you didn’t have Acuna on your team, I can see this pick….with Acuna, you might have considered another team need. Corbin’s numbers are definitely good…I’m just not a fan.
Puk as your 2nd pitcher taken? What do you see him turning into? A legit SP? or Hader 2.0? I guess I see more Hader 2.0, so I would have drafted someone else.
In terms of production now, all the rest of your picks were good value, especially Springer.
Looking forward, I still see pitching staff as your weakness. Since Corbin is strike zone edge guy, if his control regresses just a little bit with the layoff, his walk rate and ERA could easily rise by 20% and with it, a Wins shortage. If Puk does turn into an RP, Holds are probably all you get from him for the next 2 seasons (and if the As start selling soon because of increasing payroll, Holds are likely to be at a minimum too). Darvish is a good bet, but he has half a season of great in 3 seasons of mediocre…if he returns to mediocre, 4.5 ERA and 6 wins might be his contribution to your dynasty team. Kluber is another good gamble and if he returns to 2018 form, he is your ace, but a 34 year old pitcher coming off major injuries means he may never return to past numbers and his new performance level is an unknown.
Looking around the rest of the league, if everything breaks right, your pitching staff will make your team competitive. And even with my negativity displayed I still see your team as top5 team now and likely in 2021. 2022+ is a lot more murky because of all your top SPs will be 35+, and I don’t see your SPs aging well. I would be interested in your thoughts if you think they will and why.
One thing to consider is a trade of Mondesi for top SP. Mondesi will help with 30% of the offensive categories and be a stud in SB. A top SP can help you in 80% of the pitching categories.
Thank you Craig, even I disagree I really appreciate your assessment.
It is hardwired in my fantasy playing, that a long as it isn’t a points league, I will not draft pitching before the fifth or sixth round. What I like to do in H2H leagues is go quantity on starters, so if I have a guy starting in Colorado or against the Yankees, I can sit him and not lose much. I get passing on Rendon, as Suarez dropped and I took him in the other first-year Dynasty league draft, in round six (same as in this league) or been ok with Sano in round eight. So many SPs went before I picked again: Paddack, Scherzer, Clevinger, Castillo, Soroka, Giolito, Snell, Glasnow, Luzardo, Strasburg, Verlander, Nola, Woodruff all went before I picked Corbin. That is the hardest part about picking at the turn, missing on those runs.
Mondesi and Acuna are my steals guys, and I didn’t focus on that category the rest of the way, so I’d be loathe to trade Mondesi, as he is a divisive player so I probably wouldn’t get full value. But say I get another decent steals guy (who aren’t as hard to add, even in a large league), then I’d move Mondesi, especially to a team in need during the season, where I could maximize his value.
You hit the nail on the head in regards to my pitchers; they are all risks, but I see so much volatility in #2 and beyond starters, that I’d rather take my chances with risky ones. Comparatively, I do not do that with my hitters, which is why I took Rendon, for example, over a Stras or Giolito.
I absolutely agree on my pitchers aging, and needing things to break my way, especially in two years, when I’ll have to replace them. Of the 35 minor leaguers we roster, nine of mine are pitchers (two of those are Puk and Kwang-Hyun Kim, who I’ll need to call up in season) and the others aren’t close. Since I won’t get to every round as I’ll look to wrap this up in 1 or 2 more posts, here are the other MLB SPs I took: Josh James, Caleb Smith, John Means, Miles Mikolas, Trevor Williams, and added post draft Danny Duffy and Collin McHugh. All of those guys can supplement the big names and I don’t have to roll with them every time out.
As crazy as it seems today, in three seasons Acuna will only be 25, and while I wouldn’t want to move him, I imagine I could rebuild a lot faster. Getting him at #1 was a huge bonus and allowed me to take more vets with that thought in the (way) back of my mind. I’ll post the draft results in the next post (and I’ve made a couple trades post draft, and there were some others in the league I would like to address) so you’ll have to let me know what you think of the whole team. Thank you for reading!
I guess we will have our conversation right here. :).
Before we move on to looking at your team or pitching staff, I want to challenge once more drafting pitching early. Here is my perspective…I view Cole and deGrom just as valuable as Acuna in a dynasty league….especially in a H2H league (and there are a couple guys like Flaherty and Buehler that are on par with Acuna and Soto because of their age). Can Acuna win a H2H matchup by himself?…No. Can Cole?….I would at least argue maybe. In addition, is it easier to find great hitting or great pitching later in the draft?…my contention is great pitching is harder to find. So the top flight pitchers are considerably more valuable because their performance levels are step functions higher than the rest of the league. Isn’t that why you valued and drafted Mondesi so high? Your competition…the team that draft Cole also has Gore…if Gore turns into half what folks are predicting, that team will be a real force because those two SP might be able to win 90% of the pitching categories by themselves…and they just need to find one Hunter Dozier annually to make their offense competitive with yours….meanwhile your team needs John Means to pitch to his 99% projection just to be competitive. The typical response for avoiding pitching earlier is injuries…to me, that argument is playing not to lose versus playing to win. I would challenge you to find any recent winning fantasy team that didn’t have top flight pitching anchoring its championship run….which is probably why the run of top SPs went so early in this draft. If you had drafted 2 of the best SPs at the 2/3 turn, those teams might still have taken SPs but lessor ones because you had grabbed the best…and you would have still gotten hitting that is top flight rounds 4+. To that end, I have noticed that folks drafting do not adhere to fantasy/dynasty ranking lists all that well…the folks who are drafting take pitching way earlier than ranking lists (including TDGs) suggest they should…in fact your descriptions in this series of pitching taken relative to the TDG ranking list as an overdraft…I would turn it around and suggest the TDG ranking list is drastically underestimating the value of pitching; especially good pitching. Ok…I am done :).
On your picking SPs starts strategy. I have been playing dynasty for several years and had the good fortune of having Kershaw anchor my pitching staff for most of the 2010s….and even with Kershaw’s hall of fame greatness, he would put up unexpected stinkers(even against bad teams you assume he would have dominated). I would have to say that I would assume the ‘stinkers’ coming from your staff would be at a more significant rate. More importantly, I guess I am not clear on what your pitching strategy is?? Are you trying to avoid the ‘stinkers’ or time the great ones?…because they are two different things. If you are trying avoid the stinkers, that means you are ok with the average performances from your staff..but the average performances leaves you behind in the pitching categories, right? If you are trying to time the great outings, I would assume your success rate is low? If your success rate is high, we need to head to Vegas for the summer.
Of the SP list you just posted…Caleb Smith has the best potential to breakout in my opinion, Means outside the AL East would be interesting, but Baltimore is still a ways off in terms of competing so Means will struggle to generate Wins for the next few years..if he gets traded, I like him more. I think the league has figured out Mikolas and see him very similar to Williams…both pitching to league average…not many stinkers but not many great outings…I see both of them with pitching lines of 7IP, 4 ERs for the next couple years. Duffy and McHugh…maybe…but if you like the sneaky value of Darvish and Kluber, I would say Duffy and McHugh have similar potential but their results would be 1 run higher in terms of ERA compared to Darvish/Kluber…but at least they have the potential to pitch 7IP/0ERs in a game…which means your picking strategy better be tuned in.
Clearly we differ on pitchers and their value. I had Kershaw helm a team for his peak in a H2H with six keepers, and I was always able to keep five hitters and him and build a staff around him to compete. Acuna could win a week, with the five-category production, just saying, not many others could.
Anyway, as for Cole and my pitching strategy. In a normal season with 162 games with a pitcher getting 33 starts, I see it as such for the average pitcher: 1/3 are duds, 1/3 are ok (QS worthy maybe), and 1/3 are good. The better/worse the pitcher, the more those odds change positively/negatively.
Back to Cole. He had 5 starts last season where he gave up 4 or more earned runs* and 2 or less runs 26 times in 33 starts. So for him, 12% were duds. Means, last season, gave up 2 or less earned runs 17 times, while giving up 4 or more runs 5 times in 27 starts. Yes, Cole is well better in all the metrics and I would take him 100 times out of 100, but the value of loading up on pitchers like Means, guys in their late 20s with some question marks (health, team, league, etc) in the late 20s and 30 rounds is what I am going for. I will not predict every start well, but there are tools out there that are good at predicting SP starts, and I utilize these to start the pitchers (like many on my team) in the starts they are predicted to do well in. So to sum up the strategy is loading up on undervalued pitchers and utilizing them in starts where they are predicted to do well.
*Now I know earned runs are not the only metric to measure a pitcher by, but for this exercise I am keeping it simple for my own sanity. But that is the basic exercise I use for all the major pitcher stats, and then make my rankings with some tweaking as necessary as well as reading the wealth of information out there on the interwebs.