Way Too Dang Early 2023 Dynasty Mock Draft Review
What’s up everyone, your Friendly Neighborhood Dynasty Dad here, along with some TDG newbies on this fine Friday. Today we’re going to recap the always fun “Why Would Anyone Draft a Dynasty Team in November” mock draft put on by the inimitable Nate and Mags, Misters @DynastyOneStop and @Mags_S20 themselves. Blessings on both your households…we shall feast on the spoils of this draft for a thousand moons!
Now, the mock league itself was pretty straightforward, a 15-teamer with Roto 5×5 scoring, but with a few distinct twists: OBP instead of AVG, innings pitched (IP) instead of wins (W), and Saves plus Holds/2 (SVH3) instead of Saves (SV). Rosters were set at 40, with no minor- or major-leaguer minimums. Greg Hoogkamp (@GregHoogkamp) and I teamed up on this one (all praise to “Good Picks” Greg), and along with Drew Spurling (@DrewSpurling1) and Drew Klein (@aok_fan), we’ll be handling the recap “Roundtable” style, with each of us giving a brief analysis and thoughts on various topics we think might be useful for off-season team planning. For reference, here’s a link to the draft board. Let’s dive right in.
Brief Draft Analysis and Strategy
I entered the draft with the intention of building a deep base of MLB talent. The fact that it is a daily format led me to focus on hitting for several rounds at the beginning as obviously, the most dynamic hitters are available early. While Starting Pitching is also important, I did not feel the need to draft an elite option early as you can swap pitchers daily. I instead focused on drafting a strong pool of talented pitchers in the late top tier into the middle tier starting with Joe Musgrove. Prospects were of less concern as frankly in a league this shallow, good prospects will be added from waivers and even the winner of the league gets a top-15 pick every year. My intention was to hammer the Innings Pitched and Strikeout categories, acquiring many relievers late to fill in spots that aren’t used by Starting Pitchers on that given day all while maintaining very respectable ratios.
I approached the draft with the thought of building a team that would be competitive within the first two years and have pieces to build with. Picking from the fifth position, I knew I’d get a potential 5-tool player first and see what bat was there in the second round before thinking about pitching. Midway through the draft I felt I had too many holes in my lineup, so I pivoted and started looking harder at prospects, thinking that if this were a league we were playing out, I’d have good trade targets and could build that way. In dynasty drafts, I tend to look at middle relievers who will get stats now and who I think may be closers within a year or two, and was happy to get Jhoan Duran in the 16th round, and then Kendall Graveman, Erik Swanson, and Hector Neris in three of the last four rounds. In the end, I feel fairly comfortable with how my team finished, but admittedly it’s more prospect heavy than I had planned going in.
From the outset, our (Taylor and I) strategy was to take the best player available in a “win-now” construction. Bats that could get on base while contributing power and speed, and arms that could control ratios and compile strikeouts were prioritized, regardless of age. We didn’t select a prospect until Round 24, so our farm is more upside-based. We are happy with the way the draft progressed and were able to grab many of our targets. Selecting out of the 4-hole allowed us to grab two needs in fairly quick succession and then come up with a game plan for our next two picks while the draft cycled back to us. With such a strong draft room, we needed to have backup plans in place to be able to adjust on the fly. For a daily league, we may be light on relief pitching, but we do have ten starting pitchers that could help fetch high-leverage relievers for teams seeking Starting Pitching help.
My draft strategy was the same as it ever was: draft to win. Luckily, Greg was on the same page, so there was minimal infighting. How could there be, with Ronald Acuna Jr. in the first and Mike Trout in the second? Side note: Are we really at the point in Earth’s decline where Trout’s being drafted at Pick 27?….It makes me sad. But also kinda happy. Anyhow…as Greg noted above, we kept that prospect shield up for the first 60% of the draft, but eventually Diego Cartaya’s sword and Tyler Soderstrom’s spear pierced the veil. I definitely considered bringing up a few prospects earlier in the draft, but here’s the deal – STICK TO YOUR GUNS when drafting. If I go in wanting to win now, I try to finish it that way and keep drafting MLB guys. There’s something to be said for going with the flow, but I prefer to not straddle the dence. Plus, if you’re paying attention, scouting statlines (on Scout The Statline, perhaps?), reading up on prospects (I recommend Prospects Live), and watching MiLB games when you can, (and in a relatively shallow league like this) you’re going to find late-round guys who slipped through the cracks.
Starting at the top, I like having Tatís and Luis Robert as my first two picks. There’s a little bit of risk, but a very high ceiling for both. Another risky pick that I don’t think is actually all that risky was Kelenic in the fifteenth round. I know his very slow start has been well documented, but he’s still young and I think he’s a great candidate for post-hype bounce back. I drafted Brice Turang in the 36th round. He’s not high on prospect lists, but he did have a .360 OBP last year and stole over 30 bases. And I had no inside information that the Brewers were going to trade Wong to Seattle, but now that they have, I think Turang will get more plate appearances than current projections are giving him.
I had a lot of favorite picks from my colleagues here and will give one tip of the hat to Greg and Taylor snagging Brady House in the 27th round. That was a bit of a snipe, but don’t tell them that.
We were very pleased to see Mike Trout available at pick 27, he still has an elite bat and could carry our team “if” he can remain healthy. I also love the opportunity for two of our Outfielders this season and beyond. Lars Nootbar (12.12, 177 overall) and Bryan De La Cruz (23.4, 334 overall) are players I think will establish themselves in 2023. Our first prospect pick, Diego Cartaya is a stud and could be the best among the upcoming crop of catchers when all is said and done. I liked Mags and Nate’s Nico Hoerner pick in Round 10, he’s a solid all-around player. We still needed a SS at that point and had to change our plan when they made that pick. I also liked Chris’ Round 16 pick Josh Naylor, I think he’s going to break out this year with the confidence he gained down the stretch.
I thought Harry Ford was an excellent snag by Shelly V in the 24th. Ford can do it all and in my opinion, is close to a top-50 prospect already at age 19. Tyler Wells in the 39th by Bob Osgood was also superb. The skills seemed to slip a bit last year, but he’s long been a pitcher identified with good stuff by Joe Garino (and he knows his stuff). Here’s hoping he can get fully healthy for the season. Evan Carter in the 18th from Mags and Nate was just robbery. I have him as my #32 dynasty outfielder headed in 2023, and I only expect him to keep rising. As far as our team, I loved Cody Morris in the 22nd. Dude has legit stuff, and while I don’t think he logs even 75 innings in 2023, I think he could be a rockstar in 2024.
I’m going to give my favorite picks from the first ten rounds as I believe building a strong base is paramount. 1st rd – 3B Jose Ramirez 13th by Ian Cundall, an incredible value at a scarce position. 2nd rd – 3B Manny Machado by Matt Wiemer, an elite performer at a scarce position! 3rd rd – Matt Olson by myself, elite performer in one of the best lineups in baseball that gets a bump in OBP. 4th rd – 3B Alex Bregman by Mags & D1S, possibly the last safe 3B that gets an incredible boost in the OBP format. 5th rd – Andrew Vaughn by Matt Wiemer, has done nothing but improve in his short time in the MLB incredible plate and bat skills, getting ready to settle at 1B. This is someone you can roster for 10 plus years if your league lasts that long. Love this Pick! 6th rd – SP Tyler Glasnow by myself. This is an elite Starting Pitcher and I truly believe his value is going to do nothing but grow over the next couple of seasons. 7th rd – Nick Lodolo- selected by Chris Clegg. I will admit I was a little late to buy in on Lodolo but after watching him close out last season I think you can feel very confident selecting him in the 7th rd of a 15-team draft. 8th rd – Seiya Suzuki by Gatorsosa. Seiya should settle in during his sophomore season in the MLB, providing solid production across the board. 9th rd – a pair of SPs; SP Blake Snell by Jesse Roche & SP Jesus Luzardo. I honestly like both of these picks quite a bit. Perhaps both have had questions about durability but I look for them to settle into their skills in 2023 and should be solid assets at least over the next few seasons. 10th rd – SP Hunter Greene by Bob Osgood. Honestly, I think this could be one of my favorite picks of the draft. Sure there have been growing pains and walks are still a potential issue. I really think you could be drafting an Ace in the 10th rd that could be elite as soon as this season or 2024.
Picks We’d Like to Do Over
I’ll be interested in seeing who Taylor thinks was the pick he’d do over, but I will select Dansby Swanson as my choice. In Round 4, when we picked him, there were still plenty of quality Shortstops available (Correa, Seager, Anderson…), but there were already a couple of positions thinning out such as Second Base and Third Base. Later in the round, Nolan Arenado went, and in the following round, Jose Altuve was picked. We could have gone in one of those directions and waited on Shortstop, or we could have picked a top-of-the-position player like Paul Goldschmidt to solidify First Base. It would have changed the complexion of our team (we ended up with Semien and France at 2B and 3B), but we could have maxed out our production at shallower positions while still grabbing a solid Shortstop a little later.
I don’t regret Dansby! I’ll never regret Dansby! I do, however, regret not going in on relievers a bit sooner. I think we ended up with some very solid dudes (Andres Munoz in the 16th and Nick Martinez in the 32nd(!!) in particular) who are going to help us out in the ol’ SVH3 categories but we don’t really have that Dude, with a big capital D. That being said, if we’re going to have a weakness, I wouldn’t mind “no elite closer” being ours in this league. If we were playing this out, we’d have to keep an eye out for reliever pop-up guys and potentially trade for a Dude mid-season, but especially with IP as a category, I feel pretty good about where we landed.
Truthfully I don’t have a lot of regrets overall. However, I think the one clear general regret I have is not being just a little more mindful of OBP on some of my supporting cast on offense. I think my team will definitely compete for a top-3 position immediately but if there is something that causes me to fall short it could be OBP. I would advise drafting as much certain value as you can but make sure you never lose sight of the overall picture. It’s possible I did that at a few stages in the draft. Players like Mullins and Turner early. Yastremski later. Essentially there are several stages where I could have been a little more mindful of adding just a little more OBP to my team.
When I look at my team, my first instinct was to answer this question with Vaughn Grissom in the ninth, but as I look back at the draft, there weren’t great second base options left. Brandon Lowe went later that round and India went the next, and that was about it. Second base is not a strong position. To the question at hand, Noelvi Marte in the twelfth was too soon and too risky. There were plenty of pitchers and good hitters still on the board. That was my ultimate “what was I thinking pick.”
Best Prospect Value in the Draft
Jake (@GatorSosa) made a hell of a snag with Endy Rodriguez, a catching prospect for the Pirates, in the 24th round. Rodriguez can really swing the stick and I’d say projects as a nice 3 to 4-category contributor in the majors (if the Pirates can turn their team around in the next couple years, even better!).
I think when I factor draft cost, proximity and the OBP format, Brice Turang in the 36th round by Drew Klein is a really good value, especially for those yet to receive MLB playing time. I know the Brewers traded for Toro and I also know that Turang may have a limited power ceiling but this is a big leaguer who could be really solid and contribute a decent amount of steals in time. For me I definitely wish I had taken him sooner.
In terms of value for where they were drafted, especially in a draft where most owners waited on prospects, I think Jesse Roche did well to get Hayden Wesneski in the 19th round. Pitching prospects are risky, so to get a guy who fared well in 33 innings with the Cubs last year and has minor-league stats to back it up is a good value in my book.
I think the best prospect value in the draft goes to Shelly for picking Miguel Vargas in the 7th Round. Vargas could very well be the starting Third Baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers all season. He’s hit at every level and although he was with the team down the stretch, he wasn’t given a proper opportunity to produce at his customary high level. Vargas has the ability to be a .300/80/20/80/10 player at the Major League level which more than replaces his predecessor Justin Turner. We could be looking at the 2023 NL Rookie of the Year if he stays healthy.
Favorite Team Build
It is hard for me to choose one so I’m going to cheat and say the teams that I see as the most competitive right away are also the teams I like the most in general. There are always ways to rebuild on the fly through activity. Aside from my own team, I see Jesse Roche, the duo of Mags & D1S, Taylor Case & Greg Hoogkamp, and Chris Clegg as the strongest competitors currently.
In a draft with this many experienced managers, there are many to choose from, but I like what Jesse Roche put together. His first five picks were all hitters and between them, provide a good base in all five categories. Starting with Soto is always a plus, and his next picks were Freeman, Rutschman, Goldschmidt, and Altuve. After Verlander, he has a number of SP2 and SP3 guys that will allow him to play the matchups in a daily roster league. As I look at his roster, what I think really sets him draft apart was his ability to pick up a lot of “spare parts guys” that are handy to have on a roster over the course of a season, including Berti, Grichuk, and Ozuna. He also grabbed my candidate for bounce-back player of the year in the 13th round, Matt Chapman.
My favorite team build is Chris Clegg’s team. Chris did a good job with his hitting and pitching combining floor and ceiling players. He told me he was trying some different strategies in this mock draft and that at first, he didn’t like it. But I think overall, Chris was successful in keeping the big picture in mind throughout this draft and was able to balance his team. For every Bobby Witt, there was a Corey Seager and for every Adolis Garcia, there was a Bryan Reynolds. I especially like his pitching led by aces Corbin Burnes and Spencer Strider. They set the foundation for his staff and are complemented by his mid-tier starters Tony Gonsolin, Nick Lodolo, and Jeffrey Springs. He rounds out his team with relief ace Jordan Romano and a handful of high-upside prospects who he can either wait to develop or deal away for more big-league talent to help put him over the top.
This was the best Dynasty mock draft I have ever participated in. While it still may not have been perfect, certainly myself included. I think there is a lot to be learned from studying the results and trying to understand different team builds. How the processes worked or may not have been in the final product. I will most definitely be referencing these results for future off-season startups and even for trade negotiation ideas.
It was a lot of fun drafting with experienced managers who were all taking it seriously. For me, it reinforced a lesson that it took me a while to learn, which is to draft a solid core of current players and then take a look at the prospects. The other lesson I learned in this draft is that your roster build is more important than your rankings. Rankings are important of course, but you have to keep an eye on your position depth and who is left on the board, and if you are covering all your categories. The experienced managers had the discipline and patience to do this, and their final rosters show it.
Being in a draft room full of seasoned dynasty managers was an amazing experience. There were different strategies being implemented all around us, but each strategy had a purpose, which made Taylor and I really think about how we should attack this mock draft. Listening to Mags and Nate speak on their podcast about what they were trying to accomplish in the draft really helped me understand the reasoning behind the decisions that were made. I already feel better prepared for my next dynasty draft because of this experience. I have also never drafted with a partner before which was made easier by Taylor. We have similar philosophies on drafting and team construction, but also have different takes on players which forced me to dig in a bit more than I was used to. I’m thankful for this experience and I am more well-rounded as a fantasy manager because of it. Overall, this was a fantastic exercise, one that I hope can help me in the future.
We Did It Ya’ll. We Did Way Too Early, But We Did It
There you have it, people. As has been said before, this was a heck of a room, and the perfect way to spark some good conversation and prep for 2023. Kudos to everyone involved, including @michaelwaterloo, @bobosgood15, @jaroche6, @aok_fan, @swirka, @ShellyV_643, @mattydubbz13, @corporaleddy, @RotoClegg, @DrewSpurling1, @IanCundall, @bwelch21, @gatorsosa, and a specific shoutout to @DynastyOneStop and @Mags_S20 for throwing this party. Massive thanks to @GregHoogkamp as well – I guess I know why they call you “Good Picks” now. Thanks for taking the lead. Also, if you haven’t yet, I highly recommend checking out @DynastyOneStop and @Mags_S20’s podcasts they recently dropped where they discuss the draft in further detail with some of the other drafters. It’s a good time. Check those out here and here.
And follow the podcasts on Twitter:
Peace, Love, Baseball: @plbpodcast
Dynasty’s Child: @DynastysChild
Join The Ranks: @JoinTheRanksTDG
Dynasty Divorces: @DynastyDivorces
You Can Dynasty Baseball: @YCDBPod
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