Every now and then, it helps to take the pulse of the people you're sermonizing to, if only to get a sense of what they're thinking and how in sync they are.

I do it in survey form, presenting open-ended questions on Twitter and Facebook, and then tallying up the responses. The focus this time is Dynasty leagues. My question is straight to the point: Which player do you want most at each position? That's eight positions in all.

Let's review the responses together, shall we?



Top three last year: Adley Rutschman (41.4) , Will Smith (38.3), J.T. Realmuto (4.5)

Rutschman was also the leading vote-getter last year, before even making his major-league debut, so it stands to reason that he still would be now that he's arrived. But I am surprised how much the gap has grown given how the position is trending. Catcher is having a full-blown resurgence, with Rutschman, Alejandro Kirk, Daulton Varsho, MJ Melendez, Cal Raleigh, Sean Murphy and William Contreras all emerging in the past two years. Will Smith is still in his prime, and J.T. Realmuto is ascending to new heights even in his 30s. And then there's another wave of prospects on its way, including Francisco Alvarez, Logan O'Hoppe, Bo Naylor and others.

I'm just saying that it may not be worth paying the premium for Rutschman if you're in the market for a long-term catcher, even though I agree he's the best one. Might it be worth selling him, particularly if you've stashed away one of those others? Naturally, someone who's already doing the thing is better than someone who may someday, and catcher is a position with a high attrition rate. Still, it's hard to imagine Rutschman's Dynasty value improving much from here, even if he turns out to be the best catcher of his generation. The presumption is that he already is.

Received two votes: Salvador Perez, KC; William Contreras, MIL; Sean Murphy, ATL; Diego Cartaya, LAD

My choice: Rutschman

First base


Top three last year: Vladimir Guerrero (90.6), Freddie Freeman (3.8), Spencer Torkelson (1.9) 

For the second straight year, Guerrero is a runaway winner and the top overall vote-getter, all positions included. But he still managed to lose 20 points of support after underwhelming as a first-round pick in redraft leagues. Ultimately, it's his age (he'll turn 24 during spring training) that makes him such an easy call. Pete Alonso, who some respondents argued is more consistent, is a whole four years older. Even Vinnie Pasquantino, who's supposed to be the next hot thing at the position, is older than Guerrero.

And then there's the upside case. No matter who you compare him to, whether it's a prospect or established major-leaguer, it's hard to imagine any first baseman approaching the .311-48-111-123-4 line that Guerrero put together in 2021. It may even be out of reach for him, as last year's performance suggested, but accomplishing it at such a young age only raises the bar for what he could someday do. And he was of course projected for greatness from his days as a minor-leaguer.

Received two votes: Freddie Freeman, LAD; Jose Miranda, MIN; Kyle Manzardo, TB

My choice: Guerrero

Second base


Top three last year: Ozzie Albies (46.8), Trea Turner (38.3), Jonathan India (7.1)

Even coming off what was basically a lost season, Albies is atop the second base heap like he's been every other year I've conducted these surveys. It's still amazing all he's managed to accomplish through age 26, and between Trea Turner moving off the position and several others underachieving in 2022, the competition has thinned. 

It's possible Jazz Chisholm would have surpassed him if not for the expectation he'll be an outfielder this year. Multiple respondents cited it as a reason for choosing Albies instead, though outfield is of course weak in its own right. The Marlins' needs could also change midseason, pushing Chisholm back to the infield. Of course, Chisholm's strikeout rate gives him more downside risk, and he has yet to show he can hold up for a full season. It's why I'd go with Albies regardless, but in terms of upside, he's not without peer.  

Received two votes: Brandon Lowe, TB; Nico Hoerner, CHC; Gavin Lux, LAD; Michael Massey, KC; Anthony Volpe, NYY; Edouard Julien, MIN; Connor Norby, BAL

My choice: Albies

Third base


Top three last year: Rafael Devers (50.0), Jose Ramirez (34.1), Austin Riley (8.0)

A year ago, I predicted that Riley would close the gap on Ramirez and Devers at the top of third base, creating more of a three-horse race for Dynasty, and that's almost exactly what happened. What I didn't count on was Bobby Witt making it a four-way battle. Some think of him more as a shortstop, as you'll see with the next position, and it's possible their indecision cost him some support here. He's only 22 and just had a 20-homer, 30-steal season as a rookie, so the enthusiasm is justified.

But I still don't think he belongs in the same category as Ramirez, Devers or even Riley yet. His plate discipline was dreadful, and his percentages were pretty bad, too. Yes, he compiled his way to some nice, round numbers in two of the categories that attract the most attention, but his overall impact isn't the same as those other three. Because Ramirez is now on the wrong side of 30, I give the edge to the 26-year-old Devers, who doesn't run like Ramirez does but is a better source of batting average.

Received two votes: Nolan Arenado, STL; Josh Jung, TEX

My choice: Devers



Top three last year: Fernando Tatis (58.9), Bo Bichette (12.8), Trea Turner (11.1)

Shortstop is a position loaded in young talent, with seemingly no end to the supply in the minors, and yet it's taken an injury-ravaged season and PED scandal for anyone to come within shouting distance of Tatis. That resilience is deserving of awe, but even so, I feel like his vote share should be higher. We're talking about a guy whose 162-game pace when last we saw him was 52 homers and 31 steals. And he's still only 24.

Though Bichette's share of the vote hasn't changed much, he's gone from being the second choice at the position to the fifth choice in only a year's time. I think it has less to do with him, though, than Witt's emergence and the fact Turner is no longer regarded as a second baseman. The enthusiasm for Wander Franco persists, even as questions about his power potential emerge, but other than Tatis, the highest ceiling of anyone receiving a vote here is Oneli Cruz. He's still raw, with the sort of strikeout numbers that could lead to his undoing, but returns from his rookie season were promising enough that it might be worth checking in to see if the cost is reasonable.

Received two votes: Jeremy Pena, HOU; Jordan Lawlar, ARI; Marcelo Mayer, BOS

My choice: Tatis



Top three last year: Juan Soto (61.5), Ronald Acuna (27.2), Fernando Tatis (3.0)

In the years I've been doing this, all other outfielders have been eating Acuna's and Soto's dust, and if you're like me, you probably thought it would stay that way for at least the next five years or so. But Julio Rodriguez has entered the chat, delivering the same sort of numbers at age 21 that made those two Fantasy royalty.

Of course, it doesn't explain why Rodriguez pushed ahead of Acuna and Soto in the voting rather than pulling even, but it just so happens that 2022 saw a career-worst performance from each. Nobody thinks they've fallen off the map at 25 and 24, respectively, but it's clear Rodriguez is now thought to be on the same level upside-wise. And if you have the choice, why chance it? 

I do wonder if Yordan Alvarez deserves to be part of this conversation as well. He's only 25 and has emerged as a first-round fixture himself, delivering exit velocities on par with Aaron Judge and near straight 100s in Statcast's percentile rankings. He's no base-stealer, though, and his recurring knee issues raise more alarm bells for Dynasty than redraft leagues.

Received two votes: Michael Harris, ATL; Bryce Harper, PHI

My choice: Rodriguez

Starting pitcher


Top three last year: Walker Buehler (35.4), Corbin Burnes (29.2), Jacob deGrom (4.6)

Wait, Walker Buehler led the way last year? That right there shows how volatile the position can be for Dynasty. He's now recovering from Tommy John surgery, and because it's his second, I don't think anyone can feel supremely confident he'll work his way back into this discussion. A buy-low opportunity may present itself, but the discount should be substantial.

As for who actually placed in the voting this time around, Burnes makes sense at the top. He crossed the 200-inning threshold for the first time last year, showing some durability to go with his dominance. What I want most in a Dynasty pitcher, though (with Buehler's injury serving as yet another reminder), is some assurance he'll keep it together, and nobody beats Sandy Alcantara in that regard. For what it's worth, he and Burnes are both probably older than you think, coming in at 27 and 28.

The actual young guns are more like Spencer Strider and Shane McClanahan, who both still need to prove they can hold up to a full ace workload, as Burnes has. Both have best-in-baseball upside, though, as evidenced by their big fastballs and strikeout rates.

Received two votes: Dylan Cease, CHW; Hunter Greene, CIN; Hunter Brown, HOU; Bobby Miller, LAD

My choice: Alcantara

Relief pitcher


Top three last year: Josh Hader (51.5), Emmanuel Clase (19.2), Liam Hendriks (6.0)

"Is this your king!?" Clase said as he threw Hader over a waterfall. At 24 (25 before opening day), he looks like he's going to cruise to one 40-save season after another. Hader actually did recover nicely from a midseason disaster and remains a comfortable choice at a volatile position, but he's four years older and, well, hasn't put together a 1.33 ERA like Clase has the past two years. The same could be said for Edwin Diaz.

The Andres Munoz picks are always interesting. I say "picks" because, when it's not him, it's some other prospective closer being elevated over an actual one. Two years ago it was James Karinchak (oops). Last year it was Devin Williams (OK, fine). Munoz is a dominant reliever, but it ultimately doesn't matter unless he's getting saves. Given how much can go wrong at this position, a bird in the hand is worth like four in the bush to me.

Received two votes: Raisel Iglesias, ATL; Camilo Doval, SF; Alexis Diaz, CIN

My choice: Clase