One thing I love about these dynasty startup mocks is how totally bananas they are. In a redraft league, everybody knows the routine. It's all color-by-the-numbers. But how often do you get a chance to build a dynasty team from scratch? If it's for a league with actual staying power, not very. There is no prescribed model, so with every pick, everyone is like, "I don't know. I guess this is right."
In what other context would you see Christian Walker drafted in Round 17? Or Yu Darvish in Round 12? Or -- get this -- Trea Turner in Round 2?
He's 30 now, after all. Might as well fit him for dentures.
Everybody's going on feel, trying to strike that perfect balance between present success and future dominance, with some disregarding one or the other completely.
We'll get into who did what in just a minute, but first, introductions are in order:
1) Daniel Preciado, lucky reader who got to join in
2) Michael Villafana, lucky reader who got to join in
3) Nick Mimikos, Stack Attack podcast (@NMimi)
4) George Kurtz, Sportsgrid (@GeorgeKurtz)
5) R.J. White, CBS Sports (@rjwhite1)
6) Gabe Jenner, Fantasy Aceball
7) Jake Wiener, Prospects1500 (@GatorSosa)
8) Jake Holland, formerly The Toss Up podcast (@jakebaseball17)
9) Ted Vinson, lucky reader who got to join in
10) Chris Towers, CBS Sports (@CTowersCBS)
11) Scott White, CBS Sports (@CBSScottWhite)
12) Tim Kanak, Fantasy Aceball (@fantasyaceball)
Here are my five takeaways:
- As with our other dynasty startup mock, the one for Head-to-Head points scoring, we were collectively pretty passive in selecting prospects. The first two, Corbin Carroll and Gunnar Henderson, went in Round 3, sure, but they're basically guaranteed opening day jobs. The next one, Jordan Walker, didn't go until Round 6. I ended up taking the most (10), including four with my first nine picks, but I still think I put together a competitive team considering. What I'm saying is no one went all-in on prospects, punting for the first couple of years in the hope of long-lasting dominance. Normally, someone does.
- On the other hand, a couple of teams gave virtually no thought to longevity, instead taking advantage of all the discounted veterans in the hopes of making an early splash. The most notable of them was George Kurtz, who drafted the minimum five prospects, one being the 29-year-old Masataka Yoshida, and four coming in his final five picks. Fifteen of the 23 players in his starting lineup, including 11 of the 14 hitters, are 30 or older, some much older. It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him. If it does with a championship, great. If not, things could get painful by Year 3.
- Or maybe not. I was struck by the caliber of prospects who went entirely undrafted, including the Pirates' Henry Davis (the top overall pick two years ago), the White Sox's Colson Montgomery and the Guardians' George Valera, for starters. If things aren't shaping up for George, he could still pivot to something more balanced. There's also no telling whether those of us who invested more in prospects will be able to hold onto them all once attrition kicks in.
- As much as I've emphasized position scarcity in conventional drafts this year, I'm not so concerned with it in dynasty. True, I passed up Trea Turner for Rafael Devers late in Round 1 (and wound up getting Turner anyway), but I ended up with two third basemen and two shortstops after my first six picks. I didn't draft a major-league outfielder until Round 10 (Adolis Garcia) or a second baseman until Round 16 (Ketel Marte, though with some hope that Miguel Vargas (Round 9) picks up eligibility there soon). It's fine. I think it's more important to stockpile surplus talent in a dynasty league than to make sure all your holes are filled. I did prioritize the outfield with my prospect picks, at least. Hopefully, Jackson Chourio, Zac Veen, Druw Jones and Sal Frelick can lock things down for a long time.
- I mentioned some of the old players who went much later than usual in this draft, and I'm sure you can find many more. Some of the injured players who went much earlier (thinking beyond 2023, of course) include Bryce Harper (Round 3), Walker Buehler (14), Shane Baz (15) and Trevor Story (15).