Dynasty Mock Draft with a Redraft Strategy

I have been playing in dynasty and keeper leagues as long as I have been playing fantasy baseball. There is something satisfying about being able to attempt to build long term contending teams and scour the wire for future talent. I also find that they stay the most active from the beginning to end of a season and in the off season. For a fantasy junkie like me, that is a fix I often need. However, there is a dark side to leagues like this…

*Cues the gloomy music*

First, I have found these leagues have a higher rate of folding than redraft leagues. Players tend to drop out and leagues have a harder time replacing people in these formats because typically teams are walking away from bad teams. For instance, once I decided to take a youth first approach to drafting a new dynasty team. I knew I wouldn’t compete in year one, but felt within two to three years, I could have a monster team for a long time. Sadly, after year one, enough of the league quit that it didn’t make sense for the league to continue on. I vowed that I would never allow this to happen to me again! I would now live by the mantra “Flags Fly Forever.”

Second, players can be much more difficult to value. Each manager has a different valuation system and this becomes much more apparent in dynasty/keeper formats and can change drastically from league to league. How do you value youth? Do you devalue certain positions? When do you start taking prospects and what are they worth after that?

My solution to this problem has been simple. Don’t change anything! I use my traditional ranks and values in dynasty and keeper formats. I would rather attempt to win in year’s one and two then find out I have wasted a year or two worth of entry fees. I also know that if for some reason I miss, I can always move veterans in-season for prospects. While I will use youth as a tiebreaker if I am choosing between two player I have ranked about the same, I rarely take prospects before the 20th round or I have the majority of my starting lineup filled. This strategy is boring to many, but if done well, you can find yourself with a number of draft day bargains and a championship or two early on. Remember, no one remembers the guys with the coolest prospects. They remember the guy with the trophy and/or pile of cash.

To prove this point in article form, I attempted this strategy with some guys, from the Prospect 361.com Dynasty Baseball discussion group that you can find over on Facebook, in a mock draft. The set up was simple. Draft the first 23 rounds of a 50 player per team dynasty league. It would be standard rosters and 5 x 5 Roto, except that on-base percentage replaced batting average.

First, here were the participants:

Pick Team
1 Nathan
2 Jory
3 Tim Weber
4 Troy Hutch
5 Andrew
6 Matt
7 Douglas Cooper
8 Allen Sarvinas
9 Brian
10 Khang Do
11 Lightning
12 Justin B
13 Justin Mason (Me)
14 Mike
15 Mark Liu

They are a mix of seasoned fantasy and dynasty players that are all pretty active within the group on Facebook. You can see the entire draft and all the team’s picks here.

Rounds 1-4
Round Pick Player Team Position NFBC ADP Position Rank
1 13 Josh Donaldson TOR 3B 10.79 4
2 18 Miguel Cabrera DET 1B 15.71 3
3 43 Buster Posey SF C 35.07 1
4 48 Robinson Cano SEA 2B 32.64 4

I was pretty happy with Donaldson falling to me at pick 13, but I was also secretly hoping that maybe Anthony Rizzo might slip a couple more spots. Either way, Donaldson is an elite player at third base and I was happy with the selection, especially if I could pull off getting Miguel Cabrera in the next round, which I did.

I know people are down on Miggy right now, but he is still firmly in the first round as far as I am concerned, so getting him with pick 18 felt like a huge win. I have been a proponent this off season trying to get a top tier first baseman early because the drop off is steep from the elite guys to the next tiers and the same is especially true in dynasty formats. The minor leagues appear to lack depth at the position in terms of elite talent for fantasy prospects.

Buster Posey in the third round of a two catcher OBP league feels like a steal. I thoroughly expect him to bounce back after a “down” year last season. Last season his NFBC ADP was 20.68 and this year it is at 35.07,. Getting him at 43 was too good to pass up. Catcher is also another position in the minors that doesn’t appear to have much in the way of fantasy studs coming our way due to graduations that I feel like you have to overpay for if you want them (i.e. Gary Sanchez and Willson Contreras.)

I agonized over Cano versus Dee Gordon or Daniel Murphy. I stayed true to my ranks, but if I could have done it over again, I might have gone with Gordon since I feel like my biggest offensive weakness is stolen bases. However, I love the value of Cano in this spot.

Rounds 5-8
Round Pick Player Team Position NFBC ADP Position Rank
5 73 Ian Desmond COL OF 65.57 16
6 78 Chris Archer TB SP 58.64 14
7 103 Adrian Beltre TEX 3B 80.5 8
8 108 Zack Greinke AZ SP 97.21 21

I was really surprised Desmond was still around at this spot. I toyed with the idea of taking Nelson Cruz, but the lack of speed on my team swayed me. I really wanted Billy Hamilton, but thought I might be able to snag him in the 6th round. I took the gamble knowing that if Hamilton was gone, I could grab my first pitcher.

Hamilton went off the board at the turn. I underestimated the group’s love of him. I had a lot of pitchers that were interesting to me in this spot, but I took my top ranked one in Chris Archer. I am glad I did because by the time the draft got back to me 25 picks later, four of the pitchers at the my ranks were taken.

Adrian Beltre in the 7th round isn’t sexy, but the almost 38-year-old hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. I will take the 20 pick discount of his ADP. Even if he was to retire after this season, he could still help get me a championship or at worst, be good trade bait for a contender if my team tanks.

I am a big Zack Greinke believer. I don’t know if he will ever be the guy we saw in 2015, but I believe the skills are still there and am willing to bet on a huge bounce back in 2017.

Rounds 9-12
Round Pick Player Team Position NFBC ADP Position Rank
9 133 Adam Eaton WSH OF 141.29 32
10 138 Marcus Stroman TOR SP 176.64 44
11 163 Lorenzo Cain KC OF 131.93 30
12 168 Ken Giles HOU RP 101.14 10

Adam Eaton may seem like a reach and he may have been. However, I looked at my team and felt I need outfield and speed. Eaton is going to hit atop that amazing lineup that likes to run in Washington.

I think I might be one of the highest around on Marcus Stroman. I like a lot of what I saw from him late in the season last year. From August 1st on, he had a 3.28 ERA and 8.52 K/9. There were obvious mechanical issues that were fixed. I think the hype we saw last draft season around Stroman was just a year too early.

Lorenzo Cain is another post-hype guy that I bought heavily last season. Last year he had an ADP of 50.76. This year his ADP is 131.93. I was stoked to grab him as my OF #3 at pick 163.

I was not a big Ken Giles guy last season. I actually bet against him in Bold Prediction and lost it (or pushed) on the last day of the season. However, at this point, I was happy to grab a guy that is young and could be an elite closer for a long time. I definitely devalue relief pitching in dynasty formats, but I also need saves and Giles fit the bill at a good discount from his NFBC ADP.

Rounds 13-16
Round Pick Player Team Position NFBC ADP Position Rank
13 193 Marcus Semien OAK SS 212.79 15
14 198 Carlos Gomez TEX OF 160.86 37
15 223 Tanner Roark WSH SP 134 30
16 228 Evan Gattis HOU C 90.36 4

Semien may have been a reach, but he was the last shortstop I felt good about having as a starter left and didn’t feel like he would make it back to me in the 15th round.

Carlos Gomez is a former first round pick in fantasy, but his star has completely faded at this point. Some will tell you he is a “sleeper” this year due to his low ADP and fantastic numbers he put up in Texas towards the end of the season. Steamer seems to be somewhat on board with that projecting a 17/18 season with a .253/.318/.415 triple slash. I can get behind those numbers, as the #198 pick in this draft, he can play the lottery ticket role for me.

Last season, Tanner Roark threw 210 innings, won 16 games, had 172 strikeouts, a 2.83 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Even if he regresses a bit, at pick 223 he is a steal.

Evan Gattis is probably my favorite pick from this mock. We are talking about the #4 catcher off the board in NFBC leagues as my second catcher at pick 228?!? Insane value even if he is moved to another team. I don’t need him to repeat his 2016 at this value, but if he does then I’ve scored one of the biggest coups of the draft season.

Rounds 17-20
Round Pick Player Team Position NFBC ADP Position Rank
17 253 Rich Hill LAD SP 134.29 31
18 258 John Lackey CHC SP 169.36 39
19 283 Neil Walker NYM 2B 247.07 20
20 288 Marco Estrada TOR SP 221.71 58

I have been extremely critical of where Rich Hill is going in leagues this off season, but a deal is a deal. He is currently going off the board as a starting pitcher #3 in 15-team leagues and he is my #5 in a draft where I waited on starting pitching. Getting him over 100 picks below his ADP gives me ton of cushion if he gets hurt as we all expect he will at some point.

Lackey is another crusty old vet that continues to put up good numbers. At pick 258, he offers some stability in my rotation that currently has a fair amount of boom or bust.

Neil Walker isn’t a sexy guy, but if he can put together a season similar to last year he becomes a nice value at 283. If his injury issues continue to plague him, there is enough depth still out there to replace him at MI.

Estrada is a guy that seemingly always out pitches his underlying numbers. Projection systems don’t love him, but at some point we need to acknowledge that a lot of what he does is legit. Even if he implodes, he is my #7 SP and easily can be dropped.

Rounds 21-23
Round Pick Player Team Position NFBC ADP Position Rank
21 313 Jerad Eickhoff PHI SP 185.93 48
22 318 Brandon Maurer SD RP 246.79 28
23 343 Victor Martinez DET DH 231.29 2

Eickhoff isn’t a super sexy name, but as a back end pitcher he has some upside to him. While he struggled a bit in July and August, he rebounded nicely at the end of the season with a 2.52 ERA and a 8.33 K/9. I don’t necessarily think of him as a guy to take a huge step forward, but he is a nice back of the rotation guy that becomes a good bench pitcher for me.

At this point in the draft there weren’t many closers left. So, I grabbed the best one off of the board to make sure I had at least two. Maurer is a guy I like as a cheap option for saves in all formats and he was extremely cheap here.

I ended my draft by taking the best player still on the board. V-Mart won’t get ooohs or aaaaahs at the draft table, but he is still a good bat in a potent lineup at over 100 picks below his ADP.

Here is my team through 23 rounds:

My Team
Position Player Round Pick NFBC ADP Position Rank
C Buster Posey 3 43 35.07 1
C Evan Gattis 16 228 90.36 4
1B Miguel Cabrera 2 18 15.71 3
2B Robinson Cano 4 48 32.64 4
SS Marcus Semien 13 193 212.79 15
3B Josh Donaldson 1 13 10.79 4
CI Adrian Beltre 7 103 80.5 8
MI Neil Walker 19 283 247.07 20
OF Ian Desmond 5 73 65.57 16
OF Adam Eaton 9 133 141.29 32
OF Lorenzo Cain 11 163 131.93 30
OF Carlos Gomez 14 198 160.86 37
UT Victor Martinez 23 343 231.29 2
SP Chris Archer 6 78 58.64 14
SP Zack Greinke 8 108 97.21 21
SP Marcua Stroman 10 138 176.64 44
SP Tanner Roark 15 223 134 30
SP Rich Hill 17 253 134.29 31
SP John Lackey 18 258 169.36 39
SP Marco Estrada 20 288 221.71 58
RP Ken Giles 12 168 101.14 10
RP Brandon Maurer 22 318 246.79 28
Bench Jerad Eickhoff 21 313 185.93 48

By the end of the draft, I felt that I was still light on steals and a bit on starting pitching. Obviously, I need a 5th outfielder as well. However, with plenty of talent, that fits those needs, still on the board (i.e. Leonys Martin, Brett Gardner, Jarrod Dyson etc.,) I feel like if we had finished the 50 rounds, I would have been able to easily address those needs while still grabbing some prospects I still like near the end. Ultimately, I feel like I put together a team that would compete right away and possibly for 2-3 year before having to blow it up and start over and that is IF the league was still going.

Justin is the co-host on The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast and writes for Rotographs covering the Roto Riteup as well as other periodic articles. In addition to his work at Rotographs, Justin is the lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for FriendswithFantasyBenefits.com, and the owner of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. He is also a certified addiction treatment counselor. Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinMasonFWFB.

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7 years ago

I’m in an old school AL only 4×4 2 catcher league. 4 keepers, 10 teams, no keeper penalty.

I have EE, Altuve, Khris Davis, Edwin Diaz, Cody Allen, Beltre, Kiermaier.

The day the season ended I was sure Gattis was a keeper as the #1 or 2 catcher in this format. But projection systems have him pegged at 350 at bats, while I was hoping to see closer to 600 after the way he mashed in 500 last year.

Am I moving on from Gattis or what?