2021 Dynasty Mock Draft Review: Andy Patton’s Picks

Andy breaks down all 30 of his picks.

A group of 12 dedicated staff writers here at PitcherList knocked out a 30-round dynasty mock draft earlier this offseason, and each of us is breaking down our picks in the hopes of showcasing which players we are higher (or lower) on, and our overall strategy when drafting for dynasty formats.

I always tend toward building a team that is centered on winning in the first 1-3 years — a strategy that is plainly evident in this mock, particularly on the pitching side. I tried my hand at snagging a few of my favorite prospects early and felt good about my ability to pick up older, still productive players later in the draft.

A full look at the mock draft can be found here, and various other mock draft recaps have been and will continue to be written throughout the week.

Additionally, I have included where I ranked each player on my top 500 dynasty rankings, which can be found here.

 

Round 1 (Pick 12): Jacob deGrom, RHP, NYM

My Dynasty Rank: 15

 

Picking at the turn I could have gone with my second pick here, Christian Yelich, which would more closely align with my dynasty rankings (although they came out after this draft) but it ultimately doesn’t matter — I split my first two picks between a dynamic pitcher and a top tier hitter.

deGrom is 32 and has a lot of miles on his arm, which I know is viewed as a red flag for a handful of people, but he has simply been the best (or at worst second best) pitcher in baseball for the past few years, and as long as I am building a team with the intent of winning now, he’s a great player to snag early.

I tend to favor veteran pitchers, even in dynasty format, just because young pitching can be extremely volatile. If I know a guy has had sustained success in the big leagues, and they are falling in drafts because they are on the wrong side of 30, I’ll usually snap them up — a strategy that will become plainly clear as this draft winds on. I recognize the importance of supplementing a team like this with younger arms at some point — lest I be stuck with no pitching in a few years.

Coming off his third consecutive season with an ERA below 2.43, a FIP below 2.67, and a strikeout rate above 31.7%, there’s little reason to believe things won’t be awesome with deGrom on your team for at least the next 2-3 years, and if he ages gracefully he could remain fantasy-relevant for 5-7 seasons. I’ll happily anchor my rotation with him.

 

Round 2 (Pick 13): Christian Yelich, OF, MIL

My Dynasty Rank: 8

 

After posting two of the best fantasy seasons in the modern era from 2018-2019, Yelich saw his production dip rather considerably in 2020. His strikeout rate ballooned to 30.8% while his batting average plummeted over 100 points to a lowly .205, albeit with a .356 OBP thanks to his 18.6% walk rate.

I’m not willing to write Yelich off in any way because of a bad 58 game sample during a pandemic shortened season, and while it is hard to imagine another .329/44/30 season as he had in 2019, there’s little reason to think the 29-year-old won’t be a fantasy stud for at least the next half-decade or so.

Outfield is obviously flush with talent, but there was no one else I wanted to take here more than Yelich thanks to his combination of power and speed, and getting a top-tier arm and bat at the first turn sets my team up well going forward.

 

Round 3 (Pick 36): Anthony Rendon, 3B, LAA

My Dynasty Rank: 35

 

In a batting average league, I’m absolutely thrilled to land Rendon in the third round — basically right at where I have him in the dynasty rankings. Rendon hit over .300 in each season from 2017-2019, and his .286 mark last year came with a career-low .302 BABIP and was buoyed by an incredibly strong 16.4% walk rate.

Rendon’s hard-hit rate did drop a bit, but his power output (nine home runs in 52 games) had him on about a 30 home run pace yet again — and I see little reason to believe he won’t hit near .300 with around 30 home runs again in 2021, and potentially for the next few years, for the Angels.

Third base isn’t as dire as second base (or even first base) in fantasy leagues, but it’s a position I’m happy to get out of the way early, especially with a hyper-consistent — and still relatively young — performer like Rendon.

 

Round 4 (Pick 37): Jarred Kelenic, OF, SEA

My Dynasty Rank: 33

 

Through the first three rounds, I have a team of players all in their prime, so I decided to expand my window a little bit and take Kelenic, who is at worst the second-best dynasty prospect in the game right now. Kelenic will probably see some big league time in 2021 — almost certainly after the service time window has passed — so this move doesn’t preclude me from staying in my win-now window.

Kelenic has an ultra-rare combination of power and speed, and while the batting average dipped at Double-A in 2019 it is important to note he was barely 20 years old at that level. There are not many prospects in baseball who have a safer floor than Kelenic, in my opinion, and pairing him with Yelich in the outfield for the next few years should give me a formidable combination of home runs and stolen bases.

The strikeouts are something to note, and not getting to see any tangible game data from him in 2020 is obviously a big blow, but I believe he’ll be starting in all fantasy outfields by the end of the 2021 campaign — if not sooner — and getting a chance to add him to this roster for the next 15 or so years only expands my contention window without hurting me too much in the short term.

 

Round 5 (Pick 60): Pete Alonso, 1B, NYM

My Dynasty Rank: 42

 

I alluded to this when talking about Anthony Rendonbut 1B is not nearly as deep as it has been in previous years. The majority of fantasy-relevant players at that spot are in their 30’s, some closer to 40. That is what makes Alonso an especially valuable dynasty target, in my mind, and one I was more than happy to still see on the board at pick No. 60.

Alonso’s batting average dipped to .231 in 2020, thanks in part to a .242 BABIP, but he still mashed 16 home runs in just 57 games — and his walk rate, strikeout rate, hard-hit rate, and exit velocity all stayed relatively the same, so I’m not too worried about future production for the 26-year-old.

He’s certainly not as valuable in batting average leagues, but he’s still a top-50 dynasty target thanks to the 80-grade power, which should stick around for at least a decade, if not more.

 

Round 6 (Pick 61): Yu Darvish, RHP, SD

My Dynasty Rank: 55

 

I mentioned during the deGrom write-up that I favor veteran pitching in dynasty formats since I think guys tend to fall more than they should, and while I think this was an appropriate landing spot for Darvish I’m still quite happy to get him at the start of round number six.

Darvish is going to turn 35 during the 2021 season, so this is not a long-term investment, but his production the last few years has been through the roof — and the numbers in the shortened 2020 campaign were absolutely staggering.

Darvish posted a 2.01 ERA with a 2.23 FIP, and a 31.3% strikeout rate paired with a career-low 4.7% walk rate in 2020.

Darvish does not rely on velocity as much as his array of pitches, impeccable command, and general ability to miss bats. His CSW last year was a whopping 35.3%, and while his four-seam velocity was up to 96, he relied far more on his 87 miles per hour cutter (36.8% CSW) and his slider — a pitch that frequently appears in our nastiest pitches articles.

The point is, Darvish’s profile suggests a pitcher who has multiple good years left in him. I can’t say I will project an ERA just above 2.00 again, but as my No. 2 arm in a dynasty startup I’m more than happy with the results I’ll be getting in the next few seasons — although it sets me up to target some younger arms later to keep the window open a little longer.

 

Round 7 (Pick 84): Ketel Marte, 2B/OF, AZ

My Dynasty Rank: 88

 

Marte fills a need at both second base, perhaps the most shallow position in all of baseball from a fantasy perspective this year, as well as in my outfield — and versatility is key in dynasty leagues.

Marte will play all of 2021 at age 27, so there’s a real argument he is right smack in the middle of his prime, which is why his 45 game sample in 2020 was so disappointing. Coming off a 2019 where he slashed .329/.389/.592 with 32 home runs, 10 steals and a 7.0 fWAR, Marte’s power completely disappeared in 2020, with just two home runs and one steal and a good-but-not-great .287/.323/.409 slash line.

Most of Marte’s advanced numbers, like exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and launch angle, all stayed more or less the same between the two seasons — which may be proof that 2019 was an aberration more than anything else. However, his positional flexibility, youth, good batting average, and the real potential for 20/10 type production, with a ceiling much higher than that, make me feel pretty good about landing Marte at this spot.

Fantasy players need to pay attention to second base this year perhaps more than any other year, and while Marte is not the top option on the board he is certainly not the worst — especially in dynasty leagues.

 

Round 8 (Pick 85): Lance Lynn, RHP, CWS

My Dynasty Rank: 91

 

Another older, highly-productive arm fell to me in Round 8, and while this is maybe a bit early for Lynn in a dynasty format, I wanted to try building a team around some aging arms to see how it would shake out (it is a mock, after all).

However, I don’t think it is too crazy to snag Lynn in Round 8 of dynasty leagues, especially if you are squarely in win-now mode. Lynn has really only had one bad season, back in 2018, and otherwise has been a beacon of health and productivity for the past eight years, including making 13 starts and throwing 84 innings in 2020 — while posting a 3.32 ERA, a career-best 1.06 WHIP, a 25.9% strikeout rate and a 7.3% walk rate.

Lynn should get a long leash in 2020 with Tony La Russa at the helm of his new team, the White Sox, and there are ample opportunities for wins, quality starts, and strikeouts so long as he stays healthy.

This isn’t the sexiest pick, but Lynn is a great ratio stabilizer and high-floor arm, and I think my team’s win-now strategy is bolstered considerably by having him, Darvish, and deGrom anchoring the rotation.

 

Round 9 (Pick 108): Lourdes Gurriel, OF, TOR

My Dynasty Rank: 74

 

I know it’s cherry-picking to ignore the 2020 performances of players who did poorly while celebrating those who did well, but it’s hard not to get excited about what we saw from Gurriel across 57 games last season.

Gurriel slashed a blistering .308/.348/.534 with 11 home runs and three stolen bases for Toronto, along with a career-high 6.3% walk rate and a career-low 21.4% strikeout rate. Statcast backs up the performance, showcasing his 49.4% hard-hit rate and an average exit velocity of 90.8 miles per hour, both in the top 20% league-wide. Gurriel has always hit the ball hard and maintained solid contact and barrel rates, and for 57 games last year we got a glimpse at what that could look like if he puts it all together.

The 27-year-old won’t be a huge asset in OBP leagues, although his walk rate is (slowly) trending upward, but with a solid average and tremendous pop, he has the potential to be a five-category contributor if he can tack on 8-10 steals per year.

Regardless, I have him as a top-75 dynasty asset and would happily take him as my No. 2 outfielder — at least in batting average leagues.

 

Round 10 (Pick 109): Javier Baez, SS, CHC

My Dynasty Rank: 75

 

I feel my foundation of Yelich, Rendon, Marte, and Gurriel allows me to take a gamble on a batting average downer like Javier Baez here in the tenth round, another player who sneaks right inside my top-75 dynasty assets despite a very poor showing in 2020. Baez is part of the reason I wrote in that caveat about Gurriel’s 2020 performance because it’s unfair as fantasy analysts to praise a player for having a great 2020, but dismiss a player who struggled. Ultimately, it’s very difficult to know which players took legitimate steps forward (or backward) during the strange COVID season, so we are all just doing our best to guess it out.

Baez in particular mentioned his struggles were in part because of his inability to see in-game video, thanks to rule changes stemming from the Astros trash can incident.

Still, it’s hard not to grimace when looking at his .203/.238/.360 slash line from last year, although his eight home runs and three steals at least provided a little value for fantasy owners who had to slog through his massive hit to their batting average or on-base percentage.

Baez is never going to be an OBP guy, and while I don’t think it is reasonable to expect a sudden jump up to his .280 ways of the past, I also don’t think he will hit .203 again. And if he can still leave the yard and swipe some bases — which by all indications he can — he’ll be a solid fantasy asset for multiple years.

Baez is not my top shortstop option, by a long shot, but I’d be happy to grab him outside of pick 100, especially if you have a team built to withstand his potentially ugly batting average like I do.

 

Round 11 (Pick 132): Nicholas Castellanos, OF, CIN

My Dynasty Rank: 105

 

Castellanos saw his production in the batting average department slow down in his first ‘full’ season in Cincinnati, but he still managed to slug 14 home runs with 37 runs scored and 34 RBI — numbers that would look pretty darn good over a full season.

The outfielder remains a Statcast darling as well, posting a blistering 16% barrel rate with a .542 xSLG and a .471 xWOBACON in 2020, all among the top 10% in the league. Another season with the Reds should allow Castellanos to post 90/30/90 type numbers over a full season, and something tells me that .257 BABIP won’t last as long as he continues to smoke the ball like he did last year.

Castellanos is a borderline top 100 dynasty asset in my mind, and I think fantasy players should be thrilled to land him as their No. 3 outfielder if they can make it work.

 

Round 12 (Pick 133): Stephen Strasburg, RHP, WAS

My Dynasty Rank: 144

 

At this point, I have leaned very heavily into the older starting pitching department, so why not keep the charade going. Few players are harder to nail down than Stephen Strasburg this year, as he heads into his age-32 season coming off a year where he made two starts and threw just five innings.

Injuries have always been a part of Strasburg’s bio, and now with carpal tunnel surgery in the rearview mirror, it’s easy to wonder how he will come back from this.

Of course, it’s also hard to ignore the simple fact that Strasburg has never, ever, ever, been bad in his career — consistently posting ERAs below 3.50 and WHIP numbers below 1.15. If he is healthy, he’ll be an absolute steal in both redraft leagues and startup dynasty formats for 2021. The injury risk is real, and his age makes him less appealing in dynasty, but if he’s available in the 140-150 pick range he’s well worth the gamble — at least as long as the reports out of spring training remain positive.

 

Round 13 (Pick 156): Dansby Swanson, SS, ATL

My Dynasty Rank: 132

 

I alluded to not feeling super great about Baez as my top shortstop, so I got myself a very solid backup plan in Dansby Swanson

Swanson slashed .274/.345/.464 with 10 home runs and five steals, and while his 8.3% walk rate and 26.9% strikeout rate were both career-worsts, he still had the highest fWAR of his career at 1.9, despite the 60-game slate.

Swanson’s Statcast profile is rather pedestrian, but his ability to contribute at least a little bit across all five categories is valuable, and at age 27 it’s not hard to see the appeal in dynasty formats, especially if you can get him after pick 150.

 

Round 14 (Pick 157): Noelvi Marte, SS, SEA

My Dynasty Rank: 134

 

Another pick that was more about expanding my window. Noelvi Marte is a hyper-toolsy middle infield prospect that exploded in the DSL in 2019, where as a 17-year-old he slashed .309/.371/.511 with nine home runs and 17 stolen bases, along with a tidy 9.7% walk rate and an 18.4% strikeout rate.

Marte was at Seattle’s alternate site in 2020, and reports indicated he continued to fill out his body — leading many scouts and analysts to drop a 60-grade raw and game power tag on him. How his approach succeeds against higher-level pitching is the huge question mark at this point, but there is absolutely the potential for a 25/25 type bat in this profile — although the added muscle is expected to limit the speed, so perhaps 30/15 is a more realistic ceiling (which I suspect fantasy players will be more than okay with).

Marte is unlikely to stick at shortstop long term, at least according to the scouting reports on his defense, but a move to third base or even first base down the line shouldn’t hamper his fantasy value too much if he reaches anywhere near his sky-high potential.

It’s hard to know how to evaluate teenagers in dynasty formats, particularly ones with as little experience as he has, but the tools are there and I’m willing to take a gamble on him in the 130-150 range of most dynasty league drafts.

 

Round 15 (Pick 180): Miguel Sano, 1B/3B, MIN

My Dynasty Rank: 162

 

A quick look at the new Pitcherlist player pages shows that Sano hit a measly .204/.278/.478 with a career-low 8.8% walk rate and a career-high 43.9(!)% strikeout rate in 53 games last year. It also showed that he blasted 13 home runs — giving him 47 round-trippers in his last 158 games spanning two seasons.

However, a look at his Statcast data shows that the Sano we all know and love was still present last year. He may have swung and missed even more than usual, but when he made contact… well, just take a look at this:

This is more or less who Sano is — a slugger with absolutely ridiculous hard contact and barrel rates, but who swings and misses far too often. The dip in walk rate is certainly something to watch, however. Sure, it could be small sample noise — he actually saw fewer pitches inside the zone last year — but it could also be an effort by pitchers to get him chasing even more, which we saw last year in his career-high 31% O-swing rate and overall 19.1% swinging-strike rate.

Ultimately, the 27-year-old still has a lot of years left ahead of him to mash home runs at a furious pace, and while he is another drain on my batting average — the raw power is hard to ignore in Round 15, especially for a guy who is still relatively young.

 

Round 16 (Pick 181): Jordan Groshans, 3B, TOR

My Dynasty Rank: 155

 

I’m a big fan of what we saw from Jordan Groshans in 2019 — even though his season was cut short after just 23 games thanks to a foot injury. In those 23 games at Single-A, the then 19-year-old slashed .337/.427/.483 with a 13.5% walk rate and a very respectable 21.9% strikeout rate. He almost certainly wouldn’t have kept that pace up for a full season, but he proved he belonged at that level, and the former No. 12 overall pick could get a very aggressive placement in Double-A, or even Triple-A, to begin the 2021 campaign.

Heralded with 70-grade raw power, Groshans has yet to prove he can get to that power in game action— but there’s little reason to fret over just 71 professional games. The hit tool looks more polished than he has gotten credit for as well, and the strong eye at the plate and slightly above-average speed could make him a five-category contributor, particularly for those in OBP leagues.

Groshans, like Marte, is likely limited to a corner infield spot — spots that are not likely going to be open in Toronto anytime soon — but as long as the bat stays hot he should find himself in the big leagues before too long. I think he’s a borderline top-150 dynasty asset, and I’d be happy to get him just inside the top-200 as I did here.

 

Round 17 (Pick 204): Nick Solak, 2B/OF, TEX

My Dynasty Rank: 216

 

The power we saw from Solak in his debut season dissipated in 2020, with his ISO dropping from .198 in 2019 to just .077 in 2020 when he finished with just two home runs and a pedestrian .268/.326/.344 slash line. He did help out those who rostered him by swiping seven bases, however, flashing some prowess in that area we hadn’t seen from him since he was in Double-A in 2018.

Considering his 91st percentile sprint speed, there is reason to hope he will be a double-digit stolen base threat in 2021, especially if he wins the starting second base job in spring which is, by all accounts, the plan for him in Texas.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Solak’s if I’m being honest, but the likelihood he has an everyday role and his potential to contribute in multiple categories makes him a nice bench or utility piece — and at just 26 years old he is a perfectly acceptable option in dynasty formats right around pick 200.

 

Round 18 (Pick 205): Spencer Howard, RHP, PHI

My Dynasty Rank: 173

 

For the most part, fans seem willing to write-off a majority of what we saw in 2020 as either small sample size or wonkiness due to COVID-19, but there does seem to be a lot of highly regarded pitching prospects who are getting faded after a few bad starts in the big leagues.

I get it, pitching prospects are volatile and many “can’t miss” arms end up busting, but in many cases, the disrespect shown to guys like Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize, Nate Pearson, and of course my 18th round pick, Spencer Howardhas gone too far — especially in dynasty formats where these guys still have the potential to anchor rotations for years to come.

Howard cruised through the minor leagues after joining the Phillies as a second-round pick out of Cal Poly in 2017, finishing the 2019 season with six starts of 2.35 ERA ball with a 31.1% strikeout rate in Double-A. He got his chance for the Phillies in 2020, also making six starts but with far different results: a 5.92 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, and a 20.4% strikeout rate.

Injuries played a part in that ugly line, but as long as he is healthy he should get another opportunity in Philadelphia at some point in 2021 — although probably not right away. Still, for a team built around aging pitching, snagging a potential high-end No. 2 who is just 24 years old outside of pick 200 is something to celebrate.

 

Round 19 (Pick 228): Yasmani Grandal, C, CWS

My Dynasty Rank: 202

 

Catchers are still a thing in dynasty leagues, regrettably, and I picked up who I consider one of the best options around here in the 19th round in Yasmani GrandalGrandal’s 2020 was very up-and-down and came with a concerning uptick in his strikeout rate to a career-high 29.9%, but he still mashed eight home runs in just 46 games along with 27 RBI and a .230/.351/.422 slash line.

Grandal isn’t going to help your batting average (most catchers aren’t) but he has plenty of power as evidenced by his four straight seasons with 22+ home runs, and six straight seasons of 15+ dating back to 2014 and excluding 2020, for obvious reasons.

Catcher is a very tough position to deal with in dynasty leagues, as players tend not to stick around for very long — with notable exceptions like Yadier MolinaIf you can’t get J.T. Realmuto or Will SmithI’m looking at either Sean Murphy (particularly in OBP) or Grandal.

Grandal is 32, which definitely doesn’t bode well beyond the next few years, but the production should be there for the next few seasons at least, and that is worth definitely snagging outside of pick 200.

 

Round 20 (Pick 229): Edwin Diaz, RHP, NYM

My Dynasty Rank: 231

 

It’s important to have a plan at catcher heading into your dynasty drafts, and it’s usually a good idea to have an idea at least about the first reliever you want to take off the board. For me that was Diaz — and while I don’t think he is the top reliever in dynasty formats, he is the first one I’m willing to pay for on the draft market, and here I was able to get him right around where I have him ranked at 229.

Diaz followed his disastrous first season in New York with a much more palatable 2020 campaign, posting a 1.75 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with a ridiculous 45.5% strikeout rate and a 37.5% CSW in 25.2 innings pitched, while recording six saves.

Diaz did most of his damage thanks to a return to glory for his slider, which boasted a 2.1 pVAL/C in 2020. If that continues, and his walk rate ticks down a bit, he’ll be a dynamite closer potentially for many years — and that is absolutely worth ponying up for in the 20th round.

 

Round 21 (Pick 252): Charlie Blackmon, OF, COL

My Dynasty Rank: 193

 

Even though he was still playing at Coors Field in 2020, Blackmon’s power dissipated in a major way across 59 games with the Rockies. He still slashed an excellent .303/.356/.448, but only mustered six home runs and a .145 ISO — nearly sixty points below his career average. At age 34 and with some staggeringly bad Statcast numbers (20th percentile exit velocity and 11th percentile hard-hit rate) it’s fair to wonder if age has reduced some of his power after it already zapped his speed (just four stolen bases in the past two years).

I’m not quite ready to give up on him just yet, but even if the power and speed continue to evaporate Blackmon still puts the bat on the ball with a ton of consistency and can provide batting average stability in the later rounds in leagues where he is being overlooked.

Colorado’s offense may not provide him the opportunities to drive in runs and score as often as they used to, but I still see a guy who could hit over .280 with decent power and run production — and if that power returns he will be among the most notable draft day bargains.

If you can get him around pick 200 I think he’s worth a look, and at pick 252 he is certainly hard to pass up here.

 

Round 22 (Pick 253): Emerson Hancock, RHP, SEA

My Dynasty Rank: 226

 

I mentioned pretty early in this write-up that my roster would need to be supplemented with some young pitching after I went for veteran arms like deGrom, Darvish, Lynn, and Strasburg, and getting a chance to snag Emerson Hancock in the 22nd round allowed me to expand my contention window while not giving up on my current roster.

Hancock, like every other player drafted in 2020 not named Garrett Crochet, has yet to make his professional debut — but when he does there is reason to believe he could be a very quick riser to the major league level.

Armed with a riding fastball that touches 99 and a trio of excellent secondaries, Hancock drew comparisons to Casey Mize while in college.

Considering his pedigree and Seattle’s sterling reputation in developing pitchers, this is a guy I really believe could develop into a high-quality No. 2 starter — and seems destined to be no worse than a mid-rotation or No. 4 type guy. High floor starting pitching prospects are very hard to find, and getting one with the ceiling Hancock has in the 250 pick range is super ideal.

 

Round 23 (Pick 276): Willy Adames, SS, TB

My Dynasty Rank: 221

 

Adames posted a career-high 124 wRC+ with a .222 ISO and eight home runs in 54 games last year, continuing to develop into more of a power threat in his third MLB season.

He also saw his strikeout rate balloon up to a catastrophic 36.1%, a full ten percentage points higher than his mark in 2019. A closer look under the hood by dynasty writer Vince Ginardi showed that Adames was trying really hard to pull the ball, which did help increase his pop but led to a slight uptick in his chase rate and a huge uptick in his whiff rate.

Those changes are not ideal for the most part, although he still managed to hit .259 last year with a .332 OBP thanks in part to his career-high 9.8% walk rate and a likely unsustainable .388 BABIP.

I’m not sure I love this new approach from Adames in general, but he’s just 25 years old and in a dynasty league grabbing a guy that young, who is currently in an everyday role (although Tampa Bay’s farm system could challenge that soon) and who is continuing to hit for more power while tacking on a few stolen bases is well worth the increased strikeouts.

 

Round 24 (Pick 277): Zack Greinke, RHP, HOU

My Dynasty Rank: 212

 

Another example of an older but still reliable starting pitcher falling to me. Greinke is 37 now, but he’s been remarkably consistent and doesn’t rely on velocity to succeed, so there’s plenty of reason to believe he’ll be a high-level fantasy asset for at least a few more years — and I’m happy to get that in the 24th round of a dynasty start-up.

Of course, my team is now relying very heavily on starting pitchers in their mid-30’s, so it will be crucial that I add some young pitching (like Howard and Hancock) to keep this team afloat long-term — or else be ready to wheel and deal on the trade market.

 

Round 25 (Pick 300): J.D. Davis, 3B, NYM

My Dynasty Rank: 186

 

After breaking out in a big way in 2019, hitting 22 home runs with a .307/.369/.527 slash line, Davis came back down to earth for the Mets in 2020 — hitting just six home runs and seeing his ISO drop from .220 to .142 while slashing .247/.371/.389.

Davis did post an incredible 13.5% walk rate, making him a more appealing target in OBP formats, although I suspect the average will crawl back closer to his career .268 mark over a full season.

Davis doesn’t offer much speed and his playing time is a bit of a question mark with the Mets loaded offense and the lack of a DH in the NL, but he is a guy I have ranked just inside my top 200 because of his age and Statcast data, and I’d be thrilled to buy him up at this price point in any dynasty formats.

 

Round 26 (Pick 301): Andrew Heaney, LHP, LAA

My Dynasty Rank: 236

 

Heaney is that guy I just can’t quit. Yes, he’s only thrown over 110 innings once in his career, which is extremely not ideal after a shortened season. And yes, his home run issues have yet to go away and his wonky delivery seems to cause location issues — so those ‘elevated fastballs’ that can make him dope when he’s on are often falling over the middle of the plate, a spot big league hitters likely won’t miss too many of, even if the ball is deadened this year.

But Heaney does offer good strikeout potential and has basically never been bad in the WHIP category, so if he is healthy he’s a pretty safe bet to help you out in those two key areas. Wins, quality starts, and ERA are another story — so he’s a player to target at your own peril.

Of course, any player you are taking past pick No. 300 is going to have their warts, and a 29-year-old starter with his upside is worth it in my opinion — even if the very real problems are plainly evident.

 

Round 27 (Pick 324): David Price, LHP, LAD

My Dynasty Rank: 293

 

What are we doing with David PriceHe opted out of the 2020 season, what should have been his first with the Dodgers, and now we are looking at a 34-year-old who hasn’t thrown in a competitive game in well over a year. Is that bad? Maybe, but also it may have given his wrist extra time to heal after an injury derailed a once-promising 2019 campaign where he was holding a 3.16 ERA and 1.15 WHIP through 17 starts.

Dodger-itis is a real thing, and this rotation has no shortage of capable arms if they want to give Price extra rest, and obviously, the age and injury history are very real concerns here.

However, I don’t think it is crazy to believe he has 2-3 good seasons left in the tank, and he could provide a big-time boost to fantasy owners in 2021 at the very least.

At pick No. 324 and as my 9th(!) starting pitcher, I am more than happy to take the risk here, and fantasy players should consider him right around pick No. 300 if he is still on the board.

 

Round 28 (Pick 325): Andres Muñoz, RHP, SEA

My Dynasty Rank: 325

 

I only took two relievers in this 30 round mock, a strategy I wouldn’t advise in general unless you feel very confident about your ability to find saves on the waiver wire — a difficult task in a league this deep.

Muñoz is a guy I wanted to talk about though — and while he won’t be much (any?) help in 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March of 2020, he has the makings of a future ace reliever.

The 22-year-old made his big league debut for the Padres in 2019, posting a 3.17 FIP and a 30.9% strikeout rate in 23 innings, thanks to his legitimate 80-grade fastball that hits triple-digits on the regular, as well as his 60-grade slider.

Command will be something to watch here, but his exceptional youth and dominant stuff could make him another Edwin Diaz type in Seattle, and that’s really hard to pass up at this stage in the draft — even if you have to wait for a half-season for him to get back onto the hill.

 

Round 29 (Pick 348): DL Hall, LHP, BAL

My Dynasty Rank: 249

 

Hall is a left-handed pitching prospect for Baltimore that I think often gets overlooked in dynasty formats. He possesses a mid-90’s fastball that tops at 98 and gets a 60-grade from Fangraphs, as well as a curveball (55) and changeup (55) that both look like plus offerings.

The 2017 first-round pick had no problem with Single-A hitters in 2018 as a teenager or High-A hitters as a 20-year-old in 2019, and the reports about him from the team’s alternate site in 2020 were very strong — with some saying he has more potential than Baltimore’s other top pitching prospect, Grayson Rodriguez.

Hall also has serious command issues, which can derail even the best pitching prospects — something we have seen all too often. Of course, he’s still just 22 years old, and I think the potential here outweighs some of the risks.

Hall is an investment for the future, as 2021 seems like a longshot for his debut timeline, but on a team full of aging arms I am happy to get another injection of youth with one of my final picks.

 

Round 30 (Pick 349): Jackson Rutledge, RHP, WAS

My Dynasty Rank: 359

 

Rutledge is perhaps my biggest prospect crush of the year, and a guy I snuck onto my top 100 at No. 99 overall. The 6’8, 250-pound right-hander possesses a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and hits triple digits, earning a coveted 70 grade from Fangraphs. He also has two breaking balls that both flash plus, drawing some comparisons to Nate Pearson at a similar age.

Rutledge will need his changeup to develop if he wants to reach his potential as a mid-rotation starter with No. 2 upside, but at age 21 and with just 37.1 professional innings under his belt, there’s reason to believe he can fine-tune that pitch (if he hasn’t already at the alternate site) and potentially rocket through the minor leagues.

I like pitching prospects who seem to have safer floors as potentially late-inning weapons, and while I think Rutledge has the tools to be a high-strikeout starting pitcher, should his development stall he has the makings of a dynamic reliever a la Dellin Betancesand getting a prospect with that kind of fall-back potential is a great get in the final round of a deeper dynasty format like this one.

 

Photos by Rick Dikeman | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

Andy Patton

Andy is the Dynasty Content Manager here at PitcherList. He manages all of the prospect content on the site, while also contributing a weekly article on Baseball cards and dynasty deep sleepers. Andy also co-hosts the Never Sunny in Seattle podcast on the PitcherList Podcast Network, and separately hosts Score Zags Score Podcast.

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