The Pitcher List staff recently completed a start-up dynasty mock draft. Here are the results:
When Travis Sherer reached out about a few remaining openings in the star-studded Pitcher List Dynasty Mock Draft, I was a bit hesitant to reach out to fill a spot. While I have played in my fair share of fantasy baseball leagues, the dynasty format is not my forte. However, with the peak of draft season fast approaching, I figured it would be a good chance to get familiar with a deeper player pool and I decided to give this mock a shot with some of the sharpest dynasty players around.
I tried to use my lack of dynasty draft experience to my advantage. While it is a pretty popular strategy to “punt year one” in dynasty startups as Travis mentioned in his review, I went in with a mindset of winning the league and winning the league now. Part of that had to do with the fact of where I was slotted in the draft – the four spot. The traditional first three picks – Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Ronald Acuna – were going to be off the board so I had a decision to make. I could’ve skewed on the younger side, but decided to embrace the win-now mentality.
While I did make a conscious effort of selecting players that increased my chances of winning and winning soon, I still managed to come away with the fourth-youngest team in the league. With an average age of 25.23, I was able to construct a team built to win now and in the future. Since I have a strong core of MLB-level talent, I was able to “reach” on high-ceiling prospects when the time was right in the draft. This was a big part of my strategy – I wanted to take chances on extremely high-upside prospects to build up a “farm system” that would both serve as great trade pieces and potentially game-breaking players to slot the lineup in as the core of my lineup ages.
1.4 Mike Trout, OF, LAA
I semi-jokingly said to the league on the Discord chat “Mike Trout, the greatest player ever, is underrated. My column:”. While that statement was said tongue-in-cheek, I do believe that there is some truth to that. Trout has seemingly handed over his throne as the sure-fire number one pick in redraft leagues, and his stock has “fallen” even further in dynasty circles. I think the slide, even a slight one, has gone too far. Sure, Trout’s days of stealing 30 or even 20 bases are behind him, but there is a strong argument to be made that he is still the best hitter in baseball.
The combination of high-floor while being a runaway favorite to win the AL MVP makes this an easy pick for me. Trout is no longer a spring chicken, but at the age of 29, he is still in his power peak. He may get moved to a corner outfield spot as he gets older, but that is of no concern for fantasy managers. And I am not concerned at all with how his bat will age. Trout is still projected to finish with the highest or second-highest OPS by all the major projection systems and I see no signs of him slowing down any time soon. In fact, he was recently quoted as saying last year was a “bad” season for him. One which he slashed .281/.390/.603 with a 162 wRC+ (his lowest since 2012). I’ll be happy to have a motivated Mike Trout on my team for years to come.
2.21 Bryce Harper, OF, PHI
This pick was a bit tougher for me. I was hoping to add a little youth after selecting an “older” player in Trout with my first pick, but I decided to add what I felt was the best remaining hitter on the board. Basically, everything I said about the Trout pick went into my logic here, just to a lesser extent talent-wise. In Trout and Bryce Harper, I have two hitters in the middle of their primes who will contribute in all five offensive categories. Harper has done a much better job staying on the field as he ages and is another player who you can count on for power and counting stats while still providing an upside. While 2015 may be a pipe dream, Harper is still capable of putting together an MVP-like season if the BABIP gods are ever in his favor in a given year.
After I made this pick, it was much easier for me to embrace the full win-now mode. I began to target pieces that would help me bring home a title as soon as this upcoming year.
3.28 Nolan Arenado, 3B, STL
I made this pick a few weeks before Nolan Arenado was traded to the Cardinals but I still would’ve been OK with making this pick, knowing he would be playing in St. Louis. I love Arenado’s value in redraft leagues – the hate has gone too far on an injury-riddled short sample from 2020 – and I am buying in on a bounce-back both short and long-term. The downgrade in home park is real and cannot be ignored, but there is also a lot to be said about the “Coors Hangover Effect” (no, not the hangover after having one too many Coors Lights).
Calling Coors field home makes you a worse hitter in other parks. Rockies players are used to seeing an overload of fastballs at home (since breaking balls don’t work as well in the altitude) then have a massive adjustment period when they go on the road. Arenado will no longer have this disadvantage. While it may not make up for playing half your games at Coors Field, it still should help boost Arenado’s road numbers and I believe he will put up typical Arenado-like numbers over the next few seasons.
4.45 Brandon Woodruff, SP, MIL
Woodruff is one of the best pitchers in the Dynasty format and I had my eye on him basically since the draft started. He had all the tools I was looking for in a pitcher. He had velocity, movement, and is in his prime without a ton of innings on his arm. I am glad I made this selection here after reading how Travis was lined up to take him with his next pick. Woodruff has made strides in every one of his big league seasons and I am excited for him to be the ace of my squad for years to come.
5.52 Aaron Judge, OF, NYY
This is the first pick where I felt like I was taking a big risk. While Aaron Judge‘s age lined up with the win-now core I have established with my first four picks, his injury history is extremely concerning. The upside here is a healthy OF of Trout-Harper-Judge is probably one of the best in the league. However, that comes with a lot of assumptions about Judge’s ability to stay on the field. I am less confident in Judge becoming a guy who “learns how to stay healthy” as Harper has become, simply because of the pure size he possesses. Guys this big do not have a great track record staying on the field and with Giancarlo Stanton as a teammate, the DH opportunities will be limited.
6.69 Chris Paddack, SP, SD
It seems that a lot of people have jumped off the Chris Paddack hype train heading into 2021. I am firmly still on board. I am buying up shares anywhere I can, especially in dynasty formats. This was a guy who was being selected in the middle rounds of drafts before he ever threw a pitch in 2019 and somehow managed to exceed those expectations with SP1-like numbers over 140.2 innings. Things did not go as well last year, as he lost spin on his fastball and struggled to a 4.73 ERA over 59 innings (though perhaps there was a bit of bad luck tied to that, suggested by his unfortunate 25% HR/FB rate).
I still believe The General has one of the best pitches in baseball in his changeup, will get the spin back on his fastball (after his eyes were opened up to the power of analytics this offseason, sorry Will Middlebrooks), and is working on adding a third pitch that will take him back to fantasy ace-hood.
7.76 Jasson Domiguez, OF, NYY
I took a lot of flak for this pick, especially on the On The Farm Podcast reviewing this mock. I am going to be completely honest, I was eyeing up Marco Luciano here and got sniped by Shelly just four picks earlier. I pivoted to what I thought was the highest upside prospect on the board. Yes, Jasson Domiguez has not taken an at-bat of professional baseball. Yes, he is just 18 years old and we have no idea what his plate discipline or pitch recognition looks like. But that doesn’t really matter to me. I want the player in my “farm system” who provides the highest offensive upside possible and to me, that player is the one nicknamed “The Martian”. Coupled with the fact that I have established a solid major league core, especially in the outfield, I am totally OK taking a bit of a reach here to grab one of – if not the most – tantalizing prospects in baseball.
Here's something that Yankees fans may or may not like.
(OK, they are *really* going to like it.)
17-year-old Jasson Dominguez hit a ball 117 mph last week. Only four players in the major leagues did that in 2020. Just 11 did it in 2019.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 11, 2021
8.93 Carlos Correa, SS, HOU
Carlos Correa is another guy that I feel is being criminally under drafted in all formats. There have been stretches where Correa was the best shortstop in baseball (see his run in the 2020 postseason) and he is still just 26 years old. Correa has shown flashes over the years and I believe he still has his best seasons in front of him. If Correa puts together a full 162 game season, with the production he has had while on the field, this pick could look like a steal as soon as next year.
9.100 Jake Cronenworth, 2B, SD
6.69 – Chris Paddack
7.75 – Jasson Dominguez
8.93 – Carlos Correa
9.100 – Jake Cronenworth
My process for the Cronenworth pick. Going to his stat cast page and seeing this: pic.twitter.com/0VyXeHq1aI
— Steve Gesuele (@stav8818) January 19, 2021
10.117 Julio Urias, SP, LAD
I have a type when it comes to targeting pitchers. Julio Urias fits the mold. I am a firm believer that TNSTAAPP (there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect) is not only the best baseball acronym but also one of the most useful when it comes to fantasy. I like pitchers with fewer innings on their arms for injury purposes, but it is also hard to trust even the greatest of pitching prospects to come up to the bigs and hit the ground running. Urias provides that blend of youth and big-league experience (with success) that I love to target in drafts.
11.124 Jo Adell, OF, LAA
How much higher would Jo Adell been selected if not for his 132 plate appearances in the majors in 2020?
12.141 Nate Pearson, SP, TOR
Here’s to hoping everything I said about pitching prospects in the Urias blurb is wrong. In all seriousness, I felt I had started to build a little rotation depth where I could take a shot on one of the top pitching prospects that is guaranteed a rotation spot come April.
13.148 Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, STL
There is a massive inefficiency in the dynasty market when it comes to old and boring players. Paul Goldschmidt is just that. He may be old and boring, but he will be very useful on a team that wants to compete now and that is exactly what I plan on doing. Goldy provides a strong bat at a position that is surprisingly shallow. I’ll happily fill a void in my lineup with a hitter like this despite his age.
14.165 Joey Gallo, OF, TEX
Here’s another value I see in all formats. Joey Gallo‘s shortened 2020 season was disastrous, but as recently as last preseason he was being drafted like an OF2. I’ll take Gallo’s light-tower power in the 14th round all day.
15.172 Royce Lewis, SS, MIN
I was very excited to be able to select a former first overall pick in the 15th round, until news recently broke about the knee surgery that will keep Royce Lewis out of the 2021 season. Lewis has had an up-and-down career as a prospect and just as it seemed he was turning the corner and getting ready to possibly debut, another setback happens. However, since we were at the literal halfway point of my draft, I was not too upset and will gladly stash Lewis in my prospect pool.
16.189 Sean Murphy, C, OAK
I like to punt at catcher and felt fortunate to be able to grab Sean Murphy this late. Murphy’s Statcast numbers have been impressive and he should see the majority of playing time behind the dish in Oakland this year. At least I hope so, since I made the mistake of not drafting a backup catcher!
17.196 Deivi Garcia, SP, NYY
I was loading up on the Yankees’ prospects; I now had the number one and two prospects in their system. Garcia has shown some impressive stuff, even at the big league level, and should be given a chance to win a rotation spot with the Yankees out of spring training. I am a big believer in his talent and think he can be a solid back-end starter for my squad.
18.213 Aroldis Chapman, RP, NYY
Age-ism at its finest. Chapman still has elite velocity and strikeout rates, which is all I look for in a closer. As a team embracing win-now, this is a huge get for me at this point in the draft.
19.220 Griffin Canning, SP, LAA
I have been very high on Griffin Canning for a very long time. He added a new curveball last year and has shown the stuff of a top-of-the-rotation guy. Obviously, the big question mark remains his health. He was able to stay healthy in 2020, but he battled some arm issues in 2019 and there was some speculation that he was headed for Tommy John surgery. If he stays healthy, and that is a big if, I love Canning as a back-end starter with an upside for more.
20.237 Tommy Edman, 2B, 3B, OF, STL
A young-ish jack-of-all-trades straight from the depths of Cardinals’ devil magic. Edman fits my team well with his position flexibility and contribution in all offensive categories. This pick is not going to turn any heads but it is a great value as we head to the final third of the draft.
21.244 Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, BOS
Looking back, I felt like I started to take on a bit more risk than I would’ve liked in my rotation. In Canning and now Eduardo Rodriguez, there was a little more injury volatility than I was comfortable with. However, at this point in the draft, there weren’t many stable pitchers available, and when E-Rod has been on the mound, he has been good.
22.261 Jazz Chisholm, 2B, MIA
I was eyeing up Ryan McMahon here but he was taken four picks before my turn, so I quickly pivoted to Jazz Chisholm here. The centerpiece of the return for Zac Gallen, Chisholm has shown some interesting power, coupled with some high strikeout rates in the minors. He wasn’t great in 62 MLB plate appearances last year, and I am thinking this could be a case (to a much lower extent) similar to Jo Adell, where he would have been drafted much higher in a dynasty start-up draft if not for his cup of coffee in the bigs last year.
23.268 Leody Taveras, OF, TEX
I was a little surprised to see Leody Tavares here. I seem to have a prospect type and have been compiling a few guys who are close or at the majors. Tavares provides an interesting combo of power and speed and while he wasn’t high on many prospect lists he could carve out a nice role in Texas and provide some value.
24.285 Will Smith, RP, ATL
I was banking on Will Smith being the full-time closer for the Braves here. If not, I will be in a tough spot since these types of picks only have appeal to win-now teams and little value in dynasty leagues. Also, I have a similar but more of a sure thing in my other closer spot in Chapman. It is a risk, but in the 24th round, I was OK with it.
25.292 Jared Oliva, OF, PIT
I have been a fan of Jared Oliva for quite some time. He should have a shot to win a job out of spring with the rebuilding Pirates. Oliva has all the physical tools at 6’2” and 203 pounds, with plus speed (36 stolen bases in his last full season at AA in 2019). His raw power is ahead of his game power now, but I like taking a gamble like this.
26.309 Tanner Houck, SP, BOS
My goal at this point in the draft is to take as many fliers as possible. Tanner Houck is just the type of flier I am looking for. He is another young arm with some successful showings in the majors, with a clear upside.
27.316 Shane McClanahan, RP, TB
Even if Shane McClanahan doesn’t end up as a starter long-term, I still love the value here. As shown in the 2020 playoffs, McClanahan’s stuff is electric, with a fastball topping out at 100mph. He should slot in somewhere on the Rays “clock” bullpen in a high-leverage role as soon as 2021. Maybe he can even back his way into some saves for Tampa this year.
28.333 Alek Thomas, OF, ARZ
Alek Thomas has all the tools I look for in a hitting prospect. He has power and speed and a minor league track record (he hit eight home runs and stole 11 bags in 91 games at the Midwest League in 2019). There have been some struggles, as he didn’t have quite the same number after he was promoted to High-A, but there is still plenty of time for Thomas to round into form. He is ranked third in a stacked Diamondbacks’ system and has the potential to be a five-category producer in the near future. I loved this pick this late to add to my farm system.
29.340 Giovanny Gallegos, RP, STL
I like taking fliers on Giovanny Gallegos in all formats for cheap saves. As a team with a win-now mentality, at worst he’ll be a RP for me providing tons of strikeouts with good ratios. I wish I had handcuffed him with Jordan Hicks.
30.357 Daniel Espino, SP, CLE
Cleveland’s pitching machine, plus a top-tier pitching prospect that oozes talent, equals a steal in the last round of the draft. Daniel Espino, Cleveland’s no. 7 prospect per our very own Kyle Brown, was at the Indians’ alternate site working on a curveball and changeup, which is very exciting. I can only imagine what Cleveland can develop with a talented arm like this.
Photos by Cody Glenn & Brian Rothmuller / Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)