It’s easy to go into a dynasty draft ready to draft guys in the mid-early to mid 20’s thinking you’re going to hold onto them for their entire career, helping you win championship after championship. The fact of the matter is you’re going to pick wrong and you’re going to have to adjust. Not only in the draft and in-season but long term as well. You may think you’re built for a five-year contending window just to see the core simply fall out, injuries plaque your rotation, or none of prospects pan out the way you envision.
It’s great to have a plan — and to stick with it as long as you can — but it’s better to be flexible and to consider other avenues to victory. With that being said, my draft was meant to be a fun exercise, but I found myself zigging when I thought I’d be zagging. In my home dynasty league that I’ve been playing in since the 2001 season, I’m in the middle of a rebuild of sorts, so I thought this draft would instinctively put me in a position to draft a prospect-heavy roster, with an intention to compete in 2-3 years. As it turns out, I was much more interested in the here and now, with the ability to create a 2-3 window of heavy competitiveness. Let me know what you think.
Round 1 (Pick 2): Ronald Acuna, OF, ATL
The luxury of the number two pick in a draft like this is there’s really no way to be disappointed. I was perfectly content to be “stuck” with the 22-year-old MVP contender (he came in 5th in the National League 2019 voting). The power-speed combo is obvious, but what I like most about Acuna, especially as he matures into the “generational talent” he’s been touted as, is his ability to adjust. Look at his breakout 2017 year in the minors. He moved across 3 levels (A+, AA, AAA) and at each stop, he was able to lower his K rate, increase his BA and OBP, while working with a lower BABIP – all against better pitching. He’s already proven his ability in Atlanta, and I expect him to be an anchor for this roster for the next decade.
Who I passed on: Literally everyone except Mike Trout.
Round 2 (Pick 31): Blake Snell, SP, TB
From my experience, a good dynasty squad is only as good as their best starter. Sure, you can stream (especially in a H2H league like this), but the value of a reliable ace never decreases. With a Cy Young under his belt, still just 27 years old, and a very strong Rays team behind him for at least the next 4 seasons, Snell felt like the best candidate to be taken as the 3rd overall pitcher in this draft (behind Gerritt Cole and Walker Buehler). The only possible knock on Snell is simply playing for the Rays – he averaged less than 6 IP per start in his 2018 CY campaign and before breaking his toe in 2019 he only saw the inside of the 7th inning twice in 20 appearances. The silver lining, of course, is Snell makes the most of his time on the mound, with a solid repertoire (see: BSB) of pitches he’s forced batters to swing more often (both inside and outside the zone) and miss more often (he’s decreased his contact rate inside and outside the zone every season). With a K% over 30% each of the last two seasons he’s been able to base a base for W and K that will be desperately needed in this type of league, even if his overall innings are limited.
Round 3 (Pick 34): Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS
Honestly, I really didn’t want to take a SS this early. The position is as deep as it’s ever been and based on the talent up and down the minor leagues that may not change for a few years. Bogaerts really felt like he fell to me here, and in a dynasty draft when you think you see value you’re going to jump at it. Also entering his age 27 season, Xander brings a solid floor to this offense that should stay steady for the next few seasons. In the past five seasons he hasn’t seen his K% jump over 18.3% while increasing his walk rate year over year during that same span. He’s matured over his time in Boston, resulting in a career year 2019 campaign where he hit 33 homers, and still hit 52 doubles on top of that (ranking third in all MLB). Perhaps those extra doubles can account for the decrease in stolen base attempts in the past two seasons – after all, he hasn’t gotten any slower (28.3 ft/s sprint speed in 2017 when he stole 15 bases on 16 attempts with 48 XBH vs 28.0 ft/s sprint speed in 2019 when he stole just 4 bases on 6 attempts with 85 XBH). After increasing his exit velocity every season (except 2017), Bogaerts continues to set himself apart and should provide a solid backbone to this team’s middle infield for the next few seasons.
Round 4 (Pick 63): Luis Severino, SP, NYY
I’ll echo my own comments about a dynasty roster needing to be anchored by a strong top of the rotation. Starters are the most difficult to trade for, which is mostly due to their overall volatility, so when you get a chance to get a young one that has already shown the ability to be an ace you should be highly considering the pick. Severino, entering his age 26 season, represented the most established option under the age of 29 left on the board. He may not have dropped this far if it wasn’t for his injured 2019 season, but Severino has already proven he can rack up strikeouts at an exceptional rate (10.5 K/9 between 2017 and 2018) and has the backing of one of the league most powerful offenses behind him to support his Win production. A Snell/Severino top of the rotation should keep them afloat for more than a few years.
Round 5 (Pick 66): Eugenio Suarez, 3B, CIN
Swimming is difficult for some. My 4-year-old is a natural. Suarez perhaps isn’t. To be fair, I made this pick weeks prior to his “swimming pool-related injury” but I’m not entirely sure how much further he would have dropped with the knowledge. He’ll turn 29 during the 2020 season and just showed the world what he can really do. What’s changed? Well besides the loose cartilage being removed, just the world around him. With Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos batting around him for the next few years, Suarez should be provided plenty of opportunities to rack of RBI’s and hit 35+ homers. With the added support in the lineup, I actually do not expect Suarez to come close to 50 HR again, as it seemed he sold out a bit during his 2019 season (striking out 5 percentage points higher than the previous year when he popped 34 over the wall in 56 fewer plate appearances).
Round 6 (Pick 95): Trevor Bauer, SP, CIN
The enigma wrapped in a riddle that is Trevor Bauer. On one hand, Bauer hasn’t failed to hit 175 innings each season since 2014, has tinkered his way to a 26% or higher K rate in each of the past 3 seasons, and obviously isn’t afraid to stir the pot. Sometimes part of having a dynasty team is about having players on the roster you enjoy watching. After all, if your league is managed properly you could be stuck with some of these players for a very long time. Bauer is that player for me. Bauer has publicly stated he does not plan to ever sign a long term deal, going year to year for his career, and if he holds true to that it should be fun to watch him tinker his way from team to team for the next 5 or so years.
Round 7 (Pick 98): Jasson Dominguez, OF, NYY
It seemed about time I jumped on the prospect train in this draft. Based on the average age of my roster thus far I wasn’t going to stretch in the first 10 rounds for a player that won’t make a dent on my roster. But wait, Dominguez is how old? (17 in February 2020). Wait, he hasn’t even made his pro debut yet? Well, luckily, we’re in a dynasty league. And I get the option of holding onto Jasson forever or waiting until his stock has raised a bit more this season and flip him for that “missing piece”. Every league is different, but one commonality is the fact that prospects are like stocks. Buy them at a low, spin them at a high and constantly be rotating them in and out and you’ll find yourself constantly competing. Dominguez has the upside of being a top 3 prospect on most lists your league mates follow by the end of the 2020 season, which in the eye of this draft should increase his value around 3 rounds.
Who I passed on: Casey Mize, Kristian Robinson, Adley Rutschman
Round 8 (Pick 127): Michael Chavis, 1B/2B/3B, BOS
Alright, I don’t necessarily love this pick. I do love Chavis’ multi-position eligibility and there’s a chance he’s able to move around enough this year to keep 1B and 2B, possibly spelling Rafael Devers when he needs it enough to keep 3B in 2021 as well. Regardless, Chavis still has enough potential to easily be my starting 2B for many years. He hit 25 HR in just 451 PA between AAA and MLB in 2019 and should get the opportunity to surpass both numbers in 2020. With that being said, I absolutely see myself trading Chavis away if he can increase his stock. He’s made changes in recent years that have resulted in a noticeable increase in fly ball percentage and decrease in line drives, which scares me a bit when it comes to his overall power production and ability to drive in more runs. He still has lots of time as he enters his age 24 season, so I’ve got age and position eligibility on my side for the moment.
Round 9 (Pick 130): Franmil Reyes, OF, CLE
Granted, they were only 3 picks apart, but Reyes deserved to go ahead of Chavis. Franmil is in this outfield to increase our power production, simple as that. It’s scary to think he is still getting stronger and after 32 homers in 2018 between AAA and MLB and then 37 more in 2019 between San Diego and Cleveland, he has shown 40 homers is easily within reach for each of the next 8 to 10 seasons. Franmil continues to drive the ball more, increasing his line drive rate at the expense of hitting fewer ground balls, rather than taking them out of the air. If he can continue this trend he should produce a bit more RBI opportunities in Cleveland with Jose Ramirez and (possibly) Franciso Lindor hitting in front of him.
Round 10 (Pick 159): Zack Greinke, SP, HOU
Well, there goes my shot at “30-under-30”. Greinke represents the elder statesmen of this group and the decision to draft him was made as soon as I started realizing this roster could compete right away. Flags fly forever, and Greinke has the ability to get us there in the next two years. With that being said, Zack’s ability to anchor down my ratios while I sweat out Bauer’s possible implosions was the driving factor to grabbing him in the 10th round, even if I may only be able to enjoy it for a limited time. Worst case, I’m completely wrong and I’m not able to compete this year, Greinke is so stable that even at his age he should provide a solid return via trade at the deadline to a team looking to strengthen their playoff run.
Round 11 (Pick 162): Jose Abreu, 1B, CWS
This might actually be my favorite pick of the draft, now that I’ve decided that I’m ready to compete right off the bat. Just like Abreu himself, the pick came and went with little to no fanfare, but very well should produce the most value. Jose hasn’t failed to produce at a very high level for an annually disappointing White Sox team, racking up 100+ RBI every season but one (2018), hitting .280 or higher in every season but one (2018), and besides his rookie season hasn’t missed more than 8 games in each season except one (yup, 2018). Entering his age 33 season, with an improved line up around him, Abreu should continue to be a lock for another 85 R, 100 RBI, 30 HR season while positively contributing to my team’s BA. He seems destined to move into a DH role by the end of his current 3-year deal with the White Sox, which should elongate his productive years
Round 12 (Pick 191): Charlie Morton, SP, TB
Charlie has a shelf life, and it’s at most 2 seasons. He’s publicly stated he’s currently working through his final contract, which has a club option for the 2021 season. Even if the Rays pick it up I know for sure I’ll only get two seasons from Morton. I expect to squeeze every drop of production from him in those last two seasons, and I do believe the Rays will pick up that option for 2021, pending a major injury or the like. The Astros unlocked something with Morton as he posted his first double-digit K/9 during the 2017 season and increased it the following year in 20.1 more IP in Houston. When you find ways to increase production at the ripe old age of 33 you don’t just forget them because you change teams. This was shown with his career-low WHIP (1.08) and FIP (2.81) and career-high in K% (30.4%). Now entering his age 36 season, Morton should continue to produce elite numbers as long as his body can handle the workload after posting a career-high 194.2 IP in 2019. Knowing he’s got $15M on the line for 2021 might keep him going strong.
Round 13 (Pick 194): Joey Bart, C, SF
So, Willson Contreras just went and I realized I don’t have a catcher. It wasn’t so much an “oh no!” moment as it was an “I really don’t want to deal with this” moment. All the top tier catchers were gone and in my mind, the middle tier really isn’t worth playing around with. So I decided to reach for the future (This will make even more sense later in the draft). As the second overall pick in the 2018 MLB Amateur draft, Bart is poised to be the heir apparent to Buster Posey in San Francisco as early as the end of 2020 (but more likely 2021). With plus power and positive reviews of his ability to stick behind the plate, Bart should end up being a mainstay behind the plate for this team for many seasons to come – making it one area I really don’t have to think about year to year.
Round 14 (Pick 223): Ryan McMahon, 1B/2B/3B, COL
Sooner or later McMahon will get his time, right? The same goes for Garrett Hampson and the rest of the Colorado young hitters. Maybe. Either way, McMahon represents a calculated grab to balance out Michael Chavis on this roster. McMahon showed his value in his 2019 campaign where he belted 24 HR in 539 PA while playing enough at 3 positions to keep triple eligibility in 2020. With that being said, McMahon still strikes out a bit too much, especially against lefties. Just over 30% of his PA in 2019 came against left-handed pitchers and in those opportunities, he saw his K% just up to 34.6% and his BB% down to 5.6% compared to a still less than ideal 27.6% K% and a very optimistic 12.5% BB% vs righties. If this trend, along with his 50%+ ground ball rate, continues I can easily see him losing out on more opportunities against lefties, giving way to Hampson or Brendan Rodgers as the season rolls on. That being said, a strong side platoon in Colorado plays perfectly fine in a daily move, H2H style league when you have flexibility on your bench.
Round 15 (Pick 226): Andrew McCutchen, OF, PHI
One good McPlayer deserves another. Enter the former MVP who was met with a bought of bad luck and forced to miss most of the 2019 season after tearing his ACL on a somewhat controversial, though legal, play by the now-retired Ian Kinsler. Newsflash, this was actually teammate Jean Segura’s fault for not running out his infield fly with McCutchen sitting on first base. I digress. McCutchen’s age 33 season is the second of his three-year contract in Philly, with a $15M club option for a 4th season on the table, where he should jump right back into the leadoff spot. Since his rookie 2009 season, 2019 was the first and only season McCutchen failed to see at least 648 PA. And though it’s never fully safe to do this, if you were to extrapolate his 2019 season to 650 PA, McCutchen was on pace to score 111 runs and hit 25 HR. Though extrapolating an injured season should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s safe to say McCutchen is a strong source of Runs hitting on top of the Phillies’ line up for the next two (maybe three) seasons, without hurting most other categories especially if he can work back closer to his career .286 BA.
Round 16 (Pick 255): Rougned Odor, 2B, TEX
Everyone loves to hate on Odor. I don’t necessarily blame them. I’ve actually never owned him in any league I’ve played in. Maybe that’s why I didn’t mind taking him here. He’s never burned me personally so why not take the shot on a 26-year-old who has shown he can keep pace with all second basemen in homers (3rd in MLB 2016 and 2017), hasn’t lost any speed regardless of his success rate stealing bases (which admittedly is a terrible 56%), and has shown the ability to be patient with an increased walk rate (3% in 2016 vs 9% in 2019) and a sub 17% K rate throughout his development up until 2016. He’s entering just his age 26 season and continues to get stronger (increased average exit velocity from 87 MPH in 2015 to 89.4 MPH in 2019) and saw a career-best 47 barrels in 2019 (34th in MLB). With the ability to move Chavis and McMahon around when needed, Odor could easily become this roster’s starting second baseman.
Round 17 (Pick 258): Carlos Martinez, SP/RP, STL
We just passed the 250 pick mark and I still don’t have a closer. Not unlike redraft leagues, unless I’m able to get great value with a high floor closer that “should” have a lock on the position for years to come, I’m not one to stretch for a guy that easily could be out of a job by May (Yes, I understand how absurd that last sentence sounds). So enter Carlos Martinez – assuming health (because you can always do that right?) Martinez has two paths entering 2020 and beyond. Either he moves back to the rotation and reverts back to his 2015-2017 run where he saw a combined 8.9 K/9, 3.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and averaged over 190 IP each season OR he’s forced back to the bullpen and takes over as the Cardinals’ closer where he was excellent in 2019 (24 saves in 27 opportunities, 9.87 K/9, and a 1.18 WHIP). I’m going under the assumption that Martinez if he struggles as a starter will quickly move back to the bullpen and do very well so this is a win-win situation for this roster.
Round 18 (Pick 287): George Kirby, SP, SEA
Kirby is an attempt to build up my reserves for future years. Not unlike Jasson Dominguez, Kirby could either be a great investment and ultimately replace one of my elder SP in a few years or he could easily be trade bait at the deadline as he (hopefully) increases his stock. Since making his pro debut after being drafted 20th overall in the 2019 MLB draft, Kirby has impressed – striking out 25 in 23 innings and walking a big fat zero in that time. Before you start waiving the “small sample” flag at me let me just point out his final year at Elon saw just 6 free passes in 88.1 IP while striking out 107. The pedigree is there and so far the skillset is there. If Kirby can shoot up a bunch of prospect lists across the industry with a strong start to the 2020 season he could bring back a solid piece to help this roster bring home a ‘ship in the first year or two.
Who I passed on: Shane McClanahan, Daniel Lynch, Hunter Greene
Round 19 (Pick 290): David Price, SP, LAD
Another pick that I don’t *love* or *need*. In hindsight, I could have gone in a different direction here by filling a different hole (closer, outfield come to mind), but there’s still so much strikeout upside to love with Price, even entering his age 34 season. With all the criticism about Price’s contract and ability to stay healthy, he’s never really hurt his fantasy squads. He may not have provided the value his drafters were hoping for, but he’s never been the reason you lost your league. Since entering MLB, when he’s hit the 175 IP mark,, Price has yet to hit the 4.00 ERA mark when he pitches over 175 innings, which he’s done in 8 of his 11 seasons since losing his rookie eligibility. Through his career Price has actually increased his K rate, which may correlate with an increase usage of his changeup. If his wrist surgery at the end of 2019 was a successful as the Red Sox said it was, Price should be a piece that won’t hurt and could provide positive returns, especially in K’s, for the remainder of his contract.
UPDATE: This original pick and write up was made long before his trade to the Dodgers. Can I take the time to ask if I’m the only one that thinks his value actually should go down with the move? Sure, he’s out of the AL East, but he was already one one of the good offenses which he didn’t have to face. Switching out pitching in Yankee Stadium to Coors Field is a lateral move (at best). Sure, he gets to pitch in San Fran and Arizona now, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice. Price hasn’t exactly been a model of health lately, making him a prime candidate to come down with a strong case of Dodgeritus as the season moves along. Either way, I probably still end up taking him here, but I don’t feel good about it.
Round 20 (Pick 319): Triston Casas, 1B, BOS
Man, I have way too many Red Sox players on this roster. What’s one more? This is a pick I made with the knowledge that there were at least 3 other Red Sox fans in the league – myself included – and one other team specifically only drafting prospects. Casas is jumping up industry prospect lists and I had a feeling he wasn’t going to fall much further, which was confirmed by the response I got in the draft room when I made the pick. Much like my intention with most of my prospect picks, Casas represents a player that could either mature nicely into a natural replacement at 1B for Jose Abreu or could see his prospect stock increase throughout 2020, providing higher trade value in the next season or two. First base prospects aren’t exactly a dime a dozen right now, so if Casas can continue to develop and work past his less than ideal L/R splits, cut down his K rate, and keep hitting balls out of the park as he moves up through the minors he should provide exactly what I need from him in one form or another.
Who I passed on: Jordan Groshans, Nolan Jones, Robert Puason
Round 21 (Pick 322): Domingo German, SP/RP, NYY
This was a tough pick, as I’m sure it would have been for most owners (considering how far he fell). Putting aside the obvious concern of a suspension entering 2020 and the reason for said suspension, German is entering his age 27 season with 243 major league innings under his belt with a 10.1 K/9. If/when he joins back up in the Yankee rotation he’s proven he can stick there, averaging 5.2 IP per start in 2019. Not spectacular for a QS league granted, but over half of those starts did hit the 6 IP mark so strides can be made to stretch him out.
Round 22 (Pick 351): Andrew Munoz, RP, SD
We’re getting to a point as we enter the final third of the draft where dart throws are going to become part of the game. Munoz represents one of the best bets to become a lights out closer for a team that should see itself competing for the next few years. Kirby Yates, as good as he is, is slated to make just over $7M in 2020, the final year of Padres’ control. Sure, it’s possible he signs an extension with San Diego, blocking Munoz from the closer role, but obviously that’s not the bet I’m making with this pick. With a 12.7 K/9 throughout his time in the minors, Munoz sports one of the best fastballs available. On the flip side, he does walk way more guys than I’d prefer for my closer (11.3% walk rate in his MLB debut 23 innings), but I’ve also owned Jose LeClerc so it’s something I’ve learned to deal with as long as the K’s and opportunities keep presenting themselves.
Round 23 (Pick 354): Erick Pena, OF, KC
Jasson Dominguez was feeling left out as the only 16-year-old on this roster. Enter Erick Pena. The Royals’ signee in the 2019 J2 class. As Nick Randall mentioned in his Royals Preseason Top 50 Prospects article back in November, there’s a lot of risk with Pena as he hasn’t recorded a professional at-bat yet but the scouting reports are extremely favorable and worth the dart throw at this point in the draft. Best case scenario he debuts in 2020 with a strong start and provides a high trade return, worst case he struggles and makes me decide between dropping him and holding firm through his teens to see if he can adjust through. At this point in the draft, it’s an easy “low risk, high reward” play.
Who I passed on: Brennan Davis, Geraldo Perdomo, Ronny Mauricio
Round 24 (Pick 383): Giovanny Gallegos, RP, STL
Like Munoz, Gallegos isn’t guaranteed anything in 2020 or beyond but has a clear path in front of him to end up in a closing position for a contending team. He’s put up numbers that will help any roster even without the saves in 2019 (74 IP, 93 K, .81 WHIP, 2.31 ERA). Giovanny fills in the final starting P slot on this roster and should do well to control my ratios each week and at best he finds himself closing out games and solidifying a questionable bullpen.
Round 25 (Pick 386): Sam Hilliard, OF, COL
Colorado is just too difficult to stay away from, even with this history of messing around with their young players. Hilliard could/should find his way into the strong side of a platoon in the Rockies’ outfield, making him less than ideal in weekly leagues, but a great flier in daily moves leagues. Hilliard seems to have been built for the Rockies with his mix of power and speed and ability to hit at every level through the minors. He took full advantage of the happy fun ball in AAA belting 71 XBH, including 35 homers. That power output plus a solid BB% of 9.7% in AAA and 10.3% in his short stint in Colorado a solid OPS play while not hurting batting average as Sam hasn’t recorded a BA lower than .262 at any level. It doesn’t hurt that Hilliard averaged a stolen base every 4.6 games and recorded a 70% success rate on the bases. I’d admittedly feel a bit more comfortable with Hilliard coming off my bench rather than being my fourth outfielder, but there’s still time to make an adjustment.
Round 26 (Pick 415): Shogo Akiyama, OF, CIN
Adjustment made. Sure, Akiyama is a rookie as a 32-year-old. Sure, he’s now in a somewhat crowded outfield (unless the Reds make a change). But he’s got the endorsement of manager David Bell as a top of the order bat that has the “ability to get one base”. Akiyama has been a model of consistency, having played in exactly 143 games each season since 2015, recording no less than 659 PA in each of those seasons along with triple-slash never lower than .296/.385/.422 (2016). If he can translate that as the leadoff hitter for a retooled Reds’ lineup he has the ability to do a lot of damage in R, AVG, and OPS while chipping in somewhere around 20 HR playing half of his games in Great America.
Round 27 (Pick 418): Bryse Wilson, P, ATL
I just can’t quit Bryse Wilson. I don’t necessarily have a ton of great things to say about him, nor do I think he’ll make a big difference in 2020. This is a pure stash and one I may end up having to break myself off from before mid-season. The issue with Bryse is, even though he’s excelled in just about every stop in the minors, moved up 3 levels in 2018 as a 20-year-old, and averaged a 9.4 K/9 throughout his time in the minors, he’s just struggled mightily at the biggest stage, bringing down any value he might have to my league mates. I drafted him because I still believe there’s something there and he’ll figure it out. Pitching prospects are notorious for taking “too long” to develop after all.
Round 28 (Pick 447): Buster Posey, C, SF
Pure fandom pick if I’m being honest. Posey may not help me, but he won’t necessarily hurt me either – and he makes for the logical placeholder for Joey Bart to take over both in real life and on this roster. Honestly, Posey’s biggest knock is simply his inability to play more than 114 games. In a daily moves league like this Posey does force my hand to stream a catcher every now and again to fill in the stat gap, which simply handcuffs one of my other roster spots. So is the price of being a fan. Dynasty leagues should have a little sense of connection with your players.
Round 29 (Pick 450): Joey Votto, 1B, CIN
I just don’t completely buy that Votto has nothing left. In a revitalized line up in Cincy, Votto has the opportunity to bring his good name back to the good graces of fans and fantasy players alike. Entering his age 36 season, Votto is still slated to hit toward the top of the Reds’ line up and with no other true first base options on the roster or in the wings, he should get another 650 plate appearances barring injury. He may not hit 30 HR again, but if he comes anywhere close to his Steamer projections he’s a steal this late.
Round 30 (Pick 479): Josh Lindblom, P, MIL
Classic flyer. With the second to last pick in the entire draft, Lindblom is as good as any. He’s slated to have a rotation spot in Milwaukee to start the season. He’s shown the ability to hold up over a long season in Korea where he threw 194.2 IP in 2019 and 168.2 innings in 2018. Those seasons combined for a 2.68 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Take that with whatever sized grain of salt you’d like, but if that can translate to anything close in his new stint in MLB then I’m willing to spend my final pick to find out.