Mock draft season is here and what better way to engross yourself in fantasy baseball nerdom than to dive into a dynasty draft with little preparation. Here are the basic rules for the dynasty league:
- Head-to-Head League
- Hitting Categories: R/HR/RBI/SB/AVG/OPS
- Pitching Categories: ERA/WHIP/K/SV/QS/HR Allowed
- Weekly Pitching Minimum: 35
I am generally always in a win-now mindset when it comes to fantasy baseball, especially with the #3 pick, and I adopted that approach big-time in this mock draft. Let me also say that preparation is the key to any successful draft and I think if I had been a little bit more prepared for this one, I would’ve been a little happier with my selections. But it was a fun process and without further ado, here is my dynasty mock draft squad:
Round 1 (Pick 3) Cody Bellinger, OF/1B, LAD
I was hopeful that Ronald Acuna would fall to me at #3, but when he didn’t it was between Cody Bellinger and Alex Bregman for me. I landed on Bellinger mainly due to the slight uptick in HR and SB he provides. As a fantasy manager I never really like to punt a statistic. I like to crowdsource my SBs rather than try hone in on one of the elite options and that strategy was evident in 4 of my first 5 picks. You can make a case for a plethora of players at #3, but I’ll take a 24-year old perennial 40 HR/10 SB player in a good offensive situation in dynasty formats every time.
Round 2 (Pick 30) Javier Baez, SS/2B, CHC
The wait from pick 3 to pick 30 is not a fun one. At long last I was on the board and I again looked to see who could help me in the most categories. With 90% of the picks up to this point being hitters, you’d think I would zag and take a pitcher while everyone else zigs. WRONG! While he had a bit of a down season in 2019, Baez contributes across the board offensively and is just 27 years old. If he can return to his 2018 MVP Runner-Up level he is easily a top 30 player and pairs nicely with Bellinger.
Round 3 (Pick 35) Jose Altuve, 2B, HOU
Ok, surely now at pick 35 I have to take a pitcher. No way I can let myself get all the way to my next pick at 62 to take grab an arm, right? I am a big Shane Bieber guy. Jack Flaherty, Luis Castillo and Mike Clevenger all have bright futures. Max Scherzer and Chris Sale are valuable veterans. The more the list went on and on the more I convinced myself that I could still very much get an ace that I wanted at 62. And I knew I wasn’t getting Altuve there, so I pulled the trigger on yet another that contributes in every offensive category.
While this was before the sign stealing fiasco and Altuve did have a down year last season batting .298, he did hit 31 HR with the lowest BABIP of his career. Oh and that was in just 500 AB. I think Altuve and many of the Astros stars will be challenged to prove themselves in light of the scandal and vertically-challenged 2B has never been one to back down from a challenge. People may be surprised to learn that he is just 29 years old and I think I have put together a solid dynasty core of Bellinger, Baez and Altuve after three rounds.
Round 4 (Pick 62) Jose Berrios, SP, MIN
When picks 59-61 ended up being Aaron Nola, Tyler Glasnow and Noah Syndergaard, the top of my board was decimated and I yelled a barrage of obscenities at my innocent cat. While I may have reached a little bit, I think Berrios is a relatively safe young fantasy #1 or #2 SP is. He has averaged 19 QS over his last two seasons. The key will be if he can make the jump from solid starter to the ace that Minnesota really needs in 2020. While I am happy to have Berrios on my team, I really was hoping to get one of the aforementioned three at #62.
Round 5 (Pick 67) Victor Robles, OF, WAS
Another reach for sure, but the more I look at how Victor Robles performed in his first full season the more encouraged I am at his potential. Just 22 years old, Robles was once the top prospect in the Nationals’ system, but he has since fallen victim to Juan Soto’s gargantuan shadow at the major league level. He easily set a career high in home runs with 17 and added 28 stolen bases. While he hit for a disappointing .255 batting average, I think there is a lot of room for improvement here. His 5.7 BB% and 22.7 K% are much worse than his minor league numbers would indicate he is capable of as he averaged a 7.7 BB% and a 14.2 K%. He has a lot of room for growth and has already shown that he can be an electric fantasy asset. I left several very talented, established players on the board but Robles has a chance to be as good as any of them in a dynasty league.
Round 6 (Pick 94) Zack Wheeler, SP, PHI
Time to start bolstering the rotation and I have been on Zack Wheeler since before his epic 2nd half of 2018. His stuff oddly has only gotten more electric over the years (average fastball velocity was 94.6 MPH in 2017; 95.9 MPH in 2018; and 96.7 MPH in 2019) and he began incorporating his changeup more often last season, with modest success. Wheeler doesn’t have as much mileage on his arm as most established 29 year old starters due to losing 2015 and 2016 to injuries and he may find even more success away from the toxicity of the Big Apple. I was glad to pick Wheeler at #94 and it certainly helped soften the blow of having to settle for Berrios.
Round 7 (Pick 99) Casey Mize, SP, DET
At this point in the draft 8 prospects had been selected, including 4 in the last 15 picks. I couldn’t resist the temptation to get in on the action, but I wanted to maintain the win-now integrity of my team so it would have to be a prospect close to debuting. Casey Mize’s shine wore off a little bit at the end of the year after he missed a month with shoulder inflammation and struggled in his remaining starts before being shut down in August. But 1st half Mize was the top pitching prospect in the game and his ability to command an elite four-pitch mix should put him on the fast track to crack the Tigers’ suspect rotation. There are certainly some red flags with Mize, namely his injury potential and lack of elite strikeout numbers. But that splitter will be near impossible to square up at any level and if this draft had happened six months ago he would’ve been taken much earlier.
Round 8 (Pick 126) Brendan McKay, SP/1B, TB
After 7 picks I looked at my team and decided that if I were going to have a successful win-now team in 2020, I was really going to have to load up on potential breakout starters. Devoid of a true ace and with questions surrounding the three pitchers I did have, I decided to throw darts at a number of SP options and hope that a few take their game to the next level in 2020. I was impressed with McKay’s debut in Tampa, even if it did come with a 5.14 ERA. He showed the ability to strike out major league hitters and maintained his control (3.50 K/BB). There’s a chance McKay doesn’t start the year in the rotation as he is competing with Ryan Yarbrough, Yonny Chirinos and Trevor Richards. But I expect the 24-year old to make at least 15-20 starts for the Rays and he will be entrenched in their rotation for years to come. Any offensive stats I get from McKay will be gravy and he did crank one home run (sorry I mean MOON SHOT) last year in 10 at bats with Tampa.
Round 9 (Pick 131) Nicholas Castellanos, OF, FA
I was a little surprised that other drafters were not as enamored with Nicholas Castellanos‘ stint with the Cubs last year. In 51 games the 27 year old slashed .321/.356/.646 with 16 home runs. He hit just 11 home runs in 403 at bats in Detroit in 2019 and I think getting out of that situation was great for his outlook. I am expecting Castellanos to hit closer to his 2nd half than his 1st half in 2020, especially if he ends up signing with a team like Cincinnati or Texas. He’s a lock for .285 AVG/25+ HR and has the potential for .300 AVG/30+ if he continues his progression.
Round 10 (Pick 158) Madison Bumgarner, SP, ARI
7 of the 13 picks before me in this round were prospects so I decided to do the exact opposite and draft former ace Madison Bumgarner. I think people would be surprised to learn that Bumgarner is just 30 years old. Injuries hampered him in 2017 and 2018 and it looked like we could be seeing a significant downturn in his career. But Bumgarner was healthy in 2019 (207.2 IP) and got his strikeout rate (8.80 K/9, up from 7.57 in 2018) back to a number closer to his All-Star years. The move to Arizona isn’t great from a ballpark perspective, but Bumargner has had success in 19 career starts at Chase Field (3.13 ERA, 1.16 WHIP).
Round 11 (Pick 163) Will Smith, C, LAD
While the major leagues is extremely short on fantasy proficient catchers, there is a number of intriguing prospects at the position. I decided to split the difference with Will Smith, who smashed 15 home runs for the Dodgers in just 170 at bats. The 24 year old showed solid defensive skills so he shouldn’t have any trouble remaining in the Dodgers’ potent offense. I expect that Smith’s numbers will take a bit of a slump in his sophomore season but he should consistently be a top 5 fantasy catcher.
Round 12 (Pick 190) Mike Foltynewicz, SP, ATL
The stockpiling of pitchers continues! There might not be more of a Jekyll and Hyde pitcher in baseball than Mike Foltynewicz. An All-Star in 2018 with a 2.85 ERA, Folty struggled to a 4.54 ERA in 2019 and spent 10 starts in AAA. But in the 2nd half, the 28 year old went 6-1 with 2.65 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP and followed it up with one of the more dominating postseason pitching performances against St. Louis in Game 2 of the NLDS (7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K). But in typical Mr. Hyde fashion, Folty crumbled with probably the worst postseason start in the pivotal Game 5 (0.1 IP, 3 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 0 K) and effectively ended Atlanta’s season. When he was struggling, Folty lost velocity on his fastball, fell victim to the home run ball, and failed to strike out anywhere near the number of batters he did in 2018. However he is just one year removed from that ace-level season and the pieces are still there for him to replicate that performance.
Round 13 (Pick 195) Alec Bohm, 3B, PHI
My team is a little light on both youth and power and Alec Bohm covers both of those. The 23 year old has some of the best power in the minors and his BP is a thing to behold. The former 3rd overall pick slashed .305/.378/.518 with 21 home runs across three levels last year and followed it up with a .361/.397/.528 line in the Arizona Fall League. What has impressed me the most about Bohm is his discipline at the plate as he combined for a 10.6 BB% and a 13.5 K% in 2018, numbers rarely seen from a young prospect with Bohm’s power. Scott Kingery is slated to start the year at 3B for the Phillies but with his versatility he could be moved all over the diamond. I believe we could see Bohm in Philly by June if he performs well in AAA and I was very happy to snag him at pick 195.
Round 14 (Pick 222) Joey Lucchesi, SP, SD
Arms race! The Padres rotation is getting crowded but Joey Lucchesi is a very consistent arm who eats innings and has a little more upside than people think. If he can get back to the 10.04 K/9 he posted in 2018 and continue to limit home runs, he could be a very interesting #3 starter for an up and coming San Diego team. The relative safeness of Lucchesi certainly inspired me to go a little more high-risk, high-reward with my next selection.
Round 15 (Pick 227) Reynaldo Lopez, SP, CHW
If you strike out 14 batters in just 6 innings I don’t care who you are, you’re gonna be on my radar. What has always impressed me about Lopez is he has unquestionably electric stuff and he doesn’t walk very many batters. Yet for some reason he doesn’t effectively get strikeouts or even regular outs consistently. Being a fly ball pitcher on the South Side in the year of the home run certainly didn’t help his cause and neither did his abnormally high .316 BABIP. I think an improved presence behind the plate in Yasmani Grandal will do big things for Lopez but the clock is ticking on him being a mainstay in the White Sox rotation. I have high hopes for ReyLo in 2020 and he could even be a lockdown reliever if he can’t hack it as a starter. But there is a lot of risk involved in taking a pitcher who has failed expectations for the better part of the last three seasons.
Round 16 (Pick 254) Carlos Santana, 1B, CLE
Probably my favorite pick of my draft, getting Carlos Santana off a breakout year with Cleveland at pick 254 seems like a steal to me. He struggled mightily in his one year in Philadelphia and followed it up by mashing 34 home runs, scoring 110 runs and slashing .281/.397/.515. An OPS machine, he was the perfect win-now pick for me in the 16th round, which is fortunate because my selection five picks later was probably my least favorite.
Round 17 (Pick 259) Yandy Diaz, 3B, TB
Let me preface this by saying I am a HUGE Yandy Diaz fan. I had him on every fantasy team last season and was ecstatic when he finally stopped pounding the ball into the ground and started launching home runs. If he can stay healthy, his solid approach at the plate and newly tapped power could lead to a breakout in 2020. Here’s why I’m kicking myself over this pick. Two of the three picks after Diaz were Michael Brantley and Eduardo Escobar. Escobar in particular was tough for me as I really believe in his breakout last season and would’ve loved to add his 74 extra-base hits to my squad. Preparation is the name of the game in fantasy sports and if I’d been a little more prepared I could’ve ended up with someone who hit 35 home runs in 2019 instead of 14.
Round 18 (Pick 286) Chris Archer, SP, PIT
As a huge Pirates and Chris Archer fan, I’ll admit that my fandom may have persuaded me to reach pretty hard for the 31 year old. But much like Mike Foltynewicz and Reynaldo Lopez, the pieces are there for Archer to be a successful, dare I say dominant, starting pitcher. He still strikes out an exceptional number of batters (10.75 K/9 in 2019). However his walks shot up (4.14 BB/9 compared to 2.97 BB/9 in 2018) and like most pitchers his HR/FB rate increased fairly drastically. His underlying numbers suggest he was quite as bad as his 5.19 ERA indicates and I would hope that new pitching coach Oscar Marin can maybe play to Archer’s strengths a little more than Ray Searage did. A very risky pick probably a little too early, but when he’s at his best Archer is an All-Star caliber pitcher that can generate elite strikeouts.
Round 19 (Pick 291) Shane McClanahan, SP, TB
I made this pick as a bit of an insurance policy on the Reynaldo Lopez and Chris Archer picks. McClanahan is an absolute stud and has an outside chance at pitching in the majors in 2020. He has always had phenomenal stuff, but a change in his approach to pitching last season allowed him to command his repertoire much better. The lefty struck out 154 batters in 120.2 innings across three levels, and his 3.36 ERA and 1.21 WHIP are significantly inflated by a few bad starts in AA at the end of the season. He is in extremely good hands in the Rays organization and he should be entrenched as a front-of-the-rotation starter by the end of 2021.
Round 20 (Pick 318) AJ Pollock, OF, LAD
Still needing to round out my OF, I stumbled on AJ Pollock’s name and tried to keep scrolling. But my curiosity got the better of me. Even in limited action coming off an injury last season, Pollock hit 15 home runs and looked like he still has some good at bats left in him at 32. The tough part for Pollock will be getting reps in the Dodgers crowded outfield and staying there once he’s on the field. An extremely risky pick, but I couldn’t pass up a former 20 HR/39 SB player at #318.
Round 21 (Pick 323) Jhoan Duran, SP, MIN
Traded to Minnesota in the Eduardo Escobar deal, Jhoan Duran is a 22 year old behemoth at 6’5″ 230 lbs. Naturally he possesses an elite fastball that consistently hits triple digits and a power slider. He maintains solid control for someone with his size and velocity and started to develop a serviceable changeup. Duran can be downright dominant at times and he’s a little more polished than your average heavy throwing projects. Playing for an organization in desperate need of a dominant starting pitcher, if everything breaks right for Duran he could be pitching in Minnesota by 2021.
Round 22 (Pick 350) Avisail Garcia, OF, MIL
The more I look back at this pick the more I like it. Avisail Garcia has always been the epitome of a solid major league OF but has never really gotten anybody terribly excited as a fantasy hitter. However his numbers in Tampa last year were very respectable at .282/.332/.464 with 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases in just 125 games. Now Garcia moves to a much better hitting environment in Milwaukee, where he can hit in the middle of a potent lineup. I don’t believe playing time will be as much of an issue as some people make it out to be as I think Ryan Braun will begin to play more and more at 1B. Just 28 years old, Garcia has an opportunity for a mini breakout in 2020 for the Brew Crew.
Round 23 (Pick 355) Brad Keller, SP, KC
When I saw that Dylan Bundy had been picked one pick after my selection of Brad Keller I nearly punched myself in the face. I very much like Keller as a pitcher but Dylan Bundy is too talented to still be around at pick 355 and he is in a great situation now with the Angels. Alas, I was shackled with Keller, he of very few strikeouts and many baserunners. Adept at keeping the ball on the ground and limiting the potency of those baserunners, Keller can be serviceable in the ERA and QS categories. Probably my most regrettable pick of the draft
Round 24 (Pick 382) Jose LeClerc, RP, TEX
Saves is a very fickle category in today’s game, which is why I like to wait to grab some of the second and third-tier closers later in drafts, especially in dynasty drafts. LeClerc was dominant in 2018 and anything but that in 2019, but ultimately ended the year as the closer for Texas. He looks like he will begin the year as the closer for the improved Rangers again, but he will have to keep the walks down and the ball in the park to sniff his 2018 form. If he can get back to the point he is not only an excellent source of saves, but strikeouts, ERA and WHIP as well.
Round 25 (Pick 387) Joe Jimenez, RP, DET
Stuck behind Shane Greene for the closer job in Detroit, Jimenez failed to truly take hold of the job once Greene was traded to Atlanta. The power righty gets a lot of swings and misses, but he also loses command at times and can get hit hard. He looks like he will be starting the year as the closer in Detroit and if Jimenez can get off to a good start, he should be a solid source of saves in 2020.
Round 26 (Pick 414) Yusei Kikuchi, SP, SEA
Despite the massively disappointing debut season for Yusei Kikuchi, but I was still a little surprised nobody took a chance on him until now. With all the hype surrounding the 28 year old going into last season, a 5.46 ERA and 1.52 WHIP was certainly not what Seattle fans were hoping for. There is very little statistic-wise that says Kikuchi will improve substantially in 2020, however he is an intelligent pitcher who had to adjust to difficult changes last season both athletically and culturally. Perhaps an extra year to get acclimated to baseball in the U.S. will inspire a more effective season from Kikuchi in Seattle.
Round 27 (Pick 419) Keone Kela, RP, PIT
With the arrest of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Keone Kela looks like the best option to be the Pirates closer in 2020. The 26 year old previously had great success in this role for Texas in 2018. He still possesses his devastating fastball-curveball combo and should be injury-free heading into the season. It is highly likely that Kela will be traded by Pittsburgh at some point in 2020, especially if he locks down the 9th inning role, but hopefully he can rack up the saves for the Bucs before that happens.
Round 28 (Pick 446) Brandon Workman, RP, BOS
Another RP who will start the year as the closer but isn’t a lock to end it as one, Brandon Workman had an outstanding year for the Red Sox in 2019. Saving 16 games, Workman struck out 104 batters in 71.2 innings and recorded a 1.88 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. I fully expect those numbers to regress, but he should get many save opportunities for the suddenly penny-pinching Red Sox and should be a good value at pick 446.
Round 29 (Pick 451) Gilberto Jimenez, OF, BOS
With my last two picks in this dynasty draft I decided to stock up on some deep prospects. Gilberto Jimenez is a switch hitting 19 year old Red Sox prospect with pure 80 speed and uncanny hand-eye coordination. He is extremely toolsy and slashed .359/.393/.470 in Low A ball in 2019 with just one year of previous experience under his belt. The tools are off the charts and he is already tapping into his abilities at a young age. There are going to be many bumps along the road, but Jimenez has the look of a special athlete in a few years for Boston.
Round 30 (Pick 478) Seth Corry, SP, SF
A 3rd round pick of the Giants in 2017, Seth Corry took the South Atlantic League by storm in 2019, winning Pitcher of the Year honors. The 6’2″ lefty has always had the stuff to dominate opposing hitters but his command had previously lacked behind. Then pitching coach Clay Rapada taught the 21 year old how to actually pitch instead of just relying on his stuff and Corry posted a career best 12.62 K/9, 4.26 BB/9 and a 1.76 ERA. The walks are still a little high, but I am excited to follow Corry’s progression through the minors as he is one of the more unknown talents in baseball.