The most interesting aspect of these dynasty startup mocks that we do from time to time is just how differently everyone approaches them.
There's the usual pitcher vs. hitter stuff, and you'll see in this one I went pitcher-heavy (as I'm wont to do) while Chris Towers built his team around hitters (as is his wont).
But dynasty play also introduces the tug of war between the immediate and the long-term. You'll find GMs who try to build a stable nucleus of proven talent (such as Joe Drake of Pitcher List), GMs who happily scoop up all the discounted older players in the hopes of an immediate payoff (such as Dan Gilbert of the Fantasy Fisticuffs podcast), GMs who just stockpile as many prospects as they can, trusting it'll pay off in the long run (such as B_Don of Razzball), and everything in between.
Now that we've gone halfway down the path of introducing all the participants, let's make it official:
1) Dan Gilbert, Fantasy Fisticuffs podcast (@DabberDanLit)
2) Nicholas Mimikos, Stack Attack podcast (@NMimi)
3) Chris Mitchell, Fantrax (@CJMitch73)
4) Ralph Lifshitz, Prospects Live (@ProspectJesus)
5) Al Melchior, The Athletic (@almelchiorBB)
6) B_Don, Razzball (@RazzBDon)
7) Joe Drake, Pitcher List (@JDrake349)
8) Scott White, CBS Sports (@CBSScottWhite)
9) Chris Towers, CBS Sports (@CTowersCBS)
10) Frank Stampfl, CBS Sports (@Roto_Frank)
11) R.J. White, CBS Sports (@rjwhite1)
12) Connor Rooney, FantasyPros (@c_rooney_)
There are a couple complicating factors for this particular dynasty mock:
- Each team has only five dedicated minor-league spots. Each can draft more than five-minor-leaguers, of course, but each has to have at least five.
- It's the Head-to-Head points format.
The latter especially complicates the pitching issue since Head-to-Head points is the scoring format where quality starting pitching is paramount, and yet there's the old TINSTAAPP adage (there is no such thing as a pitching prospect) reminding everyone of the inherent volatility of young pitchers.
To me, though, it goes back to the first of those complicating factors: There are only five minor-league spots. In a 12-team league, no less. Some GMs might take as many as 10, sure, but minor-leaguers include anyone who retains rookie eligibility, which means Luis Robert counts just as much as Jasson Dominguez. We're not going that deep into the prospect pool, in other words, which means there will always be another exciting young player out there for the taking. So as dynasty leagues go, this one isn't particularly punishing. You'll have ample opportunities to change course if the prospects you draft aren't panning out.
So where I paid for youth, it was already proven youth — the sort of players that have established a certain level of expectation at the major-league level. On the minor-league front, I was content to settle for the B prospects with a better chance of making an immediate impact, planning to cycle through several rather than just sitting on a particular few. Shoot, one of mine is Sam Hilliard just to see if he can claim an everyday role with the Rockies. I'm not holding my breath, but I know I'll like what's still available for me if he doesn't pan out.
This approach wouldn't make sense in every dynasty league, particularly the deeper ones, but again, this particular setup seems like it'll be more forgiving of a prospect misfire. So I leaned into that.
Some other observations:
- The first prospect was taken in Round 2, and it was, fittingly enough, the best prospect, Wander Franco. Prospect hoarder B_Don made his intentions clear from the get-go.
- The emphasis on prospects (and youth in general) naturally pushed down the sort of veteran bats and arms that redraft players would normally regarded as early-rounders. Try not to faint when you see Justin Verlander going in Round 5, Charlie Morton in Round 9, Giancarlo Stanton in Round 10 and Carlos Santana (points league, remember) in Round 13. Immediacy only gets you so far in a dynasty league.
- You'll notice recent Tommy John cases Luis Severino (Round 14), Chris Sale (Round 14) and Noah Syndergaard (Round 16) were all still drafted. It's a wait, not a death sentence, and for dynasty purposes, the discount for each seemed pretty steep.
All right, then. Let's make it happen: