Never in a Dynasty league are the stakes higher than in the initial draft. It's your one and only chance to lay the foundation for your team.

And there are a few different ways you could go about it. You could go prospect-heavy, taking your lumps in the short term in the hopes of growing a juggernaut. You could scoop up all the veteran talent that sneaks through, looking to secure a quick championship or two before an inevitable rebuild. Or you could look to strike the perfect balance between the two, giving yourself a chance to contend right away but not at the expense of your future.

Normally, I go for that third option, aiming to avoid any lose-on-purpose scenario. But the way this Dynasty start-up mock played out, I wound up with as many prospects as anybody -- eight in all, including Wyatt Langford and Junior Caminero in Rounds 3 and 4.

But you know what? I still think I'm positioned to contend right away. This being a Head-to-Head points league with a starting lineup featuring only nine hitters, you can afford to take some detours without the talent depleting too terribly. Compare my roster to that of Anthony Kates or Bob Elam, who didn't try for their prospects (everyone needed at least four) until late in the draft, and I think it stacks up well. I'm especially pleased with how my pitching turned out given that I didn't take a pitcher until Round 5.

I've already mentioned two of the people who took part in this mock. Here's everyone:

1) Will Garofalo, "a great Dynasty player" -Frank Stampfl
2) Tim Kanak, Fantasy Aceball (@fantasyaceball)
3) Anthony Kates, SportsEthos (@akfantasybb)
4) Bob Elam, Patton & Company
5) Jesse Severe, Dynasty Sports Life podcast (@dynsportslife)
6) Scott White, CBS Sports (@CBSScottWhite)
7) R.J. White, CBS Sports (@rjwhite1)
8) Martin Sekulski, Pitcher List (@M_Ski22)
9) Jake Holland, formerly The Toss Up podcast (@jakebaseball17)
10) Michael Polidoro, The Can-Am Super Show (@CanAmSuperShow)
11) Dave Funnell, Prospects1500 (@sportz_nutt51)
12) Jake Wiener, Prospects1500 (@GatorSosa)

Of course, prospects aren't the only players who gain value in Dynasty leagues. Any up-and-comer could see a boost while any 30-something could slip. It's how Trea Turner lasted to the middle of Round 3 and why George Kirby (32nd overall), Tarik Skubal (40), Eury Perez (44) and Grayson Rodriguez (47) were all drafted ahead of Luis Castillo (48) and Zack Wheeler (49).

We didn't go as far with avoiding veterans as I've seen in other Dynasty start-up drafts. Freddie Freeman still got his due as the 17th overall pick, and MIke Trout in Round 5 wasn't as discounted as he could have been. But the value of some picks will seem borderilne crazy if you're used to seeing things through a redraft lens, such as Adolis Garcia in Round 9, Nolan Arenado in Round 11 and Paul Goldschmidt in Round 15. Rightly or wrongly, those players weren't seen as having enough of a shelf life to pass up younger talent for them.

Between the emphasis on youth and all the prospects sprinkled in, there are so many picks worth remarking on that I couldn't possibly address them all. This sort of draft is genuinely one of a kind, so if building a Dynasty team from scratch is something that interests you, I encourage you to pore over the results. I did use my Dynasty rankings as a guide, though since they were made with 5x5 Rotisserie leagues in mind, I couldn't follow them to a tee. We'll do a Dynasty startup mock for that scoring format later on.

One last note before I turn you loose: remember that Shane McClanahan (Pick 104), Brandon Woodruff (124), Sandy Alcantara (125), Jacob deGrom (157) and Dustin May (304) still have Dynasty value even though they're expected to miss most, if not all, of 2024 due to injury. The same goes for Drew Rasmussen, though he went undrafted here.