RotoWire Dynasty Mock + Rankings Update

RotoWire Dynasty Mock + Rankings Update

This article is part of our Farm Futures series.

A few weeks ago I decided to hold a dynasty mock slow draft, creatively titled the RotoWire Dynasty Mock. The results of the mock can be viewed here. I have since completed a full update to my top 400 dynasty rankings, which can be found here and which I'll be covering later in this article.

While I don't think there's much value to be gained from a regular mock draft — you might as well just look at NFBC ADP, or search for the draft boards that are often being tweeted from the official NFBC account — a dynasty mock draft populated by managers with differing philosophies and valuations can be quite valuable. For instance, valuing an 18-year-old shortstop who has never played full-season ball versus a 36-year-old mid-rotation starting pitcher who may only have another year or two left in the majors is a much more complex proposition than simply valuing one year of that 36-year-old pitcher versus one year of any other big leaguer in the player pool. 

You may notice that none of my regular cohorts took part in this mock draft. I wanted to use the mock draft as a way of getting a bunch of different analysts from different sites/podcasts whose work I admired but whom I'd never had on the RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Podcast before to come on the podcast for around 20 minutes and promote their work while explaining their distinct strategies in the mock draft. I will be hosting three

A few weeks ago I decided to hold a dynasty mock slow draft, creatively titled the RotoWire Dynasty Mock. The results of the mock can be viewed here. I have since completed a full update to my top 400 dynasty rankings, which can be found here and which I'll be covering later in this article.

While I don't think there's much value to be gained from a regular mock draft — you might as well just look at NFBC ADP, or search for the draft boards that are often being tweeted from the official NFBC account — a dynasty mock draft populated by managers with differing philosophies and valuations can be quite valuable. For instance, valuing an 18-year-old shortstop who has never played full-season ball versus a 36-year-old mid-rotation starting pitcher who may only have another year or two left in the majors is a much more complex proposition than simply valuing one year of that 36-year-old pitcher versus one year of any other big leaguer in the player pool. 

You may notice that none of my regular cohorts took part in this mock draft. I wanted to use the mock draft as a way of getting a bunch of different analysts from different sites/podcasts whose work I admired but whom I'd never had on the RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Podcast before to come on the podcast for around 20 minutes and promote their work while explaining their distinct strategies in the mock draft. I will be hosting three podcasts dedicated to this mock draft, one per week, starting Thursday, Dec. 16, and I'll be having as many of the mock draft participants on for those episodes as possible. 

Here are the first four rounds of the 30-round draft, for those who haven't clicked the link:

I encourage everyone to check out those three podcasts and hear from the individual managers regarding their strategies and analysis on some of their more intriguing picks.

My instructions for the drafters: Consider these the first 30 rounds of a 60-round dynasty startup draft. With that in mind, you can take 100 percent prospects or 100 percent big leaguers and anything in between. 

Settings: 5x5 roto, OBP, start 9 pitchers, 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS, 1 MI, 1 CI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, weekly lineups.

GENERAL THOUGHTS

  • With this being a mock with no cash on the line, I think sexier players were pushed up more than they normally would be while safe veterans over the age of 30 hung around a bit longer. This is human nature. If there's no monetary investment, your main motivation is to have fun, and it's not super fun to be the person loading up on boring players.
  • Obviously with differing valuations on prospects, I'm going to disagree with a lot the prospect picks, but in general, I think the best prospect picks were when a manager got a prospect who was clearly one of the last players in a tier of prospects. For instance, Riley Greene in the middle of the fourth round after Jarred Kelenic, Spencer Torkelson, Adley Rutschman, Oneil Cruz and Noelvi Marte were already off the board was a major value.
  • The two scarcest positions are catcher and third base. I don't mind getting Will Smith or Adley Rutschman if the price is right, but generally I'd suggest waiting on catcher in a league where only 20 are started like this one. Third base, however, is trickier. Essentially, it's Jose Ramirez, Rafael Devers, Manny Machado, Austin Riley and Alex Bregman that we can bank on as reliable options in their prime, and after that everyone either comes with production questions, proximity questions or age concerns.
  • Unless you're going to do a longview build, where you're not contending until 2024 or 2025, you can't completely ignore pitching in the first 10-15 rounds, but I don't think you should take more than five pitchers in the first 15 rounds even if you're trying to win the league in Year 1. You just open yourself up to too much variability, and there's always worthwhile pitching fliers late.

MY TEAM

CTravis d'Arnaud24PZack Wheeler3
1BMatt Olson2PLuis Severino7
2BLuis Urias8PTanner Houck9
3BJosh Donaldson14PEric Lauer19
SSTrea Turner1PCarlos Hernandez20
MIJosh Rojas16PLuis Gil21
CIC.J. Cron12PKyle Hendricks22
OFCody Bellinger4PCorey Knebel23
OFGeorge Springer5PCollin McHugh27
OFJesus Sanchez6MinorsNick Gonzales10
OFMark Canha13MinorsNick Yorke11
OFLaMonte Wade17MinorsDustin Harris18
UTRowdy Tellez15MinorsJames Triantos26
UTGarrett Cooper25MinorsJorbit Vivas28
   MinorsVaughn Grissom29
   MinorsConnor Norby30

When doing a dynasty startup, I generally advise people to set themselves up to try to compete in Year 2. When you do that, you don't end up passing on awesome players in their early 20s who are pre-prime, but you also don't end up using early picks on teenagers who are 3-4 years away from the majors. However, in the first few rounds, I think it's really important to just keep your options open, because if everyone is trying to get all the good young guys, that strategy is less viable.

Partly because this was a mock draft, the young, exciting position players were absolutely flying off the board. After getting two complimentary position players in the middle of their primes in Trea Turner and Matt Olson, I'd hoped to get Jazz Chisholm or Austin Riley in the third round, and Jorge Montanez took both of them with picks 38 and 43, respectively. At that point, Zack Wheeler was the last player left in a tier of established aces with plenty of prime years left, and in a 20-team league, aces are critical to winning, so I popped him. Riley Greene would have been my next best option there.

The theme of exciting, young position players flying off the board continued, so I settled for a young, unexciting position player (Cody Bellinger) and an old, productive player coming off an injury-plagued year (George Springer) in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively. Bellinger used to be a top 10 dynasty asset, especially in OBP leagues, and he doesn't turn 27 until July, so I'm buying blindly at his current cost. I know there are red flags, but if ever there was an offseason where a player would put in the necessary work to get back to his old self, this would be it for Bellinger. As for Springer, he's a monster category anchor in this format when healthy, and I'm hoping he'll give me three more years of peak production in the stacked Jays lineup.

I really like Will Smith. I don't have any shares yet for redraft or dynasty, but I was extremely close to taking him in the fifth round over George Springer. It was more about knowing that someone good like Travis d'Arnaud or Omar Narvaez would be available super late than any issues with Smith. His skill and track record are unassailable and we may not have seen the best from him. If Adley Rutschman becomes as good as Smith, I think we should be happy with that outcome.

The sixth round was my last chance to grab an under-25 big-league position player I'm really excited about, so I jumped Jesus Sanchez. I didn't have him ranked quite this highly, but the veterans I had ranked ahead of him had been slipping as most managers tried to keep their rosters young, and I'm very excited about Sanchez's potential to solidify himself as a middle-of-the-order staple in Miami for years to come.

Luis Severino and Tanner Houck are both healthy, young and have very high ceilings. They still come with plenty of risk, obviously, and I understand if anyone thinks they come with too much risk for where I took them. However, with guys like Aaron Ashby, Luis Garcia and Patrick Sandoval going in the sixth, eighth and 12th, respectively, there weren't clear "values" with high-upside young starting pitching in this draft.

Luis Urias, Rowdy Tellez, Josh Rojas and LaMonte Wade were my other pre-prime big-league position players. They aren't overly exciting at first glance, but I like the plate skills and think they are particularly appealing in OBP leagues (Tellez is neutral in OBP vs. AVG). Urias, Rojas and Wade will chip in a handful of steals, and I don't think we've seen the best season from any of them yet. 

C.J. Cron, Mark Canha and Josh Donaldson are win-now hitters who have sneaky high ceilings, especially in OBP. I wouldn't be surprised if I wasn't starting any of the three in three years, but hopefully I'll be able to replace them with prospects like Nick Gonzales, Nick Yorke and Dustin Harris in a couple years. That's the general idea behind this build — I know the older big leaguers won't be useful for more than a few years, but I also didn't ignore prospects completely, and I got enough young big leaguers to have a good core if I hit on a good percentage of them.

DYNASTY UPDATE

The dynasty rankings have been fully updated. They are for OBP leagues where roughly 30 catchers are started. The best way to use these rankings is in combination with the My Leagues feature on the site. You shouldn't use these rigidly, but if you're doing a startup draft, for instance, you can go in there and see the 10-20 best available players and make your own decision from there. If a player is ranked 10th and another player is ranked 25th — I'm confident in the player at 10 being the better guy for dynasty. But if a player is ranked 110th and another player is ranked 125th, that's a tossup and you can factor in things like team need or personal preference. These tiers get bigger as we move down the rankings — the 300th player isn't significantly better than the 350th player — so again, don't view these as super rigid when you're in trade talks or on the clock in a startup.

These rankings have been updated prior to my big offseason prospect update, but you'll probably notice some discrepancies from the current prospect rankings on the site. For instance, I'm now confident that Riley Greene is the third-best prospect in the game — he really put on a clinic last year at Double-A and Triple-A and I'm buying his ability to steal double-digit bases for the foreseeable future. You may also notice that Shane Baz is my eighth-ranked prospect. After doing my deep dive for his outlook that will soon be live on the site, I really think he's about as airtight as a pitching prospect can be, and the hitting prospects outside the top seven are either far enough from the majors or come with enough question marks that I'm comfortable taking a big-league ready pitcher with ace upside over them. Other players like Hunter Greene, Matt McLain, Coby Mayo and James Triantos are going to be ranked quite a bit higher on the next update and that is largely reflected in these rankings. 

Speaking of prospects, I've been getting a handful of questions from people who have been offered three OK dynasty pieces in exchange for Julio Rodriguez, or something along those lines. I'm all for selling high on a prospect right before they debut if it's a prospect I'm not over the moon about, but I am over the moon for Julio Rodriguez as a long-term superstar, so now is NOT the time to trade him in a 3-for-1. There's nothing wrong with trading him if you're in win-now mode and you're getting back a big-leaguer who is in my top 25, just don't do a quality for quantity trade with someone like Rodriguez.

With pitchers, the most important thing is 2022 production. We don't know when a guy is going to get hurt or show some sort of skills decline, so my pitcher dynasty ranks are going to resemble my 2022 redraft pitcher ranks much more closely than with hitters. A young pitcher like Chris Paddack or Aaron Civale who I don't trust for 2022 doesn't get a bump just because they are young. Similarly, an older pitcher like Alex Cobb, who I want in as many leagues as possible for 2022, will be ranked higher than you might expect for dynasty.

I know many of you are eager for the next set of dynasty ranks for contenders and dynasty ranks for rebuilders. My goal is to release those in February after I've finished all my work on the First-Year Player Draft board and content with regards to the international J2 class that will be signing in January.

Please direct any player-specific questions to the comments section below or contact me on Twitter.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Anderson
James Anderson is RotoWire's Lead Prospect Analyst, Assistant Baseball Editor, and co-host of Farm Fridays on Sirius/XM radio and the RotoWire Prospect Podcast.
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