Dynasty formats are becoming more and more popular these days, with tons of prospect content out there, as well a huge demand for these leagues. Dynasty leagues require a very different strategy from traditional redraft leagues, given the fact there is trading, a deeper player pool at times, unique formats, and the eventual dreaded rebuild between winning cycles of course. 

This article is designed to provide some broad thoughts on the dynasty format as a whole, as well as to shine light on a recent dynasty mock I participated in with strong dynasty minds that write at various places like Fantrax, Prospects Live, Rotowire, NBC Sports Edge and a host of other prestigious sites! In other words, it was a tough room, so this board can shine *some* light on player values, even though outliers still occurred given it’s a small sample, and it was not a cash league, a mock rather. 

Rotowire Dynasty Mock:

Diving into my team, I went for a strategy I have seen executed effectively by many of the smartest dynasty minds in the game, such as James Anderson, Tom Trudeau, as well as a great friend/colleague Andrew McQuiston. This strategy revolves around bullying the hitting and not investing top picks in pitching, as pitching is very volatile from an injury perspective (duh), as well as performance (see Chris Paddack, Mackenzie Gore, Jesus Luzardo.) Simply put, there are a lot of ways for pitching picks to fail early in a dynasty format, and hitting is a safer foundation to build on. This isn’t to say I was correct to completely fade early pitching, as trading for pitching can sometimes be very tricky, but I’d rather go that route than invest much early capital there. 

The Offense:

Early on in the dynasty startup, the conventional wisdom is to draft as many MLB regulars as you can, since they will dry up faster than expected given that everyone is seeking them out. MLB hitters under age 28 are prime picks, when either rebuilding or starting out in a startup draft, as those players have a bit of experience under their belt and have become established, but have a good chunk of prime years ahead of them. They are appealing to both rebuilding clubs, as well as win-now teams. Stacking those players up early and often was important to me, and most drafters for obvious reasons. 

Looking at the bats of Bryce Harper, Pete Alonso, Tim Anderson, Jesse Winker, and Franmil Reyes, I have a ton of confidence they should be able to maintain a lot of value over the next 4-5 plus years. They were relatively easy picks, even Franmi Reyesl, who reminds me a ton of a Pete Alonso-esque profile at UTIL. Once those clearly well-established players went off the board, a pivot had to be in place.

My one (slight) regret is pivoting towards prospects when I did, in round 7 with Marco Luciano, but it was done based on the ceiling of Luciano (potentially elite bat despite limited speed outputs), and the trade value he could have if he destroys the minors next year. Which rebuilding team wouldn’t want to build around the electric bat of Luciano, (assuming he does hit next year.) Similar thinking was applied towards Jasson Dominguez, as well as Jordan Lawler, players whose value could absolutely skyrocket if they hit well at their next minor league stops, something that could very well occur based on their prospect pedigree and respective future MiLB assignments. Looking for prospects with up-the-middle futures and good defense helps insure their playing time (this is why I was into Ke’Bryan Hayes, Harrison Bader, and sadly Cristian Pache), as they are assets with the glove, and they can move down the defensive spectrum as they fill out physically, or are not equipped to handle a SS or CF assignment. 

The Pitching/Reserves:

On the pitching side, I clearly waited longer than any other team, a strategy I had in mind going in and was thrilled to grab Sonny Gray as my first pitcher at nearly pick 250 overall. Gray is a great age for dynasty leagues (to buy him cheap),, as he’s ‘older’ at age 32, but he still has plenty of life left in his arm as pitchers just age much more gracefully than they used to. Gray has become a big-time strikeout guy since moving to Cincy, with a 28.5% K rate, a very healthy mark. Jordan Montgomery was another target of mine in dynasty as well as redraft, as he can finally be let loose in 2022, 4 years after his Tommy John Surgery. Montgomery has a filthy 13.7% SwStr rate, which could lead to strikeout growth as he continues to develop as a pitcher in his late-20’s. The other pitchers on the team were simply players I assumed had value in year 2 and beyond, as guys like Alex Wood, Marco Gonzales, and Jameson Taillon are super useful in a 20 team format where pitching is thin for most teams. 

The reserves (bench) chosen for the squad are simply stabbing at upside with prospects, something that is a great idea, since volume prospecting is a good strategy, given the bust rate of these players. Hoarding as many prospects as possible is advised in a rebuild, since many do flop that we couldn’t see coming (think Royce Lewis, Nick Senzel, etc.)

All in all, this draft was one I wish I could play out moving forward on, as I think I executed my strategy decently enough, even if I jumped in on prospects a tad too early. The hitters I was able to draft I feel confident should mostly be able to maintain their value, and hopefully, I’d be able to trade for pitching if we had played this mock out.

Dynasty ramblings:

There was a series of Rotowire podcasts I’d highly recommend checking out if you made it this far, and they discuss each manager’s strategies and goals, and each of our plans was very different after listening to each manager speak. 

–Don’t be afraid to stockpile youth or prospects all at the same position or on the bench before you fully fill out your lineup. SS prospects don’t always stick at the position, and they will move off the position and down the defensive spectrum. Prospect hitters often times hold their value if they continue to hit as they move up the chain, and prospect bats are a coveted trade asset for rebuilders, which a portion of the league will shift towards doing once they realize their team cannot compete as they envisioned. 

-Pitching can be found out of nowhere. Players like Logan Webb, Cal Quantrill, Framber Valdez, Ranger Suarez, Jose Urquidy, or even crusty vets like Alex Wood, Alex Cobb came out of nowhere as cheap FAAB pickups or could have been traded for cheaply as their ascent began. Even in a 20 team industry league that I was in last year, I was able to find interesting arms via FAAB such as Nestor Cortes, Cole Irvin, Zach Thompson, Carlos Hernandez, and Jose Suarez. None of these players are world-beaters, but when the phrase ‘pitching can be found’ was said, I didn’t understand it and now I’ve seen, it really can be found with how quickly a pitcher can change their true talent level with a pitch mix change or a velocity increase.

-Boring is beautiful. This excellent phrase was uttered by Rob Dipietro in regards to taking non-sexy, but useful players for your team to help compile the stats you need to win! This applies to non-amazing players who are the glue of winning teams such as Jeimer Candelario, Marco Gonzales or even Andrew Benintendi! The sexy option will draw oooo’s and ahhhhh’s at the draft table, but taking reliable proven players with an everyday role will help you withdraw cash out of your Fantrax account at the end of the year!

-Make sure you have a firm direction of either contending or rebuilding/retooling, but more importantly try to get full value for your players. The idea of having a direction isn’t a new one, but it’s absolutely paramount. In terms of getting full value for your players, unless that player is inching towards retirement, holding onto that guy until you get a trade offer you really like is recommended. I know this from experience, as I have had fire-sale type trade activity to get younger and made some regrettable moves. There’s nothing wrong in holding a guy if the offer isn’t right, as the best moves are sometimes the ones you don’t make.