Over the last month a large percentage of your questions have been focused on minors only and first year player drafts. Up until this point I’ve tried to handle your questions the best I could on a case by case basis. On who to take, where, and which player was a better fit. It was fun, I shared my biases, and you thought I knew what I was talking about. See, here’s the thing, I’m not so much an expert as I am an avid player. More than anything else these are my diary entries as I try to deal, day by day, with my crippling fantasy addiction. So today I’ve decided to give a real world snapshot of three different league’s first year player drafts. Below you’ll find a brief description of each league, and a look at the first round or two of each draft. This should give you an idea of what people are doing in actual dynasty fantasy baseball drafts in 2016. Better to show than tell, if you catch my drift.

12 team H2H points league

This league is an absolute blood bath. It’s more or less the baseball version of The League with bigger insults, and less celebrity appearances. This is one of those leagues that exudes passion, and leads its members to trash every trade, examine every pick, and most of all stay involved. In other words, you know these guys are doing their homework. The draft setup is simple, it’s done via text to the commissioner and any players not already owned and under their MLB limits are available. So all Korean and Japanese players are available in this draft. Each team has 7 available minor league spots, you’re allowed to keep as many of your minors as you like, but you can never exceed 7 unless it’s via trade, and the max then is 10. So in the draft you pick as many times as you can to meet your 7. Some people pick once, while others pick 6 times. Take a look below, and keep in mind the scoring is extremely weighted towards pitching. I’ll put it this way, in 2015 Clayton Kershaw out scored Bryce Harper by 100+ points. One of the more fun leagues to play in, and for sure one of the most competitive. Hell, one guy even made a video after making the final!

Round 1
1.1 – Anderson Espinoza, P BOS
1.2 – Brendan Rodgers, SS COL
1.3 – Kenta Maeda, SP LAD
1.4 – Francis Martes, SP HOU
1.5 – Andrew Benintendi, OF BOS
1.6 – Carson Fulmer, SP CWS
1.7 – Dansby Swanson, SS ATL
1.8 – A.J. Reed, 1B HOU
1.9 – Alex Bregman, SS HOU
1.10 – Dillon Tate, SP TEX
1.11 – Trea Turner, SS WSH
1.12 – Tim Anderson, SS CWS

Round 2
2.1 – Dominic Smith, 1B NYM
2.2 – Lewis Brinson, OF TEX
2.3 – Victor Robles, OF WSH
2.4 – Kolby Allard, SP ATL
2.5 – Orlando Arcia, SS MIL
2.6 – Cody Reed, SP CIN
2.7 – Nick Williams, OF PHI
2.8 – Kyle Tucker, OF HOU
2.9 – Brady Aiken, SP CLE

30 team Salary Cap Roto

A little different here, this a real deep league with 55 player rosters. So you’re minors are 30 players deep, and your MLB squad is limited to 25. There’s 5 rounds of 30 picks, plus a supplemental round between the first and second round for restricted free agent compensation. This league is full of really knowledgeable players with a wealth of dynasty experience. One of the most important components of long term success in this league is drafting and developing a quality minor league system. All promoted major leaguers are free from salary before they reach their limits but are available to be shuttled between your major league and minor league teams. After limits have been reached their salary is $500,000 for the next 5 years, and are still available to be moved between the MLB roster and MiLB. So a couple of good drafts, that yield productive major leagues on these 5 year deals, can open up a large chunk of your available salary to be spent on free agents to upgrade your roster. So not only are these top picks extremely valuable from a salary standpoint, but they also make handy trade chips. All unowned MiLB players under their limits are available, while Japanese and Korean free agents are off limits, and available in pre-season auctions.

Round 1
1. Rawhide (via Smokers) – SS Bredan Rodgers
2. Rattlers – SS Dansby Swanson
3. Bulls (via Blue Sox) – SS Alex Bregman
4. Blaze – OF Andrew Benintendi
5. Generals – RHP Dillon Tate
6. Generals – RHP Carson Fulmer
7. Hawks – LHP Brady Aiken
8. Smokers (via Rawhide) – RHP Yadier Alvarez
9. Rainers – OF Kyle Tucker
10. Knights – OF Ian Happ
11. Smokies – OF Cornelius Randolph
12. BlueClaws – OF Vlad Guerreo Jr
13. Dragons – C Tyler Stephenson
14. Sand Gnats (via Cyclones) – OF Anthony Alford
15. Sand Gnats (via Generals, via Bulls) – OF Trent Clark
16. Orioles – LHP Tyler Jay
17. Braves (via Red Barons) – RHP Kolby Allard
18. Biscuts – OF Daz Cameron
19. 66ers – RHP James Kaprielian
20. Smokers (via Crawdads) – RHP Phil Bickford
21. Bats – RHP Beau Burrows
22. Orioles (via River Bandits) – OF Yusniel Diaz
23. Pirates – OF Nick Plummer
24. Javelinas – OF Garrett Whitley
25. Blue Claws (via Spirits) – CI Austin Riley
26. Keys – RHP Connor Greene
27. Drive – RHP Walker Buehler
28. Braves (via Rawhide, via Braves) – RHP Francis Martes
29. PawSox – OF Eddy Julio Martinez
30. Sand Gnats – 1B Josh Naylor

Supplemental Round A
31. Rattlers – 9a
32. Generals (via Spirits) – RHP Jon Harris
33. Braves (via Rawhide, via Rattlers) – C Andrew Knapp
34. Sand Gnats (via Generals) – RHP Domingo Acevedo
35. Smokers (via Rawhide) – RHP Triston McKenzie
36. Bulls – CI Chris Shaw
37. Generals (via Spirits) – RHP Mike Nikorak
38. Gnats – RHP Mike Matuella
39. Rawhide (via Rattlers) – RHP Ashe Russell
40. Generals – RHP Jake Woodford
41. Rawhide – C Chris Betts
42. Bulls – LHP Alex Young
43. Gnats – RHP David Paulino


18 team Salary Cap H2H cats

Another long time dynasty with a salary cap, that I was brought into by our bullpen ace Smokey. It’s an uber-competitive league made up of other writers, coaches, and prospect hounds. The draft is relatively laid back as it’s a 12 hour clock with those that are skipped able to pick at anytime. Much like the aforementioned 30 team league, this league’s salary structure puts added importance and emphasis on drafting well and developing a talent pool to provide financial flexibility. All unowned minors are available, while professional players from Asia are off limits, and are instead available in the pre-season auctions.

Round 1
1) Phllies – Dansby Swanson, SS Ari
2) RaysAndrew Benintendi, OF Bos
3) BrewersBrendan Rodgers, SS Col
4) GiantsAlex Bregman, SS Hou
5) PiratesCarson Fulmer, P ChW
6) IndiansIan Happ, 2B ChC
7) AthleticsKyle Tucker, OF Hou
8) TigersPaul Voelker, RP Det
9) Red SoxDillon Tate, P Tex
10) RaysCornelius Randolph, SS Phi
11) YankeesKolby Allard P Atl
12) RoyalsChris Shaw 1B SF
13) NationalsBrady Aiken P Cle
14) Athletics – Trent Clark OF Mil
15) OriolesDaz Cameron OF Hou
16) Indians – Eddy Julio Martinez OF ChC
17) AthleticsJames Kaprielian, SP NYY
18) RoyalsTriston McKenzie, SP Cle

Round 2
19) PhilliesPhil Bickford, SP SF
20) RaysGarrett Whitley, OF TB
21) RoyalsAndrew Suarez, SP SF
22) RoyalsMichael Matuella, SP Tex
23) PiratesTyler Jay, P Min
24) AthleticsAustin Riley, 3B Atl
25) Blue JaysTyler Stephenson, C Cin
26) PhilliesNick Plummer, OF Stl
27) Red SoxJosh Naylor, 1B Mia
28) PiratesYusniel Diaz, OF LAD
29) YankeesTaylor Ward, C LAA
30) Braves – Jonathan Harris, P Tor
31) GiantsBeau Burrows, SP Det
32) Phillies – DJ Stewart, OF Bal
33) OriolesKevin Newman, SS Pit
34) Phillies – Michael Soroka, SP Atl
35) RaysTyler Alexander, SP Det
36) Braves – Ashe Russell, SP KC

In closing each league has it’s own uniqueness and idiosyncrasies which makes the approach in each different. It’s important to take this into consideration, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your squad before entering each draft. Hopefully this week’s “show, don’t tell” approach has aided you in your quests to make your dynasty rosters great again.

  1. james says:

    can you tell us more about Paul Voelker… I know nothing about him, and know at least a little about a good chunk of the guys taken after him. Is it a true homer pick, a #5 starter that he believes in this year, or am I missing the boat on this guy.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @james: It’s the most earth-shatteringly dumb pick I’ve ever seen. I really wanted to delete it and replace it but I’m a sucker for the truth. I heard some explanation that he’s from the same town or something.

      • Rufus Xavier Sasparilla says:

        @Ralph Lifshitz: Given that the team is “Tigers” and Voelker is a Detroit pitcher, it might be a case of SUPER HOMER, able to leap logic in a single bound.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:

          @Rufus Xavier Sasparilla: No not a Tigers fan, even then wouldn’t you take Beau Burrows? It was a baffling pick.

  2. Clint says:

    My 12 team roto keeper league is going freaking nuts over draft order, Ralph. Last season, we did our keeper rounds first (8) in a non-serpentine order based on reverse of last season’s standings. We assigned keeper values based on Yahoo predraft rankings so some got an extra keeper round choice if they kept lower-priced guys (one guy kept J-Fer last year, for instance). Then, once keepers were filled in, the regular draft began in random serpentine order from there.

    A contingent of the owners has been adamant that reverse order of standings, non-serpentine, somehow keeps things more fair than serpentine. I haven’t seen any evidence on Razzball regarding this (or draft order in general if memory serves) so I didn’t think it’s such a huge thing to dwell on. Thoughts?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Clint: I mean in theory I suppose it is because the best team doesn’t get the advantage of the sandwich picks at the end of round 1 – beginning of two. What no one will tell you, it comes down to who you take. I mean you could have all the high picks in the world and just make bad choices.

  3. Yescheese says:

    That video is awesome. All leagues should be that engaged!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Yescheese: It really is a fun league. Tons of personality.

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:

      Agreed – stuff like that is what fantasy leagues should be all about.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:

        @MattTruss: agree

  4. danny almonte says:

    Im assuming the guy who made the video lost in the finals? Awesome video haha

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @danny almonte: Yeah, theres a guy whos won the league three years running. I just joined mid-season last year.

  5. S.H says:

    Ralph, love the reading material my friend. Is there a few guys outside of your top 100 prospect list that you would want to stash on your dynasty roster if it is unlimited spaces.? Also can you name a couple of guys that could crack the top 100 by mid-season.


    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @S.H: Sure, Mike Clevinger is one that keeps me up at night, he should be in there. Jordan Patterson is another that missed the cut that might be an oversight. Others guys that could break in are Jameson Taillon (really only health with him), Jack Flaherty, Spencer Adams, Josh Hader, Willson Contreras, Jeimer Candelario, Adrian Rondon, Amed Rosario, Rookie Davis, Willie Calhoun, Yusniel Diaz, Garrett Whitley, Chris Shaw, Josh Naylor, Luis Basabe, Michael Mutella, Jacob Faria, Hunter Renfroe (ehh),

  6. Holden says:

    First two rounds of my draft, fairly high level of competition. No crazy rules really. Whose draft do you guys like best?

    1.1 Wolfpack (via Foul Balls) (via rowsdower’s lumber emporium) – Brendan Rodgers SS Colorado
    1.2 Mentor Cane (via Foul Balls)(via Wolfpack) – Dansby Sawnson SS Atlanta
    1.3 Creamy Goo – Andrew Benintendi-OF-BOS
    1.4 The Sonny Boys – Alex Bregman-SS-HOU
    1.5 NextLevelFantasy – Dillon Tate, p, TEX
    1.6 Homer at the Bat – Ian Happ OF Chicago Cubs
    1.7 Seoul Bears – Byung Ho Park 1B- Minnesota Twins
    1.8 Wolfpack (via Mentor Cane) (via Confederacy of Dunces, via thirdbasefumbles) Kyle Tucker OF Houston Astros
    1.9 Blood On The Tracks Kevin Newman MI Pirates
    1.10 Wolfpack (via mentor cane) Trent Clark OF Milwaukee Brewers
    1.11 CubSox Cornelius Randolph OF Philadelphia Phillies
    1.12 Slugger’s Paradise Kenta Maeda RHP Los Angeles Dodgers
    1.13 Sherm Tyler Stephenson C Reds
    1.14 Rowsdower’s Lumber Emporium (via Foul Balls) Daz Cameron – OF – Astros
    1.15 Unmitigated Disaster Kolby Allard SP ATL
    1.16 Mentor Cane (via Wolfpack) (via aledo chili dogs) Desmond Lindsay OF NYM
    1.17 Homer At the Bat (via Inglewood Condiments)Brady Aiken LHP Cleveland Indians
    1.18 Confederacy of Dunces – Garrett Whitley – OF – TAM
    1.19 Homer at the Bat (via the legion) Eddy Julio Martinez, OF, Chicago Cubs
    1.20 Cuban P Carson Fulmer, P – Chi AL

    2.1 Rowsdower’s Lumber Emporium Mike Nikorak – P – Col
    2.2 Wolfpack Austin Riley 3B Atlanta Braves
    2.3 Creamy Goo Josh Naylor-1B-Miami
    2.4 The Sonny Boys Chris Shaw, 1B, Giants
    2.5 NextLevelFantasy – Phil Bickford – SP – Giants
    2.6 Foul Balls (via Mentor Cane) (via Homer at the Bat) Yusniel Diaz, OF, LAD
    2.7 Creamy Goo (via Seoul Bears) – Donnie Dewees-OF-Cubs
    2.8 Cubsox (via thirdbasefumbles) – Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B PIT
    2.9 Blood On The Tracks – Riley Ferrell – P – Hou
    2.10 Confederacy of Dunces (via Mentor Cane) – Nick Plummer OF – STL
    2.11 CubSox – Ashe Russell SP KC Royals
    2.12 Slugger’s Paradise – Tyler Jay – P – MIN
    2.13 Confederacy of Dunces (via Sherm) – Chris Betts – C – TB
    2.14 Wolfpack (via Foul Balls ) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. OF Toronto Blue Jays
    2.15 Unmitigated Disaster Tyler White 1B Houston
    2.16 Aledo Chili Dogs Willie Calhoun 2B LA Dodgers
    2.17 Wolpack (via inglewood condiments) Scott Kingery 2B Philadelphia Phillies
    2.18 Mentor Cane (via Wolfpack) (via confederacy of dunces) Wander Javier SS MIN
    2.19 Homer at the Bat (via the legion) yadier alvarez SP LAD
    2.20 Cuban P Lucius Fox, SS – SF

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      At first glance I really like what Wolfpack and Homer at Bat did here. Both were very good haul’s. Creamy Goo got some bats that I like in Benintendi, Naylor, and Dewees. Sonny boys went higher floor. Next Level Fantasy loves the arms.

      • Holden says:

        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        Thanks, I’m Homer at Bat. I’m pretty happy with my draft and especially the two guys I got late in the 1st. I was hoping Maeda would fall to me at 17 but that might have been wishful thinking.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:

          @Holden: Three years from now it might be a very Brady Christmas present that he didn’t

          • tyler daniels says:

            @Ralph Lifshitz: oh man i was in this league and got kicked cause i couldnt pay the november re-up deadline, while overseas on duty…coldblooded ,,, well will be interested to see how cubssox, new owner of my team does and who he traded to get hayes….

            anyway in another, more forgiving on payments league i have the number one pick… 20 teamer 5×5 h2h, only two rounds…who do you take number one? got the pick cause i am in last so can play the long game.

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:

              @tyler daniels: I mean it comes down to what you need. I’m a Red Sox homer and have been going after Benintendi, but Rodgers or Swanson are reasonable picks.

    • goodfold2 says:

      @Holden: lowest i’ve seen vlad JR go.

      • Ralph Lifshitz says:

        @goodfold2: Good catch!

      • Holden says:

        @goodfold2: This is a cash league with multiple tiers of prizes, almost everyone has a chance to win significant money each year. Prospects who are a long ways away lose a lot of value.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:

          @Holden: Makes sense, still a lot of guys a year or two older with less upside that went.

  7. And Now The Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:

    how was t.anderson not already owned in a 12 teamer with 7 minor slots? or does everybody hoard the SP only there (which could make sense for league specs)

  8. LC says:

    Great stuff Ralph!

    I have a new dynasty league starting up this year, just cant get enough.
    12 team auction 5×5 h2h with obp
    25 man roster with 15 man minor league.

    Was wondering if you have a post anywhere with advice/ tips on inagural drafts.
    Or if you could shoot me a few bullets here!
    Much appreciated!


    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @LC: Sure no problem, and that’s a good idea for a post. I’ll keep it in mind.

      As for the first time draft, there’s a lot of ways to approach it.

      Youth and upside over almost everything
      Don’t over pay for pitching, especially closers
      Don’t be scared to draft someone like Seager, Buxton, Giolito, Moncada etc A LOT earlier than you usually would.
      Decide how you want to build and set a budget for each side of the house and then specific positions.

  9. Alan says:

    Hey man, since you are deep in knowledge in this stuff, in a 15 team 30 mlb/20 milb roto dynasty, am I crazy for trading Mazara, Margot, Eloy and Pineda for a pick and David Price?

    I am competing and already have Kepler, Bautista, Cutch, Revere, Pence, K Davis and Aoki at OF. And I believe Pineda is hurt anyhow.

    Or is this simply too much?

    Thanks for your time

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Alan: I think for your situation it’s good.

  10. Nation says:

    Just joined a 16 team (25 player) keeper league and the draft is coming up at the end of the month. The rosters are 32 deep, so each team throws back 7 players after hte keeper deadline. This particular team we are blowing up and so have been trading older talent for younger guys and picks.

    We have the 4th and 5th pick in the upcoming draft and I’m torn on where to go with those picks.

    Still trying to find out if guys not available in the player universe are able to be drafted (Rodgers, Benintendi, Barreto, etc)… but there are guys like Bubba Starling, Swanson, Reed, Park available. I also have a man crush on Domingo Santana and cant figure out why he wasnt picked up prior to the this season.

    I guess my bigger question is where does a guy like Santana (or even Park to a smaller degree) fit, because he has the path to playing time, is 23, and is a threat for 20/10 hr/stls.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Nation: Ito really depends what’s available. If it’s only minors guys and there’s no starting caliber MLB talent then he’s someone you grab early.

      I’d just forget Bubba Starling, he’s not much of s fantasy prospect. He’s more of a 3rd or 4th outfielder that bats 8th.

  11. Mike, Myth, Legend says:

    Ralph what kind of resources to you recommend to those of us in massive Dynasty Leagues with 500-600 prospects…….where can one find some good lists/rankings to mine for deep deep high upside prospects?


    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Mike, Myth, Legend: Other than myself….. Haha!

      I like to check Baseball America, the handbook is like my bible. MLBpipeline, Jim and Jonathan are good, have a solid pod I listen to a lot as well. MLBfarm is good for numbers, and any of the minorleagueball.com stuff with Sickels.

  12. I got $100 for groceries, $1400 for liquor, and $6,000 for you to bail a couple of shit puppets out of jail says:

    is this about right order for this year as far as redraft leagues with 1 NA slot?
    it’s possible due to ETA’s this list could move a bit.


    i’m literally just following your top 100, but some of these guys clearly come up earlier than others, and i’m sure some don’t come up at all.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @I got $100 for groceries, $1400 for liquor, and $6,000 for you to bail a couple of shit puppets out of jail: Yes adjustments need to be made for ETA and the window of your team. I might move Berrios ahead of Gallo, and Snell would jump a few spots.

      My top 100 is more focused on who will have the most value two years from now with some players moved up the list due to ETA. I tried to rank players the way I would going into an inaugural MiLB draft for a dynasty start up.

      • I got $100 for groceries, $1400 for liquor, and $6,000 for you to bail a couple of shit puppets out of jail says:

        @Ralph Lifshitz: oh no, i understand completely as to what the purpose of that list is, and it’s used for all my leagues in which we have at least 8 keepers likely. majority of my leagues are either small keeper (4-6) or full dynasty, with some redrafts in there. most of the small keepers ones have exactly 1 NA slot, so best to figure out which of these to stash, since it’s at most one, unless in leagues with large benches.

      • I got $100 for groceries, $1400 for liquor, and $6,000 for you to bail a couple of shit puppets out of jail says:

        @Ralph Lifshitz: wouldn’t have thought snell was even in doubt about being ahead of mazara for 2016 alone. you really think Maz comes up early? i’m hearing snell has good shot of coming up early.

  13. Wheezy says:

    A little off topic but a keeper question.

    Can keep 4 guys. Can keep each guy for 3 seasons. Each goes a round earlier than drafted last year. Pickups go in the 13th. Choices are listed below with the round they will be drafted.

    Altuve (1)
    Arenado (2)
    Crash Davis (7)
    Correa (12)
    Schwarber (13)

    Was going to keep everyone but Davis. With the addition of Fowler in the Cubs outfield should I keep Davis instead of Schwarber?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Wheezy: Well it depends will there be better options than Altuve in the first? If not than dump Schwarber. Too bad because Schwarber as a 12th rounder could be a pretty great keeper next year. I also think his playing time is less effected by the signing of Fowler than Soler’s is.

Comments are closed.