So I took a catcher with my first pick in the draft. I’m not one to bury the lead, plus you’re intrigued, no? Whether you stick around to understand my point of view or to ridicule me, you stick around the same. So before we go into my wild dynasty adventure, why don’t I do you the courtesy of explaining what exactly I’m talking about. The Rotowire Dynasty Invitational!!! It’s in the title, stupid. In case you were wondering what any of those words mean. First it’s not a Golf Tournament, though I hear Green Jackets could perhaps be involved. It’s actually a new dynasty league organized by the fair, handsome and illustrious James Anderson of Rotowire. Dynasty lesson numero uno muchacho, always talk about your commissioner in glowing terms. When you finally sucker some poor schlub into sending you Mike Trout for a washed up prospect, a back end of the rotation arm, and a kid with a name you can’t spell, who can’t legally buy tobacco products in Utah, you’re going to need that guy. So James approve my trades, I’ll say nice things. Deal? Moving on, this is a 20 team dynasty league organized by Mr. Anderson and comprised of some of the top names in prospects, dynasty, and just fantasy in general. Also the guy that played George Washington in Turn: Washington’s Spies. Don’t worry, I refer to him as “The General” 100% of the time. Anything less would be uncivilized. Plus little known fact, George Washington is my spirit animal. We both have wooden teeth!
**At the time of writing this the draft is only about 50% finished. Unfortunately this draft/team isn’t complete, but there’s a lot to talk about already, and this allows me to stretch this into multiple posts. Sue me, I’m lazy.**
Really easy, it’s a 20 team roto league with 5×5 scoring. We start 14 hitters (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, UTIL, UTIL) 9 pitchers of any type, and 17 bench spots. The keeper limit is pretty high at 35 of the 40 players rostered, so not much turnover. However, that keeper number might be lower for certain teams following the initial season. See below…
The Draft Order
One of the most interesting wrinkles to this league is the way the initial draft order was handled. It was via a Invisible Hand system first popularized by Baseball Prospectus/Dynasty Guru writer Bret Sayre. The concept is based off of the idea of someone you perhaps recall from an economics class. That would be Adam Smith 18th century Scottish economist and philosopher. Smith’s idea is that each person acting in his own self interest may frequently benefit society. Okay… enough of that… Google it if you’d like to learn more! How the fantasy baseball invisible hand works is, each owner was given the chance pre-draft to blind bid for a draft slot. Your currency was your keepers. Each team started with 35, and was allowed to bid whatever amount they would like for a particular spot in the order. You could bid on multiple draft slots if you wish, but ultimately you would be awarded the higher of the two slots you won.
Still confused? No worries, let’s apply it using the actual results. For arguments sake, let’s say you’re Eddy Almaguer of Fake Teams/BP and you really want Mike Trout. You simply bid 18 keepers for the privilege of the number one pick and Mr. Trout’s services. This means going into 2019 Eddy will have Mike Trout, but will only be able to keep 17 of the players on his roster come season’s end. If you’re interested in Eddy’s perspective on this he does a great job explaining not only the invisible hand, but also his strategy in the linked article. (Click it!) I have to say, one of my favorite elements of this league has been the open and honest sharing of ideas, celebrating as well as panning of picks. It’s a very smart group.
As for my approach to the Invisible Hand, I didn’t really participate. For me, I liked the flexibility as well as the leverage it provided my club in future endeavors in the trade market. I ended up with pick 19, and call me crazy but the idea of getting the 19th best player and 22nd best player, as well as all of my keepers, sounded like an awesome deal. So maybe I didn’t end up with a 12 team first rounder, and that’s okay, I was more than happy to take the depth the sandwich picks provided. Plus I’m going to add 5 really nice players from Eddy’s team in the draft next year. Just Kidding! But seriously thanks in advance Eddy, I’m going to be like a cyclops with a monocle on all of your picks from round 18 on.
My Team (So Far)
Pick 1.19 – Gary Sanchez, C
Pick 2.22 – Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Pick 3.59 – Robbie Ray, LHP
Pick 4.62 – Jean Segura, SS
Pick 5.99 – Brendan Rodgers, SS
Pick 6.102 – Travis Shaw, 3B
Pick 7.139 – Adam Eaton, OF
Pick 8.142 – Kyle Hendricks, RHP
Pick 9.179 – Trevor Bauer, RHP
Pick 10.182 – Austin Hays, OF
Pick 11.219 – Carlos Santana, 1B
Pick 12.222 – Cody Allen, RHP
Pick 13.259 – Brad Hand, LHP
Pick 14.262 – Anthony Alford, OF
Pick 15.299 – Devon Travis, 2B
Pick 16.302 – Teoscar Hernandez, OF
Pick 17.339 – Alex Cobb, RHP
Pick 18.342 – Alec Hansen, RHP
Pick 19.379 – Francis Martes, RHP
Pick 20.382 – Kolten Wong, 2B
So why on earth did I take a catcher first? Well, because quite frankly I’ll take the entirety of Gary Sanchez’s career over anyone else available at that point. We’re talking about a potential generational power bat at catcher. We could be looking at the new Mike Piazza, but with less sexual orientation rumors, and way less hair. Sure I could have went with Jose Ramirez, Charlie Blackmon, Anthony Rendon, Alex Bregman, or Chris Sale. But come on brah you have to understand this is a 20 team league, I came away with one of the most unique talents in the draft. Oh, and he’s only 25.
This leads in nicely to a general discussion of my approach. As of right now I have the 9th oldest team in the league with an average of age of 26.1. This was a great number to see, as my goal was to draft players between the ages of 22-28, figuring I would have a nice mix of those in their primes, those entering their primes, and finally those entering their primes as O.G. prime guys become members of Rob Silver’s team. I’ve tried to fight the urge to compete with Tom Trudeau for prospects, and for the most part I have. BTW if you hadn’t heard, Tom, who writes for the Dynasty Guru, is drafting an entire team made up of the best prospects. He refers to it as his “Deathstar”, and I’d be lying if I didn’t agree. He has Acuna, Vlad Jr., Eloy, Tatis Jr., Senzel, all of them. Some people have been dragging his strategy, but allow me to be the first to say. You just don’t know. Trust me, Tom is probably the savviest dynasty owner I’ve played with, and he’s insanely aggressive, and persistent in the trade market. Don’t be shocked if he wins the league from 2020-2027. Not. A. Joke.
Takeaways: I will now proceed to badger myself with questions in order to get to the root of my insanity, never realizing how crazy it is that I’m talking to myself in the public space of the internet.
Why did I take two closers early in a dynasty draft? Easy. They not only were great value, on the younger side for relievers, but they also make great trade pieces to add prospects if your season goes belly up.
I thought you didn’t like Teoscar. Were you lying here? Okay, you got me. The value was great at pick 302 for a player in his mid-20’s with 20/20 potential.
Which pick was your best? Anthony Alford at 262. I did not expect Alford to fall this far. At this point, all we’re waiting on from the talented athlete is for the 20 homer power to come. Even if it doesn’t, we have a player with the ability to hit .280-.300 with a .375-.390 OBP, and 20+ steals. I envision Alford as a dynamic top of the order player providing tons of 5 category fantasy potential.
Which pick did you like the least? Devon Travis, I still believe in the skills, god knows why. What’s the under/over on total games played by Travis in my 2B slot over the next three seasons? 80 games total? That said, if his knees work for 140 games one of these years, he’s going to be something. In a league this deep you have to pick your spots, one of my spots I chose was 2B. My hope is Brendan Rodgers moves to second at the end of this season, and then permanently takes the job after DJ LeMahieu hits free agency after 2018. Just in case I grabbed Kolten Wong, who I like as a sneaky bounce back.
Your outfield is weird, is it as bad as I feel it is? Ouch, fair point. I waited all the way until Adam Eaton to take an outfielder in the 7th. Many of them went early, and I wasn’t into some of the value at that point. Loved the Eaton pick, and I’ll say it got the most “Expert Boner Snipe” tweets. Yeah, that’s a thing. A thing I just made up, but a thing. I then waited and took Hays in the 10th. I think Austin Hays can be awesome. Seriously, I think he breaks camp with an everyday job. I’m not sure the Orioles care about Super two, and there’s a 17% chance Peter Angelos has never heard the phrase uttered. Austin Hays has the Steamer projection of .277/.313/.458, 18 HR, 63 RBI, 6 steals for 2018. So they agree wit’ cha “boy” that he can be a productive player, and at just 22 for a majority of the season. That’s value to me. I’ve already covered Alford. So, see above. As for Teoscar, covered him too.
Reality Check Ralph: Let’s be honest, I may not have a single completely healthy starting major league outfielder in April, or May, or June. Eaton could tweak his knee, etc. Hays and Alford could end up back in the minors, and Teoscar could stink and lose his job. So it’s an area of need. We’ll see what depth I can accrue over the next 20 rounds to fortify my outfield.
You can follow the next 20 rounds here!