Another season of baseball will be upon us soon. So it's a perfect time to sharpen your 2022 Dynasty Baseball Draft Strategy for the upcoming year.
In my column, I will be covering different aspects of Dynasty Baseball. These topics will include drafting, trading, roster and waiver management, identifying value, covering differences between formats, as well as understanding the timeline and competitive window of your team.
Whether you're about to take part in a startup draft or managing your team in trade negotiations, this is the place to start.
2022 Dynasty Baseball Draft Strategy
Be Aware of Market Value
- This means familiarizing yourself with as many Dynasty lists as possible.
- Noting as many discrepancies between lists as you can.
- This is to see where you can target players in drafts and see what you might potentially have to offer in trades.
- One Dynasty rankings list that I have found to be a great barometer of the market is by F6P's own Dave Eddy, @CorporalEddy on Twitter.
- There are many great sources that can be found by searching Twitter. These include but are not limited to the OBP rankings from Chris Clegg, @RotoClegg. I also really like the Standard rankings from Eric Cross, @EricCross04. I would also suggest the list from The Dynasty Guru, @dynastyguru. Furthermore, lists from James Anderson, @RealJRAnderson with Rotowire, Jesse Roche @jaroche6 with Baseball Prospectus, as well as Michael Halpern with Imaginary Brick Wall, @DynastyHalp. Ultimately comparing as many lists as you possibly can is to your advantage.
One thing I must note here is that you must understand the basic differences between a very shallow league such as those that are 10 - 12 teams vs those that are 15, 20, or even 30 teams. Roster limitations affect the value of different types of players. Non-elite prospects, as well as non-elite veterans, should be drastically discounted in drafts and trades in shallow formats.
Be Competitive By Year Two
I've found that one tried and tested strategy that works is drafting to be competitive in year two of the Dynasty.
It's important to understand what this means. I see far too often that managers think they are playing for year two. However, they end up drafting too many prospects putting themselves in the position of having to wait multiple years to see improvement. To hit on this strategy, ideally, you should target as many safe MLB Bats as you can early.
Below I'm going to go through some of the players I like to target in startup drafts.
Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros, (24 yrs, 11 mo)
One of my favorite targets after the very elite tier of the top of first-round is Houston Astros OF Kyle Tucker. He is young, provides both power and speed all the while hitting in a great lineup.
In 2021 Tucker batted .294 with a .359 OBP, slugging .557 for an OPS of .917 and an OPS+ of 147. Kyle also was able to steal 14 bases in 140 games meaning over a full season this number should at least exceed 15, but if things break right he could approach 20 stolen bases. I'm completely buying Tucker as a top 10 Dynasty asset for many years to come.
Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox (24 yrs, 5 mo)
Another option I like after the very elite tier is Luis Robert. Just like Tucker, he has an amazing blend of speed, power, and hitting ability from a very young player that could provide a decade of top-level production.
In 2021 Robert missed time and unfortunately only accrued 275 at-bats. However, in that limited sample, Robert absolutely dominated to the tune of a .338 BA. Although his walk rate is relatively low at 4.7% Robert still produced a .378 OBP mashing the ball with a .567 Slug% with a.946 OPS and 155 OPS+.
Like Tucker, this is someone I'm all in on as a top 10 Dynasty asset moving forward.
Aaron Nola, SP, Philadelphia Phillies (28 yrs, 8 mo)
One of my favorite early SP targets currently is Aaron Nola in spite of a down 2021. His surface stats last year were underwhelming but all signs point to a return to dominance based upon underlying skills.
In 2021, Nola posted the second-best strikeout rate of his career at 11.11 K/9. Further supported by the best walk rate of his career thus far with a 1.94 BB/9.
While his ERA ended the year at a disappointing 4.63 both his xERA and xFIP came in over a full run less at 3.37. Therefore, some regression of these inflated results should yield a far better 2022.
Also, he is being drafted early but usually late enough that you can select elite bats with at least your first two picks. Nola is currently a second-round pick in 30 team formats coming in with an ADP in the 40s. You can target him in the third or fourth round in shallower formats.
Limit MILB prospects draft young MLB players
You should try to limit exposure to top prospects that come with a premium draft price. Prospects are meant to supplement your roster.
You should be finding values in players that you believe in, that are also falling in the draft.
I would discount prospects that are far away from their debut. In practice, I am saying fade players that are more than two years away from their projected debut. This advice can be applied at every stage of the draft. As you get deeper into the draft players have less draft cost but they in turn also have exceeding levels of risk often attached to them.
Instead, I like targeting young players that have shown themselves capable at the MLB level.
Bobby Witt Jr., SS/3B, Kansas City Royals (21 yrs, 6 mo)
If there is one prospect that I am currently drafting early it is Bobby Witt Jr. In his first full season of the minors he slugged 33 home runs while playing in AA and AAA across 123 games. He is also a great athlete who stole 29 bases and possesses great arm strength, 91MPH.
Strikeouts are currently still a concern after 131 strikeouts in 123 games. However, he is a supremely talented player with a great pedigree as the son of former MLB pitcher Bobby Witt. If you show patience he should develop into a cornerstone for your club.
Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, Chicago White Sox (23 yrs, 9 mo)
On average going somewhere between pick 75 and 100, Vaughn is one of my favorite profiles. He has consistently shown himself a capable hitter with a great approach. As evidenced by his 8.7% walk rate.
While he did struggle some at the plate there are several things to consider. Andrew was adjusting to learning a new position at the MLB level as a 23-year-old rookie who was receiving sporadic playing time.
His batted ball profile shows that he hits the ball to all fields primarily hitting the ball up the middle at a rate of 38.3% while going pull side and opposite field at equal rates of 30.8%. Remember a competitive team in the Chicago White Sox believed in his bat enough to teach him an entirely new position at the MLB level. I'm drafting him with confidence around or after pick 75 overall.
I would advise trying to discount aging MLB veterans that are not still producing at a high level.
The deeper the format is that you are playing in, the more mindful you will need to be of spending too much early draft capital on aging players. You need to keep a balance being aware of veterans whilst making sure you seriously consider the pros and cons of younger players in the same tier. Roster construction matters as it's not always about having the most valuable team. Your team also has to be functional. Don't be afraid to roster an MLB veteran at a discount that is still playing well if the main deterrent is only their age.
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds, (38 yrs, 4 mo)
It is indeed okay to draft players that might only have 1 or 2 years left in their career. In 2021 in his 15th season, Joey Votto had a .266/.375/.563 slash line while slugging 36 HRs with 99 RBI. This is a player that could potentially be a short-term force for your team that can likely be had in the neighborhood of pick 300 overall, in some cases much later especially in formats that range from 20 to 30 teams. There is limited risk involved in rostering Votto.
You need to remember that everything is about the acquisition cost. You can build your team in such a way that you roster a 1B prospect or make a succession plan to trade for another 1B later. Not every player you draft is going to stay on your roster for the life of the Dynasty league anyway.
Have a plan, Be flexible!
Do adequate preparation so you can adjust to how and when players are being drafted. You should always draft a team that you like. If your goal is to win or build the best team that you can then you should not be too rigid in your plan. It's inevitable that certain players will go sooner in the draft than you anticipate. Likewise, there will definitely be players available rounds after you thought that they might be selected.
Draft with me
I would encourage you to follow the best Dynasty baseball commissioning service I have found @dynastyonestop on Twitter. You can draft with me in two different startup leagues currently forming. One is a 5x5, 15 team Roto Dynasty with weekly roster periods. The other is a 30 team Roto Dynasty with daily roster adjustments. You can find the constitutions as well as join these and other leagues here.
Examining the draft
Thank you for reading and hopefully, this can help you better approach your startup drafts. You can find me on Twitter @DrewSpurling1
Next time I am going to take a look at just how a 5x5 15 team Roto Dynasty Draft might play out for you.
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