Dynasty Mock Draft: Natan Cristol-Deman’s Picks

Take a gander at the youngest team in the mock.

I thoroughly enjoyed this mock draft. I went in with a rough strategy, targeting a contention window in 1-2 seasons. With that in mind, I stayed the course of young-but-established major leaguers for the first 10ish rounds. That meant passing on many of the top-tier prospects that I like, but left the door open for some high-upside picks later.

Overall I think my team is safer than I had anticipated, and that means it has a non-zero chance of being mediocre, but there are still a number of picks I really like, especially on the pitching side.

Here’s a look at the overall draft board:


1.8 Trevor Story, SS, COL
Age: 28


You smell that? That’s the smell of organizational mismanagement. The Rockies may be a dumpster fire, but I believe that Trevor Story is the league’s best SS. Obviously, Fernando Tatis Jr. looks poised to challenge that claim, and there are valid arguments for Trea Turner and Francisco Lindor, but I think people forget just how complete Story is as a player. The offensive track record is superb, he is quietly among the league’s fastest players, and his defense is borderline elite.

If we extrapolate 2020 over a full season, Story would’ve hit 30 HR and stolen 41 bases — en route to his third consecutive season being a 5+ WAR player. “But what about the Coors effect?” you might ask. “What about the loss of Arenado?” you could add. These are valid questions. But 1) Story hasn’t been traded (yet), and 2) I don’t particularly care where he plays. I will take the .290/.350/.550 with 30+ HRs and 25 SBs all day. Even with regression, Story could still be an elite SS for years to come and I am more than happy to start my dynasty team with him.

There was really only one player outside of Story that I considered with this pick, and that was Wander Franco. I genuinely think Franco is a generational talent and would be fine waiting a year for returns on my first-round pick. That being said, Story is great now and should continue to be through my planned window. The same can not be said for Franco.


2.17 Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL
Age: 31


I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take Freddie. Who doesn’t like Freddie Freeman? The reigning NL MVP is the engine that drives one of the league’s best offenses, a perennial MVP contender, and personally one of my favorite players. He’s a bit older than most of the young studs going in the first few rounds, but I am not worried. This would be a different story if I had taken Franco and gone for a longer-term contention window, but given Freeman’s profile, the aging curve doesn’t concern me. He is not someone who relies on speed, he doesn’t play a physically demanding position, and his offensive skills will not simply disappear overnight.  I did consider taking a pitcher here, I really like Walker Buehler in this spot but was hoping either he or Lucas Giolito fell to my next pick.


3.32 Jack Flaherty, SP, STL
Age: 25


Take away his outing against the Brewers (9 ERs) and Flaherty’s bloated 4.91 season ERA drops by over a run and a half. I don’t typically like throwing a start away like that, but in a shortened season and on a team that battled COVID issues I will cut some slack. In addition to being one of the game’s most likable players, Flaherty is the Cardinals’ undisputed ace. At just 25 he has shown the ability to be a reliable workhorse without sacrificing much strikeout upside. He also gets the benefit of pitching in the NL Central, which uh…will help. I was very close to taking Aaron Nola here, but I think Flaherty is the perfect combination of established reliability and youth to build a dynasty rotation around.


4.41 Tyler Glasnow, SP, TB
Age: 27


This was where the draft began to open up for me. After Flaherty, I was eying Nola to inadvertently use the pocket aces strategy. He was scooped up two picks before and I pivoted to Tyler Glasnow. This is more of a gamble than some of the other pitchers who went in this range (Bauer, Fried, Woodruff) and may have been a small reach, but Glasnow’s dominant stuff mitigates some of that risk for me. Innings may be limited because he pitches for the Rays, but given his injury history, I don’t really see that as a negative. Plus given their trade history, how far into a dynasty league can we expect Glasnow to remain in Tampa?


5.56 Cavan Biggio, 2B, TOR
Age: 25


I was locked on Trent Grisham with this pick and had no idea where to go after Ethan Kaplan plucked him two picks prior. For some reason, I settled on getting a 2B before the position depth fell off a cliff. I wrestled with the clump of Biggio, Keston Hiura, and Brandon Lowe for a bit and came away with even less of an idea than I started with. I was leaning Lowe, and to be fair think he’s probably the best present option, but given the Rays’ plethora of top middle infield prospects, felt that Lowe will soon be moved off the keystone (if not to another team). I like Hiura but his abysmal 2020 gave me pause, whether that’s justified or not. Biggio was the compromise, with youth, present ability, and room to grow.

This pick was before the signing of Marcus Semien, so the funny thing is that Biggio may not even play 2B this year after all. It may also affect where he hits in the lineup. The additions of Semien and George Springer likely push Biggio lower in the order but may also allow him more SB opportunities. Given a do-over with present information I may have gone a different route, but this is by no means a bad pick.


6.65 Randy Arozarena, OF, TB
Age: 25


This may have been my favorite pick of the draft and I was thrilled to take Arozarena as my first OF in the sixth round. Quite honestly, I don’t know why some people are doubting his ability — the dude practically rolled out of bed and hit 17 HRs in 42 games (incl. playoffs). I too was skeptical of the output at first, but his physical gains appear to be legitimate. All the more crazy considering he attributes much of that to doing pushups while in quarantine. Arozarena pairs the newfound power with pre-existing speed and looks like a potential 20/20 threat. He may whiff some, but who doesn’t these days. Regression is to be expected, but overall I believe in the improvements and expect him to anchor my team’s outfield for the next several years.

7.80 Will Smith, C, LAD
Age: 25


They call catcher’s gear the “tools of ignorance,” and this was a pick where I reached for the tools and consciously ignored everything else. Say what you will about drafting catchers, but this is the position where I believe real and fantasy values differ the most. It is by far the most physically demanding position on the field, and defensive ability is weighed heavier. As such, the aging curve for catchers is less of a curve and more of a cliff. If I am going to reach for a catcher though, it is going to be Will Smith.

There were a handful of guys I wanted in this range:  Alec Bohm, Ian Anderson, Smith, and Ke’Bryan Hayes. Bohm and Anderson got taken two and three picks before, so that narrowed it down. I strongly considered Hayes — who went with the next pick — but settled on the Dodgers’ young catcher.

Defensive ability matters for catchers, and Smith’s defense draws mixed reviews. Further compromised by the presence of Austin Barnes (and Keibert Ruiz) and the lack of a DH spot and suddenly playing time becomes a concern. That said, Smith hits the ball very hard. He was 90th percentile in xSLG, 95th percentile in xwOBA, and nearly had more walks than strikeouts in 2020. If anyone can challenge JT Realmuto’s status as the best catcher in the league, it’s Smith and I believe we are not far from that becoming a reality.

8.89 Dinelson Lamet, SP, SD
Age: 28


I like Lamet, but in hindsight would’ve taken Sandy Alcantara. Lamet should be a top-tier pick based on stuff alone, but there is obviously more to the equation than that. At the time of the draft, I’m not sure many people knew what to do with Lamet’s injury concerns, and just steered clear as a result. I decided to take advantage of that, with the potential of grabbing an ace in the 8th round.

To be fair, that logic makes sense in re-draft and less so in dynasty. I was hoping Alcantara or Soroka fell to my next pick, but that obviously did not happen. For what it’s worth this pick was made right before AJ Preller traded for an entirely new rotation, but I actually think Lamet could benefit in the long term from a lesser workload.

Update: I am prepared to be hurt again.


9.104 Framber Valdez, SP, HOU
Age: 27


This was where I began to consider prospects, but I like a ton of pitchers in this range and decided to commit fully to building a strong rotation. I could easily argue that Valdez was a better pick with my last pick than Lamet. He showed that his 2019 was not a fluke, with an impressive 3.57 ERA and 26% K-rate in an identical 70 innings. Additionally, he cut his BB% in half and was a full-time member of the Astros rotation. His CB is a real weapon and I look at him as a sort of left-handed Lance McCullers Jr. With Dusty Baker letting him go deep into games, I believe Valdez has the ability to outperform this ninth-round value.


10.113 Vidal Brujan, 2B, TB
Age: 22


All aboard the Vidal Brujan hype train. This might be the prospect I am highest on relative to industry consensus. Simply put, I believe in the power. I see tons of similarities to Ozzie Albies, with the only downside being that Brujan is the same age as Ozzie and yet to debut at AAA. In hindsight, I should’ve taken CJ Abrams — who I admit is a much better player — but I am very particular about taking my prospect picks to click, and that is reflected with this pick. If you want some deeper analysis on why I’m so high on Brujan, I will direct you to his write-up in the Rays Top-50 list. Simply put, I expect him to be part of my team’s core in the near future.


11.128 Max Kepler, OF, MIN
Age: 28


Everyone has a player they just can’t quit, and Kepler is one of those players for me. I don’t even have a particular affinity for him, at this point I am just sticking to the brand. There is so much potential here, with his 36 HR 2019 season serving as evidence. Consistency is key, and Kepler tends to go through peaks and valleys on offense each year.

This was a weird portion of the draft for me. Other than Kepler and Pablo Lopez I didn’t feel particularly attached to anyone in this range, with a lot of vets still on the board like Bryant, Suarez, and Castellanos hits a drive into left and that’ll make it a 4-0 ballgame, I don’t know if…


12.137 Max Muncy, INF, LAD
Age: 31


The streak of uninspired picks continues, as once again I really didn’t have a plan for anyone in this range. Muncy isn’t a sexy pick, but I felt his steady production fits the theme of my team thus far. Like Freeman, his corner role and steady approach mitigate any age concerns. I think he will be a solid contributor on a star-studded Dodgers team for the next 3-4 years. Weirdly, I also considered Edwin Rios here, who is Muncy’s main competitor for a corner role in LA. I would’ve taken Rios had he fallen, but he was taken a few picks later.


13.152 Lucas Sims, RP?, CIN
Age: 26


It surprised me that Sims is still just 26. I vividly remember my first foray into prospect analysis that started with an Atlanta system led by Sims and Christian Bethancourt (and Randell Delgado and Matt Lipika if you really want to remember some names). Sims has come a long way since then and has found a home in Spincinatti. Though I technically took him as a starter, I really like Sims as a high-leverage relief weapon — and a spirited closer battle with Amir Garrett should be something to watch going into spring training. I was close to taking Aaron Civale with this pick, but I chose the reliever route having already stockpiled young starters.


14.161 Kristin Robinson, OF, AZ
Age: 20


This is another prospect pick to click. Robinson has elite tools and has already begun shooting up top-100 lists. I definitely wanted a prospect with this pick. The Bahamian may not be an elite prospect quite yet, but I saw value here amidst a range of prospects I like considerably less. The only other player I considered here was Trevor Larnach, who is closer to the majors, but I think Robinson’s upside outweighs that proximity.


15.176 Brady Singer, SP, KC
Age: 24


Singer was a guy I had done some preliminary article research on just before this mock, but Mikey Ajeto beat me to it and did a much better job. If you haven’t caught on by now, I love sinkerballers. That being said, they are inherently less valuable in fantasy. The strikeout upside just isn’t there for him to be more than a back-end/streamer. I like Singer as a real-life player more than a fantasy asset, but am happy to take him as a depth starter knowing that some of my other arms carry substantial risk (cough Lamet cough). Continuing the trend of pitching depth I also considered Tyler Mahle and Joe Musgrove, who went after.


16.185 Garrett Crochet, RP, CWS
Age: 21 


I will be completely honest: I have little-to-no faith in Crochet as a starter long-term and I am secretly hoping the White Sox put him in the bullpen permanently. It looks like that may be the case, and I couldn’t be happier. The forearm injury is a bit scary, but this is a 21-year-old 6’3″ lefty who throws 100 with ease and debuted the same year he was drafted. That will play.


17.200 Jorge Soler, OF/DH, KC
Age: 28


People forget about Soler because he plays for the Royals, which is fair, but I had been eyeing him for the past three or four rounds and finally gave in with the 200th overall pick. He’s still relatively young and is an XBH machine. He was unable to build on his 2019 breakout in the shortened season, but his quality of contact stats remained stellar throughout. I’m hoping for a partial return to form and think he could potentially be more valuable than the prospects going in this area.


18.2o9 Drew Waters, OF, ATL
Age: 20


I’m very torn on Waters. The tools are obviously there, but the approach is borderline non-existent. He has had the prospect pedigree for a few years now, but this is more of a gamble than I think people realize. The switch-hitting power/speed combination is enough to warrant the pick for me. I am a believer in Christian Pache’s offensive ability and was close to taking him instead, but I went with the fantasy upside in Waters.


19.224 Austin Riley, 3B, ATL
Age: 23


I was acutely aware that I did not have a 3B at this stage in the draft. After passing on Hayes earlier, I realized my chance at a long-term impact 3B was all but gone. Biggio could potentially fill that role down the line, especially after Brujan comes up, but at this stage, I was mainly looking for young players with a clear path to playing time. Riley fits that mold, though the recent addition of Jake Lamb changes that somewhat. I still have Riley’s rookie hot streak on my mind and am confident that he’s at least an average regular at peak. His defense in particular looked improved last season and there is impact power potential if he can cut down the strikeouts. The job is his to lose.


20.233 Cal Quantrill, SP, CLE
Age: 26


MOAR PITCHING DEPTH. When in doubt, draft a Cleveland back-end starter. Quantrill made strides with his sinker following his trade to Cleveland last season and the trade of Carlos Carrasco opens the door for him to move back into a starting role. He has a reliable minor league track record and is a decent bet given Cleveland’s development history. I also love Jose Urquidy in this range, but he was taken three picks before.


21.248 Mike Yastrzemski, OF, SF
Age: 30


Late bloomer yes, and if given the option I could’ve easily taken a pitcher I liked with every one of my next picks. Alas, hitters matter too. Yaz is older, but I think he will be decent for the next few years at least. The present production seems to be good value here, even if he’s more of a stopgap until prospects develop.


22.257 Nick Senzel, OF, CIN
Age: 25


I will refer you to Travis Sherer’s 2021 or bust article, but this is a meh pick for me. I was committed to the “young major leaguer” route so that was the motivation for this pick, but there are plenty of guys with higher upside I could’ve taken. I think his struggles have been a result of getting moved around the field. He has lots of questions and rapidly declining upside, but with youth and some pedigree, this is still not the worst pick at this stage in the draft. I also considered Josiah Gray and Simeon Woods-Richardson as prospect picks, but once again I had already drafted a ton of young pitching and was running out of picks to fill an active roster.


23.272 Kevin Gausman, SP, SF
Age: 30


You can tell this draft happened over multiple days because every time I decided not to draft more pitchers, I woke up the next day and took more pitchers. Gausman is the pitching equivalent of the Yaz pick in my mind. I trust the strides he made last year, and think he should provide good consistency with more upside than people think. Plus Gabe Kapler should have no fears letting him eat on a one-year deal. I would mention the upside of playing in the west, but the Dodgers and Padres each assembled a murderers’ row, Coors is Coors, and the Chase Field humidor exists now so the advantage may not exist anymore.


24.281 Dylan Cease, SP, CWS
Age: 25


2021 AL Cy Young winner Dylan Cease in the 24th round?!?! Yup.


25.296 Jose Garcia, SS, CIN
Age: 22


Did I see myself taking two mid-tier Cincinnati infielders going into this draft? Absolutely not. Yet here we are. The hardest part of this pick was making sure I took the right Jose Garcia while making this pick on my phone while at work. This pick was a bet that the Reds wouldn’t sign a free agent SS, which they didn’t unless you really like Dee Strange-Gordon. Plus, Garcia reportedly showed up to Goodyear in the BSOHL.  I certainly could’ve gone with a higher upside prospect here, but Garcia is young, has some prospect pedigree, and a clear shot at playing time in 2021.


26.305 Robert Pauson, SS, OAK
Age: 19


This is another prospect pick to click for me. He’s nearing top-100 status at the moment and I expect him to be there very soon. This is more of a long-term pick as he is still 2-3 years away, but toolsy switch-hitting SSs are about as risk/reward as they come.


27.320 Ryan Jeffers, C, MIN
Age: 23


Mitch Garver walked so Ryan Jeffers could run. Jeffers filled in admirably when Garver went down with an injury last year, showing a polished approach at the plate and good framing metrics to support his minor league reports. I didn’t need to take two catchers, but Jeffers may be the Twins starter by the end of this year. He’s young, has a solid track record, and hits the ball hard. At worst, he’s depth with upside. At best, he’s a 27th round steal.


28.329 Seth Lugo, RP, NYM
Age: 31


This pick sticks out like a sore thumb. That’s because I didn’t make it. Fantrax obviously thought 6am PST was a good time to take a 31-year-old reliever, and I slept right through it. I was looking to go with another high upside prospect here. I like Lugo fine though, and the Mets added starter depth means he should be able to stay in a multi-inning setup role in 2021. He can definitely contribute to the team in the short term, but this is a pick I want back.


29.344 Josh Lowe, 3B/OF, TB
Age: 21


Lowe has a promising power/speed combo and was added to the Rays 40-man this offseason. He looks capable of playing CF but was drafted as a 3B and is still fantasy eligible there as a result. He should be in the majors soon, and the 3B eligibility makes him a sneaky fallback in case the Riley pick doesn’t pan out. Here’s another redirect to the Rays top-50 list for more.


30.353 Jackson Kowar, SP, KC
Age: 23


Throwing darts. You can never have too much pitching depth, right? I like what KC is doing with their young pitchers, so this is essentially just grabbing another share of that. The 2018 first-rounder is “what they look like” with a FB that touches 98 and multiple above-average secondaries. He should debut at some point in 2021.



Photos by Cody Glenn & Brian Rothmuller / Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

Natan Cristol-Deman

Natan is a California native and senior at UMass Amherst. He enjoys applying analytics to scouting and player development. You can find him on twitter @natan_cd

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