I love polls, man. Something about presenting open questions to nameless and faceless masses brings me to life. Maybe I missed my calling and should work for Family Feud instead.
But alas, Fantasy Baseball is my game, and so my inquiries are limited to that. In this one, the focus is on the Dynasty leagues. Respondents all come from Twitter and Facebook.
The question is quite simple: Which player do you most want at each position in a Dynasty league? The answers shed light beyond who placed first.
Let’s go through them together, shall we?
Top 3 last year: JT Realmuto (36.2), Will Smith (24.4), Adley Rutschman (22.5)
Rutchman took the lead here before he even played his first major league game, which seems fitting considering how he’s billed as the most perfect receiver there has ever been. True impact is hard to come by in this position, with all the health and playtime hurdles, so it makes sense to accept some risk for the chance of a higher score.
Obviously, Smith’s production is pretty good in the eyes of many, but if I’m going for an established player, it’s with maximum impact in mind. Give me Salvador Perez, who just became the first catcher since Johnny Bench to lead the majors in home runs and RBI and has a huge playing-time advantage as a part-time DH. I understand he’s four years older than Smith, but receiver longevity isn’t guaranteed.
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The real dark horse here is Daulton Varsho, who might have a similar playing time advantage as a part-time outfielder while being the only true base stealer at the position.
Received only one vote: MJ Melendez, KC; Shea Langeliers, ATL; Gary Sanchez, NYY; Sam Huff, TEX; Dillon Dingler, DET
My choice: Rutschmann
Top 3 last year: Cody Bellinger (35.9), Freddie Freeman (20.3), Vladimir Guerrero (17.7)
Nothing like consensus, huh? There was no doubt that Guerrero would be the first choice here. Turns out that’s by the widest margin since I started doing these surveys in 2020. I thought Spencer Torkelson, a former first overall pick about to make his debut, would have a better performance, but seeing as Guerrero is only five months older and already competing for the Triple Crowns at the majors, it would take a real riptide to go against him.
Note that the top pick of the past two years, Cody Bellinger, didn’t get a vote this time around. Granted, he’s more of an outfielder these days, but he didn’t get a vote there either. That’s a steep drop for a 26-year-old former MVP.
Received only one vote: Matt Olson, OAK; Pete Alonso, NYM; Max Muncy, LAD; Juan Yepez, STL
My choice: Guerrero
Top 3 last year: Ozzie Albies (50.9), Keston Hiura (16.4), Cavan Biggio (9.7)
Albies also won last year, but find out who was second and third. This shows you the danger of selling for a hypothetical. Admittedly, this year’s 2 and 3 weren’t even second base quality back then, but even so, the dynasty appeal of Hiura and Biggio is clearly in the toilet right now.
Why Albies? He’s already got four years of high-end production under his belt at 25, and there’s nothing hypothetical about that. I’d venture to say he’s already peaked and doesn’t have Trea Turner’s first-round advantage, but he’s also four years younger. Several respondents cited the likelihood of Turner returning to shortstop as a tiebreaker.
Matt Seaman, via Facebook: “Turner. Even if it’s only for this year, he’s so much better that I would and find the position later if I had to.”
Received only one vote: Marcus Semien, TEX; Whit Merrifield, QC; Jose Altuve, HOU; Brandon Lowe, TB: Max Muncy, LAD; Jake Cronenworth, DS; Justin Foscue, TEX
My choice: Turner
Top 3 last year: Jose Ramirez (29.9), Rafael Devers (23.0), Alex Bregman (16.1)
It’s still a two-horse race at the moment, but a year from now Austin Riley could be just as important a part of the discussion. The math here is similar to second base: do you settle for third-round production from a player who could give you a few more years (in this case, Devers) or do you bask in the production of first round of a player who himself is still at his peak (in this case, Ramirez). The consensus opted for the former in both cases. I’m more of the latter.
I expected to see more than one vote for top third base prospect Josh Jung, given that the major league crop (beyond Devers, Ramirez and Riley, of course) is so lacking. It’s interesting that Jose Miranda got more votes, especially as both are set to make their league debuts this year.
Received only one vote: Nolan Arenado, STL; Yoan Moncada, CSA; Josh Jung, TEX
My choice: Ramirez
Top 3 last year: Fernando Tatis (74.7), Bo Bichette (8.2), Wander Franco (5.3)
This one isn’t as exciting as last year, with concerns over Tatis’ shoulder being the most cited reason for voting otherwise. The problem first appeared in miners, so it may never completely go away. Yet the fact that Tatis is a big winner despite this – and at this position, no less – shows the kind of impact he is already capable of at 23. His 162-game pace last year was 52 homers and 31 interceptions.
How deep is the shortstop in Dynasty talent? Last year’s top Consensus prospect, Wander Franco, is only fourth here. One of this year’s top prospect contenders, Bobby Witt, is only fifth. Neither Xander Bogaerts nor Corey Seager, two tried and true premium bats still at the peak of their careers, got a single vote. Seriously, hats off to Willy Adames for getting more than one.
Received only one vote: Francisco Lindor, NYM; Jazz Chisholm, MIA
My choice: tatis
Top 3 last year: Juan Soto (46.8), Ronald Acuna (34.4), Mike Trout (8.1)
The gap between Soto and Acuna widened a year ago, and the reason is obvious. Acuna is recovering from a torn ACL. Soto is not. Coming back from such an injury, especially for a 24-year-old player, is quite simple, but when the decision is already so close, why take the slightest risk? Stolen bases would be the main reason. Acuna, at least before the injury, contributed them in much larger amounts than Soto. But several interviewees actually criticized him for it, saying his exceptional skills wouldn’t age as well as Soto’s otherworldly plate discipline.
Interestingly, Tatis didn’t come close to either of them, but most respondents probably still viewed him as a shortstop exclusively. It’s also interesting how a transcendent prospect like Julio Rodriguez could only get a few votes, but that just shows you the extent of Soto and Acuna’s dominance at such a young age. How could Rodriguez improve on what they are already doing?
Received only one vote: Bryce Harper, PHI; Mookie Betts, LAD; Eloy Jimenez, CSA; Randy Arozarena, TB; Jarred Kelenic, AES; Riley Greene, DET
My choice: Tatis, followed by Soto
Top 3 last year: Shane Bieber (41.6), Jacob de Grom (15.1), Walker Buehler (14.6)
That’s a steep drop for Shane Bieber, who of course missed most of last year with a shoulder injury, but is still just 26. I am okay. Still, numbers 1 and 2 here are the most logical choices, with Buehler representing the safe choice and Corbin Burnes representing the upside choice. You might be surprised to learn that the two are already 27 years old.
Beyond even Bieber, the most surprising placement in the poll is Gerrit Cole, who also didn’t make the top three last year. He’s only the top pitcher on the board in the redraft leagues and has been in this discussion for what, four years now? I understand that 31 is not young in the strict sense of the word, but it is young enough that he still has a future. I mean, Alek Manoah on him? Casey Mize, seriously? Either I just discovered a hot-selling candidate or this poll question found its way into the Tigers Twitter fan.
Received only one vote: Zack Wheeler, PHI; Jack Flaherty, STL; Max Scherzer, NYM; Grayson Rodriguez, BAL; Shane Baz, TB; Tyler Glasnow, TB; Ranger Suarez, PHI; Aaron Ashby, MIL; MacKenzie Gore, SD
My choice: Bühler
Top 3 last year: Josh Hader (38.3), James Karinchak (31.9), Devin Williams (10.6)
Look at the mistake so many people made with James Karinchak last season. Relievers only matter in Dynasty as long as they get saves, so the question here mostly comes down to who has the most job security, which means it mostly comes down to Hader and Liam Hendriks . Hader being five years younger, he is the clear winner.
Emmanuel Clase, however, put in a fine showing after a breakthrough season that saw him record 24 saves with a 1.29 ERA. Sure, it’s not particularly proven, but things are viscerally nasty, inspiring plenty of GIFs across the internet. And how secure is the work of a loved one reallyand?
Perhaps in keeping with this line of thinking, some respondents took an entirely different approach, avoiding stoppages for a rotation candidate eligible for relief pitching. Michael Kopech, Ranger Suarez and Nate Pearson all fit the bill.
Richard Sands, via Facebook: “How different would that be than in a new draft? Not at all, most likely. You want the best guy there is right now. It’s Josh Hader or Liam Hendriks. It’s also important to know what your window is for win. If not now, why sweat who your closest ones are?”
Received only one vote: Edwin Diaz, NYM; Camilo Doval, SF; Giovanny Gallegos, STL; Garrett Hook, CSA
My choice: Hader