I’ve been listening to the TINO Podcast and following The Dynasty Guru Expert league draft, and decided now is the time to take the plunge and initiate a new, first year dynasty league. The #TDGX format is so intriguing for a few reasons that I wanted to exactly mirror that format. Here I’m going to track some of my thoughts in why I set up the league and how I felt I needed to modify it for readers rather than “experts.”

For reference, here is the constitution I created

What’s Great about #TDGX Format

  • Depth– 20 teams, 40 man rosters means 800 guys are drafted. 35 are kept per team which means every LOOGY worth his salt, every UTIL player, every hyped Low-A prospect guaranteed to bust by 2017, will be owned by someone at some point. 
  • The Draft System– the “invisible hand” method outlined in The Dynasty Guru blog post is, to me, an incredibly smart way to handle the “first year draft” problem. Lottery is patently unfair, letting teams bid on picks and placing a real penalty on it adds a level of complexity to the initial draft and future drafts. 
  • Experts. Setting up my league to be identical to a specific, publicly discussed league, and opening it to fans of the experts involved means we’re all working with identical source information. It will be fun to see how the ‘reader’ draft compares to the experts, and how the 2 leagues start to differ over time. Participants are going to know about every draft pick, free agent, transaction, and strategy that gets written about in #TDGX posts, which means any individual team advantages are going to be all the more subtle. 

What’s Different About a Reader League

Putting together the reader league, I was faced with a few key challenges, outlined here:

  • Keeping it free: #TDGX will be a CBS league. This lets them manage everything outside of the draft, including minor rosters. For the first year, I’m more interested in filling the league and getting it started quickly, so putting a cost on it seemed to be a barrier to me. This meant CBS was out of my budget, so we’re using ESPN for the Active Roster/bench management and will need to track minors via spreadsheet. More commissioner set up time
  • Keeping it competitive– I imagine the #TDGX league should have no attrition problems or owners who bail in July. This isn’t guaranteed in a reader’s league, especially a free one. Identifying some ground rules for involvement requirements was necessary for me to draft a constitution.
  • Filling in the holes– there are some things that #TDGX’s blog posts and tweets don’t specifically detail, so I made some personal gut-level decisions. For instance, #TDGR will allow trade of draft picks (even in draft) for the current and following year. There will be penalties for improper roster management (if a owner claims a minor FA via auction then forgets to add him to the minors spreadsheet, that owner can lose both the player and the auction dollars). There are gut-calls I’m making as a commissioner (I probably won’t ever veto any trade). 
  • Balancing power– This is a lot of work for me to do, so I’m going to need to figure out how to divide responsibilities. I figure I’ll ask another owner to step up and manage tracking the draft, since it will probably last 10-20 days. I may need to put together an ‘advisory board’ to discuss potential issues or constitution changes. We’ll see how that goes.
  • The traditional roto format– some people love this format and have been playing in it for decades. I, personally, have philosophical issues with it as a baseball fan. But it’s the rule of #TDGX, and it may represent the biggest challenge to me.