With major sports suspended indefinitely, why not delve into the theoretical realm? That’s exactly the approach DraftKings and MLB.com is taking with the MLB Dream Bracket, a simulated contest pitting the best players in the history of all 30 MLB franchises and two additional all-star teams in a 32-team bracket starting Monday, April 20 at 3 p.m. EST.
“Baseball fans have passionately debated about the best players and teams across the 150-plus years of the sport,” said DraftKings chief business officer Ezra Kucharz. “Now DraftKings and Major League Baseball are partnering to bring the discussions to life by collaborating on the innovative gamification of simulated MLB matchups.”
How does it work?
The brackets have been set with all-time rosters from 30 MLB teams, a Negro Leagues all-star team, and a team of the best current day players that are 25 and under.
Teams will play a simulated best-of-seven series with the results produced by high-end platform Out of the Park. Select contests will be live streamed on MLB.com and on the MLB Network Twitch Channel and DraftKings platforms. MLB Network’s Scott Braun and Jon Morosi will provide the play-by-play and color commentary for the simulations.
The 26-man rosters for each team include 15 hitters, 11 pitchers, and a manager as selected by MLB.com beat reporters. The full rosters include 185 Hall of Famers, 115 MVPs, and 61 CY Young Award winners.
Players are rated according to the average of their best three statistical seasons. Great players who played for multiple teams, such as Nolan Ryan, Barry Bonds, and Frank Robinson, can be selected to multiple rosters.
The bracket is split by league with teams seeded based on World Series titles and appearances, postseason appearances, and regular season winning percentage.
Here is the schedule:
|Monday, April 20||Round of 32 Matchups (8)
|Tuesday, April 21||Round of 32 Matchups (8)
|Thursday, April 23||Round of 16 Matchups (4)
|Friday, April 24||Round of 16 Matchups (4)
|Monday, April 27||Quarterfinal Matchups (2)
|Tuesday, April 28||Quarterfinal Matchups (2)
|Thursday, April 30||Semifinal #1
|Friday, May 1||Semifinal #2|
|Monday, May 4||Finals, Day 1 (Games 1-3)
|Tuesday, May 5||Finals, Day 2 (Games 4+)
Can I bet on the Dream Bracket?
Of course an event sponsored DraftKings includes options to gamble in tournament-long or daily pools.
DraftKings Sportsbook is offering a Freeroll contest with $2,000 in guaranteed money, where users answer 13 questions for a share of the prize pool.
The first question covers the favorites of the tournament by asking: Who will win the Tournament?
The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, and Los Angeles Dodgers are options along with a ninth option for “Any Other Team” to win.
DK Sportsbook is also offering daily Freeroll contests with $500 in guaranteed money for picking the correct first-round matchups along with a couple of propositions, such as: how many home runs will Ken Griffey Jr. have in Round 1?
These daily proposition pools will update throughout the two-week duration of the MLB Dream Bracket.
Who will win the MLB Dream Bracket?
The most iconic franchises are clearly the best options to back. Not only do they have a higher seed because of their franchise accomplishments, but they also have a wealth of talent to draw on from both the past and present.
Check out the full rosters here.
The Yankees are therefore the top seed in the A.L. with a monstrous lineup and solid pitching staff. They’re followed by the Athletics and an underrated Red Sox squad that has arguably the best pitching staff in the simulation with peak Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, and the legendary CY Young going 1-2-3.
The Indians are definitely a sleeper at the No. 9 seed with studs like Albert Belle, Nap Lajoie, and Jim Thome leading the lineup and Bob Feller leading their pitching staff.
In the N.L., the Cardinals are the top seed with Bob Gibson and Dizzy Dean leading their powerhouse pitching staff. Their lineup is studly with steroid-enhanced Mark McGwire serving as DH and .400 hitter Roger Hornsby potentially setting the table.
The Giants and Dodgers follow with plenty of historical studs on their rosters. The Dodgers have a fantastic rotation but might lack for offense. Therefore, we might take a proposition on the Giants advancing further than the Dodgers in the DK Sportsbook Freeroll.
The sixth-seeded Braves will be tough to beat with Warren Spahn joining their powerhouse rotation of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz.
Watch out for both eighth seeds in the Negro League All-Stars (A.L.) and 25-and-Under All-Stars (N.L.), since we don’t know how the simulation will incorporate players from different eras. There’s no denying that players have become stronger, faster, and can throw harder, but will they be athletic enough to take down a team of legends?