There is certain undeniable artistic flair to how a general manager constructs a bullpen. It’s a work of art that is constantly in flux. Often times relievers materialize out of thin air off the waiver wire or free agency mid-season. They arrive as complementary pieces in much larger trades. Others are the result of a failed experiment in the starting rotation. There is no set formula for assembling a successful bullpen, which is why it’s strange that a small handful of general managers have been able to consistently put them together top-notch pens, while the rest of the league flounders in a wasteland of mediocrity.
Since 2010, Atlanta and San Diego are the only teams to finish top-10 in bullpen ERA every season. Two very distinct forces of nature, Craig Kimbrel and PETCO Park, might have a little something to do with that for both organizations. The only club that has come close to matching their success during that span are the Oakland Athletics, who have ranked fourth, sixth and third in bullpen ERA over the last three years.
As requested, we here at TDG give the people what they want and take a deeper look at one of the most exciting athletes in the lower minors, Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Alford. Toronto selected the former Mississippi Mr. Baseball and Mr. Football in the third round, 112th overall in the 2012 draft. Alford was an option quarterback at Petal High School, and was viewed before the draft as a tough sign due to his pending scholarship to play QB at Southern Miss. The Blue Jays convinced Alford to sign for $750,000, but also allowed him to pursue his football career in the fall in addition to playing baseball in the summer, quite a coup to secure what some scouts felt was a top-10 overall talent. John Sickels of SB Nation’s Minor League Ball, rated Alford as the 53rd best talent in the draft class, appearing ahead of more notable current prospects Lewis Brinson and Nick Williams, Braves rotation member Alex Wood, and also in front of fellow high-school prospect (and likely top-10 overall pick in next month’s draft) Alex Bregman, who went on to star at LSU.
When Brandon Belt yanked out 17 long balls and posted an .841 OPS in 2013, we sensed his potential breakout. And we became confident of it after he went nuts in the first week of 2014, where he hit 5 dingers in 8 games. Unfortunately, his supposed-to-be breakout season was plagued by a series of injuries, including a fractured finger and concussion which was sustained when he got hit by a baseball during batting practice.
After a slow start to the 2015 season, the UTA product has been on fire in May. Recently, he wowed the baseball world with this 475-footer that landed on Coors Fields’ third deck.
Is this another sign of Belt’s long-awaited breakout? Or just a hot stretch? To investigate his numbers, there’s enough evidence to convince me that it’s rather the former than the latter.
As you know by now, some of the writers here at TDG have been playing in an epic 20-team dynasty league with fantasy baseball writers from all over the Internet. Nearly every major fantasy baseball website is represented in this league. Matching wits with some of the best players in the country has proven to be quite a challenge and a ton of fun — exactly the way a fantasy league should be. It is time to share an update on how things are going. Below you will find the complete standings as well as plenty of enlightening comments from the team owners themselves.
I will summarize the league setup here, but for a more in-depth overview of how it all got started read this: Welcome to The Dynasty Guru Experts’ League. The league is a dynasty league of course, with 30 man rosters plus a 10 man minor league roster. We can keep 35 players each year. There are 20 teams owned by experts (20 teams x 40 players = 800 rostered players plus about 60 on the DL, now that’s a deep league!). It is a 5×5 roto league with weekly lineups and transactions. We start 14 batters and 9 pitchers each week. Continue reading
In an effort to pay homage to one of the most
exciting hyped sporting events in recent history, “Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao”, I have pitted two top prospects against one another in prizefight style. In one corner is seasoned minor league veteran Noah Syndergaard and in the other corner we have three year college super athlete Carlos Rodon. I am here to tell you how they stack up vs one another in a dynasty league.
Tale of the Tape:
Both guys here have many physical gifts from the gods giving them traits that any pitcher would be envious of. Syndergaard comes in at an impressive 6’6”, 240lb with height that allows him to generate an impressive downward plane on his already elite fastball. This right handed flame thrower leaves little to be desired in the physicality department truly earning the nick name a “Thor”.
Rodon on the other hand comes in with one big advantage right off the bat—he is left handed. We all know how desirable lefties are never mind lefties who have had the success and possess the raw stuff that Rodon has. While he isn’t as big as Syndergaard, Rodon’s 6’ 3”, 235lb frame leaves little doubt that he will be able to remain on the field with plus durability and ample size to minimize effort and create a downward plane on his pitches.
Best known for inciting a bench-clearing brawl between the Reno Aces and Albuquerque Isotopes last summer, the Los Angeles Dodgers could not have possibly anticipated that Mike Bolsinger would become a permanent fixture in their starting rotation this season. He was the quintessential “break glass in case of emergency” option when the powerhouse baseball operations duo of Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi picked him up from the Arizona Diamondbacks for cash considerations last off season. After losing marquee free agent signee Brandon McCarthy to a torn UCL, which required Tommy John surgery last month, the Dodgers rotation suffered another crushing blow when news leaked out earlier this week that Hyun-Jin Ryu is opting to undergo season ending shoulder surgery. A perfect storm of devastating injuries and Bolsinger’s stellar early season performance (1.42 ERA with a 13.26 K% in 19 innings) at Triple-A have given him, along with Carlos Frias, an opportunity to stick in the rotation permanently.
Self-evaluation is of monumental importance to improving as a dynasty league owner. You should always be evaluating your process and making sure that you’re making quality decisions that balance the short and long-term health of your team. Recently, one area that I’ve been trying to improve upon is my overvaluation of non-elite prospects that are far away from contributing at the big league level that I ‘like’ and have on my team. It’s hard for many dynasty league owners to part with prospects that they ‘like’ or ‘have a good feeling about’ but in reality, most non-elite prospects should be viewed strictly as trade chips to help improve your big league roster. The other important part of understanding how to make deals involving these non-elite prospects is that you must have a proper understanding of replacement level in your league. In other words, if I trade ‘3B prospect X’ in a 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 trade to improve my big league squad, what 3B prospect is available for me to add to replace him, if I need to replenish the third base prospect inventory on my team.
An example that I want to use is a player that I own on many teams, Rockies third baseman prospect Ryan McMahon, currently at Low-A Modesto. I happen to think that Ryan McMahon is going to be a good major league hitter, but he is far from a sure thing, and should be treated accordingly.