Trader’s Corner: Cash in on the Frustration

This is the time of year when losing owners get frustrated and start to shed the underperforming players they blame for their disappointing season. There are some maddening players to own this year. Stars like Stephen Strasburg, Matt Kemp and Robinson Cano have let their owners down big time. Early draft picks like Anthony Rendon and Hunter Pence started the season injured, came back and then got hurt again.

Many owners want to ditch the players that screwed them over this season. Some of those players are still studs who can help you win. Swoop in and grab those studs before someone else does. If a frustrated owner is blowing up his team now is your chance to take advantage.

This week we are seeing Strasburg, Rendon, D’Arnaud, Stanton, Tulowitzki, Hanley, Teheran, Cano and even Kershaw get sold down the river for rebuilding chips. Go get them!

Use the form just above the comments section at the bottom of the page to submit your trades for us to vote on next week. Send in any interesting trades from your leagues so we can judge them!

As always, vote for the players you would rather have…

This one was sent in by Bigdon84 from a 12 team league with 10×10 scoring (H, TB, XBH, BB, and OPS for hitters and CG, SO, BB, HD, and K/9 for pitchers as extra scoring categories). Keep 10 each year with no penalties:

The next one was submitted by Adam from a 12 team H2H dynasty league with no contracts where pitching is very valuable: Continue reading

Top 500 Review: The Risers and Fallers

Baseball fans, especially fantasy owners, love lists. It’s a fact. If you don’t believe me, check out the popular demand for team power rankings. Even when they use a sound formula, like our friend Craig Goldstein does over at Fox Sports, he still takes flack from fans that have nothing better to do with their lives than argue about teams that aren’t making the playoffs. It’s in our nature to search for order, to recognize patters, even in random noise. Rankings and lists are the natural progression of that urge to order everything in a way that makes sense.

Bret Sayre isn’t “The Dynasty Guru” for nothing. He’s been around the rankings game longer than you’ve been playing fantasy baseball, so keep that in perspective when evaluating the latest update, which dropped last week, to his Top 500 Overall Dynasty League Rankings.

Yesterday, my colleague Greg Wellemeyer provided a fantastic breakdown of the prospects who just missed the latest edition of the list. Here is a look at the players whose fantasy value has changed the most (either positively, or negatively) from a dynasty standpoint, according to Bret’s latest update:

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The Top 500 In Review: Just Missed

Bret unveiled his midseason update to the top 500 dynasty league players last week and while it may seem like an exhaustive list, there are always good players who are on the outside looking in. Major leaguers who were left out include Chris Heston, Carter Capps, and J.T. Realmuto and you could make a case for any of them in the 450-500 range, in my opinion. Thee are also several prospects who were considered for inclusion but just missed. Here are a few:

Jake Bauers, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays

First base prospects typically need one loud tool in order to force themselves on to dynasty league rankings, as it’s just hard to get excited about them unless they have, say, A.J. Reed’s power. Bauers’ appeal is all about floor and confidence in his eventual ability to hit at the major league level. He was the second youngest player in the Florida State League and hit .267/.357/.433 before being promoted to Double-A. The six home runs Bauers hit as part of that line were  surprising given the league context and the fact that most evaluators didn’t see home run pop in Bauer’s bat. He is now the youngest regular in the Southern League and Double-A will be a great test for him in the second half of the year.

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NPB Mid-Season Update: Top Starting Pitchers

We’re about half way in the 2015 season. TDG Top 500 have been updated. Mid-season prospect rankings are coming. A little to many have changed since pre-season.

Things aren’t much different on the other side of the sea. Here  I going to take a look at some names I mentioned in my pre-season review for weeks to come. In this piece, I examined elite starting pitchers who possess future MLB rotation upsides.

Shohei Otani, RHP, Nippon Ham Fighters

The 6’3″ right hander has become the best hurler in the NPB. He’s leading the Pacific League in ERA (1.47), WHIP (0.79), and K/9 (11.18) by a country mile, not to mention that he’s trimmed the walks from 3.3 per 9 last year to just 2.5 so far in 2015. His 4.50 K/BB ranks 2nd among qualified Pacific League pitchers, only to Ayumu Ishikawa of the Chiba Lotte Marines, who is more than 6 years older than him. Better yet, he still hasn’t given up a single home run in 79.2 innings pitched.

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Grading the Unexpected Aces: Wacha, Liriano, Burnett, Martinez and Odorizzi

Let’s take a look at another batch of pitchers having great years despite low pre-season rankings. All of the pitchers below are currently ranked in the top 25 starting pitchers in baseball in 5×5 leagues. Are they flukes or can we expect them to continue pitching at an elite level?

Michael Wacha, Cardinals — 9-3 Record, 2.85 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 69 Strikeouts in 88.1 innings.

Wacha was not a low-ranked pitcher this offseason. In most rankings he sat in the 35-50 range among starting pitchers. But so far this season he has been a top-15 pitcher in 5×5 leagues. His 7.03 K/9 is a league average strikeout rate. His 2.04 BB/9 walk rate is better than average. Wacha has been a little bit lucky with the .262 BABIP that should rise up to the .295 range. The Cardinals are not a very good defensive team that can maintain his BABIP far below league average. Wacha’s home run rate is low again this year despite having a neutral ground ball profile. We should expect him to allow a few more homers as the season rolls along. His 3.61 xFIP and 3.76 SIERA point toward a bump in his 2.85 ERA, but I think we should continue to see Wacha perform very similarly to what he has done throughout his career. The Cardinals are a strong team who can provide Wacha with plenty of support from the offense and the bullpen, and they play in a strong pitcher’s park. Expect a slight drop in the winning percentage and a slight rise in the ERA and WHIP. We are looking at an above average but not elite pitcher in a great situation to succeed. Verdict: The Real Deal. Continue to roll with him. Trade for him if the price is reasonable. Continue reading

A Ray of Sunshine in Philadelphia: Aaron Nola

Life hasn’t been easy for Philadelphia Phillies fans this year as they have seen their team lay claim to the worst record in baseball at 26-48.  This terrible season has been backed up by a run differential of -122 essentially stating, “Yes they do deserve to be this bad”.  All is not lost though as we have seen a great rookie campaign from former top prospect Maikel Franco and current top prospect J.P. Crawford has been excellent for the Reading Fightin’ Phils.  Without a doubt though the most impressive player in the Phillies organization has been last year’s 1st round selection Aaron Nola.

When the Phillies selected Aaron Nola 7th overall in 2014 I was one of the first people to criticize the pick.  I thought that it didn’t make a whole lot of sense for a team that was so far away from competing to select a quick rising college pitcher out of LSU when they could have taken a higher ceiling less polished arm like the injured righty Jeff Hoffman or three sport stud lefty Sean Newcomb.  Let’s just say that after watching Nola perform this season I have changed my tune.

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The Top 500 Overall Dynasty League Rankings – June 2015

In a perfect world, this update would have come out during the first week of June. But then again, last night I saw a ton of dinosaurs in 3-D, so let’s not blame the world here—it’s pretty freaking great. The truth is, as some of you already know, that I’ve been filling in this summer as Editor-in-Chief at Baseball Prospectus; and not surprisingly, that kind of thing takes up a lot of time. However, there’s no amount of busy that can keep me from updating the 500. And so here we are.

The last three months have seen a ton of movement on the list, and it’s come from multiple areas. First of all, the number of fantasy-relevant call ups have spiked and the upper prospect ranks have nearly been emptied—which also explains why there’s not a single prospect left in the top 60. On top of that, we’ve had many injuries since the February run. It started with Yu Darvish, Zack Wheeler, Jurickson Profar and Marcus Stroman back in spring training. It’s carried forward to Alex Cobb, David Wright, Devin Mesoraco and many, many more. This is all expected, of course, but it’s also been exaggerated this year.

As we move into heavy trade season in dynasty leagues, there’s a curiousness to values. A desire to destroy struggling veterans. A desire to deify the latest crop of young stars. And while a shift is certainly to be expected, a seismic one isn’t quite in the cards for most of these players. Robinson Cano has been terrible this year, but pretending that he jumpstarted his decline phase early and it’s going to continue to tumble further and further downhill from here is not an assumption that you’ll find here. He’s still clearly a top-100 player, and nearly a top-50 one. There are many more examples, but as you’ve noticed in previous years, the jumps up in the first in-season update are always much larger than the drops down. As they should be.

As always, we hope you enjoy the site and the content we’ve created, and if you’d like to show appreciation for that work you can do so through this link, or via the donate button on in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated, and help to keep this place alive.

Now that the shilling is over, the ranking shall begin. See you on the other side.

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