Trader’s Corner: Getting Started

I recently took over an abandoned team in a dynasty league and I thought it would be interesting to lift up the hood for readers as I move forward. We’re pretty transparent in TDGX, and I think that it’s helpful for dynasty players to see the thought processes behind decisions. The league is 30 teams deep with 25-man MLB rosters and 45-man MiLB rosters. Holds and SLG make it a 6×6 scoring system with OBP instead of average. There is a $100 million salary cap, a $5 million signing bonus stipend mid-season, and three tags that can be used for players with expiring contracts. There’s a restricted free agent tag that provides pick compensation, a franchise tag that assumes the real life contract of a player, and a flex tag that can be used as either. It’s a very active league as I’ve already made some trades and have been back and forth with several owners.

I love how deep it is and how the contracts impact the decisions I need to make going forward. Obviously the team wasn’t in great shape, but there are some nice pieces on the MLB roster and I was able to take over the team just before the mid-year MiLB free agent signing, allowing me to snag some prospects for what was a pretty thin farm. You’ll see what I mean after the jump…   Continue reading

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The Dynasty Guru Experts League — July Update #TDGX

As you know by now, all 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. 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. There are several teams still in the hunt for the inaugural championship, while others are building for next year and beyond. 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 Continue reading

Breakout or Fakeout: Evaluating July’s Surprisingly Hot Hitters

The month of July has seen some surprising names rise to the top of the Hot Hitter Charts. Over the last month these 5 hitters have really opened some eyes with their sticks. Can they keep it up? Most of these guys have been around for awhile. Have they truly arrived as star players or are they just mediocre hitters on a hot streak? Let’s separate the true breakouts from the fakeouts…

Kole Calhoun — Outfielder, Los Angeles Angels

Calhoun came into the season as a trendy sleeper pick. He was coming off a nice 2013 where he put up a .282/.347/.462 slash line for an .808 OPS in 195 major league ABs, but his .354/.431/.617 megastats in the minors that year was what really got the pundits excited. Going into 2014 he was expected to be an everyday player Continue reading

Digging for Diamonds: Prospect Profiling

Heading into the season I had my list of favorite prospects. Not necessarily guys that were top 20 material, but guys I thought for one reason or another would be undervalued in league drafts and was excited to lay claim to in whatever leagues I could. It’s a random list in the sense that it’s personal, but I figured it’d be a worthwhile exercise to check in on a couple of ‘em to see how the season has gone, as well as offer suggestions on some emerging players who fit the mold and make for quality targets in your dynasty league.

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Trade Targets: 4 Starting Pitchers to Go After and 1 to Avoid

This is a great time of year to make some trades. The All Star break is a natural time for people to evaluate their teams. Many team owners have now realized they are out of contention and may be willing to sell off some of their assets. Other owners who are in contention will want to beef up their squads before the upcoming trade deadline. For all of these reasons late July is historically a time when trading activity heats up. It is one of the best opportunities of the entire year to improve your team. Make sure you get in on the action!

Let’s take a look at some starting pitchers who can be expected to put up better stats in the 2nd half than they did in the 1st half. You should be able to obtain these guys at a bargain price compared to their future production…

Wade Miley — Arizona Diamondbacks

Miley’s season line of 5 Wins, 118 Ks, 4.18 ERA and WHIP of 1.24 isn’t very good. He is playing for one of the worst teams in baseball and they are unlikely to get better any time soon. Continue reading

Preparing for the Second Half Closer Carousel

Every year a couple Major League teams in contention, complete with Major League analytics and player evaluation departments, inevitably decide that in order to put themselves over the top and into the post-season the one thing they absolutely, positively cannot do without is a Proven Closer to nail down the ninth inning. So in the interest of keeping up with the times, let’s take a look at a couple of the potential heirs apparent in the event that some closers currently speculated to be on the block do end up changing laundry over the next couple weeks.

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Value is a tricky thing

So I’ve been thinking about this for some time, and yet it still feels like this is going to come out half baked, for which I apologize. I’m going to try not to delve too deep into numbers, even though they’re very important, because I don’t want people to get caught up in the examples so much as the concept itself. The concept in question is value. It’s a big word these days, and the focus of many minds, both in the fantasy and real life realms.

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Breakout Prospects: Berrios, Nimmo, Williams and Renfroe

Time for another look at some fresh names that are thriving in the minor leagues. This week we will examine several players who made it onto the Midseason Top 50 lists published by Baseball Prospectus and/or Baseball America this week despite not being considered consensus Top 100 prospects prior to the season. There were several other players who met the same criteria but I have already written about them in prior columns (links below).

Jose Berrios — Starting Pitcher, Minnesota Twins

The 2012 1st round pick from Puerto Rico put up a solid season in Low A ball last year with a 3.99 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 103 innings along with 40 walks, although in the second half he lost a lot of steam that degraded his stuff and depressed his overall season stats compared to his stellar first half rates. But it was good enough to get him ranked this Spring at #75 on the Baseball Prospectus Top 101 Prospects, #93 by FanGraphs, #90 by MLB.com and #102 by The Dynasty Guru, but he wasn’t ranked by Baseball America or ESPN. He kicked his game up a notch here this year in the High A Florida State League where he put up a 1.96 ERA with a fantastic 109:23 K:BB ratio in 96 innings. He was promoted to Double A last week and managed to give up 5 runs in 5 innings in his first start, although he only gave up 3 hits. That bump from High A to AA is considered the biggest jump in baseball, so we could find out really quickly just how good the 22 year old Berrios really is. He gets a lot of velocity from his smallish frame. His fastball averages about 94 mph. He also sports a plus slider, a good curveball and a solid changeup.  About a month ago I traded Berrios to ESPN’s Chris Crawford for Michael Lorenzen in the #TDGX experts’ league, so of course Berrios has been on an epic hot streak ever since. Yikes. My trade doesn’t look quite as good as it did at the time, although Lorenzen also made the BP top 50 list just a few slots behind Berrios so I am still happy with the deal. Verdict: Top 40 Prospect. Potential #3 starter. Continue reading

Buy or Sell: Springer, Hardy, Martin, & Howard

As we start to approach trading deadline season owners will have some hard choices to make about how they choose to attack the homestretch. Let’s take a look at a handful of players who’ve provided mixed messages over the first half of the season and see if we can’t figure out where their respective value fits in to the grand scheme of things, shall we?

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Struggling Stars: Votto, Bruce, Hosmer, Kemp and Santana

This week I will take a look at some good hitters who were highly drafted in your league but are killing their owners. Putting one of your star hitters on the bench is a hard decision to make and it is too important to get it wrong. We don’t want to let emotions and sentiment steer us off track. Don’t allow anger over a player’s slump to trick you into benching a good performer, and don’t let fondness for a favorite player trick you into keeping him in your lineup long after he should have been sacked. Halfway through the season the sample sizes have now grown plenty large enough for us to evaluate our rosters with a discerning eye.

Joey Votto — 1B Reds

The Canadian’s 2014 slash line of .259/.396/.417 pales in comparison to his career .311/.418/.533 record. Votto won’t admit he is playing hurt, but the grimaces and limps during his plate appearances prove otherwise. He missed nearly a month on the disabled list in an effort to allow the muscle strain in his knee to heal. It clearly didn’t work. He is playing in pain and it has severely sapped his power. His OBP is holding steady but his overall performance is drastically degraded. This is not a short term problem and it is going to dog him for the rest of the season. The only way to heal is extended rest and the Reds have said that Votto will continue to play through the injury. The good news is that this type of injury will probably heal itself over the long winter and he will be back to normal in time for the 2015 campaign. Verdict: Damaged Goods. If you are in contention to win your league this year you might want to trade him now. If you are rebuilding you might want to trade for him while his price is depressed. Continue reading