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

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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

Prospect World Cup

With the World Cup going on amidst a particularly busy period in the sporting world (Baseball, World Cup, Wimbledon, Tour de France, etc) we (I) thought it’d be fun to play on a topical matter and look at an intersection of baseball and soccer.  So without further ado…

The best prospects from each of the remaining world cup countries:

Brazil: Luiz Gohara, SP, Seattle Mariners

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Breakout Prospects: Binford, Thompson, Ramsey, Taylor, Severino and Vargas

Identifying breakout prospects early is an absolutely vital key to success in dynasty leagues. The best way to build up an elite minor league roster is to acquire the best prospects cheaply before any of your leaguemates realize the youngsters are future stars. You can’t wait for the famous Top 100 Prospects lists to be published in the Spring. Don’t wait until your next draft to grab these players. You need to snare these guys before someone else picks them up from the free agent pool. Today we will take a look at a group of unheralded minor leaguers who are still available in many leagues.

I have written a couple of columns about breakout prospects this season twice previously (Here and Here). Today’s edition will feature players who will be participating in the 2014 Futures Game. Many of the players in that game are bigtime prospects and are already taken in your league, but some of them are guys who were not really on the prospect radar prior to this season and are likely still available in your league. I will focus here on some players who have exploded onto the scene recently. Their exposure in the upcoming Futures Game will give their fantasy trade value a big boost, so get them now before the game is played… Continue reading

Eleven Bold Predictions Revisisted: How’m I doin’?

With the halfway point of the regular season for most teams rapidly approach I figured I’d take this opportunity to check in on some players of pre-season interest to me and see how the first half has treated them. For reference you can find my initial comments on each prediction here. Let’s see how things are shaping up:

1. LaTroy Hawkins will lead the Rockies in Saves

So far, so good. Hawkins has inexplicably held onto the closer’s role all season, managing to log all 14 Colorado saves to date. Those 14 saves, incidentally, are the least number of team saves in the National League. Hawkins has posted a strikeout rate under four-per-nine. His strikeout rate is better than just one other Major League reliever with at least twenty innings on the season, and he pitches in the worst ballpark on planet Earth in which to allow contact. Hawkins’ “success” is more about the collective failure of the rest of the Rockies’ bullpen, as nobody – including sexy pre-season pick Rex Brothers – has stepped up and forced the issue. For all intents and purposes it sure looks like Hawkins will maintain his standing at least until the trading deadline, which is a pretty telling commentary on the direction of Colorado’s season. Verdict: Thumb’s Up

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#TDGX Transactions Report: All of the Joe Panik-Related Puns

You’ve been following TDGX. You love TDGX. We all love TDGX.  And every week here at The Dynasty Guru, I am going to be bringing you commentary from our flagship experts’ league, directly from the participants themselves.

The goal here is to give you insight into the moves made by our group of experts so that you can use this information the next time you need to make a trade or prominent FA move in your league. So let’s not mess around with too much longer of an introduction. We’re going to break this up into three sections: trades, major league additions, minor league additions.

TRADES

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MAJOR LEAGUE FA PICKUPS

Luke Chatelain adds Joe Panik for $9

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