The 2014 season is three-quarters over and my favorite team is bad and most of my fantasy teams are middling or bad, so I’ve already started to think about my ranking process for 2015 and beyond.
Unfortunately, I still haven’t given any thought to my intro-writing process, so you’re stuck with this.
1) At a certain point, proximity outweighs upside
Lesson No. 1 I’m going to take into my off-season rankings has a lot to do with the age-old debate of upside vs. proximity. Historically, when push comes to shove, I’ve given the nod to upside. The more deep leagues I play in, though, the more tempting investing in players close to the majors becomes.
I began the year, as did many others, with players like Lucas Giolito, Clint Frazier and Jorge Alfaro ranked quite highly on my personal Top 150 dynasty prospects list. And if you understand what these players can become at their peaks, it’s not hard to see why.
But as I watch the likes of Marcus Stroman and Yordano Ventura and Chris Owings and George Springer and Kolten Wong come up and produce meaningfully for contenders this year, I become increasingly less patient with high-upside, pie-in-the-sky type players. Continue reading →
Since all of our draft slot bids failed to land we ended up at the mercy of the randomizer. The randomizer was not kind to us as it quietly doled out pick #20 in the for the TDG draft. While we realized we wouldn’t land one of the top 8 guys we were interested in pick #20 meant that we would have time to fully survey the landscape of the draft and make two picks at the turn. And as you will see it also pushed us into the decision that we would go very young with our team, grabbing prospects early with preference for those closer to the majors. Figuring if we didn’t have a top ten player leaving this draft perhaps we’d have one next year or in 2015.
In fact we even considered taking the combination of Buxton/Bogaerts with picks 20 and 21 to really fuel our youthy, prospecty fire. But after some discussion we decided that we didn’t want to completely punt 2014 and settled on Jason Kipnis as our main target, we liked the position, the age, the potential for 20-20 over the next 3-4 years and believed in his BA from 2013.
This article is intended to be a very ‘back of the envelope’ way to calculate values for MiLB players and should be used as a framework toward better understanding what prospects are worth in dynasty leagues.
Owning MiLB players in a Dynasty League team can be one of the most rewarding as well as frustrating components of a deep league. These players have the ability to pay off extremely handsomely, i.e. Mike Trout, but more often than not they usually land somewhere on the scale of usable player to completely worthless, i.e. Rocco Baldelli/Brandon Wood. And from these varying extreme possibilities lies the difficulty in valuing MiLB players against MLB guys. So to help in valuing these types of players against each other I’ve put together an easy way to approximate MiLB worth no matter what league you play in.
In every league, no matter the size, some players just fall by the wayside. Sometimes these are post-hype sleepers, although nowadays it seems even the main stream fantasy writers are talking about those players, other times we forget about bounce back candidates who may be coming off an unlucky or unproductive year and lastly is always a group of players who missed a considerable amount of time do to injury.
Today I want to talk about some of the MiLB prospects who’ve seen their star fade because of injuries and may be forgotten or undervalued in your league.
I originally planned to write a post about Wilson Ramos, so for all of you that are desperately seeking Susan Wilson Ramos articles, I’m so very sorry. I’m sorry because while Ramos’ season absolutely deserves attention and there is a good chance he outproduces today’s subject in fantasy leagues next year… DID YOU SEE WHAT YORDANO DID LAST NIGHT? I mean, talk about an entrance. Ventura spun 5.2 innings of one run baseball, featuring very few well struck balls, three strikeouts, two walks, six (SIX) pitches 100 MPH or above, professional quality hat tilt, and innumerable lotions and towels (mine, not his).
If anyone has been reading me for pretty much any length of time, you’ll be aware that I have a massive personal bias towards short pitchers with big velocity. If they’re Dominican, well, that’s a bonus for me, I guess. It’s not something I try to look for, but I’ve always had an affinity towards these guys. So when I first heard about Ventura a few years back, I was obviously intrigued. Intrigued enough by the reports to burn a 4th round pick on him in my 20-team dynasty mixed league (somewhere around the 70th MiLB pick of that season). Since then I’ve been personally invested in his development, attending a Hi-A game last year that he started, monitoring the development of his curveball (and it has made some serious improvements) and change up, since there wasn’t much to worry about in the fastball department. Well, Ventura displayed exactly how far he and his arsenal have come since signing for $28,000 as a teenager with a mid-80s fastball.
Back to last night, here is the relevant information courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net:
In general keeping closers in Dyanasty/Keeper leagues is a bad idea. The position is consistently riddled with turnover, only truly provides one stat, and often provides the owner with a constant headache. But like any rule, even that one about swimming after eating, sometimes you just gotta break it to stay ahead. Now before you lose your marbles I’m definitely not advocating keeper closers, in fact just the opposite. To help make the selection process easier I’ve set up a few rules to help us decide who is worthy and who is not.
The only four rules I have when it comes to closers are as follows:
I can remember a time, not that long ago, when aging curves and physical prime wasn’t as prevalent in fantasy baseball as it is today. A time when you could hold on to your older players like Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio and Rickey Henderson and not think twice. A time when you could win a championship with players passed their prime with no feelings of angst over the next 20-something phenom. However, now with the more recent explosion of dynasty based leagues, and the appearance of premium talent at a much younger age, these older stars are being tossed out with the trash once they reach the ripe old age of 32.
Recently, my colleague Wilson Karaman, wrote about hitters that build their careers on speed and how they age over time and it sparked an idea for me. We have since agreed to team up on a point-counterpoint article about hitters over the age of 32. I will be discussing a handful of players that can either A) maintain their current level of production or B) improve upon their current level over the next few seasons. Without further ado, here are my choices for three passed prime hitters that are worthy of keeping in all formats:
The ultimate goal in a dynasty league is to have a roster jam-packed with stars at every position and a pitching staff full of aces and elite closers. But in reality most teams have not reached that level of perfection, especially if the league is fairly young or if your team is in rebuilding mode.
One important way to set up your team for long-term success is to make stockpiling star hitters a higher priority than acquiring ace pitchers. There are five good reasons why hitters make safer, wiser investments than pitchers in your dynasty league.
1. Pitchers miss more time due to injury
Disabled List visits are split equally among pitchers and hitters, which makes it seem like both positions are equally risky. But all is not as it seems. On average, once they hit the DL pitchers spend 3x longer on the shelf than hitters do. What this means is even though both types of players have the same risk of getting injured, pitcher injuries are more severe and force pitchers to miss a LOT more time away from your starting lineup. When a pitcher gets hurt he can easily miss months or even years and may never be the same even when he does return. Injuries to hitters are much less likely to be season-ending or career-altering. Hitters can get hurt badly too, but there are 10 Tommy John surgeries for every blown knee.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve been participating in a five round 2013 first-year player draft in the same league that I drafted prior to this season and wrote all about here. I have put some of my picks up on Twitter, but at the request of a couple of readers, I’m going to take a closer look at the entire draft here. And before we dive into this, you can find my initial Top 40 2013 Signees list right here at The Dynasty Guru.
As a reminder, as far as league context goes, it is a 7×7 H2H league that uses all of the standard 5×5 categories, plus OPS/Total Bases for hitters and Quality Starts/Holds for pitchers. The active rosters are one player per position (OF are broken out by LF/CF/RF) plus a Utility player on offense, and nine pitchers (2 SP, 2 RP, 5 P). On top of that, there are 7 reserve spots, 3 DL spots and 20 minor league spots. So, all in all, it’s a very deep league with an active lineup that skews a little towards pitching and deep minor league rosters (600 total prospects are rostered). Oh, and by the way, I’m the Minnesota Twins.
Without any further ado, let’s jump right into the draft.
If you’re a regular TDG reader, you probably have a thing for prospects. It’s ok, the first step is admitting it, and you’re among friends here.
Keeping up with prospects throughout the season can be hugely advantageous for diligent Fantasy players. Everyone knows about the Jurickson Profar’s and Oscar Taveras’s of the world, sure, but how many casual fans knew to grab Pat Corbin before the season? How many invested in Jean Segura?
To put it bluntly, those in the know when it comes to MiLB are better positioned in the Fantasy world than those who are note. Obviously, this is infinitely truer in keeper and dynasty leagues, where at least some MiLB knowledge is a requirement.
Yet there are two times during the year when our thirst for MiLB knowledge and quest for “the next big star” can come back to bite us. The first is during draft day, when many overlook established stars while trying to catch younger, sexier lightning in a bottle. And the second is at the trade deadline, when we become loathe to give away promising prospects for anything short of Mike Trout.
So today, I am here to remind you of two things that you already know: it’s ok to trade prospects, and if you have a shot at competing in 2013, you should take it. Continue reading →