Inspired by watching the Orioles absolutely hammer Anthony Ranaudo on Tuesday, and Brandon Workman on Wednesday, I thought it might be useful to look at the real value of back end rotation prospects in dynasty leagues.*
One of my favorite prospects, and now one of my favorite players, Nick Castellanos is in this midst of a hot streak that has seen him raise his slash line from .253/.305/.397 on August 9th to .263/.312/.411 as of August 27th. Selective endpoints and all that, but I thought his recent stretch, combined with an overall mediocre season was worth taking a look at to determine what type of value he’ll hold. Basically, we’re asking the question that Herm Edwards answered years ago: Is he who we thought he was?
As with most Cuban imports, there is a lot that we don’t know about Alexander Guerrero. With the unknown comes additional risk – which of course provides risk takers with the opportunity to make a ton on their investment. There’s no clearer example of this than those who were willing to go all-in on Dodgers’ outfield sensation Yasiel Puig. As much of a mystery as Puig was, he did have 23 games of minor league experience under his belt entering the 2012-13 offseason, giving prospective fantasy owners at least something tangible to base their dreams off of. There’s even less information out there on Guerrero, though to his benefit there is probably less misinformation too. Reports on Puig’s conditioning and attitude colored people’s opinions and while he certainly does have an attitude, it wasn’t the type to impede him from developing into a real-life and fantasy stud.
You can hate, but you love that title. The question I aim to answer in this article is whether Michael Cuddyer, he of the 927 OPS, .329 average, 18 home runs and 10 stolen bases, is worth keeping in dynasty leagues of varying sizes for 2014. I mean…what to do about him? Keep him right? It’s an easy call, really. Well what I’m supposing to you is that… what if it isn’t?
Let’s start with a partially blind comparison:
Player A: 16 HR, 8 SB, 53 R, 58 RBI 8.1% BB%, 19. 8% K%, .229 ISO
Cuddyer: 18 HR, 10 SB, 67 R, 72 RBI, 8.8% BB%, 18.3% K%, .219 ISO
One of the interesting things that happens as the trade deadline approaches is when teams deal away their aging parts, opting to give younger players a shot at big league playing time. That appears to be happening in Philadelphia, where the Phillies are expected to deal away Michael Young with Cody Asche reaping the benefit.
Cody Asche was drafted in the 4th round of the 2011 draft out of the University of Nebraska, and struggled initially in the the NYPL before turning it around the next season and continuing to hit well throughout his minor league career. With Asche, I feel that this is a common case of a prospect being better in fantasy than in a real life.
It’s hard for me to think of a prospect that more exemplifies the term “pop-up guy” than Oakland A’s rookie SP Dan Straily. After being drafted in the 24th round (723th overall), Straily steadily worked his way through the minors without attracting much attention.
You’ll often see a pitcher drafted out of college who had been old for his level most of their professional career exposed when they reach AA. Dan Straily, however, logged 14 solid starts for Midland in the Texas League, posting a 2.57 FIP and striking out 31.1% of the batters he faced before earning a call up to AAA Sacramento.
The Pacific Coast League is notoriously unkind to pitchers, but Straily became even more dominant, lowering his FIP to 2.23 and continuing to strike out over 30% of batters. In just 25 starts, a 24th round pick became one of the most talked about prospects in baseball and earned a call up for seven starts in Oakland.
Many of you know today’s subject best as “fantasy kryptonite” to one Talented Mr. Roto. What he’s been however is fantasy gold, since donning the black and gold (it’s yellow, I know but I’m taking creative license) in Pittsburgh. When the Pirates signed Francisco Liriano to a 1 year/$1M contract with a vesting option for 2014 that could push to total to $8M (with incentives), the common reaction was that it was a good deal for Pittsburgh with moderate upside for little to no risk for the franchise. Of course he also represented a low risk/high reward option for fantasy owners. The questions with Liriano are: Is he doing anything differently? If so, are those changes sustainable? and finally, should I be selling him?