What To Do About: Alexander Guerrero

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.

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Live And Let Cuddyer

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

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What To Do About Cody Asche

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.

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Dan Straily and the Continued Progress of a Pop-Up Prospect

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.

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What To Do About… Francisco Liriano

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?

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An Assessment of Padres SP Andrew Cashner

There was a large sense of surprise by many in the industry in January 2012, when Andrew Cashner became one of the centerpieces in a deal between the Padres and Cubs that sent Anthony Rizzo to Chicago. Selected by the Cubs in the 1st round (19) of the 2008 Draft out of TCU, Cashner was viewed by many scouts as a pitcher with electric stuff who was best suited to work out of the bullpen.

After debuting in May of 2010 with the Cubs, Cashner posted 4.80 ERA (5.03 FIP) in 53 relief appearances. He was named as the Cubs 5th starter to start the 2011 season, but was sidelined with a rotator cuff injury after making just one start. Cashner made it back in time to make 6 appearances out of the bullpen and accumulated a 1.69 ERA (3.87 FIP) in just 10 ⅔ innings of work.

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What To Do About… Hyun-Jin Ryu

It’s only natural that as the resident Dodgers fan here at The Dynasty Guru that I would write about the Dodgers other Rookie of the Year candidate: Hyun-Jin Ryu*. Entering the year there were a lot of questions about Ryu and the type of fantasy value he could provide. Much of this was because the Dodgers had “too much pitching” (how’d that work out?) and we weren’t quite sure if he might be shifted to the bullpen to begin the season. As it turns out, the big dollars the Dodgers invested in Ryu meant he’d have a starting spot out of the gate, and despite a less than ideal fastball, Ryu has been the Dodgers second best pitcher thus far in 2013, besting fellow free agent signee Zack Greinke and making a case for the all-star team.

*not how this article actually came to be

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Dylan Bundy And TINSTAAPP

Dylan Bundy, who has yet to throw a pitch in a game this season, had a setback yesterday as he threw from 120 feet.

According to everywhere on the Internet, Bundy felt discomfort near his “right flexor mass,” where the forearm meets the elbow. Bundy was shut down for similar reasons six weeks ago, given a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in April in the hopes he’d recover without surgery.

I am not a doctor and do not know what the future has in store for Bundy, but I’m also not new to monitoring pitching prospects, and this is not good news.

I bring this up simply because I want to call attention to something I wrote earlier in the season: something that, in hindsight, was foolish to publish. Here is my quick description of what Bundy brings to the table from my preseason Top 150 list.

The “safest” high school pitcher to come along in years has all the ingredients to be a Top 10 Fantasy starter for a very long time, though he may pitch in relief in 2013.

You see the word “safest?” I should not have used it. In fact, prospect writers and analysts should be fined every time they use the word “safe” and “pitching prospect” in the same paragraph. Except for this instance. Continue reading

Pressing The Panic Button: Jesus Montero

When I was a younger man, newly enthused by the idea of scouting and analyzing prospects, I loved few things more than player comparisons.

It’s a trap that many of us – even the most seasoned pundits – fall into on occasion, and you read about them all the time. Byron Buxton is the next Andrew McCutchen. Jose Iglesias is the new Rey Ordonez. Any catcher who can’t really catch but can hit is Mike Napoli. Anyone with plus-plus control is Greg Maddux.

I think comparisons deserve a bit more leniency when it comes to Fantasy prospect talk, since what we’re really talking about is just an end stat line. So maybe Miguel Sano is nothing like Giancarlo Stanton, but if the numbers look the same at season’s end, the comp is a good one. Robbie Erlin isn’t going to be as good as Mark Buehrle, but if his stats play up in Petco and the numbers match up, you’re justified in invoking the name.

But there is one link between player and prospect I made several years ago that I had hoped would stay hidden in dark corners of the Internet forever. One so glaringly foolish that I am cringing a bit as I write this now. Yet the only way to improve oneself is through self-reflection and honesty, and so I shall share my secret with the TDG family now.

I compared Jesus Montero to Frank Thomas. Continue reading

What To Do With Aramis Ramirez

As dynasty leaguers, we usually spend a disproportionate amount of our time focusing on young players and what they could be. After all, that’s a huge part of how you have to build a successful roster. What we, collectively, do not spend enough time focusing on are the post-prime (32 or older) crowd that can help us win titles right now. Today I’m going to focus on one player who doesn’t quite seem to get his due in long-term leagues and could probably be had for below market value in your league.

If it seems like Aramis Ramirez has been around forever, it’s because he pretty much has. He debuted for the Pirates back in 1998 as a teenager, and has bounced his way around the NL Central with the Cubs and now the Brewers. Now 34 years old, Ramirez just finished up the first year of a 3 year, $36m contract – which was commonly seen at the time to be a bit of an overpay on behalf of Milwaukee. The funny thing is that he was so good in 2012, that according to FanGraphs, he was worth $29.1m alone in 2012. Of course, this takes into account some fluky UZR performance, but you get the point – he was very good this past season.

When most people think about Aramis Ramirez, three separate things come to mind: consistency, early season struggles and injuries. We’re going to tackle them now.

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