Digging for Diamonds: Starting Pitching Prospects

A couple of weeks ago at Baseball Prospectus, I looked at eight pitchers who have gone up in value in dynasty leagues since the beginning of the season. The pitchers looked at were all pretty well known and are certainly owned in almost all dynasty leagues. I had quite a few guys left over that weren’t profiled, so let’s take a look at a few pitchers that might not be owned in your league that have seen their values rise since the beginning of the season: Continue reading

On Matt Moore’s Return

Today was a special day, mostly because I got to take in a game with my son on Fathers Day, but also because Matt Moore returned to the Triple-A Durham Bulls. Moore is making his way back from April 2014 Tommy John surgery and this was his fourth rehab start. The first three have been at the High-A level, so today represented not just an increase in his pitch count – he threw 78 on Tuesday and was scheduled for 90 today – but a big jump in the quality of competition.

The Bulls faced the Columbus Clippers, an Indians affiliate. It’s too bad (for me) that Francisco Lindor made it to Cleveland just ahead of Columbus’ appearance in town but today’s roster was abnormally interesting for Triple-A. Jose Ramirez, a preseason favorite of mine, was demoted when Lindor was called up. As the driver of the Giovanny Urshela bandwagon, Lonnie Chisenhall is not a favorite of mine but he is just 26 years old and has 1400 major league appearances. Tyler Naquin and James Ramsey will both play outfield in the majors not long from now. Jesus Aguilar won’t, be he is a quad-A kind of guy, a nice test for Moore at this stage of his rehab.

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Trader’s Corner: Time to Take Action

This is the time of year when many team owners decide to start building for the future. As soon as you realize your team is not going to win the championship it is time to start hustling for trades. If you are going to sell you need to do it while there are still several teams in the race. The more potential buyers there are the better trade deals you are going to get. If you wait too long not only will there be fewer buyers, there will be more sellers too. If you sell early you are likely to get a better deal than if you sell late. But be careful, I have seen a lot of teams go into rebuild mode when they still had a realistic chance of winning the title. Sometimes you just have to forget about tomorrow and go for the win today!

If you are going for it this year, upgrade your team now. Don’t wait. The earlier you bring in those veteran producers the more time they will have to fill up  your stat sheet. If you have a hole in your starting lineup fix it today. Don’t wait for the trade deadline. Make something happen. You don’t win by watching, you win by grabbing better players.

Be bold. No matter if you are Continue reading

Why Kyle Schwarber should give up Catching

If the season were to end today the Chicago Cubs would be heading to the playoffs for a wildcard showdown with their division rival Pittsburgh Pirates.  As it stands right now the Cubs own the fourth best record in the National League at 35-29 and boast a +16 run differential.  The Cubs are not a pretender they are in fact a good team and one that should keep any club that has to face them in the playoffs up at night.  Recently another one of their stud prospects Kyle Schwarber made his way up to the big league club and is in the midst of a six-game audition.  With a home run, triple, four-singles, five runs, and four RBI in just 10 at-bats I think they should change his position and keep him up.

In baseball it has been proven time and time again that it is in your best interest to be strong defensively especially up the middle.  Sacrificing offense at catcher, shortstop, and center field in favor of a stellar glove has been happening for about 100 years now and with good results.  As we have begun to realize the catcher position may actually be the most important of all from a defensive standpoint since they are required to call the game and frame the pitches which makes them for all intents and purposes the on the field leader in preventing opposing offenses from scoring.

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I Hate Relief Pitchers

Unfortunately, every single one of the dynasty leagues that I am a part of require ‘Relief Pitcher’ as a position that has to be filled on a given roster. As an extension of that, these leagues also all have ‘saves’ as a category and almost all of them now include holds. As a dynasty league owner, this requires a certain amount (hopefully very little) of attention to be paid to relievers. In shallower leagues, the major league relievers are the focus, but in deeper leagues where the top two or three guys of each bullpen are owned in some capacity, often times owners have to turn to the minor leagues to find the next batch of relievers that will step into high-leverage situations at the big league level in order to be remain competitive. It certainly is not advisable to look at relievers in the lower levels of the minors in the same manner that you can with other positions, because of the volatility of relief pitchers in general, and it is almost certainly not a good idea to invest with regularity in relievers at any level. They should be viewed purely as a necessary evil.
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Buying Billy Burns & Delino DeShields

The “elite power is becoming scarce” narrative has been greatly exaggerated by the fantasy community in the last calendar year simply because the data strongly supports the theory. What about stolen bases? We don’t talk about speed at great length in the offseason because it’s “always available on the waiver wire” and predicting stolen base breakouts can be a tougher challenge than finding anyone who actually watched the Entourage movie. Sorry Mark Wahlberg. I’ll be there for Ted 2, I promise.

If elite power is on the downswing, is elite speed in decline as well? The numbers of hitters who have swiped at least 30 bags has declined in each of the past two years since 23 hitters accomplished the feat in 2012. Last season, just 15 batters stole 30 or more bases. It’s also extremely rare to find hitters who consistently post elite stolen base totals year after year. The only players to eclipse 30 steals in each of the past three seasons are Carlos Gomez, Jose Altuve and Rajai Davis.

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Fun With 2015 Draft Data

Last week I took a look at some data from the first 10 rounds of the 2014 MLB draft, making observations about players’ signing bonuses versus their slot value, team patterns with respect to position players versus pitchers and college versus high school, and the state where drafted players came from. With the 2015 draft in the books, I’ll discuss some of those same topics today.

One I’ll leave out is the slot versus bonus visual, because it’s way too early to know what is going to happen here. Signings have begun and there will be an avalanche of them over the next couple weeks but as of right now, Dillon Tate, Ian Happ, Tyler Stephenson, Nick Plummer, Taylor Ward, and Jon Harris are the only first rounders under contract. Three are signed at the slot, Happ and Ward gave their new clubs some extra flexibility by signing a little under, and Tate signed for $826,500 under the slot value. I suspect the Rangers will need to use most that to sign third rounder Mike Matuella, who was a potential first overall pick before having Tommy John surgery.

I will update this one with 2015 data once the signing period ends and will post the link on Twitter.

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