Digging For Diamonds: Low Minors Hot Corner Options To Watch

Self-evaluation is of monumental importance to improving as a dynasty league owner. You should always be evaluating your process and making sure that you’re making quality decisions that balance the short and long-term health of your team. Recently, one area that I’ve been trying to improve upon is my overvaluation of non-elite prospects that are far away from contributing at the big league level that I ‘like’ and have on my team. It’s hard for many dynasty league owners to part with prospects that they ‘like’ or ‘have a good feeling about’ but in reality, most non-elite prospects should be viewed strictly as trade chips to help improve your big league roster. The other important part of understanding how to make deals involving these non-elite prospects is that you must have a proper understanding of replacement level in your league. In other words, if I trade ‘3B prospect X’ in a 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 trade to improve my big league squad, what 3B prospect is available for me to add to replace him, if I need to replenish the third base prospect inventory on my team.

An example that I want to use is a player that I own on many teams, Rockies third baseman prospect Ryan McMahon, currently at Low-A Modesto. I happen to think that Ryan McMahon is going to be a good major league hitter, but he is far from a sure thing, and should be treated accordingly.
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Appreciating Roberto Osuna

With Maikel Franco’s arrival over the weekend, 24 of Baseball America’s 2015 top 100 prospects have played in the major leagues already. If you want a better indicator for our game, 18 of Bret’s top 101 dynasty league prospects for 2015 have sported big league duds. Prospects are being called on more quickly and at a higher rate than ever and because we’re humans, we have a tendency to disproportionately focus on the the most recent ones. Sure, Lance McCullers is going to pitch today and that is exciting but Archie Bradley also returned from a line drive to the head on Saturday and I heard relatively little about that by comparison, despite Bradley being the better prospect by a wide margin.

We also tend to place less focus on down-list prospects unless they force our hands with production you can’t ignore (think Devon Travis) or until they prove themselves over a bigger sample (how about Jake Lamb, or if you want to go a little deeper, Preston Tucker or Carlos Frias). One such prospect that falls into the latter category is Roberto Osuna, who also happens to be the youngest player in the major leagues.

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Trader’s Corner: Veto the Trade Veto

We have quite a few interesting trades to vote on this week. Here at Trader’s Corner we vote on trades for fun. In some fantasy leagues owners are allowed to vote on other peoples’ trades, and if enough people vote No the trade is nullified. That is a great way to spoil the fun of trading. Having to defend your trade or argue with other jealous owners ruins the buzz or thrill you get from making a trade. Trading is supposed to be fun. Arguing about trades is not fun.

Trade vetoes have no place in a serious fantasy league and only contribute to endless arguing and debating that often turns nasty. All trades should be final unless the commissioner has overwhelming proof of collusion. If you think a trade was lopsided then you should have gotten to the victim first. So called “lopsided” trades very rarely turn out to have a major impact on the league. They certainly harm a league much less than arguing over other peoples’ trades does. Arguing breaks up leagues, lopsided trades don’t. Debating the merits of a trade quickly turns into arguing. People get angry and then quit when they don’t get their way. Get rid of the possibility of vetoing a trade and there is no longer a reason to argue. The jealous owners will just have to go out and make their own trade to catch up with the victor of the supposedly lopsided trade. Continue reading

Stock Watch: Bounceback Prospect Candidates

One of the hardest things to do (at least for me) in a dynasty league is to be patient, especially with struggling prospects. When a shiny new breakout prospect comes along, it’s easier in many cases to cut bait with a prospect who’s having a ‘down’ year to make room for the new helium prospect. Many times this is the incorrect long term decision and can set your team back if you cut bait too quickly. It’s an extremely frustrating feeling to see somebody snatch up your discarded prospect and see them reap the rewards when the prospect regains the form that attracted you to them in the first place. Sometimes it ends up being a good value play if you can spin the new prospect into something beneficial and you’re able circle back and pick up the old prospect if he is still available, so it can be a delicate situation. Let’s take a look at a few prospects who once graced various top-100 lists that saw their collective shine fade away over the last season or two and see if their 2015 performances warrant reconsideration.

Phil Ervin – CF, Cincinnati Reds (Pre-2014 prospect ranking #63, Baseball Prospectus)

What went wrong in 2014: Ervin saw his OPS fall from .989 in his first taste of pro ball in 2013 to .680 in 2014, his first full season in the Midwest League. Ervin clubbed nine home runs and swiped 14 bags in his 200 plate appearances in his draft year of 2013, but was only able to see seven balls leave the yard in 561 Midwest League plate appearances to go with 30 steals over the course of the year.
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Will The Realmuto Please Stand Up

Travis d’Arnaud, Christian Vazquez, Josmil Pinto, and Caleb Joseph were the only rookie-eligible catchers to log significant plate appearances for their respective clubs in 2014. The first three were prospects who also spent a chunk of the season in Triple-A and Joseph was a former organizational top ten prospect who was veering towards minor league journeyman status before being pressed in to action when Matt Wieters was injured. Without looking backwards beyond 2014, my hunch is that the reliance on rookie catchers in 2015 only one month removed from Opening Day is uncommon.

Blake Swihart went from catcher of the future to catcher of the present when he was called up in early May to replace an ineffective Ryan Hanigan, himself replacing an injured Christian Vazquez. Kevin Plawecki became unblocked in Queens when d’Arnaud suffered his annual freak injury. Plawecki will likely head back to Vegas when d’Arnaud is ready but he’s holding his own in the meantime. Christian Bethancourt is in an even split with AJ Pierzynski and will continue to play regularly despite being really bad at half of the game. Roberto Perez, who is not a guy I made up, sits atop the Cleveland depth chart while Yan Gomes recovers from an April knee injury. Several others are currently backups and are one play away from regular playing time – Andrew Susac in San Francisco, James McCann in Detroit, JR Murphy in New York.

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Trader’s Corner: Time to Make Your Move

This is the time of year when you have learned enough about your team to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. You should be able to tell by now whether your team has a chance to win this year. If so, now is the time to make some aggressive moves to fix your flaws and make a run for the championship. If you are not going to win then now is the time to sell off your trading chips while there are still enough teams in contention to drive up the price for your players. If you wait too long the sellers’ market will quickly turn into a buyers’ market.

Lots of trades were sent in for us to vote on. Let’s get right to it. Vote for the group of players you would rather have.

Use the form just above the comments section at the bottom of the page to submit your trades for us to vote on next week.

The first trade was submitted from a 5×5 roto league with OBP instead of AVG:

12 team 7×7 league with 29 MLB and 15 MiLB rosters: Continue reading

The Best Contact Hitter in the Minors: Manuel Margot

From April 9th when the Carolina League Salem Red Sox kicked off their season until April 28th Margot did not record a single strikeout at the plate.  Though these 16 games Margot recorded all of his outs by putting balls in play and through his first 25 games he has stuck out only six times.  Margot’s last game on May 7th was the first time he had stuck out more than once during a single game all year.  This feat is very impressive especially considering how well players who make a lot of contact have been able to transition to the big leagues.

Margot is a name you ought to get familiar with because if the Red Sox don’t figure things out with their pitching staff this is one of the guys that could be a key component in a trade to bring back a quality starter. In fact in early May there was already speculation that the Phillies were scouting him.  Once he makes headlines as being part of a large trade the cat will be out of the bag so to speak and he will become much more difficult to acquire.

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