Perusing Futures Game Pitchers

Let’s get our jump to conclusions mat out and make some rash judgments based upon hitters getting one or two at-bats playing in their first game in front of a more than a few thousand fans — or even better — let’s make some sweeping generalizations regarding starting pitchers who are overthrowing because they are only going to pitch one inning in an exhibition game. Or, let’s not ever do that. If you’re in need of that type of hard-hitting analysis, you can look at plenty of people’s Twitter feed from Sunday. As the Mike Pelfrey of Baseball Prospectus’ award-winning TINO podcast says, casting aspersions based upon one game makes about as much sense as following MLB Trade Rumors on Instagram.

To be sure, there is certainly knowledge to be gained from seeing top prospects play against each other on a major league field, but adjusting prospects ahead of one another based upon one game (which I saw plenty of going on while monitoring the game on Twitter) falls somewhere between dangerous and ludicrous. Instead, let’s take a look at a trio of prospects who appeared in Sunday’s Futures Game that are largely unowned in dynasty leagues and could see their value rise over the ‘second half’ of the season:
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2013 International Signings In Review

The July 2 international signing day came and went a week and a half ago and like much of the rest of the baseball world, I spent the day reading half-baked scouting reports on 16-years-olds, many of whom I may never hear from again. As a dynasty leaguer, I feel compelled to read up on these guys because they will become relevant soon but I’ve always struggled with just how soon.

2015’s class has some older prospects at the top that will beat the timelines of the typical July 2 signee. 19-year-old Yadier Alvarez and 20-year-old Eddy Martinez are Cubans who MLB added to the July 2 pool and 18-year-old Lucius Fox played high school baseball and the showcase circuit in the United States. You should be aggressive with those three. What about the rest?

I went back and looked the 2013 international crop to see where some of its top prospects are today. This is just one class and I have no idea if it’s representative – maybe that’s a study for another day – but I thought it might be instructive in answering how long I can wait before I get serious about Jhailyn Ortiz, Wander Javier, Seuly Matias, and the rest of the Dominican’s teenage population.

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The Verdict on 4 Struggling Hitting Stars: Cano, Desmond, Kemp and CarGo

There are several superstar hitters whose performances this year pale in comparison to our expectations. These players were expected to be elite contributors but so far have been huge disappointments to their fantasy owners. They cost you big time to acquire but they are killing  your team in the stat columns. Should you sell high or buy low? It is time to find out if they are going to bounce back or fade away.

Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners — 37 Runs, 6 Home Runs, 30 RBI, 2 Stolen Bases and .254 AVG

Cano came into the season ranked #11 on our Top 500 Overall Dynasty League Rankings. Right now at the halfway point of the season he has earned the #308 spot on 5×5 rankings for the year. That is quite a fall, and unlike with guys like Carlos Gomez, Yasiel Puig, Freddie Freeman, Adrian Beltre or Jacoby Ellsbury we cannot blame it on injuries. Cano has simply not played very well. His strikeout rate has nearly doubled from last year while his walk rate has halved. We all expected to see Cano’s home run rate fall off when he moved to Seattle and we were right, but he still had an excellent season last year for the Mariners. His 136 wRC+ was even better than his 125 career average, although it was slightly down from his last few years in New York. This year his wRC+ has dropped 50 points to 86. That’s right, the great Robinson Cano has hit 14% worse than an average major league hitter this year. This is not the first time this has happened though. The only other time Cano has slumped lower than 100 on his wRC+ was 2008 when he sat at 86 just like this year. The following year he bounced back and went on to string together seven elite seasons for the Yankees. Continue reading

Introducing the 2015 All-Waiver Wire Team

Below are a list of magnificent finds at each position that were taken well outside the range that most productive starters were selected.  I give you both the pre-season ADP and where the player currently stands at their position on ESPN’s Player Rater as we draw near to the season’s midway point.  If you own any of these players you have gotten quite a bit more out of them than you ever expected.

Catcher-Welington Castillo, ESPN PR Rank: 20th, Rank of last 30 Days: 4th

ADP Pre-Season, Position: 37th, Overall: 492

What a whirlwind season it has been for Castillo who started the season with the Cubs before being moved to the Mariners.  Castillo found himself in Seattle for less than two weeks before he was flipped to Arizona where he has revitalized his career as the top option for the team.  Since joining the Diamondbacks, Castillo has been deadly vs four-seam fastballs hitting .417 vs the pitch.  This is great for him since he has been seeing 66.2% hard pitches.   With five of his seven home runs coming in Arizona expect more production from Mr. Castillo.

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Trader’s Corner: Cash in on the Frustration

This is the time of year when losing owners get frustrated and start to shed the underperforming players they blame for their disappointing season. There are some maddening players to own this year. Stars like Stephen Strasburg, Matt Kemp and Robinson Cano have let their owners down big time. Early draft picks like Anthony Rendon and Hunter Pence started the season injured, came back and then got hurt again.

Many owners want to ditch the players that screwed them over this season. Some of those players are still studs who can help you win. Swoop in and grab those studs before someone else does. If a frustrated owner is blowing up his team now is your chance to take advantage.

This week we are seeing Strasburg, Rendon, D’Arnaud, Stanton, Tulowitzki, Hanley, Teheran, Cano and even Kershaw get sold down the river for rebuilding chips. Go get them!

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. Send in any interesting trades from your leagues so we can judge them!

As always, vote for the players you would rather have…

This one was sent in by Bigdon84 from a 12 team league with 10×10 scoring (H, TB, XBH, BB, and OPS for hitters and CG, SO, BB, HD, and K/9 for pitchers as extra scoring categories). Keep 10 each year with no penalties:

The next one was submitted by Adam from a 12 team H2H dynasty league with no contracts where pitching is very valuable: Continue reading

Top 500 Review: The Risers and Fallers

Baseball fans, especially fantasy owners, love lists. It’s a fact. If you don’t believe me, check out the popular demand for team power rankings. Even when they use a sound formula, like our friend Craig Goldstein does over at Fox Sports, he still takes flack from fans that have nothing better to do with their lives than argue about teams that aren’t making the playoffs. It’s in our nature to search for order, to recognize patters, even in random noise. Rankings and lists are the natural progression of that urge to order everything in a way that makes sense.

Bret Sayre isn’t “The Dynasty Guru” for nothing. He’s been around the rankings game longer than you’ve been playing fantasy baseball, so keep that in perspective when evaluating the latest update, which dropped last week, to his Top 500 Overall Dynasty League Rankings.

Yesterday, my colleague Greg Wellemeyer provided a fantastic breakdown of the prospects who just missed the latest edition of the list. Here is a look at the players whose fantasy value has changed the most (either positively, or negatively) from a dynasty standpoint, according to Bret’s latest update:

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The Top 500 In Review: Just Missed

Bret unveiled his midseason update to the top 500 dynasty league players last week and while it may seem like an exhaustive list, there are always good players who are on the outside looking in. Major leaguers who were left out include Chris Heston, Carter Capps, and J.T. Realmuto and you could make a case for any of them in the 450-500 range, in my opinion. Thee are also several prospects who were considered for inclusion but just missed. Here are a few:

Jake Bauers, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays

First base prospects typically need one loud tool in order to force themselves on to dynasty league rankings, as it’s just hard to get excited about them unless they have, say, A.J. Reed’s power. Bauers’ appeal is all about floor and confidence in his eventual ability to hit at the major league level. He was the second youngest player in the Florida State League and hit .267/.357/.433 before being promoted to Double-A. The six home runs Bauers hit as part of that line were  surprising given the league context and the fact that most evaluators didn’t see home run pop in Bauer’s bat. He is now the youngest regular in the Southern League and Double-A will be a great test for him in the second half of the year.

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