We’re almost there. Only… TWENTY?! Ok, fine, twenty more rounds is a lot of rounds but we’re going to hammer them out here in the next two posts, meaning I’ll have recapped each and every one of my 40 picks, plus the small trade my partner and I made in the first week. Let’s get to it before the motivation leaves me.
Round 21 – Pick 419 – Matt Joyce, OF, TB
Sense a theme? More outfielders! Joyce is pretty much a platoon guy only at this point, but he’s very good against right-handed pitching (career 841 OPS) and he’s far enough down my outfield depth chart that I can bench him in a week with a bunch of lefties. Even if I don’t, the Rays won’t play him much against them, so the damage should be minimal. Was very excited to get someone who could provide the rate stats Joyce can this far down.
I’m taking a break from #TDGX this week to briefly discuss four minor-leagues names I’m particularly higher on than the majority — I see each of these players making significant strides and rising on prospect lists next winter. The first is a third baseman who is buried but not out, the second and third are Hunters, and the fourth is a Cubs pitcher not named C.J. Edwards. (Yes, they have those too.)
Christian Villanueva, 3B, Cubs
Since letting Aramis Ramirez walk via free agency, the Cubs have employed Josh Vitters, Ian Stewart, Cody Ransom and Donnie Murphy, with Luis Valbuena and Mike Olt splitting time in the present. Cubs’ fans are praying that Olt is the short-term answer and 2013 first-round pick Kris Bryant is the long-term plan, but lost in the prospect shuffle is Villanueva, 22, a 2008 international free agent (Rangers) from Mexico who the Cubs acquired for Ryan Dempster (*chuckles*) in 2012. Bryant’s bat is potentially elite, but it’s Villanueva who owns the organization’s best glove. Not to be outshined by his teammates, the third baseman hit .261/.317/.469 last year, including 62 extra-base hits (19 home runs) across 155 games in Double-A. He’ll never likely hit for a high average, but his above-average power should play at the major-league level, in conjunction with his stellar handy work at third. He’s currently manning the hot corner in Triple-A, but we could see Villanueva at the next level by the end of 2014 — possibly before Bryant arrives. If Bryant can’t handle third and is forced to either corner outfield, Villanueva, not Bryant, could the Cubs next third baseman.
You’ve been following TDGX. You love TDGX. We all love TDGX. And every week here at The Dynasty Guru, I am going to be bringing you commentary from our flagship experts’ league, directly from the participants themselves. Today we’re going to cover all of the transactions made post-draft, including a few trades–one involving an elite prospect and another involving a potential high-end starting pitcher.
The goal here is to give you insight into the moves made by our group of experts so that you can use this information the next time you need to make a trade or prominent FA move in your league. So let’s not mess around with too much longer of an introduction. We’re going to break this up into three sections: trades, major league additions, minor league additions.
3/22/14: Mike Buttil trades Andrew Cashner to Ian Kahn/Tim McLeod for a 2015 1st round pick and 2015 3rd round pick
It’s been a while since our last Prospect Smackdown, when we saw Archie Bradley earn a narrow victory over Taijuan Walker in a battle of potential future No. 1 starters. Today, we’ll return to the offensive side of the ball and compare two prospects who are about as different as they come: Gary Sanchez and Blake Swihart.
It’s a battle of upside vs. probability, of average vs. power and, of course, of evil vs. good. A year ago, the answer to this question would’ve been “Sanchez” without hesitation. Now, it’s much closer.
Prospect Smackdown No. 7: – Who’s the better catching prospect: Gary Sanchez or Blake Swihart?
The Case for Sanchez
Quite frankly, the case for Sanchez is an obvious one: he’s got a much greater offensive upside than Swihart. With 6-plus power potential and the ability to hit for non-embarrassing averages, Sanchez could put up some gaudy numbers from a fantasy POV. His .254/.313/.420 line in High-A last season isn’t terribly inspiring, but he was a touch better in a smaller sample size in Double-A, and he doesn’t turn 22 until December. There are several factors that limit the likelihood of Sanchez reaching his ceiling, and we’ll get to those below. But if we’re talking pure ceiling, Sanchez might have the second highest of any fantasy catching prospect, trailing only Jorge Alfaro. One season of sub-par baseball with aggressive assignments doesn’t change that. Continue reading →
This is going to be an exciting baseball season as a participant in The Dynasty Guru Experts League (#TDGX), which as you know by now is an awesome new league filled with industry experts from all the best baseball sites on the Internet. In my first column about this league I discussed my strategy for the draft and how the league structure made a major impact on my draft plan. In this column we will do the fun part and discuss all my picks and why I made them. So read Part 1 first and then these picks will make more sense.
The Invisible Hand of Drafting Doom
One thing I didn’t mention in Part 1 was Bret’s unique “Invisible Hand” draft slot bidding system. Teams were allowed to bid keeper slots for the right to “buy” a particular draft slot. So for example if you wanted to bid on the #1 draft slot to snag Mike Trout you could bid X number of keeper slots. If you won the bid you would have to drop that X number of extra players next Spring. So if you bid 10 keepers you would only be able to keep 25 players next Spring instead of the standard 35 keepers. I decided not to bid on any slots because I felt my team would be pretty solid and I didn’t want to have to drop any extra players. I like the idea of getting to grab some of those extra players that other teams will have to drop in next year’s draft.
I am glad I didn’t bid, but it wouldn’t have mattered because I would not have won any of the bids. The #1 slot sold for 15 keepers! I wouldn’t have bid more than 5. Even the 2nd through 5th slots cost between 6 and 15 keepers. Way too expensive for my tastes. All told there were 61 keepers spent on draft slots. That will be three full draft rounds worth of extra players available next year for me to choose from. I like it!
Since I didn’t place any bids, I randomly ended up with the 12th draft slot in the 20 team league and I was quite happy with that. I prefer to be in the middle of a snake draft rather than on either end. Being on the end creates the tendency to reach for a coveted player knowing he has no chance of coming back to you on your next pick. My goal was to follow my 4 Phase Plan while digging for maximum value and youth. Read on and let me know how well I succeeded (or failed).
One of the most important adjustments you can make over the course of the season involves taking advantage of favorable streaming options and waiver wire starters to maximize your return on pitching investment. This is obviously easier said than done when you play in a deep dynasty league, where the waiver wire is a ghost town of has-been’s, never-will-be’s, and probably Bronson Arroyo at some point. Finding cheap arms is a difference-making pursuit, though, and to that end let’s take a look at some of the pitchers who check in with an ADP north of 300 – meaning they’re outside the top 80 and likely undrafted in most standard 12-team leagues. In deeper dynasty leagues, these are guys that won’t cost a lot to acquire and may just make for solid targets in low-impact trades or as throw-in components to larger deals. Let’s go under the hood and see how much hidden value there may be in the largely scorned arms these guys make their livings with.
We all love a good fantasy baseball trade. That’s why I’m going to set up shop on the Trader’s Corner here at DynastyGuru. Do you like my hand-painted sign? I’ll update you on trades in #TDGX and go into some detail about my own moves in that league. I’m hoping you’ll submit your trades as well. We’ll bat them around with some of the other writers and we’ll even post a poll for the readers to have their say. There seems to be a lot of “Do I pull the trigger?” questions in fantasy, so I think this will be a useful exercise that can both promote discussion and give some insight on players’ perceived values.
If you’d like to submit a pending or completed trade for us to talk about, email me at email@example.com. If you include some details about your league format as well as the rest of the rosters for the teams involved, that would give us a lot more to talk about and help us inform our opinions.
While we wait for the queue to fill, here are ten characters you might come across while navigating the trade waters. See if you recognize anyone and feel free to add some of your own characters in the comments.