Time to Sell Adam Wainwright

Adam Wainwright just finished a 2014 season where he posted his career best ERA and his second lowest walk rate of his career—what I want you to do now is sell him.

In dynasty leagues if you aren’t diligent about searching for new prospects and finding ways to improve your roster constantly, it is pretty easy to look at your team one year and realize that the majority of your players are on the downside of their careers. In order to prevent this unfortunate event there are many things you can do.

1. Collect the Right Prospects – Be aggressive with prospects at positions where you are aging. It is usually best practice to take the best player on the board but if you are using an aging catcher like Yadier Molina it might be better to draft Blake Swihart than Jesse Winker.

2. Make TradesALWAYS look to improve your team via trade and never say any one player is untouchable. Everyone has a value in fantasy and if you can improve your roster either by adding depth or getting younger you always need to do that. Just because Jose Bautista had a great year last year doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept an offer of George Springer for him in a dynasty format.

3. Sell High – This is what I am going to address in this article but as the great Bill Belichick often shows us it is better to be a year early on selling a player than a year late. Players, no matter how great, cannot fight Father Time, especially without the anabolic aids of yesteryear, and therefore should not be held past the time you notice a decline in their underlying stats.

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 200 Dynasty League Starting Pitchers, Nos. 1-20

From the 21st of January to the 20th of February, the writers at TDG will be taking you through our rankings position-by-position. As I mentioned in the primer, this year we’re doing things a little differently. Instead of having my personal rankings up on this site, like last year, these rankings for 2014 are of the consensus variety and being brought to you by all of the TDG staff. Everyone put a lot of work into this project, so we hope you enjoy the end result. And if you are looking for my personal dynasty league rankings, you can find them this off-season at Baseball Prospectus.

So we hope you enjoy the rankings package that we’ve put together here. And if you do, I hope that you will make a donation to show appreciation for the content you’ve seen here at the Dynasty Guru. You can do that through this link, or by clicking the “Donate” button on the top-right corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated.

Starting pitching is always tough to evaluate as a whole since the group of usable starters is sooooooo big, but we have seen a shift towards more high-level performance out of younger and less-experienced hitters. In fact, were it not for Matt Harvey’s elbow explosion (dibs on that for a band name), we could have seen two pitchers in the top-five who came into 2013 with less than 60 major league innings combined. However, with great performance also comes great responsiblity–and that responsibility is for the fantasy owner to determine whether their young pitcher who was surprisingly good can continue at a high level over a long period of time. We’re pretty confident we know Jose Fernandez is going to be great, but can you say the same thing about Michael Wacha, Sonny Gray, Danny Salazar and Tony Cingrani. I’m not so confident. The other noticeable thing about starting pitching is that some of the depth we’re used to seeing is drying up a bit. But you won’t notice that with this group of studs (just wait until Thursday and Friday).

Now the 20 best starting pitchers in dynasty leagues, starting with a unanimous pick at the top spot among all TDG rankers (like you really need to ask who it is):

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It’s Never Too Late For a Bold Predictions Review: Bret’s Turn

As I begin to write this, it’s still October, which means the statute of limitations on a HEY LET’S REVIEW MY BOLD PREDICTIONS FROM BEFORE THE SEASON piece has not yet come to pass. So, HEY LET’S REVIEW MY BOLD PREDICTIONS FROM BEFORE THE SEASON!

The week prior to Opening Day, each previously current member of the Dynasty Guru staff wrote eleven bold predictions for the upcoming season. The still current members of the team have already written their reviews, so it’s my turn. It’s going to be a roller coaster of emotion here, as some of these predictions not only came true, but look pretty great in hindsight. Of course, there are also predictions which make me want to erase all references to myself and this site on the internet.

So get out your smiting sticks (or whatever the kids are smiting with these days) and let’s dig in. Oh, and grades because everyone loves grades:

1. Alex Gordon blows the doors open and hits over .320 with 27 homers and 15 steals, finishing in the top-5 of MVP voting in the American League.

What I Said: I’m a big Alex Gordon believer, you guys know this already – and I think this is the year he takes that step forward into superstardom. Well, superstardom on a national level, as in reality, he’s been worth 12.4 wins above replacement over the last two seasons.

What Happened: Not exactly. Gordon ended up hitting 20 homers with 11 steals, but paired it with a .265 average. He will not get a single MVP vote.

Grade: D

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Guest Week: Trevor Rosenthal, Undervalued. Wait, what?!

By Bob O’Neill (@bobbyo33)
August 9, 2013

That is correct, you read that right.  In dynasty formats – and let’s face it, if you’re visiting this website you play in dynasty leagues – Trevor Rosenthal is undervalued, and this might be your last chance to roster him at a somewhat discounted rate.

Without question, Rosenthal has been fantastic this year.  In 53 1/3 IP, he’s had a staggering 76-11 K:BB rate which should speak volumes as to how good he’s been.  You could make the case that he’s actually been a little unlucky, with a 37% hit rate this year.   Power profile, with a 46% ground ball rate, there’s a lot to like here.  You don’t need me to tell you that his performance has been exceptional.

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Dynasty Dynamics: Brandon Beachy, Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen and Others

Everyone knows the old adage that you can never have too much starting pitching, but sometimes it can be a little frustrating for fantasy owners when a team actually puts this to the test. Just ask anyone who’s still holding onto Drew Smyly or Tony Cingrani (at least until this most recent injury to Johnny Cueto). And in Atlanta, the Braves are shaping up to have six perfectly good options for a rotation that only holds five people, unless they do something stupid like a six-man rotation. So let’s take a quick look at the pitchers most affected by this. Since there’s about a zero percent chance of Mike Minor, Tim Hudson or Paul Maholm being pushed aside, we’re going to skip over them for now. And it’s really a shame as Hudson and Maholm have the lowest upside of any pitcher in their rotation for fantasy.

Brandon Beachy

The return of the Braves best starter during the first two months of the 2012 season is the impetus for the number crunch among their starting pitchers. But even though Beachy had a 2.00 ERA in 81 innings last year, he was actually significantly worse in 2012 than 2011 from an underlying skills perspective. In fact, Beachy had an xFIP nearly a run higher in 2012 (4.14 vs 3.16). At this point, it’s difficult to tell which the “real” Beachy is, but it’s not really necessary. Even if he’s the 2012 version who regresses to his underlying numbers, that’s still a plenty valuable pitcher for fantasy.

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Bret’s Eleven Bold Predictions

It’s so close to Opening Day at this point (12 hours!), you can almost taste the Rangers beating the heck out of the Astros. And here at The Dynasty Guru, we’re celebrating the march to Opening Day by having every contributor come up with 11 bold predictions. Yes, we know that people do this at plenty of other sites, but goddamnit it’s fun. And we’re allowed to have some fun around here.
The biggest difference between our predictions and the predictions from “those other guys”? Ours go to 11.

And since this there’s really nothing else important that can be said to set up a bold predictions piece, this seems like an appropriate to end the introduction. Here are things which will happen in the future according to me, Bret Sayre:

1. Alex Gordon blows the doors open and hits over .320 with 27 homers and 15 steals, finishing in the top-5 of MVP voting in the American League.

I’m a big Alex Gordon believer, you guys know this already – and I think this is the year he takes that step forward into superstardom. Well, superstardom on a national level, as in reality, he’s been worth 12.4 wins above replacement over the last two seasons. Gordon has reduced his strikeout rate every year of his career since 2009, and his 8.5% HR/FB rate will jump back up to the 12-13% range it’s been at the last three seasons. It’s going to be fun to watch.

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Drafting a Dynasty League Roster: Major League Draft, Rounds 4-6

Before we dive back into the analysis, a few reminders about the context of the league, as it’s not a straight-forward format. It is a 20-team 7×7 H2H league that uses all of the standard 5×5 categories, plus OPS/Total Bases for hitters and Quality Starts/Holds for pitchers. The active rosters are one player per position (OF are broken out by LF/CF/RF) plus a Utility player on offense, and nine pitchers (2 SP, 2 RP, 5 P). On top of that, there are 7 reserve spots, 3 DL spots and 25 minor league spots (which were all already filled). We were given strict instructions that if you drafted a player already on someone’s minor league roster, we would not be going back to reverse picks, so it would just be considered a party foul and we’d move on. All in all, it’s a very deep league with an active lineup that skews a little towards pitching and deep minor league rosters (500 total prospects will be rostered). Oh, and by the way, I’m the Minnesota Twins.

So here is a review of rounds 4-6 of the draft. I’m going to use the same format as my write up of the minor league side of the draft – looking at who I picked and why (along with others I was considering) and who the best/worst picks of the round were (mine excluded). Hopefully this helps with the preparation for your own dynasty league draft.

Major League Draft, Rounds 1-3

Round: 4
(61) Texas Rangers – Freddie Freeman 1B
(62) Colorado Rockies – Matt Holliday LF
(63) Toronto BlueJays – B.J. Upton CF
(64) Seattle Mariners – Matt Moore SP
(65) San Fransisco Giants – Ben Zobrist RF
(66) Oakland Athletics – Jacoby Ellsbury CF
(67) Cincinnati Reds – Chris Sale SP
(68) Houston Astros – Anthony Rizzo 1B
(69) Detroit Tigers – Max Scherzer SP
(70) Chicago Cubs – Ike Davis 1B
** (71) Minnesota Twins – Alex Gordon LF
(72) Washington Nationals – Matt Wieters C
(73) Los Angeles Angels – Yadier Molina C
(74) San Diego Padres – Brandon Phillips 2B
(75) Pittsburgh Pirates – Paul Goldschmidt 1B
(76) Baltimore Orioles – Dylan Bundy RP (Party Foul)
(77) Milwaukee Brewers – Jason Kipnis 2B
(78) New York Mets – CC Sabathia SP
(79) Arizona Diamondbacks – Curtis Granderson CF
(80) Boston Red Sox – Mike Moustakas 3B

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