Team TDG Overlord, Rounds 11-40 of #TDGX

Last week, I went through the first ten picks of my TDGX draft. This week, I’ll talk about the rest. I’m still amazed how quickly we finished this draft–it was finished in under three weeks, which worked out to over two rounds per day! So rather than spread this out over a longer period of time, let’s take a look at the finished product.

After the first ten rounds unfolded the way they did, my plan was to wait a bit on prospects and focus on getting some steals in the short-term–and that’s exactly what I did. Picks 11-18 were all major leaguers to fill out my starting lineup, and by the time that stretch was complete, I only had a catcher, middle infield, outfield and utility spot to fill.

Pick 11.211 – Norichika Aoki, OF, Kansas City Royals (Rank: 217)
Pick 12.230 – Michael Bourn, OF, Cleveland Indians (Rank: 291)

These were my speed plays. I had Aoki ranked towards the top of my available players anyway, but they should both combine for around 50 steals in 2014, which should go a long way towards a run at contention. Hitting at the top of their respective lineups doesn’t hurt either, as they could both challenge for 90 runs, given a full season of health. As of right now, I just to hope Bourn doesn’t miss much time to start the year as depth is very hard to come by in a league this size.

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Legends of the Arizona Fall League: Mesa Edition

I jumped at the chance to highlight the stars of the Mesa Solar Sox in TDG’s latest series covering the Arizona Fall League, because — if you didn’t know — I kind of, sort of like the Cubs. I was sad to see shortstop Javier Baez taken off Mesa’s roster when the Cubs decided it was in everybody’s best interest to give the 20-year-old a break after a ho-hum year of 37 home runs and 111 RBIs in 130 games between Class-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.

Sans Baez, there’s no shortage of talent on the Mesa squad, which — in addition to the Cubs — is made up of players from the minor league affiliates of the Angels, Athletics, Nationals and Tigers. This series will highlight the stars and an additional three players whose prospect star could be on the rise with a strong showing in the AFL.

Author’s note: This is my first “totally prospect” post at TDG, so feel free to lambast me in the comments below. Thanks!

Commence drooling in three, two, one…

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Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster: One Year Later

A lot can happen in a year.

June 3rd, 2012 was the day I took over the roster which became the focus of my Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster series, and now that June 3rd is upon us again, it seemed like a natural time to take a look at how the team is doing. As you may remember, the time horizon for my team is 2014, and I was pretty active in setting up my roster to look like a team I would actually own. In fact, of the 50 players (25 majors, 25 minors) on the team when I took it over, only 14 remain today. And that’s pretty extensive turnover for an owner like myself who tends to shy away enormo-trades and tries to stick with his guys, rather than go after each new flavor of the week.

Right now, the team is sitting at 3-6 through nine weeks, so it’s pretty clear that my horizon is not moving up. Hopefully with some of the reinforcements I’ll get during the second half, it will keep me on schedule for next year. For a refresher on the league settings, check out the first of my RDLR (no, that doesn’t stand for Rubby De La Rosa here) posts back from August 2012. The important information is that it’s a 16-team H2H points league. But now, I’m just going to run through the team and see how things have changed (hopefully for the better):

Starting Lineup – Hitters

6/3/12 6/3/13
C Matt Wieters Matt Wieters
1B Albert Pujols Albert Pujols
2B Chase Utley Chase Utley
SS Yunel Escobar Starlin Castro
3B Chris Davis Jedd Gyorko
OF Alex Rios Alex Rios
OF Jayson Werth Jayson Werth
OF Yonder Alonso Yasiel Puig
Util Aubrey Huff Yonder Alonso
Util Eric Young Jr Matt Joyce

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A Podcast For Your Eyes: The 2014 Top 10 Fantasy Prospects Edition

As I hinted at in yesterday’s post on projecting the Top 10 fantasy prospects at this time next year, Ben, Craig and I tried something interesting on Wednesday night as we sat down on gchat and conversed for almost an hour and a half about the topic at hand. The following conversation has not been edited, abridged or otherwise touched (besides cleaning up our names so that it’s easier to read).

Without any further introduction, I present to you the Episode 1 of A Podcast For Your Eyes. If you like it, tell us and we’ll do them more often. If you don’t, tell us and we’ll forget this whole thing ever happened. And we’re off..

Bret:  whats going on guys?

Craig:  watching O’s/Rays over here

Ben:  watching NYY/BOS

Craig:  also eating a peanut butter and jam sandwich, because I’m 12

Bret:  i’m watching the mets start their WS run

Ben:  sooo playing MLB the show?

Craig:  I was going to say…can we have a moment of silence for Bret’s sanity?

Bret:  my sanity has been missing for a long time

Craig:  touche

Bret:  alright, so you guys have the consensus list, right?

Craig:  yes but I just dripped jelly on my shirt so I’m in crisis here

Bret:  save that gold for when we’re “recording”

Craig:  hahaha. ok problem solved, but you feel free to include it

Bret:  fair enough, i’m going to do an introduction, and then we’re just going to jump right in and ben and i can fawn over xander bogaerts

Ben:  im super good at fawning over bogaerts

Bret:  ha, i’m sure you are. alright, let’s do this

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Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

We’ve been over this before – I play in WAY too many leagues. In fact, this year, that number is officially 14. And they run the gamut in terms of formats. There are seven dynasty leagues, three pure redraft leagues, six head-to-head leagues, and two points leagues. I have leagues on four different host sites – though half of them are run through Yahoo! I have OBP leagues, I have 6×6 leagues and even one 7×7 format.

But through it all, I have a good number of overlapping players. Of course, that’s a given when you own 288 different players across 14 teams – but what I’m going to go through today are the players that I own in more than three leagues to show you how much I actually believe the advice that I’m doling out. More than half of these leagues are either for jellybeans or they are expert formats, so no messing around. Not surprisingly, these names should not shock you if you’re pretty familiar with my writing.

So here they are, the players I own most in 2013, kicked off by the only player who I own on more than half of my teams:

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Ten Prospects I Like More Than You Like

One of the main reasons I’m so excited to be joining the crew here at TDG is the debates I’ll get to have with other writers on the site over our prospect projections and analysis. When you know your assertions about a player are going to be scrutinized and picked apart, it makes you work harder to make sure those opinions are valid and grounded in legitimate observation.

Don’t like a batter because you’re worried about the hit tool? Tell me why you’re worried. Is it his swing path? Does he use an arm bar? Is it a pitch recognition problem? I want to know.

Down on a starting pitcher because of “command issues?” Tell me where those command issues come from. Does his front half open up too early? Can he not control the movement on one of his pitches? Is he not athletic enough to repeat his delivery? Let’s get specific.

These are all hugely important details that should better inform you about what to expect from a player moving forward, and those observations – combined with a heavy dose of statistic analysis – are what I’m aiming to provide here.

With that being said, let’s start off my time here at TDG with 10 players who I like more than do many other prospect analysts on the Interwebs. Next to each player, you’ll find Bret’s (TDG’s) 2013 Top 150 rank first, then my personal Top 150 rank second, followed by a brief explanation of why I feel the way I do.

Thanks for welcoming me on board. Let’s get after it.

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The Top 150 Dynasty League Outfielders, Part 1 (#1-50)

There are two very distinct sides to the crop of outfielders out there today. The most obvious side that we see is the star side, which is as deep as ever – led by as strong of a top-10 at the position as we have seen this century. And not only are they a strong group, they’re a young group as well, including four players 23 years old or younger. And nearly all of these players are of the five-tool variety, except for potentially off-the-charts power guys like Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Hamilton.

The dark side of the outfield position these days is the underbelly, which really shows itself once make your way beyond the top-40 or so. Essentially, the middle class of outfielders has nearly eroded – dropping the position quickly from your solid #3 OFs to your seemingly never-ending string of fliers. And the results of this are twofold on how you have to evaluate the position. First of all, high floor players are of greater value than at many other positions, and Nick Markakis is a great example of this. We’re not exactly waiting with bated breath for him to be a star anymore, but at least we know we’ll get some level of production from him. Because of this, he makes the top-50. Second of all, while it doesn’t show up in a positional list, the bulk of fliers out there for your final OF spot or two causes the entire group of players to get devalued on an overall standpoint. So unless there’s a particular guy you really like, you can wait and wait and wait – there will be outfielders starting the 2013 on waivers that will outperform most of the 4/5 OF types being drafted. So be patient and be prepared to scour the waiver wire.

And now your top 50 dynasty league outfielders, with commentary:

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The Top 150 Dynasty League Prospects, Part 4 (#60-31)

Today is Day Four. Over the next 28 days, this site will be dedicated almost solely to the task at hand – the 2013 Dynasty League Rankings. If you’re looking for background on both the content you should expect and the dates you should expect them, check out the 2013 rankings homepage. And we’re kicking off the month-long project with the list that I’ve gotten the most questions about since the off-season started. The only difference between the original schedule and what you’ll see this week is that I’ve broken the Top 150 out into five parts, not three. Each day of the week, you’ll get thirty more guys until we culminate Friday with #1.

First, I have a couple of disclaimers specific to the prospect list before we jump in. These rankings are for fantasy purposes only, and do not directly take into account things like an outfielder’s range or a catcher’s pop time. Of course, these things do matter indirectly as they affect a player’s ability to stay at a particular position. So, while Austin Hedges may be a top-50 prospect in baseball, due in large part to his defensive value, he’ll be much lower in these rankings because his upside isn’t nearly as great for fantasy. Additionally, these rankings will take into account a player’s parent organization – so a pitcher likely to call Petco or Safeco home, will get a bump. Same with hitters who are likely to play at Coors or in Arlington. But most importantly, the intention of this list is to balance the upside, probability and proximity of these players to an active fantasy lineup. So, in a vacuum, I’d rather have the #104 player on this list than #105 on my dynasty league roster right now, based on all of those factors.

Additionally, if you want to delve any further into the list or have specific dynasty league questions, either post them in the comments section below, catch me on Twitter at @dynastyguru or send me an e-mail to dynastyguru [at] gmail [dot] com and I will answer all of them. If you just want to say hello or tell me I’ve over/under rated someone you love/hate, that’s great too. I’m a firm believer that an ongoing dialogue is always more helpful than a singular monologue, and the goal of this is to be an additional resource in guiding your team to a championship.

So without any further ado, here is part four of the 2013 Top 150 Dynasty League Prospect list:

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Don’t Let Brian Goodwin Fly Under the Radar

This past Saturday, Brian Goodwin stepped onto the biggest stage of his career thus far — the Arizona Fall League’s Rising Stars game — and made his presence known. In his first at bat, he turned on a Kyle Gibson fastball and hit it out of the yard. Later on, he doubled and crushed another ball on which Billy Hamilton made a great diving catch in deep CF; finishing the game 2-5. But this is just one game, let’s step back and take a look at Brian Goodwin, the baseball player.

Drafted in the supplemental first round of the 2011 draft (33rd overall) by the Washington Nationals, Goodwin was arguably the top junior college player available in that draft. Though he was not the first JC player taken in 2011 — Cory Spangenberg went 10th overall to the Padres. Goodwin fell to the supplemental round due to a supposedly high price tag and a very deep draft class, as some scouts considered him to be a top half of the first round talent. The Nationals certainly made it worth his while to sign, paying him a $3m signing bonus.

While I have not had the opportunity to write about him much yet, my fellow owners in dynasty leagues can attest to the fact that I’m one of the drivers of Goodwin’s bandwagon. Right now, I own him in three different leagues. I drafted him prior to last season in the 18-team dynasty league I discussed at the end my most recent Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster piece. I traded for him in the league which has been the focus of that series as part of a challenge trade also involving Shelby Miller and Brett Jackson, which I discussed here. And finally, I just finished participating in a dispersion draft for a new league I joined (yes, another one) and took Goodwin over the likes of Matt Barnes and Jake Odorizzi with my first pick (the minor league talent was sparce). In fact, before the 2012 season, I ranked him as the #77 OF in my Dynasty League Prospect Rankings — all of that before he had even played in a professional game.

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Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster, Part 8a: The Challenge Trade

Let’s take a brief moment to go over something which doesn’t come up very often, but is exhilarating and scary when it does: The Challenge Trade. There’s a good reason why you almost never see two MLB teams trade a prospect for a prospect – neither team wants to be the one that misevaluated their own guy. Probably the closest thing we’ve seen to this in recent memory was the Yankees/Mariners trade last off-season which sent Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to Seattle for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. But still, not the same, since Pineda, Montero and Noesi had all logged major league time.

As the trading deadline approached in the league which is the focus of this series, I pulled off a challenge trade with another rebuilding team. When this happens in dynasty leagues, it’s almost always with guys whose stocks are falling – and this was no exception to the rule. You just have to keep the faith in your own evaluations and hope that the chips fall right for you. Here’s my challenge trade:

I dealt Brett Jackson and Ethan Martin for Shelby Miller and Brian Goodwin. (7/31/12)

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