Mike’s Eleven Bold Predictions for 2014

Bold predictions are fun. Instead of just being ‘high’ on a player, I can create an outlandish bold prediction to really profess my love for them. I got a little homesick editing these. Without even realizing it, my eleven bold predictions begin and end with my hometown Phillies. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

1. Ben Revere steals 50 bases and hits his first career home run.

It is a warm July day at Citizen’s Bank Park. Revere is in the midst of a career year, with 24 steals already on the season. He feels good today having eaten a second bowl of Wheaties before heading to the ballpark. He takes a first pitch fastball over the right field scoreboard to the surprise of everyone in attendance that day. ESPN home run tracker will call it “lucky”. Ben Revere will just call  it “awesome”. He flashes his trademark smile as he crosses home plate to put the Phils ahead 1-0.

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Craig’s Eleven Bold Predictions for 2014

11 Bold Predictions

You’re not here for intros. Here’s last year’s. Here’s the review of last year’s. Here’s this year’s train wreck:

1)      Michael Choice gets 400+ plate appearances

Mitch Moreland is playing through a might-be-tweaked oblique right now and I think Choice is good enough to hold on to the job if he can get a crack at it full time. Between his ability to rotate into the outfield corners and hit for power that would be functional in Oakland much less Texas, Choice should earn plenty of playing time. If he does, it’s fantasy gravy.

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#TDGX Recap — Team Kantecki’s First 10

By now, you are well aware that my TDG mates and I have been participating in an intense 40-round, first-year dynasty league draft called The Dynasty Guru Experts League. We’re already 34 rounds deep and the pickings are slim — we’ve recently entered the part of the draft where the CBS player universe doesn’t house all of the players we’d like to draft on our respective teams. I entered the draft with a plan to stick strictly to value, but, as you’ll see, sometimes you need to re-adjust your plan on the fly.

The first ten picks from Team Kantecki:

1.03 — Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers

After Mike Trout and Bryce Harper went first and second, respectively, there wasn’t much debate at No 3. Miggy is a top-three dynasty selection no matter how you slice it. While he’s on the wrong side of 30 and will likely lose third-base eligibility after this year, Cabrera should still provide elite numbers for at least the next three seasons. Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew McCutchen entered my thoughts briefly, but I couldn’t pass up the back-to-back American League MVP.

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 200 Dynasty League Starting Pitchers, Nos. 41-75

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.

Now the next 35 best starting pitchers in dynasty leagues, starting with one of the players who was a highly questioned omission from the top-40:

41) Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

Wacha’s explosion onto the scene was like a lemon you’re trying to squeeze into your drink – temporarily blinding, coupled with a lot cursing and stinging regret. Blinding because of how good he was, cursing because you passed on him, regret because you wanted him but he wasn’t supposed to be this good – but you knew about the Cardinals and their devil magic. Stinging because there’s lemon in your eye. Your good eye. You’re not going to let it happen again though, so help you, except what’s this – everyone is saying the same things as when he was drafted? He’s overrated, it was a small sample… who do you trust this time?

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Prospect Smackdown: Yordano Ventura vs. Carlos Martinez

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!

In last week’s Prospect Smackdown, we saw Francisco Lindor earn a narrow Christmas victory over Chris Owings in a battle of fantasy shortstop prospects. In our inaugural edition of this series, we saw Billy Hamilton crush Adam Eaton when it comes to 2014 steals.

This week, we’ll send 2013 out on a high note by taking a look at two of the more electric young arms poised to make an impact in 2014. We have fastballs. We have #want. We have filth. We just don’t have size.

But, just like I tell myself every night, that doesn’t always matter.

Prospect Smackdown No. 3 – Who will be more valuable in 2014: Yordano Ventura vs. Carlos Martinez Continue reading

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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The Top 225 Dynasty League Starting Pitchers, Part 2 (#51-125)

We both you know that you don’t want some sort of long-winded introduction here. You just want to see the list.

Your wish is my command.

And now your next 75 dynasty league starters, with commentary:

#51 – Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians

#52 – Jaime Garcia, St Louis Cardinals

Garcia is a guy I pumped hard last off-season and was burned by his injuries. I’m at it again this off-season, however, I freely admit that if he did not have the shoulder concerns, he’d be well inside the top-50. 2012, although shortened, was the second year in a row that Garcia achieved holy trinity status, and I don’t think it will be the last.

#53 – Tyler Skaggs, Arizona Diamondbacks

#54 – Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks

#55 – Matt Harrison, Texas Rangers

One of the best calls I made last pre-season was that I’d take Matt Harrison flat out over his more hyped rotation-mate Derek Holland (who has yet to make an appearance on this list). Harrison will never be a big strikeout guy, but his stuff is better than you would expect, and he has the skill to sustain his performance as a strong three-category performer.

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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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The Dynasty Guru’s Crystal Ball: 2017’s 5×5 Category Leaders

This is a fun exercise I’ve wanted to do for a while now. Right now, Opening Day 2017 is four and a half years away, but there’s absolutely no reason I can’t start speculating about who will lead the standard 5×5 rotisserie categories that season. Who knows if the 5×5 format we use now will still be the most commonplace scoring system that far into the future anyway? Maybe a standard ESPN league will be using OBP and QS instead of AVG and W. For the purposes of this post, we’re going to assume that the categories are remaining the same.

Now, this isn’t an all-prospect list – although there are some prospects on here. And if you think I’m understating the impact of prospects in this exercise, here’s a fun fact for you. If we did this exercise after the 2007 season, looking at the 2012 category leaders, guess how many of the categories would be led by players who had not played a game in the majors at the time? The answer is 5 out of 10. And if you expand out to the top-3 in each category (including ties), you get 13 out of 33, which is 39%. Of those 13 top-3 category finishes, 7 were from players that debuted in 2008, 2 were from players that debuted in 2009, 2 were from players that debuted in 2010 and 2 were from Mike Trout, who was a junior in high school when the 2007 season ended. In fact, Trout and Buster Posey were the only two players who finished in the top-3 of any 5×5 fantasy category in 2012 to be drafted AFTER the 2007 season.

Anyway, that’s enough of an introduction – let’s go to the Future Dynasty Guru for the breakdown of what happened in 2017:

Batting Average: Miguel Cabrera (.341)

It feels like Miguel Cabrera’s been around forever, but he only turned 33 on Opening Day 2017. While his power has started to wind down (this was his first season with under 30 HR in over a decade), Cabrera continues to maintain a high batting average. The two main reasons for this are: 1) he’s still a fantastic hitter to all fields and 2) by the laws of physics, it’s been impossible for him to get any slower than he was back in 2012. Runners up: Oscar Taveras (.334), Starlin Castro (.328)

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Is There Any Substance Behind the Pedro Comps for Carlos Martinez?

I always go back to what Kevin Goldstein (former BP writer, current Astros pro scouting coordinator) says about player comps – they’re generally a bad idea and can be much more disinformative than informative. However, a physical comp can be a good way for a baseball fan to get a better idea of visualizing a prospect that they likely have never seen play. I’ve heard a number of them that were both appropriate and helpful, like that Simon Castro is built like Jose Contreras and that Mike Trout is built like Brian Urlacher (still probably my favorite physical comp).

It’s very easy to throw around the Pedro comp to any undersized righty from the Dominican Republic who throws really hard, and among all pitching prospects out there today, Carlos Martinez gets it the most. At a quick glance, you can see why (he throws real hard and is from the DR). But, beyond the simplistic comp, let’s dive into the differences between the two, along with what we can hope to expect from Carlos Martinez as his career advances. But first, a fun fact. Carlos Martinez checks in at 6’0”, 165 pounds and is accurately described as having a slight frame, but if his frame is slight, what was Pedro’s? In his days as a prospect, Pedro was 5’11” and 135 pounds. 135 pounds! That’s 82% of Carlos Martinez! Anyway, moving on…

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