As you surely know by now, 20 of us are currently drafting teams in The Dynasty Guru Experts League. The festivities can be followed on Twitter at #TDGX. So in lieu of talking about my team today, which I will get to in due time, I reached out with ten specific questions to ten specific owners–getting them to talk about things that have helped shape the first five rounds of the draft. Whether it’s strategy or particular picks, there was no shortage of things that I wanted to know from the first 100 picks, and the answers did not disappoint. Thank you to all of the owners who provided the insight below.
1) Craig Glaser/Tom Trudeau, Bloomberg Sports & MLB AM
Q: Did you guys set out with the strategy of taking all very young players up top and would it have been different if you had not picked at the #2 spot? Did you have particular players in mind for each of those picks? When do you think your team can reasonably be contenders?
By now you’re all well aware of what the TDG Experts League is, and what we’re doing with it. The draft began on Wednesday (February 26, 2014), and while four hours was allotted for each pick, we got to 19th overall (me) early in the afternoon. The first 18 picks were:
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.
Shortstop is a position very much in flux these days, as once you move past the obvious names, you get a lot of players who have pretty serious flaws. On the other hand, the shortstops coming up through the minor leagues right now are the strongest crop we’ve seen in almost twenty years (the famed A-Rod, Jeter, Garciaparra, Tejada class). There are four guys right now who slide into those spots, and you’ll notice that they are all in the top-11 here. And what else is slowly happening over time is that the position is moving back towards one where you can get power, instead of just speed-based players. And this is all with a couple of big name players who are off the position for right now (but may end up back there soon) in Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado. Incredible.
Now the 20 best shortstops in dynasty leagues, starting with the player who eked out a very close race for number one between two NL West stars:
I recently finished reading Joe Morgan’s autobiography A Life in Baseball. I really enjoyed it as he’s one of my favorite players and the book was written in a very honest, straightforward manner. One of my favorite parts of the book was when he discussed the “diamond within the diamond” and how important good defensive play is to building a winning team, especially at the positions of catcher, middle infield, and centerfield. That book was written two decades ago about a player who played four decades ago, and yet that principle still holds true. No matter how solid prospects start out at the shortstop position, there are many factors along the way, including the defensive ability mentioned above, that can determine whether that player will actually end up at shortstop in the major leagues.
Due to the fact that shortstop is still a very defensive position along with second base, the two positions can supply loads of value if you can find a player who is an offensive stud there as well. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to write about middle infield in the first place. But there is also the catch that the guy who you’ve projected as your dynasty league shortstop of the future ends up as a corner infielder. So what do I do as a dynasty owner? I load up on shortstop prospects and play the numbers game. Continue reading →
On June 4, I took stock of Byron Buxton’s phenomenal campaign in Single-A and asked our readers a simple question: was the Twins’ outfielder the best fantasy prospect in the game, and if not, who was?
After examining the extraordinary numbers Buxton had posted to that point in the season, I concluded that Buxton was surely a Top 10 name, but was not yet ready to give him the top spot. After all, the likes of Jurickson Profar, Oscar Taveras and Xander Bogaerts all loomed large, and each was significantly closer to the majors.
That opinion came back when Buxton was hitting “a modest” .333/.435/.545 with a wRC+ of 174 through 240 PA. Of course, the 19-year-old would go on to finish with a .341/.431/.559 line in 321 PA in Single-A, before hitting .326/.415/.472 in 253 PA in High-A. Continue reading →
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 writtentheirreviews, 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.
Let’s skip the formalities/well constructed introductions.
In my last post, I covered four of my preseason predictions that stunk. In this post, I will cover the other seven that didn’t stink. In this way, I’m able to abide by two Internet Baseball Writing rules at once: I’ve revisited a preseason column, and I get to stretch this into a two-part series.
And to sweeten the deal, while I won’t copy renowned colleague Craig Goldstein’s ploy and bring you GIFs, I will bring you each prediction headlined as though Scott Miller or someone of that ilk touched on the subject. Enjoy!
Prediction No. 1: It’s Miller Time In Busch Stadium
What I wrote then: Shelby Miller will win 15 games for the Cardinals this season, to go along with an ERA in the mid-3.00s and 190 strikeouts in 180 innings … He’s really good, even if he’s overshadowed by the likes of Oscar Taveras. In related news, I have Miller in all but one of my redraft leagues this season. Happyface.
What happened: 15 wins, an ERA of 3.06 and 169 strikeouts in 173.1 innings. Let’s call a spade a spade, folks. I nailed this one. Continue reading →
By coincidence or joke, Bret assigned me the third basemen in this week’s team effort to pinpoint players at each position who are worth picking up in your dynasty league before free agency closes on Sunday. I say joke because—since joining the TDG crew—I’ve already spent a large amount of time discussing the prospects of third basemen for 2014 and beyond, most notably Brett Lawrie and Nolan Arenado. (OK, so two out of my first six posts to be exact. But still, 33 percent!)
I wish it was as easy as finding the next Miguel Cabrera, but, sadly, Miggy’s don’t grow on trees. And they almost never jump from first base trees to third base trees.
With apologies to MVP underdog Josh Donaldson, third base was fairly predictable in 2013, with the usual suspects at or near the top. There were some busts (Chase Headley, Lawrie and Pablo Sandoval immediately come to mind), but overall it was a successful year for the gloved men at the hot corner. The names you are about to see are my favorite third base targets in dynasty formats. Each is owned in less than 25 percent of ESPN leagues and they are listed in order of ownership, from highest to lowest.
I tried to resist. I was going to write about Kyle Seager. I was going to write about the Cubs’ third base logjam. I was going to write about what we can learn from Chris Tillman.
But I am weak-willed, and so I must indulge.
Today (as I write this … yesterday as you read it) is Xander Bogaerts day. And it is a good day indeed.
Those of you who follow me here or around the web (read: those of you who’ve ever read, like, one of my columns) know that I’ve been high on Bogaerts for quite a while. During the 2011 season, when Fangraphs’ Mike Newman began urging everyone to pay attention to the studly Aruban, I was quick to listen. When I finally put my own eyes on Bogaerts in Portland last season, I came away with a lasting impression: he is, quite simply, the best prospect I’ve ever seen in my limited time analyzing the minor leagues.
Now, at the age of 20, Bogaerts is in the big leagues, and he could be there to stay. Continue reading →
If you’re a regular TDG reader, you probably have a thing for prospects. It’s ok, the first step is admitting it, and you’re among friends here.
Keeping up with prospects throughout the season can be hugely advantageous for diligent Fantasy players. Everyone knows about the Jurickson Profar’s and Oscar Taveras’s of the world, sure, but how many casual fans knew to grab Pat Corbin before the season? How many invested in Jean Segura?
To put it bluntly, those in the know when it comes to MiLB are better positioned in the Fantasy world than those who are note. Obviously, this is infinitely truer in keeper and dynasty leagues, where at least some MiLB knowledge is a requirement.
Yet there are two times during the year when our thirst for MiLB knowledge and quest for “the next big star” can come back to bite us. The first is during draft day, when many overlook established stars while trying to catch younger, sexier lightning in a bottle. And the second is at the trade deadline, when we become loathe to give away promising prospects for anything short of Mike Trout.
So today, I am here to remind you of two things that you already know: it’s ok to trade prospects, and if you have a shot at competing in 2013, you should take it. Continue reading →