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.
So you might ask, why do I think Rosenthal is undervalued? Ron Shandler and the folks at Baseball HQ have long preached that we should “draft skills, not roles.” The biggest changes in player value, are often seen when a player’s opportunity changes, whether it be through playing time or change in role. Much of Rosenthal’s hidden value lies in the uncertainty of his role going forward. Perhaps an owner in your league has doubts about Rosenthal’s future role. Dynasty leaguers should pounce at the chance to acquire Rosenthal, should a league-mate harbor these types of concerns.
I believe that Rosenthal will be transitioned to the starting rotation next year, and I see no compelling reason why he won’t excel in that role. At 6’2” and 220lbs, his body type seems durable enough to handle the workload of a starter. Wainwright, Lynn, and Miller should be locks for three of the spots. Perhaps Westbrook returns [mutual option, $1MM buyout], but he’s serviceable at best. Chris Carpenter will be a free agent, and may never be able to pitch again.
This wouldn’t be the first time the Cardinals took the “Earl Weaver” approach of assigning young pitchers to the bullpen, and then transitioning them to a starting role. Lazy comp? Sure, but what the Cardinals did with Wainwright early in his career is certainly relevant here.
Frankly, I think there’s also upside if the Cardinals decide to keep him in the bullpen. If he were to secure the closer role, he’s an elite option at the position. Edward Mujica is a free agent, and while he’s been rock solid this year, there’s no certainty he will be back. Will Jason Motte regain form? No sure thing, just ask Ryan Madson owners. There are worse things in life than potentially acquiring the next Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman.
So what is the actionable fantasy advice? Well, perhaps there’s none. Maybe Rosenthal’s owner recognizes his value, and isn’t parting with him. Many leagues have also already seen the trade deadline pass, so there may be very few options. However, if someone wants to move Rosenthal, and thinks they’re “selling high”, I’d be very excited at the chance to acquire him. Rosenthal is only 23 years old, so dynasty owners should have several more quality years to enjoy the ride, and I think it’s only going to get better.
St. Louis Cardinals website