#TDGX – Pick Explanation – CDG

TDG Experts League – Explaining My Picks

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:

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Mike Trout and the Price of a Pick

By the time this post publishes, my partner and I will have selected Mike Trout first overall in the new Dynasty Guru Experts League. Participating in this league is going to be a challenging ride. In fact, challenging describes the process through which our team got the #1 pick in the first place. To put it simply, each team will have a 40-man roster of both major and minor league players. The default number of keepers each year is 35, but since this is the inaugural season, teams were permitted to “bid” on draft positions by sacrificing a certain number of keepers in a blind auction. Our bid of 15 keepers did the trick for the #1 spot. Bret spelled it out in more detail on Tuesday. In this post I’ll try to lay out our thought process in our bid for the first pick.

I should probably introduce my co-owner, Paul Clewell. We’ve been playing fantasy baseball together for years, and he’s one of the reasons I started writing in the first place. After countless conversations about baseball on the phone, we decided one of us should write some of it down. We even pipe-dreamed about playing in an experts league one day. Well, here we be. So how did we arrive at the number 15, and what were we thinking? It really boils down to 5 points…

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The Top 500 Overall Dynasty League Rankings

There’s a certain amount of creativity that needs to go into a list like this. And that’s a good thing, as there is just so much to balance when you’re comparing players across not only positions but fantasy value horizons as well. The latter is so important because while it’s one thing to draw player values up in a vacuum, it’s another to realize that both rebuilding teams and contenting teams are going to be looking at this and saying to themselves “how to I translate this into my current team’s needs?”

The answer is simple, the translation isn’t necessary. For example, if you are dealing away Clint Frazier and you’re looking to win now, you may decide that Jon Lester (one spot ahead of Frazier on the list) is a good fit and go for him. That’s all fine and good, but that doesn’t make trading him for R.A. Dickey or Shane Victorino a bad idea either. And the opposite works if you’re a rebuilding team. The point of this list is to give an idea for the type of value you should be shooting for either in a draft or a trade. Needs in a dynasty league are obviously important and skew values to the point where everyone on this list should be viewed within a 10-15 percent range, depending on what your team looks like.

Before we jump into the list below, I want to thank all of the writers at TDG, who did a fantastic job in putting all of this together. I never would have been able to do it in such a successful manner without them. I was jealous of their high-level blurb writing and can’t wait to see what they have in store for all of us this season. And most importantly, I want to thank you–the readers. Without you, we wouldn’t be doing this and this site wouldn’t exist. We run on your energy, enthusiasm and willingness to debate (not to mention, your donations) and we love it. As the site grows, we’ll all grow together.

And one last time, we hope you have enjoyed the rankings package for 2014. And if you did, 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.

So now, the final list of the 2014 Dynasty League Rankings. This one was not possible to do as a consensus, so it is all mine from start-to-finish. No more talking, just the #Dynasty500:

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Rankings Counterpoint: Buy Low On Sonny Gray While You Still Can!

On Monday, fellow colleague Nick Doran introduced a “Rankings Counterpoint” series at TDG, imploring you to sell high on the Rays’ Matt Moore. In piggyback fashion, I’m here to tell you to do the opposite with the Athletics’ Sonny Gray, whom the TDG staff collectively ranked 35th among starting pitchers. Gray, 24, isn’t a typical buy low. You might even think he’s a buy high and stopped reading past the title of this post. But at No. 35 on our list, I think there’s room for value.

Selected 18th overall in the 2011 draft, Gray entered the 2013 season as Oakland’s No. 4 prospect, according to Baseball Prospectus, behind shortstop Addison Russell, outfielder Michael Choice and right-handed pitcher Dan Straily. Gray made 20 starts in Triple-A Sacramento, dominating the hitter-friendly PCL with 8.97 strikeouts per nine innings and holding opposing batters to a .257 BA. This came after striking out only 5.90 batters per nine innings across 26 Double-A starts in 2012. The right-hander also cut down his walk rate, from 9.1 percent to 7.9 percent, and his fly ball-to-ground ball rate improved dramatically after graduating to the highest minor league level.

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Welcome to The Dynasty Guru Experts’ League

If you’re familiar with our work here at the Dynasty Guru, you’re likely already aware that we are both actively excited by, and not afraid to dip our toes into, very large undertakings. We just finished the second annual Dynasty League Rankings by position (and the Dynasty 500 will be dropping later this week) and in the past I’ve written extended series about both Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster and drafting one from scratch.

The Background/Teams

This is no different. The idea for the league had been kicking around ever since I started the site back in 2012, but was never feasible to start heading into the 2013 season. This year, we made it feasible and I started by enlisting friends of the site (and of Baseball Prospectus). Before we knew it, we had an extensive roster of smart fantasy minds representing big fantasy sites to go alongside the minds you already know and love here at The Dynasty Guru. So before I jump into talking about what this league is and why it exists, here are the owners that make up the 20 teams involved and their site affiliations:

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Rankings Counterpoint: Sell High on Matt Moore While You Still Can!

Right now you’re thinking “Matt Moore had an elite fantasy season in 2013. He made the All Star team and put up a fantastic 17-4 record with a stellar 3.29 ERA and had 143 strikeouts in 150 innings. That’s awesome! Why the Heck should I sell high on him?” Read on to find out…

The Good…

When Matt Moore was in the minor leagues he was talked about in the same breath as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper as a once in a generation uber-prospect. In fact Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, MLB.com and John Sickels all ranked Matt Moore ahead of Mike Trout on their Top 100 Prospects Lists in 2012! It was totally justified given Moore’s video game-like strikeout totals and ERAs in the minors. His 2nd major league start came when he pitched 7 shutout innings against the Rangers in the playoffs. Talk about bursting onto the scene in style!

He was a 22 year old rookie in 2012 and put up an encouraging 3.81 ERA, then he went all gangbusters in 2013 with that aforementioned 17-4 record and lights out 3.29 ERA. What’s not to like about that? Won’t he continue to get even more elite since he is still so young?

The Bad…

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Prospect Smackdown: Archie Bradley vs. Taijuan Walker

When I began asking for suggestions for this series a few months back before our focus on positional rankings, the TDG readers inundated me with interesting match ups of prospects of all sorts. You asked me to compare elite players. You asked me about J2 guys. You challenged me to write about players on the periphery of fantasy relevancy, and you ask about prospects who should have an impact in 2014.

However, there were two suggestions for Prospect Smackdown that came up far more frequently than any others. The first was Xander Bogaerts vs. Javier Baez, and while that never made it to print, it’s something my colleague Mauricio Rubio and I did discuss on our There Is No Offseason podcast here (minute 29).

The second was a battle between the two consensus top fantasy prospect arms right now in Bradley and Walker, and it’s an interesting challenge that will require going beyond a cursory look into statistics. If there’s one thing The Internet has taught me, it’s to give the people what they want. And so without further ado, here’s a look at two potential fantasy aces.

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