The Dynasty Guru Experts’ League Standings Update — #TDGX
Regular readers of this website know that we started a new dynasty league this year composed of expert fantasy baseball writers from all over the Internet, including all of the big names like Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, ESPN and CBS Sports. The main reason our fearless leader Bret Sayre created the league is so that you, our loyal readers, can see us in action in a highly competitive dynasty format and hopefully pick up some knowledge and strategy that can help you win your leagues. Our goal is to be very transparent with our thought processes and explain to you every move we make. We have been talking about the league in many articles throughout the Spring and Summer here at TDG, and some of the team owners have written about the league and their teams on other websites such as FakeTeams and ROTOscouting. We have been using the hashtag #TDGX to discuss the league on Twitter, so be sure to follow the action there too and feel free to chime in with your thoughts.
We planned to make the league website hosted on CBS Sports viewable to the public but so far we have been stymied. If anyone knows how we can make that happen please advise in the comments below. Since you cannot actually go to our league site and browse the standings and the rosters (at least not yet) I will be posting periodic updates here. If there is anything else you would like to see just ask and I will do my best to include it in the next update.
I will summarize the league setup here, but for a more in-depth overview of how it all got started read this: Welcome to The Dynasty Guru Experts’ League. The league is a dynasty league of course, with 30 man rosters plus a 10 man minor league roster. We can keep 35 players each year. There are 20 teams owned by experts (20 teams x 40 players = 800 rostered players plus about 50 on the DL, now that’s a deep league!). It is a 5×5 roto league with weekly lineups and transactions. We start 14 batters and 9 pitchers each week.
The league has been extremely active thus far, with frequent trades and many adds/drops every week. In fact, there have already been 30 separate trades since Opening Day. That is about one trade every other day. Actually April was fairly quiet on the trading front, but then we had a trading explosion throughout May when a few teams decided they were not going to win this year and began “blow-it-up-and-rebuild” programs. That triggered a feeding frenzy among the contending teams who pillaged the rosters of the rebuilders. It was a great time to sell because there were so many buyers bidding up the prices on the available players. There is a tip for you: If you are going to sell do it while there are still plenty of buyers to fight over your goods. If you wait too long there may only be one or two teams interested in what you are trying to sell and therefore your return haul will not be as sweet.
Every week Bret posts a recap of all the prior week’s transactions complete with comments from the owners who made them. It has been very enlightening to be able to delve into their minds for tidbits of strategy and insight that you simply don’t get to see anywhere else. I love it. You can read the latest report here.
With this many talented owners in one ultra-competitive league it is interesting to see all the various strategies being employed. Some teams are going all out to win the inaugural title this year by drafting and trading for the best players regardless of age. Some teams didn’t even try to win this year, instead building strong foundations of very young players in an effort to dominate the league in a couple years. Other teams are attempting to burn their candle at both ends by trying to win now and later. Can it be done? It remains to be seen. Some teams tried to win now but suffered injuries or got off to a bad start for another reason, then quickly changed gears and went into rebuilding mode. Some teams got off to bad starts but are attempting to patch their holes in an effort to climb back into contention. Some teams are standing pat and haven’t made many moves at all, feeling their current players will perform better in the future.
There has been a very MoneyBall-like effort to find the undervalued commodity and exploit it. Some teams have been hoarding prospects, others have been dealing prospects for veterans, some have been stockpiling draft picks. Since it is a roto league rather than a points league it is not enough just to gather the best players. You have to make sure you balance your roster across each of the 10 categories to maximize your total roto points. It adds another layer of strategy that you just don’t get in a straight points league.
Now that some of the top prospects like Springer, Polanco, Heaney and Taveras are reaching the major leagues will we see a change in the balance of power in the standings? Maybe some of the mid-range teams are filling holes in their starting lineups with hot young studs while in the meantime those young studs are stealing playing time from older players who were scoring points for some of the contending teams. All of a sudden one or more of the high-flying teams might start losing ground as a result. There is still a lot of time left in this season and I am sure the final standings will look much different than the current state of affairs.
Now let’s present the standings and follow them up with comments from some of the team owners themselves:
1st 181.50 Team McKahn — Ian Kahn (RotoRob, Hollywood Actor — George Washington in AMC channel’s “Turn”), Tim McLeod (RotoRob)
The goal was to compete from the start, and we’ve been very fortunate to have been largely free of the injury bug. We were also fortunate to get above expected performance from Tanaka (6th round), Dozier (11th round), Markakis (15th round), Morse (19th Round), Dee Gordon (20th round), and Chavez (39th round). We have also benefited from “win-now” deals, that have helped us in the first half. We’re going to keep plugging along, and hope for good fortune. — Ian
2nd 172.00 Team Doran — Nick Doran (The Dynasty Guru, Blazing Fastball)
I am pleased with my season so far. I really haven’t had to deviate from my planned strategy hardly at all. I planned to draft all of my hitters, then all of my pitchers, then all of my prospects and was able to do exactly that. I ended up trading 8 of the 10 prospects I drafted to improve my starting pitching. I have managed to acquire Dan Haren, Hiroki Kuroda, Wade Miley, Brandon McCarthy and Collin McHugh to bolster my staff. My biggest surprise is that I have been able to maintain the 2nd best ERA and WHIP with my cobbled together pitching staff despite not drafting a starting pitcher until the 16th round of a 20 team draft (it was Dillon Gee). I have had a few injuries but not to my best players, so I have been fortunate there. I will keep grinding and hope I can claw my way to a championship. — Nick
3rd 165.50 Team Shlain — Nick Shlain (RotoWire)
4th 140.00 Team Crawford — Chris Crawford (ESPN, MLB Draft Insider)
All in all, I’m pretty pleased with how my season has gone so far. I’ve battled the injury bug, but considering that a large portion of my selections early were of the prospect variety, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how things have gone. There are some guys that can’t possibly keep up what they’re doing, but the pitching is going to be there all year (I hope anyway) and I think I’ve made some trades to improve the lineup. I don’t think I’m a candidate to win it all, but just being in that “group” is good enough for me this year. — Chris
5th 139.00 Team Sayre — Bret Sayre (Baseball Prospectus, The Dynasty Guru)
6th 130.50 Team Karaman — Wilson Karaman (Baseball Prospectus, The Dynasty Guru)
I wrote an in-depth two-part analysis checking in on my squad a couple weeks back (Part I, Part II), and the basic takeaways were that my team had performed about on par with expectation out of the gate but was in need of a couple upgrades to bolster my batting average and power offensively, as well as a shot in the arm to the top of my rotation. Despite semi-aggressively working the phones I haven’t been able to obtain any of those upgrades as yet, and as they say it’s starting to get late early around here. — Wilson
7th 126.00 Team Carsley — Ben Carsley (Baseball Prospectus, The Dynasty Guru)
8th 118.00 Team ChateSonn — Luke Chatelain (The Dynasty Guru), Adam Sonnet (The Dynasty Guru)
After landing the 20th pick in this years draft we weren’t entirely sure what 2014 would look like for us knowing that all the elite talent would be off the board before we even got to pick. Because of this we went with a short to mid term strategy, grabbing some youngsters (Buxton, Polanco, Soler, Taijuan Walker) and some oldies (Cuddyer, Bautista) with an eye toward re-assessing each month. So far the season has been a bit of a mixed bag, which was kind of expected, but since we were in the top half of the standings we decided to trade in a couple of our prospects (Soler and Walker) to land some vets who’d been performing well (Pujols and Price). We’re still waiting to see if these trades bear fruit but if we stay near the back half of the top ten I’m sure we’ll be looking to sell them at the trade deadline. — Luke
9th 116.00 Team CielyMitch — Jake Ciely (RotoExperts), Chris Mitchell (RotoExperts)
10th 96.50 Team Rosenbaum — Mike Rosenbaum (Bleacher Report, RotoWorld)
11th 90.00 Team MBTDG — Mike Buttil (The Dynasty Guru, Razzball, ROTOscouting), Paul Clewell
Our team is built around young major leaguers and prospects, so we weren’t expecting a ring out of the gate. With the Hand penalty, we’ll throw back 20 players. This made it easier to sell off some fringe assets for picks in next year’s draft. We now have 16 picks overall and 11 in the first three rounds. We’re excited about the future of our team which has hovered near the top half of the standings without any real push on our part. — Mike
12th 87.50 Team Sussman — JD Sussman (FanGraphs, Bullpen Banter), Nathaniel Stoltz (FanGraphs)
13th 87.00 Team Newman — Mike Newman (ROTOscouting)
When we drafted a bunch of twenty something’s and three of the best young starters in the game, it became apparent Team ROTOscouting was built for the long haul. And when first round pick Jose Fernandez succumbed to Tommy John, any thought of competing abruptly ended and we began a slow slide down the TDGX standings. Since then, Robbie Erlin and Gerrit Cole have also gone down with injuries. Our staff of young starters has been reduced to rubble with Johnny Cueto holding it together. Speaking of Cueto, it’s a great time to sell him to the highest bidder and add a few bats. Anthony Rizzo has been strong, but early draft picks Pedro Alvarez and Eric Hosmer have been disappointing. Plus, the outfielder has been a mash unit too and none of the Double-A/Triple-A sleepers expected to be up and producing by now have. Overall, it’s been a season with few pleasant surprises and plenty of heartbreak. — Mike
14th 82.00 Team Kantecki — Alex Kantecki (Baseball Prospectus, The Dynasty Guru)
So far I’ve made one big trade with my eye on the future: I sent Jayson Werth, Francisco Rodriguez, David DeJesus and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Chris Crawford for Nick Castellanos, Eddie Rosario and Tyler Glasnow. I’m not ready to deal cornerstones such as Miggy Cabrera, Carlos Gomez or Stephen Strasburg, but I’ve been intrigued by the number of quality proposals for my studs. I need to work on building a better outfield, and my starting pitching is laughable outside of Strasburg and the surprising Tanner Roark. I still believe I have a core that can compete in 2015, but I’ll need to hit the trade market harder to make it happen. I’m hoping to capitalize with championship hopeful teams closer to the deadline, but I’m still exploring smaller trades in the meantime. — Alex
15th 80.50 Team GoldRubio — Craig Goldstein (Baseball Prospectus, The Dynasty Guru, SB Nation), Mauricio Rubio (Baseball Prospectus, Cubs Den)
Craig just wrote a full article on his team’s fortunes… TDGX: Update on GoldRubio
16th 77.00 Team Cwik — Chris Cwik (CBS Sports, FanGraphs)
Obviously, things haven’t gone well for me thus far. A part of it is poor drafting, but the other killer for me has been injuries. I lost Brandon Beachy prior to the year, and have had to deal with significant injuries to Alex Cobb, Chase Headley and Brandon Belt throughout the season. On top of that, I tend to take things slow when joining these types of leagues. I’m still trying to get a feel for how players and draft picks are valued, which is why I’ve been slow to make big moves. I don’t enjoy being in the bottom of the league, but I think it would be even worse to make a bad trade that ruins multiple seasons for me. I’m taking things slow, basically. — Chris
17th 74.00 Team Hunt — Jason Hunt (FakeTeams)
To say that my season hasn’t gone according to plan is probably a gross understatement, and it’s been pretty much across the board in terms of where things haven’t worked. At this point, the goal is to build for the future, and continue to look for future value as the season progresses. — Jason
18th 56.50 Team BaldBarn — Noel Baldwin (The Dynasty Guru), Andy Barnes (The Dynasty Guru)
After the draft we felt that our team had a chance to finish in the top 1/4 of the league, if everything went right for us. We were decimated by injuries early on and that combined with sub-par performances sprinkled all over our roster, it was apparent to us that we would be sellers this summer. Our timeline has always been 2015-2017 and a large majority of our keepers fit that perfectly. We’ve reloaded our farm with high ceiling players geared towards that timeline with our recent trades and we’re not done yet. It’ll be fun to watch how we can impact the teams with championship aspirations down the stretch. — Andy
19th 46.00 Team Glaseau — Craig Glaser (Bloomberg Sports, MLB Advanced Media), Tom Trudeau (Bloomberg Sports, ESPN, MLB Advanced Media)
Team Bloomberg Sports/MLBAM currently sits in second to last place and the only surprise is that we’re not firmly in last. Tom and I co-manage another dynasty team and our experiences in that league pushed us in the direction of playing for the future. We felt that drafting for the future, taking young high upside MLBers (like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado) and loading up on prospects who we liked would allow us to eventually build a more sustainable team in a league like this. We figured that we would be able to make some trades at some point during this season to add established MLB talent at a steep discount compared to the draft and feel that our trades for Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and Michael Cuddyer will speed up our timeline for becoming competitive. Overall the first season has gone according to plan and we hope that this is the only season where you’ll find us near the bottom of the standings. — Craig
20th 34.50 Team Breen — JP Breen (Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, Disciples of Uecker)
To view more articles discussing The Dynasty Guru Experts League (#TDGX) just click here: TDGX Articles
That’s it for this update. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Got any advice? Want any advice? How can we better use this expert’s league to help you win your league?