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The Dynasty Guru Experts League — July Update #TDGX

As you know by now, all of the writers here at TDG have been playing in an epic 20-team dynasty league with fantasy baseball writers from all over the Internet. Matching wits with some of the best players in the country has proven to be quite a challenge and a ton of fun — exactly the way a fantasy league should be. There are several teams still in the hunt for the inaugural championship, while others are building for next year and beyond. Below you will find the complete standings as well as plenty of enlightening comments from the team owners themselves.

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.

Our goal is to share with our readers all of our strategies. We want to let you know not only what we did but why we did it. Each week Bret posts an article detailing all the trades and waiver wire pickups complete with comments from the team owners who made them. You can see the last one here: TDGX Transaction Report. It is great to get inside the minds of the experts as their strategies unfold all season long. There have been lots of articles here on TDG and on several other websites as well. You can also follow the league on Twitter by searching #TDGX to see us brag and bellyache about our teams’ trials and tribulations.

A group of TDG readers got together and formed a clone of the #TDGX league. We have been wondering how their league is going,so perhaps some of them will chime in with a full report in the comments below to let us know what is happening there.

You can compare the standings below to the June TDGX Update to see how things have changed.

It seems like every team has employed a different strategy right from the start. Each owner’s plan was different starting with the Invisible Hand draft slot bidding process, throughout the draft itself, and proceeding into the season. Some teams have made a lot of trades, others none. Some teams spent their entire Free Agent Budget in the first couple weeks, some teams are still sitting on the full $100. A few teams never tried to win in 2014, instead scheming to build squads full of minor leaguers hoping they will mature in unison into a titanic powerhouse a few years down the road. Some teams tried to win this year but quickly shifted into rebuilding mode after starting off slowly. There are still several teams trying hard to win glory this year and luckily I am one of the teams with an outside chance of catching the leader.

Since the last update Team McKahn pulled out to a 20 point lead for a week or so, but has drifted back to the pack a bit in recent days. We are still seeing quite a lot of fluidity in the standings, which is not surprising considering there are 20 teams in the league. We are approaching the August 7th trade deadline. Will we see a flurry of last-minute trading action? Teams in the middle of the standings are going to have to decide quickly whether to go for it or try to sell off some pieces to rebuild for next year.

Here are the Roto Point Standings:

TDGX July 2014 Standings

The impact mover since the June update has been Team ChateSonn. They went from 8th place to 4th place by gaining a whopping 30 points and are now solidly in contention for a championship, especially if they are able to maintain their upward momentum. The promotion of Gregory Polanco has given them a boost and serves as an example of what can happen when a team’s investment in prospects begins to pay dividends in the big leagues. Team Hunt moved from 17th to 12th, so he must be doing something right as well.

Comments from the team owners:

1st 180.00 Team McKahn — Ian Kahn (RotoRob, Actor — George Washington in AMC channel’s “Turn”), Tim McLeod (RotoRob)

We’ve had a pretty strong lead for awhile now, but it is a long season, and things are getting tighter. We like our squad, but anything can happen in the next 9 weeks, so we will not rest on any laurels. We are looking to survive the loss of Tanaka, Cashner, and Cain. We have some depth to deal from our bats, but we need to find another SP. Also Jay Bruce has underperformed fabulously all season. If he were to get on one of his streaks for 3 weeks, we would be in better shape.
It is the 11th round Dozier, the 19th round Morse, the 20th round Dee Gordon, the 26th round Melancon and the 39th round Chavez who have kept us strong throughout the year with over-performance of expectations. However, the Nicks, both Shlain and Doran are breathing down our necks and I’m not sure that Shane Greene and Phil Hughes are going to be the answer.  Open to ideas league mates. #FlagsFlyForever, and we are willing to pay. — Ian
2nd 167.00 Team Doran — Nick Doran (The Dynasty Guru, Blazing Fastball)

My team has lost 5 points since the last update but I am back in 2nd place after being in 3rd for most of July. My offense hit a cold stretch as guys like Freddie Freeman, Josh Donaldson and Alexei Ramirez slumped. Shane Victorino missed several weeks on the DL and took a good chunk of my stolen base production with him. Kendrys Morales has been a big disappointment so far but he seems to be coming around. My cobbled-together pitching staff lost a few points in ERA and WHIP but gained ground in Ks and Wins.

Prior to the season my #1 goal was to dominate the hitting stats with around 95 points on offense and I have been able to do that. I must say that since I spent my first 14 draft picks on hitters I thought I would have a bigger lead in some of those offensive categories than I currently have. Kudos to my competitors for catching me. My #2 goal was to scratch out 70 points in the pitching categories and I have been able to do that as well despite not drafting a starting pitcher until the 309th pick of the draft. I thought I would need somewhere in the range of 165-170 points to claim first place. That was a miscalculation because it is apparent that it is going to take closer to 180 points to win this league.

The biggest pleasant surprise on my team has been Michael Brantley, whom I drafted with the 252nd overall pick. The worst surprise has been the aforementioned Kendrys Morales, who not only failed to find a team until mid June but has played like garbage since then. Scott Kazmir has saved my tail on the pitching side of things. I thought he would be good but certainly not this good. Pleasant prospect surprises have been the Reds Jesse Winker, and Michael Lorenzen along with Aaron Blair of the Diamondbacks.

Moving forward I don’t see my team gaining too many more points. If I can get back in the low 170’s I will be happy. Staying where I am is going to be difficult and will require my team to remain healthy. I am going to need Team McKahn to stumble a bit if I am going to win the trophy. — Nick

3rd 165.00 Team Shlain — Nick Shlain (RotoWire)

4th 148.00 Team ChateSonn — Luke Chatelain (The Dynasty Guru), Adam Sonnet (The Dynasty Guru)

Things have really starting clicking for the Chatelain/Sonnett squad and after a bit of a slow start we’ve pulled all the way up into the top 4. Can we sneak into the top 3….ehhh maybe. Hopefully?!? A big 2nd half for Chris Davis and the continued emergence of Gregory Polanco should go a long way but we’ll need contributions up and down our lineup for us to keep moving up. Along with the good showing so far this year I’m pretty happy with where our team lines up for next. We didn’t sacrifice any keepers for the original draft and still have uber-prospect Buxton waiting in the wings. — Luke

5th 137.50 Team Karaman — Wilson Karaman (Baseball Prospectus, The Dynasty Guru)

Team Karaman made a strong run through the first half of July, but stagnated quickly and has now regressed a bit. Offensively my fatal weakness is batting average. I haven’t played in a non-OBP league in a long time, and my draft strategy didn’t account nearly enough for some differences in player valuation on guys like Mike Napoli, Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn. I’ve also gotten below-expectation performance from several additional players including Longoria, Butler, and Cabrera. I’ve followed a strategy of sacrificing potential in the rest of the offensive categories in favor of playing catch-up in average over the last couple weeks with empty production types like Ichiro and Daniel Nava, but it hasn’t been a viable strategy. The good news is that AVG is a tightly packed affair. If I can acquire a bit of talent and get a couple timely bouncebacks there’s opportunity for gain here. Bigger picture my offense is strong (it rates 4th overall) but a cut below the elite of the league.

On the pitching side things were improving steadily through June and into the first half of July, and that was the primary driver of my run up the standings during that stretch. It has since taken a couple steps back over the past week, with disasters from Garza (who was tremendous through his first three turns in my rotation), Lee, and by default Shelby Miller. But I remain tentatively optimistic about further gains in strikeouts, WHIP, and ever-important Wins, the latter of which being a category where I could just as easily gain four points as lose three over the next few weeks.

The whole package adds up to a team that has peaked as high as 4th (145.5 points) but has a true talent anywhere from 4th to 7th. It leaves me in something of an unpleasant in-between position, as my roster construction hints at being at the height or just beyond its win curve peak as currently constructed. I’m undecided as yet about how aggressively to pursue present upgrades as the trade deadline approaches, as better value may be more easily negotiated in the off-season. — Wilson

6th 136.50 Team Crawford — Chris Crawford (ESPN, MLB Draft Insider)

7th 132.00 Team Sayre — Bret Sayre (Baseball Prospectus, The Dynasty Guru)

To be honest, it’s been a disappointing initial season for me in this league although I’ve been hovering in the top seven or eight the entire way. Pitching has been my biggest strength so far, as my steal of Felix Hernandez in the third round of the draft has paid off quite nicely and he’s been complemented well by Cole Hamels, C.J. Wilson and Jason Hammel. Additionally, my undying love for Zach Britton has finally paid off, as he’s more than made up for John Axford hitting the showers early. Unfortunately, my offense continues to linger in the middle of the pack, with very little traction in speed. I’ve gotten good performances from Justin Upton, the ageless David Ortiz, Neil Walker and Derek Norris, but the 50-60 steals I was hoping to get out of Michael Bourn and Nori Aoki has turned into just 14 thus far. With only two points in steals it’s tough to compete with the high-flying teams in Year One.

As for what this team’s future holds, I ended up drafting with a window of 2014-2016 in mind and my hope is that in 2015 I will make a better run at a title. The pieces I drafted on the minor league side have been hit or miss, but have given me a couple of nice chips in Clint Frazier and Tim Anderson for if/when I decide to make a decent upgrade to the major league roster. Considering it was not a high priority for me during the draft, my minor league roster is doing what it needs to do–working to provide trade chips. The confidence level remains high. but there’s always a chance that some of my more high profile veterans hit the market next summer. — Bret

8th 117.50 Team Carsley — Ben Carsley (Baseball Prospectus, The Dynasty Guru)

9th 107.50 Team CielyMitch — Jake Ciely (RotoExperts), Chris Mitchell (RotoExperts)

As things currently stand our team has been pretty disappointing based on the feeling we had after the original draft. We have had some injuries (James Paxton/Aroldis Chapman/Wil Middlebrooks) and we have had some disappointments (Dustin Pedroia/Allen Craig/Mike Minor/Starling Marte/Jonathan Villar) but we have also had some very nice surprises (Lucas Duda/Nelson Cruz/Jake deGrom). We have been pretty surprised (outright shocked may be more accurate) by some of the trades so far and sit a little unsure of what to expect when looking to make trades in the coming weeks. We have a veteran group that has disappointed and that could be difficult to get enough value in trade to warrant selling out. We don’t have a large amount of elderly players that we would be willing to trade at significant discounts but we do have an abundance of saves and a few elite players that could be of some value to a team looking to upgrade. — Chris

10th 104.50 Team Rosenbaum — Mike Rosenbaum (Bleacher Report, RotoWorld)

11th 93.50 Team Kantecki — Alex Kantecki (Baseball Prospectus, The Dynasty Guru)

12th 86.50 Team Hunt — Jason Hunt (FakeTeams)

13th 84.00 Team GoldRubio — Craig Goldstein (Baseball Prospectus, The Dynasty Guru, SB Nation), Mauricio Rubio (Baseball Prospectus, Cubs Den)

14th 83.00 Team MBTDG — Mike Buttil (The Dynasty Guru, Razzball, ROTOscouting), Paul Clewell

Our team is just kind of sailing along. We’ve only got so much roster space heading into 2015, so no major moves in the works. Boring, but it’s not our turn to compete yet and we’re also not in a full rebuild. — Mike

15th 82.50 Team Newman — Mike Newman (ROTOscouting)

16th 81.00 Team Cwik — Chris Cwik (CBS Sports, FanGraphs)

Injuries have wrecked my pitching staff, while poor offensive performances have sunk my hitting. I don’t think Chase Headley, Jean Segura, Carlos Santana or Matt Kemp are really this bad, and that puts me in a weird spot. With bounce-backs and better luck, I don’t think I would be this bad. While I can attempt to make trades in order to improve for the future, the only deals I received have been for what I consider my core players. The prospect of dealing established stars for guys who may become relevant in 3-4 years doesn’t exactly excite me. — Chris

17th 73.50 Team Sussman — JD Sussman (FanGraphs, Bullpen Banter), Nathaniel Stoltz (FanGraphs)

18th 43.00 Team Glaseau — Craig Glaser (Bloomberg Sports, MLB Advanced Media), Tom Trudeau (Bloomberg Sports, ESPN, MLB Advanced Media)

It’s too soon to (Aaron) judge whether our process is more 2014 Astros or 2013 Red Sox-eqsue, but our bet was that by delaying gratification in year one and focusing on young talent we could dramatically increase our odds of winning down the road. Due to some prospect luck on draft day (we’re not soothsayers) and a couple of trades for injured MLB veterans (Reyes, Fielder, Cuddyer), we’re hopeful that we can compete next year.

One problem we have run into as we seek to cash in on some of the standout prospects at the lower levels (eg Stewart, Severino, McMahon) is that few, if any teams are conceding 2015 value via trade. It’s unclear if it’s stubbornness or thoughtful patience, but even owners at the end of the standings believe they’re still contenders next year. Not that we’re bitter about that at all… it makes perfect sense that one tough injury took you from first place to 17th. (I’m bitter about this.) — Tom

19th 40.00 Team BaldBarn — Noel Baldwin (The Dynasty Guru), Andy Barnes (The Dynasty Guru)

As Andy explained in the last update, 19th isn’t where we expected to find ourselves, but with the combination of health and performance issues our guys had we made the choice to move some of our best assets and move our competitive window a year or two down the road. Since the last update we have only made one additional move of significance – making perhaps the most controversial trade in TDGX history (to date) by sending Drew Smyly to Luke Chatelain for Jaime Garcia and some draft picks. Andy explained that move already. We will look to see if there are moves to be made to set us up successfully for the future and in the meantime continue enjoying the exploits of Kris Bryant, Corey Seager, and others in the minors whom we can dream on. — Noel

20th 37.50 Team Breen — J.P. Breen (Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, Disciples of Uecker)

I’ve been focused on 2015 and beyond for the better part of the season. The whole league has stagnated a bit in terms of trades, as a small number of teams are pushing for the ’14 crown and those teams don’t have much to offer in terms of young talent (at least, with whom they’re willing to part). My strategy was to sell early and grab certain prospects I liked who were close to contributing in 2015 because (1) I didn’t want to compete for players with other teams who were selling, and (2) I didn’t see the top teams having much to sell. I think that’s largely come to fruition. Buyers are only looking to move bench pieces or low-level prospects, while sellers are trying to acquire core pieces or high-level prospects. It’s not a recipe for movement. I’m not prepared to compete for a TDGX title in 2015. However, I should be in a better position than most to keep my rebuilding period as short as possible, as other teams will be stuck in a holding pattern or be forced to rebuild through volatile talent in the low minors. Neither of which is overly attractive in my position. I’m not working from a perfect strategy, but it’s one that I greatly prefer to the other available ones. — J.P.

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? Ask all your questions below!


Nick Doran writes all kinds of cool stuff about the game’s ultimate flamethrowers at Blazing Fastball and will answer your baseball questions on Twitter @BlazingFastba11.

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Nick Doran

Nick Doran


  1. […] make that serve your best interests. As I’ve discussed in check-in pieces several times recently (July June May), my squad is a strong team that currently sits a cut below the most elite teams in the […]

  2. […] Team McKahn has pulled out to a commanding lead, having gained 11 points in the standings since last month’s update. It is going to take a monumental comeback of epic proportions for anybody to catch him now. He has […]

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