Dylan Bundy and the Post-Top Prospect Problem

Dylan Bundy is no longer fun to read about. You can trace the history of ‘Dylan Bundy Reading Enjoyment’ in headlines over the past 3 years here at TDG: The Number One Prospect for 2014 Is… (April 2013), Early Injuries to Three Major Prospects (April 2013), Forgotten/Undervalued MiLB Players (October 2013), Dylan Bundy and TINSTAAP (June 2014). You can trace Dylan Bundy’s rise and fall in Bret’s top 500 over the past 3 years:  

Feb 2013 June 2013 Feb 2014 June 2014 Feb 2015 June 2015
Dylan Bundy’s TDG Top 500 Rank 83 167 138 146 134 180

 

It was just a few years ago Bundy was a consensus best arm in the minor leagues. If he wasn’t the first Minor League arm picked up in dynasty leagues in 2012/2013, he probably should have been.  Since  2013, Bundy has pitched all of 63 innings. He heads into 2016 out of options, and has to be in the big leagues or will be exposed to waivers. He’s still got huge upside, but carries more risk than the average SP with injury concerns plus questions about the Orioles’ ability to develop arms.

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I Have A Need, A Need for A.J. Reed

As I write this piece I have just been eliminated from the semifinals of my fantasy football dynasty league.  It stinks to lose in the playoffs but I’m taking this one in stride.   It doesn’t take long for me to turn my eye towards my true love—my 16 team dynasty league.  Of course the league I am referring to is a baseball league because really that’s the only fantasy sport that matters.

This past season was a pretty solid one in my fantasy sports life as I was able to pull off the rare three-peat winning all of the baseball leagues I took part in.  It took me six-years to accomplish the feat in my aforementioned dynasty league and to stay on top I will need to be diligent.

One the keys to sustaining and building a winner is making your minor league draft count.  In my league anyone who is new to the ESPN player pool when the league re-launches after the two week maintenance period is fair game in our pre-season waiver draft.  This season my number one target is A.J. Reed.

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The Next Cuban Phenom: Raisel Iglesias

If you’re searching for a great trade target in dynasty leagues this off-season, then Raisel Iglesias is the player for you. What does one look for in a dynasty trade target? Ideally, they’d be young, at a discount, lacking name value, and have upside.  There’s not too many players out there that check off all those boxes, but Iglesias is one. The Cuban import is 25 and has appeared on a top prospect list just once.  Despite being the owner of 95.1 career innings of 4.15 ERA ball, Iglesias has substantial upside if everything goes right.  Iglesias has the talent to be a special player, and he’s flown under the radar for 95.1 innings too long.  It’s time to learn the name Raisel.

Like, Max Kepler, who I profiled last week, Iglesias has an unusual background. The Cuban import was signed to a seven-year, $27 million deal by the Reds in 2014 as a 24-year old.  Unlike many pitching prospects that take the opposite route to the majors, Iglesias went from a relief pitcher in Cuba to a starter in the United States. He was projected by many to be a bullpen arm, but the Reds saw the potential for more. So far, it looks like a brilliant move by the organization, as Iglesias has smoothly transitioned to the starting role. There’s still relief pitcher risk, but either way the righty should provide plenty of value.

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Embrace The Weird Format to Make Your League More Interesting

Regular TDG readers or TINO Podcast listeners will be familiar with the concept of what I’ll paraphrase as “weird formats.” Those same readers will be aware, then, that not everyone enjoys the weird format.

To me, the weird format is what separates our great game of dynasty fantasy baseball from the plebeian redraft leagues and nominally strategic DFS games. The weird format is a natural evolution within the closed ecosystem of a league, a microcosmic metaphor for human society and culture. It is in the weird format that we see dynasty baseball holding a mirror back on our society and saying “This is your vision of utopia. Given all the options before you for harmony, this is what you ended up with. Look upon my works, ye mighty.”

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Kenta Maeda Could Be Something More Than a Four

When it was announced that the Hiroshima Carp had decided to post Kenta Maeda, the right-hander finally got his long-awaited wish to play in the big leagues.

Us fantasy owners also got our wishes — the chances to own the long-time Carp ace on our respective teams. We’ve already started wondering what his fantasy value would be. Since I’m knows as an NPB guy here at TDG, this post was inevitable.

First, let me introduce his brief background.

Drafted out of PL Gakuen High School, which used to be one of the best powerhouses in the Japanese HS ball scene in 2006, Maeda has been one of the best pitchers in the NPB since his sophomore 2009 season. In his eight-year career, he’s posted a 2.39 ERA, given up ninety-even long balls, struck out 1233 while walking just 319 over 1509.2 innings. In each of his seven full seasons, he’s thrown no fewer than 175.2 frames.

Now, let’s take a look at his arsenal. Here’s Maeda pitching to major league hitters in last November’s MLB-NPB Series:

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Max Kepler, Potential Fantasy Stud

A lot of the time, minor league numbers don’t tell the whole story for prospects.  In fact, sometimes they are downright misleading and can result in an unfair shift in value for the player.  Minor league statistics can be the product of factors such as extreme offensive environments and ballparks, or swings in luck due to poor defense. But, there are some players that deserve to have their prospect stocks significantly rise or drop due to standout performances.  One of these players is Max Kepler, the Minnesota Twins’ 22-year old outfielder.  In Kepler’s first shot at Double-A, he blew away expectations with a .322/.416/.531 batting line, hitting nine home runs and stealing 18 bases in 112 games. He even earned a trip to the big leagues, receiving seven at bats and notching his first major league hit. It was a huge breakout year for the prospect and in this scenario, the numbers aren’t lying.

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Managing Major Changes In Your Dynasty League

Change is hard. We accept the status quo, even if we see flaws in the way things are. Trying to enact change can cause anxiety, fear of the unknown, or interpersonal strife. This is true in all walks of life, fantasy leagues included. Leagues that have been around for a while will inevitably evolve, but unfortunately the process is rarely painless. Leagues might move to a new site, implement new rules, add or remove teams, or close loopholes, and making changes to your fantasy league can lead to long arguments or hurt feelings. When managed incorrectly, little changes can blow up into huge problems that threaten to destabilize the entire league.

Fantasy leagues are microcosms of the same sort of group dynamics we all interact with daily. There are fields of study dedicated to change management, and how to disrupt organizations or cultures without destroying them. If you’re a commissioner trying to coordinate or manage a change to your league, or if you’re in a league currently going through changes and things aren’t running smoothly, the field of change management can provide some strategies to help improve your league without your attempts blowing up in your face. As Winston Churchill once said- “To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often.”

Even if your league allows for major decisions to be made unilaterally by the commissioner, or by a small group of managers, it’s always important to ensure everyone in the league is given adequate opportunity to buy in to any change. If they don’t buy in on a change, other managers in your league might feel resentful, deceived, or distrustful of the league’s future.

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