Dynasty Baseball

TDG Chat with Jesse Roche: Wed, Jan 31 11 AM EST

Join TDG Author and Prospect Expert Jesse Roche at 11:00 EST Wednesday, Jan 31 for a live chat. Submit your questions on the Dynasty Guru’s Catcher, First Base and Second Base rankings, prospects, or whatever else you need to know.

Ed. Note: While the chat has ended, Jesse will answer the remaining questions from the queue in the comments below.

Jesse Roche
Good morning, everyone!  This is my very first chat for The Dynasty Guru!
Earlier this morning, TDG released the 2018 Top 32 Fantasy Second Base Prospects: https://thedynastyguru.com/2018/01/31/2018-top-32-fantasy-second-base-…
Over the past 2 weeks, both the top catcher and first base prospects were also published.
Next up, the top third base prospects is set to publish on Saturday!
Now, let’s get to the questions!
Gus Chiggins
Is an OPS league enough to swing the #1 prospect from Acuna to Vlad Jr?
Jesse Roche
Ronald Acuna and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. are neck-and-neck for the top hitting prospect in dynasty leagues, regardless of format.  I value them similarly, but I slightly prefer Acuna, even in a 5×5 OPS league.  Acuna is a true 5 category stud.  Already, ZiPS projects a crazy 21/33 season from Acuna, on the back of 51 stolen base attempts.  Of course, if Acuna is only succeeding in 64% of stolen bases, you would have to wonder why the Braves would continue to let him run.  It is worth noting Acuna did get caught 20 times last year and he does not have elite speed.
Recently, both Baseball America and MLB.com assigned an unheard of 80-grade to Vlad, Jr.’s hit tool.  I really have difficulty buying an 80-grade for his hit.  In fact, I would even argue Acuna’s hit tool is superior to Vlad, Jr.’s!  Acuna is a line drive factory with power to all fields.  Vlad, Jr. is quite pull-heavy with almost strictly pull-side power.  Vlad, Jr. is damn impressive, dominating the FSL at just 18 and walking (14.4%) more than he struck out (11.8%), but the buzz he is receiving is a little overboard right now.  Final argument for Acuna: he is set to debut, and be here to stay, at some point this year.
My peak projections for Vlad, Jr. and Acuna are as follows:

Vlad, Jr.: .300/.390/.530, 30-35 home runs
Acuna: .290/.340/.470, 20-25 home runs, 20-25 stolen bases

As you might be able to tell, I prepared some of these answers before 11 am
It’ll start to slow down shortly, but to the next question!
Albies or Kingery at 2B in a dynasty league?
Jesse Roche
I prefer Ozzie Albies to Scott Kingery in dynasty leagues.  At just 20 years old, between Triple-A and the majors, Albies went 15/29.  As I detail in the 2018 Top 32 Fantasy Second Base Prospects, Kingery is unlikely to hit for the kind of power he exhibited in Double-A last year.  His second half ISO of .122 is closer to reality than his first half .307.  Can Kingery go 15/30?  Yes.  However, Kingery is also almost 24, is not on the 40-man roster, and unlikely to contribute much at the MLB level in 2018.  Albies, meanwhile, just turned 21 and is atop a young and improving Braves lineup.
Ryan has a mountain of questions, and I will try to get to them all, but I will take turns with other readers first.  Sharing is caring!
In a shallow dynasty, are you taking Luis Castillo or Forrest Whitley? Fully expect to only get one. Other options are Hoskins and Bo Bichette but have a pretty locked up offensive core
Jesse Roche
I always lean offense, especially in shallow leagues.  I would take Hoskins in a heartbeat out of those options.  It is a closer call between Castillo, Whitley, and Bichette.  If you can afford to wait on Whitley or Bichette, I prefer them both to Castillo.  If you need immediate production, then Castillo is your man.  Between Whitley and Bichette, I actually prefer Whitley.  He could be the rare and elusive No. 1 starter.  Bichette is a pure hitter if there ever was one, but it is uncertain how his speed and power will play.
Moncada seems to get a lot of hype as a base stealer, but if I recall he was originally supposed to be more of a power guy. I hear stuff like a peak of 20-40… I don’t believe those steals numbers but I believe in more power, am I wrong?  The minor league steal numbers seem overblown.
Jesse Roche
It depends on what power you expect.  Moncada showed some of it last year (.181 ISO – approx league-average for fantasy purposes) with 8 home runs in 231 plate appearance.  Over a full year, that is easy 20 home runs.  He certainly still has the peak 20-40 potential, but I am more included to think peak 30-20.  Grades of 60+ on his power still ring true.  He hits the ball hard to all fields.  The big question is whether projections regarding his hit tool (60) will follow through.  I have my doubts.  Lots and lots of swing and miss in his game.
Should I finally move on from Gausman. Have him in a 20 team deep dynasty. Was offered Austin Riley, Dansby Swanson and Woodruff for Gausman, Glasnow and a pick.
Jesse Roche
I will tackle each dilemma, one at a time.  First, you should not give up on Gausman.  Do you remember his second half last year?  He was electric!  With a 3.41 ERA, 1.2 WHIP and 96 Ks in 89 2/3 IP.  He still brings the heat (95 mph average), with a slider/splitter mix.  Unfortunately, he never developed his change up.  Pitching in Camden Yards and the AL East certainly does not help.  I do still like him.
Second, Riley/Swanson/Woodruff for Gausman/Glasnow/Pick.  Both Swanson and Glasnow lost their sheen after disastrous seasons.  I do still prefer Swanson to Glasnow (I own Glasnow in dynasty.  Sad face!).  Riley, I like a lot.  A write up will be posted on Saturday.  Big power, improving defense, and consistent 2nd half domination.  Only 20 years old.  Add Woodruff to the mix, who is better than his Triple-A numbers suggest (Colorado Springs is hell for pitchers), and it becomes intriguing.
Trades always depend on league size and rules, but in a 16-team league, I would do it (depending on this elusive pick).
I apologize again for the number of questions. I appreciate you considering them.
Jesse Roche
It is all good.  The more questions, the merrier.  I’ll tackle another of yours now.
What are your thoughts on Ryan Vilade? Is it for sure he ends up at 3rd?
Jesse Roche
I am a big fan of Vilade and TDG recently published a great article on him: https://thedynastyguru.com/2018/01/09/ryan-vilade-real-hidden-gem-rock…
He had an impressive debut in the hitter-friendly Pioneer League (so do not read everything into those numbers).  What is most intriguing is his advanced discipline for an 18-year-old, walking 27 times (18.5%) in 33 games.  He also hit line drives, with power, to all fields and had a ton of opposite field contact (45.8%).  Very promising bat.
Vilade played every single game in the field at shortstop, despite being announced as a third baseman.  The Rockies likely will continue to play Vilade at shortstop moving forward.  For someone so young, he has good hands and instincts for the position.  The big question is whether he has the athleticism and range for the position and, right now, I don’t think so.  We’ll see.
I will be listing him as a shortstop, but I will not his ranking in my third base list.
What can we reasonably expect from Ryan McMahon this year? Full time job for the entire season or should we expect some struggles? I love the idea of him hitting in Coors for a full year but the Rockies have a lot of young bats to find room for.
Jesse Roche
I really hope he earns/is given the full-time job, but I really doubt it.  Rumors abound regarding the Rockies pursuit of an outfielder (sorry, David Dahl and Raimel Tapia) or a first baseman.  Just recently the Rockies were linked to interest in Todd Frazier (imagine Frazier in Coors, yikes!).  Last I looked, Ian Desmond is penciled in at BOTH 1B and RF for the Rockies.  He can do it all!
I think a realistic outcome is McMahon makes the team, but as a bench bat, seeing time at 1B, 2B, and 3B (if they ever want to spell Arenado).  The real problem is even if the Rockies do not sign another bat, Desmond could kick over to 1B and Dahl/Tapia could play RF.  It is a cluster-f*ck situation.  Someone is going to rise to the top, hopefully McMahon.
Leave one out for a dynasty:  Bregman Hoskins Benintendi Devers Bellinger.  Already have Rizzo Trout Machado.
Jesse Roche
So much depends on league size/rules, but in a 16-team league with normal roster configuration, I would leave out Hoskins.  Bellinger is easily the top option for me.  After him, I value Bregman and Benintendi similarly.  They are easy keeps.  It comes down to Hoskins and Devers.  I personally prefer Devers.  Youth (21 v. 25), pedigree (elite prospect), and upside win the day for me.  It is certainly close and Hoskins was taken just 5 picks before Devers in TDGx2: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-1m_XF-AhUwFg-O3FzxVsfyAxgSeU3…
In a dynasty league where you have a minor league roster of 22 guys, what are your thoughts on rostering a catcher? Waste of time, or no?
Jesse Roche
It likely depends on league size, but if the price is right, it is always worthwhile to consider rostering a catching prospect.  Gary Sanchez and Willson Contreras come from somewhere.  I would just be wary of rostering the right one.  Too many catching prospects just do not have enough upside to warrant the cost.  When major outlets rank someone like Carson Kelly as a top 50 prospect, it is on the basis of his overall game (defense-heavy).  That said, Kelly likely should be rostered in a 22-deep minors (even in a 12-team league).  I would probably go as far as Alex Jackson in my rankings for up to 264 prospects, maybe consider Caratini, but more as a handcuff for Contreras owners.
Okay, another one.  Last keeper for a huge, 11 keeper team:  Inciarte, Hader, Lester?
Jesse Roche
I am an attorney, so you will hear a lot of hedging.  “It depends” is a constant part of my discourse.  So . . .
It depends on who the other 10 keepers are, what the league size/rules are, who you anticipate will be available.  Of those three, I would eliminate Hader.  He is a middle reliever for the foreseeable future.  Between Inciarte and Lester, I ever so slightly prefer Lester.  Inciarte just does not move the needle enough for me.  Of course, if you have a lot of starters lined up as keepers and no outfielders, maybe consider Inciarte.  Braves lineup is on the up-swing.
Thoughts on Max Schrock? St. Louis seems like a good opportunity for him.
Jesse Roche
My thoughts on Schrock are detailed fully here: https://thedynastyguru.com/2018/01/31/2018-top-32-fantasy-second-base-…
He can hit.  Not much else.  Joe Panik type for me.  Schrock has value in the right league, but for shallower leagues, I would stay away.  He certainly has opportunity in STL with only Kolten Wong standing in his way.
Gus Chiggins
High ceiling/floor power/speed OFs, who is your favourite? Taylor Trammell, Jo Adell, Monte Harrison
Jesse Roche
I rank them: (1) Trammell, (2) Adell, (3) Harrison.  It is important to note that Trammell is often dinged for defense and likely destined for RF.  In fact, the Reds played him in RF in favor of Jose Siri in CF last year in Low-A.  Even after being dinged for defense, he still is highly regarded.  Just a spectacular athlete with speed, developing power, and a surprisingly good approach.
Adell is raw and also is dinged for defense.  Big power though.
I am most concerned about Harrison’s hit tool
Lots and lots of swing and miss there, but he hits the ball hard.
All three are fantastic prospects.
Thoughts on the Yankees trio (and mine) of Abreu, Medina and Sauer?
Jesse Roche
Abreu is a borderline top 100 guy for me right now, but I have not deep dived starting pitching just yet.  Sexy 100 mph fastball, with 3 promising secondaries (curve, slider, changeup).  Huge upside if everything clicks for me.  Medina and Sauer are both solid, but better left for very deep leagues.  Both are far away.  I prefer Medina on the basis of his power arm.  Medina throws very hard, up to 100, like Abreu, but with less of a clue where it is going (scary!).  Sauer was a 2017 second rounder.  He has promising stuff, with a low-to-mid 90s fastball and solid secondaries.  Questions about whether Sauer can stick as a starter are concerning.  Of course, any of these three could be destined for the pen.
Looking at your Urias projection of 380 OBP… he’s done it in the minors but surely in the majors he will be challenged much more, lacking power. Can he really get there?  I love the prospect breakdowns btw, the details and depth are fantastic.
Jesse Roche
Thanks, Majnun!  I’ve received a lot of positive responses to the write ups and we have a lot more to come!
Luis Urias is a polarizing prospect.  When I read observers say they see power in his bat, I wonder what player they are watching.  I saw him live in San Antonio over the summer and he is a small human being.  It certainly did not help to be next to the stallion of Fernando Tatis, Jr.
He reminds me of J.P. Crawford at the plate.  Both battle like there is no tomorrow and spoil, spoil, spoil.  Urias is a pitcher’s worst nightmare.  He really is adept at hitting the ball where it is pitched and laying off close pitches.  Truly a potential elite hit tool.  The power is really the problem.  Just because the Jose’s (Altuve and Ramirez) exist, does not give hope to all pint-sized hitters.
Accountant here. So I get the “depends”.
Jesse Roche
Just edit/search the term “likely” in my articles.  I Austin Hedge everything

The Author

Jesse Roche

Jesse Roche

Jesse is an attorney, currently residing in Greensboro. An avid fantasy baseball player, Jesse has experience in a diverse range of leagues, including head-to-head, rotisserie, points, and simulation. Jesse is a five-time website-wide champion at Benchwarmer Baseball and a repeat champion of a dynasty league with John Sickels at Minor League Ball. With a specific interest in baseball prospects, Jesse plans to provide in-depth analysis of up-and-coming stars accessible to all league sizes and types.


  1. […] TheDyanstyGuru.com Chat – 10:00 AM CST […]

  2. January 31, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Layla: Do you like Castillo or Berrios more, next year and long term?

    I prefer Castillo to Berrios in both the short- and long-term. Castillo has 3 potentially plus pitches: he throws gas (97.7 mph average fastball) and his changeup and slider both graded out very well. Berrios does not have Castillo’s raw stuff and is really only a two-pitch pitcher right now (fastball/curve).

  3. January 31, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    B: i’m going to throw back 3 if not 4 of these guys for my milb draft . 16 teams, we roster 272 prospects. any of these guys have upside as more than a swing man or #4/5. i’m looking at upside with my SPs. Ragans, de la Cruz, Funkhouser, Peter Lambert

    B gave me league details! Good man/woman! I rank those four as follows: (1) Ragans, (2) Funkhouser, (3) de la Cruz, (4) Lambert. Ragans relies on tons of movement with 3 solid offerings to generate tons of strikeouts. Lots of projection left in his frame, could add velocity. Funkhouser is risky (as are most pitchers) with a recent injury. He was in the middle of a breakout before his season ended. Mid-90s fastball, nasty slider, improved change up and command, and, most importantly, 80-grade name. His arm could fall off though. Another injury-riddled arm, de la Cruz has electric stuff, but those injuries are maddening. Lambert is a Rockies pitcher. I tend to avoid Rockies pitchers as a general rule. He survived the swirling winds of Lancaster though–not an easy feat. Lot of upside if he ever leaves the thin air.

  4. January 31, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Ryan: I know it’s still way to early to give up on him, but the reports on Delvin Perez have not been kind. Is there any hope?

    Obi-Wan Kenobi may be Perez’s only hope. With that said, he is only 19 years old and remains tooled up. His sample size from last year was so small it is difficult to read too much into it. Perez did show good plate discipline, but had his bat knocked out of his hands with weak contact all year. Young players require patience.

  5. January 31, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Rod: What are the chances that Eloy Jimenez is in the show this season?

    100%. He is on the 40-man roster. He’ll be up in September, if not sooner.

  6. January 31, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Jim: Knowing you haven’t done your deep dive on SPs yet, what are you thinking on Kaprielian? I know he’s coming off the TJ, but prior to that the hype was real. The park change seems like a benefit as well.

    Prior to TJ surgery, Kaprielian was throwing 93+ with a deep repertoire, including 3 above-average to plus secondaries. That has the makings of a #2 SP. Of course, health is a huge concern. He is a great flier while his value is so low.

  7. January 31, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Ryan: Will DL Hall bust the trend of Baltimore pitching prospect duds?

    Hard to say this early. As a teenage pitching prospect, Hall is super risky and far, far away. He has nice upside as a lefty who touches 95 mph. As for other B’More arms, do not give up on Hunter Harvey yet!

  8. January 31, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Ryan: Thanks for taking these questions today. I drafted Mark Vientos late in my first year player draft. All the comps on him seem pretty exciting. Are you in on him?

    The rest of the questions are from Ryan. Sorry the chat ended so abruptly. It appears 1000 reader minutes flies by!

    Vientos will be discussed in the top shortstops article forthcoming next week. He is very young, just turned 18, and not particularly athletic. I think the chances he sticks at shortstop are close to 0%. Like Vilade, Vientos was announced as a third baseman and his hands/instincts do play well at shortstop. With a frame to dream on (6’4″), Vientos could develop plus power with a plus hit tool. He held his own (.259/.316/.397) in the Gulf Coast League at just 17 years old. Exciting bat.

  9. January 31, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Ryan: Outside of Ben Badler, it’s been hard to nail down any info on Julio Pablo Martinez. Are you a believer?

    My information regarding Julio Pablo Martinez is limited. Based on his performance in Cuba at 20 years old (.333/.469/.498 with 6 home runs, 24 stolen bases, 52 walks/30 strikeouts), he has lots of promise. For context, Luis Robert hit .401/.526/.687 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases (30/38 K/BB) that same year at just 18 years old. More recently, JPM played in the CanAm independent league, hitting .297/.345/.449 with 7 homers and 20 stolen bases (56/17 K/BB).

    From video, JPM appears to have a quick, powerful bat, but his swing looks a bit long to me. Reports on his speed are all positive. JPM is probably somewhere between Robert and Eddy Martinez in terms of talent.

  10. January 31, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Ryan: Is Chris Shaw a 1st Baseman or an outfielder? The power is there, but does he hit enough to be fantasy relevant?

    The Giants really want Shaw to be an outfielder, but he has Mark Trumbo range out there. Shaw conquered Double-A Richmond last year, which is impressive. I used to live in Richmond and I know very well how difficult it is to hit in that ballpark, so so many low scoring games. He makes lots of hard, all fields contact with plus power. I think he can hit enough, despite contact concerns.

  11. January 31, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Ryan: What is more likely for Anthony Banda? Bullpen arm or number 3 starter?

    Bullpen arm. Arizona has a loaded rotation and Banda is really a two-pitch pitcher (fastball/curve), though his change up is passable. As a starter, Banda will be stretched and is more likely a 4/5 than a 3.

  12. January 31, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Ryan: I scooped up Nate Pearson in a minor league draft and am really excited about it. That is all.

    You should be. Pearson is a stud. 70-grade fastball, improving secondaries and control. Watch out!

  13. January 31, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Ryan: Does AJ Minter end up closing for the Braves this year?

    Not impossible, but unlikely. Vizcaino is not too shabby.

  14. January 31, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Last question!

    Ryan: The shine seems to be wearing off on Brendan Rodgers? Is this just an example of prospect fatigue, or are there genuine concerns about him now?

    There are genuine concerns. I mentioned Lancaster above, but Rodgers’ insane High-A numbers are almost entirely a product of Lancaster (.461/.488/.809 at home). Outside of Lancaster, he still performed well, but not as well as you would otherwise think. He also only walked 14 times in 400 plate appearances (3.5%) and his aggressive approach masked some swing-and-miss issues. Finally, it appears he is destined for second base as he lacks the athleticism and range for shortstop.

    With all that said, Rodgers is still an elite fantasy prospect as he has undeniable power and plays for the Rockies. At just 21 years old, he will return to Double-A Eastern League, a difficult transition. A big, turning point year is ahead of him.

  15. Ryan
    January 31, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks again for taking all my questions. I apologize if I forced others to be left out.

    • January 31, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks for the all the questions! I got to them all. No one was left out.

  16. Greg
    January 31, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Blast from the past, Taylor Guererri now with the Twins, do you think he might be a diamond in the rough? He was pretty special for a while.

    • January 31, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      Does Guerrieri still have a right elbow after surgery and injuries? Unclear. When he was last truly seen in action (2016), his velocity was in the upper-80s (from the mid-90s) and his curve lacked as much bite. If his velocity returns, he could be a thing. Otherwise, he looks like organizational depth.

      Last I heard, Guerrieri was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays in November.

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2018 Top 32 Fantasy Second Base Prospects