Dynasty Baseball

TDG Guilty Pleasures For 2018

While all of us here at The Dynasty Guru participate actively in the Consensus Ranking process and believe our fearless leader Bret knows what he’s talking about, we don’t always agree with our rankings. We each of us have guilty pleasures we love and own across multiple leagues despite what the rankings (or projections or statcast or logic) might say. It’s ok to have guilty pleasures– the fantasy baseball equivalent of religiously watching the Bachelor or knowing not just the words but the Genius annotations to Bodak Yellow. Below, find our 2018 guilty pleasures– the players we’re owning or buying in multiple leagues this year, despite what discerning taste might otherwise dictate. 

Jerad Eickoff, SP, Philadelphia Phillies, 27
Top 500 Rank: 404
Consensus Position Rank: 136
Why you’re picking him up everywhere: I’ve picked up Eickhoff in multiple leagues this year for the cost of a late round pick, and in other leagues, he looks set to start the season on waivers or locked into someone’s bench, available at low trade cost. He’s cheap, which reflects the quality of his 2017, and the BABIP and injury concerns that follow him into this year. But he’s got upside: he’s locked in as SP2 and should get plenty of innings. Fellow Phillie Vince Velasquez is being taken and ranked higher than Eickhoff everywhere thanks to V’s upside, but Eickhoff should go deeper into games. Eickhoff’s floor is what we saw last year, and I’d have no problem dropping him if back injuries flare up or if the changeup he’s been rocking this spring is a mirage. His ceiling is a legit SP3 with a K/9 in the 8.00s, and he’s being drafted around setup men and prospects outside of the top 100. I’m not building any rotations around him but he looks like the best guy in his tier by a wide margin. -Tyler Baber

Kole Calhoun, OF, Los Angeles Angels, 30
Top 500 Rank: 355
Consensus Position Rank: 94
Why you’re picking him up everywhere: I have a weakness for Kole Calhoun. It started in a time when 17-Home-Run pop still wasn’t really enough. Then he jacked 26 out in 2015 and I was never giving up on him again. He hasn’t cracked 20 bombs since, but has improved his approach (walking over 10% of the time), making him a solid play that won’t kill you in any category in deeper OBP leagues. What’s different this year is that the Angels have more in their lineup than Mike Trout and the shambling corpse of Albert Pujols. Oh, and they knocked ten feet off the right-field fence. Even if that only gets him into the low-to-mid 20s for home runs, he should post career-high run and RBI totals. That may not be better than an OF3 even in deep, deep, leagues, but he’ll cost you next to nothing and will almost certainly turn a profit. -Jeff Good

Matt Chapman, 3B, Oakland A’s, Age: 24
Top 500 Rank: 318
Consensus Position Rank: 18
Why I’m picking him up everywhere: Matt Chapman is a player I will try to draft on every team this year. I’ve already selected him in two leagues: once with the 193rd pick in our TDGx2 keeper, and then at 148 overall in a 12-Team Yahoo Winner’s League. I suppose that might look a tad aggressive when compared to a 284 NFBC ADP and his 318 overall rank on our Top 500, but I am really not worried. I know I’m getting a middle of the order hitter who will get 600+ plate appearances and hit the ball with power at the simple cost of batting average. Despite the strikeouts, Chapman still exhibits pretty fair plate discipline which will keep his counting stats on the positive side. And, again, the power he has shown while climbing the ladder is outstanding. With this profile and opportunity, Chapman appears destined to be in some pretty valuable company. If the worst he fares is turning into Adam Duvall (a guy with an NFBC ADP of 173) I’ll take it. If he turns into Khris Davis, he should help me hoist a few glorious imaginary trophies at the end of the season. -Jonathan Merkel

Bryan Mitchell, SP, San Diego Padres, 26
Top 500 Rank: Unranked
Consensus Position Rank: Unranked
Why you’re picking him up everywhere: Unranked in the Top 500 and the consensus starting pitcher rankings, Bryan Mitchell is a deep sleeper. Last December, the Padres quietly acquired him from the Yankees in the Chase Headley salary dump. Over the last few years, Mitchell experienced some strange injury-adjacent bad luck, losing time due to a nasal fracture from a line drive to the face in 2015 and a strained left big toe in 2016. Most importantly, none of his injuries relate to his arm health, and his arm is special. Mitchell has electric stuff, including a mid-90s fastball with movement, a low-90s cutter, a low-80s, hard curveball, and a low-90s, firm changeup. In short, he throws hard. Arguably, he is only a small improvement in his off-speed offerings away from a breakout. This year, he should receive an extended look in the Padres rotation and could surprise. There are far, far worse options for a late-round flier and few possess Mitchell’s upside. – Jesse Roche

Derek Fisher, OF, Houston Astros, 24
Top 500 Rank: 340
Consensus Position Rank: 85
Why you’re picking him up everywhere: No risk, high potential reward. Though often overlooked in the stacked Houston farm system, Fisher combines legitimate 70-grade speed with 20 HR pop. He also knows how to take a walk (career .372 OBP in the minors) which helps play up his stolen base potential. The biggest roadblock is the uncertainty with his role in Houston. The Astros are loaded with talent, and though he’s being given a shot to nail down the LF job, there are plenty of options to replace Fisher if he struggles. The lack of guaranteed at-bats has plummeted his draft stock, shown by his current NFBC ADP (398). But who’s to say Fisher won’t take the job and run with it? Here’s a quick list of players going 50 picks or more ahead of Fisher: Melky Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Keon Broxton, Mallex Smith, and Mikie Mahtook. Give Fisher and his 20/20 skills 500 at-bats and he’ll outproduce all of them. Take a chance and cast a line deep into the draft pool to hook Fisher with one of your last picks. – Tom Werner

Keone Kela, RP, TEX, 24
Top 500 Rank: 462
Consensus Position Rank: 60
Why you’re picking him up everywhere: Disclaimer- I usually play in deep leagues that count holds as well as saves. I also think I may have a reliever obsession because I spend way too much time searching for them rather than, say, worthwhile bench bats or rotation options. That being said, I find myself early on closers, and Keone Kela is a guy I’m into. Even though I can’t pronounce his name, I think the 24-year-old is going to seal up the Rangers closing job this year. His numbers indicate he still walks a few too many, but I firmly believe that will resolve itself.  And on days where I’m sentimental for Tim Lincecum’s attempted resurgence, I tell myself Kela will become an elite middle reliever who will protect my ratios, which I need because I draft Bartolo Colon every year. – Ian Hudson (Ed note: Ian is not technically a writer)

Ketel Marte, Shortstop, Arizona Diamondbacks, 24
Top 500 Rank: 278
Consensus Position Rank: 22
Why you’re picking him up everywhere: I think we witnessed Ketel Marte’s breakout in 2017, but didn’t realize it. He started the season at Triple-A, and was phenomenal: 135 wRC+ in 70 games. He brought his K% all the way down to 10%. In the majors he hit a respectable .290/.345/.395 and a 15%/11% K/BB%, good for a .329 wOBA, but Statcast pegged his xwOBA at an even better .341. Statcast clocked his speed at 29th in the majors, suggesting a potential for 20-25 stolen bases. Given his age and price, I think Marte is a huge value. If he keeps taking walks and hitting for contact, he’s as good as bet as anyone to hit .310 with 90+ runs and some steals. – EJ Fagan

Brad Peacock, SP, Houston Astros, 30
Top 500 Rank: 276
Consensus Position Rank: 146
Why you’re picking him up everywhere: Brad Peacock was a top 20 starter last year… let that sink in. He accomplished that feat in only 132 innings, and not starting a game until the end of May. He’s starting this year in the bullpen again, which is keeping his cost low. That said, he’s still likely to get at a minimum 12-15 starts to cover when his colleagues are on the DL, and spending the rest of his time as a multi-inning reliever. He will finish between 110-140 innings, which in today’s MLB is enough to be a strong contributor to your fantasy team. I view him in the same mold as Rich Hill, but he comes at a much cheaper price (and is 8 years younger). On a strong Astros team he is a good bet for the following: double-digit wins, close to 10 strikeouts per 9 innings, a WHIP around 1.15 (thanks to his new walk rate, which was cut it in half after the all-star break, from 14% to 7%), and an ERA in the mid 3s. That seems like a solid “starter” to me. – Kyler Jesanis

Nicky Delmonico, OF, White Sox, 25
Top 500 Rank: 464
Consensus Position Rank: 111
Why you’re picking him up everywhere: First of all, you’re picking him because his name is Nicky. According to Fangraphs and Baseball Reference there’s never been another major-leaguer named Nicky. On top of that, you pop in his last name – boom – Delmonico. His story is mostly well-documented. Former prospect with the Brewers who was popped for using Adderall only to come back with the White Sox and put up a 13% walk rate and 18% strikeout rate in a small, 43 game stint last year. The good thing is that both these rates aren’t completely out of the question based on his minor league profile. He’s a pull-field-only power type of hitter who thankfully knows where his bread is buttered when it comes to hitting the ball in the air. I’m hoping for a .250/.350/.450 type of season with the upside for more. Given his age he should also be good for 5-10 stolen bases. There’s no reason not to own Delmonico as a late flier this year and I’m planning on grabbing him with late picks, $1 auction bids and however else I can manage to acquire him. – Jim Melichar

Jake Odorizzi, SP, Minnesota Twins, 27
Top 500 Rank: 380
Consensus Position Rank: 134
Why you’re picking him up everywhere: Let’s acknowledge that Odorizzi has never lived up to the billing of a top prospect when he went from the Royals to the Rays. Let us also acknowledge that Odorizzi’s struggles with the long ball won’t get any easier moving from Tropicana to Target Fields. Let’s also acknowledge that Odorizzi’s career K/9 rate hasn’t been that great and success against righties has been non-existent. Warts and all, there is a ton to like about his profile. His reverse splits are something to behold. The ability to keep lefties at bay is elite. His struggles with the long ball are simply a product of his penchant for keeping the fastball up in the zone and is an easy fix. Every projection system continues under-selling Odorizzi’s innings pitched total (140IP-160IP), which undersells his win and strikeout opportunities. You can buy him for a song. I am taking him over names like Hamels, Roark, Porcello, and Corbin. – Adam Lawler

The Author

Tyler Baber

Tyler Baber

Tyler loves to overthink strategies, nerds out over dynasty league constitutions, and is an advocate for weird formats.

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