TDGX2: First Month Review

The following is a status check of The Dynasty Guru Experts League (Volume II). This is a 20 team, 5×5 league that utilizes OPS and SV+HLD instead of AVG and SV. We thought it might be good to put our money where our mouth is and have a league that can serve as a sort of avatar for our readers’ most common set-up (even if 20 teams is a little deep).

This is, obviously, a dynasty league. So in order to effectively and fairly determine draft order, we dusted off the Invisible Hand method. The TL;DR version is that our guys bid a certain number of keepers in order to secure specific draft slots. For example, Brady Childs has the first overall pick, but he has to cut 29 (!) guys from his roster next offseason.

We’ve previously covered in-depth strategy for the first and second rounds, and done a draft recap. This time around, we thought we’d check in with the teams to see how they’re feeling after a month of play.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Writer- Brady Childs

Standings- 19th

Contention Window- 2019-2025

All going according to Plan? Why or why not?

I knew I was going to take some lumps early in the season as I waited for my blue chippers to get the call. The hope was that my best prospects (Torres, Robles, and Senzel) would be up before the end of April, and pitchers A.J. Puk, Alec Hansen, and Fernando Romero would make enough strides to get big league looks in 2018. Well, Victor Robles hyperextended his left elbow and will be out for a few months and A.J. Puk needs Tommy John surgery. Anthony Alford, another close to the Majors prospect with high upside, suffered an injury to begin the season and was optioned to AAA. Such is life.

David Dahl being sent down to start the year caught me by surprise, as I took him to be a better option than Gerardo Parra, but he was called up with Carlos Gonzalez hitting the shelf. The Yankees kept Gleyber Torres down long enough to gain another year of control over him, so he’s joined my team. Nick Senzel is ready, but the Reds might choose to manipulate his Super 2. The Puk and Robles injuries hurt, but as long as calamity doesn’t strike the rest of my core, I should be ready to strike next season.

Writer- Mitch Bannon

Standings- 13th

Contention Window- 2018-2020

All going according to Plan? Why or why not?

The team currently resides at or near the top of almost every category, but due to some injuries and scheduling against other top teams, we sit around average. With a healthy Donaldson, Lamb, and Eaton on the near horizon, and Taillon and Carrasco dealing, it isn’t hard to see my team skyrocketing up the standings to where they belong. We have made some minor moves, such as bringing in Kike Hernandez, to fill out the roster during the first couple weeks, and the Jaime Garcia pick up has played out nicely thus far. I’m confident in a top 5 finish and hope everyone can stay healthy for a playoff run.

Writer- Jonathan Merkel

Standings- 10th

Contention Window- 2018-2021

All going according to Plan? Why or why not?

While my offense has been putting up top-tier numbers, my team’s pitching has effectively neutralized all that offensive success. Looking back, I was probably counting on Honeywell contributing to my rotation more than I realized, and so my staff feels one arm short. I’ve been checking in around the league for a quality starter but haven’t yet found a match. I don’t think my current pitching staff will continue to as bad as it has been, but right now it’s costing me wins at an unacceptable rate.

Writer- EJ Fagan

Standings- 11th

Contention Window- 2018-2019

All going according to Plan? Why or why not?

Things are going mildly to plan, although with some hitches. I’m in 4th place after two strong weeks, but a number of players are significantly underperforming expectations. Freddie Freeman has rewarded my first round pick so far with a .467 OBP, although it would be nice if he hit a few more home runs. Robinson Cano, AJ Pollock, Lorenzo Cain, Aaron Nola, and Stephen Strasburg have also excelled. My bullpen is very weak, with Felipe Rivero underperforming, Alex Claudio losing his job, and Emilio Pagan not doing much. Kevin Kiermaier’s injury hurt, and I’m clearly short a position player. I’m saved by the depth of the league right now, but my team won’t be able to pull away from the pack without either upgrades or a breakout from one of Ketel Marte, Jorge Alfaro or Luis Castillo.

Writer-Ryne Alber


Contention Window-2019-2025

All going according to Plan? Why or why not?

My team is going to need to Trust The Process while we are currently in the bottom of the standings, but there are a lot of positive things happening this year that have me hopeful for the future. Although it is early, my infield of Iannetta, Bell, Lowrie, Bryant, and the recently re-acquired Didi Gregorius (I traded Didi to Eddie for Faria before Opening Day) has been the best in the league so far, and after trading Buxton and Tropeano for Mazara and Didi, my outfield is pretty solid too, with J. Martinez, Winker, Delmonico, and eventually Chisenhall to pair with Mazara. I am disappointed by the lack of playing time for Austin Barnes, whom I spent a fairly high pick on, and I don’t envision myself winning steals anymore now that both Buxton and Peraza (for Cordell) have been dealt. I am curious to see how Leonys Martin does this year, as well as Crawford and Dietrich, who round out my bench. Martin may be a sneaky sleeper for steals.

I dealt my top starter, Sean Manaea (for L. Urias and Grichuk) after my #2 starter (Musgrove) went down with a shoulder injury, but so far, aside from Pivetta, my starters have performed about where I expect them too. I am counting on an Estrada bounceback this year, and I have been active with trades, picking up Clevinger (for Pirela), Roark (for Sisco), and Faria as well as adding Trevor Cahill, Junior Guerra, and Steven Brault via waivers. I am hoping to flip Estrada to a contender before the deadline this year.

My bullpen has been a pleasant surprise, with preseason FA pickup Nicasio providing me an early 7 holds, and Greene locking down the closer role in Detroit with a 3.18 ERA and 3 saves so far. Michael Feliz has not performed as I had hoped, but with the contributions I am getting from Nicasio and Feliz, I have been leaving him on my bench in favor of an extra starter for the week. Jordan Hicks has been absolutely phenomenal and looks like a future stud.

Even though I have several contributing Major Leaguers, my team is still designed to be a contender starting next year, with Eloy Jimenez, Francisco Mejia, Urias, Ryan McMahon, and several other exciting names waiting in the wings. My goal for the rest of this season is to move my contributing Major League veterans like Lowrie, Iannetta, and perhaps Martinez and Gregorius, for young prospects who are about ready to contribute. I think I am close to building a title contender, but I don’t think I could make a run this year even though my team is currently 7th in rotisserie stats. It is still early, so I may decide to flip the script and make a run this year if my team keeps performing the way they have thus far. It’s anyone’s league right now!

Writer- Eddie Grella

Standings- 9th

Contention Window- 2018-2022

All going according to Plan? Why or why not?

Being 13th in the standings was not in the plans for this year, but it is early, and I have plenty of time to move up in the rankings. My offensive production has been surprisingly low so far, and I am in the bottom quarter of the league in just about every offensive category. This is partly due to me going fairly pitching-heavy in the draft. My original pitching staff featured Chris Sale, Luke Weaver, Masahiro Tanaka, Jake Faria, Jack Flaherty, Kevin Gausman, and Carlos Rodon. My pitching has underperformed to this point, but I am aware of the depth I have and have elected to trade some of my pitching for hitting.

Since I saw hitting as my larger long-term weakness, I elected to trade Faria for Didi Gregorius before opening day. Didi practically carried my desolate offense for the first two weeks, after which I decided to trade him back to Ryne along with Nomar Mazara for Byron Buxton. The day that trade happened Buxton landed on the disabled list, but I am still confident that trade will pay off in the long run. Last night, I completed another trade where I sent Luke Weaver and Jon Duplantier to Merkel’s team for JD Martinez. While I am a huge Weaver supporter and think he is going to be a great pitcher for a long time, my offense desperately needed a power bat and JD was exactly what I needed.

Looking forward, I hope my new and improved offensive core of Corey Seager, Byron Buxton, JD Martinez, Jonathan Schoop, and Eric Hosmer can boost my team up in the standings as the year moves on.

Writer- Tom Werner

Standings- 8th

Contention Window- 2021 and beyond

All going according to Plan? Why or why not?

Not at all, but in a good way. I expected to be terrible both this year and next since I spent a lot of early picks on my farm (Vlad Jr, Tucker, Robert, R. Lewis, Kopech, etc). However, my stout outfield trio of Betts, Pham, and Marte and a hot Albies start have boosted my squad to the 3rd best hitting stats in the league thus far. I do not expect that to continue since I have iffy supplementary pieces to that foursome. I didn’t expect my pitching to be any good either since I selected just two MLB arms (Arrieta, Maeda) in my first 28 rounds of picking. Having a saves+holds category made drafting premium relievers less of a priority and I’ve been able to pick up guys like O’Day and Alvarado early this season. My bargain bin starters have surprised as well (Stratton, Matthew Boyd) along with the early call for Lucchesi who was a late pick. If I somehow sneak into a playoff spot, anything can happen, but I’m not adjusting my contention window quite yet.

Writer- Nick Doran

Standings- 4th

Contention Window- Now and Forever, amen.

All going according to Plan? Why or why not?

For the most part yes. I spent my first 10 or so picks on young hitters with the idea of dominating the hitting categories and just winging it on the pitching side. Injuries to Xander Bogaerts and Eugenio Suarez have held me back a bit but I have been winning lots of points on the offensive side. If this were a roto league rather than H2H I would be top three in all hitting stats except stolen bases.Manny Machado and Rhys Hoskins are my studs.

My starting pitching has been a pleasant surprise even though Rick Porcello is the biggest name of the group. This is a Saves+Holds league, so I drafted guys like Dellin Betances and Mychal Givens in the middle rounds and they have been big disappointments, Greg Holland too. Brad Hand and Bud Norris have been awesome. I picked up Tyson Ross recently and I have Jeff Samardzija coming off the DL. Championship!

Writer- Dr. Mike Tanner

Standings- 6th

Contention Window- Next 2-3 years (I only have 25 keepers, so building the farm after this year will be a tall order.

All going according to Plan? Why or why not? Nothing ever goes as planned. I thought Michael Fulmer would be a young anchor to my staff along with C-Mart, old man Rich Hill, but it turns out that Patrick Corbin’s blazing start is helping the most. Josh Hader was a target of mine in a SV + HLD league and has contributed ridiculous ratios and a few unexpected 2 inning saves to boot. Meanwhile, Kenley Jansen has been shaky (to put it kindly).  Scott Kingery’s early promotion and respectable performance has helped a weak spot at 2B. Boring OFs, CarGo, Markakis, & C. Gomez, have paid off nicely early on, but it’s a long season. I am feeling far from comfortable, despite the early success.

Writer- Keaton O. DeRocher

Standings- 1st

Contention Window- 2018-2022

All going according to Plan? Why or why not? I guess as according to plan as they could be given the injuries and early season struggles of my pitching staff. I’m surprised I’m this high in the standings at the moment, probably the luck of the head to head format. I drafted what I thought was a very solid three-headed core of Bumgarner, Stroman, and Darvish to carry my pitching staff and that has been, well, not great so far. I lost Madison Bumgarner to injury, and Stroman and Darvish have struggled mightily. My main man Garrett Richards has stepped up and been the ace of my staff carrying my arms along with Tyler Skaggs and a host of relievers so that’s bound to blow up in my face at any moment. My bats are performing as expected or slightly under expectations and should kick it into gear a the season hits the dog days so I feel confident about my position in the standings this season upon Bumgarner’s return. I focused on young core talent for my bats to grow stronger into my contention window, like Trea Turner and Rafael Devers so to be in 4th place a game out of first with my three best pitchers either injured or the living embodiment of the poop emoji through the first month, I feel pretty good about season 1 so far.

Writer- Ian Hudson

Standings- 3rd

Contention Window- 2018-2020

All going according to Plan? Why or why not? Mostly, yes! Scherzer and Severino have been excellent for me, and the relievers I loaded up on are piling up saves, holds, and strikeouts. The head-to-head format affords me the opportunity to focus on a few areas and really work them, and the weekly format raises the value of guys with steady jobs and guys who are no-doubt studs. So far the value of the team has been Miguel Cabrera, who I snagged well past his projected draft slot and who currently leads my team in RBI. I do wish Altuve would start running though.

The Author

Ian Hudson

Ian Hudson

Ian is an editor for The Dynasty Guru and a bowtie enthusiast. If you guessed one of those things about him you could probably guess the other.

He's also an attorney in Tampa, Florida.

Go Rays.

Previous post

Monitoring Hot and Cold Starts: A Year Long Exercise

Next post

TDG Podcast, Episode 33: Keaton DeRocher: Fantasy Baseball Doula